Taking Aim at Concealed Carry Bob Hawkins “The APN Report“ Audio in player below! No topic seems to draw more fire (sic) from both sides of an issue than the right to keep arms. When it comes to opinionated debate, any discussion involving personal defense can be counted on to be full of passion, since … Continue reading Taking Aim at Concealed Carry!
A firearm is a critical defensive tool to have in your survival kit, but there are a wide variety of non-firearm alternatives available on the market.
While a gun might be your first and best defensive option, it has some drawbacks, too. One of the biggest is noise – guns are loud, and even suppressed firearms are fairly noisy. Shooting an unsuppressed firearm can cause severe hearing damage, give away your location to an imminent threat, or scare away wild game that you are trying to hunt.
Another downside is that firearms need ammunition to function – without it, your expensive new gun is just a menacing-looking paperweight. Your supply of ammunition is limited by its cost, the amount of space you have to store it, and (in survival situations that require you to leave your home) the weight you can carry. Consequently, you may only have a limited amount of ammunition on hand when your survival plan needs to be put into play. You should consider purchasing one or more non-firearm defensive tools if:
- You want a backup to your firearm in case you run out of ammunition.
- You want a quiet defensive tool.
- You cannot carry a gun in some locations.
- You have moral, philosophical or ideological objections to the use of firearms.
This article will discuss your options for purchasing alternative defensive tools to add to your bug-out bag or emergency stash. Remember: You will need to practice and become proficient with any defensive tool to ensure that you can operate it effectively when a disaster strikes.
1. A crossbow or compound bow.
While crossbows and compound bows are traditionally used for hunting, they also can be used as a defensive tool. While not as effective as a firearm, a good crossbow or compound bow will provide lethal accuracy out to 60 yards without the loud report of a gunshot. A well-constructed entry level crossbow (firing at 300fps or greater) will typically cost around $500, though lower-powered variants can be purchased for much less. Entry level compound bows firing at 300fps or greater will typically start at $200, and go up from there. You will want to purchase a case, spare bolts or arrows, replacement arrowheads, spare bow strings, and bow wax.
2. A survival bow.
As with the crossbow or compound bow, a survival bow is a hunting tool that can double as a defensive weapon. Unlike compound bows, a survival bow can be disassembled easily, and stored in a small pouch or carrying case. Aside from its ability to be disassembled for compact storage, the main benefit of the survival bow is its simple design when compared to a compound bow. However, survival bows are not as easy to shoot as compound bows because they have a much heavier draw. Your bow should have a minimum of a 40-pound draw – if the manufacturer doesn’t provide you with draw information, it is likely under the 40-pound mark. A decent survival bow can be purchased for as little as $90.
3. A slingshot.
They can use virtually any small object as ammunition, are compact enough to store virtually anywhere, and are very quiet. Steel ball bearings are the best ammunition for this type of weapon, but marbles, rocks and even steel nuts from a hardware store will function adequately.
While a slingshot may not kill an attacker, it can certainly break bones and cause substantial bodily trauma. The best part is the price – a decent slingshot can be purchased for under $100.
4. A machete.
A machete is a great tool to have in your prep kit, regardless of whether or not you are looking for an alternative to firearms for defending yourself. You can find a high-quality machete for less than $50 at any hardware or sporting goods store. Just remember that machetes are designed to slash, not stab.
5. An expandable baton.
This compact, concealable defensive tool is an excellent choice for close-range defense. The expandable baton is composed of a handle that contains telescoping metal shafts, and a weighted tip.
With the flick of your wrist, the baton expands to its full size, and makes a formidable impact weapon. An entry-level expandable baton can be purchased for around $25, and high-end versions for under $100.
6. A knife.
A fixed-blade knife is an ideal defensive tool because it is designed to withstand a lot of abuse. However, they are harder to store because of their length. Folding knives may not be as durable or reliable as fixed blades, but are good to have because they are easy to store or carry unobtrusively. When looking for a high-quality knife, expect to spend at least $50, maybe more. Some can be purchased for under $20, but their quality and durability may be questionable.
What weapons would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
If you want to be truly prepared for any emergency situation, self-defense is an essential skill set. Preppers, in particular, need to know how to defend themselves during major emergencies, as they will typically be in possession of scarce resources that others will go to great lengths to get. Here are the four fundamental self-defense and combat skills that every prepper needs to know.
Using a Firearm
In a true emergency situation, having to use a firearm—such as a rifle from DSGARMS—for self-defense is always a possibility. Though everyone hopes it never comes to that, it is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. For preppers in areas with wildlife, being able to use a firearm can also help with procuring food. Pick a firearm out and train with it extensively at a gun range. Also be sure to learn proper gun maintenance, as you’ll want your firearm to be in top firing shape should your life ever depend on it.
Basic Martial Arts Proficiency
If you find yourself in an unarmed combat situation, basic martial arts training could very well save your life. For the best in combat preparedness, skip karate and learn a martial art like Israeli Krav Maga or Russian Systema. Both of these martial arts were developed specifically for use in life-or-death modern combat and teach students to survive a fight by any means necessary.
Making a Cell Phone Trip Wire
If you end up in an urban survival situation, there’s a good chance you’ll need to secure a building or space. Installing real alarms may not be an option, but a simple hack with a cheap cell phone, some tape and a piece of paper can produce a functional intruder warning device. Just be sure to keep a spare prepaid phone handy, as you may have trouble finding one once an emergency situation is underway.
Disarming an Armed Opponent
A specialized subset of martial arts skills is the ability to disarm someone with a weapon. Though it’s tricky, knowing how to properly disarm an opponent could save your life in a real combat situation. The best way to develop this skill is to learn the basic techniques and then practice them with a training partner using rubber weapon replicas. With enough repetition, you’ll be able to deploy these techniques under pressure, giving you a good chance at success if you ever have to use them in real life.
Whether or not you end of facing war or famine, these are some very important skills that will definitely come in handy. Choose one of the above skills and try to learn it within the next month or two and you’ll be all the more prepared for any situation that might come
A shotgun is the ideal choice for a home defense firearm for many gun owners. There are great reasons for this: avoidance of over-penetration, slightly less demanding accuracy standards in less-than-perfect shooting conditions, and mighty stopping power. Practically every conversation about home defense shotguns also includes mention of that ominous racking sound—but I hope no one is depending on sound effects to scare off intruders, when real force may be necessary.
Like anything else associated with the word “tactical” these days, a plethora of add-ons are available for defense shotguns, not all of which are really useful. Here, I’ll point out a few that are worth the investment for mounting an effective—and ethical—counterattack with a shotgun.
1. A sling
The larger your property, the more complicated your responsibilities at home, the more a sling makes sense. Being able to navigate space hands-free is a major asset; however, it’s also a good idea to keep your gun with you. A sling lets you do both.
Options for slings and sling mounts are many. From a simple latigo strap threaded through the swivel loops on a hunting rifle (making a two-point configuration that’s easy to shoulder), to a one- or three-point tactical setup that allows more options for the method of carry, this is a highly customizable choice.
Expect to spend $20 to $35 for an entry-level tactical sling. Mounts are generally higher in price, starting at $25 and priced up to $75. Before purchasing a sling/mount set, make sure your shotgun has studs, rails or whatever is needed to attach the mounts. It would seem to go without saying, but make sure the sling’s hardware is a match for what’s on the gun. Paracord is a frequently used accessory for making stiff connections easier to work with, and for making a too-wide sling work with narrow loops or rings.
2. On-board ammunition
Let’s assume your gun’s capacity is more typical, between two and six rounds. Even six rounds may not be enough in dire situations where multiple attackers or poor marksmanship have created the need for more ammo.
Where will more ammo go? As with slings, there are choices. I’ll eliminate things like belt-mounted ammo storage for this discussion, since this is about ammo that’s needed in fast order—so it needs to be in or on the gun.
Extended magazine tubes are one choice, and the shortest distance between need and a hot chamber. Alternative mag tube choices exist for common platforms like the Remington 870, Mossberg 500, and their variants. A couple brands also have manufactured their parts to be compatible with Remington or Mossberg mag tubes, but be sure to check the specs before purchase. Expect to spend $50 to $80 on an extension for a magazine tube.
Not crazy about the idea of modifying your scattergun? One alternative is a cloth cartridge holder, which can stretch over or Velcro onto the buttstock, keeping ammo at the ready. I did find it necessary to secure this sock-like accessory with tape when I used one to prevent it from sliding around. That might be undesirable if you aim to preserve a finished wood stock.
Similar to a cloth cartridge holder, but possibly requiring some modification, is a sidesaddle-type shell carrier. These can be mounted anywhere from the buttstock to the receiver, depending on design, and price can vary from $25 to more than $100, depending on material and capacity.
Left-handed shooters should note that many cartridge storage products are made with a right-hand bias, and may not be usable without modifications.
One advantage of an external ammo storage system is being able to organize, and see, ammunition types in relation to their position on the gun. Methods vary, but some defenders like to have one type of ammo, like buckshot, in the magazine, and birdshot ready in the most available loading position. Perhaps slugs will be in the rearmost position. Storing the shells with primer up or down, or a combination thereof, also can help indicate ammo type in a high-pressure situation.
3. Auxiliary light
It’s your legal and ethical obligation to correctly identify a threat before firing. The handful of tragedies and more near-tragedies that happen annually due to failure to identify the target are inexcusable.
We’re talking about a gun that you’re likely to use in the dark hours. Light is a must for identifying your target. It also might serve as a navigational or signaling aid, but this kind of use should be minimized since, with a weapon-mounted light, the muzzle will cover everything you light up—a shaky proposition from both safety and legal viewpoints; the latter especially applies when outside of your residence.
Wouldn’t a nice flashlight do just as well? Perhaps, but most people aren’t prepared to wield both a flashlight and a long gun while making accurate shots. So a gun-mounted light makes sense, though it cannot avoid the muzzling issue, so that safety rule about keeping your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you’ve decided to shoot applies — in spades.
Entry level long gun-mounted lights begin at around $65. Prices climb rather dramatically after that, with some excellent choices available for less than $200. You’ll want to select a light with a pressure switch — that is, one that you can operate with the hand that’s on the forend, and one that turns off as soon as you release pressure. When someone’s trying to kill you, it’s a good idea not to reveal your position with light more than necessary.
4. Tritium front sight
Least beneficial but still useful of the four items here is a front sight with a tritium insert, which glows in the dark and is visible only behind the gun. Without it, only a silhouette of the front sight will be visible with a weapon-mounted light. This accessory will cost $60-$100, but consider hardware and gunsmith costs. as well. Be sure to practice with any sight system so you know where your shots will impact at typical close-range distances, and adjust your sights accordingly, or adjust your hold if the sights are non-adjustable.
Hopefully. this has given you some ideas of choices to accessorize your home shotgun to make it safer and more effective for defensive use. While these gadgets are useful, having them is only half the equation. Practice, and with that, knowing how to use them in dim light, is equally valuable.
If readers have experience with other shotgun accessories they’re fond of, I’m interested in hearing about them.
Do you have other favorite shotgun accessories? Share your tips in the section below:
Armed defense is always an interesting topic when it comes to prepping, survivalism and suburban homesteading. At the end of the day, I strongly believe in a person’s right to stand their ground and protect themselves. Jim Cobb shares that belief. He has used his latest offering, Prepper’s Armed Defense, as a means of explaining
In a recent article, I read that gun sales, even after the 2016 election, were still running high. Coupled with the Christmas holidays, there is a great possibility that there are quite a few new gun owners out there. That’s a good thing for those of us who support the Second Amendment!
But with gun ownership, no matter why a firearm was purchased, there are some thing that need to be understood and learned, like the proper cleaning of your new firearm. Since I haven’t come across a recent article on Prepper Website, I have decided to put together an article that links to several videos that I think are good for any gun owner to view. Two videos discuss the need to clean your firearm before you shoot it for the first time. This is due to the cosmoline that gun manufacturers put on the firearms before leaving their factory. Most new gun owners don’t know this. The last video is a good generic video on cleaning your pistol. Also, for future article considerations, I have created a short survey to ask gun owners their pistol of choice for home defense and/or concealed carry. And don’t forget to get yourself a pistol cleaning kit and some lube – both which you will find endless debates about online!
Although this first video uses a rifle as their example, know that you will find the same on your new pistol…to varying degrees.
NeverEnuffAmmo does admit that he talks too much for this short video, but you should still watch it!
And here is Iraqveteran8888, with a good generic and basic cleaning video.
I would greatly appreciate it if you would leave me a little info below (type and caliber), for future article considerations, on the pistol you purchased for home defense or your concealed carry handgun.
What You Need To Know Before Purchasing Your First Firearm Purchasing your first handgun is an exciting and sometimes scary experience. Walking into a gun shop for the first time can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different handguns to choose from, it can be difficult to find the one that is right … Continue reading Before Purchasing Your First Firearm!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
The 12-gauge shotgun is one of the most common, most versatile firearms a person can own. The right shotgun can be used for everything from survival hunting to protecting the garden from critters to home defense.
The wide variety of ammo, ranging from powerful slugs to lightweight small game loads, is what makes this weapon so useful, and it should be in the arsenal of any homesteader or survivalist. But having the gun is only half the battle; you need to have the right ammo, and more importantly, the right assortment of ammo. With these five best loads, you will be ready for anything that happens on the homestead.
Perhaps one of the most fearsome loads you can shoot from a shotgun, heavy slugs turn your shotgun into an oversized smoothbore musket. If you have a rifled slug barrel, you gain increased accuracy and a slight increase in range. Even with a regular smooth barrel, you can reliably take shots out to 75 yards or so. There are a great many slugs, ranging from the traditional rifled slug — contrary to popular opinion, the rifling doesn’t aid in accuracy, but merely helps size the slug through various choke sizes — to fancy copper and polymer creations. (Don’t shoot slugs through very tight chokes, because it decreases accuracy and can in rare instances blow up your gun.) One-ounce rifled slugs will do nearly all you want to do. The shotgun is a simple weapon; keep your ammo simple as well.
2. 00 buck
Packing roughly nine .33 caliber pellets into a shell (more with long magnum loads), this is the workhorse of self-defense and hunting ammo. Suitable as the name implies for deer hunting, and absolutely brutal in combat and self-defense, 2 ¾-inch 00 buck is a standard military and police load, as well as a go-to round for home defense.
While not some magical burst of all-destroying lead, the 00 buck load will drop almost any game animal in the Lower 48 and pretty much any two-legged predator in its tracks. The smart homesteader will keep this close at hand for big game hunting and personal protection.
3. #4 buckshot
Used in the Vietnam War by the Navy Seals and others for its impressive ability to cut through heavy foliage and still drop a target, this is somewhat obscure but highly effective round. Delivering about 27 .24 caliber pellets, this cloud of high velocity lead is proven for home defense or hunting. This is my go-to choice for home defense, because I live in a close urban area, and I’d rather have smaller pellets than larger ones punching through my walls in case of a miss or near miss. Either way, my way of thinking is if it was good enough for the jungles of Vietnam, it’s good enough for the jungles of urban America. Shoot a couple of boxes and see if you aren’t convinced, as well.
There are several sizes, and you should probably have some of each. Use the smaller stuff on smaller game and the larger stuff when you need some reach-out-and-touch something. Ranging from the smaller #6 to the somewhat larger #8, birdshot is cheap, reliable and effective. As a bonus, it’s great for casual target shooting, teaching people how to shoot, and practicing with clay pigeons.
5. Non-toxic shot
In most places it is illegal to hunt migratory waterfowl with lead shot, and non-toxic shot is the next-best thing. Responsible hunters know that using non-toxic shot when hunting aids conservation and protects the wildlife we all enjoy. While it can be a bit more expensive than traditional lead shot, non-toxic shot is a must-have round if you hunt duck or geese, or simply want to stop filling your favorite hunting areas with toxic to wildlife lead. We are stewards of nature and owe it to ourselves and our children to hunt responsibly and ethically. Put some non-toxic shot aside, even if you aren’t required to use it. The land you keep clean may be your own.
My home-defense shotgun is loaded with #4 buckshot, and I’ve got ammo cans stuffed full of all sorts of 12-gauge ammo. It’s a mass-produced commodity and I’m not shy about grabbing boxes and cases when they turn up cheap. It is easy to put together the right collection of 12-gauge shells for your needs, and at a fairly low cost. Even heavy slugs and 00 buckshot can be had for less than a dollar a round, and if you handload, even cheaper. Having a 12 gauge is like owning five or six different guns, and all you have to do is change the load you are shooting. Much ink has been spilled over the notion of the “one universal gun” that can do everything, and I’d have to say based off of just these five simple types of shells, the 12-gauge shotgun isn’t too far from that mark.
Do you agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:
If there is one iconic firearm of the 20th century that has come from an American arsenal, it is the M1 Garand.
The rifle that GIs and Marines lugged across Europe, slung through dense jungle and fought with on Korea’s frozen mountains. It saw action in Vietnam, and was given out liberally to many of America’s allies during the Cold War years. During the Vietnam protests, the M1 Garand was again used, this time by the National Guard to quell the riots.
The M1 was designed in the 1920s, perfected in the 1930s, and issued starting in 1937. John Garand, a Canadian by birth, took the better part of two decades to perfect his design and beat out the competition. The rifle, in its final design, incorporated a gas piston-operated semi-automatic action. The M1 was fed from an en-bloc clip (yes a clip, not a magazine in this case) that held eight rounds of .30-06 ammunition. The rifle was both accurate and fast firing, and in fact there was nothing like it in the world that could compete with it at the time.
The M1 gave troops a distinct advantage in WWII, when most of the enemies’ soldiers were still armed with WWI-era bolt-action rifles. The Garand could both lay down fire faster and be reloaded and brought back into battery quicker. Attempts by other nations to field a standard issue semi-automatic rifle failed. Only the German MP-44 Sturmgewehr, the world’s first successful assault rifle, was a better rifle than the American long arm. However, the Germans only produced about a half million MP-44s whereas the US produced over 6 million Garands.
After WWII and the Korean war, the M1 Garand was replaced with the M-14, which was just an updated M1 that fed from a detachable 20-round magazine instead of the 8-round clip. The M-14 also has a selector switch for full automatic fire. The M-14 was a failure as a standard issue rifle. For one, the cartridge it fired, the 7.62x51mm/.308, was simply a downsized .30-06 and was too powerful for full automatic firing from a shoulder-fired small arm. The remaining M1 Garands in stock were rechambered for .308/7.62 and passed to the National Guard, given to allies or sold as surplus to US civilians.
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Today, the M1 has found a home with competition rifle shooters at national matches. It is also a rifle that is passed down from generation to generation and is owned by millions of Americans. Whether chambered in the modern .308 or the more popular .30-06, the M1 is a powerful and somewhat heavy rifle by today’s standards.
While technically not what one would consider a “battle rifle” by modern standards, it is still able to hold its own. The long stroke gas piston action is very reliable. The rifle’s iron sights are very good, easy to use and accurate. The effective range of the Garand, especially shooting .30-06, is out to about 900 yards – although some shooters have hit targets at 1,000-plus yards. Try shooting that far with your AR-15.
Often the question comes up: Is the M1 Garand still a viable option for survival or home defense? Yes, it is, but it does have its disadvantages. Although I would contend that the M1 Garand is vastly superior to the very popular SKS (of which at least 10 million are owned by Americans), it is not superior to the AR-15 or the AKM platforms in a disaster scenario. First, the M1 cannot shoot most commercial .30-06 ammunition unless you use a different gas plug. Using modern hunting ammunition generates more pressure than the Garand was designed for — and it can blow up your rifle.
Surplus ammo can still be found but it is not cheap – around $1 a round. Steel cased and foreign brass cased ammunition loaded to mil-spec is available but not as cheap as the more readily available 5.56x45mm or 7.62x39mm rounds.
The rifle’s 8-round capacity also can be a handicap, as well as the distinctive “ping!” sound the rifle makes when it is empty and ejects the spent en bloc clip. However, the sheer power of a .30-06 round or .308 can be enough to win a gun fight, or end a threat.
So yes, the Garand is still a viable option, albeit a little outdated. It is also expensive. You can buy an AR-15 or AKM for around $500-700 today, while a M1 in good shape will not sell for less than $1,000.
Have you ever used an M1 Garand? Share your thoughts on it in the section below:
I didn’t grow up with guns in the house because my family didn’t live in the continental United States. Due to my Dad’s job, we were all over the globe and living in places that didn’t exactly have Second Amendment rights. However, during my high school years, two of my older buddies were finally of age and could legally go through the process to purchase firearms. We started target shooting. Not advanced shooting classes, but just shooting for fun.
Living near the ocean, we would sometimes go out to remote places where we could shoot into the water. We’d throw empty gallon milk jugs into the water and then do our best to shoot at them while they were bobbing on the waves. This, by the way, wasn’t exactly legal! At other times, we went out into the boonies and shoot at anything we could: soda cans, bowling pins, and even lizards. Those were not easy to hit! They were skinny and constantly moving!
My first advanced shooting class
During this time, I didn’t have any formal training. I just went shooting for the pure fun of it and the personal challenge of getting better each time. That changed during my college years, though, when I was allowed, as a civilian, to participate in a semester-long police firearms training academy. The other civilian was my lizard-shooting buddy, Paul.
It was during this semester that I learned, in a more formal setting, the fundamentals of shooting, and how to effectively shoot shotguns and pistols. This was probably the best firearms education a person could ever have. Our group went out every single Saturday for four straight months. We spent 8 hours on the range, getting about an hour of instruction and then 6-7 hours of shooting drills. I don’t think I even ate lunch on those days! I would be starving on the drive home.
Our 2 instructors were Mr. Hill, with a background in the prison systems and the main firearms instructor for this shooting academy, and Mr. Dennis, a former police/narcotics officer. Mr. Hill was a behemoth of a man and very effective with a shotgun, in particular. Both these instructors lived to shoot — maybe they were married and had families, but guns and shooting seemed to be their first loves. They were determined that not a single student would leave the class without being highly competent in shooting skills and comfortable with their “use of force” decisions.
The muscle memory developed from dozens and dozens of hours of (mostly) handgun shooting remains with me and is ingrained in my body, even after all these years. Techniques I learned to improve my accuracy are still effective, and I’ve taught them to my wife and kids. I feel very, very comfortable with a firearm in my hands, but it wasn’t until I took another class many years later that I was challenged on a whole other level.
Advanced shooting class with a military twist
This time it was, again, my buddy Paul who invited me to join him in an all-day class on a military base where he worked. The invite was irresistible. I would be spending the day with a group of Air Force combat personnel who were preparing to be deployed and were required to take this class in urban warfare. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and nobody questioned my presence or credentials. I kept my mouth shut — definitely a don’t ask, don’t tell situation!
For the first time in my life, I was in a scenario in which live fire was being used and I wasn’t exactly behind the firing line. There was no firing line! We performed exercises in which we were constantly moving and engaging targets, tactical reloading while moving, maintaining communications with team members, and doing all of this under non-stop pressure by the instructors who were screaming and cussing and deriding us. One guy’s gun jammed and the diatribe by the instructor was merciless and, I have to admit, very funny at the time.
Initially, I had the jitters because this was very exciting to me and the setting unfamiliar. I had always wanted to be in a scenario like this — but without being a target by a real criminal with a real gun! Been there, done that.
After a few minutes, my mind and body became accustomed to the adrenaline and excitement. My nerves calmed, my breathing slowed down and became more regulated, and I was able to make the quick decisions and reactions being demanded of me. By the end of that day, even though I had been shooting for years and had received so much instruction and practice, I knew my shooting expertise had reached a new dimension.
Without the many years of casual and formal practice and instruction, there’s no way I would have been ready for such an intense training experience. A few of the Air Force guys in the group left that day realizing they needed more practice. When I think about the low training requirements of nearly all law enforcement officers — this is what they actually need, each and every year as our cities and streets become more dangerous and hostile to police officers, in particular.
Reasons every shooter needs advanced classes
So, why must you take advanced shooting classes? In a real life situation in which self-defense is necessary, you need enough practice hours behind you so that muscle memory is there each and every time you pick up that gun. You won’t be standing behind a line with your pistol on a bench and with a motionless paper target. You need to spend hours under some kind of pressure, so you become comfortable with all aspects of shooting. You’ll have to make lightning quick, on the spot decisions. Everything about shooting, from stance to grip to aim should all be so familiar that the only decision to make is whether or not to pull the trigger.
In my case, my upbringing and where I lived in the world was a little different. I happened to be at the right place and, apparently, had a connection or two that allowed some unique experiences to come my way. However, a good shooting range will offer advanced classes, and I encourage you to take as many as possible. When you find a good instructor, take every class he or she offers. Classes you might consider are concealed carry classes (if allowed in your state), defensive handgun, defensive shotgun, and tactical firearm classes. Courses that integrate mindset, marksmanship, and individual/team tactics under realistic conditions will not fail you.
Prepare to be challenged in every way possible. Your physical endurance will be tested. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and how you react under extreme duress — something that most people never experience in their entire lives. One more tip: be sure to get a good night’s rest the night before. You’ll need it.
Disclaimer: Know your local, state, and applicable federal laws. Shooting at lizards may not be legal where you live and I don’t recommend it anyway!
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.
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:
In this video I am going to show you how to convert a Glock 23 .40 caliber handgun into a 9mm handgun with a simple barrel change. I am also going for a personal “world record” of the process. I do this in 12.96 seconds. It’s not really a world record, but I was just having some fun. You can buy 9mm barrels from GlockStore.com or LoneWolfdist.com. You can also find them on eBay or Amazon. Not all .40 calibers can be converted to 9mm, so make sure you research before you buy a new barrel. Also, keep in mind that you will want to purchase new 9mm magazines for your new rig. The .40 caliber magazines can hold 9mm ammunition, but I find that the gun tends to malfunction quite often, especially if you use cheap ammo like I do. Once again, go ahead and spend the money on some new 9mm magazines. I bought mine from GlockStore.com and am very happy with my purchase. You don’t want to be in a life or death gun fight and not have the best equipment to survive. Why did I do a conversion instead of just buying a separate 9mm handgun you ask??? Because another handgun would cost hundreds more! I feel like I have two handguns for the price of an extra barrel and some magazines (I spent about $150 total). Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave a question in the comments and I will do my best to answer. Have an idea for a video? Leave that in the comments too. Thanks, Coach David Alexander
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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.
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
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.
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:
Keeping your home safe in normal times really isn’t all that hard. Install a deadbolt or two, call your local alarm company and make sure your windows are all locked. That will take care of you for most situations. Of course, that’s in the city, where police can get to you rapidly, and it’s working under the assumption that the criminals you want protection from don’t want to attract attention.
But move out into the country and go off-grid, and the equation changes drastically. An alarm system isn’t going to bring police running, and neighbors probably won’t see what’s going on. Criminals won’t be worried about being caught, because they know that there’s no way the police can get there in time. Add in a disaster situation and you can forget about the police altogether.
People in these situations need to take care of their own home security. Actually, I have to say that we all do, considering that it takes an average of 11 minutes for police to respond to a 911 call, and the average home break-in is over in about 90 seconds. So, in a sense, we’re all off-grid when it comes to security.Start with the Right Alarm
Start with the Right Alarm
The typical alarm company will install a silent alarm, which will call the police if your perimeter is breached. Sensors on doors and windows activate if they are opened (and the alarm is not turned off). Some systems have motion detectors for the interior, as well, in case an intruder manages to bypass the perimeter sensors.
The big fallacy with this sort of system is that it doesn’t activate until the intruder is already entering the home. You don’t want to wait that long. That’s why natural alarms are much better. Dogs, donkeys and guinea hens will all start making a racket the moment that an intruder steps foot on your property.
These aren’t silent alarms that call the police; they are noisy alarms to let you know what is going on. Hearing your natural alarm go off gives you an opportunity to take action, before the intruder enters your home.
You might also want to consider some sort of perimeter alarm, such as trip wires. The problem is that you need to build the trip wire in such a way that you’ll be able to hear it from within the house or anywhere on your property; otherwise, the trip wire doesn’t accomplish a thing.
Harden Your Home
The second step in this process is making it hard for any intruder to get into your home. There’s an old saying that “locks keep honest people honest.” The way that works is that if it is hard enough to break into your home, most people will give up. So, don’t just depend on a deadbolt to keep your home safe; make your doors and windows harder to break through.
The weakness for most entry doors is that the deadbolt goes into the door frame, with the striker plate held in place by ¾-inch screws. The average man can kick through that door, breaking the deadbolt out through the door frame, without much effort. But by changing out the normal striker plate out for a security striker plate, installed with 3 ½-inch long screws, you make it much stronger. Use the same screws for the hinges, and the door becomes very hard to kick open.
Of course, there are other things you can do to strengthen your door, like using a prop against the door. This old-fashioned method of securing a door is as effective today as it ever was. Simply cut a 2×4 or 2×6 to the correct length, to go from below the door knob to the base of the opposite wall. I don’t care how strong someone is — they aren’t going to get that to move.
Windows are usually the weakest access point on any home, simply because they are made of glass. It doesn’t take much to break through a piece of glass, and any rock sitting around will do. But you can make windows much stronger by adding burglar bars or by installing security window film on the inside of the windows. While the film can’t totally stop them from breaking out the window, it will take them long enough that you’ll have time to stick a gun up their nose.
Finally, Be Ready to Repel Boarders
Ultimately, you yourself are the best security for your home. Unless you spend the money to build an indestructible bank vault for a home, there’s always a way to get in for someone who really wants to. Alarms and hardening your home are merely means of giving you time to react. Yes, those things might scare off some intruders, but the really serious ones will come on anyway. That’s when you need to be ready.
Firearms have been called the great equalizer. With them, a small woman becomes able to defeat a large man. When you have firearms and are trained in their use, you become the best security system around. Even if they do manage to get through your hardened door or window, if you meet them with a gun in your hand, you’ve probably already won.
Most criminals aren’t proficient in the use of firearms, but you can’t count on that. Even though they mostly use firearms to intimidate, there are a few that enjoy target shooting, just for the fun of it. So, you can’t count on them being poor shots. What you can count on is your own training. Take the time to learn how to shoot well so that you can beat any criminal at their own game.
Keep in mind that a criminal isn’t going to stand there; they’re going to move and there’s a chance they’re going to shoot back. So, your training must include shooting at moving targets, shooting quickly, shooting while moving, shooting in low light and shooting from cover. Then, and only then, are you truly ready to defend your home from an intruder.
What advice would you add to this story? How would you protect a rural home? Share your home-defense tips in the section below:
The man sat on a chair across the table from me, a phone cradled to his ear, hunched over the clipboard in front of him in an effort to block out the din of the packed arena. He carefully spelled out the letters of my name and address to someone on the other end of the line, and went on to fill in other details.
He was reading the words off a federal form 4473 which I had just filled out and handed back to him. I stood waiting in nervous and happy anticipation while the gun dealer ran my information through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
It wasn’t that I was afraid of anything bad turning up. My background is about as squeaky clean as they come. It wasn’t that I am anti-government, either. It is indeed true that I would rather not share any more information with the government than I have to, including whether or not I drink raw milk or keep farm animals and whether or not I own a gun, but had already resigned myself to the fact that this is the way it’s done.
It was that it was my first-ever gun purchase. Although I am not new to guns — not brand new, anyway — I had never shopped for and purchased one for my own use.
I am not really a “gun person.” But when my husband and I took up homesteading I began to see the usefulness of gun ownership in a whole new light. My husband taught me the basics on his hunting gun — just enough that I might be able to defend myself and my barnyard if I absolutely had to — but I recently began to consider taking it a step further.
The idea of having my own gun crept up on me. It seemed preposterous at first. I mean — me?! Owning a gun?! My husband and I discussed it, and the conversation got serious last summer when livestock predation was on the rise. The firearms available to me were not adequate — they were either too big for my comfort or not accurate enough for the job at hand.
And it wasn’t just the animals that I became concerned about protecting. The world is changing, even way out in rural America where I live. It is becoming the kind of world where we hear about meth labs and opiate addictions in communities startlingly near to us. Violent crimes, home invasions, and robberies are no longer restricted to metropolitan areas.
An elderly lady was beaten in her own home in the next village over from me. Another neighbor had a man walk right into her house — and when confronted, he pretended to have mistaken it for someone else’s home and left. These are anomalies, but that may not always be the case.
I walked into a gun shop one day and began my education. My husband is savvy about guns, but I wanted to learn on my own.
I had done enough research to know I wanted a small shotgun. Between the two generally standard sizes — 12-gauge and 20-gauge — I knew I would prefer the smaller 20-gauge. Shotguns come in an even smaller “410 bore” as well, and I asked some questions that would help me compare and contrast the two smaller options.
Gun aficionados had advised me that a multiple shot is a better choice than single, and that a pump action is best.
What I learned at that first gun shop is that 20-gauges are a lot more common and only slightly more expensive than 410s, but ammo for the smaller gun is a lot more expensive.
“A lot depends on what you’re going to use it for,” the guy explained. If I was going to do a lot of target shooting, cost of ammo was a factor. If it was strictly for the occasional varmint or for self-defense, or “for the house,” as the salesman phrased it, cost of ammo was irrelevant.
The way he talked so casually about a woman owning a gun for self-defense, as if it were the most normal thing in the world, made me feel less self-conscious about it.
He had a wide variety of actions on hand to show me, as well. The “action” of a gun is basically how the shell — in a shotgun — or the bullet — in a rifle or handgun — gets into the chamber. There was a “break action,” where the end of the barrel snaps open and the shells are loaded into side-by-side chambers, and a “lever action” which loads the shell when a handle under the barrel is flipped forward and back. He also showed me pump action guns, which are generally able to store four or five shells in the magazine and load them one by one when an outer casing on the barrel is slid forward and back. There were single shots as well, which is just like it sounds — one shell is loaded right into the chamber.
There are also bolt actions made, but they don’t appear to be common. There are also semi-automatics, but the guy could tell I wasn’t ready to look at or pay for anything like that. Later in my shopping experience, I did consider the merits of semi-automatics. These are firearms which, once the first shell or bullet is loaded, the next one pops into the chamber automatically as soon as the first is shot out. I found a lot of them on the market, which may be because they are popular, or possibly because they are significantly more expensive — usually about twice the price — and the cheaper choices get snapped up first.
I had to chuckle at the pink camo 20-gauge pump shotgun he showed me, regarding it as a novelty. Little did I know in those early shopping stages that — pardon the pun — targeting women is a burgeoning trend. Pink is in!
As a busy homesteader who rarely leaves the farm, there wasn’t much time to focus on gun shopping. In the eight months that slipped past between the time I first made the decision to purchase a firearm and finally doing so, it seemed to me that the selection diminished and the prices rose a bit.
Wandering in and out of gun shops intermittently throughout that period of time, I felt that as a woman shopping alone for a gun, I was mostly treated courteously. I did encounter one gun shop owner who got pretty overbearing and pedantic when I told him I was new to guns. Later, when I went back to the same shop with my very knowledgeable husband, the man was less obnoxious.
I live in a state where guns are easily and legally sold between individuals, and I spent some time exploring that option. By the time I started looking at online classifieds, however, I had come to the realization that a regular-sized gun would not suit me. After handling dozens of guns at shops and a few friends’ guns, it was clear that I needed a short stock at the very least, and perhaps the whole firearm needed to be small.
My husband advised me against a couple of brands — not because there’s anything wrong with them, but just not ones he likes. Factoring that into my search for a youth sized model 20-gauge pump action at a reasonable price, within a reasonable driving distance, made for slim pickings in the personal sales realm.
I ended up finding what I wanted at a gun show. I walked a little taller as I carried my purchase out of the arena, my receipt handy in case security had any questions at the door and almost a little crestfallen when they didn’t.
It can be intimidating to consider buying a gun if you are new to them, and difficult to know where to begin. Based on my experience, I would encourage anyone in that situation to give it a try. Do not be afraid to shop on your own, and treat each encounter as an opportunity to learn, but follow up with your own common sense research and evaluation. Give yourself permission to be new, and do not accept being judged for inexperience or trepidation. No one has the right to treat you as if being uncomfortable around guns is a character flaw — we all start somewhere. If you do have someone in your life whom you trust and is comfortable with guns, get that person’s advice before you make your final choice if you can.
And above all, be safe, and get trained. This article is a about the fun and challenges of buying a gun, and not about safety and training. But please don’t interpret that to mean that those things are not important — they are absolutely crucial and should not be dismissed or minimized.
Whatever your style and whatever your choice, may your journey into gun ownership be fun, productive, and safe.
What advice would you add for women shopping for a gun? Share it in the section below:
There is perhaps no firearm as personal to a hunter, besides the deer rifle, as the shotgun used to take upland game birds. An upland shotgun, like the deer rifle, is truly an extension of the hunter – like a unique signature, as distinct to him as a thumb print. Sure, there are millions of the same model of many shotguns in circulation, but every ding, scratch and memory tells the story of that firearm.
Upland bird hunting is a terrific way to put meat on the table, and it provides hours of good, clean fun for yourself and others. Upland hunting is a challenge, and you need a fast-pointing, light and handy firearm to hunt birds. You also need the skill to pair with the shotgun, as birds are unpredictable and can fly in every direction.
Of course, upland hunting equipment, like any other hunting gear, can be quite costly. The two most expensive parts of any upland gear will be your hunting dog (if you run a gun dog) and your shotgun. I am not going to talk to you about man’s best friend today. We’re talking guns. And if you are like me, you probably don’t have a few thousand dollars just laying around to purchase an Italian gun. We will take a look at some excellent upland shotguns for the hunter on a budget, all for around $500.
Some very attractive options for upland hunters are used classic shotguns. These models include Remington Model 10s, Browning A5s, Winchester Model 12s, and the like. While some of these fetch premium prices, others can still be found for under $500 at many pawn and gun shops.
Guns such as the Model 12 Winchester or the Browning A5 are certainly plentiful, while others are much rarer and harder to find.
The Model 12 is as fine a pointing shotgun as you can find, and a well-broken-in gun will have an action that is as smooth as silk. You can still find good examples of these guns under $500, but you will have to hunt for such deals.
The A5 is just as common, and for many decades was the semi-auto that all semi-autos were measured against. The A5 was commonly used by both waterfowl and upland hunters as really the only option for a reliable semi-auto. Like many firearms brought into production in the early 20th century, it was built heavy. The action is recoil-operated, and every pull of the trigger will remind you of that.
Among other classics that are sure pointers are the Remington Models 10 and 31, both of which are pump action classics that can still be found for under $500. An Ithaca Model 37, still produced, is a fine classic to take to the field and has dropped many grouse and pheasant.
Other options are the plethora of used Stevens, Savage, Remington, Browning and other break-action, single- or double-barrel shotguns. Break action tend to be the go-to shotgun in the upland hunting world, as they are quick to point and light to carry. I hunted for years with a beat-up single shot Stevens that pointed like a dream.
When it comes to new guns, there are many options available for today’s upland hunter. From pump guns to over/unders, they are available at many price points.
If you are going even to consider a pump shotgun, I suggest you look at one for more than just the purpose of upland hunting. A pump gun is the ultimate utilitarian firearm (home defense, squirrel, waterfowl, deer hunting), and with that in mind I have only two that I recommend: the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500. Both are under $500, and both are stranded-on-a-desert-island reliable.
They come in a wide range of options, chambering and barrel lengths. I have both guns, and neither one has ever once failed me.
While not as fast pointing as some of the lighter doubles and semi-autos, these two guns will get you in the game fast, and can be used for much more than upland and bird hunting.
It can be a tricky thing to find a good semi-auto for under $500. Unless you are going to buy used, you have few options that I would really advise spending dough on.
I will, however, recommend the CZ 912 and 712 shotguns. These shotguns retail for around $490. Both have good reliability and have been torture-tested up to 1,000 rounds without cleaning. Sure, there have been some lemons but overall the reliability of these guns is what you would expect out of a much more expensive shotgun.
It’s hard to go wrong with a Harrington and Richardson break action Pardner shotgun, but with H&R/New England ceasing production last year, new guns are hard to find. Still, you can find them for under $200, giving you a fast-pointing single shot 16, 20 or 12 gauge that does well for upland.
Another option is Stoeger Condor, which is an import. The Stoeger is a no-frill over under that points, shoots and can take a little abuse. It can be had for around $450. The Stevens 555 over/under is another option for double gun fans, and points well. It is a little north of $500, hovering around the $550 mark.
What shotguns would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:
Josh “The 7P’s of Survival”
It’s time to explore a topic I have only touched on a few times on the show, firearm selection. I know everyone has a passionate opinion on this topic with what they believe is the right weapon to have in ant given circumstance! We will explore selecting a firearm for concealed carry, home defense, hunting/predator protection, and even for a bug out bag or whatever you may call that type of kit.
Granted there will be overlap in categories but I will try to limit my discussion of each particular firearm to a single section. At the onset of the show I will talk about starter weapons which can function across many categories and are generally good weapons to begin your firearm journey with.
I will try not to show favoritism for any particular brands or models (gun selection is intensity personal), but when I’ve had a good or bad experience I may convey those stories (I have a few great warranty stories). Depending on time available we will talk a little about training, accessories, ammo selection and whatever other questions which may arise along the way.
So what are a few of the firearms we will be discussing? 44 magnum revolver, single shot 12 guage, air rifles, 22 lr, AR platform, AK platform and much more!
Join us for The 7P’s of Survival “LIVE SHOW” every Tuesday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “Firearm selection” in player below!
Concealed carry is on the rise, but, unfortunately, we may not always have access to firearms for self-defense.
Below are nine different items that can be used effectively as self-defense weapons. These tools are also small and lightweight so you can carry them easily and discreetly with you wherever you go.
This is probably the first weapon besides a gun that comes to mind. The knife, whether it be a small pocket knife or a larger, fixed-bladed one, is a very commonplace tool because almost everybody has at least one or two of them. While larger knives can draw attention to you, there are plenty of smaller knives that can be easily concealed on your person. I recommend a folding knife with a serrated blade that can be opened and closed quickly.
2. Tactical pen
While it’s true that any pen can technically be used as a stabbing weapon, tactical pens are better for this purpose. Tactical pens differ from regular pens in that they are constructed out of a very durable metal and the end of the pen has a sharp edge that can be used for protection.
3. Pepper or wasp spray
Both pepper and wasp spray are non-lethal weapons that serve as effective deterrents because they inflict significant irritation to the mouth and eyes.
While the active ingredients don’t typically lose their sting and can be stored for a long time, keep in mind they don’t perform well in all conditions, such as rainy weather.
A durable flashlight — such as a My Personal Defender — will hit hard and give you lots of reach, allowing you to fend off assailants with something that has the “punch” of a baseball bat.
The My Personal Defender actually has a telescoping feature that extends it to more than a foot.
5. Stun gun
A stun gun is going to do just as the name suggests and buy you some time to get away to safety. While they are often designed to look like traditional guns, many models are designed to not look like weapons and can be carried discreetly, without drawing attention to yourself. They also work in the rain whereas pepper or wasp spray do not. Of course, they aren’t legal in all states.
6. Keychain knuckles
Keychain knuckles are easily the most effective self-defense weapon that can be attached to your keychain. They have sharp edges and are constructed out of a virtually unbreakable plastic. In addition, they are very lightweight and deliver a brutal punch.
The belt is one of the most common items, and it can be used just as well for self-defense as it can for holding up your pants, but only if you have the right kind of belt and know what you’re doing.
The metal buckle not only delivers damage to an opponent, but can keep him or her at bay if you’ve wrapped the other end around your fist.
Just as there are certain pens that are built for self-defense, there also are umbrellas that are built for the same reason. The difference between self-defense umbrellas and regular ones is that the former are constructed out of a fiberglass material that is both lightweight and offers the same hardness as steel.
If you have literally nothing else to use as a self-defense weapon, look for a rock. You can pick up a rock with a sharp edge to use as a knife-like weapon, or a rounded one to use as a club in your hand.
What items would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
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?”
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
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.
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
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.
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:
A common question of new parents on the homestead is this: “When should I teach my kids about guns?” This is a tricky question, as there is no one right answer.
Generally, age doesn’t matter; maturity of the child does. A 5 year old who is respectful and listens well to instruction can safely be taught firearm basics, while another child may be 14 or 15 before he or she can or should be taught. Therefore, it’s important to use common sense in deciding if your child is mentally mature enough to understand the potential danger of guns and be able to listen to your instructions.
Most parents and authorities on gun safety will agree that children should be taught from a young age to leave firearms alone, unless they have permission from an adult. It’s a good idea to show your kids what firearms you may have in your house to let them become familiar them, in the event they find a gun in or outside of your home. Generally, this can be done when a child is only a few years old. Many parents make the mistake of simply telling a kid, “See this gun? Never touch it!” — and that’s the end of that lesson. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly a good idea for a few reasons.
How often did your parents tell you not to do something — but you did it anyway? In fact, maybe the reason you were pushed to do what you weren’t supposed to was because your parents made it such a big deal not to do it.
The problem with “don’t touch this!” is that it puts curiosity into most kids. There are terrible stories every year of children finding a gun and playing with it, completely oblivious to what they are doing because they were never taught. These events often lead to serious injury or death.
A better way of teaching children respect is to lay out some of your firearms and introduce your kids to them. Tell them a little about each gun and instill some basic firearm safety rules. Allow them to ask questions and let them touch or hold the gun. Explaining the power of a firearm can be difficult for a young child who may not have an understanding of what death is.
Some parents may show their child a hunting video, explaining that when someone uses a gun to shoot a deer (or other game) that it leads to death. Shooting a gun at someone isn’t a video game; what gets shot won’t get back up. How you go about explaining this is up to your personal beliefs. For some hunting families, kids may be brought up with guns at such a young age that they understand very quickly that guns are not toys and they do kill.
Ideally, a child shouldn’t fear guns or become nervous around them, as this isn’t safe, either. Instead, the child should learn that guns are useful tools but need to be treated with the upmost respect. While shooting at targets may be fun and exciting, guns are absolutely not toys and must be handled carefully.
It isn’t a bad idea to begin teaching kids from a very early age about gun safety rules, even if you know the child may not be mentally mature enough to learn how to shoot for years. Depending on how you learned about firearm safety personally, there may be different rules you have memorized. There are many different gun safety rule lists out there, but my two favorites are Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules and the Ten Commandments of Gun Safety. They are as follows:
Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules:
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Ten Commandments of Gun Safety (these may vary depending on the source)
- Treat every gun with the respect due a loaded gun.
- Carry only empty guns, taken down or with the action open, into your car, camp and home.
- Always be sure that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
- Always carry your gun so that you can control the direction of the muzzle.
- Be sure of your target before you pull the trigger.
- Never point a gun at anything you do not want to shoot.
- Never leave your gun unattended unless you unload it first.
- Never climb a tree or a fence with a loaded gun.
- Never shoot at a flat, hard surface or the surface of water.
- Do not mix gunpowder and alcohol.
The Four Rules is a great starting place for educating your child. Teach them to your child and get them to memorize them. Ask them safety questions randomly and see if they don’t just recite words but actually understand the rules. Once safety rules and handling are completely understood by a child, you can move to learn how to safely shoot a gun.
Most parents will start off with airsoft rifles or BB guns before turning to an actual firearm. Starting with a BB gun is never a bad idea and since it is quiet with no recoil, it really helps a child gain confidence. A common mistake in firearm safety is letting a child shoot a gun that is too much for them. The recoil or the loud sound can be intimidating and end up teaching the child to flinch in anticipation when firing a gun. This is a terrible habit and one that is difficult to break.
Once a child is comfortable with a BB gun and is eager to shoot a real gun, a .22 rifle is a great start. They even have child-sized .22s like the Chipmunk and the Crickett. Don’t rush the process of teaching your child how to comfortably and safely shoot. Have fun and be sure they are enjoying themselves. You may be having a blast teaching your child these skills, but it’s a good idea not to nag them or tire them out.
Have you taught your kids firearm safety yet? What age did you learn how to safely handle and fire a gun? Please share your stories and thoughts in the comment section below:
The terrorist atrocity in Paris has had an interesting side-effect here in America: Gun sales are on the rise.
Media reports across the country indicate that gun dealers and authorities who issue weapons permits have seen a significant increase in interest in firearms purchases.
“The line will go clear out the door, wrap around to the courtyard, and I would estimate the amount of phone calls quadruple,” Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus of the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Sheriff’s Office said of concealed carry permit applicants.
Kraus’s office normally processes around 50 applications for permits a day, but handled 104 requests on Monday, November 16, the first day of business after the attacks, TribLive.com reported. On Tuesday, November 17, the office processed even more: 121 permits.
Other locations in the state are seeing a similar pattern.
“It’s 104 for Monday and Tuesday,” Butler County, Pennsylvania, Sheriff Michael T. Slupe said of concealed carry applications. Slupe’s office normally handles around 30 applications each day.
“It’s a reaction from the public and their need to feel safe,” Slupe said of the increase. “When Sandy Hook happened, I was out front (of his office), and we did 100 a day easily.”
Elsewhere, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama also reported that concealed carry permits spiked, TV station WSFA reported.
Gun Sales Boom
Business at the nation’s gun dealers is also up. Jerry McCall, the owner of Texas Guns in San Antonio, told Fox News that sales have increased by 30 percent in the past week. He also said that sales of semi-automatic weapons have increased.
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“A normal firearm is about seven to 10 rounds and what has been selling this last week is 30, 40, 50,” McCall said of the firepower that is in demand. He’s also seeing more first-time customers.
McCall noted that the number of people in his concealed carry class also has doubled.
Record Gun Sales
The spike in firearms purchases is likely to send already record sales to new highs. The number of requests to the National Instant Criminal Background System (NCIS) hit a record high of 1,795,102 in September, Fortune reported. The number rose again to 1,976,759 in October. In fact, requests for NCIS checks have been at record highs for six straight months.
The increase in gun sales is driven by fears of terrorist attacks in the United States and concern that the Paris atrocity could lead to tougher gun laws in the United States. Such action has also taken place in Europe, where the European Union could soon impose a total ban on the sale of semiautomatic rifles to the public, UK Sporting News reported. Some of the Paris attackers were equipped with illegal semiautomatic rifles.
At least one US politician, US Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), already has cited Paris as a justification for more gun control in America, Free Beacon reported.
“And I think it ought to cause us to have another consideration of sensible gun safety laws,” Schakowsky told Tim Farley on SiriusXM’s The Morning Briefing Show on Monday.
Other gun buyers are motivated by just plain fear.
“I don’t want to be with my kids and my family hiding under a table. I want to be protecting us and get out of there and if I had to, try to stop somebody,” said Mary Hernandez, a customer at Texas Guns.
Do you believe more people should buy guns in the face of potential terrorism? Share your thoughts in the section below: