5 Super-Quiet Guns That Don’t Need A Suppressor

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5 Super-Quiet Guns That Don’t Need A Suppressor

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Most of the time when shooters are looking for quiet firearms, they will look for something on which they can mount a suppressor. That is all fine and well if you live in one of the 42 states where silencers are legal and if you can shell out the money ($250 -$1500) for a proper suppressor plus $200 for the permission slip from the ATF. Even if you go the form 1 route to make your own, there are still material costs and once again the $200 tax stamp.

However, if you stop and think about it, there are a number of firearms that are “quiet” in their own right. They may not give you the level of comfort experienced by shooting a suppressed rifle or pistol all day, but a handful of shots from one of these will definitely not “ring your ears” — and some are as quiet as an air rifle.

1. Mosin Nagant M91/30. If your Mosin’s barrel has been cut down in any way or is something like an M91/59 or M44, please do not attempt this, as you will go deaf. I found out by accident on the M91/59.

I had been testing a group of rifles, three suppressed and one unsuppressed. After replacing a target from a suppressed string of fire from an M1A, I went back to my bench and picked up a Mosin Nagant M91/30 sniper rifle.

After charging the rifle with a stripper clip of copper-washed military surplus (milsurp) ammo, I fired a shot. Then I fired another and another and finally realized that my ear protection was sitting on the bench next to me. My ears were not ringing. Out of curiosity, I cranked off another shot. My ears still were not ringing.

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Since much of the noise from a gunshot has to do with the combustion of the powder before the bullet has left the barrel, I came to the conclusion that the powder charge was well-contained within the optimal length of the barrel. Coupled with the fact that the long 29-inch barrel was putting that signature about three-feet away from my ears meant I could shoot that all day with no indication of tinnitus.

Make no mistake, if you shoot something like this, people from a mile away may hear it, but you probably will not damage your eardrums if you have no ear pro.

2. Beretta M950. It seems like yesterday that these pistols were everywhere. It was a distinctive-looking, small 22 Short semi-auto pistol with a tip-up barrel. However, these pistols were notoriously quiet because there is just not a whole lot of powder in a 22 Short case. Fully extended, that barrel is going to be three feet away from my eardrums, even if I use the longer 4-inch version.

I used mine about 12 years ago to shoot a field mouse on the back porch. No ears rang, no neighborhood dogs barked, no neighbors came out to investigate and no police were called. The sound signature is like a pellet gun.

3. Marlin 25MG. This was a short-lived rifle manufactured by Marlin and has been out of production for at least 15 years. They were only made for about four or five years and were designed to be a “quiet” garden gun.

Chambered in 22 WRM and intended to use shot-shell loads, it has a smoothbore, like a shotgun. They were bought up by airports, warehouse workers and even a few museums for pest control without NFA hassles. They are a bit expensive when they come up for sale, but if your survival scenario calls for short-range small-game hunting without waking up the countryside, this is the one you need.

4. Smith & Wesson Model 17. This one does require special ammunition be used. I have tried it with Gemtech Subsonic, CCI Quiet and Remington Subsonic. Most 22 match ammo that uses a lead bullet and has a low velocity will do the job, too. You can use other double-action revolvers like a Ruger Single Six, Colt Scout or NAA Mini Revolver to the same effect.

I mentioned the Smith & Wesson Model 17 because that’s my double-action rim fire revolver of choice with an 8 3/8-inch barrel. All of those subsonic rounds that would not cycle my semi-autos work like a champ in this revolver, and if the cylinder gap is close like in my Smith, it sounds like a kid’s cap gun (back when they let kids play with cap guns).

5. Remington Rolling Block in 45-70. That may seem like an unusual choice based on the size of the bullet and case. But if you are a hand-loader, you can get a 200-plus grain bullet moving about 750 feet per second that meters about 130 decibels on a sound meter. Because it’s a long-barreled, single-shot rifle, you won’t be able to put too many lead balls in the air close enough to damage your ears.

These are but five examples that I found worked for me, but if you do a little research you may find some of your own, like a 148 grain Hollow Based Wad Cutter through a 38 Special with only two grains of Bull’s-eye powder behind it, or maybe a 30-inch goose gun single-shot 12 gauge that brings down birds without alerting the neighbors on the next ridge.

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The Most Accurate & Reliable LR Ammo You Can Buy …

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The Most Accurate & Reliable LR Ammo You Can Buy …

Image source: Gemtech

An almost two-year quest led me to the goal of finding the most versatile 22 long-rifle ammunition on the market. After trying rounds from CCI, Remington, Federal, Winchester, Norma and a host of others, I settled on one brand: Gemtech subsonic to meet just about all of my rim-fire needs.

If you learned anything about ammunition over the course of the past several years, it should be that the availability of 22 long-rifle ammo is very volatile. It can be in abundance one day and gone within an hour, not to be seen at normal prices for as long as a year.

I am fortunate to live in a part of the country where even 22 LR ammunition shortages are fleeting, but it got me thinking:

As a hand-loader, I can make any type of ammunition I need, from 22 Hornet to 50 BMG. I can size for peculiar chambers, download for revolvers and produce hot loads for machineguns or subsonic loads for silencers.

Unfortunately, there is not much I can do about most rim-fire loads, beyond using whatever I have available.

This can be problematic, as hyper-velocity loads will not be effective through my suppressors and subsonic or match loads will not always cycle my semi-autos, let alone subguns.

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I set out to find the one 22 load that would fit most, if not all of my purposes, and the result was surprising, to say the least.

The Most Accurate & Reliable LR Ammo You Can Buy …

Image source: Gemtech

During the shortages and the hoarding, the word “subsonic” threw off many shooters who were lead to believe that it was little more than a CB Cap-type round or CCI “Quiet” load. Most people did not think it would cycle the bolt on their Ruger 10/22s, or feed in their pistols. I found that it would, with a suppressor or without.

The velocity is 1,020 fps, which is subsonic and only 50 to 100 fps below standard velocity 22 LR. The engineers at Gemtech wisely determined that this would cycle the majority of semi-autos out there without the supersonic crack.

These rounds are loaded with 42-grain lead bullets, with no jacket or plating, just a moly-type coating that acts as a lubricant to aid in feeding. Gemtech worked with CCI on a clean-burning powder to use in the subsonic load to eliminate unburnt powder and fouling problems associated with rim-fire ammunition. It is probably the cleanest 22 ammo I have ever fired, period.

I tried it in a variety of pistols, including a Beretta Model 71, Smith & Wesson Model 41, SIG Mosquito, Benelli MP95E and a Walther PPK. Moving on to rifles, it functioned flawlessly in a pair of Ruger 10/22s, a Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22, and best of all it was consistently accurate. In some cases, I was shooting sub 1-inch groups at 50 yards.

Moving over to bolt-action 22s and 22 revolvers, I had zero complaints. The round remained consistent, accurate and reliable. Most importantly, it lived up to its name and kept the sound levels low.

My shooting experiment was not completely trouble-free, however. I had a few problems getting it to run consistently in a full-auto Uzi with a 22 LR conversion kit and using it in an Armalite AR-7 gave me a few failures to extract/eject.

Aside from the Armalite notoriously being a finicky beast, the cycling through the Uzi also was less of a concern. In a real preparedness situation, I am probably not going to be shooting up 22s at the rate of 1,450 rounds per minute. We just want something accurate, reliable and quiet going through our suppressed Savage M93 or Beretta M71.

So should another panic start up and you are looking for something to hold onto in order to keep your 22s running, check out Gemtech Subsonic in 22 LR. Don’t blow it off as a pipsqueak JV type of rim-fire round.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Ruger LCP: The Lightweight & Discrete Carry Gun That Won’t Let You Down

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Ruger LCP: The Lightweight & Discrete Carry Gun That Won’t Let You Down

Image source: KC Concealed Carry

There was a time when I used to feel bad anytime I bought a Ruger firearm. They made great guns, sure, but the founder’s vision for the right to keep and bear arms in America did not sit well with me — and the designs were strictly function over form. Look at a Blackhawk compared to a Colt SAA, and the Ruger might be the stronger, better and more practical revolver, but the SAA has a style all its own. About 10 years ago, the company began making changes and one of the new offerings — the Ruger LCP (lightweight compact pistol — brought this home for me.

The LCP was Ruger’s first major and might we say, highly successful step toward making a lightweight concealed carry pistol for the armed and prepared American. Chambered in 380 ACP, this was no sporting handgun, but one meant for concealed carry and self-defense.

Before it debuted it rode in on a wave of controversy. Many shooters thought it was a rip-off of Kel-Tec’s P-3AT. Looking at both handguns side by side will confirm these protestations, with higher points going to team Ruger for fit and finish.

Original LCPs had problems here and there, but Ruger was quick to address these and the LCP represents a great value for the shooter.

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The frame is glass-filled nylon, and while it is exceptionally light, it does kick like an angry mule. I tamed mine down by shooting it while contained within a DeSantis Pocket Shot holster. This is a wallet holster that encases the frame in leather to break up the outline of the pistol while soaking up the direct recoil of the little powerhouse that represents 380 ACP.

Ruger LCP: The Lightweight & Discrete Carry Gun That Won’t Let You Down

Image source: Ruger

Turning to the other half of the pistol, the slide is hardened steel with integral sights. Pistols like this are not intended as “bullseye” guns, so there’s no need for Novak’s, Heine’s, Trijicon’s or the like. They are a part of the slide – small and crude — but very useful at the same time. Chances are, when you need to use an LCP, you will not be obtaining a sight picture anyway.

The trigger is long and heavy and the reason I probably cannot tighten up my groups. It is not as atrocious as other pistols in this league, but it still leaves a bit to be desired. I suppose this is to accommodate the lack of a safety so that shooters gifted with the “Orangutan strength” of an adrenaline rush during a violent confrontation will not jerk the trigger and fire negligently.

Ruger did upgrade the pistol with the LCP2, which boasts an improved frame and trigger. Another offering which I have yet to try is the LC380, which is built on a larger frame for improved shootability and less recoil as well as removable sights.

Yet these are the compromises we make when it comes to carrying concealed. We want a smaller package, and that means lower profile sights and smaller grips and reduced capacity.

A number of accessories are available, including a laser sight, but the two best that I can think of are a Techna-clip pocket clip and a DeSantis Pocket Shot.

It is not the firearm you take to the range weekly to see if it will survive a 1,000-round session — it will, but your hands may not — and its accuracy and potency is not meant for long-range target shooting (you can pick up a Ruger Mk4 or GP100 for that). However, if you want a discrete carry handgun that will be there when you need it, you can count on it.

Have you ever shot the Ruger LCP? Share your thoughts on this pistol in the section below:

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The Ruger 10-22 Takedown: The Perfect Survival Rifle?

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The Ruger 10-22 Takedown: The Perfect Survival Rifle?

Image source: Ruger

We recently took a look at a few old-school “survival rifles” but found them lacking in some respects due to either reliability or accuracy. As times change and rifles improve, there is always a new contender for this role and we may have found it in this next rifle: the Ruger 10/22 Takedown.

It may not be as iconic as a Winchester lever-action or the new heir-apparent to the title of America’s rifle (the AR-15), but millions of these rifles are owned by millions of Americans and in many instances they were often a “first rifle” to introduce someone to shooting.

Like a Chevy small-block engine, they can be customized with match triggers, heavy barrels, thumbhole stocks or you can drop one into an after-market stock to make it look like a bull pup rifle or even a Thompson SMG.

However, at its heart this rifle was always compact, lightweight and most importantly, reliable. That’s all the qualities you would want in a survival rifle. Someone high up at Ruger recognized this and a few years ago the company began offering the venerable Ruger 10/22 in a takedown format, specifically for the modern prepper and survivalist.

Original versions of the rifle gave you two choices: stainless or blue. However, as the company listened to their customers, we have seen new versions emerge in various camouflage patterns as well as threaded barrels.

The threaded barrel is a key component for adding a silencer (also known as a sound suppressor), and this improvement made it perfect for what we look for in a survival rifle.

In case you are not familiar with the 10/22 platform, it is a semiautomatic rifle chambered in 22 LR that has similar lines visually with the M1 Carbine. Originally they shipped with an innovative and indestructible 10-round rotary magazine. The takedown versions we have seen come with a longer 25-round magazine.

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The receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope mount and the barrel has a rear sight mounted close to the chamber and a front sight by the muzzle. Ruger includes a scope mount and a carrying case in which you can store the rifle, broken down. The case is made well, aside from the single nylon strap, but we upgraded ours with dedicated pack straps for ease of backpack carry.

One of the first things we do is remove the barrel band. It really serves no purpose beyond looks and coming from a background in precision shooting. We do not like anything touching our barrel that might affect harmonics. Our other gripe is that the rifle has no sling swivels. We still regard the sling as the most important accessory for any rifle, not only as a means for carry, but as an aid in accuracy.

When it comes to accuracy we found the “fly in the ointment.” The scope mounts to the receiver and while the barrel is removed by pushing a button and twisting it out, every time you remove and reattach the barrel you will have to re-zero the rifle. The shift in point of impact may be minimal, but if you are using it to forage for wild game as it was intended, that will almost certainly cause you to miss a small target.

But the iron sights, being contained on the barrel, remain more consistent than any optic we have tried over the past few years.

Unlike the other survival rifles we reviewed, the Ruger 10-22 Takedown is available with a threaded barrel. A good 22 silencer really makes a difference with this rifle over everything else. We have had success running a Gemtech Outback II-D, Underground Tactical Little Puff, and a Q El Camino. However, the 16-inch barrel does add velocity to the rounds unless you use subsonic ammunition.

Some readers may be shaking their heads at the thought of using a 10/22 in a disaster or end-of-the-world scenario. Consider this: In a true disaster that causes people to bug out to the rural areas for an extended period of time, there will probably be no deer population left. Your AR, AK, FAL, SCAR, 30-30 or whatever else you thought would make you king of the mountain may be nearly useless on whatever is left in the form of squirrels, rabbits or chipmunks. Thus, the 10/22 may be the perfect fit.

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts on the Ruger 10/22 in the section below:

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Is This The Most Overrated ‘Prepper Gun’ On the Market?

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Is This The Most Overrated ‘Prepper Gun’ On the Market?

Image source: ArmsList.com

One of the more interesting firearms used by the U.S. military was the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon. This was a superposed 22 Hornet rifle barrel over a .410 shotgun barrel that was usually stored in collapsed form in a tool bag aboard airplanes, particularly long-range bombers that flew over the Arctic. Spare ammunition was stored in the butt stock.

The point of these firearms was to give a downed aircrew a fighting chance at survival until they reached safety or were rescued. Based on its design, it sounds almost like the perfect survival rifle to store in a vehicle, boat, aircraft or backpack.

Instead of a typical firearm trigger, the shooter has a large trigger bar to depress in order to fire the M6 Scout. This design shows the lineage from the Cold War because it was made so the shooter could fire the M6 while wearing extreme cold weather mittens.

It is definitely interesting, but it has a few quirks.

A civilian version was offered by Springfield Armory called the M6 Scout. The rifles were actually built by CZ and came in two caliber choices: 22 Hornet over .410 shotgun or 22 long rifle over .410 shotgun. Parkerized and stainless steel versions also were available.

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“Civilian version” is a key term, as the M6 Scout had 18-inch barrels in order to comply with the National Firearms Act that prohibits smoothbore barrels shorter than that, without paying for a tax stamp. For safety reasons, a “trigger guard” was added over the trigger bar.

Small Hands Needed

Is This The Most Overrated ‘Prepper Gun’ On the Market?

Image source: GunListings.org

In order to fire it as it shipped from Springfield Armory, you need to have tiny hands. The trigger guard also keeps the M6 from compactly folding in half. I just remove the trigger guard to make life simpler.

With the trigger guard out of the picture, the shooter needs to cock the hammer like a single-action revolver and can choose which barrel to fire by pulling the hammer up to fire the top barrel or pushing it down to fire the shotgun barrel.

The sights are crude, but scope mounts are available to aid in accuracy. Yet the weakest link is that trigger bar. It is almost never consistent, besides being heavy and awkward.

There is no forend on the M6. Some shooters wrap the lower barrel in paracord to aid in shooting and to give a ready supply of paracord should they need some. I leave mine the way it is, but do run a sling made from paracord.

This is another area where the ball was dropped. There is a front swivel of sorts: a hole in the barrel band that can accept a European swivel. Smaller Euro swivels can be ordered for more money than a custom sling may cost; I drilled mine out to take a standard U.S. swivel. For the rear swivel I removed a stock screw and installed an M1 Garand stock swivel using the existing stock screw to keep it in place.

Accuracy is not the best with these, but if you get used to that trigger bar, you can use the M6 on small game. If space allows it and you can find the mount, a small red dot sight might come in handy, as well.

They may be one of the most overrated prepper guns on the market. One of the modern Savage or Chiappa superposed rifle/shotgun combinations will work better in this regard — such as a 223 or 22 Magnum over a 20 Gauge.

As a collector’s piece they are interesting and they certainly fit a minimalist role as a take-down rifle, but I think there are better survival rifles for real-world purposes out there that offer improved accuracy, better take-down power on small game as well as higher capacity.

Have you ever shot an M6? Do you think it is overrated? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The Lightweight, Ultra-Portable Survival Rifle That’s Just 16 Inches Long

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The Lightweight, Ultra-Portable Survival Rifle That’s Just 16 Inches Long

Image source: Henry Rifles

A survival rifle is typically a minimalist rifle that can be broken down and stored in a vehicle, boat, aircraft or backpack and brought to use as a “last resort” firearm for taking wild game. As such, it is typically chambered in calibers like 22 LR, 22 Hornet or 410 shotgun. A typical survival rifle is not the ideal firearm for big-game hunting or home defense. This is something to have when you may need it most. One of the most popular designs was built by Armalite as the AR-7.

The concept of a survival rifle goes back to World War II. Pilots who were shot down but survived behind enemy lines were mostly lucky to have a revolver or maybe even an M1911A1. Those might be good for personal defense if you had to parachute into no-man’s land, but what if you had to bail out on a deserted island with no food prospects?

One of the first answers to these was the M4 Survival Rifle, made by Harrington & Richardson with a 14-inch barrel and wire collapsible stock. These were chambered in 22 Hornet and stowed under the pilot’s seat. They were replaced by the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon, which was an over/under 22 Hornet/410 shotgun combination.

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In the 1950s, Eugene Stoner of Armalite came up with the AR-5, a takedown bolt-action rifle chambered in 22 Hornet and all the components were stored in the rifle’s butt stock. The Air Force never picked it up in an official capacity, but the research and development enabled Armalite to improve the idea and develop a semiautomatic 22 LR version for the civilian market.

By making the majority of the rifle from aluminum, Stoner was able to reduce the weight dramatically.

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The AR-7 breaks down into four components: action, magazine, barrel and stock. The entire rifle can be stored in the stock – it’s about 16.5 inches long that way — and is capable of floating in the water in this state for a brief period of time.

Armalite built them in three variants (camo, brown and black stocks) from 1959 to 1973 and in my opinion, these are the best of the breed. Although never adopted by the U.S. Military, they were built to a MILSPEC standard when the standard still meant something.

In 1973, the design was sold to Charter Arms, which made it until 1993. Charter Arms offered the AR-7 Explorer in black, woodland camouflage and a “silver” hard chrome plated version. In the 1980s it offered an Explorer pistol, which resembled a Mauser Broomhandle pistol, but was chambered in 22 LR and used many of the parts from the AR-7 rifle.

You get a mixed bag with a Charter Arms AR-7. Some work great and some are ammunition sensitive; others are complete junk. They may represent the majority of AR-7 rifles in the wild and are most likely the source of the rifle’s less-than-stellar reputation with some shooters.

In 1996, the rifle was offered by Survival Arms of Cocoa, Fla. Information is scarce on this entity, but in all likelihood it was simply an offshoot of Charter Arms to set the rifle apart from the revolvers the company was more famous for offering. They seemed very similar to the Charter Arms rifles I had tried.

A few years later the rifle showed up on dealer shelves with the markings: “AR-7 Industries, LLC of Meriden, Connecticut.” I have not tried one of these models, but heard that Armalite Industries bought the company out and dissolved it for whatever reason in 2004.

Henry Arms picked up the design around that time and has been making the AR-7 for more than a decade. While early rifles had some feeding problems, the current versions have shown a lot of improvement.

For one, they ditched the fiberglass stock (which was prone to cracking on every other variant, including Armalite) and went with ABS plastic. The butt stock has room to store three magazines instead of one (the trick is to leave the third magazine in the action).

Most importantly, they eliminated the old-style aluminum barrel with a steel liner, which had a tendency to bend or warp and opted for an all-steel barrel, which may weigh a bit more but increases accuracy and reliability. In addition, all of the rifle’s parts are coated in Teflon, and they added a legit scope rail to the top of the receiver.

If you have been intrigued by these rifles and are thinking about one or two for your preps, I recommend Henry’s version, first. It was made with all the right upgrades and it is relatively inexpensive. If you’re looking at a used rifle, I would recommend Armalite or AR-7 Industries over the versions by Charter/Survival Arms.

With quality magazines and quality ammunition, these rifles work as intended. The other half of the problem may be over their use. That is, these were never meant to be taken to the range every weekend to see how fast you could burn up a brick of 22 rim fire. I like to think of them in the same way I think of the “mini spare” tire in a car.

It’s enough to get you home, but you don’t want to run the Indy 500 with it.

Have you ever shot an AR-7? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The 7 Best Rifles If You Want Cheap Ammo

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The 7 Best Rifles If You Want Cheap Ammo

Image source: ArmsList.com

When it comes to defending your home or harvesting big game, it’s time to go to the rifle. Handguns may be more convenient to carry for personal defense, but except for the most powerful Magnum cartridges, their performance is marginal. Rifles beat them in the accuracy department, too.

If you have rifles that you treasure but find that it can be expensive to feed them, then check out these seven rifles that can help keep you proficient without breaking the bank.

1. Ruger 10/22

As you likely suspected, this list has to start with a 22. It is the cheapest rifle on the market, and many fundamentals of rifle shooting can be duplicated with a rim-fire. We like the 10/22 because even someone lacking in gunsmith skills can customize these rifles with ease.

If your main rifle is a lever action, you can substitute the 10/22 for a Henry or if ARs are you thing, the S&W MP15/22 might be more to your liking. Maybe you roll with a bolt gun; we are partial to the Savage Mk II. Companies like Walther and German Sport Guns offer rim-fire versions of HK MP5s, AK-47s and a few others. If none of these appeal to you, you can usually find a 22 conversion kit for your AR-15 and possibly some other rifles. The key is that you have options.

Although supply has been short in many parts of the country, if you luck out and buy in the right quantity, you can expect to pay as low as 5 cents a round. It may run higher by a few cents depending on your area. Supply is improving. Stock up when you can, but don’t be a neckbearding hoarder about it.

2. Colt M4 Expanse

Sure, there are other rifles out there like the Tavor, Galil, Steyr AUG, Ruger Mini-14, the SIG MCX and hundreds of AR-15 variants, but a Colt M4 Expanse is a sub-$700 rifle made by the company that put the AR on the map. You can get quality rifles from your manufacturer of choice, but the key is to get one chambered in 5.56. If you hate black rifles, you can find a number of bolt-action rifles chambered in this caliber, as well.

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For many people this is their primary long gun round, and we have seen it as cheap as $2 a box of 20. Average price is probably twice that or a little bit more.

If “black rifles” are not your thing, there is the Ruger Mini-14. Current versions are more accurate than their predecessors. If you have no use for a semiautomatic rifle, a number of companies make bolt-action and single-shot rifles in 223 Remington/5.56 NATO. This diversity is what lends the round its popularity.

3. Century Arms RAS-47

Some people might say SKS, but we have always preferred the AK platform. Either way, we like the 7.62 X 39 because it is cheap to shoot and can usually be found in great quantities. Average street price hovers around 20 to 25 cents a round.

We like Century’s AKs, whether it is the RAS-47 or one of the Yugoslavian imports (although those rifles lack chrome lined bores). Lovers of traditional stocks over pistol grips may prefer an SKS, and those who do not like former Com-Bloc designs can find an AR-15 or Ruger Mini-30 chambered in this caliber that performs much like the 30-30 Winchester.

4. AK-74

Similar to the last rifle is the smaller bored AK-74 chambered in 5.45 X 39. They are a bit harder to find than the AK-47, especially in our area.

I actually bought one of these rifles a few years back for the very reason I wrote this article. Having gone through numerous “rifle scares” and “panic buying sprees” over the past 30 years, I visited a gun shop that had several cases of 5.45 marked down to $88. The reason? They had problems getting rifles in stock. I picked up four cases and happened upon a rifle within a few months after that for a good price.

The price of ammunition has definitely increased since then, and it is on par with the 7.62X39 in the 20 to 25 cents range.

There are upper receivers and AR-15 variants chambered in this round as well as some old East German bolt-action rifles floating around out there. There have been rumors of conversion kits for the Israeli Tavor rifle and others for some time, but we have yet to see them.

5. Beretta Storm

Currently the most affordable center-fire pistol round is the 9mm Luger. Whether it is military surplus ammunition, Winchester White Box, or remanufactured ammo, 9mm is here to stay, and prices are reflecting this. We have seen it as cheap as $13 for a box of 100 recently. Beretta makes a carbine chambered in 9mm that should be part of everyone’s preps for the gun department, particularly if you have a number of 9mm handguns.

Some question the wisdom of a pistol caliber carbine. We like them in 9mm for their low recoil, ability to suppress and inexpensive ammunition. If you cannot abide a Beretta, you can find HK pattern rifles, Uzi carbines, ARs chambered in 9mm and Kel-Tec’s folding Sub-2000 rifle.

6. Rossi Model 92

We are looking at the 357 Magnum version, as it allows you to shoot the cheaper 38 Special round. If you have a 38 Special or 357 Magnum revolver, then this carbine makes a lot of sense.

Like any straight wall revolver cartridge, the 38 Special represents extreme low cost for re-loaders. We only caution that you avoid the bullets seated flush or close to flush with the case mouth for use in a lever-action rifle. They will not feed and the rifle will think it’s been stocked with empty cases.

There are other lever-action rifles available and a few pump-action versions were made, but we find Rossi’s guns to have the most value.

7. Yugo M98

With the prices of K-98 and VZ-24 rifles going through the roof, we thought we would clue you in on one that is not as expensive, especially if you can live with a straight bolt handle.

Ammunition performance of 8mm Mauser is on par with that of 30-06 or another low-cost round, the 7.62 X 54R. Military surplus ammunition is still relatively cheap, at just south of 30 cents a round.

If you know of another low-cost round that’s not in this story, post in the comments below and let us know about it.

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7 Must-Have Pistols If You Want Cheap Ammo

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7 Must-Have Pistols If You Want Cheap Ammo

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We live in a time when handguns may be priced the most reasonably in more than 100 years. However, ammunition prices are volatile and the sources always seem subject to regulation and shortages of certain types.

We looked at the market to see where a shooter could get the most savings in the quest for ammunition, and came up with seven pistols that deliver the least expensive bullets.

1. Ruger Mk 3

The list has to start with a 22. It is the cheapest pistol round on the market, and many fundamentals of pistol shooting can be practiced with a 22 trainer like the Ruger, or if you prefer a Browning, Smith & Wesson, Walther, Sig or Chiappa. Anything that gets you to the range to practice sight alignment, sight picture and making smaller groups in your target can be achieved with a quality 22 pistol.

Yeah, we know. It may be as cheap as 5 cents a round when you can find it, but the problem is finding it. Supply is improving. Stock up when you can, but don’t hoard it to make a profit on the secondary if you can help it.

2. Glock 17/19

There are other pistols out there in this caliber. On the low end you have the Hi-Points and S&W Sigmas and, of course, you can spend the price of a used car on an authentic Sig Sauer P210 made in Switzerland. We just find the Glock platform to be a good middle-of-the-road pistol that fits the needs of most shooters.

By far, the most affordable center-fire pistol round has to be the 9mm Luger. Whether it is military surplus ammunition, Winchester White Box, or remanufactured ammo, 9mm is here to stay, and prices are reflecting this. We have seen it as cheap as $13 for a box of 100 recently.

3. TT-30 Romanian Tokarev 

This may be one of the best deals out there for an inexpensive pistol and ammunition combination. Obviously, there are other flavors of this pistol from Yugoslavia, Russia and China, but supply on these variants has been limited the past few years. In the same caliber, you can also find the CZ-52. Some of these pistols come with a 9mm conversion kit or can be converted via barrel swapping.

They are all chambered in 7.62X 25 Tokarev, a bottlenecked military pistol cartridge that can still be had reasonably cheap, particularly if you find surplus ammo, but new rounds are made by Sellier & Bellot and Prvi Partizan, among others.

4. Glock 22/23 

40 S&W may seem to be on the decline, which means you can stock up on ammunition, components and magazines for your favorite 40 S&W handgun. We mentioned the Glock models, but you can find excellent pistols made by Steyr, HK, SIG, Beretta, Springfield and Smith & Wesson in this caliber.

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As more police departments adopt 9mm, we expect to see savings on handguns as well as over runs of ammunition in the near future.

Bulk ammunition prices and remanufactured ammunition will yield the biggest savings. It is currently averaging about 18 cents a round.

5. Makarov

9-%d0%bc%d0%bc_%d0%bf%d0%b8%d1%81%d1%82%d0%be%d0%bb%d0%b5%d1%82_%d0%bc%d0%b0%d0%ba%d0%b0%d1%80%d0%be%d0%b2%d0%b0_%d1%81_%d0%bf%d0%b0%d1%82%d1%80%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b0%d0%bc%d0%b8Although its popularity has declined a bit in the past decade, the various Makarov pistols make excellent handguns when it comes to inexpensive ammunition. The 9X18 Makarov round is 1mm longer than a 380 and 1mm shorter than a 9mm Luger. It uses a larger diameter bullet (.365″) than the aforementioned rounds. Our favorite pistol in this caliber is an East German Makarov that we picked up when imports were in their heyday. Now they have become collector’s items along with the original Russian military pistols.

You don’t need to find a rather pricey Russian or East German Military Makarov, either. The round has been used in the FEG PA-63, SMC-918, P-64, P-83, grand Power P9M and the CZ82. While not as cheap as 9mm Luger, it is often cheaper than 380 ACP.

It is currently averaging about 18 to 19 cents a round.

6. S&W Model 64

There are, of course, hordes of revolvers chambered in 38 Special and even a few semiautomatic handguns (S&W M52 and AMU 1911’s converted to the HBWC only bullet type), but we recommend this particular revolver, as they tend to be found on the used market and they are very well made and accurate firearms. You can also go with your favorite 357 Magnum revolver and shoot the cheaper 38 Special, as well.

Some may balk at the price of the ammunition in certain areas (we faced sticker shock more than a few times recently), but the beauty of the low cost is there for hand loaders.

If you are a beginning hand loader, it is the easiest pistol case to work with, and using an HBWC (hollow-based wad cutter) bullet in your loads saves money on powder and makes for an accurate round. Always remember: The point of target shooting and practice is to make you a better shot, not just to make noise!

7. Medusa M47

For number 7 on this list we threw in a model that will be hard to find, as it has been out of production for quite some time: the Medusa Model 47 Revolver.

Phillips & Rodgers launched the Medusa in 1996, and the revolver had two unique characteristics: it could chamber any 9mm diameter bullet between .355″ and .357″ in diameter, and the barrel’s rifling was cut with nine lands and grooves. We suspect this type of rifling was necessary due to the wide variety of ammunition types that could be fired from the Medusa.

If you find a secondhand one, then make sure the inserts are included. A shooter can fire 357 Magnum, 38 Special, 9mm Largo, 9mm Luger, 9X21mm, 380 ACP, 38 S&W, 38 Super, 38 Colt, etc.

The manufacturer advised 25 calibers, but in theory inserts can be made to accommodate over 100 as long as the diameter of the projectile is smaller than the bore diameter. Accuracy will suffer in that regard, so we advise to stick with the original 25 listed in company literature.

That’s our list, and chances are that you already may have a few of these calibers ready to go. If you are a devoted 45 ACP or 44 Magnum fan, that’s good, we love them, too, but for this list we concentrated on handguns that are simply cheaper to shoot.

What is your favorite gun with cheap ammo? Share your advice in the section below:

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4 Stunning Long-Range Rifles That Will Shoot Past 1,000 Yards

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4 Stunning Long-Range Rifles That Will Shoot Past 1,000 Yards

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Perhaps the most impressive display of marksmanship is true long-range shooting. Reaching out to a target at 1,000 yards or beyond requires skill, knowledge and lots of practice to do it right.

While some may deem it as impractical to hit a target at half a mile, the amount of research that goes into selection of the rifle, optics and ammunition — plus learning how to read wind, observe the effects of humidity, air pressure and elevation are all factors that will make you a better shooter in the long run.

Yes, it is true that long-range shots can be made with typical rifle calibers such as 308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield and 7.62 X 54R, but these calibers were not designed with extreme ranges in mind.

Here are four long-range rifles you should consider:

1. 300 Winchester Magnum

Prized for its ability as a flat-shooting cartridge, the 300 Winchester Magnum is capable of 3,260 feet per second (fps) and 2,658 foot pounds of muzzle energy with a 150 grain bullet, and 3,000 fps and 4,223 foot pounds of muzzle energy with a 180 grain bullet. Unlike most rifle cartridges, the trajectory stays level out to about 300 yards.

Maximum effective range is out to 1,200 yards, and the round really comes into its own at 800 to 1,000. One of the advantages of the 300 Winchester Magnum is that it can be loaded in a long-rifle action rather than a more expensive Magnum receiver.

All of the big-name rifle companies manufacture a bolt-action, but two of our favorites are the Savage 110FP with Accutrigger and the Winchester Model 70 Extreme Weather SS. The Savage retails for under $900 and the Winchester can be had for closer to $1,100.

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For working your way up into long-range shooting, we recommend the 300 Winchester Magnum as a good starting point, particularly if you want to step down to a 308 and really put those long-range skills to work in a smaller caliber.

2. 338 Lapua Magnum

In what was probably the first round designed from the ground up as a sniper cartridge, 338 Lapua is our personal favorite long-range round. Developed from the 416 Rigby case, the inventors of the round learned a critical factor in designing ammunition with regard to pressure: hardness of the brass was more important than its relative thickness.

The world record for the longest confirmed sniper shot at 2,707 yards (1.5 miles) was achieved with this round by a British Army sniper, Corporal Craig Harrison.

As for stats: you are launching a 200-grain bullet at 3,300 fps with a muzzle energy of 4,967 foot pounds.

If money is no problem, then check out the Sako TRG-42 at $4,000 — pricey, but one of the best in its class.

Personally, I have been running a Savage 110 BA Chasis rifle for the past 5 years with no complaints besides its weight. I bought mine secondhand for around $1,200. MSRP is a bit higher, but rifles such as these turn up used every now and then due to their specialized nature and ammunition costs, and sometimes people want to upgrade to a SAKO, Accuracy International or a Barrett.

3. 408 CheyTac

408 CheyTac

408 CheyTac

The 408 CheyTac was designed by John D. Taylor and William Wordman specifically for military long-range sniper use. 408 CheyTac was developed specifically for anti-personnel and anti-material roles out to 2,200 yards.

It is based on the 505 Gibbs (an old-time rimless African big-game cartridge developed in England in 1911) and necked down to 0.408 inches. The parent case’s web and sidewall were beefed up to accommodate high-chamber pressures. The 305 grain bullet travels at 3,500 fps, with 8,295 foot pounds of muzzle energy and the 419 grain bullet travels at 3,000 fps with 8,373 foot pounds of muzzle energy.

The Chey-Tac M200 Intervention is the bolt-action rifle built to handle this round, and shooters have been documented firing a group of 3 shots within 16 inches at 2,321 yards. That kind of long-range accuracy comes at a hefty price with this model starting at $11,700 from the manufacturer. They throw in 200 rounds ($1,400 worth), but you still need to provide your own optics.

4. 50 BMG

While the other three rounds in this category may have an advantage in economics (300 Winchester Magnum), accuracy (338 Lapua Magnum) or range (408 CheyTac), the 50 BMG is still the king of the domain of long-range shooting.

Developed by the great John Browning for use in his M2 machine gun, the round is a scaled up 30-06 cartridge that launches a 660 grain bullet.

A number of manufacturers support the 50 BMG, such as Barrett Firearms, Serbu Firearms and small builders throughout the western United States.

Some states and cities outlaw the 50 BMG, as do a number of rifle ranges. This may be a factor in selecting another caliber or something that goes into the decision-making process if researching your own.

Ammunition prices fluctuate greatly on the 50 BMG; to get the most accuracy out of your long-range rifle, you may want to look into hand loading your own. Of course, be advised that components, dies, etc., will be more costly than most of the others.

Beyond extending your range with a rifle in defense of your home, developing the skills of a long-range shooter will increase your skillset in other shooting disciplines, from marksmanship and breath control to reloading ammunition. It also will give you an insight into how your other firearms perform and help you realize first-hand the concepts of having a free-floated barrel or a match trigger.

Which long-range rifle do you prefer? What advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The Ruger Vaquero: The Modern-Day Cowboy Revolver You Won’t Forget

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The Ruger Vaquero: The Modern-Day Cowboy Revolver

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The Ruger Vaquero was introduced in 1993 by Sturm, Ruger & Company for the fast-growing sport of cowboy action shooting. This single-action, six-shot revolver was based on an earlier model that Ruger had introduced in 1955, the Blackhawk. The Blackhawk, in turn, was a modernized version of the colt single action Army revolver of 1873. Blackhawks had been allowed in the “modern” category of cowboy action shooting, as the revolvers were equipped with adjustable sights, but these sights kept the revolvers out of the general categories.

The Vaquero was made with fixed sights, similar to the Colt. The lower price point and the overall quality of the revolver appealed to shooters who either did not want to take an expensive (and possibly antique) firearm into a match or those who were not satisfied with the quality of imported Colt “clones” that were on the market.

Ruger incorporated a transfer bar in the Vaquero for safety reasons. Colt Single Action Army revolvers had an inherent safety problem: With the cylinder fully loaded, the fixed firing pin attached to the hammer rests on the primer of a loaded round. Dropping or striking a revolver loaded in this manner can cause it to discharge, which is why traditionally, Colt SAAs are loaded with five rounds and the hammer resting on an empty chamber. Ruger had addressed the issue in 1973 on the Blackhawk and Single six revolvers by the addition of a transfer bar, which makes it safe for a shooter to carry six rounds in his revolver without a safety concern.

Two finishes are available: stainless steel and blue, with an imitation color case-hardened frame.  This second option was a chemical treatment which gave the look of the color case hardening found on the original Colt revolvers.

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Ruger offered the revolvers in three barrel lengths: 7 1⁄2 inch, 5 1⁄2 inch and 4 5⁄8 inch, which were similar to the three most common barrel lengths offered by Colt. Ruger initially offered the Vaquero in 45 Colt and later in 357 Magnum/38 Special, 44 Magnum/44 Special, and 44-40 Winchester (44 WCF).

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In 1998, some Vaqueros began shipping with faux ivory grips and engraving complete with gold inlay. In 1999, a limited run of 1,000 Vaqueros was offered by Ruger through a distributor. These revolvers featured a 3 ½-inch barrel and a shortened ejector rod. They were called the “Sheriff’s Model,” and half of these revolvers were stainless and the other half finished in blue. In 2005, this was added as a standard option to the catalog.

Ruger has offered three grip frame shapes in the past: the standard, the Bisley and the Bird’s head. The standard or plow handle is shaped similar to the traditional Colt Single Action Army. The Bisley has a shape based upon the Bisley Colt Single Action Army, which was designed as a target revolver. The Bird’s head recreates the unique shape of Colt’s double-action Lightning and Thunderer models of 1877 in an improved contour.

Aficionados of cowboy action shooting and single-action revolvers in general bought the Vaquero in droves. Because of the larger frame and the quality of the steel used, these revolvers could fire loads of higher pressures than the Colt Single Action Army and in some instances, these revolvers caught on in handgun hunting circles.

However, the larger and heavier guns received some detraction from purists of the sport of cowboy action shooting. Additionally, the Ruger “warning label” which appeared on the left side of the barrel cautioning the shooter to consult the owner’s manual was visually unattractive to many shooters. Ruger addressed these concerns in 2005 by introducing the “New Vaquero.” This version incorporated a smaller frame, making it closer in weight to the Colt Single Action Army and able to accept the two-piece grip panels made for the Colt. Ruger moved the “Warning label” to the underside of the barrel, making the revolver more appealing to the eye. The New Vaquero is offered in .45 Colt and .357 Magnum/.38 Special and is not meant for the heavier loads that the original model could fire.

My preference is for the original Vaquero due to its strength. With proper loads and the correct bullet, the 45 Colt is capable of taking any game animal in North America. I don’t feel under gunned when packing one for protection, either, and unlike the original Colt Single Action Army, you can load all six chambers in the Ruger.

Have you shot a Vaquero? Which model do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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5 Super-Accurate, Sub-MOA Rifles You Can Get For Under $600

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5 Super-Accurate, Sub-MOA Rifles You Can Get For Under $600

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“Only accurate rifles are interesting” — so said the late Colonel Townsend Whelen. While that may be debatable (AK-47s, for instance, are very interesting and effective rifles, but not particularly known for their accuracy), there is nothing in this world like being able to shoot a sub-MOA (minute of angle) group with a rifle.

The term “sub-MOA” means that a rifle will shoot a group of three to five shots at 100 yards that measure less than one inch from their farthest two outermost points. Fifty years ago this was the stuff of legends, but modern rifle makers have gotten better at building rifles, and — more importantly — are selling them for a fraction of what they were.

Many of us come to expect that out of a long-range tactical gun, but what about bargain-priced bolt-action hunting rifles?

We found five models that have that ability and all come in under $600.

1. Savage Model 14

I used to walk past these rifles sitting on racks for $399 because I was only guided by the price tag and a lifetime of hearing how you had to buy a stripped receiver, fit a custom crowned barrel, target trigger, free float the barrel, bed the action, square the stock and turn a bolt-action rifle project into the price of a classic car restoration when all was said and done. I owned rifles that cost five to 10 times the price of the Savage and scoffed.

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That is, until I fired a friend’s rifle and achieved a 0.70-inch group at 100 yards.

With the AccuTrigger coming standard on these and the ability to perfectly adjust your trigger squeeze, I wondered why I overlooked them for so long.

2. Mossberg Patriot

When I think of Mossberg, I typically think of their shotguns, but if you have not seen their bolt-action rifles, then you are missing out.

I had a chance to play with their MVP in 223 Remington and walked away extremely impressed. Along the same theme is their Patriot line.

The line is impressive, and at last count there were more than 60 variants. Not bad for a rifle that is only a few years old. Stocks can be had in adjustable configurations and a wide variety of color schemes and materials. You can go with iron sights or optics ready, and I have seen some of these rifles available for as low as $350 at a big box store.

3. Browning AB3 Rifle

Probably the most expensive rifle on the list, the Browning AB3 has a lot going for it in the forms of a perfect factory trigger, premium barrel, and an excellent two-position safety. The barrel features button-rifling for precision and is constructed from cold-rolled steel. The walnut stock is optional but really classes up this budget rifle.

Best of all is that you can open the action with the tang mounted safety engaged.

Browning offers a lot of factory packages in this one, from installed optics to hard use cases. The MSRP is $599.

4. Winchester XPR

Winchester XPR. Image source: Winchester

Winchester XPR. Image source: Winchester

I always fall back to Winchester rifles when all else eludes me, and in this case it’s the budget-priced XPR. The rifle uses a push-feed type of action, and the bolt features three locking lugs machined from chrome moly steel that are nickel Teflon plated.

This makes for an amazingly smooth bolt travel. It is silky smooth, and coupled with an MOA trigger may make you think something is wrong with the rifle.

I was originally skeptical of the detachable magazine, as they do not enjoy a very good reputation for reliability, but this one seems to work well. Like the Browning, the safety and ability to open the action while safe is present here. I hope to see this option for more bolt rifles.

They retail at $549.

5. Remington 783

At $399, a rifle snob may turn his nose up at the Remington 783, but this rifle has some of the tightest tolerances found on a factory rifle. The stock is a dual-pillar bedded to the action, and the button-rifled barrel is fully free-floated.

The stock is plain black nylon, but Remington has always done these a bit better than everyone else in the strength and rigidity departments. Each rifle utilizes Remington’s proprietary CrossFire trigger, which is fully adjustable for your needs.

Again, we see another bolt-action hunting rife with a detachable magazine that holds four rounds in short and long calibers, and three in the Magnum calibers. Hunters and shooters have been clamoring for these for years, and it’s nice to see the manufacturers actually listen.

These budget-priced precision rifles are excellent for short- to medium-range hunting with the proper optics, and all are about half the price of a decent AR platform rifle.

They are definitely something to consider when rounding out your firearm preps.

Do you agree with the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Building An AR-15: Secrets And Shortcuts You Won’t Find On YouTube

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Building An AR-15: Secrets And Shortcuts You Won’t Find On YouTube

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One of the best things about the AR-15 platform is the amount of options available to shooters today.

Owners can customize the rifle to their own needs with thousands of aftermarket options, from grips and stocks to barrels, sights, rails and other accessories. The AR-15 is of the most user-friendly rifles in the world, and all of these modifications can be performed with basic hand tools. For the ultimate “custom rifle,” the AR-15 can be completely built from the ground up.

Some authorities on rifles will point out that manufacturers are continuously responding to the needs of buyers and that virtually any configuration desired by a shooter can be had in a factory configuration. This is sound advice, as most “home-built” AR-15s can quickly approach the cost of a custom rifle and will not have any warranty or other method to protect the buyer in case of error. The $100-$300 saved can be of small solace if the rifle has a part that is out of spec, causing a catastrophic failure.

However, some shooters look at building their own rifle as more of a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction rather than force of economics, if only for the bragging rights of being able to say: “I built it myself.”

Let’s take a look at the specifics of building an AR-15, concentrating on a few tips that always make the job easier.

How to Build an AR-15: Lower Receiver

The lower receiver is the “part” that makes an AR-15 a firearm. “Lowers” must be transferred through a federal firearm licensee (FFL). Sometimes a lower receiver can be purchased as already completed with the fire control group, stock, pistol grip, bolt catch, magazine catch and takedown pins installed. However, stripped lower receivers containing none of these parts can be purchased from some manufacturers. Additionally, 80 percent receivers can be purchased which require some machining and refinishing to be performed. Such a build is beyond the scope of this article, so we will begin with the presumption that the builder is starting off with a stripped lower receiver.

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When selecting a lower receiver, the shooter has a variety of choices. Some “boutique-type” manufacturers make runs with unique markings, pictograms or serial numbers. When assembling a bare lower receiver, the prospective builder will need the following tools:

  • roll pin punches
  • vise grips
  • torque wrench
  • rubber mallet
  • brass hammer
  • tap
  • set screws
  • wire cutter
  • CLP/ Break Free

How to Build an AR-15: Protecting the Receiver

One of the hazards of any home gunsmithing project is accidentally peening or scratching the receiver. The AR-15 is prone to this, as assembly requires the use of hammers and punches. The best advice to prevent this is to use thin strips of cardboard and masking tape to “mummify” the receiver and protect it from an errant hammer strike.

The easiest step is the installation of the magazine catch. The catch goes into the lower receiver from the left-hand side. The “magazine catch spring” and the magazine release button are then inserted into the right-hand side. The builder must keep pressure on the magazine release button while turning the catch clockwise. Once the catch grabs the threads of the button, it can be released. A takedown tool can then be used to press the button further into the lower; allowing the catch to be installed in the proper position when the shaft of the catch is flush with the face of the button. The magazine catch can be tested by inserting an empty magazine into the magazine well and ensuring that the catch locks into the magazine and allows it to drop free when the magazine release button is pressed.

Building An AR-15: Secrets And Shortcuts You Won’t Find On YouTube

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Probably the most problematic part of the build is installing the bolt catch. There are two holes separated by one-fourth of an inch on the receiver; the catch must fit in between these holes and then a pin is driven through to hold them in place. Traditionally this is done via a long pin which is struck by a hammer, and when done incorrectly can mar the receiver or damage the part. The safest way to install the catch is to use a padded vise grips and squeeze the pin into place.

The front take-down or pivot pin requires a brass detent and a spring and is tricky to install; however, once installed it seldom if ever needs to be removed. The detent spring is placed in the channel with the detent on top. The brass detent will center itself on the detent spring and can be pushed into place. The front pivot pin can then be pushed through the takedown holes in the receiver to lock it in place. The detent will be under a great deal of spring tension and it is possible for the part to slip and send both detent and spring airborne. For this reason, some builders install this part with their hands, the detent, spring and lower receiver inside a large clear plastic bag. If the parts go flying, they can be recovered. It is advisable to apply a small amount of CLP or Break Free to this area to ease installation. Once in place, the pivot pin should be worked back and forth a few times to ensure the detent has seated properly.

How to Build an AR-15: Detents Made Easy

A frustrating part of an AR-15 build has always been the various detents and detent springs. Initial installation is not too bad, but whenever the end-user wants to change a stock or a pistol grip there is always the possibility of either deforming the spring or losing one of the detents. One method to prevent this is threading the detent channels, cutting the springs and sealing the spring and detent with a set-screw. These two areas are for the rear take-down pin near the butt stock and the safety detent near the pistol grip.

These two areas should be cleaned first by blowing compressed air into them from either an air compressor or a can of compressed air found at an office supply store. The builder can then work a 4-44 tap into the channel, threading it into the aluminum and backing it off several times until the pitch of the threads has been set. The detents are then inserted and the springs cut down by at least one-eighth of an inch. Lastly, these channels can be capped with a 1/8-inch set screw.  When installed in this manner, the builder no longer needs to worry about losing or deforming these small parts when changing out grips or stocks later.

For the rear takedown detent, the rear takedown pin is installed first. The detent is then dropped through the channel with the spring behind it. If the builder has opted to tap the channel and trim the spring, it can now be capped off with the set screw. If not, this step will be saved for later.

How to Build an AR-15: Fire Control Group

The fire control group may be the second easiest stage in assembly. The disconnector spring is placed on the trigger. The squared portion of the trigger spring is then placed on the sear and in front of the trigger. As a single unit it is installed into the lower receiver and held in place by the trigger pin. This allows for installation of the hammer, and the hammer spring’s legs are set against the top of the trigger pin. The hammer can then be moved forward to line up with the hole for the hammer pin, which can now be tapped into place. Some aftermarket match grade trigger systems contain all of these parts in a single unit which is simply dropped in and retained by the appropriate pins.

Your safety selector presses in from the left-hand side of the receiver and requires installation of the safety detent and spring, with the detent engaging the safety. If the builder has opted to tap the channel and trim the spring, the spring can now be installed on top of the detent and can now be capped off with the set screw. If not, the pistol grip must be installed.

The pistol grip fits into place and is secured by a single screw into the receiver. If the detent channel is threaded with detent and spring installed and capped off, this is a simple affair. If not, then the detent is seated against the selector and the spring rides in a channel on the pistol grip itself. The builder must take care not to crush or deform this spring while installing the pistol grip.

If your lower does not have an integrated trigger guard, then you need to install one. The trigger guard attaches by a contained detent that fits into a recess on the front of the guard; the rear is then moved into position and held in place by a roll pin.

The last part of the build is the installation of the butt stock. If the rear take-down detent has been installed and capped off, this step will be easier. The buffer tube is then threaded into the rear of the receiver. Prior to engaging the threads over the buffer detent, the builder needs to insert the buffer detent spring and buffer detent. The buffer tube is now threaded to slightly engage the threads just prior to the halfway point over the detent. The butt stock slides over the buffer tube and is installed via a screw in the rear of the buffer tube. Finally, the buffer detent is depressed and the buffer and action spring are installed inside the buffer tube.

In the case of a collapsible stock, assembly differs in that an end plate and castle nut are installed with the buffer tube. The plate engages the rear of the receiver and the castle nut holds it in place.

If the rear detent spring has not been capped off with its channel threaded, the builder needs to install this part prior to the buffer tube. Great care must be taken to not crush or deform the spring in this process.

What AR-15 building tips would you add? Share your advice in the section below:

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Sig Sauer’s Unbeatable, Super-Accurate 1911 Designs

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Sig Sauer’s Unbeatable, Super-Accurate 1911 Designs

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Sig Sauer is a company known for its high-quality double-action semiautomatic pistols. But in 2004, the company made a bold move and entered the single-action M1911 marketplace. More than a decade later, the company continues to improve its 1911 offerings and is becoming a force to be reckoned with on the 1911 front.

Their first effort was the GSR, an abbreviation for Granite Series Rail, tipping the hat to the state of New Hampshire where their US headquarters and production facilities are based. The pistols are constructed of stainless steel frame and use a slide more reminiscent in profile to traditional, double-action Sig Sauer pistols. The rail is a Picatinny type, which allows the mounting of flashlights, lasers and other accessories.

Sig offers a version without the rail called the Match Elite. This version is marketed toward competitive shooters, and the pistol features a match grade trigger and barrel as well as a magazine funnel.

Some of the company’s offerings in the 1911 arena include the TACOPS and Scorpion models. These versions are coated in black Nitrolon for the TACOPS and a desert tan for the Scorpion. Most models are available with threaded barrels for use with a sound suppressor. The TACOPS makes use of gritty slim line grips, whereas the Scorpion utilizes G10 fiberglass grip panels.

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Accuracy of these pistols is superb, and both models feature Novak-type sights, some with tritium inserts. The standard barrel length is 5 inches and a carry version is available with a 4.25-inch barrel.

Sig’s 1911s ship in durable foam-padded, hard-sided cases and come standard with two high quality magazines holding 8 rounds each. Other packages can be ordered, with as many as six spare magazines coming from the factory.

There seem to be three complaints about the Sig 1911 series.

The first is that the pistol makes use of an external extractor. Personally, I prefer this feature, as it seems to be more robust and more reliable than the version normally encountered on this over-a-century-old design.

Second is the use of some MIM (metal injection molding) parts in its construction. MIM is controversial, as some companies produce parts that can break easily and this taints the reputation of those companies who get it right. From an aesthetic perspective, most MIM parts give a mismatched look to any handgun due to the differences in metallurgy with slide and frame construction.

Third, there is the issue with the slide dimensions being thicker than most 1911 pistols. This can make finding a holster problematic or expensive if you go the custom route.

I can live with those three issues, as I have found my Sig 1911 pistols to be very reliable and surprisingly accurate for an out-of-the-box 1911. It routinely outshot some of my higher-end custom 1911 pistols to the point where I traded one in so I could buy two more Sig pistols.

In 2015 Sig announced a 1911 chambered in its popular 357 Sig cartridge. It is safe to say that this is a variant with which I want to try next.

Have you tried Sig’s 1911s? What was your reaction, and which one did you use? Share your advice below:

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The Super-Quiet, Lightweight Survival Rifle We Found For $200

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The Super-Quiet, Lightweight Survival Rifle We Found For $200

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As discussions turn to “survival rifles,” most of us consider a semiautomatic version capable of accepting detachable magazines, or a surplus bolt action capable of taking big game with a single shot, perhaps something on the order of a Ruger 10/22.

One option most people may overlook is a single-shot rifle. We were dismissive of it, too, until we laid hands on a Harrington & Richardson Handi Rifle commissioned by Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC) chambered in 300 Blackout.

This rifle was bought on impulse. As a silencer collector, I noticed it in the used area of a favorite sporting goods retailer due to the AAC Blackout Flash Hider that was perfect for installing an AAC 762SD. I noticed the Picatinny rail for scope mounting, but most importantly, the AAC logo engraved on the receiver.

A quick call to a friend working in R&D for AAC confirmed that this was a paradox rifle.

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“When we contacted H&R with our specs,” my friend said,” they had to retool as they had never made a Handi Rifle with a barrel as short as 16 inches, one chambered in 300 blackout, or even a threaded barrel. After H&R tooled up to make this design, they remarked that they had never made any rifle in the quantity we were asking. It proved to be their bestselling Handi Rifle model of all time.”

After walking out of the store with it for around $200 (almost half the MSRP, not including the Blackout Flash Hider), I mounted a Lucid Optics Red Dot on the rail, installed a sling and mounted a 762-SD.

The Super-Quiet, Lightweight Survival Rifle We Found For $200

Image source: YouTube

One advantage of using a full-sized 308 can on a Blackout rifle is that you can interchange the subsonic and supersonic ammunition without damaging the silencer. A 9mm pistol suppressor may be lighter and cheaper and perfectly fine for use with the subsonic load, but an accidental supersonic 300 Blackout round will ruin your day as well as the silencer.

You don’t have to be a slave to AAC suppressors, either, as the muzzle is threaded 5/8×24 tpi for most 30 caliber silencers.

This compact and lightweight rifle tips the scales at around 5 pounds. The single-shot action makes it extremely quiet when suppressed, and you can go from the ballistic equivalent of a 7.62 X 39 for large game to the equivalent of a subsonic 9mm pistol round for something smaller in your sights as well as being virtually silent.

It makes a perfect scout rifle for foraging or even varmint elimination if you find coyotes or feral dogs in your AO. Plus, its smaller profile looks much less threatening than a typical semiautomatic “black rifle.”

The Handi Rifle can easily be broken down and stowed in a pack if necessary, and I have met a few gun owners who replace the factory screw with a takedown screw from a tripod mount to make this task easier without the use of a screwdriver.

As you might have guessed, the single shot rifle is capable of sub-MOA groups all day long, but if you change ammo types frequently, note that the supersonic loads will have a significantly different shift in point of impact than the subsonic rounds.

For this reason, I might have preferred iron sights over the rail, but there are a variety of dual-reticle sights made these days for use with 300 Blackout.

Have you used an H&R Handi Rifle? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Remington 870 Vs. Mossberg 590: Which Pump Shotgun Is Truly Better?

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Remington 870 Vs. Mossberg 590: Which Pump Shotgun Is Truly Better?

Image source: YouTube screen capture

 

There are two flavors of pump shotgun that seem to dominate the market: the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 590. Each gun has its associated advantages and disadvantages when compared to the other, and fans and detractors seem almost evenly split into two camps, with a lot of us in the middle who shoot and own both types.

Let’s take a look at each design.

Remington 870

In 1951, Remington unveiled the Model 870 as the ultimate modern pump shotgun. Some 65 years and more than 10 million models delivered, it has proven itself to be the best-selling shotgun in history.

Remington 870 Vs. Mossberg 590: Which Pump Shotgun Is Truly Better?

Remington 870. Image source: RifleShooter.com

Available in a variety of barrel lengths, finishes and furniture options, the Model 870 has a vigorous aftermarket dedicated to improving its performance.

One of our gripes about the 870 pertains to Remington going with a dimpled magazine tube that inhibits the installation of a magazine extension.

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Probably not a major concern to the millions of duck and deer hunters who cannot legally use them on their 870, it has plagued those of us in the competitive shooting and self-defense realms. There are a number of ways to circumvent this issue, but it is our only real gripe with the 870.

You can either pound the dimples out by inserting a socket head into the magazine tube, or simply drill them out.

I was first issued a 5-shot 18-inch barreled Remington 870 Wingmaster while serving guard duty at the armory during a stint in infantry training school at Camp Pendleton. I did not feel under gunned with it then, and still keep one in a safe with a magazine extension, Remington factory top-folding stock, Rem choke system and Magpul forend with a surefire light.

Mossberg 590

In 1961, Mossberg rolled out their Model 500. The 590 was an improvement upon this design that came about a few years later. The most significant change was the magazine tube that was closer in design to the Remington 870 by using a similar magazine cap that made maintenance easier.

Remington 870 Vs. Mossberg 590: Which Pump Shotgun Is Truly Better?

Mossberg 590. Image source: MossbergOwners.com

The design was further improved in the 590A1 by upgrading the plastic safety and trigger guard to metal versions and using a heavier barrel at the request of the US Navy and US Marine Corps.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the two is the placement of the safety. Remington uses a cross bolt type at the base of the trigger guard, whereas Mossberg places theirs at the rear of the receiver in line with the shooter’s sight.

Our gripe with Mossberg is that they offer very little in the way of a choke system on most factory models. A choke system gives the shotgun more versatility as a system. While it may be mostly negligible on shorter barrel home-defense guns, it is still the only way to attach a shotgun silencer like Silencerco’s Salvo.

In spite of my experience with the Remington, my first shotgun was a stainless Mossberg Marinecote 590. I chose this one because I felt its construction would inhibit rust while deploying for six-month Western Pacific tours with the Marines. That and despite being a Marine Infantryman for two years, I was still too young to legally purchase a handgun. I currently have two Mossbergs in my safe. One is a short-barreled 20 gauge that holds two rounds. The other a 9-shot 590A1 with a Speed Feed stock holding four extra rounds, a sidesaddle shell carrier holding six, a forend light and of course the ubiquitous bayonet lug that mounts either an M7 or M9 bayonet.

The Verdict

If World War III were to break out tomorrow and for some reason I needed a fighting shotgun, I might be more inclined to grab the 590A1 with its ghost ring sights, dedicated weapon light and advantages with capacity and on-board ammo storage.

My 870 is lighter and a bit nicer to shoot due to a better trigger and tends to be what I grab in the house most often when I hear a suspicious noise. It is simply easier to maneuver indoors than the bigger Mossberg. Fit and finish is slightly better than the Mossberg, but this is a shotgun that is over 30 years old and not representative of Remington’s current offerings.

As a gun writer, I have the luxury of shooting a variety of firearms, and placement of the safety is not a huge concern. I do urge new shooters or those who shoot less frequently to select a version where the placement of the safety is more comfortable for them, as that seems to be the only difference.

Both shotguns will serve you well as a self-defense weapon. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

Which shotgun do you prefer – the Remington 870 or Mossberg 590? Why? Share your thoughts on the weapons in the section below:

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The Super-Accurate, Under-The-Radar Pistol That’s Perfect For Concealed Carry

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The Super-Accurate, Under-The-Radar Pistol That’s Perfect For Concealed Carry

Image source: YouTube

 

One of my favorite carry pieces is a little known Austrian-made pistol: the Steyr S9-A1. On the surface it looks like a typical polymer framed, striker-fired pistol. But its utility is deeper than this.

Most people know of Steyr for their iconic AUG rifles. These futuristic bullpup rifles have been around for over three decades and represented innovations for rifle manufacture and deployment.

The S9-A1 pistol is no different.

Like the majority of polymer-framed striker-fired pistols, there are no external safeties or de-cocking mechanisms. This is not new, in and of itself. These types of pistols have proven themselves time and time again.

Where the Steyr starts to depart from the rest of the pack is in its trigger.

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Wilhelm Bubits, who was the brain behind the Glock 20, developed this trigger. It is a two-piece type that is preset to a crisp-and-clean four pounds, and rearward movement is more reminiscent of a 1911 style pistol. A very short reset allows the shooter to make quicker follow-up shots.

Another key difference is the unique trapezoidal-type sights. Instead of traditional “three dots,” the Steyr S9-A1 makes use of a triangular front sight that reminds us of the reticle on our Trijicon ACOG. Diagonal lines cut into the rear sight allow the shooter to bring the sights to alignment and seem to allow the eye to capture this sight picture readily.

The Super-Accurate, Under-The-Radar Pistol That’s Perfect For Concealed Carry

Image source: YouTube

Some shooters have a hard time adapting to this sight picture, and that can be remedied by replacing them with traditional three-dot sights with tritium inserts.

My main reason for loving this pistol is the Steyr S9-A1’s superb-grip angle. Cut high into the frame, the shooter can easily maintain a grip which is close to the axis of the bore. I find it to be the most perfect grip design on any polymer-framed handgun, and think it needs no “grip reduction,” texturing or interchangeable back straps.

There is a short accessory rail on the frame to attach a visible white light or laser.

The magazines are masterpieces of construction, but this is one of the pistol’s shortcomings in my view. They are easily capable of holding 12 or 13 rounds, yet they are blocked off to hold only 10 rounds. They resemble circa 1994-2004 restricted capacity magazines and probably help sales in states with restrictive bans on magazine capacity, but I would like to see true factory magazines that are unrestricted.

Fortunately, magazines for the full-size M9 and L9 series will fit in the pistol, although they protrude from the bottom of the frame an inch or so.

Unlike other polymer-framed striker-fired pistols on the market, there are very few aftermarket accessories for the S9-A1. Part of the reason is that the pistols are just about perfect out of the box; the other is that it is not a well-known firearm.

The holster makers are getting better at producing holsters for the Steyr pistols, though. I went with a custom Kydex rig through L.A.G. Tactical of Reno, Nevada.

My main reason above all these for going with the Steyr is its accuracy. I regularly achieve sub-two-inch groups at distances of 50 feet with my Steyr. It replaced my H&K P7M8 for carry based on this alone.

They can be tough to find, but MSRP is less than $500, and every now and then you can find them on sale.

Caliber: 9mm

Weight: 26 ounces

Overall length: 6.7 inches

Barrel length: 3.6 inches

MSRP: $469

Have you ever used an S9-A1? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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5 Reasons You Still Should Own A Revolver (No 4. Is A Bit Surprising)

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5 Reasons You Still Should Own A Revolver (No 4. Is A Bit Surprising)

Revolvers are here to stay, despite the fact that they hold a limited number of rounds and are slower to reload when compared to semiautomatic handguns. Does that mean that you need a six-shooter in your handgun battery?

It depends.

For more than a century revolvers were the de facto “go-to” handgun for civilians, soldiers and peace officers. They remained in service after the introduction and adoption of the semiautomatic pistol, and their decline has only been over the past two to three decades.

Manufacturers continue to produce revolvers, and it seems that every time we try to write them off as obsolete, that a new model comes forth.

What is it about the revolver that still endears it to so many shooters?

1. Nostalgia

For many shooters, revolvers hearken back to a simpler time. Whether it is from watching Western-themed movies or police dramas set from the 1940s through the late 1980s, the revolver played a dominant role from the taming of the frontier through the end of the Reagan era.

Many new revolvers coming to market are designed for period re-enactors who need to replicate arms from the Civil War, through the Old West up through the Roaring 20s.

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As a student of history, the author can certainly appreciate revolvers from this standpoint.

2. Reliability

There was a time when revolvers held the advantages of simplicity and reliability. The modern semiautomatic pistol has finally come into its own in this regard, but for many years they were denigrated as being “fussy with ammo types,” “prone to malfunction” and – heaven forbid — the “need to be maintained and cleaned.”

There is a lot to be said for any firearm that can be left loaded for long periods of time, remain reliable, have no worries about automatic ejection of spent casings before firing another round and no reliance on external safeties.

Many new semiautomatic pistols have this same advantage, but it is one thing that cannot be taken away from the revolver.

3. Concealability

Apart from the reenactor revolvers, there are two other classes of revolver that shooters want to see. The first of these are the small, compact revolvers that can easily slide into a pocket holster and be carried comfortably all day.

The J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers and the mini revolvers from companies such as North American Arms make for outstanding concealed carry or backup guns to a primary defensive handgun.

Some revolvers with concealed or shrouded hammers can be fired from inside a pocket; not even the best compact 380 can manage that.

4. Power

5 Reasons You Still Should Own A Revolver (No 4. Is A Bit Surprising)

460 S&W

The other type of revolvers that shooters seem to want is the Magnum caliber revolver. Beyond 357 Magnum, 41 Magnum and 44 Magnum, there is an entirely new class emerging in the 454 Casull, 460 S&W and 500 S&W cartridges.

These large caliber wheel guns have all but replaced the various single shot and bolt-action pistols chambered in rifle cartridges for handgun hunting due to similar and sometimes superior ballistics — not to mention their ease of use when compared to the bolt action “mini rifle handguns.”

Semiautomatic handguns in these calibers need to be overbuilt in order to handle the pressures and the slides made much heavier.

Even with some modern auto pistol rounds (like the 10mm fired through a 6-inch Glock 40), the power factor is at the lower end of the power scale when compared to the revolver cartridge it is trying to emulate.

For a hunting handgun, the revolver is still king.

5. Simplicity

Regardless of the type of revolver, the hallmark of a wheel gun is its simplicity and shorter learning curve. We learned how to shoot on semiautomatic pistols, and when we started as an instructor we were convinced we could teach all our students the same way.

For some shooters, though, the revolver has a quicker learning curve. It may be they are distracted by ejecting brass, have difficulty with slide manipulation or are enamored by the superior grip characteristics of a classic Colt or Smith. If part of your goal is to introduce new people to the shooting sports, a spare 38 Special revolver can help a newcomer who might otherwise give up.

I simply like revolvers, for many of the reasons cited above. My Colt SAA is a piece of history at more than 115 years old, and a Colt Detective Special conceals easier in the summer months than a Glock 19. Additionally, my S&W 500 can drop an elk at 50 yards.

What are your thoughts on revolvers? Share them in the section below:

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The Best Way To Store Guns From Kids – While Keeping Them Ready To Access

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The Best Way To Store Guns From Kids – While Keeping Them Ready To Access

Image source: AlienGearHolsters.com

For many of us, owning a gun is all about being able to defend ourselves and protect our loved ones if needed.

But how do you follow the conventional rules of gun safety – keeping your firearm unloaded and secured until ready to use – and still have the weapon ready for self-defense?

If you have children, roommates or you frequently entertain and have guests over, you don’t want to leave your handgun loaded and laying on your nightstand. By the same token, it will be of little benefit if left unloaded in a safe in the garage or basement when a home invader kicks in your door at midnight.

We all too often read about children getting their hands on a firearm and catastrophic events follow. The child shoots a friend, a family member, or even himself. Sadly, these too often result in a death.

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There are various child locks and wall or closet safes that can safely contain a handgun and keep it out of the wrong hands while still being accessible when needed.

Biometric safes have evolved by leaps and bounds and can be activated only by the user’s fingerprints. This gives quicker access than the various keyed and combination locks common to most safes and lock boxes. Best of all, the technology behind these is no longer prohibitively expensive.

The best recommendation, however, is to keep your defensive handgun in a comfortable holster and wear it at all times or as often as you can.

That way it is always completely under your control while remaining easily accessible.

The Best Way To Store Guns From Kids – While Keeping Them Ready To Access

Image source: Pixabay.com

Most children who pick up a firearm and have an accident do so because they think the firearm is a toy or they do not grasp the reality of the outcome of a gunshot.

To help teach children about gun safety, the National Rifle Association has a program called “Eddie Eagle.” The program is designed to teach children how to act if they come across a firearm.

It is a simple mantra, not unlike the one most children are taught to protect themselves from burning in a fire: Stop, drop and roll.

This is designed for preschoolers through fourth graders and, in my opinion, should be mandatory for all children. Even if they don’t have a firearm in their home, other family and friends may have firearms in theirs. Here’s what the NRA teaches children to do if they find a gun:

  1. Stop: The first step is the most critical. A mental note to stop gives the child a cue to pause and remember the rest of the safety instructions.
  2. Don’t touch: Firearms are not sentient and capable of acting on their own. If a firearm is left undisturbed it will not be fired and thus poses no risk.
  3. Leave the area: This takes the child away from the potential source of danger. Your child may not pick up the firearm, but another child might.
  4. Tell an adult: Children are taught to find a trustworthy and responsible adult such as a neighbor, relative or teacher if a parent or guardian is not available.

These four simple steps are only the first layer in a network of safety to prevent a child from having an accident with your firearm.

What advice would you add? How do you keep your children safe? Share your tips in the section below:

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The 5 Best Sig Pistols Money Can Buy

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The 5 Best Sig Pistols Money Can Buy

P210. Image source: TheFiringLine.com

One of the most popular firearms manufacturers is Sig Sauer. For more than six decades, the company has earned a reputation for quality rifles and handguns used by elite forces around the globe.

At last count, I own 10 different Sig models and decided to highlight what I consider the five best Sig handguns out there.

1. Sig P210. For decades, this single-action, single-stack, full-size 9mm pistol was the standard by which all other service pistols were judged, and for good reason. Meticulous craftsmanship and assembly in Switzerland for the Swiss Army meant that the P210 was accurate and reliable, but unfortunately it was limited to Swiss military contracts and its scarcity on the common market kept it priced out of the realm of the average shooter.

When the manufacture moved to Germany, the pistol still commanded higher prices than any other factory pistol on the market. Yet the desirability was still there and a friend of mine in the VIP protection sector noted that this was the pistol he carried when he could not have access to a carbine, as it was accurate out to 100 yards.

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Thankfully, Sig announced at SHOT Show 2016 that the P210 would now be made in America as a production piece. At least two versions are in the works, including an improved service model with more user-friendly controls, as well as a target version with adjustable sights and checkered grips.

We have been told that prices will range in the $1,300 to $1,500 realm and that the pistol is still capable of ringing steel at 100 yards and beyond.

2. X-5. The X-5 is built on the legendary P226 platform, except that it is a SAO (single action only) pistol designed for competition, although I know a few people who carry one cocked and locked 1911 style.

Because it was intended as a competition pistol, almost everything on this handgun can be customized, replaced or improved.

The 5-inch barrel length lends to the addition of an oversized rail. The pistol’s sights are fully adjustable and can be replaced with a variety of options. The trigger is adjustable for weight, reset, pre-travel and can be moved 0.4 of an inch forward or to the rear based on the shooter’s hand size or finger length.

We expect to hear the new US-made version announced at this year’s annual NRA Convention.

Sig p220

Sig p220

3. Sig P220 In 1975, Sig unveiled the P220. Based on the P210, some changes were made to make this a more affordable pistol in order to compete for a quality sidearm.

On the surface, the P220 resembles a Browning-style semiautomatic pistol that uses a decocking lever to safely lower the hammer carry with no external safeties. Double-action-only and single-action-only variants have been made as well.

The pistol operates by means of a linkless barrel without locking lugs. Instead, the P220 makes use of an enlarged breech block which holds the slide and barrel as one while firing.

Usually found in 45 ACP and 9mm, Sig released several variants in 10mm in 2015.

4. Sig P320. Released in 2014, the Sig P320 is a striker-fired, polymer framed handgun that is completely customizable to match not only the shooter’s hand but the shooter’s intended use.

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A serialized chassis/fire control unit allows changing from full size to compact size on the frame and interchangeable back straps can allow the pistol to be configured for a variety of hand sizes. Calibers can be configured depending upon the barrel.

This is the pistol for the shooter who only wants to own one handgun, but has a need for different configurations.

A Picatinny rail and SIGLITE night sights round out the package.

5. Sig P229. The P229 is a compact version of the P226 that was designed from the ground up to handle the company’s potent 357 SIG caliber.

A CNC-milled slide of stainless steel was chosen to handle the higher pressures of the new cartridge and its higher velocity as opposed to the stamped slide of its predecessors. This allows the use of a lighter recoil spring.

Used by US Navy Pilots and military intelligence personnel as the M-11A1, it is much more compact than the standard issue Beretta M9.

We could have easily done a Top 10 list to include models such as the P226 (which has influenced at least two of these models), the compact P238, or their now classic line of 1911 pistols, but felt that these five Sigs have raised the bar high enough to give a better overview of the “best of the best.”

What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The 5 Most Reliable Shotguns For Home Defense

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Image source: screen grab (YouTube: hickok45 channel).

Image source: screen grab (YouTube: hickok45 channel).

 

When looking for a home defense shotgun, the senses can be annihilated by the numerous varieties that are out there.

But what are the best, most reliable ones? Rather than choosing the top five brands or models, we decided to break this down by action-types or how the shotgun works.

For gauges, I generally recommend the 12, 20 and 16 gauges above all else. .410 bore shotguns can be useful, as the recoil is mild and a host of self-defense rounds are offered. In general, I avoid the massive 10 gauge and diminutive 28 gauge — unless you are attacked by a flock of birds — as there are severe limitations on the ammunition types for these two.

1. The pump shotgun

Easy to use and the hallmark of home defense for more than 100 years, the pump shotgun is probably the number one long gun choice for home defense in today’s world. Holding anywhere from 3 to 12 rounds based on configuration, the pump shotgun offers rapid follow up shots and the option of a quick reload.

Chances are that you already have one of these shotguns made by Mossberg, Remington, Winchester, Benelli or one of the myriad of other companies that produces shotguns today.

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The most common examples include the Mossberg 500/590 series, Remington Model 870, Winchester 1300 or Defender, Winchester Model 12, Benelli Nova, Kel-Tec KSG and Maverick 88.

2. The semiautomatic shotgun

Older semiautomatic shotguns may have had their limitations with regard to reloading quickly or reliability, depending on the type of shells used, but modern semiautomatic shotguns have proven themselves to be adequate fight stoppers with the right ammunition.

Follow-up shots are quicker than the pump shotgun, and perceived recoil is only slightly greater as opposed to some of the original models used to protect home and family.

I prefer the Remington 1100 or 1187, or the newer Benelli M1 and M3 versions.

3. The side-by-side shotgun

The 5 Most Reliable Shotguns For Home Defense

Image source: Pixabay.com

Long before the semi-auto and pump shotguns came into common usage, the side-by-side double barrel put food on the table, quelled more than one riot and protected more homesteads than any of the various revolvers or lever-action carbines that claim to have won the West.

More modern renditions use internal hammers and can be had by European American Armory, Baikal, Remington and a few others that cater to the Cowboy Action Shooting realm.

4. The single shot shotgun

For the shooter on a budget, a single shot shotgun may be a sane alternative. Costing less than $100 in some places, these shotguns are better than a small caliber handgun as your only option for self-defense at times.

A shell carrier mounted to the butt stock provides quick reloads at your fingertips.

The most common single shots on the market today are produced by Iver Johnson, Harrington & Richardson as well as a few store brands made under license by these companies.

5. The lever action shotgun

Not as common in history as we may have been led to believe through the magic of movies, the lever action shotgun debuted as Winchester’s answer to keeping their tradition of fine lever guns going forward. With the originals now holding value as collector’s items, one need only look to the Italian replicas as examples of how costly it was to make these shotguns.

A number of Chinese-made versions are imported, and if you have to have one based on the nostalgia of watching Terminator 2 more than once, they make a great home defense shotgun with a little work.

What’s Missing?

We left out the over/under shotgun, for a number of reasons. Most have barrels that are way too long for maneuverability inside the home, and even a shorter barrel makes it slow to reload, as the action must almost always have to break a sharper angle to remove spent shells than a typical single shot or side-by-side shotgun.

Apart from those limitations, if it is the only firearm you have with which to defend yourself, it beats trying to hold down the fort with a sock full of nickels.

Accessories

I strongly recommend the shortest barrel you can legally use and the addition of a flash light (for target identification) and a sling (for portability). Some butt stocks will allow the use of shot shell carriers, and others can be mounted to the receiver.

The most important accessory, of course, is ammunition, so you can practice often with your self-defense loads of choice to see how the shotgun patterns and feel its recoil.

What is your shotgun choice for home defense? Share your ideas in the section below:

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5 Classic Guns Your Grandfather Owned That Have Stood The Test Of Time

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5 Classic Guns Your Grandfather Owned That Have Stood The Test Of Time

Image source: Pinterest

 

Firearms are tools and often represent technological trends, if you think about it. Today’s firearms are lighter, more durable and sometimes more accurate than they were even a generation ago.

That does not, however, mean that older guns like the ones your grandfather owned should be mothballed or turned into scrap. As a matter of fact, some of Grandpa’s guns are almost essential to own today.

Let’s take a look at five:

1. Winchester 1894 Lever-Action Rifle

You do not see too many-lever action rifles in today’s gun market, unless they are specifically designed for Old West reenactors. But these rifles literally tamed the West and have brought meat to the table for over a century and a half. The 1894 represented the ultimate refinement of the design. Purists prefer their Winchesters made prior to 1964 due to manufacturing changes, but even a post-1964 rifle is still a keeper.

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A Winchester ’94 chambered in 30-30 Winchester represents a fine hunting and brush rifle, even for today’s shooters.

2. Smith & Wesson Model 19

One of the finest double-action revolvers made this side of the Colt Python is the Smith & Wesson Model 19. Built on the classic K-Frame, this mid-sized revolver served as a police sidearm and is still in use today by hunters and outdoorsman. They can be a bit hard to find and were eclipsed by the slightly larger models 586/686 built on the L-Frame.

Chances are that if your grandfather owned a 357 Magnum wheel gun, it was most likely a model 19.

3. Colt 1911

If your grandfather served in the US military, it’s more than likely he carried a Colt 1911. This 45 semi-automatic from Colt is an iconic handgun made by numerous manufacturers today and has been popular with those who participate in shooting sports.

I’m not talking about an accurized modern handgun made from CNC, MIM or stainless steel. I’m talking about the original, slab-sided Colt version. These were hand-fitted pistols assembled by master craftsmen and saw service from the World War I through Vietnam.

A great addition to any collection, US Property-marked Colts are going through the roof in price now. Runner-ups include those made by Remington Rand, Savage, Union Smith, and Signal and Ithaca. Barring that, a commercial Colt as late as a Series 70 will suffice.

4. Springfield 1903

5 Classic Guns Your Grandfather Owned That Have Stood The Test Of Time

Springfield 1930. Image source: Wikipedia

The 1903 Springfield is a classic bolt-action rifle based on the 98 Mauser action that saw service as late as the Vietnam War. Chambered in 30-06 Springfield, this rifle became popular as a hunting rifle between wars.

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In its original configuration, it is a fine example of a classic military rifle. But even a sporterized version makes for a perfect deer camp candidate.

5. Winchester Model 12

This pump-action shotgun has probably dropped more ducks and taken more deer than just about any other model in existence. Originally offered in 20 gauge only, the model 12 was soon offered in the more popular 12 and 16 gauges and later in the 28 gauge.

More than 2 million were made between 1912 and 1954 and included riot and trench gun variants and deluxe pigeon-grade variants with better wood and finishes. Winchester’s first internal hammer-pump shotgun set the standard by which every other pump shotgun produced since then is judged.

Even if your grandfather didn’t own any of these firearms, these five examples represent what I think are the true classics of days gone by.

What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:

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5 Overrated Guns You Probably Should Never Buy

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5 Overrated Guns You Probably Should Never Buy

Image source: Wikipedia

If you love firearms and everything about them, it can be hard to not justify a new gun purchase. However, there are quite a few that are of limited use, unsound design or just pure novelties or range toys.

That is not to say that there is no use at all for that particular firearm or that it brings no fun or it is not something to fill a void in a collection. But for a self-defense or survival battery, there are better options.

Let’s take a look at five guns you should avoid:

1. Desert Eagle in 50 AE. Arguably, it is the most powerful semiautomatic pistol ever made. The Desert Eagle has it all in the looks department, too, and the manufacturer offers them in a number of attractive finishes. The power and look made it a natural for placement in movies and video games, as well. Realistically, however, this is a special purpose handgun designed for hunting and silhouette shooting sports. It is a heavy pistol with a large grip that makes it impractical for self-defense for most people.

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If you must have one, do so after you have enough “real guns” to fill your needs.

2. S&W 500 or S&W 460. These revolvers leave the Desert Eagle far behind in the power game. What they really did was put the rifle caliber bolt-action and single shot pistols out of business. Why grab a Remington XP-100 chambered in 7mm BR or 308 Winchester when you can duplicate the ballistics in an easier shooting revolver?

Still, the recoil is extremely harsh, and most new shooters who try one seldom make it through a box of 20 rounds before trading it in or selling it at a loss.

5 Overrated Guns You Probably Should Never Buy

Sphinx SDP. Image source: YouTube

3. Sphinx SDP. Many shooters have never heard of these fine pistols from Switzerland that are renowned for their perfect craftsmanship. Holding a Sphinx is like holding an engineering marvel in your hands. You will find no flaws or machining marks on one of these pistols. Almost as if it were created by magic.

Why is it on the list? Craftsmanship of this nature comes at a price, and $1,200 for a CZ75 clone, no matter how well it works, is a bit much. We have never found these pistols to be more accurate than a CZ or Tanfoglio offering. Save the money and buy more ammunition.

4. Winchester 1911. No, not a 1911 pistol, but a semiauto shotgun that was made that very same year. In an effort to bring a semiautomatic shotgun to market without infringing on John Browning’s patents, Winchester came up with the most dangerous design in the world.

The recoiling barrel means that once it is loaded, the only way to unload it is to push the barrel rearward. More than one gunowner did this by placing the butt on the ground and pushing downward with their head in front of the muzzle.

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This had catastrophic consequences, earning the Winchester 1911 the nickname “Widow Maker.”

5. TEC-9, DC-9 or MAC clones in semiautomatic. As full auto machineguns with stocks, these guns are fun and actually pretty useful. In semiautomatic with no stock, you end up with a heavy awkward clunker that is not very good at anything apart from looking cool in a photo op. Why shoot an awkward and heavy 9mm when you can do better with any real semiautomatic handgun, such as a Glock 19 with a 32-round magazine?

There are others out there, but these seem to be the ones we see new people drawn to that end up being rather expensive mistakes. If the world is your oyster and you have money to spend and a battery of dependable firearms to defend yourself and your loved ones, then by all means seek one of these out if it is on your short list.

But if it is going to be one of your first firearms purchases, know that you can do better.

What would you add to this list? Share your additions in the section below:

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5 Gun Myths That Nearly Everyone Believes … Debunked

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5 Gun Myths That Nearly Everyone Believes … Busted

Image source: StateOfGuns

 

Spend enough time in the wrong gun shop or around friends who think they know a lot about shooting, and you will hear a lot of misconceptions, lies and outright myths that are parroted as fact.

We hear them all the time. Like most myths, there is often a shred of truth to them, but we want to get to the whole truth.

The following are five of the most common myths, busted:

1. Just rack the slide of your pump-action shotgun and the bad guys will abandon the scene of the crime.

There may be a shred of truth to this, going back to the 1930s when some farmer encountered hobos in his barn or the 1960s if it was hippies in his cow pasture looking for mushrooms.

Sadly, this cannot be taken as gospel and in a real world attack via home invasion or terrorist threat, it may only serve to embolden the attackers or simply give away your position.

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This myth is reinforced through pop culture. We see it in scenes in movies and television shows — so we end up believing it.

Bottom line: Don’t count on it to thwart an attack. Be ready to follow up with necessary force if the crooks don’t run.

2. Shotguns are perfect for home defense because you don’t have to aim them.

If this were true, then why do shotguns come with a bead sight at the minimum and proper iron sights or scopes as accessories?

Image source: USAToday

Image source: USAToday

At greater distances, the spread of the shot pattern will expand, but at self-defense ranges there is very little disperse to the pattern of the shot.

Bottom line: You have to aim your shotgun at your target just like any other firearm.

3. Silencers and machine guns are illegal to own.

Certain states may ban possession of National Firearms Act-type items, but after legally going through the process which includes a background check and payment of a Federal Tax Stamp; these items are legal to own in most states.

A related myth is that you need a “Class 3 license” to own such firearms. The license in question refers to a federal license to deal in NFA items, but there is no requirement to obtain such a license for mere ownership.

4. If you own an NFA item or have a Federal Firearms License, even a Curio & Relic type, you end up on a list and the government can search your house without a warrant any time without notice.

Just, no.

There are compliance inspections conducted by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) on dealers, but these are only conducted during business hours at the place of business.

Most compliance audits conducted on Curio & Relic licensees are done at a local field office.

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The ATF will not search your home simply for owning an NFA item, unless you are using it in the commission of another crime.

5. The AR-15 is a finicky rifle and not reliable at all under adverse conditions, whereas the AK platform is completely reliable, just not as accurate.

Again, there was a shred of truth to this often repeated myth. Original M16s used in the Vietnam conflict had problems due to misinformation being spread about the rifle.

Some troops were told it was “self-cleaning” and required no maintenance, for example.

Modern AR-15s and the military counterpart in the form of the M4/M16 series have proven themselves to be reliable when they are maintained.

As for the AK-47 half of the story: Yes they are a rugged and reliable design, but depending upon the quality of the build, they are not the stuff of inaccurate legends that they have been painted as.

A number of AK manufacturers are making very reliable rifles that approach the shooting degree of some AR-15s.

Is there anything with which you disagree? What myths would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The First 5 Glocks You Should Own For Self-Defense

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The First 5 Glocks You Should Own For Self-Defense

Glock 19

 

The Glock pistol has become so entrenched in the firearms realm that I recently heard it was common for outsiders to refer to handguns simply as “Glocks.”

Indeed, the word “Glock” has become synonymous with the word “pistol” or “handgun,” much in the same way that “Colt” or “Smith & Wesson” may have in the past, or even how the term “Buck knife” became a catch-all for “pocket knife.”

Yet with seven different calibers, nine different frame sizes and 12 distinct slide lengths, one Glock does not cover all bases.

There are Glocks made for duty use, competitive shooting, concealed carry and even hunting purposes. Some can fill multiple roles and some are very user specific.

Here, we took a look at all of Glock’s offerings in order to determine a well-rounded battery of five of these handguns for the dedicated Glock owner.

1. Glock 19/23

The G19 or G23 is a compact offering with a shorter barrel, slide and frame than the standard models 17 and 22. The main difference between the G19 and the G22 is the caliber, with the G19 being chambered in 9mm like the larger G17, and the G23 chambered in 40 S&W like the G22.

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For a pistol that is a “Jack-of-all-trades” it does not get much better than the G19/G23. It is large enough to serve as a uniformed duty pistol, small enough to carry concealed and the G19 holds 15 rounds in its factory magazines. These pistols also take the magazines of their larger counterparts.

2. Glock 42

The smallest pistol that Glock makes is the G42 chambered in 380 ACP. It runs a little on the large side when compared to other pistols in this caliber, such as the Sig P238, Ruger LCP or Kahr 380, but that slightly longer grip and heavier slide makes for a compact pistol that is accurate, controllable and actually pleasant to shoot.

3. Glock 30S

The First 5 Glocks You Should Own For Self-Defense

Glock 30S

For years we hailed the G30 as the perfect Glock pistol. It was chambered in 45 ACP, held 10 rounds and was accurate and comfortable to shoot.

Die-hard Glock fans took it a step further, customizing their G30s with slides and recoil assemblies from Glock’s slim-line 45 pistol, the G36. The end result was a thinner slide that could fit most of the holsters intended for the similarly sized G19s and G23s.

Glock listened to its customer base and made it a factory offering in the G30S. This is the compact 45 ACP fighting pistol that makes the most sense.

4. Glock 41

Some readers might think we are a few tacos shy of a combination plate for mentioning this offering, as it is chambered in the powerful 10mm auto cartridge.

For years, gun magazine writers have been calling for the death of the 10mm round and proclaiming its recoil is too powerful for use in most handguns for comfort or fast follow-up shots.

That may be the case with the smaller Glocks, such as the compact Model 29 with its light weight and short barrel. However, the G40 sports a 6-inch barrel, a Gen 4 grip frame and a heavy slide that has a mass capable of absorbing nearly all the recoil of this potent chambering.

The longer barrel increases the velocity of most 10mm loads to push ballistics closer to that of a 357 Magnum or lower end 41 Magnum.

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When we mentioned hunting with a Glock, we had this pistol in mind and it is rapidly becoming a favorite of feral hog hunters throughout the United States, especially when equipped with an electronic sight.

5. Glock 43

We tested the G43 before its official release in early 2015, and at first had contempt for the pistol, finding it too small for our hands, too large for pocket carry and we were convinced we were going to hate it.

Then we actually shot it and completely changed our mind.

The G43 was one of the most accurate out-of-the-box pistols we had ever fired, especially for a Glock. It may have taken a few years of tinkering to get it just right, and critics claimed Glock was a day late and a dollar short when the G43 hit the market, but those critics are eating those words as the pistol outperforms platforms put out by Smith & Wesson, Ruger and other competitors.

These five pistols from Glock offer a multitude of options from basic home or self-defense to concealed carry and even the hunting of dangerous game with the G40. They are definitely our choices for a range of options.

Which Glocks would you take off the list? What would you add? Share your gun advice in the section below:

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The 5 Very Best Rifles For Rural Home Defense

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The 5 Very Best Rifles For Rural Home Defense

Ruger 10/22. Image source: Waltherforums.com

 

A common saying among tactical trainers is: “The purpose of a handgun is to fight your way to your rifle.”

That makes perfect sense on a battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan, but what happens when that “battlefield” is in your home – especially in a rural setting?

When compared by sheer ballistics, the results of most handgun rounds are very marginal when compared to that of a rifle. Yet, handguns have the advantage of being more compact and portable. And since they only require one hand, your other hand is free to hold a flashlight or call 911.

So now you might be asking, “Should I choose a handgun or a rifle for home defense?”

I say choose the rifle. I’m not talking about old-style, single-shot Remington Rolling Block Buffalo rifles or a 300 Weatherby Magnum with a 10X scope on it for elk season (but if one of those are all you have, they beat a can of pepper spray). I’m referring to modern sporting rifles designed for more tactical use.

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Here’s my list of the five best:

1. The AR-15 in 5.56/223

Perhaps the most popular rifle in the U.S. is the AR-15. It was designed in 1960 by Armalite for the U.S. military and has remained in military use for six decades. For home defense purposes, I strongly recommend the shortest barrel length you can legally own. In some cases, this can be a SBR (short barreled rifle) registered with the National Firearms Branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for a $200 tax. SBRs have barrels less than 16 inches in length and can be as short as 7.5 inches. This makes the rifle more compact and maneuverable within the confines of the home.

2. The Kriss Vector

A California-based company builds a unique variety of carbines and pistols known as the KRISS Vector. This radical design eliminates felt recoil and is chambered in 9mm or 45 ACP. Those are pistol rounds but the longer barrels give these rifles significantly more velocity. Best of all, they take extended magazines designed for Glock pistols in the same caliber, so they work well for Glock shooters, too.

3. The FN PS90

The 5 Very Best Rifles For Rural Home Defense

Image source: Wikipedia

This may seem like an odd choice, but this futuristic-looking firearm in its small 5.7mm cartridge was actually designed as a personal defense weapon and was used famously by the US Secret Service on president protection details. Compact with virtually no recoil, its bull pup-like design makes for a compact shooting platform. Having one of these converted to an SBR makes the weapon more desirable from a home defense standpoint.

4. The lever action carbine

Lever action rifles made by Winchester, Marlin, Rossi and several others chambered in one of the magnum handgun calibers such as 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum or 45 Colt make for a very effective and compact system for people who reside in areas where the ownership of semiautomatic rifles may be restricted or draw unwanted attention. Five to 10 rounds of a powerful revolver cartridge with the added ballistics of a longer barrel make these a primary fight-stopper. The late firearms guru, Colonel Jeff Cooper, used to refer to them as “Brooklyn Specials,” as they were one of the few firearms not castigated outright in what he viewed as the liberal courtrooms of the Northeast.

5. The Ruger 10/22

You read that right. I have been a longtime advocate of the popular Ruger carbine in a self-defense role. With the right ammunition and the correct bullet placement, these rifles can fill a vital role in any self-defense arsenal. Low recoil, fast follow-up shots and superb accuracy make for one heck of a home defense rifle.

Accessories

It may be tempting to deck out a tactical rifle with all sorts of gizmos from red-dot sights to lasers, bipods and bayonets, but I suggest you keep it simple. More moving parts leads to more potential for something to fail, particularly if it is an accessory that the shooter comes to rely on more so than basic marksmanship.

The bare minimum I recommend is a mounted weapon light and a sling. Some shooters prefer a red-dot optic and if that makes you a better shooter, then go for it — particularly if you inhabit a substantial piece of property and might have to engage threats at a greater distance.

What would you add to this list? What would you delete? Share your thoughts in the section below:

There’s A Trick To Navigating Federal And State Gun Regulations. Read More Here.

Here’s Why Glocks Are Better Than All Your Other Guns

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Here’s Why Glocks Are Better Than All Your Other Guns

Image source: Glocks.com

Nowadays, handguns from the Glock family of Safe Action pistols are among the most common you’ll see. The Austrian company makes their handguns in a variety of sizes and calibers from 380 ACP up to the awe-inspiring 10mm. If you have not considered one of these handguns in your survival strategy, you may be shortchanging yourself.

First, a Little History

The year was 1982 and a new handgun hit the market called the Glock 17. The concept was radical for its time: There was no hammer, no safety and the frames were made of plastic. The handguns even shipped in what could best be described as a black Tupperware box as opposed to the wooden or cardboard cartons more common in that day and age.

Myths surrounded the import. For example, some said it would be used by terrorists to hijack planes because it could bypass a metal detector thanks to its plastic frame. That statement, however, was flat-out ridiculous because the pistol still contains more than one pound of steel in its construction.

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There also was great interest in the Safe Action feature. External safeties had always been seen as necessities on semi-automatic pistols since their invention. But Glock eliminated them by creating what they called a Safe Action trigger. This purpose-built, two-piece trigger performs the function of a safety and prevents the pistol from being fired should it drop on the ground or be struck by another object.

Eliminating a manual safety was key in allowing Glock to take over the majority of police handgun contracts as the firing sequence resembled that of a revolver, which allowed users to draw, point, aim and shoot without having to disengage a safety switch.

Here’s Why Glocks Are Better Than All Your Other GunsPerhaps Glock’s biggest advantage at the time was releasing their first model with a 17-round magazine. It was one of the largest pistol magazines available at the time without extending beyond the grip frame. And it has remained the ideal ever since. Glock and a number of aftermarket supporters also offer 10-round magazines for those who reside in restrictive states.

Shooting the Glock

There is a bit more muscle needed and a small bit of science involved with successfully and accurately shooting a Glock. The polymer frame forces the shooter to maintain a firm and strong grip. Otherwise, the frame can exhibit too much flex when the follow-through portion of the firing sequence is committed and the heavier-style trigger is the bane of single-action, semi-automatic pistol fans everywhere.

Some shooters claim the bore axis is too high, or that “they shoot too high” when firing a Glock. This varies depending upon the shooter, as most shooters do not experience this.

Aside from that, the Glock is one of the ultimate handguns to have when a disaster strikes. Aside from its reputation for reliability in the most adverse conditions (Glocks have been dropped from helicopters, run over with HUMVEEs, buried and caked in sand and mud, and even frozen in a block of ice without suffering any negative effects) they can be completely disassembled by only using a single punch.

For those concerned with home defense and self-defense, Glocks remain a great choice.

The smallest handgun in their lineup is the Model 42, a single stack handgun chambered in 380 ACP. This is part of Glock’s Slimline, along with the slightly larger Model 43 in 9mm and even larger Model 36 in 45 ACP.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the competition frames represent their largest handguns, including the 17L, 34, 41 and 40. The latter is probably the most powerful handgun that the company produces – a 10mm with a 6-inch slide that pushes the ballistics of that cartridge toward true Magnum revolver performance. This makes for an ideal sidearm in bear country, and Norwegian Police have been using the shorter Model 20 in the same caliber for decades in areas frequented by polar bears.

Their most popular handguns tend to be in the three basic sizes: full size (represented by the Model 17 in 9mm and 22 in 40 S&W), compact (Model 19 in 9mm and 23 in 40 S&W) and subcompact (Model 26 in 9mm and 27 in 40 S&W). The larger calibers such as 45 ACP and 10mm are built on slightly larger frames, with the compact models having a length that falls between the compact and subcompact pistols.

In recent years, Glock has been incorporating other features into their latest pistols. They have added rails to attach lights and lasers, included removable plates on the top of the slides to install optical sights, and added threaded barrels for use with silencers. They even offer interchangeable back straps to fit hands of all sizes.

The aftermarket support for the company makes them a hit with customers who want to try different calibers, triggers or install a stock and convert the Glock into a short-barreled rifle. Personally, I never leave my Glocks in factory condition and have customized them. I have installed, among other add-ons, fiber optic sights on a few and find them superior to night sights for a variety of reasons.

Just about every holster manufacturer offers leather or Kydex rigs to carry the Glock and in many ways, this Austrian-made pistol is more of an American handgun than the ones actually made here.

Do you agree about Glocks? What is your favorite Glock? Share your gun advice in the section below:  

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The 5 Best Calibers If You Want Cheap Ammo

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The 5 Best Calibers If You Want Cheap Ammo

Image source: Pixabay.com

One of the drawbacks to certain new firearms is the cost of the ammunition. Experienced hunters and shooters typically know this, but it can still be shocking on occasion. I may see a new firearm that does everything I want it to do, and 10 minutes later get sticker shock when I find a box of 20 rounds is selling for $110. Yes, even after three decades of shooting, I have had this happen to me.

At one time, 22 long rifle was the cheapest ammunition available. But in the past few years the price has risen and availability is limited.

Let’s look at five options for cheap ammo, focusing on center fire cartridges.

1. 9mm

One of the most common and relatively inexpensive handgun rounds is the 9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger. I have seen a box of 50 for less than $9, but the typical street price is closer to $12 to $15 for a 50-count box of 115 grain full metal jacketed rounds. Sometimes this price can be beaten if you buy in bulk.

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There is an exhaustive list of handguns in this caliber by Sig Sauer, Glock, Beretta, Heckler & Koch, Smith & Wesson and just about any manufacturer over the course of the past hundred years that produced a semi-automatic pistol. Long gun shooters can find the round chambered in Uzis, AR-15s, Kriss Vectors and various conversion kits for Steyr AUGs and IWI Tavors.2. 40 S&W

2. 40 S&W

Although declining in popularity as of late, the 40 S&W round is still very affordable and a plethora of firearms are available for this mid-sized caliber. Not very many long guns were chambered in 40 S&W, but if you like Glocks, Sigs, Steyrs, H&K’s and of course Smith & Wesson pistols, chances are that you will find one in 40 S&W.

The average retail price is typically a little higher than 9mm.

3. 5.45 X 39

The 5 Best Calibers If You Want Cheap Ammo

Image source: Pixabay.com

I was a little reluctant to list this one, but more than once I have been tempted to pick up an AK-74 variant just because I saw cases of this ammunition in excess of 1000 rounds for around $100 delivered.

That may not be the case anymore, but I still see it cheaper than 5.56 or 7.62 X 39. Whether it will stay that way in the future remains to be seen.

Rifles in this caliber are mostly AK variants, but I do see an occasional AR-15 or bolt gun every now and then.

4. 20 gauge

Most of my shotguns are chambered in 12 Gauge because of its versatility, but I recently picked up a 20 gauge at an estate sale and could not believe the price difference in ammunition. Plus, the lower recoil is an added bonus.

Shopping around, I have found 25-round boxes for as low as $5.5. 7.62x54R

5. 7.62x54R

If a tin of 440 full-sized rifle rounds for less than $80 delivered sounds like a deal to you, then you will love the 7.62x54R round. It is, ballistics-wise, comparable to the venerable 30-06 but a lot cheaper.

The most common rifle for this caliber is the Mosin-Nagant bolt action. However, that is not the only option. A few semi-automatic rifles were built around this cartridge, such as the Dragunov, SVT-38 and SVT-40. Believe it or not, Winchester made 300,000 lever action Model 1895 rifles for the Russian army in this caliber in 1915.

This list is not complete. Ammunition prices tend to fluctuate, particularly surplus rounds. At one time I might have listed 7.62 X 25 for use in Tokarevs, CZ52s and other Cold War-era pistols and carbines, but that round can get expensive when it is not being imported on a regular basis.

What would you add to this list? Share your ammo suggestions in the section below:

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The First 5 Guns You Should Buy For Home Defense

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The First 5 Guns You Should Buy For Home Defense

Image source: alloutdoor.com

Defending your home, and more importantly your own life and the lives of your loved ones, is a serious undertaking. If there is one thing that is true out there in the world of home defense it is that there are options.

Of course, specific needs can vary based on the individual and the layout of the home. An urban apartment dweller will have very different requirements than a rural rancher with thousands of acres.

But if you can own a gun where you live, these are the first five firearms we recommend for someone interested in self-protection in their home.

1. Pump shotgun

Based on reading Internet forums, one might conclude that the shotgun is an obsolete and antiquated tool for home defense. However, the shotgun has certain advantages that cannot be matched by any other weapon.

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First, there is the power factor. The shotgun may not be able to reach out and touch someone at 200 yards, but in the confines of your home, very few threats will engage you at a great distance. At close range, the shotgun is king when used in 12 gauge or 20 gauge and stoked with the appropriate loads like No. 4 Buck shot.

A short barrel will make the shotgun more maneuverable within the confines of the home. The federal legal limit is 18 inches. Anything less will require a federal tax stamp and National Firearms Act (NFA) registration. I recommend using a comfortable butt stock and attaching a white light to identify threats in the dark.

2. Handgun

The actual brand is not important, but I recommend something reliable with a minimum caliber of 38 special or 380 ACP.

For residents in areas of the country where gun ownership is restricted, I highly recommend choosing the same type of pistol and ammunition in use by local law enforcement, if permitted.

The only other requirement I look for is a rail to mount a flashlight and perhaps the addition of fiber optic sights (tritium night sights are largely useless outside of dawn and dusk).Backup handgun

3. Backup handgun

The First 5 Guns You Should Buy For Home Defense

Image source: Pixabay.com

Sometimes a more discreet handgun is needed. Maybe one that can be quickly dropped in the pocket of a robe when answering the door or checking on a strange noise in the basement. For this I prefer a five-shot revolver chambered in 38 Special with an interior or concealed hammer.

4. Rifle

It may seem like overkill for home defense, but sometimes your home or business may be attacked by multiple opponents – particularly in a riot-type situation. And threats may appear beyond 25 feet, with rifles of their own.

This is rare, but it can happen and when it does an AR-15 variant may be more comforting than a 380 ACP pistol.

I like to keep my rifles simple with a mounted flashlight, sling and usually a sight of some type.

5. Pistol caliber carbine

A rifle chambered in a handgun caliber may seem like an unusual choice as the extra barrel length seldom offers a ballistic advantage. But optics or simply the longer sight radius and stable shooting platform makes these carbines more accurate. Also, they can be legally bought by adults 18 and over. In certain areas, handguns cannot be purchased until a person is 21.

I recommend various AR-15 carbines chambered in 9mm: the KRISS Vector in 9mm or 45 ACP, or various lever-action rifles chambered in 357 Magnum or 45 Colt.

The disadvantages of the long gun come into play when the homeowner needs to call 911 yet still remain armed. For this reason, I recommend the use of slings – or even a pistol grip – to hold and control the weapon with one hand while calling the police.

What would you add to the list? Share your gun advice in the section below:

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The 5 Best New Pistols You Can Buy For Under $500

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The 5 Best New Pistols You Can Buy For Under $500

Stoeger Cougar. Image source: YouTube

Purchasing a new pistol does not need to be an expensive or complicated task. Some buyers are under the impression that you need to spend more than $1000 on a handgun — and then another $1000 to bring it up to standards.

While this may make for a nice-to-have pistol, it is definitely not a “need-to-have” item. In fact, there are a good number of brand-new firearms that can be had for under $500 that will serve you well, without going the route of the “used gun counter” or bargain basement pieces made by questionable manufacturers.

1. Sig Sauer P250

That is not a misprint. Sig Sauer offers a handgun for less than $500 that is extremely advanced for the price point. The P250 is a double-action-only style pistol with a modular system that allows the shooter to change to different calibers, barrel lengths, grip sizes, etc.

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It may not be the US Navy SEAL’s pistol of choice, but is built in the same factory by the same skilled workers who make those very pistols.

The P250 can be had in 9mm, 357 SIG, 40 S&W, 45 ACP and 380 ACP. For less than $500 including tax, a new owner can walk out the door of his favorite gun shop with a Sig pistol, including a holster and two magazines.

2. Smith & Wesson SD9VE

As one of America’s oldest arms makers, Smith & Wesson is known for its history in building revolvers, but the company produces a variety of quality semi-automatic pistols as well.

The SD9VE is considered a budget model handgun, as it can often be found for less than $400. It is a polymer framed striker-fired 9mm pistol with a magazine capacity of 16 rounds.

Developed in the 1990s as the SIGMA, Smith & Wesson is said to have invested millions of dollars and countless man hours into researching the shape of the human hand in order to develop the grip profile on this pistol.

S&W has concentrated more of the company’s efforts toward the M&P series, but do not let the low price of this pistol fool you. They are reliable, accurate and affordable. They are just not intended to be “heirloom guns.”

3. Ruger LC9

Image source: cheaperthandirt.com

Ruger LC9. Image source: cheaperthandirt.com

Ruger has been making firearms for over 50 years, and while they were mostly known for sporting guns designed for hunting or competitive shooting, they entered the personal defense market in a big way around 2010 or so.

The LC9 is a striker-fired 9mm defensive handgun with a fiberglass-filled nylon frame that retails for less than $400. Backed by Ruger’s lifetime warranty, these handguns represent tremendous value while providing a reliable and concealable package.

4. Stoeger Cougar

In 1994 Beretta unveiled a new pistol known as the model 8000 or “The Cougar.” It was intended to be a more compact version of the company’s flagship Model 92. With declining sales and the company moving in a different direction with its handguns, the design was given to its subsidiary, Stoeger Firearms, who sent the machining to Turkey and changed it to the Cougar.

It has the same reliable double-action/single-action trigger, tips the scales at 32 ounces and can be had in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. However, it is close to half the price of the Italian-made original at an MSRP of $469.

5. FNS 9C

FNH (Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal) is one of the oldest manufacturers of firearms in the world and is known for producing such spectacular firearms as the M249 SAW, Browning Hi Power, FN P90 and M4 carbines for the US Military.

It’s hard to believe the company produces a handgun that retails for $499 and includes several magazines and other accessories.

The FNS9C is a compact-sized, double-action hammer-fired pistol that takes a 17-round magazine and comes equipped with a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories.

Out-of-the-box accuracy is exceptional, and the hammer gives the shooter a “second strike” capability that striker-fired pistols do not offer.

These five pistols are proven designs by top tier manufacturers that offer affordability due to their polymer frames in four cases, or overseas manufacture in the case of the one non-polymer framed handgun.

Accessories and ammunition are available for all of them, and they will keep you well-armed without breaking the bank.

What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The Best Used Budget Pistols You Can Buy (For Around $300)

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The Best Used Budget Pistols You Can Buy (For Around $300)

CZ-75. Image source: wikipedia

If you’re into self-defense, one item that cannot go overlooked is the budget-priced handgun. You might treasure your $800 Sig P226 or custom 1911, but there are times when something else is more appropriate.

We are not talking about “cheap pistols made from spurious materials,” but rather proven platforms that can be had for a fraction of the price of new state-of-the-art handguns. The reasons for these types of firearms are many, and we will examine each one of them.

In today’s day and age, not everyone has the means to buy a $1,000 pistol and heap the same amount in custom work on top of it. For the average working-class shooter who has to provide for a family, make the rent, factor in car repairs or gas to work, there is simply a matter of balancing the household budget — and the difference between a few hundred dollars can look like financial ruin.

But there are many other reasons you should consider a budget pistol. For starters, it could be stolen. This is more the idea of: “If my handgun is stolen out of my car or luggage, do I want to be out $1000 or $350?”

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My advice: Don’t leave a firearm in a vehicle. For many years I did (a police trade-in Smith & Wesson Model 6906) and one fateful day it was stolen. However, some people insist on doing this and in those cases a cheaper alternative is preferable.

Another consideration: Should your pistol be used in self-defense, depending upon the jurisdiction, it may be taken away from you as evidence. In the day and age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it may bring friends or family members of the assailant to your door looking for revenge. It makes sense to have another alternative, if necessary.

So What Are We Talking About?

Ten or 20 years ago, this would have been about the “police revolver.” Nowadays, though, those old police trade-in revolvers are appreciating as collector’s items and some of our budget handguns may do that as well, but this is not a collector speculation article. This is about choosing something viable to save your life.Beretta

Beretta

The Best Used Budget Pistols You Can Buy (For Around $300)

Beretta 92 FS Image source: Wikipedia

The hottest handgun of the 1980s has been turning up as a “police trade-in” from a variety of sources. One of the best deals is the Beretta 92S that were former Italian police pistols. These double-action 9mm auto-loaders resemble the same pistols used by the US Military with a few exceptions: a European-style magazine release, different magazines and a safety mounted on the left side only. I have seen these pistols offered as low as $229. It may not be an ideal concealed carry piece, but I would take it over a Hi-Point for home defense any day of the week.

For a little bit more money, genuine Model 92 FS pistols have been coming in from various departments that are a little rougher condition-wise, but the upgrades such as night sights, the ambi-safety and the US mag release puts them in the $300-$400 range.

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On the smaller side, various Beretta model 84s and 85s in 380 ACP have been turning up from former Israeli police service. A seven-shot 380 like the Model 85 for $300 may not sound very attractive, as these pistols run on the large size, but the Model 84’s double-stacked magazine holds 13 rounds.CZ

CZ

From CZ and Tanfoglio there are a number of double-action pistols hitting the surplus market for the same price point as the Berettas. Like the Berettas, they can be had from Aim Surplus, Southern Ohio Gun and CDI Sales.

The CZ75 is a classic design that is reliable, and spare parts and magazines are always in supply. Even if an actual CZ75 is not available, the Italian-made Tanfoglio clones, sometimes imported by EAA, can be had for very reasonable prices. Likewise, there are the reliable Jericho pistols made in Israel that operate on the same principle.

I have found the Tanfoglios as cheap as $225 in a little rougher shape finish-wise with some minor pitting, but this is for a dependable and accurate pistol, not an heirloom piece intended to be left in the safe.

Others

Working guns can come from the ranks of Glock, SIG and Smith & Wesson that were former police pistols. The prices may run a little higher, but magazines and spare parts are still widely available for these fine handguns. Some may show holster wear or have department markings on them, but they are usually just a casualty of either a department upgrade to a new caliber or more modern generation.

There are lots of options out there and while it might be comforting to have several high-end pistols at your disposal, do not be so quick to turn your nose up at a bargain priced pistol that is still completely functional and relevant.

What pistols would you add to the list? Share your advice in the section below:

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The Dirt-Cheap Survival Ammo You’ll Want In A Crisis

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The Dirt-Cheap Survival Ammo You’ll Want In A Crisis

Image source: thehighroad.org

If you are preparing for any contingency, whether simply surviving a disaster or getting ready for the collapse of civilization, there is one ammo you need above all others.

It is the .22 long rifle (.22 LR).

I discovered the .22 rather late in my shooting career. Growing up in New York City did not afford me the simple pleasure of going into the woods with a .22 like millions of other youngsters. Our first firearms as teenagers were the M16A2, M249 SAW and M1911, courtesy of the US Marine Corps.

We dismissed the .22 LR as something a child would shoot. We were content with center-fire cartridges in both rifle and pistol until it was pointed out how cheap and available .22s were. That may not always be the case these days, but in the mid-1990s it was true enough.

Admittedly, the .22 LR is not the best choice for a self-defense scenario. This is due in part to the finicky nature of certain brands of ammunition as well as certain firearms chambered in .22 LR and its marginal ballistics.

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However, in a true survival situation you often need a firearm for more than self-defense or big-game hunting.

One of the things we saw after Hurricane Sandy was that the flooding drove rats, mice, possums and other vermin from their lairs and into the habitats of people. For this reason alone, a .22 LR pistol or rifle is a necessity.

Hunting big game animals with a rim fire round is illegal throughout most of the US because the round typically lacks the power to kill a large animal humanely when shot at a distance. Rounds that miss the intended target or penetrate can pose a hazard to others for up to a mile.

In all actuality, a .22 LR is effective on big game with proper shot placement. More than one poacher has been caught using a .22 LR since its invention, and ranchers routinely slaughter their cattle for butchering with a single shot.

The Dirt-Cheap Survival Ammo You’ll Want In A Crisis

Image source: wikipedia

Likewise, .22 can be suitable for self-defense, particularly when fired from a rifle yielding greater accuracy and improved velocity.

In a genuine survival scenario, many people will take refuge outside the cities and rely on nature for food. This has the potential to severely decimate local deer herds. Stockpiles of full-sized rifle calibers will be useless to hunt smaller sources of food, such as squirrels.

Speaking of stockpiles, the small size and weight of the round allows them to be stored more easily than center-fire ammunition. For example, 1,000 rounds weigh less than three loaded AR-15 magazines.

Above all else, the .22 LR is quiet and can be easily suppressed with a silencer if you have one available to you (and if it’s legal where you live).

Keep in mind that when choosing a firearm you should consider the user’s abilities. For example, we find the various Ruger target pistols to be accurate and reliable, but we are terrible at getting them back together (tearing them down is the easy part). So I would not not include one in my preps.

On the other hand, I prefer the Ruger 10/22 rifle and have found a Beretta Model 71, Smith & Wesson Model 41 and Smith & Wesson Model 17 to be my personal favorites from an accuracy, reliability and maintenance standpoint.

If you have a few .22s in your possession, you are way ahead of the curve. If you have not considered the full scope of their utility, you may want to revisit them.

Are you a .22 long rifle fan? Or is there a different gun you’d prefer? Share your thoughts on the .22 LR in the section below:

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