4 Hot New Concealed Carry Revolvers For 2017

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4 Hot New Concealed Carry Revolvers For 2017

Revolvers have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity the past few years and have earned a place in the everyday carry category, especially when considering the reliability and concealability of some models.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most talked-about models that made their debut at this year’s Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas.

1. Colt Cobra

Colt has brought back a classic from the past with the Cobra, a six-shot, 38 special stainless steel revolver that has been redesigned. Colt opened up the trigger guard and straightened out the trigger, which allows for less knuckle impact on the trigger guard, a problem not uncommon on the original Cobra. All Colt revolver cylinders rotate counter-clockwise, which the company says creates a better lockup and consistency in the frame.

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A fiber optic front sight now comes standard, with night sights optional. This nice double-action revolver is offered in a two-inch barrel with a Colt rubberized grip. It’s rated for Plus P ammo. It’s worth a look for anyone considering a revolver for everyday carry. MSRP is $699.

2. S&W 986 Performance Center 9mm

At SHOT Show range day, I was able to handle and shoot Smith & Wesson’s new Performance Center 9mm revolver, which boasts an L-frame, 2.5-inch barrel and is new for 2017. It is a double/single action, seven-shot revolver (moon clips required) with a titanium, non-fluted cylinder and trigger over-travel stop. Other features include a red ramp front sight and adjustable rear sight. Grips are custom wood. The revolver weighs about 32 ounces, unloaded. This new release from Smith &Wesson is an attractive handgun and is easy to shoot, with a nice crisp trigger. It could certainly be a consideration for everyday carry. MSRP is $1,129.

3. Ruger GP100 44 Special

I was fortunate to shoot the new Ruger GP100 offered in 44 Special last fall in Florida, and handled it again at the 2017 SHOT Show. The new Ruger double-action wheelgun has a 3-inch barrel with a fiber optic insert front sight and adjustable rear sight. A stout handgun, the 44 Special is offered in stainless steel and a five-shot cylinder. The 44 Special is a new caliber offering in the classic GP100, a revival of a once-common cartridge. It comes with a Hogue Monogrip, which allows for good purchase when firing. For those wanting a historic cartridge that’s a bit easier in the recoil department and on your pocketbook as compared to the 44 Magnum, take a look at this new Ruger GP100. MSRP is $829.

4. Kimber K6S Stainless

Kimber introduced the K6S 357 revolver in 2016 with a single model. In 2017 they have four new variations of the K6S, primarily with different sight options to include a fiber optic sight and crimson trace grip version. Rear sights on the K6S can be drifted for windage adjustment. This 2-inch barrel, 38 Special/357 Magnum double-action-only revolver is built with concealed carry in mind. It has the flattest design (1.39 inches wide) on the market for a revolver and still allows for 6 shots instead of the more common 5 shot snub-nose models. Some gun experts claim the K6S has the best factory trigger on the market. At 23 ounces, the K6S is comparable in weight to other revolvers in its class and comes with a speed strip when purchased. This is a revolver worthy of serious consideration if you choose to carry a revolver daily. MSRP starts at $899 in the K6S series.

Revolvers are far from being a gun of the past for everyday carry, and in fact may be a better choice for some folks. They are simple to use and rarely have any operational issues. If you don’t own a revolver or have never tried one, you might be missing something worth considering.

Do you own a revolver? Which revolver is your favorite? Share your tips in the section below:

Ammo Supplies: Why You Can’t Relax Just Because Trump Won

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Ammo Supplies: Why You Can’t Relax Just Because Trump Won

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It appears the current political environment concerning guns and ammo may have relaxed a bit. But constant vigilance by all who want to maintain an ammo supply for their favorite firearms should be the norm.

As a current firearms instructor in both civilian and law enforcement venues, it never ceases to amaze me as to how little thought is given to ammo and its availability. In many instances, students often arrive for training reporting they have limited ammo for that day’s range work because they could not find it at the local retailer in the required quantity. Likewise, ammo cost and supply are a constant concern and discussion in the law enforcement arena.

With increasing frequency, ammo is becoming the focus of control efforts by politicians on the local and federal level who view guns — and all associated with them — as evil.

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The following are just a few of the challenges we are facing today when it comes to ongoing ammo acquisitions:

Leave your fingerprint/show a license to purchase ammo. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois and Massachusetts all have passed such laws or are considering them.

Environmental. In a nutshell, the shaky theory holds that lead-based projectiles will compromise certain wildlife species (and humans, too) if ingested or physical exposure occurs. The result is lead-based ammo being restricted or banned.

Public safety. Attempts to eliminate .556 green tip or other “ballistic tip” ammo because it could penetrate all law enforcement body armor. Any high-velocity rifle round has this capability … it’s just political posturing.

Quantity restrictions. In some states, there are many restrictions on purchases of large quantities of ammo via the Internet. In addition, some retailers restrict how much of certain calibers one may purchase at any given time. This is still not uncommon for 22 rimfire ammo.

Import restrictions. There has been much discussion on limiting or banning importation of foreign-made ammo in such highly used cartridges as 7.62×39 and 5.45×39.

Non-availability. Ammo manufactures may limit how often they produce certain calibers based on the market demand. This means you better have laid in a good supply of all necessary reloading components if you need a particular, less common caliber. I personally have encountered difficulty in finding 218 Bee and 348 Winchester. To my knowledge, neither is currently in production. And one that’s around but continues to be difficult to find is 22 Magnum!

So, what are your needs and use for ammo? And how much is enough?  That depends on you. Uses and needs in my world encompass the following: hunting, shooting sports/competition, training, defensive, bartering/investment, and leaving something for kids/grandkids when they find ammunition even harder, costlier and perhaps commercially unavailable to obtain in the future.

Many methods exist for long-term storage. But keep in mind: It must be cool and dry! Also, don’t store all your ammo in one location; spread it out. This provides some degree of insurance against fire, theft and catastrophic events.

Bottom line, if you want to have ammunition available at all times, you need to have a continuous plan for acquiring and replacing it. Just remember that just a few years ago, it wasn’t merely rimfire ammo that became scare; many pistol and rifle calibers also were hard to find!

Can you have too much ammo? That is for you to decide.

What do you think is “too much ammo”? Share your thoughts in the section below:

The Rifle That Makes 1,000-Yard Hits Seem Super-Easy

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The Rifle That Makes 1,000-Yard Hits Seem Super-Easy

Image source: Terry Nelson

The 6.5 Creedmoor centerfire rifle cartridge was introduced by Hornady in 2007. It has taken a few years to catch on, but it has taken off like wildfire.

Earlier in 2016, I had the distinct privilege of being able to test one of Savage Arms’ offerings in the 6.5 Creedmoor — the Model 10 BA Stealth. While hitting a mark at 1,000 yards and beyond is often a sought-after benchmark for rifle shooters, today it has become almost commonplace.

I will have to admit, though, that the 6.5 Creedmoor has made that distance and beyond seem almost too easy. Don’t get me wrong; you have to do your part, especially if you have those nasty crosswinds. With relatively high sectional density and ballistic coefficient, 6.5 mm bullets, in general, are known for their success in rifle competitions. For some loads, the 6.5 mm Creedmoor is capable of duplicating the muzzle velocity or trajectory of the 300 Winchester Magnum with only minimal felt recoil. Along with its success as a competition and target cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor is exploding in popularity in the hunting and tactical markets.

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The primary features of the Savage 10 BA Stealth in 6.5 are:

  • The Rifle That Makes 1,000-Yard Hits Seem Super-Easy

    Image source: Terry Nelson

    Factory blue-printed Savage Action.

  • Monolithic aluminum chassis machined from solid billet.
  • M-LOK forend.
  • One-piece EGW scope rail.
  • Fab Defense GLR-SHOCK six-position buttstock with adjustable cheek piece.
  • A 5/8 x 24 threaded muzzle with protector.
  • Detachable 10-round box magazine.
  • Savage AccuTrigger.

The first day I had the Savage 10 BA Stealth on a long-distance range, I was hitting steel out to 1,000 yards. Admittedly I had the use of good ammo, American Eagle 140gr OTM (open tip match), a great optic — a Bushnell Elite Tactical LRS 6-24x first focal plane scope — and I made use of a good ballistics table. There seems to be quite the discussion on the gun blogs of the effective range of this cartridge, from as little as 400 yards and out to 1,200-plus yards. Suffice it to say with the right ammo, 400 yards is child’s play with 6.5, and in the hands of a good rifleman, 1,000 yards-plus is attainable for many.

There is a wide selection of good factory ammo and volumes of data for reloaders. Muzzle velocities for the 6.5 are in the 2700 to 3200 fps range, depending on bullet weight and load.

With the aforementioned Savage Stealth in 6.5 Creedmoor (Savage offers the Stealth in 308 Winchester, also) I personally took a mule deer in New Mexico this past November during legal deer season. Using Federal Fusion 140 grain soft point, I made a 327-yard uphill, one-shot kill and the deer never moved. I say this while holding the greatest respect to the animal and only to point out that the 6.5 Creedmoor is, in fact, a very suitable cartridge for the hunting environment.

If you’re looking for an ultra-flat shooting cartridge with mild recoil and want to challenge yourself at the 1,000-plus yard mark, the 6.5 Creedmoor is worthy of consideration. And I’m still enjoying the venison sausage in case anyone is wondering!

Have you ever shot anything – even a target — from 1,000 yards? What were you using? Share your tips in the section below:

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A $4.5 Million ‘Meteorite Pistol’? A $10,000 Mammoth Tooth Gun?

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A $4.5 Million ‘Meteorite Pistol’? A $10,000 Mammoth Tooth Gun?

The Big Bang. Image source: Cabot

 

Most serious hand gunners own a 1911 and admire what is considered to be one of the best handgun platforms of all time. It is still widely used in many arenas today, and I carried one for years as a state law enforcement officer.

If you are a 1911 admirer and love the lines and precision of a well-built pistol with that can be called a work of art, then you may want to take a hard look at Cabot Guns.

Cabot is an American company based in Sarver, Pa., with roots in Indiana. While not every Cabot is a one-of-kind, many are. One example is their mirror image, right and left hand set constructed out of a meteorite. Dubbed the “Big Bang” set, this pistol debuted in 2015 and is valued at $4.5 million. Of course, most of us don’t have that kind of money, but their other guns are quite amazing, too.

Cabot 1911s have been nicknamed the Rolls Royce of handguns. Most are milled from a single block of stainless steel. The company prides itself in the use of exclusive or rare materials in grip construction. Their left-handed pistols are engineered to be entirely left-hand oriented, including brass ejection.

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I had the opportunity to talk with general manager Michael Hebor at a shooting event in Florida in the fall of 2016 and again at the SHOT show in Las Vegas this year. At the Florida event I was also fortunate to test fire their Vintage Classic model 1911.

A $4.5 Million ‘Meteorite Pistol’? A $10,000 Mammoth Tooth Gun?

American Joe. Image source: Terry Nelson

The Vintage Classic is just that — a classic 1911 that is finished with a vintage worn look and sports a gold bead front sight and blued finish. Grips on this pistol are Turkish Walnut with other options, including Desert Ironwood and White American Holly. The vintage Classic is priced at $3,995 — not an economy gun by any stretch but certainly in the ballpark of any high-grade, custom-built 1911.

Feeling patriotic? Take a look at the American Joe Commander. It’s a beautiful gun with American flag panel grips with a commander size 4.25-inch barrel, available in 45ACP or 9mm. A brushed stainless finish sports engraving that is a tribute to the enduring strength of America and its industry. The American Joe Commander is $4,500.

A $4.5 Million ‘Meteorite Pistol’? A $10,000 Mammoth Tooth Gun?

Monarch. Image source: Terry Nelson

Want a prehistoric touch? Then you may want to consider the Monarch. This unique 1911 comes with your choice of ancient mammoth grip scales, made from the tooth of a prehistoric wooly mammoth. Other features include a 5-inch national match barrel and a mirror finish, hand-polished slide. The Monarch is priced at $9,950.

How about a mirror image right and left-hand matched pair of 1911s? Cabot offers a selection of these one-of-a-kind sets. Take, for example, the Jones Deluxe. This set offers an exact mirror image right and left hand 1911 set with mammoth tooth grip scales. These are by special order and you can commission Cabot to build the 1911 mirror set to your liking. The set I had the pleasure of photographing at the 2017 SHOT Show was priced at $25,000.

A $4.5 Million ‘Meteorite Pistol’? A $10,000 Mammoth Tooth Gun?

Legend of Sacromonte. Image source: Terry Nelson

Moving up the detail and price scale, The Legend of Sacromonte 1911 pistol is truly one of a kind. Certified master engraver Otto Carver was commissioned by Cabot to create this work of art. Inlaid into the Sacromonte is seven feet of 24-gauge, 24-carat wire and set against a prismatic background of triangular shapes. Thousands of lines were engraved into every available surface of this 1911. Grips are ebony, which brings the gold inlay and engraving to life. Price is set at $50,000.

Cabot has many other offerings and price ranges. If you are an admirer of the 1911 and enjoy history and an artistic touch, then you can’t help but to want to hold one of these pistols. Could it be there is one with your name on it?

Would you want to own a Cabot gun? Share your thoughts in the section below: Choice of Ancient Mammoth Grip Scales

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns For Home Defense. Read More Here.

The Pocket Pistol That Uses 22 Different Calibers

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The Pocket Pistol That Uses 22 Different Calibers

Bond Arms Backup. Image source: Bond Arms

 

Recently I had the opportunity to test a type of handgun that I have had little experience with — the derringer. I crossed paths with the folks from Bond Arms in the fall of 2016 at a media event in Florida and again at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January 2017. A homegrown company in Granbury, Texas, Bond Arms builds derringers with a wide variety of options. Admittedly, a derringer is not my top choice for a carry gun, but if it were, a Bond Arms derringer would be my pick.

I tested the Bond Arms Backup. Perhaps one of the greatest assets of this little gun is the fact that you can easily switch barrels, and thus switch calibers, in less than a minute. In our test, Bond Arms provided their Backup model in 45 ACP. It also comes in 9mm. Along with those were two additional barrels: 45 Long Colt/410 and 22 Magnum. The additional barrels are an added option.

Another Backup is handsome, with a gray bead blasted textured frame in a 2.5-inch barrel and black rubberized grips. All of the Bond’s derringers are over and under barrel two-shot system. While the company does make models without a trigger guard, I liked the fact that the Backup has one.

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At 18.5 ounces, the little gun has some heft which is probably good considering the recoil felt from 45ACP exiting a 2.5-inch barrel. While not excessive, the recoil does not go unnoticed. The 45 Long Colt/410 in a 4.25-inch barrel also displayed significant but manageable recoil. The 9mm and 22 Magnum calibers were both very easy to handle in the recoil department. The company provides an oversized black rubberized grip as an option that I would highly recommend for firing those stouter calibers.

Bond has a wide variety of barrels, from 2.5 to 4.25 inches in both a bead blasted matt and stainless finish. In all, there are 16 barrels and 22 calibers from which to choose. This hammer-fired derringer also has a cross-bolt style safety and a pronounced front sight.

At seven yards, all shots from both the top and bottom barrel were within defensive accuracy standards, easily within an eight-inch target area.

Some advantages of the Bond Arms derringer, which by the way is one of the oldest gun designs in the world, are fairly obvious. Among them: concealability, ease of carry and convenience. Bond Arms has a very nice leather holster that is an added option for all of their derringers.

Disadvantages of a derringer platform would include having to manually cock the hammer and defeat the safety before firing. Also, if using a pocket carry for concealment, the hammer could become a snag point in getting the gun into play. One must be cognizant of the short barrel options and keeping hands and fingers out of the way when getting the derringer out in a hurry.

MSRP on the Bond Arms Backup is in the $450 range. As a pocket or last-ditch gun, Bond Arms derringers provide an alternate choice for folks who may not be able to carry a small revolver or semiauto. It is perhaps one of the most overlooked options for concealed carry today.

Have you ever shot a Bond Arms Backup? Do you like derringers? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The World’s Most Versatile (And Underappreciated) Firearm?

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The World’s Most Versatile (And Overlooked) Firearm ...

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

The shotgun is perhaps the most versatile firearms on the face of the planet. From big game to small game to game birds, a shotgun will do the job. For home defense, the shotgun is more than capable and intimidating. Need a survival gun? The shotgun can cover it all in the most adverse conditions.

The choices of action types, gauges, barrel lengths and stock configurations are also an added incentive for owning a shotgun. Pump action, semi-auto, single or double barrel and even lever actions. The most commonly used gauge today is the 12 gauge, with the 20 gauge being a close second. There are others, but the old 16 gauge seems to have lost its popularity. Another, the 28 gauge, is primarily used by upland game bird hunters. The 10 gauge is a rarity in today’s times.

Let’s take a look at some specific uses for the shotgun today and my top choice for an overall shotgun.

Hunting

No surprise here. The shotgun has been used in this realm for more than 150 years. I personally have taken everything, including small game, varmints and big game. While the hunting of game birds is probably the most thought-of use for a shotgun when hunting, there are numerous other hunting uses. Use buckshot and you now have a viable option for critters such as coyotes, foxes, hogs and even big game at close distances. Deer hunters have long used a shotgun coupled with rifled slugs. Slugs are completely capable of taking larger game to include bear and elk. Distance is the only limitation for the shotgun and slugs, but the 100-yard mark is certainly within its capabilities.

Self-Defense

It has been in use for decades by police and military and the everyday citizen to protect and defend. The fact that the shotgun comes in so many configurations and offers such a wide range of ammunition choices makes it hard to beat.

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The World’s Most Versatile (And Overlooked) Firearm ...

Image source: Pixabay.com

Consider adding an ammo carrier, sling and a light to your home defense shotgun. These add-ons will greatly enhance the defensive use of your smoothbore, but in the end these items are not absolutely critical for the home defender. It would benefit the defensive-minded citizen to obtain some credible training and recommendations in this category before proceeding too far down the road.

Survival  

It should be apparent that the shotgun has to be a top contender for an all-around survival gun; there is one in my vehicle at all times.

Consider the following. With the right selection of ammo, I can take winged game, small game, big game, defend myself and home from all manner of unwelcome visitors out to a distance of at least 100 yards, breech a door, launch tear gas (within legalities, of course) and create a high level of anxiety in anyone determined to do harm to me or my family. Another viable attribute is the durability of a good shotgun. It is generally very weather and harsh condition resistant — a good quality for any survival gun.

Other attributes include switching out barrels, chokes and the addition or deletion of any tactical option with ease. Areas of concern surrounding the shotgun for some folks could be weight, recoil and length. But in today’s world there are enough variations to fit most any person’s needs and abilities.

My personal pick for one shotgun to do it all: a Remington 870 pump action, 18-inch barrel, 3-inch chamber, extended magazine tube, interchangeable chokes with a ghost ring-style iron sight system. I prefer a butt stock ammo carrier and a two-point sling. A side rail or comparable attachment point for a light would be a nice option. I can live without a red dot or other optic system.

In today’s world of short-barreled rifles and high capacity magazines, the shotgun is often overlooked. Even many police agencies have eliminated it from their armory – which is a mistake, in my opinion.

Don’t have a shotgun? Get one!

Do you believe the shotgun is the ultimate survival gun? Share your thoughts in the section below:   

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5 Ways Your Gear Can Cause You To Lose A Gun Fight

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5 Ways Your Gear Can Cause You To Lose A Gun Fight

Image source: Glock.com

When training new shooters, especially rookie law enforcement officers or those new to concealed carry, I always provide a solid foundation of basic marksmanship.

There is, however, another critical element of preparedness and training for those relying on a firearm for defensive purposes. When I started out many years ago in a law enforcement career, my training sergeant left me with a quote I will never forget: “Don’t let your equipment defeat you.” I find myself constantly using that doctrine still today, for both myself and students. Due to the constant new choices and technology for all firearms-related gear, it applies now more than ever.

So what, exactly, am I referencing? Simply put, do not allow your selection of equipment to be a hurdle to success in defending yourself. Tools must be deployed effectively and quickly when your life or the lives of others are at risk. If the gear you utilize for concealed carry impedes your ability to respond and deploy accurate fire … then that gear may in fact defeat you. Put another way, your gear can lead to a deadly encounter.

The following are areas where I regularly see students struggling with their concealed carry gear.

1. Belt and holster system

How may your carry system defeat you? By not allowing you to access your firearm quickly, wearing your gun in a way that others can access it, having too many retention devices to defeat in order to get the gun into play, or forcing you to draw in ways to which you’re not accustomed. These are but a few of the issues that can occur.

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Your holster or carry system must secure the handgun properly. That means retaining the gun in a way that prevents unintentional loss to gravity or another person, while giving you easy, rapid access. The shortest path to such a system is a sturdy belt and holster for waistline carry or a designated compartment for off-body carry (purse, pack, brief case, etc.). You must train with the holster system that you intend to use on a daily basis.

2. Magazines

How may your magazines defeat you? By not feeding ammunition properly, not allowing the slide to lock back, and possibly interfering with ejection/extraction. Again, to mention but a few!

I like to address the magazine separately because it is critical to proper functioning. My suggestion: Use good, factory-made magazines for your defensive pistol, and test them! There are some excellent aftermarket mags for certain handgun platforms, but day in and day out, I use original factory mags for everyday carry.

After hard use in training you may want to consider having a second set of mags for everyday carry. Inspect your mags and never hesitate to replace if needed. Also, consider carrying a spare magazine for your carry pistol — something I rarely see CC folks do.

Revolver carriers must make sure that their speed loaders and/or speed strips match the revolver they carry.

3. Ammunition

5 Ways Your Gear Can Cause You To Lose A Gun Fight

Image source: Pixabay.com

How may ammunition defeat you? There are two ways – by not cycling in your handgun of choice or not firing when you pull the trigger. There are a variety of causes; most commonly it’s old ammo, hard primers, poorly made reloads, etc.

Another cause is human-induced and may seem obvious, but I have seen it often enough to mention: inattention or misunderstanding of the caliber of ammunition your handgun requires. This can, of course, lead to injury to both shooter and gun.

Most folks train with ball/FMJ ammo, as do I. However, I never fail to test the ammunition I carry every day in my sidearm. This is to determine if the ammo will feed and cycle without fail in my carry gun. Anyone who has been shooting a semiauto handgun has probably experienced some failures to feed with certain types of ammo. Some handgun platforms and models are more prone to this than others. Bottom line: Shoot a magazine or cylinder full of that costly defensive ammo, just to make sure.

4. The handgun itself

How may your handgun defeat you? There are lots of ways:

  • Not a good fit for your hand.
  • Too many added features that interfere with reliable operation.
  • Safety and de-cocker mechanisms that the shooter cannot manipulate well, especially under stress.
  • Sights that are barely visible.
  • A magazine release that won’t allow for mags to drop free and clear when an emergency reload is needed.

The choices are endless. Caliber, make and model, single- or double-stack magazines, to name a few. Not to mention the add-ons: night sights, red dot sights, laser, extended mag or slide release, etc.

To me, the simpler and more reliable, the better! Don’t get me wrong: I like some added features (such as night sights), but I can live without most.

5. Failure to train

While training is not equipment, it cannot be minimized. In fact, it may well be the most critical factor. You cannot and most likely will not prevail in a defensive encounter if you have not drawn your carry pistol from its holster under stress. Or you have not fired some rounds down range in the last year. Or you’re using magazines with ammo that you’ve not tested together. Can you clear a handgun malfunction quickly if needed?

Bottom line: Does the handgun go “bang” every time you need it to? Does it have reasonable accuracy? Does it function well with all brands and types of ammo? Are the sights easily visible and highly functional? Is it easy to operate without lots of unnecessary manipulation?

I don’t get wrapped around the axle about caliber. Choose what you shoot well, have confidence in, and train with it often. All this will add up to not letting your equipment defeat you!

What mistakes have you seen concealed carriers make? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The Big, Overlooked Problem With ‘Constitutional Carry’

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The Big, Overlooked Problem With ‘Constitutional Carry’

You have made the decision to obtain your concealed carry license, but is that enough? In all likelihood, no. Don’t get me wrong; I believe in your right to protect yourself and your family. The problem as I see it, though, begins in the requirements to obtain the license to carry in the first place. In other words, I believe in solid training before you carry on your person. If that means mandated training to obtain your concealed carry license, then so be it.

Twelve states now have constitutional carry, meaning no training is required. Others require a simple application that includes a background check and payment. Some require classroom training only, and then there are those who require both classroom and live fire, such as New Mexico and Texas.

In a nutshell, my belief is carry in your home, your property, your business, your car is all fine. But carrying a handgun on your person in the public every day is a responsibility that should be undertaken with solid training. That’s not to say that training can’t help for home, car and property carry; it does.

Little to no training does not fit the bill for the level of safety and judgment required to effectively carry — and therefore plan to use a gun, if necessary — in public. Outside of your private property, it’s not just your life and your family, but perhaps an innocent person’s life (not to mention your life savings) that could be placed at risk when a gun is mishandled.

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Sorry to say that in my experience, even those who have handled firearms their whole life are still a long way from being ready to carry a handgun daily. You are taking on a greater responsibility when you make the decision to carry into the public realm every day.

The following are several ways to address the training concern.

1. Take a credible concealed carry course.

Too often, concealed carry courses are offered with only two to four hours of training and no live fire required. Such a course is absurd, in my opinion. You can’t begin to get a handle on such key issues as gun safety, state laws, conflict avoidance, use of deadly force parameters, and basic defensive shooting in such short timeframes. Any course that is offered with such minimal time requirements and no shooting should be suspect and avoided. Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”

2. Take your training to the next level.

John Farnam, a well-known nationwide firearms trainer, recently said, “Only serious students need apply.” I couldn’t agree more when it comes to serious gun training. Too often, I see students who want to do the bare minimum. Move past this mentality. In today’s world of active shooters, terrorist acts and other real threats, you should be continually proactive in your commitment to training. Beyond concealed carry, look at training such as defensive pistol (to include dim light shooting), force decisions (simulated confrontations) and emergency medical, to mention a few.   

3. Find a credible instructor.

In the last couple of years there has been an explosion of firearms and self-defense instructors. Many have seemingly popped up overnight. Do your homework. Ask for proof of state licensing and accreditation. Does the instructor have a well-established background of instruction in firearms and tactics? While I believe current or past law enforcement and military trainers are some of the best, I don’t believe they hold exclusive rights to imparting solid gun training. In fact, I believe that an instructor that came up through the civilian ranks, so to speak, can provide some of the best connectivity to defensive firearms training for the everyday citizen. However, they still need to show a solid background of instructor credentials and a record of ongoing training themselves, in my estimation.    

4. Challenge yourself.

Once you have established a good foundation of firearms training, keep challenging yourself, both physically and mentally, in your training regimen. Remember: Shooting is a perishable skill. You can’t go to the range only once every year or two and expect to keep your skills honed. Even dry fire practice, along with malfunction clearance and reload drills in a safe environment, can do wonders for keeping skills sharp. The reality is that it’s not hard to hit a bullseye target at three to 10 yards when you’re under no stress. It’s the dynamic of an immediate threat, multiple attackers, dim-light conditions and a pistol malfunction all at once that you should consider training for. In other words, train for worse-case situations.

Carrying a firearm every day for protection of yourself and others is taking your role as a good citizen seriously. Along with that goes the responsibility to be well-trained and educated in the realm of defensive living.

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

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The iPhone-Sized ‘Pocket Pistol’ That Fires Rifle Ammo

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The iPhone-Sized ‘Pocket Pistol’ That Fires Rifle Ammo

PAK1. Image source: Terry Nelson

Missouri-based Heizer Defense makes a selection of unusual derringers that can fit the bill for a range of specialized needs, while having stylized appeal and serious power.

The company is family-owned and operated, and grew from humble beginnings. The family of Charlie Heizer, now 83, escaped Hungary during World War II and relocated to the Midwestern U.S. An engineer and inventor at heart, Heizer became educated as an aerospace engineer. Among his many inventions are a series of derringers — with looks and features entirely unlike others on the market.

On a recent range outing, I had the opportunity to handle and fire two Heizer pistols with rifle-caliber chambering. Who’d have ever thought you could fire a .223 (PAR1) or 7.62 x .39 (PAK1) cartridge from a palm-size pistol? The company also makes a .45 LC/.410 model. The barrels can be interchanged with either the PAK1 or PAR1.

The little guns have a single-shot, break-open action, operated by a zero-profile sliding lever on the left side of the frame. Loading is similar to a shotgun of the same style. The 45 LC model can store two extra rounds in the grip.

The iPhone-Sized ‘Pocket Pistol’ That Fires Rifle Ammo

PAR1

Construction is entirely of U.S.-made stainless steel.

“This is the same steel C-130 landing gear is made of,” said Heizer Defense’s Hedy Heizer.

The trigger is a patented roller-bearing design, with a long, eight-pound pull as a safety feature. (Though I’ll add, safe carry method and finger disciplines are the best safety features.) The molded, non-adjustable sights are small and plain, but usable.

These guns are thin and pancake-like, with a squared profile but rounded edges. The shape is conducive to discreet pocket carry. Overall dimensions are 3 7/8 inches in height, .7 inches in width and 6 3/8 inches in length for both the pocket AR and AK. Weight is 23 ounces. Muzzle velocity for the AK is 1,200 fps and 1,400 fps for the AR.

Heizer guns’ durable construction is made more so by the hammer and other action components contained in the frame. There’s nothing to gather dirt or catch on clothing.

The 7.62 x 39 has a ported barrel for recoil reduction. It’s still snappy. According to Heizer reps, the porting only sacrifices 110 feet per second of muzzle velocity. The .223 recoil is very manageable and would compare to a small frame 45 ACP.

Currently, there’s no holster customized for Heizer guns. Brand representatives were sporting Sticky brand holsters, which seemed to work well. I’m otherwise familiar with this brand, and they are pocket- and waistband-friendly. In essence, the Heizer Derringer is comparable to carrying today’s iPhone.

The PAK1 and PAR1 have the advantages of being light and packable or concealable, while having the truly unique advantage of being able to fire a high power cartridge from a tiny package. Powerful as they are, they’re still manageable to shoot. The Heizer Company recommends not using lacquer-covered ammunition for these guns.

On the downside is the single-shot capacity. If you care to look at it from a weight-to-capacity ratio, it’s a bit heavy. Cost is reasonable at $449 for the PAK1 and $399 for the PAR1.

Personally, I see these little guns as a great last ditch carry gun, or one you can throw in a pack with a bit of ammo for any potential survival circumstance.

Have you shot a Heizer PAK1 or PAR1? What is your favorite pocket pistol? Share your thoughts in the section below:

The Forgotten Handgun Accessory You’ll Need In 60 Percent Of Encounters

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The Forgotten Handgun Accessory You’ll Need In 60 Percent Of Encounters

Image source: Wikipedia

Do you carry a handgun for self-defense? If so, carry a good flashlight. The statistics indicate approximately 60 percent of all confrontations occur in dim light conditions. That does not necessarily mean complete darkness, but rather diminished lighting to the point where your ability to identify the threat is jeopardized. You are responsible for knowing what you’re shooting at and for every round that leaves the muzzle.

Just like a good blade, there are many other reasons defensive-minded folks may want to carry a good light. Defensive strikes, a disorienting strobe, navigation and signaling all come to mind aside from threat identification. High quality pocket carry lights with variable brightness and strobe features are widely available today. There’s no reason not to carry one.

For most, the thought of holding a light and shooting is a daunting thought. Yes, there are weapon-mounted lights and lasers (lasers do not allow for identification), but there are some distinct advantages of a handheld light. One is that you can use a handheld light to search and identify without having to muzzle everyone. This would not be the case with a weapon-mounted light system. Weapon-mounted lights have their place, but you should carry a handheld, as well.

Keeping the above in mind, let’s examine some common methods for using a handheld light and shooting a pistol at the same time.

Harries Technique

This is probably one of the better-known techniques and has been used for years by police. The shooter holds a light with a rear- or side-pressure switch in the support hand, which moves under the gun hand as the weapon is aimed. Back of hands are then pressed together, creating “back of hand to back of hand” isometric tension. This creates a stable platform for shooting.

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A potential downside to this technique is that the light is essentially attached to the gun, similar to a weapon-mounted light. Thus, the shooter must be cognizant of muzzling anything they’re not willing to destroy while searching with light and gun together.

Chapman Technique

A flashlight with a side-mounted pressure switch is most appropriate here. In the support hand, the shooter will hold the light with the thumb already positioned on the pressure switch. The light is then positioned against and parallel to the support side of the pistol. The shooter’s middle, ring and pinky fingers give nearly full support to the shooting hand. In essence, you can obtain almost a full grip while still utilizing the flashlight. Once again, you must be aware of potential muzzling of unintended targets.

Rogers Technique

This method utilizes a rear pressure switch light, having a raised ridge or ring around the tubular housing. The light is held in the support hand between the index and middle fingers, akin to holding a cigar. The shooter pulls the light rearward, pressing the switch into the meaty portion of the palm/base of thumb, thereby activating the pressure switch. A full two-handed grip on the pistol can be obtained with the proper light and some practice. There are specific lights made for this technique. A flashlight with a rear-mounted pressure switch that works well with the Rogers method is the Surefire model G2ZX.

Neck Index

This technique requires you to shoot one handed and utilize the light separately. One benefit is that you can use the light to search and identify without muzzling unintentional targets, keeping your handgun in a low, ready position. There are several variations of this method: jaw index, ear index and cheek index. Use a rear-pressure switch light in the support hand and utilize the neck, jaw line, etc., to lightly rest and aim the light.

FBI Technique

The FBI method involves holding the light in the support hand, away from the body. This allows you to keep the light away from your center in case an assailant shoots into the light. It provides mobility of the support hand and arm to use the light for searching the threat area. This is another one-handed shooting technique that will require some practice.

As with any defensive firearm training method, I recommend the gun owner obtain professional instruction from a credible instructor. Remember that the majority of self-defense encounters occur in dark or at least reduced light conditions. If you choose to be armed, you owe it to yourself and others to become proficient in defensive methods to include shooting with a handheld light.

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Defensive Shooting Positions You Better Master Before It’s Too Late

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Defensive Shooting Positions You Better Master Before It’s Too Late

Image source: Wikimedia

You have made the decision to carry a sidearm on your person or in your vehicle daily. You have selected a handgun and obtained some baseline training, and perhaps shot a qualifying score in a concealed carry class. Your accuracy is good – if you are standing squared up in front of a non-moving target, under little or no stress.

So while you continue to add layer upon layer to your training regiment, consider giving positional shooting a try. This will add to your overall shooting abilities and boost your confidence.

Because many shooters do not practice often from alternate positions, they find shooting accurately can be difficult. These positions can change how you see your sights, grip your handgun, and therefore influence trigger press. Remember, though, that the fundamentals are still the same: stance (alternate stance), grip, sight alignment, sight picture, breathing, trigger press, and follow-through.

Listed here are the positions I believe are practical and will make you a better defensive shooter.

1. Kneeling.

Aside from a good standing position, kneeling is usually the first alternate shooting position I teach to new law enforcement officers. There are at least four kneeling styles commonly taught: speed, braced, California, and extended speed kneel. I prefer the California (both knees on the deck) for greater flexibility in upper torso movement and shooting around cover. The extended kneel (strong side knee on the deck) is a close second and allows for the shooter to recover from the kneeling position quicker. Making yourself a smaller target is also a plus.

2. Sitting.

We spend hours sitting each day — in our vehicles, at work, at a café and the movies … so it would be logical to devote some training time shooting from various seated positions. Getting your handgun into play while seated may well be the biggest challenge — and something you should not assume will be easy under high stress. How and where you carry your pistol will influence quick acquisition and the ability to draw it.

3. Prone.

While not the most likely defensive position to find yourself in, shooting from prone with a handgun is a skill set I want to have. It does, however, offer some unique challenges. Most folks would assume because your body is flat on the ground and you can use both arms and elbows to support the pistol that it would be easy to shoot accurately from this position.

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At 25 yards during training, I see about a 50 percent miss rate from law enforcement officers in the prone. Why? It is not practiced enough and it puts the shooter outside the comfort zone. I teach a rollover prone position that gets the shooter more onto their side and off their diaphragm. This method also allows for resting the head on your bicep instead of straining your neck while lying flat and square on with the target. If you have minimal cover or have something you can get under to shoot from (a vehicle), prone may, in fact, be just the ticket.

4. Supine

I have seen little training devoted to this position. In reality, it’s not all that improbable that you could find yourself on the flat of your back in a confrontation. If so, you may find yourself looking up at an attacker with a knife, bat or some other deadly weapon in their hands. You have only a second or two to react. Shooting at a threat standing over you or having to shoot between your knees from your back as a threat closes in is disconcerting at best. Run some drills with a good instructor while performing these tasks so that your reaction would be “oh yeah, I’ve done this before” if that day ever comes.

5. Using cover or a barricade.

There is little doubt that if you find yourself in an exchange of gunfire that cover will become your friend. Shooting from or around cover, just like the different positions mentioned above, changes how you see your sights and how you grip your pistol, because now you are doing something outside the box, forcing you to become uncomfortable. You must practice it, from standing, kneeling and prone. Use cover when it’s available and if the situation allows for it.

Adding these abilities to your skill set will boost your confidence and make you a better shooter. Along with these shooting positions, you will find that shooting with movement and shooting with one hand will also be advantageous … but that is for another discussion.

What advice would you add for those practicing defensive shooting drills? Share your tips in the section below:

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5 ‘Vehicle Carry’ Carbines That Store Easily … And Will Keep You Safe

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5 ‘Vehicle Carry’ Carbines That Store Easily … And Will Keep You Safe

Image source: YouTube

Let me start by saying that it is your responsibility to know the gun laws of your state and how those laws relate to carrying a firearm in your vehicle. If in doubt, do your research!

For the purposes of this article, I define a carbine as a short rifle with an 18-inch or shorter barrel. The stock may be fixed, collapsible or of folding design. I do not limit this discussion only to semi-auto actions, as you soon will discover.

So why carry a carbine in a vehicle? Because anything I can do with a handgun I can do better with a short rifle. Another reason: I just plain admire and love carbines.

In a vehicle, I have limited space in which to move. If I must fight or defend myself from within or around my mode of transportation, the ability to move with ease can become challenging with all but pistol or carbine. I give myself a huge advantage with the extended barrel length, stock weld to my shoulder and sight radius the carbine offers. Plus, in most cases there is a greater distance and accuracy capability in part due to the high velocity rifle cartridges of most carbines.

There are countless applications for a carbine when it comes to a survival situation. So in my estimation, the carbine has a place in every single vehicle I own. I have carried a carbine for decades while traveling roadways in this country. (I currently reside in a western state that has no law prohibiting a long gun, loaded and accessible, inside the car.)

With all the above in mind, let’s take a look at some possible choices for carbine carry in a vehicle.

1. Trapper model lever action.

Between various manufacturers (Winchester, Henry and Rossi, to mention a few), there are many caliber choices here, including the 357 and 44 Magnum. My choice in the past was the old, trusted 30-30. In the short Trapper model (16-inch barrel), this little lever gun is ideal for carry inside a vehicle. It is also very flat-sided, making it quite simple to position between the seats for easy access. I carried this carbine many miles in this manner, and still do on occasion. In 30-30, it’s an effective cartridge out to around 200-300 yards. If there is a downside to this package, it’s the tubular magazine capacity of five rounds in the 30-30 cartridge.

2. AR platform pistol

Here I am speaking of such platforms like the Sig P516 with the “arm brace.” In the 10-inch barrel, chambered in 5.56, this platform provides wonderful in-vehicle access and mobility while still allowing the shooter to have a point of contact to the shoulder if the need arises. While there have been some discussions as to the legality of this pistol being fired from the shoulder like a carbine, in an immediate threat environment I will opt to do what needs to be done.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

5 ‘Vehicle Carry’ Carbines That Store Easily … And Will Keep You Safe

Image source: Pixabay.com

The “pistol” does come with an ATF compliant letter stating the arm brace is for arm support to the pistol, thereby not requiring a NFA permit due to the short barrel length. There are numerous platforms available that allow for this shortened barrel in conjunction with a non-traditional stock or “pistol brace.” The ability to use a standard 20-, 30- or even 40-round magazine makes these systems ideal for vehicle carry. My condolences to citizens of those states who are under such extreme government regulation that you are not allowed standard magazines for your own defense!

3. M1 30 carbine

This carbine platform has been around since WWII. With an 18-inch barrel and magazine capacity of 15 or 30 rounds, this 30-caliber semi-auto has a muzzle velocity of about 1,990 feet per second. It has seen military and police service around the world. While perhaps not the most ideal cartridge, it certainly fits the bill for a quick access carbine inside a vehicle and is quiet enjoyable to shoot.

4. Kel-Tec Sub2000

Moving into a pistol cartridge in a short carbine (16.25-inch barrel), it would be hard to argue of the maneuverability and ease of access this little package offers. Standard offering is 9mm and 40 S&W. The Sub-2000 uses Glock magazines and consequently will accept the extended 33-round 9mm and the 22-round 40 S&W versions. Another handy feature is the ability of this carbine to fold in half for extreme covert carry. It’s very easily carried between the seat and console right next to you while driving.

5. Kel-Tec CMR-30

Another innovative offering from Kel-Tec is the CMR-30 in 22 Magnum (16-inch barrel). This hot little rim-fire cartridge has been used over the years for everything from bringing in the camp meat to self-defense. I like the CMR-30 because the stock system telescopes flush with the back of the receiver. It comes standard with a 30-round box magazine. Aside from a great vehicle carry gun, if you are thinking survival, couple this with the Kel-Tec PMR-30, the accompanying pistol that takes the same mag, and you have an excellent survival package.

As I previously stated, this is a short list of carbine options available. I do have personal experience with each of the above listed platforms and know they carry well inside a vehicle. Bottom line: Carbine carry in my everyday transportation is the rule, not the exception.

What would you add to the list? Delete from it? Share your firearm advice in the section below:

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Revolver Or Semi-Auto For EDC? — A Policeman’s Perspective

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Revolver Or Semi-Auto For EDC? – A Policeman’s Perspective

Image source: TheFiringLine.com

The choices for an everyday carry (EDC) handgun are endless. Handgun make, model, caliber and double stack vs. single stack are but a few of the questions you will need to answer if you are new to EDC.

And then there is the age-old question: Do I stick with a time-tested revolver or move into the modern era of semi-auto handguns? Below are some of the key considerations when choosing between these two platforms. (My commentary here is for practical EDC guns, and not for competition or hunting.)

Revolvers

I started my career in law enforcement in 1985. At that time in New Mexico, very few law enforcement agencies utilized semi-auto for patrol officers. If the semi-auto was carried by law enforcement in those days, it was almost always the classic 45 ACP 1911.

Therefore, I began my journey of handgun training for defensive purposes with an S&W Revolver in 357 Magnum. (The 44 Magnum was carried by some.) Also at the time, little consideration was given to things like recoil and the fit of the gun to an officer’s hand; if you were a cop you qualified on what they told you and either passed or failed. So, I learned the revolver well, to include speed and tactical reloads and distance shooting. Very few of these skills are adopted today by the average person carrying a revolver, because so few carry one, or they choose not to train.

As I see it, there is a time and place for this action type. I have used almost every well-known make and model of revolver that’s commonly seen today. Let’s take a look at the pluses and minuses.

The Pros

Reliability: Although malfunctions can occur, the revolver is generally very reliable and durable for EDC.

Concealability: Select a small frame, i.e., a 2.5- to 3-inch barrel, and this gun can be easily and effectively concealed.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

Weight: With the advent of lighter materials being used for small frame revolvers, weight is seldom an arguing point.

Caliber offerings: The old standby 38 Special is a classic and probably the most common. But many of the rimless semi-auto offerings are now available, including 32, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. Charter Arms now offers a revolver, called the Pitbull, that works with rimless calibers without the use of moon clips.

Affordability: Many well-known companies are making revolvers. Selections start in the $350 range.

The Cons

concealed_gunReduced round capacity: The average carry revolver has a capacity of five to six rounds. Will you carry a speed loader or a speed strip?

Trigger pull: For some, a double-action trigger pull on a revolver is a drawback. With the average double action coming in around at 12-pounds plus, it can be a challenge for folks with grip strength challenges. I recommend only firing a revolver in double action for defensive purposes, even though many folks want to “cock the hammer.” As most of you know, some revolvers have the hammer bobbed or shrouded where you are unable to cock it.

Short sight radius: There’s little room for error when shooting snub-nosed revolvers past three to five yards. In addition, rear sights are often very minimal on small revolvers.

Semi-Autos

Somewhere around 1990, I was allowed to start carrying a semi-auto handgun for on-duty purposes as a law enforcement officer. My first was a Sig Sauer P220, in 45 ACP. Over the years I have carried everything from 1911s to Smith & Wessons and Glocks (various models of both). Calibers I have carried for law enforcement purposes have ranged from 32 auto to 380, 9mm, 40 S&W, 357 Sig and 45 ACP (the smaller of these for backup purposes only). I have seen a smattering of 10mms carried, as well.

The Pros

Reliability: Today’s semi-autos, although more problematic in some cases than the revolver, are very reliable. Most well-known manufacturers’ models have been very reliable in my experience.

Concealability: As with the revolver, the small- to mid-frame autos are very concealable with the right holster systems. As a whole, the auto allows a person to carry a larger-frame handgun as compared to the revolver.

Weight: Today’s striker-fired autos are all lightweight material, and there are a wide variety of choices to fit every person’s needs.

Caliber offerings: Wide and diverse to meet the EDC needs of anyone.

Magazine capacity: A double-stack, sub-compact or compact semi-auto has double to triple the round count of the revolver. Worth considering!

Affordability: At the lower end of $300 to $350, autos are competitive with the revolver category in cost.

Add-ons: Although the revolver does have some options here, I believe the autos have an edge for choices in the area of mounted light systems, lasers, night sights and part upgrades.

The Cons

Malfunctions: Yes, I know this relates to reliability. Many folks have experienced a malfunction while shooting a semi-auto. Most are related to magazine issues, ammo, maintenance or shooter error. There is a reason Glocks are so popular.

Operation: For those just starting out, the basic operation of the auto can seem formidable. From locking the slide back to loading ammunition in the magazine, it can seem a bit of a challenge. Get with a qualified trainer and you will overcome these obstacles in no time.

I am sure there are other pros and cons for both revolvers and semi-autos. Recoil is one I hear discussed for both categories when I instruct today. The reality is that recoil can be managed with proper grip and some consideration to caliber and ammunition selection.

There is a place for both systems in your EDC, depending on everything from the weather to your attire and confidence/skill level. In the end, I believe it all comes down to what you feel most comfortable with, and then your determination to train well and train often!

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns. Read More Here.