The .300 blackout round has taken the gun enthusiast community by storm. Its been an impressive thing to watch. It has been long understood that the .556 round does not have the power that the 7.62 does. There have been tests and while power is not the defining factor in a rounds proficiency it is …
I will always remember my first firearm. I was 12 years old, and the firearm was a Marlin model 98 .22 long rifle. The rifle-fed from a tubular magazine in the butt stock. It had been my Uncle’s, as had the .12 Gauge break action that was handed down to me. Both guns were old, had little sentimental value since my Uncle was alive and were notoriously unreliable (had not been properly taken care of).
My Dad, not wanting his son to have inferior firearms, went to the local gun shop and picked me up a Remington 870 Express .12 gauge. I opened the package the 870 came in that Christmas. I pulled back the wrapping paper to reveal those beautiful green letters that spelled “Remington,” and I knew it was going to be a good Christmas! I was taller than most boys my age and I could easily handle the .12 gauge. In fact, I lugged that shotgun all through my beginning hunting years as I pursued turkey and deer in upstate New York. To this day it still accompanies me in the field every year for turkey. I’ll never get rid of that shotgun.
The Right Firearm
As a hunter, shooter and firearms instructor I have folks ask me all the time, “What gun should I purchase for my child?” As a father of three, with my oldest just now closing in on the age where they will get their own firearm, I can say there are 50 different answers to this question. My wife and I both hunt and shoot and our children have shown strong interest in both sports.
After teaching young folks how to shoot for years and taking youngsters into the woods on their first hunt on many occasions, I have some very strong opinions. Here are my top picks for a youngster’s first firearm.
1. Davey Crickett .22 long rifle built by Keystone Arms. This is a great rifle for a little one to start shooting at around the age of six. It is smooth, easy to operate and has a solid cross bolt safety. I like the single shot .22 for first-timers because the process of loading a single shot is a great way to instill firearms safety in your child. And your child is going to have to learn to make every shot count. Single shot rifles also are a great way to conserve ammunition in an ever-changing world. One nice little gimmick about these rifles is they come in several different color options, so a boy can go for black or laminate, and a gal can go for pink.
Price Tag: Around $100-$120
2. Remington 572. The iconic Remington pump .22 has been in production for 60 years. Built like a tank and with a silky-smooth action, this is a perfect .22 for the older child/teenager. It costs a pretty penny as .22s go, but this is a rifle your child will have their entire life and will probably be passed down for a few generations to come! This is not the rifle for a first-time shooter, but for an older child or your teen, there is no better choice out there.
Price Tag: Around $550
In my opinion, a child needs to be around 10 or 12 before being taught to shoot a shotgun. Sure, there are some children who start younger, but with the much stouter recoil it can be hard on young ones. Both of my choices are pump shotguns, as they allow for follow-up shots and their heavier weight reduces recoil for small shooters.
3. Mossberg 510 Youth 20 gauge. This is a great little shotgun. It has a 3-plus-1 capacity, adjustable shoulder stock that grows with your child and an assortment of chokes. You also can purchase an adult stock to install when junior gets bigger. I have found these shotguns to be very quick pointers and very handy in the woods. My wife has one with an adult butt stock and I have even borrowed it before for squirrel.
Price Tag: Around $320
4. Remington 870 Express or Wingmaster in either .12 or .20 gauge. This shotgun has much more heft, is quite a bit larger and should only be considered for your growing teenager. For young ladies and smaller-statured teenage boys, a .20 gauge is a fine choice. For those strapping farm boys in your family, get the .12 gauge – they will thank you for it later on. The Express my father gave me has been with me for more than 20 years. The firearm is indestructible and has never failed me. If you want a prettier gun with superior fit and finish, get the Wingmaster model. Either option, this is a gun that will stay in the family.
Price Tag: Around $320
The Game Rifle
5. Rossi Single Shot Youth .223 Rifle. This is my first choice for a young child’s deer rifle. Yes, a .223 can kill up to a deer-sized critter. With this rifle there is no recoil, which is a very attractive thing for a youngster. No, it is not suitable for elk, moose, bear or anything larger than a whitetail. But if you want a first deer rifle, this can work well. It also is great for kids wanting to get into the shooting sports.
Price Tag: Around $250
6. Ruger American Rifle. This is a terrific, cheap and accurate rifle. The trigger is great and the accuracy and relatively-smooth action are also very good. Fitted with a decent optic, you will be very surprised with the rifle’s accuracy. For the older kid or teenager, this is a terrific choice for a first “real game rifle.” For a younger child, I would suggest a chambering in .7mm-08, which is one of the most effective and light kicking cartridges around. For a teenager, I would choose a .270 or .308 for a little heavier punch.
Price Tag: Around $350
What would you add to this list? Take away from the list? Share your opinion in the section below:
The number of concealed carry permits has grown from 8 million in 2008 to just over 16 million in 2018. Most states require a permitfor concealed carry and limit those permits to residents, or a select few statesthrough reciprocity. For example, a concealed carry permit in Texas is also valid in Arizona .There are currently 45 states that havepermissive open carry. As the scales of the gun control debate teeter one way or the other, the visibility of opencarriers has been embraced by many pro-gunactivists to normalize gun ownership. While often acceptable to people who have been raisedaround firearms, it is often a culture shock to those who have not.
As the political spectrum becomes even more polarized, there is less concern on both sides to consider or even care about the sensibilities of people across the political divide. While one’s political party is in power, this may not be a cause for thought. When the political scales tilt – and they always do- it then becomes a majorconcern, and then too late. How the political left tends to react to the sight of openly carried firearms is with anything but antipathy.
By “spooking the straights” it fuels their desires to take the rights to carry anything away. Some are so full of fear at the sight of a gun that they assume the carrier is a mass shooter, calling the police. Others point to a difficulty that police officers have in determining who is and is not a threat, and there have been plenty of instances when police have reacted with zealousness when presented with an open carrier. The situation becomes even more complicated when raceenters the equation. Now it is true that the examples presentedhere may have been antagonistic to the officers – there is a certainlack of empathy on behalf of some carriers not to understandthe situation officers are placed in when they must respond to calls of a person with a gun. And sometimes, the officer may not be as comfortable with you having the gun: this opens opportunities for misunderstandings and accidents. Such instances do not help the cause.
Perhaps this is a goodplace to point out that if you carry, open or concealed, that it is of vital importance to follow an officer’s instructions to the letter when the interactionoccurs. Do not argue about your rights until the officer feels that they have control of the situation: that is what they are trained to do. It is what you would want them to do if you were the one that called them. And while you may win a legal debate with them, you are as likely to end up in cuffsor bruised. You may even end up dead.
Concealed carriers certainly need to follow the same rules of conduct, but they have the benefit of discretion. Many gun control activists will point to the laws of the wild west where guns were not permitted in town while ignoring other facts. The local rules expressly prohibited the carrying of firearms but donot offer instances where people – residents or visitors -were invasively searched. It is not coincidental that pocket pistols such as the Deringer started becoming an actual product in the 1800’s when the rule of these laws began appearing. In such circumstances,the age-old adage “out of sight, out of mind” protected the carriers whether they were law abiding or not.
Even without the politics or the threat of nervous anti-gunnersand potentially under trained police officers, open carry does something else: it paints a bullseye on the back of your head for any potential criminal. Policeare paid to enforce laws; citizensare not. While society benefits from as many enforcers and followers of the law as possible, those of us who are not involvedwith law enforcement authority can complicate matters in a situation, and not necessarily to our benefit. If the badguy does not get the drop on us,we still are faced with the fact that even officers not in uniform may seem likea threat by uniformed responding officers.
Consider the following scenario: you are standing in line at the bankwhen someone decides to rob the bank. You have a concealed carry firearm, but, the robber is not firing his weapon. The money stolenis insured. If you act like the other customers, the whole scary scenario may end in a few minutes with you only having to be a witness to the responding officers. Another result of the situation is that the robber has already shot someone. Perhaps now they will decide to leave no witnesses. At that point, if your firearm is concealed, you have a chance to defend yourself. If your firearmwas not concealed, you mightvery well have been the first one killed.
The political landscape has many gun owners tempted to declare their position proudly, even defiantly. And the open carry movement has gone from a positionof crime deterrence to a political positionof antagonism. Thisis not the scenario in which any of us should introduce an open and visible firearm. Discretion is the better part of valor because discretionis one more tool at our disposal when we carry: leaving the decision to engage in our hands, not the hands of the “bad guy.” So, when you carry, be aware, be considerate, but most importantly, be sensible and choose your battles. Don’t have them chosenfor you.
Analyzed with Certified Behavior Analyst Christian Sawyer
James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!
As a part 2 to our discussion on mass shootings in this nation we are going to bring on Board Certified Behavior Analyst Christian Sawyer to help us weave through some of the darkness that we are seeing in our world. This will be another powerhouse show and a 2 hour time slot. We are going to need about every minute of it, if we hope to further unfold this nightmarish situation of desperate and evil people raising guns against their countrymen.
When you read a headline like this it just begs to be clicked on. Now, of course, I did a little research to assure that this was not just a shameless plug for a weapon. I was pleased to find out that there are a tremendous amount of factors that add up to this being …
CAUTION: This article, and the photos in it, include graphic details about pig slaughter. If you are disturbed by information and images of this nature, please use your own discretion when determining whether to read further.
To read the first entry in this multi-part series on pig processing, start here.
Read More: “Preparing for a Pig Slaughter”
I really love raising pigs. Their innate joy for rolling in the mud, chasing each other around their paddocks, pig-piling, and enjoying long-lingering naps is inspirational to me. I honestly think they can teach us a few things on how to bring more joie de vivre to our human lives.
Unfortunately, not all pigs get to live like this. Some spend their entire lives in spaces so small they can’t run, play, feel the sunshine on their bodies, or use their powerful snouts for digging up dirt and searching for food.
So, whenever someone asks me how I can stand to kill pigs when they are so adorable and affable, I have my answer ready. And here it is.
Mental Preparation for the Slaughter
I have a deep and abiding love for pigs – not just the pigs we raise, but for pigs in general.
I can’t imagine eating a pig that spent its life in industrial squalor. I also can’t stand the idea that these beautiful, domesticated beasts would become hated feral pests, or be forced into extinction, if we stopped eating them. They grow to be hundreds of pounds. Their powerful digging ability, in the wrong locations, can decimate whole ecosystems. Their nearly insatiable appetites for both food and adventure is the reason why packs of feral pigs end up digging through trash in urban shopping areas. Without a cultivated, co-dependent relationships with human care-takers, more and more pigs would quickly become dangerous to us. This is why so many of them are hunted with impunity and hated around the world.
Plain and simple – in my opinion – the best thing for pigs is to be raised on small farms, by farmers who care about their well-being and do have a hard time killing their pigs on slaughter day.
My point in sharing this is not to proselytize my pig views. It’s because, for me, having a genuine love for pigs and meaningful philosophical reasons for raising and slaughtering them is the only way I can face doing the act when the day comes. Coming to terms with my reasons for doing this is my method of mentally preparing for the slaughter.
Preparing Piglets for Slaughter
My other preparations for slaughter day actually start well before that final moment. As soon as a new set of piglets join our farm family, I begin training them by feeding them in a line at the edge of the electric fence.
After a few days of standing close by as they eat, allowing them to become comfortable with my presence, I begin to touch the tops of their heads. At first they shy away, but after a few attempts, they let me scratch behind their ears. In time, we move on to back scratches, then belly rubs.
Petting piglets is a pleasure. Like puppies, they can easily get riled up and start nipping excitedly at your fingers and feet. So, I am really careful not to let this happen. Instead I focus on making them calm with my petting practices. If I am effective, they stretch out like cats do and bask in the affection. Then they flop over on their sides and expose their bellies as a sign of trust.
As much as I enjoy this bonding, it also serves other purposes. It helps if I need to inspect or treat them for health problems. Most importantly though, when their final day comes, our pigs come easily to the fence line for feed. I give them a calming pet on the head and behind the ears, as they put their heads down and eat.
They have no fear of death – not even as we take aim. And if something were to go wrong with our first shot, I can use this established pattern to lull them back to calm quickly so there is no unnecessary suffering.
Only when they are calm and quiet, and distracted by the food in front of them, do we take the shot.
Taking the Shot
When we first started processing pigs, we would stand back some distance and take our time waiting for the perfect shot. We’d seen this on videos and figured this was the best way to do it.
It worked well most of the time. But we had a couple instances of the pigs turning their heads at the last moment and the shot bouncing off their tough forehead plates. The pigs were then frightened and had to be coaxed and calmed for a long time before we could get them back in the slaughter zone. We even saw signs of stress in the meat of one of our pigs.
Now, since I take so much time to tame our pigs from the moment they arrive on our homestead, we stand just a couple feet in front of them and take the shot. This way we don’t miss.
The target for the shot is right between the ears and the eyes. If you draw an “X” in your imagination between these locations and then shoot for the center of the X, the pig will drop on its side and twitch with nervous convulsions.
We use a .22 rifle do to the job. But we suspect that at that close range a .22 handgun might work just as well.
Also, make sure you are not on the downhill side of the pig when you take the shot in case they roll in your direction when they drop.
Bleeding out a Pig
The shot stuns and immobilizes the pig so that you can then use a knife to bleed the pig. You don’t want the pigs to be in pain as they die, but you do want to keep their heart beating until the last of their blood flows from their body. This makes evisceration (gutting) much easier.
There are three common techniques for bleeding out a pig.
Cutting the Carotid Arteries on each Side of the Neck
The first method is to cut the carotid arteries on each side of the neck. The arteries basically run along either side of the throat. Because we like to make jowl bacon, we try to make our cut below the jaw line closer to the clavicle. Then we use that cut as the line for decapitating the pig later.
Since the pig normally drops on one side, you can cut the artery on whichever side is facing up first. The blood will run quickly and thickly if you have cut the artery. If it doesn’t, then you know you have missed and need to cut deeper. To cut the other artery, you usually have to flip the pig to the other side and repeat the procedure.
The pig will die faster if you cut both arteries. However, depending on the size of your pig and how they fell, it’s not always easy to flip them over or get your knife in position to cut the other side. If the pig is bleeding out quickly and shows no signs of suffering, sometimes you can just cut one side and still get a quick death.
Cutting both Carotid Arteries from One Side of the Pig
To get both arteries from one side of the pig, poke your knife through both sides of the neck tissue on the stomach side of the pig. Then face the blade of your knife towards the pig’s throat and cut until you cause both arteries to gush. This is the method most of the “old-timers” (experts of a certain age) seem to use in my area.
Severing all of the Arteries at the Heart Junction
Alternatively, you can severe all the arteries at the juncture where they meet the top of the heart. Plunge the knife in the space between the clavicle and the neck tissue and direct your knife towards the center of the pigs body at an angle until blood gushes. You can see a really simple diagram of the correct angle at this site.
Read More: https://www.hsa.org.uk/bleeding-and-pithing/bleeding
This method is a bit easier than cutting the carotid arteries. However, many people who use this method also tend to puncture the heart. The tissue damage and subsequent clotting can make the heart a little unappetizing if you plan to eat it.
With any of these methods, when the blood begins to slow, you can lift and lower the pig’s front foot to force pump any remaining blood.
After the blood visibly stops flowing, before we drag the pig the few feet to our scaffold area for scalding, we pause to have a moment of silence and honor our now deceased pig. We also let out a sigh of relief at giving our pig the most merciful death we were capable of.
If you are processing more than one pig, you’ll probably be pretty surprised to realize that the other pigs don’t seem at all bothered by the loss of their paddock mate. In fact, they will often come over and push the dead pig out of the way so they can eat any food and blood on the ground.
When things go well, even your last pig of the day still has no concerns about what’s coming. However if things go wrong, such as you miss a shot and one pig squeals in fear, the other pigs do notice, and are wary of you until their moment comes.
We learned this the hard way our first year of raising pigs. Now, we strive never to have our pigs know the fear of death again.
Writing this is nearly as difficult as doing the deed. I have five pigs up in the paddock now who will meet this fate just a couple months from now. So, this seems like a good point to pause and go give them some pets and appreciate their perfect pigness while I can.
Our next installment in this series will cover scalding and evisceration. Then, we’ll move on to butchering. And after that we’ll get to sausage making, ham curing, bacon making, and more. So, stay tuned for more posts to come!
Also, if you feel as we do and want to raise your own pigs, now is the time to start thinking about piglets.
Depending on breed maturity rates, you’ll want to get your piglets about 6-8 months before you plan to process them. Since you want fairly cool, but not freezing temperatures for processing, in many climates, most people starting thinking about getting piglets in spring time to have them ready by fall. Piglets from good breeders tend to sell out quickly, so if raising and processing pigs is on your radar for this year, start looking for your piglet source and get your reservations in early.
If you’ve managed to read this far, I’d love to hear your thoughts on raising and slaughtering pigs at home. Please use the comments section below to share your views, experiences, or ask any questions you may have.
Also, if you’d like to read more on pig processing before we move on in the series, you can check out my earlier posts from my first time processing pigs.
If you like compact and maneuverable carbines in the hot 22 WMR rimfire cartridge, then the Kel-Tec CMR-30 is for you. When Kel-Tec introduced the CMR in .22 WMR, it added another player to their lineup of lightweight, compact rifles. There’s a lot to love about this little gun, and if you combine it with the Kel-Tec PMR-30 pistol (same caliber) you would have a dynamite package for hunting, survival, defense and target shooting.
This carbine barrel is 16.1 inches with a 1 in 16-inch twist. With stock fully extended, the overall length is 30.6 inches. Thanks to mostly aluminum construction, it’s very light, at 3.8 pounds unloaded.
Lots of Features
The CMR is loaded with a wide range of useable features right out of the box. Examining this nice carbine overall you will find:
Adjustable stock. Kel-Tec calls it a four-position stock, but that doesn’t include the fully collapsed position, which shortens the gun to a very portable 22.7 inches. The ambidextrous adjustment lever is located just under the top front of the trigger guard. Operation in my experience has been silent and very smooth.
Metal sling loops on either side of the buttstock. Admittedly, they’re small, but that’s a trait that can be compensated for by using a length of paracord to accommodate larger sling hardware connecting points.
The magazine release, like most other things on this rifle, is ambi-friendly. Its location at the rear lower edge of the mag well takes a little getting used to, however.
Ambidextrous safety. Several folks that shot in testing the CMR are southpaws — and all found the thumb-operated lever convenient.
A textured pistol grip that complements this gun’s pack-ability with its narrow and flat profile. The signature Kel-Tec texture makes keeping a solid grip and shoulder mount easy.
A roomy trigger guard allows for safe operation, even with gloved hands.
Flip-up Magpul rear sight, with aperture that’s adjustable for windage. This (along with its mate up front) is a surprisingly high-end attachment. Regardless of the reason for putting better sights on the CMR-30 than on other Kel-Tec carbines, they did right by the consumer with this choice.
To match the rear sight, the front is a flip-up, Magpul adjustable post. This setup is great for keeping the gun compact, as optics can clear the sights without being mounted extra-high. The sights can thus co-witness with many optic setups.
More Pictatinny rail than you’ll ever use runs the length of the stock, top and bottom. You can add more stuff than you probably need!
Ambidextrous bolt operation, with a charging handle big enough to grab onto and operate quickly to clear a malfunction while keeping the gun shouldered. It’s also there to simply lock the bolt back, though doing that without breaking the firing position would take more work than I’ve put into this gun so far. The lock-back lever isn’t ambi; it’s on the left side only. At first glance it appears the charging handles may reciprocate during firing, endangering fingers. They don’t—they’re only for manually pulling the bolt rearward.
Threaded muzzle, with a good checkered steel cap, allows for quick installation of a suppressor or flash hider. The cap keeps the threads clean and the barrel streamlined without an accessory.
The CMR trigger has a bit of take-up but isn’t heavy or grainy, and the reset is palpable without being match-grade sensitive. Kel-Tec says the weight range is three to five pounds, and it’s not adjustable.
Finally, Kel-Tec provides a full-color, highly detailed owner’s manual. It’s a nice gesture in an age when most manufacturers are issuing dull, generic manuals that drive us to YouTube when it’s time to clean the firearm.
Accuracy and Ammo
Shooting the CMR with a variety of setups was found to be more than acceptable. Especially considering a magnified optic was NOT utilized for a detailed accuracy test.
Ammo types during the trial include CCI TNT Green (lead-free) 30 grain, CCI Maxi-Mag 40 grain, and Hornady Critical Defense 45 grain. All achieved one to one-and-a-half-inch groups at 25 yards, with the TNT Green forming the tightest group of less than an inch. This is not to pass negative judgement on the other loads, as improvised rests used in the prone position, wind and shooter error surely had some effect, as they usually do.
Keep in mind that just a year or so ago 22WMR ammo was quite challenging to find, due to supplies having been bought up over the previous six to eight years because of concerns over gun and ammunition availability. Moral to this story: Keep a very good supply of the calibers of ammo you enjoy shooting and intend to use for all purposes.
The owner’s manual provides rather sternly worded instructions about loading the magazines, and they’re not kidding. Loading the 30-round mag is the only thing inconvenient about operating this gun. Ammo must be loaded from the front of the magazine while sliding the round toward the rear wall of the magazine. The manual recommends tapping the flat backside of the mag on a flat wooden surface every 5-10 rounds. The spring is quite tight, and much pressure is required to load the last 10 rounds. The rounds also tend, at any stage of loading, to get a little off kilter in their double-stack configuration. The four misfeeds experienced during the 125-round test (a three percent failure rate) can probably be attributed to a slightly displaced round near the top of a full magazine. Once you become accustomed to the magazine loading procedure, it’s not that big a deal.
The magazine drops easily from the mag well upon release. This allows one to run speed or tactical reloads without hassle.
Disassembling the CMR-30 is a straightforward process, if unusual in comparison to most common semi-autos. A small pin located on the frame and above the trigger must be pushed through with an improvised pointy object. The grip/trigger assembly separate as one unit, along with the stock, and barrel/bolt assembly which can be separated for cleaning. It’s not intuitive, but once done, it’s easy to repeat.
Mounted with a magnifying optic, zeroed for the shooter’s ammo of choice, the Kel-Tec CMR-30 is a highly portable, dependable and accurate tool for a variety of applications out to at least 100 yards and probably beyond. For shooters whose visual acuity is good, the same is true for using the rifle with its stock sights.
What’s even more attractive is that the CMR-30 companion gun, the Kel-Tec PMR-30, is a full-size pistol of the same caliber and the magazines are the same for both.
Both the CMR and the PRM appear to enjoy a continued high demand. Current retail pricing for the CMR-30 ranges from $450 to $550.
Have you ever shot either of these guns? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Preparing for Gun Control as Responsible Gun Owners
Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!
While we have seen quite a bit of blame laid across the board I have noticed that the AR15 is taking a lot of heat. I have heard some of the solutions proposed and of course, for the average responsible gun owner its all very nerve racking.
No gun owner wants to see children shot and they don’t want to exist in a world where maniacs have access to guns.
When is it OK to Open Fire on Intruders Protecting your family and property is a natural instinct. You keep your guns for that unwanted occasion when uninvited intruders make their way onto your land, and you fully intend to use them. So you should, as it’s your right to protect your family, but when …
CAUTION: This article, and the photos in it, include graphic details about pig slaughter. If you are disturbed by information and images of this nature, please use your own discretion when determining whether to read further.
Raising and processing your own pigs at home is a great way to provision your family with a year’s supply of meat. If you start with weaned piglets that are about eight weeks old, it takes around four to six months to raise your pigs to “market weight,” which is around 250 pounds.
A 250-pound pig, also called a hog, will yield about 140–145 pounds of meat products. Anything you can’t eat, you can trench compost to improve your soil (assuming you have a place on your property at least 50 feet from your wellhead or watershed to dig a trench). And if you want to do some extra processing, you can also grind bones into bonemeal for your garden and make a year’s supply of bone broth to up your protein and gelatin intake.
Raising pigs is the easy part. They simply require adequate space to root inside a really robust electric fence, fresh water, a lot of food, and a three-sided shelter for weather protection.
Training your pigs to the wire when they are small is important, and if you can find piglets that are already wire-trained, that’s even better.
When they are young, or if you raise them through winter, you may also need to give them some bales of straw to use as bedding to help keep them comfortable and avoid weight loss during cold spells.
Planning for the slaughter, though, can be a bit daunting.
Technically, you can field dress a pig, like you would a deer, by basically removing the guts and hide. But, if you plan to make any kind of fancy products like bacon and cured ham or pork rinds, then you really want to think about your setup and plan to have on hand all the necessary equipment that will make your pig slaughter as easy and organized as possible.
Here’s what we do to get ready for our hog processing each year.
Assemble Your Team
One person can slaughter a hog. But we find that having two to four people available to help makes the process a lot easier. And if you plan to make it a whole-day event and do multiple pigs at once, like we do, having more help for shift relief makes things go much faster.
We tend to make our hog killings a bit of a community event by inviting friends interested in learning to come for the experience. However, making sure that you or your helpers have the necessary skills for each task is the most important factor.
We tend to plan our team with the following skills in mind.
If you get in the habit of standing in front of your pigs while you feed them, your shooter will basically be able to shoot the pigs at almost point blank when processing day comes. This way, there is no chance of missing the mark. But, even with such an easy target, an experienced shooter is a good team member to have. We also like to have a second shooter ready just in case something goes wrong with the first shot.
This person sticks the pig in the heart to bleed it out after the shot drops the pig in convulsions. The sticker can also be the shooter, but in this case, you’ll need someone nearby for the shooter to pass the gun to. That person can then put the safety on the gun, and put the gun back in its case so no accidents happen. Alternatively, you can set up a chair, table, or even picnic blanket to set the gun on if your shooter is your sticker and there is no one there to take the gun.
The Heavy Lifters
We personally raise our pigs a bit bigger than 250 pounds, so we like to have two strong people who can help haul the pigs the 15–20 feet from their paddock down to our scaffold.
The Skinner or Skin Scrapers
If you plan to skin your pig, that’s pretty much a one-person job. But if you are scraping, a few extra hands get the job done quicker. Up to four people speed up the process, but if you get more than four sets of hands on the hog at once, you just start running into each other and flinging hair on the person below (yuck).
Gutting is delicate work, but intestines are also heavy. So you want someone with steady knife skills and the ability to hold back 40 pounds of innards with their elbow during the “unzipping.”
Splitting a hog carcass down the spine with a saw is extremely physical work. You can use power saws to make it easier. But it still requires a fair bit of strength and stamina. It’s also a bit easier if you have two other people hold the sides of the carcass to steady it while the person operating the saw cuts through.
You need one skilled butcher who can find their way around a carcass to cut off the bacon, hams, Boston butts, etc., and who can distinguish pork chops and roasts from sausage meat. But after those initial cuts, butchering is the part of the process where more hands really make light work. Quite a bit of hog processing is sausage making, and that means cutting your meat and fat into chunks or strips that will fit in your grinder. There is also a lot of curing and packaging to be done. So if you want to involve people interested in learning, this is the part of the processing where almost anyone can get in on the action.
Prepare Your Equipment
Beyond having the right people with the right skills lined up for your pig slaughter, you also need to prepare your equipment.
We’re minimalists on the equipment front because we like to do things fairly “old school.” But we still have a pretty lengthy list.
Here’s what we use:
- Deboning Knives—For gutting, head removal, and butchering
- Knife Sharpener and Steel—For knife maintenance, as needed
- First Aid Kit—With lots of bandages, disinfectant, and superglue to close skin cuts
- Disposable Gloves—In case you get cuts that bandages won’t stick to and for anyone who prefers to work with gloves
- Three Five-Gallon Buckets—To set up a washing station outdoors; we fill one with soapy water, one with bleach, and one with clean water to use for cleaning equipment, hands, and whatever else you use during processing
For the Kill
- .22 Rifle With Bullets—For stunning the pig
- Sharp-Tipped Knife—For sticking the pig to bleed it out
- Two Ropes—To drag the pig down to our processing area
- Hose—To wash the pig off before scalding
For Scalding and Scraping the Pig
- Scaffold—For elevating the pigs into the scalding vat; a front loader or tripod will also work
- Two Engine Hoists—We hang one over the scalding vat and another next to it to use to hang the pig for gutting. You can also gut the pig on a pallet on the ground if you only have one engine hoist.
- Scalding Vat—Large enough to hold an entire pig, ours is a 250-gallon oil tank cut in half and welded into a horseshoe shape. For smaller pigs, 55-gallon drums work, too.
- Hose With Sprayer Nozzle—With access to a clean water supply for filling scalding vat and using to wash the pig, hands, tools, etc., during processing
- Cinder Blocks—For stabilizing scalding vat
- Chains—For use to agitate the pigs in the scalding vat to keep them from sticking to the bottom (if the flame is on, as it often must be in cold weather)
- Two Gambrels—These are placed through the front and back legs and used to hoist and direct the pigs when lifted and lowered onto the scaffold.
- S-Hooks—For attaching the gambrels to the engine hoists
- Propane Tanks and Burners (or Lots of Wood)—For heating the water in the scalding vat
- Thermometer—For checking water temperature prior to scalding to make sure you reach 150–155ºF
- Bell Scrapers—For scraping the hair from the skin
For Gutting, Beheading, and Splitting
- Bone Saw—For splitting the carcass and cutting through ribs
- Deboning Knife or Knife with Gut-Hook—For gutting
- Twine—To tie up the anus
- Gut Bucket—A really large bucket to catch the guts and store them until you get a chance to take what you need and bury the rest
- Smaller Bucket—For the organs you plan to keep, like the liver, heart, and kidneys
For Butchering, Processing, and Packaging
- Large Cutting Boards
- Large Cooler—This works great to hold the heads until you process. Just leave the lid off so the heads stay as cool as it is outdoors. Then, after you process the heads, you can use the cooler to organize your cuts until they can be packaged.
- Lots of Buckets (or Pots, Bowls, and Whatever Large Vessels You Have)—For holding fat or meat chunks; and to use to brine heads, for curing bacon, etc.
- Pressure Canner—For making stock and head cheese and to use to can stock and lard after processing
- Slow Cooker or Other Large Stove-Top Pot—For making lard
- Canning Jars and Lids—To hold stock and lard
- Meat Grinder—For making sausage
- Sausage Stuffer and Casings—If you plan to make links
- Vacuum Sealer With Bags, Butcher Paper, or Freezer Bags—For packaging
- Food-Grade Scale—For weighing cures and meat cuts, etc.
- Permanent Marking Pens—To label your packages
- Pillow Cases or Old Sheets—To use for curing hams
- Parchment Paper and Twine—To use to keep the cure in place on the hams
- Rope—For hanging hams
Storage, Space, and Special Planning Considerations
In addition to the equipment necessary for processing, you also need to make sure you have the space to do this. Pig slaughter is easiest when you have room to move and have planned where you will store everything while you work through that large amount of meat.
You will need some fairly big, sturdy tables to work on. We have a stainless-steel table for breaking down the carcass and a really large picnic table that we cover with plastic and use to cube and cure meat. If it is really cold, we also use our indoor dining table covered in plastic and our kitchen island for doing the curing and bagging.
A stainless-steel or granite-topped table is also really helpful if you plan to make sausage links.
You will also need some equipment for safely storing your meat overnight so you can finish processing the next day. We put some of our meat on pallets in a truck bed, tied it in with tarps, and covered it with chairs to deter critters. We also hung some of it with our engine hoists.
But if you have a secure, unheated outbuilding, that would work best.
You will need a place to store your bacon while it cures for 14 days. You need to flip the bacon once a day, so this location should be easy for you to access. We usually use the same cooler we used for heads and cuts, and keep it on our front porch so we remember to flip the bacon daily.
You need a place to hang your hams to dry for 60–75 days while they cure and for another 6–18 months while they age.
You need a freezer to store your bounty of meat for the year.
If you plan to make fermented sausage, you will likely need a fermentation chamber to control humidity and temperature for a 30-day curing period or longer.
If you plan to smoke your meats, you will also need either a hot or cold smoker, depending on your preference. Cold-smoking is used for flavoring meat after it is cured by other methods (e.g., salt and Insta Cure). Hot smoking is usually applied to meat that will be used quickly or frozen.
Plan Your Recipes and Prepare Your Ingredients
We are total foodies, and so half the reason we raise our own pigs is so we can make our own gourmet products at home for a fraction of the cost we’d pay at gourmet grocery stores.
Before we ever set the date for processing, we plan which recipes we’ll use for making bacon, ham, and any other cuts we want to cure.
We decide what kind of sausage mixes we plan to make. Then we shop for items we don’t grow ourselves and make sure we have adequate stocks of everything else.
Regardless of which recipes we use, we always need large quantities of the following:
- Sea Salt—For curing and seasoning
- Demarara Sugar—For curing hams and bacon
- Insta Cure No. 1—For bacon and smoked sausage
- Insta Cure No. 2—For dry-cured hams and salamis
- Garlic—For sausage and bacon
- Wine, Beer, Water, or Milk—For sausage liquid
- Spices—Marjoram, oregano, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, rosemary, fennel seed, etc.
I also like to make up my mixes for bacon, ham, and most of our sausages in advance of processing so that we don’t have to worry about tracking down ingredients when the meat starts coming off the carcass.
For example, I’ll make up ham cure in 50-pound increments, but then I’ll weigh the cure, divide by 50, and leave a note on the cure indicating how many ounces of mix to use per pound of ham. This year it was 1.2 ounces of cure to a pound of ham. So, my helpers weighed the hams. The first was 28 pounds. They then weighed out 33.6 ounces (1.2 ounces x 28 pounds of meat), and rubbed that into the hams before wrapping.
I also had parchment paper, twine, and pillow cases all ready so they could get the hams ready for hanging.
I do the same with the bacon cure.
I also prepare sausage spices in 20-pound batches so that as soon as we’ve got 20 pounds of the appropriate quantities of meat and fat ground, we can immediately start mixing up our first batch of sausage.
Check the Weather and Make the Final Call
About three days before our pig slaughter, we check the weather and make sure we are on track for our proposed date. Rain or excess wind are deal breakers for us, because we do most of our processing outdoors and we want to be as comfortable as we can be while we are doing this. If you have a large outbuilding to use, your considerations may be different. For us, we like daytime temperatures in the 45°F–55°F range and hovering above freezing overnight. If the weather looks good, we alert our team and start setting everything up.
We check the weather again the day before just to make sure our forecast still looks good. This year, we had a snow storm sneak up on us on our first planned date. So we had to cancel the day before. But the next weekend turned out to be perfect.
Even with good preplanning, you’ll inevitably forget something. Part of being prepared is knowing that you’ll still likely have to do some improvising the day of. Flexibility and ingenuity are also key skills that you want every member of your team to have.
Pig slaughter requires a lot of preparation and work, and you should know that going in. However, I find that if I keep in mind the fact that I am literally provisioning most of my meat supply for the entire year with those few days of hard work, it’s a lot easier to get through. And, at the end, I have the satisfaction of knowing where my food came from, how my animals were raised, and what went into their processing every step of the way.
I’m pretty experienced at pig slaughter now. But a few years ago, I was a total novice. You can read my posts about a first-time hog killing using the following links:
Then, stay tuned for some new, upcoming posts with more specific details about processing and product making from your hogs at home.
If you have experience at home processing or are thinking about doing it, we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please share any thoughts or information you have in the comments section below.
First of all, welcome to the world of concealed carrying! Most concealed carriers would agree that carrying a weapon will make you feel safer and more prepared if the unthinkable happens. Still, there are a few things that are easily forgotten, especially if you are also fairly new to firearms.
1. How to Conceal
While it seems extremely obvious, how to conceal your weapon should be a major consideration. Despite what some people will say, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some people will prefer to carry appendix, some over their back pocket, and some will use completely different methods to carry. For the new concealed carrier, this could be overwhelming.
In my opinion, the best way for you to carry is whatever you are comfortable with. For me, I prefer carrying over my back pocket, but find that it’s harder for me to conceal the weapon there, based on my body shape. This drove me to consider carrying appendix, which is now how I carry for most of the year.
Finding the best way for you to concealed carry will almost certainly take trying out multiple holsters. For my first carry weapon, I had four different holsters before I found the right one. It’s like a glass slipper, except for guns, so it’s way more awesome. Trying out multiple holsters to find the most comfortable one is extremely important, because if you aren’t comfortable carrying with one holster, odds are you won’t carry at all.
Another important factor to consider is the time of year. During the summer in hotter areas, a pocket gun, such as a small .380, in a pocket holster will be your best friend. As the weather gets cooler, it will be easier to conceal bigger guns in multiple ways, as you will be wearing more, heavier clothing.
Keep in mind the fact that carrying a weapon means you have to be prepared to draw it. In the event that the unpredictable happens, the last thing you want is to be fumbling around, unable to efficiently draw your weapon.
My advice would be to practice drawing if you are new to carrying or trying out a new holster. Empty the magazine, clear the weapon, and practice drawing. As you get more proficient, and if the range you shoot at allows for it, start practicing with live ammunition. The more efficiently you can draw your weapon, the more prepared you will be.
3. Thumb Safety
This reminder is aimed specifically at someone that is new to firearms. Keep in mind whether or not the firearm you are carrying has a safety. If it does, and you have to draw it, remember to flip the safety! In a high-stress situation, simple things like this are extremely easy to forget. Once again, practicing drawing and using your weapon will help develop muscle memory.
4. Best Ammo
For someone new to firearms, the different kinds of ammunition can be overwhelming. This could be argued endlessly, but do some research on the best ammo for personal defense and make your own decision. My personal preference is to carry hollow point ammunition. Hollow point bullets are designed to expand when they enter a target, which will cause more damage to a bad guy.
Another thing to keep in mind for someone new to concealed carrying is the time of year. If your potential target is wearing a huge winter coat, you might want some hotter ammunition or a larger caliber weapon to penetrate the extra layers.
5. Extra Ammo
Yet another facet of concealed carrying that could be argued endlessly. My opinion on whether or not to carry extra mags/ammo is that it should be based on your assessed threat level. If I’m just taking my dog on a walk or running to the gas station, I may not carry any extra mags. If I’m going to a more crowded area, like a shopping mall or a grocery store, I’m probably going to grab some extra ammo on the way out the door.
Overall, carrying a concealed weapon is an excellent idea, provided that you know how to safely and accurately operate the weapon you are carrying. For me, the added peace of mind is an awesome feeling.
While there are hundreds of factors that go into concealed carrying, these five reminders are just a few of the basics for someone new to concealed carrying to keep in mind.
What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
Many people own weapons for the purpose of protecting their home. However, how many people actually have a plan for what to do if they ever have to use them?
While it is a scary thought, thinking about some home defense basics is worthwhile. Having your weapons is great. Having a plan increases your ability to protect yourself with them.
In this article, we will go over some basic home defense tactics. I have written previously about how I like to have weapons spread out throughout my house. While I realize that not everyone agrees with this thought process, the tactics will be similar.
As long as you have a weapon that is easily accessible, your home can be defended. How you do that is up to you, whether you have guns throughout your house, or if you are always armed on your person. However, for home defense, I cannot understate the importance of having a shotgun. In my opinion, this really is the most important home defense weapon.
Before getting into the tactics, we are going to assume that you have all of the non-weapon home defense measures in place. Examples could include motion sensor floodlights, deadbolt locks, and a security system. As we all know, these aren’t always enough, but they are a necessary start.
Let’s get into the tactics.
I know what you’re thinking. This is not what you want to do in the event your house is being broken into.
While many people don’t want to hear this, it is the safest answer. If you can safely get out of your house or barricade yourself in a room (armed, of course), that will be your safest bet. Arm yourself first, but if you can safely get out, I would recommend doing that. Get away or get out, call the police, and be prepared.
However, in many situations, this isn’t possible. Maybe you’ve got kids upstairs, the intruder knows you are home, or you aren’t going to be able to get out of the house. Whatever the case may be, there is a good chance you may have to engage the intruder.
When it comes to engaging the target, speed is the most important factor. Speed of acquiring the target, speed of engaging the target, and speed of re-engaging the target are all very important things to consider.
To increase your speed acquiring a target, there really is only one thing to do. Practice, practice, practice.
Go to the range and practice aiming down your sights and acquiring targets. Move your body around and move the target around. You don’t even have to go to the range. Do dry runs in your house or backyard, as long as you are certain the weapon is cleared.
Engaging the Target
It may seem simple. Aim and shoot. But, consider the fact that your life will be threatened and your adrenaline will be pumping. Do you think it might be possible to accidentally leave the safety on, or make a similar mistake?
This can be improved with practice, as well. Run through it as much as possible; it will eventually become muscle memory.
Part of this could be taking the target by surprise. Anything that can give you a speed advantage should be considered. In a situation like this, being controlled but fast will keep you alive.
Now, keep in mind that you may have to re-engage a target that will likely be moving. Improving the speed at which you can do this also comes from practice. Practice acquiring targets, engaging the target, and cycling the weapon, if necessary. It is hard to replicate shooting a moving target, but the more time you have spent looking down your sights, the easier it will be.
Obviously, it would be ideal to engage an intruder in a plate carrier and Kevlar helmet. However, this isn’t always possible, so what other ways are there to protect yourself and those around you?
As most people who are familiar with weapons and ballistics are aware, there really isn’t much true cover inside a house. There are very few things that will actually stop a bullet in your house. However, concealing part of your body will give the intruder less to return fire at. If part of your body is concealed by a wall or something similar, this will make you much safer.
Another way to make yourself safer is to change the position from where you’re shooting. Taking a knee makes less of your body exposed, and makes it more difficult for an intruder to potentially return fire.
So, if you are able to quickly acquire and engage a target while part of your body is concealed, you will do a good bit in improving your safety.
However, where is that bullet going? Like we talked about before, there isn’t much in your house that will stop a bullet. So, while you are going over some potential courses of action, be sure to take into account exactly what and where you are shooting. Think about whether or not people may actually be behind the target you’re shooting at. This is the exact kind of thing that you would not think about in the moment. However, having somewhat of a plan will help.
Some people swear up and down by their weapon accessories. I think that they can sometimes be helpful, but many people rely too heavily on them.
Weapon accessories can help you, but they cannot replace practice. Practice using your weapons. Use the accessories as accessories rather than necessities.
However, with that said, there are two accessories that I think are very helpful in a situation like this. A quality sight can make it much easier to acquire a target. A red dot style sight that you can shoot with both of your eyes open can give your weapon point and shoot ease of use, which could be extremely useful in the middle of the night or when your adrenaline is pumping.
The other accessory that I think would be helpful is a bright flashlight. While being directly in front of your target is certainly less than ideal, a very bright flashlight can buy you some extra time. It could disorient your target, and give you enough time to acquire and engage the target.
One Final Tactic to Consider
If for any reason you have to clear a room in your house, there is one basic tactic to check out. Look up the “slicing the pie” tactic on YouTube. It is easier to see it in a video than read it in words. However, it is a simple tactic that can help you to clear a room if you need and will keep you safe.
What other home defense tactics have you been taught? Be sure and leave a comment below!
Range Bags, gear, and gun mags
Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!
For Gunmetal Armory’s 4th show, and our first HOLIDAY SHOW, we discuss a few topics that came to us via request. We are going to talk range bags, rifle & pistol mags, Good mags vs. Bad mags, Good ammo vs. Corrosive “Bad” ammo, accessories we keep in our range bags, and so on.
Listen to this broadcast or download “Range Bags, gear, and gun mags” in player below!
Women in recent years have bought and begun carrying concealed handguns in unprecedented numbers.
I believe that’s a good thing for personal and public safety. If you look closely at big-city newspaper reports, usually buried far beneath the front page you’ll find stories detailing how a gun in the hands of a good citizen prevented or ended a violent crime. An untold number of other crimes never happen, and are never reported, thanks to the presence of a gun in a would-be victim’s hand.
Unfortunately, not all people, women included, understand what it is to carry in a safe manner that still allows access to the firearm.
The Danger of Purse Carry
Purse carry is the most common method I hear women discuss — even by those who’ve been licensed and packing for years. This is disappointing in a few ways. First, drawing from a purse is slower than drawing from most on-body locations. Five seconds is the average length of a deadly force encounter. Can drawing from a purse happen faster? With the right equipment and practice, yes. But that’s a tall order that most women simply aren’t going to take time for.
Second, most women haven’t practiced drawing from a purse, and may not understand that dropping it to the ground, for a handheld style, or firing one-handed if using a shoulder strap purse, are often necessary for the purse not to interfere, dangerously, with point of impact.
As too many news reports have described, a purse can’t be under the owner’s control 100 percent of the time. Children as young as two have gotten handguns out of purses, with tragic results.
Finally, carrying in a purse requires diligent observance of the safety rule “finger off trigger until the sights are on target.” For many purses, breaking another safety rule, “never allow the muzzle to cover anything you’re not willing to destroy,” is nearly impossible not to break during the draw or while re-holstering.
Nevertheless, purse carry has a couple of advantages. The greatest is the ability to pack a bigger gun that’s easy to shoot and holds more ammunition. Another is the capability to establish a firing grip on the gun while it’s in concealment, which can buy valuable seconds as well as send a strong non-verbal message to the observant thug.
Some instructors tout the fact that a revolver can be fired repeatedly from inside a purse as an advantage. Anyone who’s given it any thought will realize that the likelihood of those shots impacting the intended target is small. As wise instructors say, “there’s a potential lawsuit attached to every bullet.” Except for distances close enough to smell the assailant’s breath, shooting from inside a purse is an irresponsible plan that’s not likely to stop the attack, and could kill or injure bystanders.
A couple incidents have been cited in the news wherein women dropped a loaded gun into a purse along with all the usual stuff—pens, keys, eyebrow pencils, etc. Any one of these items can, and has, caused a negligent discharge while the gun was in the purse and the owner was going about her business. Responsible purse carry means, in part, choosing one of the hundred-plus designs of bags specifically made for concealed carry, which has a dedicated gun section, an inner holster of some kind, and a reinforced bottom.
Consider Purses With Gun Compartments
Safe purse carry means the gun is contained in a compartment that holds it and only it, and perhaps a spare magazine, assuming your purse has:
- An inner sheath or holster of some sort that keeps the firearm anchored in one predictable position inside the dedicated space.
- A closure for the gun’s compartment that is quick and easy to open. You should be able to grasp the opening device (a flap or zipper pull) in your fist and open it without having to use fingertips. This keeps access to your gun in the gross motor action department.
- The ability to cleanly draw without crossing the muzzle over any of your own body parts (most often the support-side hand is at risk here).
- Construction that allows you to carry the purse in exactly the same position every time you use it, one in which your firing hand can easily get to the gun.
If the purse is not a holster-purse or is retrofitted or pinch-hitting as such, the gun compartment must not be penetrable by any object, within or outside of the purse, during normal use. What you must avoid is any object like a pen, keys or a child’s fingers being able to get inside the trigger guard from outside the compartment.
The purse is under your control at all times. That means on your body any time you’re not in the car or at home. There can be no leaving it where it can be stolen or rifled through by a child.
Now does purse carry still sound like the easiest way to carry your gun? It’s not convenient to do well, but it is workable, and is the preferred method of many women. When the guidelines above are followed, purse carry can work, though it is not recommended.
What is your opinion about purse carry? Share your thoughts in the section below:
There are several reasons to acquire a concealed carry license.
The license puts police officers at ease, especially if you want to keep a gun in your car or bag, because they’ll know you’ve undergone the necessary background checks and are a law-abiding citizen. A concealed carry license also helps uninformed people feel at ease when you are carrying a gun in a public place.
The most important reason, of course, is for protection. This was especially true for one Oklahoma woman when three prowlers followed her back to her car one evening in an empty parking lot.
According to KOCO New 5, the three men approached the 22-year-old woman as she was leaving a local Dollar Tree in Oklahoma City. They followed her all the way back to her car, but when they asked her to go with them and then asked for her purse, she pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot the men.
“She got away safe, and that’s what we’re concerned about,” said her father, Bradd Brown, who is a former police officer. “She grew up around guns, so she was used to that.”
The one thing that may have saved her, though, wasn’t the gun. It was situational awareness. She wasn’t on her smartphone. Because of that, she saw them coming.
“The main thing I tried to instill with her through the years is to just be aware of your surroundings,” Brown said. “We don’t know exactly what his intentions were. She really had no choice but to show that firearm. It worked and he backed off.”
Picture that scene without a gun. If her father hadn’t instilled these values in her, taught her to be aware of her surroundings, and encouraged her to carry a pistol with her at all times, there may have been a very different and tragic ending to this story.
Oklahoma handgun laws indicate, “The firearm must be carried fully concealed from detection and view, and upon coming in contact with any peace officer of this state, the person must disclose that he or she is in possession of a concealed firearm pursuant to the non-permitting laws of the state.”
What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:
So you have finally decided to carry concealed on a daily basis. Or maybe you’ve had a carry license for a while and you’re in the market to purchase a serious carry gun. Whatever the case, your decision to carry daily is not unfounded. The world is becoming more dangerous each day.
The variables for the selection of a concealed handgun can be almost endless. The following five considerations can aid you in your quest for the perfect carry gun.
Let’s start out with the obvious: Concealability of your chosen pistol. While this may seem straightforward, it can prove to be a challenge. How you carry is, of course, unique to you and your daily habits. Suffice to say that a good carry system in the form of a holster or other method is essential. But the gun itself must lend itself to practical means of concealment.
Most likely, the upper size limit would be along the line of a Glock 19, the Smith and Wesson 2.0 or the Springfield XDM 3.8 models. The average person may find these handguns a bit too challenging to easily conceal day to day. A single stack pistol or a snub nose revolver will probably fit the bill, and there are some excellent choices. The S&W Shield, Glock 42 or 43 models and the Ruger LCR all come to mind. With the appropriate carry system, any of these guns can be easily concealed day to day.
Here I am mostly referring to caliber as related to ballistic performance in defensive use. We could write volumes and debate till the end of time about what the best pistol caliber is for concealed carry and self-protection. Realize that most any handgun caliber that you would realistically carry concealed has limitations on how effective it can really be on another human. So the age-old debate of 45 ACP vs 9mm is easy for me. I like the 9mm because of the higher round capacity it will offer in any handgun of comparable size to the 45 ACP. Have no doubt: I love the old 45 Auto. But with the advent of increased ballistic performance in 9mm ammunition, better recoil management and higher round count, I usually opt for the 9mm.
Consider that I see everything, from 22 rim fire to 44 magnum, show up in concealed carry courses today. And while there may indeed be a time and place for both of these extremes, somewhere in the middle is probably more realistic.
Have your doubts? Consider that the most commonly used pistol caliber today by the U.S. military and American law enforcement is the 9mm.
I must mention reliability of the gun itself in this section. This means: Does the gun fire and cycle every time I pull the trigger? If the gun is too picky about the ammunition you feed it, get rid of it. Some guns on the market today are more accurate than others, but all are accurate enough for defensive purposes. When it comes right down to it, I will sacrifice a bit of accuracy for reliability every time in a defensive handgun.
It should stand to reason that if you are going to conceal your handgun, comfort of carry needs to go along with it. I can assure you if the gun and/or carry system is not comfortable, you will not carry it for long. So what factors will influence the comfort factor? Most likely it will be weight, overall dimensions (length and width), and perhaps the platform of the gun itself. Don’t forget to consider the weight of your handgun once fully loaded. This may indeed influence whether you carry a double or single-stack pistol along with the caliber (i.e. 45 ACP ammo is heavier than 9mm).
Along with comfort, a carry method for keeping your firearm highly secure while carrying concealed must also be a consideration. You must remember: Your pistol could be used against you if it comes loose from its concealment place in the midst of a confrontation.
Here I am speaking of how well you as an individual can control and manipulate the gun itself. Many factors influence this: grip strength, the fit of the gun in your hand, your willingness to train, caliber and the make and model of the handgun.
Bottom line: You need to be able to run the gun under the most stressful of times. Factors such as recoil control, reloading the gun with ease, malfunction clearances and defeating any safety devices the gun may have could all be critical if the day comes that you need your pistol for real.
The cost of a concealed carry handgun can vary greatly. In general terms, the bargain-basement-priced pistol may not provide you with needed reliability, while the extreme high-priced handgun may be all for show and not practical.
If you take a look at the Glock, S&W, Ruger, Springfield, Sig Sauer line of modern-day pistols or revolvers, you will be able to find something in the $300 to $675 price range that should fit your needs.
In the end, I am looking for a gun that is reliable every time, easy to operate, concealable and has a proven track record. Then I head to the range and put in some serious training time. After all, it’s the defense of self and family that’s really at stake.
What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
Best Ways To Go Shopping For A New Gun
I’m shopping for a new gun. Many of you are as well I’m sure. Most of us would have more firearms if budget allowed.
Since I haven’t hit the lottery yet I have to find the best bang for my buck.
In the past, I bought guns in a variety ways. I don’t always just head down the gun shop.
Since I’m getting serious about shopping for a new handgun I thought I would document it.
With the growth of the internet, we have more ways than ever to buy firearms. But some online methods are being crippled by liberal censorship.
The free market always answers censorship though.
I came up with every way I could think to legally buy a gun. You can always make your own homemade guns though.
This is the first stop for many when shopping for a new gun. Gun shops will have the biggest selection of firearms locally.
Be picky about your gun shop. Some are managed and staffed by very knowledgeable people. Others not so much.
I would be wary of shopping at a gun shop if the staff is repeating bad information and gun myths. Unless they have the best deals.
The prices you find at gun shops can vary greatly. Do some research first to see what the general going prices are.
If you get to a shop and all the prices are high, see if they will haggle any. Many of the Mom and Pop gun shops have some haggle room in their prices.
I bought my Ar15 from a very good semi-local gun shop. I went to several shops before buying. Some great deals were found but held out for what I really wanted.
I was looking for a Stag Arms Left Handed model. And with spare magazines, I paid under a grand.
I have a special place in my heart for pawn shops when shopping for a new gun.
I bought my very first gun and my first handgun from pawn shops. Both great deals to be sure.
With pawn shop guns you are buying used and this can make a huge difference in price.
The condition of the guns is usually great. The sad thing is that most gun owners are not gun shooters. There are many people that buy a gun for self-defense and never even fire it.
Those are the people that pawn their guns when they need cash.
Some pawn shops will haggle to some degree. The chain stores mostly have a percentage they are allowed to reduce the price.
Also, most pawn shops have layaway programs. For many paying a bill is easier than saving money and buying outright.
I’ve been to many gun shows and found great deals. But never on guns. I’ve bought a lot of survival gear at gun shows.
Here in Tennessee, you will often see guys walking around with guns for sale. Which here at least is perfectly legal. And can be good deals.
I went to a gun after the sandy hook shooting and that was an experience.
The line was wrapped down the road. While standing in this huge line I saw an insane deal.
One guy had a custom built AR15 all tricked out. And with the tempory price surge was sure to get a pile of cash.
Before he even made it in some guy offered him a pickup truck for the gun. He took the deal.
If you go to buy from a gun show have a budget and know the prices you should be paying.
And going on the last day right before closing can snag good deals. People have to pack things up.
I have more experience with private sales. A lot more. So much so that my mom asked me once if I was an arms dealer.
Private sales also know as the gun show loophole is a sale between citizens that are not dealers.
In all except 19 states (at the time of writing), this is legal and does not need a background check.
This has many advantages. There is little to no record of the sale. Many preppers like this in case the liberals ever get to confiscate firearms.
There is no taxes on a private sale. I mean you are supposed to report any income to the IRS so they can tax it. That is up to you.
I have sold and bought guns from Facebook. Before the great crackdown. There used to be a lot of gun trading groups. Someone would post showing what they have or what they want. You message them and meet up.
In the wake of Facebook shutting down those groups, many dedicated websites popped up for trades.
When shopping for a new gun you can find great deals online.
Some companies have direct sales, Like Stag Arms. Others, Like Glock, require you to go through dealers.
On some, you can avoid tax since it’s an online sale. Depending on your state and the site.
This online gun store has great prices and a layaway program. Which is a great way to buy a new gun.
Buying online means you will have to have them ship to a local FFL. They will normally charge a small fee for this.
In conclusion, the way I’ll be shopping for a new gun is a combination of few of these methods.
I’m checking the online gun stores and trading sites. I want to see what the market is paying for handguns right now.
I will jump on a great deal if I find one. But If I don’t I will check the pawn shops all around me. Firstly by calling to see what they have.
If I find a great deal and they have layaway will go put it in right away. I will use the money I have saved for a deposit and pay it off as quickly as possible.
I like the commitment of having it in layaway and having to pay on it.
How Did you buy your last gun? What was it and did you get a good deal? Let me know in the comments!
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Since 2001, America’s sleepy eyes have slowly been opening to the threats we face each day. In just the last five years, we have watched radical Islam step out from the shadows and murder people with impunity — both in American and Europe.
In many states, you need firearms training to get your concealed carry license. What you never get, though, is training on how to carry that weapon. In fact, I didn’t even get advice on how to carry my weapon. It is truly your responsibility to learn about holsters and positions to carry.
The Discomfort of Ignorance
Many people take to magazines, blogs and YouTube videos to decide how to carry their weapon. Some even are trading their personal comfort for the ability to carry their weapon. Look, it’s 2017; there is no time for bulky, uncomfortable holsters or carrying positions.
Kydex – This hard plastic material makes up many of the new holsters on the market. The material is cheap and strong to protect your trigger.
Leather or nylon – These holsters will take some time to break in, but they can be comfortable, as well. They are effective, but personally I want something sturdy protecting my trigger. I have kids, and I am not a sedentary person.
Combo – These are very cool designs that offer up the tough plastic protection of the Kydex hull along with a nylon or leather backing.
(There are some great examples of these holsters here.)
12 O’clock, 3 O’clock, 6 O’clock
But it’s not enough simply to have the right holster. You also need to consider where on your body you carry it. Let’s examine the options:
12 o’clock, appendix or front carry – This is a method I hadn’t considered until just recently. The appendix carry offers incredible ease of access. You are merely a shirt lift away from grabbing your gun. Many people like appendix for its ability to conceal your weapon in an area most people aren’t expecting. The biggest drawback is not having the ability to bend forward with some types of holsters.
3 o’clock, right hip or 9 o’clock, left hip – This method is most common and probably just comes down to your dominant hand. It offers good mobility. Some people are not a fan because of the possibility of something called printing. Printing is showing the outline of a weapon through your clothes, thus giving away the fact that you are carrying concealed.
6 o’clock, small of your back – To me, this is movie-style carrying. I am a very flexible guy and I still find that this is a very inconvenient way of carrying. With training and muscle memory I am sure it gets easier, but this position is not my cup of tea. That said, many people love it. It puts the gun out of the way and is there when you need it.
Chest carry – If belt carry doesn’t offer you the carry style you like, then look into chest holsters. These strap to your chest and offer access to your gun without a hindrance at the waist.
Leg carry — Some people strap to their thigh or even their calf, depending on the size of the weapon. These can be very effective and unobtrusive methods of carrying concealed.
Off-body carry – If you find that having a gun on your person is too much of a burden or discomfort, consider off-body carry. Over-the-shoulder bags will offer quick access to your weapon. Look for bags that are designed for conceal carry.
You Be the Judge
Unfortunately, many people are stuck carrying a weapon in an uncomfortable way because some guy online told them it’s the best way. There is only one true way to fix your problem, and that is to experiment. Carry in several diverse ways before settling on one concealed carry method.
What is your favorite concealed carry method? Share your tips in the section below:
Two burglars were no match for an elderly Cleveland woman in a wheelchair and her gun.
“I put the gun up to the window of the door and I yelled, ‘Get off my property,’” Melinda Vandal said she told the two men.
One man was trying to come into her door and the other was cutting the screen on a window of her garage on July 10, she said.
One of the men apparently dropped a knife and they ran off when they saw Vandal toting the gun.
“It was last Monday morning around 10:30,” Vandal told Fox 8. “I looked at the door and there was a man, right there, right outside looking like he was going for my door.”
Police are looking into the incident but have made no arrests.
“It’s hard for me to relax or sleep because I keep seeing his face,” Vandal said.
She is now keeping her doors locked and her gun close.
“It never used to be like this around here,” Vandal said, noting she has lived in her home for more than 20 years. “I don’t want to ever hurt anyone, but I feel like I need to protect myself.”
What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:
How and Where to Store Ammo Why Stock Up on Ammo? Crisis does not come with a warning, and new legislative measures can be passed almost overnight. A survival situation has no mercy. Also, the Government will not give you a grace period to fill your basement with ammo before they ban it. Even natural …
I recently went to my local gun shop to do a firearms transfer, and while there, I glanced up and saw a shotgun that immediately caught my eye.
It was a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun with an odd-looking pistol grip and a barrel that was clearly shorter than the ATF’s required 18-inch length. Traditionally, this type of weapon would be considered an AOW (Any Other Weapon) under the National Firearms Act (NFA), which is used to regulate weapons and accessories such as short-barreled rifles, suppressors and other similar items. This requires the buyer to purchase a tax stamp from the ATF and be subjected to a lengthy background check and waiting process before they can take ownership of it.
However, when I inquired about it to the shop’s owner, I was surprised to discover that this was NOT the case – the weapon is legal to own for any person 21 years of age or older who passes a standard background check, with no tax stamp or enhanced waiting period required. When I asked about this, I was informed that the ATF had recently determined that this particular firearm did not meet the criteria required to categorize it as an AOW under the NFA.
Technically, a shotgun is defined as a smooth-bore weapon designed to be fired from the shoulder; with a pistol grip installed straight from the factory, it does not meet this definition. Consequently, if it isn’t legally a “shotgun,” it cannot be classified as a “short-barreled shotgun,” either. According to the ATF’s finding letter to Mossberg (dated March 2, 2017), this new shotgun is classified as simply a “firearm” under the Gun Control Act (GCA), and has the following features:
- 26 1/2 inches overall length.
- 12-gauge, 14-7/16 smooth-bore barrel.
- “Bird’s head” grip from factory (never had a shoulder stock attached).
- 5-shell magazine capacity.
- 35 pounds.
This firearm is essentially treated as a pistol, although most gun shops will treat it with even more care, not wanting to run afoul with the ATF on such a complicated issue. The shop I went to requires you to be 21 years old to even handle it in the shop. I was also informed that because state laws can be more restrictive on what firearms are permitted, it is not legal in all states.
I can confirm that Washington State does not restrict ownership of this weapon; if you live outside of Washington State, you will want to check with your local gun shop to find out if it is legal to own in your state. It is also important to note that the Mossberg 590 Shockwave’s classification is entirely dependent on its configuration from the factory – any modifications to it, such as changing the pistol grip or adding a shoulder stock, will take it right back to NFA territory … and land you in some serious hot water with the ATF. Consequently, once you buy one, don’t modify it.
In terms of practical application, the 590 Shockwave makes an excellent home defense weapon. Its shorter overall length makes room-clearing in your home much easier. However, because it is a 12-gauge shotgun with a shorter than normal barrel and no shoulder stock, it’s going to have a serious amount of recoil.
You will probably want to consider buying low-recoil ammunition, or short-length shells. Aguila makes mini-shells that take up less space in the magazine, increasing the capacity to eight shells instead of the standard five. While these shells are known to have issues feeding reliably, Mossberg has a nifty solution for that problem: the OPSol Mini-Clip. Installing this drop-in accessory will dramatically improve the feeding issues with mini-shells.
Have you ever handled a Mossberg 590 Shockwave? Would you want to own one? Share your thoughts on this weapon in the section below:
It took me a long time to buy my first AK. Put off by stories of inconsistent construction, even among higher-priced brands, I hesitated for years. But in the fall of 2016 I had the opportunity to test a Molot VEPR FM-AK47, and came to find room in my heart, wallet and gun safe for my first AK platform rifle.
The VEPR won me over for several reasons. The first is construction. Its receiver and barrel are milled from thicker metal than most AKs, as it’s modeled on the RPK machine gun design. It’s tough, and less subject to damage from the heat that results from repeated firing. The downside of this is that it comes in at 0.5-1.0 pounds heavier than many AKs. Of the three FM-AK47s in the past several months that I fired, none have shown the construction flaws considered typical for the platform — front sights that aren’t in a plumb line with the barrel, crooked sight rails on the receiver, and out-of-round rivet holes are absent. The FM-AK47s I fired had none of these problems.
Though the manual for the FM-AK says that slightly offset front sight posts are to be expected and should not impact performance, this potential annoyance has been absent on each of the several new ones I’ve handled.
Made In Russia … And America
Another reason I’m a fan of this rifle is pedigree. It is manufactured in a small town in the state of Kirov, Russia. The Molot factory is well-known for its production of military and sporting arms. The FM-AK47 contains eight major components, not including the barrel, manufactured in Russia. In keeping with Statute 18 U.S.C. § 922(r), the 1968 Gun Control Act, certain complete firearms cannot be imported into the States. Thus, the FIME Group (Firearms Importers, Manufacturers, and Exporters) of Las Vegas, Nev., established a relationship with Molot wherein FIME creates and assembles the remaining necessary parts to make the FM-AK47. The rifle represents a genuine international partnership with a company within another country. It gives me the chance to know the world’s most common rifle platform as well as support American manufacturing. Win-win.
The FM-AK47 has earned my affection for what it has — and doesn’t have — in features. The rifle comes with a traditional AK cleaning kit, and the US-made polymer stock has a traditional trapdoor storage for that kit or other whatnots. In a break from tradition, it has no bayonet lug. Good for me, as if it did, I’d have the irresistible urge to install a blade and probably cut myself or my car’s upholstery. It has a sight rail mounted on the receiver (perfectly straight, I might add). It facilitates the rapid installation or removal of optics — a feature I’ve used extensively. Unusual for any AK product is an adjustable rear sight, with traditional meter markings. Should I be without a front sight tool, I can at least dial in elevation from the rear. The FIME Group-manufactured barrel is chrome-lined, another rare find for an AK.
How Does it Shoot?
Small arms designer and AK-47 creator Mikhail Kalashnikov was quoted as saying that, had he pursued his original career path of designing train engines, the machines would still have looked like AKs. The FM-AK stays true to the Kalashnikov vision with its solid black finish, ribbed handguard, no-frills appearance. Although looks can be easily changed, I think it fittingly hearkens the memory of a brilliant engineer.
All that is great, but how does it shoot? The answer: extremely well, for an AK. The rifle easily puts three rounds in a single hole at 25 yards, even with inexpensive ammunition. Some have criticized me for not testing accuracy at 100 yards; with my imperfect vision and no magnifying optic for the gun, I really cannot do it justice. However, I have managed to land all rounds in a torso-sized target from 100 yards in a qualification test, and that’s good enough to be confident that it’s effective at that range.
With the round count currently standing at about 600 through my copy of the FM-AK47, most of that ammo being cheap Tula Ammo, notorious for causing problems, there have been zero issues with firing or feeding. The rifle is inexpensive to run, un-fussy, and a lot of fun. The only issue I’ve had with the rifle is one of the traditional sling loops, made of something that resembles heavy wire more than steel, became bent with use. FIME Group replaced it promptly.
The FM-AK47 is more expensive than most entry-level AKs at $999.99. It’s substantially less than many premium brands, some of which have failed to deliver on expected construction standards. If you’re going to buy one AK in a lifetime, this is one that should last for several.
Have you ever fired an FM-AK47? Share your thoughts on this rifle in the section below:
Make no mistake, I believe in the right of self-protection and the right to carry a firearm. While there are occasions when I carry openly — mostly in more remote locations and on the firing range — I much prefer to carry concealed.
While there are some advantages to open carry, I believe as a general rule you are much better served carrying your handgun concealed. Let’s take a look at five good reasons to keep your pistol concealed.
1. Be the quiet professional.
I much prefer to NOT let everyone around me know that I am packing heat. Yes, it’s a constitutional right. But why insist on advertising one’s armed status to the world? As discussed in the following outlined points, consider keeping the tactical advantage by not letting those around you see your firearm. Some people will immediately believe you’re a demented person whose intent is evil. Your carry demeanor is best served by blending in, being quiet about it and having some consideration for those who just don’t get it!
2. Keep the tactical advantage.
Understand that not all criminals burst through the door and begin shooting. Some are very calculating and cunning, and take time to surveil their surroundings. That could play out two ways for you. If you’re carrying concealed, your ability is well-hidden.
If you are carrying open, you may unfortunately be the criminals’ or terrorists’ first target. On the flip side, your open carry sidearm may dissuade the attack to begin with. Personally, I would rather maintain the element of surprise for myself and not be the focus of the bad guys’ ill-intent.
3. Don’t waste law enforcement’s time.
There are plenty of videos online showing confrontations between open carriers and law enforcement. And I get it: Many officers don’t understand the legalities of carrying open where it’s legal. But understand that law enforcement must respond when that call comes in of a “man with a gun.” Many times, officers don’t have a clue as to the circumstances, and therefore need to be cautious on their approach. Why waste the officer’s time in the first place when you can be discreet and avoid any contact with law enforcement? They have better things to do than have a discussion face to face with someone carrying open. It puts both parties in potential danger.
A self-examination of motives for open carry, and drawing the attention of police, can be a valuable exercise. If the aim is to educate, non-confrontational approaches are more likely to result in their willingness to listen with an open mind. If the reason is related to ego and drawing negative attention, that will likely be the outcome. Unfortunately, the resulting negative assumptions are often generalized to all gun owners.
4. Consider the view of the general public.
More and more of the general public today get downright upset when they see a gun carried openly. Being frightened or offended are common responses. Should you care? I believe so. Unless you live in a community where open carry is readily accepted and practiced, you’re asking for trouble. Gun owners all know that gun rights are generally under attack (now by individual states more than the federal government). Perhaps we all should choose our battles carefully. I would rather retain my ability to carry concealed than possibly lose it all.
5. Don’t encourage more restrictions.
The end result is the fight in state and local legislatures, not to mention at the federal level depending on who is sitting in the Oval Office. The unfortunate fact is that where you are sitting geographically in the country is what influences how big an issue you have ahead of you with concerning concealed carry — much less open carry. In recent months, we also have seen private business post signs against open carry or guns because of controversies surrounding the issue. Proceed with caution.
Some will interpret my position as anti-open carry. Nothing could be further from the truth. My only goal is to give you food for thought, having had a long career dealing with such issues. Bottom line: quiet and professional is a winning strategy.
Perhaps James Monroe said it best: “The right of self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred.” I couldn’t agree more.
Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Firearms Training Drills As preppers we have the same responsibility as all gun owners. We must respect the weapons we carry and store them safely to avoid adding tallies to the growing case against guns. Knowing your weapon and knowing how to use it makes the weapon worth having. Without these two things you cannot …
Although popular gun culture in the U.S. doesn’t pay much attention, Turkey has long been a major producer of firearms, mostly for military use.
Historically, the country’s civilian handgun production included a 1911-based firearm made by a company once known as Canik 55. My sources say the brand is properly pronounced “JOHN-ick,” though I say it like the graduate of childhood phonics education that I am.
No matter how you say it, Canik eventually lost the “55” in their name, and has since claimed a stake in the big leagues of modern pistol production. The TP9 SA, their first striker-fired 9mm semiauto that I’m aware of in the U.S. market, became my choice of range gun four years ago. More than 6,000 rounds and with a few other Canik product experiences later, it remains my favorite handgun.
The TP9 SA emerged with apparent design influence from the Walther P99, but with an American magazine release. Canik wisely kept a low bore axis (hence low recoil) design, simple disassembly, and modular grip panels which are included with each gun. Other handy features include an accessory rail, lanyard hole in the grip, a highly visible three-dot sight system with a subtle vertical highlight on the rear sight, and a Serpa-style Kydex holster that can be used as a paddle or belt-borne. Color choices include black and desert tan. Magazines, now readily available for a reasonable price, hold an impressive 18 rounds in the same space a Glock mag holds 17.
There’s a bit of weirdness in the original TP9, in the form of a striker decocker located on the top of the slide just in front of the rear sight. Canik’s rationale was to allow for the striker to be released without pressing the trigger, as in preparation for cleaning. It’s an unnecessary, but innocuous, device that has never caused a problem, nor have I ever used it, in the years I’ve used the gun.
Other than fit for a variety of hands, which is becoming the norm for new polymer-lower pistols, is the quality of the TP9 trigger. Its moderate uptake, smooth break, and relatively short, crisp reset are as good as that on my HK VP9, which retails for twice the price. Though a great trigger is just part of what makes a satisfying choice of firearm, there’s no denying that this one is superb in its class.
A downside does exist to the first couple years of production models of TP9 SA and its first successor, the TP9 SF. I have owned both. This issue is related to the trigger I just described as outstanding. After having cycled in excess of 5,000 rounds, the striker on my SA model was no longer functional. The trigger would activate, with no corresponding activity by the striker. The then-new (2015 model) SF worked well, but its trigger would reset in two subtle stages.
As I was the original owner and had registered the warranties on both pistols, Century Arms, the U.S. importer/distributor, agreed to fix them. I was given an ominous reminder upon sending them that repairs may take up to six weeks. In reality, both guns were returned in just nine days. Though the repairs were done quickly and well, Century’s customer service left much to be desired in terms of communication; they’re email-based only and managed to confuse the guns’ serial numbers during the repair process, finally creating an accusation that I’d confused the frames and slides. That’s hardly possible, especially when the SA has significant visible wear.
Despite the bizarre customer service experience, the guns were returned fully repaired and with the outstanding triggers I have by now come to love. It was after the repair experience that I learned that premature striker failures are common among TP9s made earlier than 2016. A gunsmith who knows the TP9 SA well showed me the seemingly minor difference in construction between the trigger on my repaired handgun and the original. Unfortunately, it was on a range setting where I couldn’t get a photo or take notes, and the names of the involved parts now escape memory. He bemoaned the fact that Century Arms doesn’t sell repair parts, nor are non-original owners or owners who’ve had their pistol for more than a year offered free repairs, though the premature wear is not the user’s doing.
But Still a Fan …
Despite the mixed experience with repairs, I remain a fan of the TP9 series. The SA is now offered in a V2 version that eliminates the decocker and has the improved trigger. The series has also added the SF, with aftermarket-friendly sights, a lower profile, and matte-finish magazines. The competition-grade SFx has a 20-round magazine, lightened slide, and large mag well. Rising in popularity this year are the two compact models, still with 15-round mags and slightly shorter, match grade barrels, called the TP9 SF Elite and SF Elite S.
Every one of these feature-rich pistols offer excellent handling at an astonishing price. Original SA models can still be purchased new for as low as $310. Other models range in price from $350-495, with the SFx being the highest.
Canik has had time to learn from early mistakes in the TP9 series. From my own experience and conversations with people in the industry, it seems those issues have been resolved. TP9 pistols deliver real value in terms of handling, trigger quality, customized features, and reliability. Based on my experience even with an older model, I believe there to be no better pistol available for the money.
Have you ever shot a Canik? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:
The Benefits Of A Chest Holster For Firearms Carry Outdoors Some people turn to firearms for protection when they begin prepping. Others are inundated with them at a young age thanks to fathers who are outdoorsman. Some of us just pick them up early in life for the what ifs. Either way, the firearm is …
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Growing Concern Over Brothers Arrested With Guns, Bomb-Making Materials Like it or not Western Civilization is in a battle for its culture and beliefs. Right now the storm surge of radical Islam is well off shore but its closing in. Its closing in because of situations like this. I chose this article to offer you some …
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Carry Firearms and Gear – What I Recommend and Why… We have taken in a lot of people over the last decade. We have saved a lot of people from the hellholes of the world. For these actions we are not rewarded. Instead, we had to bring in some of the most horrific members of …
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Stockpiling Ammo For SHTF – How Much is Enough? Answering the old-age question “How much ammo is enough?” is more challenging than actually gathering the ammo. There are all sorts of debates regarding this topic and each person thinks they have the right answer. In fact, the answer is never simple and it’s more than …
Is CCW Insurance Worth It? Its hard to believe that this is such a good article. That is no reflection of the author. Its merely the idea that litigation has spread so far into every avenue of our lives and that lawyers are so hungry to make a dime by any means necessary that we …
A center-fire pistol is one item that every homesteader should consider owning.
Sure, shotguns and rifles may pack a greater punch, but they are larger and significantly heavier than a pistol. Unfortunately, pistols also can be fairly expensive, and not everyone has the disposable income to spend $600 on a new Glock, Sig Sauer or Springfield.
While buying a used gun is always an option, pricing and availability of used pistols are wildly inconsistent. Besides, you never truly know if a used gun will work until you take it to the range for the first time. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that there is nothing more disheartening than pulling the trigger on the used pistol you just bought and hearing “click” instead of “bang.”
If you buy a new gun, you can be much more certain that it will function properly out of the box. Sure, there will be a “break-in” period of several hundred rounds before it reaches peak performance, but that timeframe is essential for you to familiarize yourself with each nuance.
In this article, we will look at some pistols that you can purchase new-in-box for $300 or less. Note that this price does not factor in shipping, tax and transfer fees, so you’ll want to consider those items in your budget. You also will want to pick up a holster, spare magazines, and (of course) ammunition.
Taurus 800 series
Taurus’ 800 series are full-sized, polymer-framed pistols chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP with 17-, 15- and 12-round capacities, respectively. They feature a “strike two” capability, which allows you to pull the trigger again to fire if the chambered round’s primer fails to ignite. These pistols have recently been discontinued by Taurus, but can still be purchased either online or at your local gun store.
1. Sarsilmaz CM9
The Turkish-made SAR CM9 is a full-sized, polymer-framed, double-action/single-action pistol chambered in 9mm. Based on the design of the CZ-75, it has an ambidextrous manual safety, adjustable sights, and a 17-round capacity, making it an excellent option to consider for your kit.
2. FMK 9C1 G2
This budget-friendly, striker-fired 9mm pistol is physically very similar in size and overall profile to a Glock 19; both feature a low-bore axis, similar grip angle, and trigger safeties. It also accepts Glock aftermarket sights, and has a 14-round magazine capacity. If you like the ergonomics of Glock pistols, you definitely should consider picking up an FMK 9C1 for your emergency preparedness kit.
3. Taurus 100 series
The 100-series by Taurus, also called the “Millennium Pro G2,” are compact polymer-framed pistols chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W. They feature moderate magazine capacity (12 rounds and 10 rounds, respectively), a manual safety, aggressive grip texturing, and adjustable sights.
4. KelTec P11
This compact, polymer-framed pistol might not have the polished look and feel of a more expensive gun, but it handles reasonably well, has a 10-round magazine capacity, low-profile 3-dot sights, and weighs less than a pound unloaded.
5. SCCY CPX-2
The SCCY CPX-2 is similar in overall profile to the KelTec P11 – they both feature a double-action trigger and a 10-round magazine capacity, although the CPX-2 is a bit more polished in terms of fit and finish, and comes with two magazines versus the P11’s single magazine. The CPX-1 is reported to have had some severe reliability issues, but CPX-2 owners have reported having few issues.
6. Bersa Thunder 380
If you want a compact pistol for your kit but dislike the heavier recoil of the 9mm round, check out the Bersa Thunder. This .380 ACP pistol is similar in style to a Walther PPK, featuring a single-stack 8-round magazine, a manual safety, and a double-action/single-action trigger system.
7. Rock Island Armory M200 and M206
If you prefer revolvers over automatics, Rock Island Armory has a pair of budget-friendly .38 Specials. Both have a 6-round capacity. The M200 has a larger grip, an exposed hammer, and a 4-inch barrel, while the M206 is a compact, hammerless model with a 2-inch barrel and smaller grip.
8. Taurus Model 85
The Model 85 by Taurus is a compact, 5-shot revolver; it has a 2-inch barrel, rubberized compact grip, and can accept +P ammunition. The Model 85 PFS can be found in the same price range; it features a polymer frame, a slightly larger grip, and a fiber-optic front sight.
What pistol would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:
Easily one of the most popular categories of handguns for concealed carry — if not the most popular — is the 9mm single stack.
It makes a lot of sense: It’s light, slim, easy to control, is quicker to reload than a .38 snub nose, and offers more punch than a comparatively sized .380 pocket pistol.
But with all the different options out there, it can be hard to choose the right one for you.
Here are our top five single-stack 9mm pistols for concealed carry:
1. Glock 43
The Glock 43 was perhaps the most anticipated gun to be released in the last few years. While people had been waiting for a single-stack 9mm from Glock for a long time, the anticipation really grew when Glock released the 42 in .380 ACP. Many felt that the 42 should have been a 9mm, and Glock listened and released the 43 in 9mm soon thereafter.
The G43 has already proven itself to be a popular concealed carry and defensive handgun on the market, and it comes with the same level of reliability and simplicity of Glocks. The biggest downside to the weapon is that it only holds six rounds in the standard magazine, whereas its competitors hold seven or eight. However, magazine extensions can be purchased that increase the round count, but that still adds to the gun’s overall dimensions.
2. Ruger LC9s Pro
No, not the Ruger LC9 or the LC9s. The LC9s Pro. There’s a critical difference here.
When the original LC9 was released, it was a hammer-fired model, and many shooters complained about the extremely long and gritty trigger pull. Ruger responded with the LC9s, a striker-fired version with a much improved trigger. However, the LC9s maintained the external frame safety and magazine disconnect (where the gun can’t fire without a magazine being inserted) of the LC9, which didn’t sit very well with some shooters.
Thus, Ruger released the LC9s Pro, which is the LC9s without a safety or magazine disconnect. It holds seven rounds in the standard magazine, with a magazine extension increasing capacity to nine.
3. Smith & Wesson Shield
It wouldn’t at all be surprising if more people owned the Smith & Wesson Shield over any of the other single stacks in this list (or ever). The Shield represents Smith & Wesson’s popular M&P line that has been slimmed down to less than an inch thick, making it an absolutely perfect option for concealed carry.
More importantly, the Shield has proven itself to be dead reliable. It can be available with or without a manual safety, and in addition to 9mm, also comes in .40 S&W or .45 ACP. Standard capacity of the Shield is seven or eight rounds, depending on the magazine.
4. Taurus PT709 Slim
Those looking for a 9mm for concealed carry would be hard pressed to ignore the Taurus PT709 Slim, which can be had for just around the $200 range. But the fact that it’s cheap isn’t what earns the PT709 a spot on this list.
The main feature that sets the PT709 apart from other guns in its class is the fact that it has re-strike capability. This means that should you fire the trigger on a live round only for there to be a “click,” you can pull the trigger one more time for another strike rather than having to chamber a new round.
The PT709 also comes installed with a manual frame mounted safety and Taurus’s trademark Security System where the entire gun can be locked up with the simply turn of a key. Some people hate this feature, while others like it knowing they can store their gun away and it won’t be functional should a child or a burglar find it.
5. Walther PPS M2
Last but certainly not least, we come to the Walther PPS M2. The PPS M2 is an improved version over the original PPS that was released in 2007. (However, the original PPS is still available as the “Classic” model). The main differences are that the PPS M2 has enhanced ergonomics similar to the PPQ, a button magazine release rather than a paddle, no rails under the frame, and no back grip panels.
The PPS M2 comes with three magazines: a six, seven, and an eight round, with each larger magazine making the grip slightly longer. Both variants of the PPS have proven to be extremely capable firearms and certainly rival the Shield and G43 when it comes to reliability and ergonomics.
What would you add to our list? Delete from it? Share your thoughts in the section below:
17 Futuristic Weapons You’ve Got to See to Believe With all the stresses and struggles of daily life and the concern over world ending situations, sometimes its just nice to sit down and look at GUNS! This article is offering up profiles and pictures of 17 weapons that have the look and feel of the …
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SHTF Ammo Debate .308 or .223 On a subject like this there is an awful lot of conjecture. You find that many people have opinions but very few have factual data to support those opinions. Of course, either round would be a great on to stockpile. I think this article offers some insight that will …
An Every Day Carry Rock Star Its not everyday that you spend a few hours searching for just the right tactical belt. Though lately I have been very much involved in this search. This article takes a look at a serious EDC belt. Its a short article about a great tool that you should …
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:
Renowned firearms trainer and the founder of Gunsite Academy, the late Col. Jeff Cooper, is credited with having said, “If you don’t have a gun within arm’s reach, you’re unarmed.” It’s a sound observation, considering that most criminal attacks transpire in five seconds or less.
As a concealed carry instructor, it’s no longer a surprise to hear more than half of the licensed carriers I encounter say they never, or rarely, carry a firearm on their person. Most have groomed a sense of satisfaction based on their handgun being a permanent resident of a car door pocket or nightstand. Unless a threat to their lives occurs when they are in the car or near the bedroom, however, they likely will be defenseless if that critical moment comes to pass.
Why do most folks who’ve gone to the trouble of receiving training and purchasing a handgun not carry? Most haven’t found a method of carry that is comfortable and secure for their typical day.
My own carry habits and methods have evolved over the 12-plus years since I made the decision not to outsource my personal safety. Purses, pockets, ankle rigs, “four o’clock” inside-waistbands, and various belly bands all had their turn. Now, and for the past few years, my everyday carry (EDC) gun has occupied either the right or left quadrant of the front of my waistband — commonly called appendix inside waistband (AIWB) position. Of course, it’s not the only way to carry; everyone needs to find what works for them. For purposes of this article, a working assumption is that any gun, carried in any manner, is inside a sheath of some sort that prevents penetration of the trigger guard.
Here’s why AIWB works for me:
There is no fuss associated with drawing the gun. Simply lift the shirt hem with the support hand and draw. It’s simple and fast, and works regardless of whether I’m standing or strapped inside a car seatbelt.
AIWB and front pocket carry are the only positions about which I’ve not encountered a news story in which a concealed carrier was relieved of their gun by a common thief or mugger. Of course, there’s probably a story about that somewhere, but compared to other methods, AIWB makes the would-be thief’s job nearly impossible. It also makes the gun inaccessible to children, unlike off-body methods. Compared to otherwise equally secure methods, AIWB prevails due to factor No. 1 in this article — ready access.
With a compact firearm, AIWB carry allows me to move from attending a meeting, to going for a run, to doing outdoor chores, and even driving long distances with the gun on my person. No need to take the gun off every time I get in the car. No more digestive issues from a belly band that feels like a boa constrictor when adjusted so the gun won’t pull it down. No more blistering from the seam of an ankle holster — you get the picture. It just works. There is no concealment system that offers zero discomfort, but AIWB has been the least bothersome for me.
4. Discreet carry
While I’ve had to abandon tucked-in dress shirts worn without a sweater or jacket, as well as giving up proper dresses in favor of shirt/skirt ensembles for dress-up occasions, AIWB offers one of the least obtrusive methods of carry. I thought the purse was discreet, too, until a co-worker asked why I carried it with me even for minor tasks.
5. Least disruption to my mornings
Sticking a holstered gun into my waistband every morning is fast and easy — which makes it easier to be a habit, and thus easier to be prepared. Systems that entail fiddling with straps, clips and the like are not likely to become a part of an already full routine.
Every method of carry requires compromise, and AIWB is no exception. The holster I use must be set aside when using the restroom — an act that requires one to be extra-present, mentally speaking, in public facilities. This isn’t true of all AIWB holsters. The slightly looser shirts this method requires hide the waistline that is a benefit of exercise. As a female, the biggest compromise has been the kind of pants or shorts I wear. An adjustable drawstring or substantial belt loops are a must.
There are some holsters, like the magnetic Quick Click & Carry (QCC) made by JM4 Tactical of Abilene, Texas, that even overcome some of these minor drawbacks. Holstered AIWB carry isn’t for everyone, but it’s been a panacea for me after having tried numerous other methods. What’s your favorite method?
Do you use AIWB carry? Share your thoughts in the section below:
A never-ending discussion among firearm owners is about the “best” survival gun. Heck, I’ve chimed in on that a couple of times already here, and am about to offer another choice, because in many ways it is the ultimate survival firearm, capable of shooting almost everything, from .22 to .45-70 and can be configured as a rifle or handgun at your pleasure.
I’m talking about the Thompson Contender series pistols. First introduced in 1967, this venerable single shot pistol was redesigned in 1998 as the G2 Contender and has the ability to change barrels.
In the 50 years the Contender has been in production, barrels from tiny rimfire calibers to .45-70 have been made in it, along with specialized rounds adapted for the Contender platform like the 7-30 Waters (a necked down .30-30). Arguably one of the most popular single-shot hunting handguns out there, with a careful barrel selection, the Contender can allow you to carry an entire armory in your survival kit.
While there are literally hundreds of barrel combinations for the Contender series in dozens of calibers and lengths, with careful shopping, a few will stand out for the devoted off-gridder or survivalist. The .22 LR seems like an obvious choice, but this is one I wouldn’t go out of my way to get. If you already have an accurate .22 handgun that you can harvest game with, lugging around a Contender barrel won’t give you any edge, although it is hard to argue against the potential increased accuracy the Contender offers. Put this one low on your priority list, along with many of the highly effective but essentially unique to the Contender rounds like the aforementioned 7-30 Waters, or any of the other specialty rounds popular for the Contender. Remember: The name of the game here is survival gun, which means common calibers, unless you are well-equipped already to provide the ammo for an oddball round.
In no particular order, I would choose either .357 or .44 magnum due to the commercial success of those rounds. I’d follow it up with a .30-30 barrel, maybe a .223 and a .45-70 for taking big game. If you can find one, and it is legal in your state (sorry, California) a .45 Colt/.410 barrel with a special choke can be had (although sometimes at great expense), expanding your cartridge choices.
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Now, obviously, we are looking at getting a few barrels for very common, commercially successful calibers and for obvious reasons; if things ever go truly south, you will have an easier time finding such common rounds over hard-to-find rounds. However, there is a place for less common rounds for the well-prepared homesteader. One of my favorite revolver rounds is the .41 magnum, and this is by no means a common round to find. Guess what the first barrel I bought for my Contender was? In fact, I sold the .44 mag barrel that came with mine to get the .41. Chances are if you are invested in an oddball or uncommon caliber, you’ve got dies, brass, bullets, maybe molds to keep it going. And if you are a reloader and have a proper stash of powder and primers, then you are golden. If you plan to include an uncommon caliber in your Contender arsenal, then just make sure you have the ability to keep that round going for a few hundred rounds. Otherwise, your barrel is little more than scrap steel.
As a hunting pistol, you won’t be shooting thousands or even hundreds of rounds out of your Contender a year. This isn’t a combat weapon, and in a grid failure scenario, even a few dozen rounds can keep you in meat for a long time. That does not mean you should neglect a proper ammo supply, though, of at least a couple hundred rounds for each barrel you have.
With the right combination of barrels, the Contender can give you the luxury of multiple firearms in a single package. Barrels are inexpensive, and several can be easily carried at once, along with a small supply of ammo for each. As a compact and hard-hitting hunting handgun, the Contender can keep you in meat year-round and can increase the versatility of your bug-out kit. With a great many common calibers available to choose from, you can readily make the right barrel set for your needs and inventory, and be assured of being able to hunt, even in socially and economic uncertain times.
Have your ever shot or do you own the Contender? Share your thoughts about it in the section below:
If you could own only five guns, what would they be?
I recently asked myself this question and the task proved surprisingly difficult, because there are a lot of different guns that I like — and it’s not easy making sacrifices.
In the end, though, I was able to narrow my selection by first determining the five basic types of guns that I would want to own before choosing the specific models for each of those types.
So what are the five types? They are:
- 9mm semi-automatic pistol
- .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol
- .22 semi-automatic rifle
- 12-gauge pump action shotgun
- .308 semi-automatic rifle
I’ll explain my reasons for choosing these categories below, as well as the specific make and model of gun I chose per category.
9MM Pistol (Walther PPQ M2)
I believe the pistol is the most important firearm you can own, simply because you can conceal it on your person and travel with it. I also believe that if you could own only one pistol, it should be a 9mm because it’s the most abundant and the cheapest to shoot.
While some may expect me to say the Glock 19 or 17 is my pick for a 9mm pistol, the truth is I would opt for the Walther PPQ M2. The ergonomics on the PPQ are incredible and it melts into my hand seamlessly. The trigger is also a wonder in its own right and is much more light and crisp than any other striker-fired pistol I’ve used. Reliability, of course, is excellent.
The fairly compact size of the PPQ means I easily can hide it on my person for concealed carry, while the 15+1 capacity (or 17+1 with the extended mag) offers plenty of firepower in a self-defensive situation. For these reasons, I find it to be equally as versatile as it is pleasurable to fire.
Granted, I am fully aware of the PPQ’s shortcomings as a survivalist sidearm. Because it has a short track record, spare parts and accessories are not nearly as available as, say a Glock or a Smith & Wesson M&P.
Nonetheless, the PPQ is one of my favorite handguns and one I have found great use and enjoyment out of over the years. It would be my personal pick for a 9mm pistol if I could only have one.
.45 ACP Pistol – Colt Mark IV Series 70
If I could own five guns, two of them would need to be handguns (at least for me). I was very close to making my second handgun a .357 Magnum revolver (likely a Ruger GP100), as it would be very versatile in that I could shoot both .357s and .38s through it.
Ultimately, though, I decided if anything were to happen to my PPQ as my concealed carry gun, I would want another semi-automatic pistol that I could use as an alternative. I also wanted this pistol to be in .45, so that I would have a slightly greater variety of calibers instead of just 9mm.
Many people will disagree with my choice here, but I pick the 1911 (and specifically the Colt Mark IV Series 70) simply because it’s one of my favorite guns to shoot. There is no other handgun that balances as well for me as the 1911, and it’s the pistol I find myself enjoying the most each time I visit the shooting range.
The Series 70 I own, in particular, has proven to be very reliable, with only one malfunction during the break-in period (as most 1911s require) and none since then. Even though magazine capacity is limited at 7-8 rounds, the trade-off is that the 1911 is slim and easily concealable on my person.
Beyond that, the 1911 is endlessly customizable with no shortage of spare accessories and parts on the market, something that contrasts heavily with the PPQ, where aftermarket options are more limited.
.22 Rifle – Ruger 10/22
No gun collection is complete without a .22 of some kind, so I knew immediately that one of my top 5 guns to own would have to be a .22 semi-automatic rifle. A .22 is perfect for small game hunting, pest control, plinking, and for introducing new people to shooting. The ammunition is also so small that I can carry literally hundreds of rounds on my person without really noticing the weight.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, my pick for a .22 rifle is the Ruger 10/22. The very first gun that I ever owned was a Ruger 10/22, so it’s a weapon with which I have much experience. I have found the 10/22 to be a robust, accurate and dependable weapon. I could easily use it for tactical purposes if needed.
Another reason that makes the 10/22 my choice for a .22 rifle is how spare parts and accessories are literally everywhere. During a disaster scenario, this would be an advantage where I would have a greater chance of finding spare magazines or other parts in the event that anything broke over other .22 rifles.
12 Gauge Shotgun – Mossberg 500
I’ve heard many arguments supporting the idea that the pump-action 12-gauge is the most critical gun to own. No one can deny that the 12-gauge shotgun is highly versatile. When loaded with buckshot it’s devastating for home defense. With birdshot you can use it for bird hunting or clay pigeon shooting. And with slugs you easily could use it for big-game hunting.
My preferred shotgun is the Mossberg 500. The controls are convenient for me (more so than the Remington 870) and the fact that this was the only pump shotgun to pass the U.S. military’s brutal Mil-Spec 3443G torture test says a lot about its quality.
The specific 500 that I would choose would be a Mariner model with a 6+1 capacity. The Mariner, coated in Mossberg’s trademark silver Marinecote, has much greater rust and corrosion-resistant capabilities than standard bluing does. I would also pick the 6+1 version so I could alternate between a 28-inch vented rib barrel for hunting and a shorter 18.5-inch barrel for home defense. This option essentially gives me two shotguns in one.
.308 Semi-Auto Rifle – Springfield M1A
Finally, I need a center fire rifle to top off my five. It makes perfect sense to choose a .308 semi-automatic in this scenario, as I can use it for both big game hunting and tactical training.
My choice here would be the Springfield M1A, over the AR-10, FAL, and G3/C308. The M1A first entered U.S. service in the 1950s and continues to be used by some marksmen in the military today. There’s good reason why: It is a very well-built, rugged, and accurate rifle that will do everything you ask it to do.
I fully understand the M1A is heavy (and long with the full-length version) and that .308 ammunition is not as cheap as 5.56x45mm NATO. However, a rifle that fires the 5.56 like the AR-15 is simply not as multi-purpose for me, as the 5.56 round is far too light for elk hunting (something I do each fall). Ideally I would own both, but since I have only one gun left to choose in my list of five, I would settle for the M1A or any .308 semi-auto rifle over a rifle that fires a lighter bullet.
What would be in your top five? Let us know in the section below:
BOSTON — Your doctor might ask if you own a gun and lecture you on firearm safety if the state attorney general and the Massachusetts Medical Society get their way.
“Gun violence is a major public health threat and physicians can play a key role in curbing the violence by educating patients about the risks of gun ownership and encouraging our colleagues to talk to their patients,” James Gessner, the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, told reporters Monday. “We are honored to work with the Attorney General and law enforcement officials in efforts to make gun ownership safer and reduce deaths and injuries attributable to guns.”
Gessner and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, unveiled an initiative designed to have doctors ask patients about gun ownership. It is part of a partnership between Healey’s office and the Massachusetts Medical Society.
“While the vast majority of gun owners are responsible and deeply committed to gun safety, this remains a public health issue, and conversations between patients and health care providers are critically important to preventing gun-related injury and death,” Healey said.
The program has the support of two groups representing the states’ police chiefs.
“Many households in our country have guns, but they can cause harm if not handled properly,” said Chief James DiGianvittorio, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. “We require the bearer of a license to carry a permit to take required safety course, however, many times other family members have no formal training. This program will at the very least open the door to conversations between physicians and patients on the risk factors associated with firearms-related injuries.”
Under the proposed policy, doctors would not report gun owners to cops. Instead, they would simply talk to them about gun safety.
“That’s why Boston Medical Center is so pleased to participate in the development of this training to help physicians talk to their patients about the safe handling and storage of guns. As a health care community, we are fully committed to ending gun violence in Massachusetts, starting in every home, and in every doctor’s visit,” said Kate Walsh, the president and CEO of Boston Medical Center.
The first step in the program will be to distribute pamphlets telling doctors about gun safety, a press release from Healey’s office stated.
“Most medical professionals believe that they can have an important role in preventing gun-related injury and death, and yet screening and counseling about guns remain uncommon,” Healey said.
The goal, she said, is to prevent gun-related accidents, self-harm and violence.
What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:
WASHINTON — Second Amendment advocates won a major victory in Chicago last month when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a city ordinance that restricted shooting ranges to industrial areas.
The city earlier had passed an outright ban on gun ranges, but that was struck down in 2010.
Chicago officials defended their new law by arguing that gun ranges attract gun thieves, cause airborne lead contamination and carry a risk of fire. The court disagreed.
“The city has provided no evidentiary support for these claims, nor has it established that limiting shooting ranges to manufacturing districts and distancing them from the multiple and various uses listed in the buffer-zone rule has any connection to reducing these risks,” the court ruled in its opinion.
The court also ruled that a provision that prevented anyone under 18 from entering a shooting range was unconstitutional.
“The City’s primary defense of the age-18 limitation is to argue that minors have no Second Amendment rights at all,” the opinion in Rhonda Ezell v. City of Chicago stated. “To support this sweeping claim, the City points to some nineteenth-century state laws prohibiting firearm possession by minors and prohibiting firearm sales to minors.
“… Banning anyone under age 18 from entering a firing range prevents older adolescents and teens from accessing adult-supervised firearm instruction in the controlled setting of a range. There’s zero historical evidence that firearm training for this age group is categorically unprotected. At least the City hasn’t identified any, and we’ve found none ourselves.”
The Ezell case arose after the Supreme Court struck down Chicago ordinances banning shooting ranges and criminalizing handguns in a 2010 case called McDonald v. City of Chicago. The city tried to do an end-run around that ruling with a complicated scheme of zoning regulations designed to make it unprofitable to run a shooting range.
Among other things, the regulations specified that ranges could only be in areas zoned for manufacturing and had to be a specific distance from homes, schools and places of worship. That meant ranges could only be constructed in 2.2 percent of the city, virtually making it impossible to open a new shooting range.
“This severely limits Chicagoans’ Second Amendment right to maintain proficiency in firearm use via target practice at a range,” the Seventh Circuit ruled.
The case is attracting attention because Diane Sykes, who wrote the majority opinion, was on President Trump’s short list for U.S. Supreme Court candidates, the Associated Press reported.
What is your reaction? Should cities have the freedom to ban gun ranges? Share your thoughts in the section below:
More and more people around countries who legalize gun ownership purchase their own guns. Some people have them for security purposes. It makes them feel safer knowing that they have a very effective way of defending themselves in case they encounter criminals or muggers. For hunters, having a handgun became very important due to the growing popularity of handgun hunting. Whatever your reason is, if you own a gun, you should be able to use it properly. However, shooting well and using proper gun technique is not as easy as it seems. A lot of things can go wrong. Are you having problems using your handgun? Are you owning a handgun for quite some time now but still can’t get the hang of using it? Feeling like there’s something wrong on how you handle your gun but can’t point out what it is? Are you bad at using a handgun? Let me give you 8 reasons you’re bad with a handgun.
# 1 – You’re Holding it Wrong
For you to have fundamental shooting skills, it is very important that you know how to properly grip your gun. How you grip your gun affects your aim, your balance, your ability to pull the trigger right, and your ability to receive the recoil with less discomfort. It also prevents you from “limp wristing” which is the tendency of your gun to jam because of a loose or weak grip.
One of the mistakes in holding your gun is what we call “tea cupping”. This is putting your support hand under the handle and holding it together with your shooting hand. This type of grip is unstable and will make it hard to control recoil.
Another is what we call the “crossed thumbs”. This is crossing your support hand thumb over your shooting hand thumb while placed behind your gun’s handle right under the hammer. This type of grip may seriously injure your thumb when the slide moves backward which is very painful.
Other wrong ways of gripping your gun are: holding your gun too low, wrapping your dominant hand around your support hand, interweaving your fingers, pointing your support hand’s index finger, and putting your support hand’s index finger in front of the trigger guard.
The best way of gripping your gun is what we call the thumb-forward grip. This grip allows your palms and fingers to be in contact with the entire surface of the handle. This grip gives you a good control of the muzzle and helps you to speed up your aim.
Let me explain to you how to do this. First, place your dominant hand high on the grip and hold it firmly. The “V” between your thumb and index finger must be positioned as high as possible in the back strap. This aligns the barrel with your forearm which reduces recoil. Your three remaining fingers, on the other hand, must be wrapped around the base of the grip just below the trigger guard. Next, wrap your support hand over your dominant hand while placing your support finger’s thumb right below but slightly forward to your dominant hand’s thumb and parallel to the frame. Your four other fingers must be around the base of the grip wrapped around your dominant hand’s three fingers. When you have perfected this, you will be ready to learn how to shoot a handgun.
# 2 – You’re Doing a Wrong Stance
Having a good stance allows you to acquire a strong and stable platform, proper sight alignment, and trigger control. This will help you manage recoil and shoot accurately. There is no one stance that fits all shooters, but there are wrong stances that prevent you from shooting properly.
One usual mistake some shooters make is leaning backward which puts them off balance as recoil comes. Another is having one of their arms dropping which will make it harder for them to absorb the impact of the recoil well. The proper way to do this is to slightly lean forward towards the target with your arms extended straight and leveled with your shoulders.
I won’t be talking about all the possible shooting stances in this article, but let me teach you the two ways of proper foot placement. I will leave it up to you to make the proper adjustments which will be dependent on your own features. The first one is having your strong leg placed at the back and slightly on the side of your weak leg, your feet, slightly extending outward forming an L shape. This stance lets you have a strong foundation. The second is positioning your feet parallel to each other and extending them slightly wider than your shoulder, your knees, slightly bent and your body, squarely facing the target. This allows you to get hold of the target faster.
# 3 – You’re Focusing on the Wrong Thing
When aiming at our target, there are three things that we consider: the front sight, the rear sight, and the target itself. However, it is not possible for us to focus on three things at a time. Some tend to switch their focus from the front sight, to the rear sight to the target, and back as rapidly as they can but this will still lead to focusing on either of the three in the end. Many naturally focus on the target since it is where we picture our bullet to land. The problem with this is that we leave both the front sight and the rear sight out of focus making it prone to misalignment. Some tend to focus on the rear sight because it is the closest to the eye. However, this leaves the front sight and the target out of focus.
The right thing to do? Focus on the front sight. Everything else will follow. Why? Because the front sight will be the final basis of the projectile. Just make sure that it is properly aligned.
# 4- You’re “Putting too much Finger” on the Trigger
Many shooters commit the mistake of putting too much of their finger in the trigger that it goes across the other side. Their tendency is that they pull the gun to their strong hand’s side. The result? Their bullet lands off target.
Before pulling the trigger, you must make sure that your finger is on the right placement. To do so, contact the facet of the trigger using the part of your finger which is underneath the nail bed. Together with the right stance and grip, you will now be ready to pull the trigger.
# 5 – You are “Jerking” the Trigger
Jerking the trigger means pulling the trigger fast and sudden. The tendency is that you put too much force in pulling the trigger causing your gun to move slightly and your bullet to land off target.
Pulling your trigger just right is critical for you to shoot accurately. To do this, you must squeeze your trigger with slow, steady pressure until you hit the trigger’s break point.
One reason that you are jerking the trigger is that you are anticipating the recoil or the bang caused by your gun firing. If you find it hard to avoid it, you can practice by dry firing your gun. And always remember, when squeezing the trigger, only use force on your index finger. Never apply force with your entire hand.
# 6 – You are flinching
Like jerking, your tendency to flinch is also because you are either anticipating recoil or anticipating a loud bang from your gun. It is our body’s natural reaction to the thought that we are about to receive an impact. However, in shooting, anything that causes us to lose our target should be gotten rid of.
If you want to avoid flinching, one thing that you can do is to concentrate well on your sight alignment and trigger squeeze that you will forget to bother on anticipating the recoil. However, this requires serious concentration. The better thing to do is to acclimate yourself to recoil. To do this, practice doing rapid fire. As time goes by, you will get used to the noise and pressure caused by your gun. And don’t forget to relax before starting to shoot.
# 7 – You are using the Wrong Gun
If you are following all of the things mentioned above and are still bad with your handgun, maybe you are using a gun which is just not right for you. Like having the best IWB holsters for your guns is the answer to your problem in quick drawing when in concealed carry, sometimes, choosing the right gun that suits you is also the answer to your problem in bad shooting. Mostly, the factor that is considered here is your size and your hand size. Maybe, your hand is too small to properly reach the trigger of the gun, or maybe it is too big that it prevents you from having a good grip. Maybe your figure is too small to take up the impact of your gun. Whichever it may be, you have to choose the gun that suits you and that you can handle.
# 8 – You need more Practice
Shooting is not an ability that you just get instantly. It is not a talent. It is a skill. It is acquired through thorough practice. You don’t purchase a gun and just use it when the need appears. Or you just learn the basics, try to shoot a few times, and that’s it. Practice is important. One thing practice does for you is that it allows you to familiarize yourself with your handgun. It gives you a feeling that your body – your arms, is one with the gun; it helps you to control it easier. It also builds your confidence knowing that you have more than just the knowledge in using a handgun. You have the experience. Another is that practicing allows you to be accustomed with the noise and impact caused by using a gun which will prevent you from problems like flinching and yanking the trigger. So practice. Practice with a dry fire. Practice with a smaller caliber gun. Practice with your handgun.
Many people are now owning a gun for security or hunting purposes. However, not all know how to use them right. Some people know that they are not using their handgun right or that they have a problem in using them but they somehow can’t point out where the problem is coming from. That is why in this article, I pointed out my 8 reasons why you’re bad with a handgun.
Did you like this article? If so, please leave a comment and share it with your friends. Thank you for reading!
Joseph Gleason is the founder of Captain Hunter. We provide guides on how to hunt effectively, answer reader questions, and reviews of the latest hunting gear. We specialize in providing expert information that does exactly what it claims.
Our dedicated staff members are each seasoned professionals with a passion for hunting built upon years of in the field experience.
One of the most important firearms to have in your home defense arsenal is a reliable handgun. I would even go as far as to say that owning a handgun is more important than a shotgun, simply because you can conceal it on your person and travel with it.
That said, you’re going to be very limited in choices if you’re on a tight budget. Fortunately, you have a few solid options. In fact, if you have only $250 or so to spend right now, there is a specific pistol that could be just what you’re looking for (and no, it’s not a Hi-Point).
It’s the Taurus Millennium PT111 G2 in 9mm (or the PT140 in .40 S&W). Yes, Taurus has had a blotchy reputation in the past, but their Generation 2 line of guns released in 2013 is widely regarded as having massive improvements over previous models in nearly everything: ergonomics, build quality, reliability and accuracy.
The PT111 G2, in particular, is a versatile little handgun that could be used for a variety of purposes, including concealed carry, home defense or as a disaster scenario sidearm. The primary reason for this is its size. The PT111 G2 is a compact gun, which means it can be concealed on your person very easily; the total length of the gun is just under six and a half inches, and weight clocks in at a light 22 ounces.
Despite its small size, the PT111 G2 still packs enough firepower to defend your home and family against multiple attackers. It holds 12+1 rounds of 9mm Luger, while the PT140 holds 10+1 rounds of .40 S&W.
Moving on to the features of the gun, the PT111 G2 has a nice ergonomic grip with aggressive stippling on the sides, allowing you to get a secure grip on the weapon even if your hands are wet or slippery.
Not only does the PT111 G2 feature a Glock-style blade safety on the front of the trigger, but it also features a manual thumb safety mounted in the right side of the frame. While there’s nothing wrong with having a safety on a firearm you use for home defense or concealed carry, it’s important that you always remember to flick that safety off when presenting the weapon to shoot. It would be wise to train by conducting multiple, repetitive drills of drawing the PT111 G2 and flicking the safety off when you do so in order for this to become muscle memory.
One thing that makes the PT111 G2 unique compared to other striker-fired pistols in its class is the fact it is technically a double-action, single action pistol. This means that the first shot is long while all subsequent shots will be shorter. This long initial trigger pull essentially acts as a safety in and of itself, since the pistol has a lesser chance of going off with a long trigger pull than a short one.
The PT111 G2 comes installed with three dot sights, with the rear sight being adjustable. It also features a loaded chamber indicator blade behind the ejection port that flips up when the gun is chambered. Not only does this give you a visual representation that the pistol is ready to fire, but you also can physically feel the indicator in the dark should you not be able to see it.
As with all Taurus handguns, the PT111 G2 comes installed with Taurus’ trademark security system. A pair of keys ship with the gun and when you use it to turn a lock on the right side of the slide, the entire pistol will lock up and be rendered useless until you turn it back. You can store the gun knowing that a child or a burglar won’t be able to fire the weapon.
You’re getting a lot of gun for the money with the Taurus Millennium PT111 G2. If you want a dependable pistol for home defense, concealed carry or personal protection in general but are on a budget, the PT111 G2 is a superb option and excellent value.
Have you ever shot the Taurus Millennium PT111 G2? Share your thoughts about it in the section below:
The SGK SHOW Gun and Prepper Shows Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! There is a growing set of prepper shows that are running around the nation on an annual basis. Chances are there is one coming to a expo center near you. The price to get in is minimal and … Continue reading The SGK SHOW Gun and Prepper Shows
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Many gun buyers new to concealed carry are eager to get out on the firing range. That’s great, but some subcompact guns suited for concealed carry are of limited usefulness for extensive practice. Low ammunition capacity and lack of outside-waistband holster and mag pouch choices mean the owner of the tiny gun may have to sit on the sidelines while his friends participate in a defensive pistol class or weekend match.
What’s more, a limited budget can put the purchase of two guns for these two roles out of the question. What to do? Fortunately, many companies are making guns that bridge the gap between range and everyday carry (EDC). These guns are truly jacks of many trades.
To keep the playing field somewhat level, all choices here are chambered in 9mm. It’s an affordable load that’s readily available in most locations. Due to cartridge size, capacity is generally higher, too, a factor I believe favors both range and self-protection use. Many are available in larger calibers and some are also offered in full-size versions of what’s listed here.
1. Glock 19
This compact, but not really small rendition of the Glock design, has a huge following among those who carry a gun for a living. Extraordinary reliability is its hallmark. With a generous 15-round, double-stack magazine and 4.01-inch barrel, it’s as easy to handle as a full-size range gun. It weighs in at 23.7 ounces unloaded. Glock’s Gen 4 rendition of this gun is more expensive, but the adjustable grips and improved texturing add value compared to past versions. Retail prices are around $550 for the Gen 4 model; sub-$500 for earlier editions.
2. Smith & Wesson M&P compact
Smith & Wesson’s popular design has undergone some updates over the years. Modular grip panels and an improved trigger are good upgrades to the 12+1 capacity striker-fired gun. Its low-profile rear sight on the 3.5-inch barrel serves the purpose of carry. This is one of two guns on the list available with or without a thumb-operated safety. At 21.7 ounces unloaded, it’s handy. Pricing hovers around $500.
3. Springfield Armory XD subcompact
With a three-inch barrel, this is one of the shortest guns on the list, but it’s big on capacity. The XD Subcompact 9mm ships with a 13- and 16-round magazine. Its chunky, 26-ounce frame soaks up recoil from the short barrel. Some prefer the XD line because of the passive safety device at the top of the backstrap. Priced below $450 and with a trigger that’s more forgiving of typical new-shooter mistakes, it makes an ideal starter handgun.
4. Ruger American compact
The folks at Ruger took their time and listened to customer feedback about their own and other brands before scaling down their relatively new, full-size American 9mm to a packable size. Their methodical approach directly benefits the consumer.
Modular grip panels and an optional thumb safety help an owner make it their own. One of the larger guns on this list, the mag packs 17 rounds into a long grip balanced by a 3.55-inch barrel. Depending on options, it’s about 29 ounces unloaded. High-quality Novak three-dot, no-snag sights help make it a joy to shoot. Left-handed shooters could love this, as it is one of two fully ambi pistols on the list. Retail is in the mid- to high $400s.
5. Smith & Wesson SDVE
This is an older model that’s not been updated for some time. It’s earned my respect as I’ve seen two very different students have great success and enjoyment from this dependable pistol. With a 16-round mag and four-inch barrel, it’s not the smallest choice. It’s a modest 22.4 ounces. The SDVE is a very dependable choice for less money at around $390.
6. Heckler & Koch P30
Another ambidextrous choice is HK’s excellent P30. Modern polymer construction and features, combined with HK’s classic double/single action and a 3.85-inch barrel combine to make a packable and accurate shooter. HK’s luminescent sights and excellent trigger contribute to a gun that feels like an upscale choice, assuming the user is committed to the additional practice required to use a DA/SA platform effectively, especially under stress. The 15-round magazine capacity, 27- ounce pistol usually sells for upwards of $800.
7. REX Zero 1CP
This is a new release for the double/single action fans who want seriously solid construction. Made by major military arms producer Arex of Finland, the REX Zero 1CP is imported to the US by FIME Group of Las Vegas. It features a safety so it can be carried cocked and locked. The slide stop doubles as a de-cocker. It comes in flat dark earth or black. The grip is rather thick, making the gun a good fit for medium to large hands. It has a 3.85-inch barrel and 15-round mag, and weighs in at 30.4 ounces. Though it’s not a mass-market gun like others listed here, holsters are available as it fits those made for the classic DA/SA Sig Sauer. MSRP is $650; real-world prices should come in at well under $600.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of concealable but range-friendly 9mm handguns. There are many folks who’ll also not consider them concealable for their body type. I’ve chosen them based on their track record as quality, dependable guns for myself and many friends and students.
What would you add to the list? Delete from it? Share your tips in the section below:
My youngest son bought me two boxes of brass shells for my black powder 12 gauge, so I have some hand loading to do.
Bring on the Zombies 😊
Gun Safety For Preppers James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! As preppers, we have a very real responsibility. We are gun owners (or better be) and how we conduct ourselves is very important. Though it may be easy to forget the Newtown Massacre was conducted using the prepper mother’s guns. This is … Continue reading Gun Safety For Preppers!
Unfortunately, in today’s society, there are times you may be confronted with violence at work, as illustrated by incidents such as the on-air shooting of reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward, the San Bernardino shooting and the Orlando nightclub shooting. An average of 551 workers a year are killed as a result of workplace-related homicides, according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2010, 78 percent of these homicides involved shootings. The risk of being shot at work raises the question of how concealed carry policy should be applied in the workplace. While gun control advocates may reject the idea that concealed carry has a place at work, preppers know that concealed carry may be your best defense against a disgruntled and armed employee or customer. If you’re considering implementing a concealed carry policy at your workplace, here are some guidelines for pursuing your policy safely.
Check Your State Laws
The first thing to do is check your state laws in consultation with your company’s legal team, since laws regarding concealed carry and an employer’s legal right to determine concealed carry policy vary by state. State laws seek to balance a citizen’s constitutional right to bear arms with an employer’s right to control policy on private property and their responsibility under OHSA to maintain a safe workplace environment. Some states prohibit retaliation against gun owners for bearing arms and limit an employer’s right to search employee vehicles. Others allow an employer to prohibit guns if they post certain notices.
As of June 2015, employers in Maryland were allowed to restrict concealed carry in parking lots and on premises, while those in California were not, and those in Florida were allowed to restrict concealed carry on premises but not in parking lots. Some states also allow exceptions to these rules. For instance, Utah allows employers to restrict concealed carry in parking lots and on premises, but there is an exception for federal and state workers.
Check to see what legal options are available to you under your state laws for determining your company concealed carry policy. Knowing your state’s laws can help you in formulating your policy by letting you know what options are legally excluded.
Consider Your Corporate Culture
Beyond legal considerations, your concealed carry policy towards your employees can also impact your brand reputation with your customers, points out the Society for Human Resource Management. One key issue that impacts your brand is whether the same policy you apply to your employees also applies to your customers. For instance, Starbucks has drawn criticism for asking customers not to bring guns into their stores even if they have a concealed carry permit. Similarly, businesses can draw criticism for restricting self-defense rights of employees.
Apart from concerns about criticism, there is the more fundamental issue of how your gun policy aligns with your corporate culture. How do your company’s vision, values and mission statement inform your gun policy? For instance, consider your company’s overall policy toward your employees and customers, and develop a gun policy that embodies this stance, communicating how allowing concealed carry advances the safety and well-being of your employees and customers.
Who Can Conceal Carry Guns?
The question of whether your gun policy towards your employees extends to your customers broaches the broader question of who can carry guns under your corporate policy. What about part-time employees? Independent contractors? Hired security personnel? Visitors? Are any categories of workers required to undergo any type of safety training to be allowed to carry guns at your business? Will you run any background checks on employees and contractors who may be carrying guns to ensure that you meet OHSA standards for maintaining a safe working environment? Also consider how you will handle employees who have been recently terminated or otherwise involved in workplace confrontations and may have guns on their person or in their vehicles as they are exiting the building in a bad mood.
Where Are Guns Allowed?
Another issue your policy should address is where guns are allowed. As noted, some states have different restrictions for parking lots and premises. Additionally, there may be areas of your premises that are not entirely owned by you and may be shared with adjacent businesses. Within the legal guidelines of your state laws, you should develop policies that clarify what is allowed in each of the areas of your workplace. This will enable you to respond to employees who ask where they can store their guns.
What Kind of Guns are Allowed?
Another question to consider is what kinds of guns and gun supplies are allowed, suggests workplace law firm Fisher Phillips. For instance, definitions of “assault weapons” vary from state to state, which has contributed to media and public confusion over this term. Clarifying what types of weapons fall under your gun policy can help you if you become embroiled in a public relations battle over an incident at your workplace. Likewise, you may want your policy to clarify your stance towards semi-automatic versus automatic weapons. If deer hunting is popular in your area, you might also want to lay out a policy for rifles. Similar considerations hold for ammunition and accessories for different categories of weapons that fall under your policy.
What about Other Weapons and Dangerous Objects?
Some company gun policies also address the use of other weapons and potential weapons. For instance, knives can be classified as weapons in some contexts, but if your business is a restaurant, you obviously need certain types of knives to operate. Other objects such as boxcutters are not designed as weapons but can be used as such. You may wish to consider how your gun policy addresses these.
Notifying Employees of Your Policy
After developing your policy, it’s also essential to make sure your policy is communicated to your staff and other relevant personnel. Develop training procedures to make sure that your staff is aware of your policy. Ideally, these should be part of broader training in workplace violence policy and management. If you require any firearm safety procedure training, include this in your policy. Check your state’s policy for your obligation to post signs and make sure you are in compliance with these requirements.
The post How Concealed Carry Policies Can Keep You and Your Employees Safe appeared first on American Preppers Network.
In the world of low-caliber rifles, the G22 Bullpup is a great choice. The rifle is accurate, sleek, and reliable. For survival applications, such a rifle may be lacking. No matter how cool the rifle, how can you expect a .22 LR to be a workhorse? This gun will never be powerful enough to bring down big game or seriously deter assailants. Even with 11 round mags and quick reloads, the G22 Bullpup simply does not have enough utility to be a contender as a survival rifle.
By Sam, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
Outside of more pragmatic uses, the G22 is great. As a plinking rifle, the G22 is a wonderful choice. The gun is accurate, lightweight, and features rails for after-market customizations. For these reasons alone, the G22 is well worth adding to your armory. Whatever you do, don’t expect the G22 to bail you out in a survival situation. Unfortunately, the G22 is no longer commercially available but it can still be purchased used.
|Weight||95 oz (2.7 kg)|
|Length||28.4–29.5 in (72–75 cm)|
|Barrel length||20 in (51 cm)|
|Width||2.2 in (5.6 cm)|
|Height||8.7 in (22 cm)|
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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.
Putting together a dedicated Katrina Pistol to complement my Katrina Rifle was an entertaining exercise in apocalyptical scenarios. But seriously, a deadly extension of the human hand with a semi-auto pistol and a few enhancements will ensure you’ll be packing more firepower than most foes would expect. And it is for that very reason that my Katrina Pistol will be the last surprise in a bad guy’s life when the SHTF.
In Part 1 of the Katrina Pistol I outlined seven straightforward considerations with the Katrina Pistol. But there were also some loose ends and dead ends. As this Katrina Pistol effort unfolded, some directions were not pursued, and others took longer to resolve. Two areas where I chose not to enhance the Katrina Pistol include suppressing it with a screw-on silencer, and tinkering with the internals pistol gears including the trigger. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a closer look where we left off in Part 1 and where we went in Part 2.
The gun of choice was an Glock 19 MRO. As of note here is the low Glock number. The very first Glock was the 17, and the second Glock was a full-auto (select-fire actually) version of the 17 named the 18. But unlike the Glock 18 used in the opening train scene of the James Bond film Skyfall, a real G18 eats through a 33 round magazine in under two seconds!
Continuing the Glock 9mm trend, Glock produced a compact version of the 17 and it was christened the Glock 19 because it came after the 18. So in essence, the Gen4 Glock 19 is a solid gun that has been evolving steadily since 1988, and the Glock 17 for six more years than that. To add some closure here, the Glock 26 is a subcompact double-stack 9mm and the Glock 34 is a long-slide 9mm. And the most recent Glock, the 43, is a single stack subcompact 9mm. And, of course, there are many variations of the above including threaded barrels, compensated or ported barrels, Modular Optics Ready (MRO), colored frames, Cerakoted slides, various generations of some numbers, and a new Glock 19S.
Read Also: The Katrina Pistol
Except for the select fire switch on the driver’s side of the Glock 18’s slide, all the Glocks are pretty much the same. However, there is often a tremendous urge to mess around with inner workings of your gun. Or at least that’s what the after-marketers want you to believe. While I’ve been known to “Barbie Up” a gun on occasion, I’m going to leave the dark parts of my Katrina Pistol Glock alone at the moment. But if I was forced to make a change, the trigger is a good starting point since it, like almost all other Glock triggers, drives like a pickup truck. No more, no less.
Shut Up. Or Not.
Silencing the Katrina Pistol seemed like must-do for any total makeover. And I had planned on going that route when Katrina was still on the drawing board…well actually a bar napkin. That is, until I hit the wall of reality. It quickly became apparent that a suppressed 9mm Glock was neither quiet, nor small, nor light, nor simple, but with plenty of conspicuous reasons to lock up whoever is carrying it when the thin blue line is at it’s breaking point.
A suppressed Glock 19 is twice as long, near twice as heavy, and maybe only a third as quiet on a good day. While subsonic 147 grain and heavier 9mm bullets are finding their way onto local gunshop shelves with occasional regularity, it is not really the ammo I’m worried about with the Katrina Pistol, it’s the silencer. A suppressed Glock 19 has a total barrel length in the realm of an SBR or short barreled rifle. Now consider that unless the suppressor lives on the Glock through thick and thin, there are two components that must be managed in addition to mags and ammo.
And remember that lanyard? Well that’s for those times when the gun takes a hike on its own. Although suppressors are fairly durable, a not-too-hard blow to the far end of the gun might just be enough to allow a baffle strike rendering the suppressor useless. And the last thing, the very last thing you want to worry about with a Katrina Pistol is a fragile component, especially one that is longer than the gun itself and twice as expensive. But building a suppressed Katrina Pistol is only an aftermarket-threaded-barrel away should that feature be desired later. I still have the napkin.
A recently resolved component of the Katrina Pistol was the holster. Finding something reasonable in looks, function, retention, and price has thus far been near-elusive. There were some off-the-shelf solutions on my radar, but the custom options seemed the only clear route. I started with a Fobus holster that fits the Glock with a laser/light as well as a pile of other pistols. The Fobus was not expensive so I am quick to take the hacksaw and utility knife to it in order to explore optics options. Instead, the Fobus ended up on the Island of Misfit Toys. Why? Because I discovered a wonderfully effective and intimately customizable Bravo Concealment Kydex holster that not only met my Katrina Pistol holster needs, but also asked me exactly that I wanted in a Katrina Pistol holster. Every choice from color, to belt width, to specific weapon light, optic, and hard sight height was offered. And then there is the military/LEO discount. I searched high and low of what really might be my very last holster, and the Bravo Concealment answered the call with zero complaining and zero issues. As much as I love new gear, I really will not be looking for another holster for my Katrina Pistol anytime soon.
Related: Put a BUG in your Bug Out
One added benefit of the Bravo Concealment Kydex holster I had not thought much about was complete coverage of the muzzle. This became apparent to me during one wet expedition. Not that I was worried about putting a ding in the crown, but instead I was concerned about packing the pipe with mud. So without knowing it, I took another page from the WWII playbook and enclosed the barrel of my pistol inside a holster. It’s not perfect coverage, but plenty good enough that any barrel-plugging debris would have to squeeze through a Kydex crack first.
Another layer of protection I employed was to add the Trijicon RMR Adapter Plate. Its literally nothing more than a thin sheet of metal that sits between the exposed battery housing of the RMR and the mountain plate that comes with the Glock MOS. Without it, you can see just a hint of the rubber gasket peeking out along the edges of the RMR above the slide. Under magnification it appears there is a complete seal, but the exposed portion of rubber O-ring is of concern. I don’t see it lasting all that long unless able to fully seat against a flat surface. So for a few more bucks and a couple more grams, I now feel more confident in the mounting interface between electronics and cold, hard, fast moving steel.
Take the Fork in the Road
The Katrina Pistol is a self-contained fighting tool that must function independent of everything else in the universe. That means it can be part of a bug out loadout, or run solo as a grab-and-go package. While I considered this duality of survival, I opted to place the Katrina Pistol in a Pelican case and surround it with some necessary kit. And then I filled in the remaining space with a few components that, if needed, are true lifesavers.
Inside the Box
In addition to the 17 round mag of the Katrina Pistol Glock 19, are three 15 round Glock mags and one 33 round Glock mag. And on one of the 15 round mags is a Glock loader which is nothing more than a plastic collar that depresses the top round in a mag allowing the next one to slide in easily.
Filling out the extra space in the box are a compass, a few pairs of ear plugs, the T-Reign Lanyard, an oversize Ferrocerium rod, a Bic Lighter, a Boker neck knife, four CR123 batteries (for the Streamlight TLR-2G), a pair of CR2032 batteries (for the Trijicon RMR), a couple 1/16” allen wrench for the Trijicon sight, and, perhaps most importantly, 120 rounds of loose 9mm ammo (that’s eight 15-round mag refills), and an aftermarket Glock manual of arms. Oh yes, and a few hundred dollar bills stuffed under the lid foam.
For the record, the Glock manual is for those who might need some lessons. It is a spiral bound book about pistol shooting in general and the Glock’s care and feeding in specific. I know my way around the this Katrina Pistol and Katrina Box since I built it, but others who depended upon me will need help when if I’m not around. I cannot overstate the importance of planning beyond you. Giving a Katria Pistol is a gift. Giving the Katrina Pistol to a loved one who has limited experience with guns and security is a potential disaster. And that would be on you…or me.
Think Outside The Box
Next to the Katrina Pistol Box is a Bug Out Bullet Bottle containing another 300 rounds of 9mm FMJ. Since the Katrina Pistol Box already weighs in at 12 pounds, adding a quart of ammo increases the Katrina Pistol loadout another 7.7 pounds. Of course you can always dump out weight as I noted in my article on 11.5 Bug Out Bag Mistakes that are not Mistakes. But as also noted, you cannot dump out what you do not have.
The holster presented a problem in the smaller Pelican case. I could fit it inside the case but would have to scrub the 33 round mag and the 17 rounder. Also some of the smaller kit would not fit except under extreme Pelican pressure. I opted to kick that problem down the road, but will likely just use a larger Pelican case and reassess the theory behind the box in the first place. Stay tuned for that.
Katrina Means You Are On Your Own
There were many lessons from the original Katrina event, and many, make that most, were true SHTF implications. If this Katrina Pistol truly comes into its own, then not only are you on your own, but you are likely your own thin Red, White, and Blue line. Don’t be scared, but do admit the reality when it presents itself. No matter the direction the future takes, a multi-use, near-indestructible pistol with light, laser and optic is now on my short list of what to grab for any situation.
Developed for use in the famous Model 1873 “Trapdoor” Springfield rifle, the 45-70 cartridge has managed to remain popular and in regular use for nearly 150 years. While commonly regarded as a big-game load – it has been used on African safaris to take elephants — it can serve as the ultimate survival round with a little care in loading and understanding, thus making any .45-70 firearm into a one-gun-does-it-all game-getter.
It originally was issued with a 405 grain bullet over a 70 grain black powder charge, but later versions included rounds with a lighter 55 grain powder charge for carbines, and a 500 grain bullet over 70 grains of powder. Any of these loads would be devastating on large game, and the full power loads suitable for even buffalo or large bear. These loads, developed with black powder pressures, are commonly referred to as “Trapdoor” loads, indicating their suitability for guns that cannot handle higher pressures. These include the many original and replica Springfields running around, and certain older Harrington and Richardson single shot rifles, and such.
However, stronger actions have been developed, and many modern .45-70s can take higher pressure loads made with smokeless powders — typically Marlin and Henry lever-action rifles, and .45-70 pistols. These loads are sometimes called standard or intermediate loads, and should never be shot in Trapdoors or old black powder rifles. Moving on up are loads for strong-action rifles, such as the Ruger Number 1, and the NEF Handi Rifle. When shooting these high-pressure shoulder bruisers, it is important you only shoot them in guns warranted by the manufacturer of the ammo or gun as suitable for high-pressure loads.
After the .45-70 was invented, it didn’t take long for the Army to issue so-called “forager rounds.” These are .45-70 cases loaded with a shot-filled wooden bullet and issued for hunting game, and also where we start exploring the world of the .45-70 as an all-around survival cartridge. We are probably familiar with “snake shot” or “rat shot” rounds for the .22 and some common handguns, and the same concept can be scaled up for the .45-70, and will successfully take game out to a few yards. While it’s no long-range game-getter, it is suitable for taking small game at realistic ranges. Since these sorts of shells have to be made by hand, some experimenting with powder and shot charges will be needed to find the right load for your gun. While not a substitute for a traditional small-game gun, these will work, and are the first step into creating a survival loadout for your favorite .45-70.
We also have the “collar button” bullets. Developed to allow troops to practice marksmanship indoors with a low-recoiling round, these 150ish grain bullets are easy to shoot, accurate and more importantly, can be used to hunt all sorts of game, saving both powder and lead. This is another case where the patient handloader will have to get molds, cast their own bullets and work up a load suitable for their rifle and their needs.
Beyond this, there are a huge array of 300-500 grain bullets suitable for the .45-70, and depending on the powder charge, suitable for literally any living creature walking the face of the earth. With a little care and effort, a person with even a trapdoor Springfield can have a survival weapon that will harvest everything from small to big game.
The .45-70 firearms have been made for a century and a half in this country, and the popularity of this round shows no signs of abating. It is not only a classic American cartridge, but it is rich with the history and romance of the Old West and has proven itself in combat and survival situations. The well-equipped homesteader or prepper gains another advantage with the .45-70, in that it was originally a black powder cartridge. If you have a supply of lead and primers, you can make your own powder, and turn your big bore rifle into the ultimate off-the-grid shooting iron.
As an added bonus, nearly every .45-70 made falls into some sort of “traditional” looking form, be it single shots or lever-action rifles. These are commonly seen as “safe” in the eyes of anti-gunners, and are rarely targeted for increased regulation or confiscation. It is possible that in some horrible future, your old buffalo gun might be the only firearm you can openly own or discuss, and combined with the huge array of loads for it makes it an excellent under-the-radar gun.
While not as sexy as an AR-15, or cool as a modern tactical bolt-action rifle, with the right loads, the .45-70 has been feeding and fighting for America for generations. It is an unbroken line of culture and defense handed down from our ancestors to the present day, and if you listen closely, you, too, can hear the wisdom of keeping that big boomer around for another generation.
Do you agree or disagree? Are you a fan of the .45-70? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Leather vs. Kydex — it’s been a point of contention among shooters since the first days of the Kydex holster in the 1970s, but leather has endured and doesn’t seem to be budging anytime soon. And for good reason.
Let’s just say they’re both pretty awesome, but we should not give them a pass that easily. Though both options definitely have their strong points, the cons on these weapon carry options can make a grown man cry (literally). For instance …
You know that clacky-scrapy sound, when someone fast-draws from a Kydex thigh rig? If you’re like me, then chances are that you would always think, “Hmm… sounds cool, but it also sounds like this 1911 will soon be headed back to the blueing bench again.” Hey, let’s face it: Kydex can be very tough on weapon finish. It might not be able to remove the hard water stains off the Hoover Dam, but it’s definitely known for giving a handgun’s blueing the wire-brush treatment.
On the other hand, we should also not forget that Kydex holsters have always been known for being safe and effective. Leather holsters, on the other hand? Well, to be fair, I am reminded of this old video. Viewer discretion is advised.
Story continues below video
Turns out that if you don’t take care of your everyday-carry leather holster, then it could deform near the trigger well. And if you’re also running a 1911 with a trigger that tends to pull about the weight of an average Chihuahua … well, yes, then you’d have the perfect storm for an accidental discharge — not to mention a subsequent gunshot wound to the leg.
When it comes to leather, the rule is simple: Take care of your holster, and it will take care of you.
Ye Olde Benefits of Leather
Leather holsters basically last forever. Believe it or not, some holsters that are being used today will remain functional longer than most humans will remain living. Heck, there are even holsters from 167 years ago that are still on display, and they look great! So, you might as well write your leather sheath or holster into your will, because it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
With that being said, leather simply has no equal in classiness, general attractiveness, and has been making gunslingers swoon for a century and a half. You just can’t beat the sight of a Colt Peacemaker, nestled gently inside an oiled piece of cowhide and fitted to a gunbelt. Speaking of which, another interesting — but often overlooked — benefit of leather is that they make for a great CCW holster. They’re smooth, won’t snag on clothing, and they’re more form-fitting, flexible and comfy.
Why Kydex Rocks
Kydex is way cheaper (at least in comparison to leather holsters) and simply refuses to bow down to mud, dirt, grime, moisture, sweat or even fish guts. Not to mention, it barely requires any form of regular maintenance. Basically, just pray over it once a year, and you’re good. Allow me to elaborate by quoting one of the greats, Robert Farago from The Truth About Guns:
KYDEX 100 is known in the business as “The Gold Standard for Thermoforming.” It’s super tough and durable. It arrives at the holster or sheath maker’s shop in a proprietary “alloy sheet.” It offers excellent formability, rigidity, break and chemical resistance. It also withstands high temperatures.
Now that sounds complicated enough to convince me on the durability factor. (But just to be fair, Farago does rip on Kydex earlier in the same article, due to its hate for gun finishes.)
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure that this article had much of an impact on the Kydex vs. leather debate, but hey, at least we had some fun in the process. To recap what we’ve learned here today, I will leave you with a good rule of thumb when trying to decide which holster is right for you:
Pick the leather holster for your Sunday clothes.
For everything else, there’s Kydex.
Which holster type do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the section below:
I’ll admit it readily; I’m a gun snob of the highest accord. I like my guns classy, old, and made of walnut and blued steel, forged and carved by craftsmen from a different era. I’m not saying that I don’t have and use ARs and polymer-framed pistols – I do; they are my “oh shit” guns, and I use and abuse them properly. What I am saying is that if I don’t need to be using that high-capacity new-age gun at a given time, I’m not gonna. Though the AR platform is great for a small-to-medium-game hunting platform, I’d rather ditch the “Rambo” vibe and carry something with a “soul” when I decide to head into the woods for an afternoon of scouting, hiking, or snowshoeing. A well-used and -loved decades-old rifle on my shoulder feels to me like it’s bringing company; call it corny, but I like to think that a small part of every man, woman, and child who ever had that gun in their hands comes with me when I carry these old firearms around. It’s comforting and warming to me – and modern milled-and-molded aluminum and plastic guns just don’t give me the same warm and fuzzy feeling.
To that end, I get picky on the guns that I buy; I’m not an accumulator like many other self-proclaimed gun snobs I know. I buy quality items sparingly, and use every gun that I buy. If a firearm doesn’t perform, just isn’t quite what I had in mind, or falls by the usage wayside, it gets sold or traded off. Too many guns is wonderful, but it’s a maintenance and security liability I don’t want to deal with. So I only buy firearms that I connect with – both literally and figuratively.
The “Walking Around Rifle”
Like the infamous “Scout Rifle” concept idea put to words by the immortal Jeff Cooper, the idea that came to be dubbed my “Walking Around Rifle” probably needs some explanation. While my conceptualization wasn’t quite as specific as Mr. Cooper’s to-the-letter explanation, the idea in my head had to fulfill certain requirements. The idea was kick-started by my sighting of a rifle at a local gun shop – a rifle I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. It was a Savage 23D, a featherweight middle-sized sporter in the elusive and under-appreciated .22 Hornet caliber, manufactured somewhere between 1923 and 1942. The smooth, warm oil-dark walnut with the worn checkering called to me, as did the detachable magazine and slightly worn bluing. The rifle sported an inexpensive Simmons 3-9x scope, probably weighed all of six pounds, and wore a price tag of $350.00. It was lust at first sight. Soon, visions of popping deer-chasing nuisance winter coyotes with the quick-handling rifle were dancing in my head.
I then committed a major gun-buyer faux pas: I didn’t put money down on the rifle. Heating season was coming up, the baby needed winter clothes, and I just couldn’t justify putting bill money down to nab the rifle. (being an adult sometimes isn’t all it’s wrapped up to be). So I put it back in the rack and justified my actions by thinking “surely nobody will want an old .22 Hornet”.
I was wrong. I went back a couple weeks later to find that surely someone did indeed want an old .22 Hornet, and they had wanted it the day before I walked in the door with money. So I was back to the drawing board to come up with a snazzy, lightweight firearm to fill the new hunting/hiking void I’d created in my head.
I sat down and listed my criteria. The needed requirements were few, but relatively specific.
- Caliber – centerfire, flat-shooting, capable of downing small and medium-sized game. I hand-load, so ammunition availability wasn’t too much of an issue as long as I could find brass and it was in a common bullet caliber.
- Bolt-action or break-open, for less moving parts and lower potential for breakage/wear. Likely higher potential accuracy as well over lever actions, pumps, and semi-autos.
- Provision to mount optics, namely a high-quality fixed low-power scope.
- Provision for backup fixed sights – because optics can fail, even good ones.
- Light(er) weight – I didn’t want to pack around a 9 pound rifle – so I was looking for a scaled-down action and lightweight makeup
- Unique if possible, made up of blued steel and walnut – I had to assuage the inner gun snob, after all. I could have sourced a new Remington Model Seven Synthetic in .223 and it would have fit this bill to a T – but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I wanted something less than commonplace.
Why Did I Want a Walking Around Rifle?
I realize some may not see the need for this rifle, and I can understand that. Why carry around a rifle that really is somewhat limited in purpose and versatility, especially when the bug-out AR-15 fits the bill? Why not a bigger rifle/caliber combination, like a .308, that is more capable over a wider array of situations?
Related: The Katrina Rifle
This rifle requirement all stems from what I like to do. My woods time is usually comprised of keeping up to date with bug-out locations, exploring, hunting coyotes, or – most frequently – scouting deer patterns for an upcoming whitetail deer season. A rifle is handy to eliminate pests, use as a signalling device, or even provide security. The rifle has range and accuracy capabilities that far surpass even the most precise handgun, at the price of added bulk. However, when snowshoeing and scaling mountainous countryside with a pack, the added bulk can be a burden – so I needed to be picky about the size and contours of the rifle. Semi-auto firepower wasn’t a requirement – in all likelihood, the rifle won’t even be fired on most excursions – so precision and unobtrusive carrying qualities take precedence over lots of fast follow-up shots.
To sum things up: My rifle’s mission was to be portable,and have more punch and range than a .22 Long Rifle or similar rimfire caliber. The .22 LR works well as a small-game foraging rifle, but just doesn’t possess the additional horsepower I wanted to have available.
So Why These Requirements?
Caliber – Here in Maine, the need for a large caliber to pull anti-animal duty only runs a couple of months – usually September, October, and November, when black bear and whitetail deer season are open, to the delight of local and imported sportsmen. The remainder of the year, most traditionally edible game animals are not legal quarry. Porcupines, woodchucks, coyotes, and red squirrels are the only critters that Maine allows sportsmen to pursue year-round. For these animals, a large caliber rifle just isn’t needed for clean kills. Certainly, a .22 Long Rifle can be considered viable for vermin dispatching duties at appropriate ranges. However, once the ranges open up past 50 yards, the stalwart .22 LR’s and even the .22 Magnum’s meager ballistics start becoming a hindrance, and clean kills are not certain. So we need to start looking at the centerfire family of cartridges to carry the fight to undesirable fur bearing creatures (or even emergency anti-deer use) at longer distances. The .22 Hornet, .222 Remington, and .223 Remington/ 5.56x45mm are all cartridges that were squarely in my sights. Surely, the .22-250, .220 Swift, .204 Ruger, and .17 Remington would have all been good, even excellent, at what I wanted – but since I reload, I wanted smaller, efficient calibers that didn’t burn a ton of powder (eliminating the .22-250 and .220 Swift), and were in bullet diameters that I had on hand – namely the common .224” bullet (there goes the .17 Remington and .204 Ruger.). I briefly considered older-though-still-cool-and-sort-of-useful calibers such as the .218 Bee, .25-20 Winchester, and .32-20 WCF, but the difficulty and expense of finding brass cases to reload, plus their lackluster long-range performance, put them out of the running once my brain overrode the romanticism of using the old calibers. So .22 Hornet, .222 Remington, and .223 Remington/5.56mm were the main focus. Rifles chambered in these smaller cased-cartridges also have the benefit of sometimes of having the action scaled down to the caliber – so you’re not lugging around a full-sized rifle that’s just a modified version of a full-sized short-action rifle meant for the .308 class of calibers.
Action Type – Again, though I had an AR-15 that would fill this made-up mission quite nicely, I just didn’t want an AR over my shoulder while hoofin’ it. I’ve shot deer with a Windham Weaponry AR-10, and while it worked very well on a certain 5-point buck, it just didn’t feel right to a guy who grew up carrying leverguns and bolt actions in the woods. Also, once I shot said deer, carrying the AR became a whole bunch of not-fun: the brass deflector and charging handle kept digging into my body, the Picatinny rails caught clothing and abraded it, and the tall profile just made sure there was more surface area to get in the way. Purpose-designed traditional hunting rifles are generally lower-profile, smoother, sleeker – easier to carry once you don’t need them anymore and you’re dragging 170 pounds of dead ungulate weight behind you.
Also – a reasoning that has somewhat more validity – bolt-action and single-actions are USUALLY more accurate than their semi-auto, lever, or pump counterparts. Yes, I know that there are hideously accurate semi-autos, and I’ve shot running deer at 150 yards with a lever action – but the bolt gun will be a bit more effective on little target critters at further distances due to its higher level of intrinsic accuracy. There are always exceptions to rules, but this is a statement I decided to bank on, based on personal experience and expected usage for the rifle.
Optics/Sights– This is a no-brainer. I need to be able to scope the rifle for longer-ranged shots. However, I like redundancy in my firearm sighting methods, so I’d like to be able to have the provision for iron sights. Scopes fog up, batteries run out, slips and falls leave firearms crashing to the ground (probably onto the largest, harshest, most abrasive rock in three counties) and optics get jarred out of alignment or damaged. A backup set of iron sights – no matter how rudimentary – is just a nice piece of security to have.
Lighter Weight– Again, another no-brainer. The less your rifle weighs, the more likely you will have it with you, and the more convenient it will be. The scaled-down action size of the smaller calibers I was looking at help a lot in this department. I almost bought or sought several different firearms that neatly fit the bill; they were all quite capable and fully met my needs…I just never seemed to pull the trigger (pun intended).
I was drawn to the CZ 527. A nifty little scaled-down carbine with a detachable box magazine, it comes in .22 Hornet and .223 (and interestingly, 7.62x39mm Russian…interesting…). But they are difficult to find ‘round these parts due to their popularity and immense handiness, and I ended up finding my solution before I found one of these.
The H&R Handi-Rifle was a great option, too – and I almost ordered one up. They are rugged, dependable, no-nonsense, inexpensive break-open single-shot rifles that feature interchangeable calibers by swapping out the barrels. I’ve had a lot of fun with these rifles over the years, and they certainly hold a special place in my heart. They come in .22 Hornet and .223, (and lots of other calibers and gauges) with black synthetic stocks that lend themselves well to a beat-around rifle. I know it wasn’t walnut or terribly unique, so I kept looking despite the utility.
The Remington 799 is a scaled-down version of the fabled Mauser 98 action, and if I had seen one in .22 Hornet, .222, or .223 (all standard calibers for the rifle), I might have scoffed one up in a heartbeat if it was of decent quality – I had never actually seen one, but the specs look good. Of course, another Savage 23 or a Winchester 43 would have been lovely – but alas, not for sale in my neck of the woods.
The Solution Presents Itself
After the mildly devastating loss of the vintage Savage .22 Hornet, I was on the hunt. No gun shop in the locale was safe from my perusal. There were lots of options that would have fit the bill, but Captain Gun Snob was being fussy. I wanted something a bit different….
Read Also: Sig Suaer MPX-C Review
One day, my wife and I were skimming through the local Cabelas, and somehow she actually followed me into the gun library (it hasn’t happened again since, I’ve noticed…). She was present at my side when I sucked in a deep gasp and quickly opened one of the upper glass cases to reach for the gloriousness of a rifle that had caught my eye.
A 1950’s-manufactured Sako L-46 “Riihimäki” in .222 Remington, complete with graceful full-length “Mannlicher” style stock, detachable 3-round magazine, and vintage steel-tube El Paso Weaver K4 fixed 4x scope in Redfield Jr. rings had my complete and undivided attention. I fell in such instant and complete lust with the trim, beautiful little rifle that I didn’t even care if my wife saw the $1,199.00 price tag (which she did). I put the rifle on layaway, and a few too-slow weeks later, the rifle came home with me. My wishes had come true and the fun began.
I stocked up on factory ammo and empty brass where I could find it, and I’ve spent a very joyful past few months developing a handload that shoots well. I also replaced the charming (but prone to fogging) Weaver K4 with a vintage Leupold M8 fixed 4x scope that is a perfect match for the rifle. A canvas sling was added, and the rifle has reached “perfection” status in my eyes. It propels a 50-grain Hornady soft-point varmint bullet at 3200 feet per second out of the 23-inch barrel, and can group 5 of them into a neat 1-inch cluster at 100 yards. The rifle has a hooded front sight, and I found an ultra-rare Redfield scope mount with an integral flip-up aperture rear sight. It rides delightfully next to a pack on my shoulder or in my hand,and fulfills every one of my requirements. I’m a happy camper, mission accomplished!
Yeah, But Does This Have Anything to do With Survival?
Some of you may just view this as bombastic gun bragging, and maybe it is to a small degree. But more than that, I’m trying to portray that there are other options – quality, graceful options – out there to fulfill the needs of the forager/scout/pest control mission. I know that for many individuals, the AR-15 or other military-type platforms are distasteful, impractical, unneeded, or unwanted, and commercial hunting rifle offerings punch the ticket nicely. The AR and other platforms are truly versatile and may be a better way to go if you’re on a one-gun budget for SHTF-type needs, but if you have other plans for scouting, small-to-medium game hunting, or pest eradication post-SHTF, why not have another rifle that doesn’t use your stockpile of “oh no” ammo? Why not have a rifle that says “Hunter” or “Rancher” instead of “Prepper” or “Survivalist” or “Military”? And truth be told, the day may come when your AR-15 or similar rifle may not be able to see the light of day due to legislation; you’ll still want to be able to have a quality, accurate rifle on your shoulder that is capable of pulling off multi-mission duty and not set off alarms. A rifle that shares a common caliber as your SHTF rifle may be a great idea too (like the CZ527 carbine in .223 to compliment your AR). Just food for thought.
What do you think? Do you have a secondary/scouting type rifle in your plans? Or does your situation and prepping make a rifle such as this unnecessary? Sound off in the comments!
Photos Courtesy of:
Lauren Nicole Photography
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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.
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:
Todd’s Note: This is a guest post by Vitaly Pedchenko, owner of Rem870.com.
A pump-action shotgun is without a doubt one of the most versatile survival shotguns in the world. One of the reasons for its versatility has to do with how well it performs and the multiple environments it is suitable for. When you operate the weapon, your hand will go on the specially designed handgrip near the stock while your other hand goes on the forend. From there, you just pump the forend back to eject the shell from the chamber that you just used and then pump it forward to replace the shell with a new one.
Pump-action shotguns are used for a variety of activities such as hunting, home defense, law enforcement purposes, survival, and even for stopping riots with non-lethal ammunition. Let’s take hunting, for example. If you are hunting deer and you see one running by in the distance, you may only have a couple of seconds to react before the deer runs away. That means you’ll have to hit the deer on your first try or else it’ll run away and you’ll lose the opportunity to get him. With a pump-action shotgun, you have multiple chances to shoot the deer within a much shorter timeframe. This increases your odds of hitting him before it can get away. As for home defense and law enforcement purposes, these can be a matter of life and death. If an intruder or suspect starts shooting in your direction, you’ll need to fire as many shots as you can to scare them off or incapacitate them. The pump-action shotgun is the most reliable in these circumstances and can result in your life being saved because of it.
Gun enthusiasts often refer to pump action shotguns as slide-action repeating shotguns because it describes how you slide the forend back to extract a shell and then pump it forward to load a new shell into the chamber. These shotguns only use a single barrel which is located on top of the tubular magazine that the shells go into. This is how the pumping of the forend is able to take shells out of the magazine tube and place them into the chamber. Of course, you have the option of replacing the forend with a better one if you know how to do so. Some shooters like to have forends with grips on them so it is easier to hold it more securely while they’re using the weapon. If you want to get really fancy, then you can even mount a tactical flashlight to the forend so you can see in the dark. Some forend upgrades, such as the Surefire Light Forend, features a light integrated right into the forend so you don’t even have to mount anything to it.
If you are a newbie to shotgun ownership, then you will find it easier to perform maintenance on the pump-action shotgun. Activities such as cleaning the bore and chamber of gunpowder residue and debris are much more simplified with the pump action shotgun. When it comes to firing the weapon, it will take a lot of practice to get comfortable with it if you’ve never fired a pump-action weapon before. After you have gotten enough experience operating it, you may want to perform certain upgrades on it that may be necessary for repair purposes or just because you want to customize the weapon to fit your needs. For example, a lot of shotgun owners get tired of the factory stock, forend, controls, barrel that came with their weapon. They’d much rather upgrade these parts to ones that allow them to use shotgun more comfortably. Making these upgrades is a piece of cake with the pump action shotgun.
There aren’t too many disadvantages with pump action shotguns. The only real disadvantage is that you cannot add a detachable magazine in order to reload the weapon quickly. You can’t just pop out the magazine and attach a new one like you can with most rifles and some other shotgun types. But if you are just using your pump-action shotgun for hunting or home defense, then it shouldn’t be an issue. On the other hand, if you truly need to extend the ammunition capacity of your shotgun then there are tubular magazine extensions you can add. But it will still take some time to reload them after you use up all the ammunition that they hold.
You likely already know that what you carry with you on a daily basis is influenced by whether you live in the city, in a small town or on a farm, as well as by the job you have and the mode of transportation you use.
Nevertheless, there are a few everyday carry (EDC) items that should be in everyone’s pockets, purses, briefcases and so on. Here are five:
1. The band-aid
I took part in an experts’ round-up a while back, which is in essence a mega-article where they take survival “gurus” and ask them what the most important survival item is. Everyone said knives and multi-tools, but I said band-aid.
Why? You never know when you might get a cut or a bruise. It is much more likely than landing in the middle of social unrest and having to make your way home through angry mobs and tear gas. Even then, you could still get injured and need to patch yourself up.
I carry a band-aid in each wallet, in my gym bag and, of course, a few in my car. They’re cheap, lightweight and small.
2. The phone*
Duh, everyone carries a phone, right? Maybe, but is your phone prepared? I’m talking about loading it up with survival eBooks, GPS apps, offline maps and so on.
If you live on a farm or spend a lot of time outdoors or on construction sites, do you have a rugged phone, or at least a shock-absorbent case?
Whether or not you’re a HAM radio enthusiast or have a couple of walkie-talkies in the trunk of your car, your phone is likely to be the thing you use to call for help in an emergency or to make sure your family is safe.
You don’t have to believe ATM machines will stop functioning in a disaster situation. You should always have some cash on you, because it can get you out of a pickle fast. It’s accepted everywhere.
4. A pocket knife
There’s nothing like a knife to make you feel safer. Well, maybe a gun, but not every location allows it to be legally carried. A pocket knife is the next best thing. It can help you escape an attacker, and you can use it to cut and open things.
Whether you sleep with a gun under your pillow or you think guns are evil, a pocket knife can be your everyday best friend.
5. A fire-starting device
It doesn’t matter if it’s a lighter or a magnesium fire-starter, the ability to ignite fire should never be ignored. You can use fire in a variety of survival situations: to signal someone, to cook a meal, and, of course, to keep you warm.
So there you have it: The minimum number of EDC items (according to my humble opinion). Now, I know I left out things like your house keys, but I don’t really consider those to be survival items. I also know you can add dozens of other things to your EDC, and I encourage you to do so.
You can build on them by adding things such as:
- a larger wallet to fit more items.
- a mini first-aid kit.
- a credit card shaped Fresnel lens
- a multi-tool
- a compass
- a concealed carry revolver
- … and so on
What would you list as your five “minimum” everyday carry items? Share your advice in the section below:
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Let me start this out with a bit of a test for you. Try to answer the following questions:
- The last time you stopped for gas, how many other cars were getting gas?
- What color socks was your boss wearing today?
- What did the people in front of you and behind you at the grocery line look like?
- How many of your neighbors left this morning, before you did?
- Were there any unusual cars parked on your street when you got home today?
If you can answer any of those questions, without it being pure guess work, you’re doing good. The truth is, though, that most of us can’t. We become used to the situations around us and then just stop noticing them. Then, when something new or different comes along, we don’t even recognize it for what it is.
Instead, we’re looking at our smartphones — checking email, texting friends, or posting pictures to Facebook.
“So, what?” you might say. “Who cares about my boss’s socks or the other people stopped in the same gas station?” If that’s your reaction, trust me, you’re not alone. Most of the adults on this planet would say more or less the same thing. But then, those same people would step on a land mine, without even realizing it until it went “boom.”
The thing is, not being aware of what’s going on around you can be deadly. Just about every dangerous situation we can find ourselves in has some sort of warning. But like the intelligence before the attack on Pearl Harbor, ignoring those warning signs can have grave consequences.
What we need is situational awareness. Situational awareness is nothing more than being aware of what is around you and what the people or things around you are doing. It is being so aware of your surroundings that when something changes, you notice it. It’s knowing what to expect, so that the unexpected stands out. More than anything, it’s seeing things that could be a threat, and analyzing that threat before it can manifest.
Without situational awareness, we’re more likely to get mugged, to get carjacked, to get pickpocketed.
I recently re-watched one of the Sherlock Holmes movies, starring Robert Downey, Jr. At one point in the story, his female companion asked him, “What do you see?” To which he responded, “Everything. That’s my curse. I see everything.” That’s part of what made Sherlock so successful. He saw things that others didn’t see. Had he been a real person, rather than just a character in a story, his situational awareness would have served him well.
Ask any soldier who has been in war, and they’ll tell you how important situational awareness is. Seeing things that can be a threat, before that threat manifests itself, can be the difference between life and death, especially in the close environment that is urban warfare.
But situational awareness goes totally against our nature. We are creatures of habit, and we normally go through life without noticing things around us. Few of us can remember details of what happened in the television shows we watched last night, let alone tell what the person in front of us ordered at our favorite coffee house. Thus, we’ll never be a Sherlock Homes and if we are ever put into a position where seeing is survival … we might not make it home.
Developing Situational Awareness
So if situational awareness is so important and is against our nature, how does one acquire it? What can we do, to make ourselves more aware of our surroundings, than we are today?
To start with, we must make a decision to become more aware — not a wishy-washy decision, but a firm one. That, in and of itself, will make a huge difference, simply because we’ll be thinking about the need to be aware. We’ll open our eyes and start looking around us, just because we know that we should.
Still, that isn’t enough. It’s just a start. Building situational awareness requires practice. We’ve got to train our mind to pay attention to what our eyes are seeing. So, we need to develop a series of exercises, which will help us to see. Things like:
- Make a habit of knowing how many people are within 100 feet of you, where they are and what they are doing.
- Count the number of cars of a particular color as you drive somewhere.
- Look at what a co-worker wears to work every day and try to remember it. See how many days’ worth of attire you can recall, and if you can recall the last time they wore a particular shirt or outfit.
- Learn what cars your neighbors drive. Then, make it a habit to look for new or different cars, every time you step out of your home. Look for patterns, to see if certain cars show up at certain times.
Once you are more aware, it’s time to start putting that awareness to use. Start looking at people to see what they are doing and try to evaluate how much of a threat they are. Use a scale from one to 10, with one being no threat at all and 10 meaning it’s time to draw a gun to protect yourself. Rate each person, even if there are many people around you. Then, keep track of those with a higher score, updating your score as you go.
Ultimately, that’s what situational awareness is all about — finding threats. Once it becomes a habit, it will help you in countless ways.
What advice would you add on becoming more situationally aware? Share your tips in the section below:
News flash: There’s been almost a century-long debate on which is the best caliber for CCW. Groundbreaking stuff, right?
Well, if I’m going to contribute to the conversation on this one, then here’s my thoughts: There is no single perfect round, in the same way that there’s no single perfect survival knife. If anything, perfection in this case is situationally dependent — meaning that perfection in a CCW round for one person may be the exact opposite to what perfection means for someone else.
Additionally, one of the variables in our ongoing search for personal CCW perfection has to do with the changing seasons. Given how we’re finding ourselves peering down the barrel of the coming winter, then I feel it’s time for us to gear up and get our CCW needs squared away before the snow starts falling. And this is why I, personally, am a fan of the 45 ACP for the application of winter concealed-carry. Here are my reasons …
It’s High Time For a Full-Size
Though the Bob Munden-types may be able to put a .38 Special round on a pie plate-sized target from 200 yards off with a “belly gun,” for the rest of us it’s just easier to achieve better accuracy with a full-sized weapon. There’s greater distance between the front and rear sights, subsequent shots are easier to make with more weight at the muzzle, and you’ve got a greater contact area on a larger frame, allowing for increased stability and handling. At the end of the day, a full-sized handgun offers better shooting and easier shooting.
However, in the warmer months, it’s MUCH harder to successfully conceal a full-sized weapon under a T-shirt or light button-down — that is, unless you’re Lou Ferrigno. But in the winter, you have the option of wearing a blazer, thicker fleece jackets, etc., and fewer worries of the awkward hip bulge that seems to draw unwanted attention.
Speaking of drawing, on the other hand, some of us need to wear gloves when temps really take a dive (depending on which region of the country in question). Try drawing effectively with gloves while carrying a compact handgun, and you probably know what I mean. And don’t attempt that last part if the weapon’s loaded … it’s just that clumsy of a situation. On a full-size weapon, however, this is actually a feasible possibility (with proper practice and training, of course).
Rounds Behave Differently Against Layers
When it comes to selecting a round, the primary issue is often centered around its capacity to effectively stop a person’s ability to present a lethal threat, once shot placement has successfully been achieved.
It’s really a question of velocity vs grains, the proper balance of which should lead to the necessary amount of energy transfer with just enough target penetration to get the job done. Often, the 45 ACP’s primary setback is the fact that it packs too much penetration power, and tends to exit the target, creating a dire situational need to watch the target’s background. This is one reason why concealed-carriers tend to opt for the more lightweight, higher-velocity semi-auto rounds: 9mm and 40 S&W.
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But in the winter, even potential lethal threats will be wearing additional and thicker layers of clothing: leather coats, lined parkas, etc. This means that either the velocity of the round needs to increase (+P), or the round itself needs to get heavier. The problem with higher velocities, however, has to do with fragmentation and the theoretical lack of energy-transfer that results — which is unfortunately one of the frustrations concerning the 9mm round.
With that in mind, a heavier round will maintain its power without the need for increased velocity. For instance, if a 45 ACP hollow-point has successfully been delivered on target, then something interesting should happen: the wad of clothing fibers that accumulates in the conical gap will not only cause the round to expand like a 9mm round, but this should also prevent over-penetration of the target, thereby maximizing energy-transfer.
And when the physics makes tactical sense, that’s called “stopping power.”
A Few Considerations …
But, of course, no caliber is without problems, so there are a few things to keep in mind with the 45 ACP.
It’s probably not much of a surprise that crime rates statistically fall during the colder months of the year, and this has been the case over the last 30 years. In short, you’re going to have a profoundly lower chance of encountering a lethal threat outdoors, while the probability of indoor encounters will either not change or slightly increase. And that means you’re hypothetically going to have to fire a 45 ACP weapon indoors in a defensive encounter … certainly not an ideal situation, because again, over-penetration-power remains a problem.
Also, if you do encounter a lethal threat outdoors, then magazine capacity could pose a bit of a problem, as well. Especially in the frigid cold, fingers go numb and the body is less responsive to motor commands from the brain — commands that you will depend on for accuracy when the adrenaline gets pumping. So in order to overcome this potential loss in accuracy, it’s just like everything else when it comes to firearms: train, train, train … and then train some more.
What is your preference for concealed carry during winter? Share your tips in the section below:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
A SWAT team with 32 officers, an armored vehicle and a sniper raided a man’s home because he had a license to carry a gun and a registered weapon — and because a former roommate had a little bit of marijuana.
During the search – which was criticized by a judge this month — deputies smashed Michael Delgado’s door and windows, and tossed flash-bang grenades into his house.
Worst of all, Delgado was not the target of the raid or even suspected of a crime. Deputies from the Hennepin County Emergency Services Unit (ESU) were actually searching for Walter Power. Power; who was wanted for selling marijuana, was believed to be staying at Delgado’s house in Golden Valley, Minnesota, in November 2015.
The ESU was called in because Delgado had a gun registered to his name and a license to carry it, and they feared he would use it, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
The military-style tactics police used in the raid violated the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, Hennepin County District Judge Tanya Bransford ruled. The Fourth Amendment bans unreasonable searches and seizures.
Bransford compared the search to a 1992 case in which police raided a man’s home, blindfolded him and asked him questions without reading him his Miranda rights, the newspaper reported.
“[But] the militarized actions in [the Power] case were far more extreme,” Bransford wrote.
Bransford suppressed evidence found in the case, which forced the county attorney to drop charges against Power.
During the raid, the ESU brought a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Vehicle, or BEAR. The BEAR is a landmine-resistant armored personnel carrier designed for use by troops on the battlefield. A flash-bang is a stun grenade that is designed to blind people with a bright flash of light.
Bransford’s ruling was dangerous because it puts law enforcement lives at risks, Jim Franklin, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association, told The Star-Tribune.
“My question to her is: Are you going to attend the dead cop’s funeral?” Franklin said of Bransford.
Veteran Fights to Get Gun Back
Even though the raid was declared unconstitutional and the charges against Power were dropped, Delgado was still in court in October 2016, fighting to get his legal gun back, The Star-Tribune reported. Delgado was also seeking reimbursement for broken windows and doors
“They could have said, ‘We’d like to search your house,’” Delgado said of the ESU. “They could have just asked.”
Use of the ESU has more than doubled over the past nine years. In 2007 the unit was deployed 30 times; in 2015 it was used on 71 occasions.
What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:
How To Pick Survival Guns For An Apocalypse | episode 121
In this podcast, Mike and I talk about How To Pick Survival Guns For An Apocalypse. What guns would we both pick for a few different apocalypses? We begin with a general SHTF. Basically, the best survival guns that will work for any situation. There is no ultimate survival gun for every situation. We pick several guns to accomplish different goals.
After we take care of the normal Survival Guns For An Apocalypse we dig into zombie apocalypse a little. What survival guns would differ from one SHTF to another? What is my top pick for a zombie gun?
We only briefly touch on outlandish weapons. I talk about how great a rail gun could be for a zombie apocalypse. If one was built light enough with enough power to be useful. The problem with many of the homemade railguns is the trade off between the stopping power of the projectile and the battery weight to power it. If that ratio gets perfected railguns make great Survival Guns For An Apocalypse.
Mike dispels the myth that a crossbow makes a great weapon against zombies. Since you have to reclaim your spent bolts makes it, not a great weapon.
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When the soldiers left the ships to fight in that big war to end all wars, the troops were all carrying a webbed belt around the outside of their coats or jackets. This webbed belt carried a wide variety of accessory pouches for ammo, weapons magazines, medical supplies, a canteen, maybe a holster for a 1911 Colt .45 and other optional gear items. The external webbed belt kept the gear weight well distributed around the waist and easy to access. Some web gear units even had shoulder straps.
Without carrying these immediate need items on the pants belt itself, the soldiers would not have their trousers weighted down or pulling excessively at the waist. Also this web belt could be quickly detached to set aside, however these rigs were usually carried at all times.
Today, preppers and survivalists would do well to copy this gear carry mode themselves. In fact, such rigs are once again finding favor with outdoors enthusiasts from hunters, campers, hikers, and survivalists working around bug out camps. These external belt rigs can be customized to easily carry needed items that are used often or that can be reached or deployed quickly. With a little planning and thought, such an outside carry belt can be easily designed and outfitted. What gear should be added to such a rig? Make a list then narrow down the choices.
Also Read: Pistol Bug Out Bag For Under $500
Start with a heavy duty belt. Some still like and carry the old military surplus webbed belts and these can work with the proper accessory attachments. Better yet is a thick leather belt that will not bend or bind with a load. I bought a double layered leather 1.5 inch wide belt recently off the rack at Cabela’s. It is super stiff, but will become more pliable with use. It has a good brass buckle. Now I see carry belts with steel lining inserts to add further strength.
Make sure whatever belt you get is large enough with enough adjustment holes to fit over outer clothing including light jackets as well as heavy coats. It may be best to wear a coat into the supplier or retailer to get a proper fit over the outer garment. Try on different styles to see what seems to work best.
Gear to Attach and Carry
So, what to hang on such a belt? The first thing that comes to mind is a sidearm weapon in a holster. This of course can be any handgun that you use confidently and have practiced with often. Likely you wear this outdoors, so if working on a farm, ranch, bug out camp or similar environment, you may want a handgun with substantial enough power to dispatch varmints or other intruders that might invade your space.
The most common choices that most will pick include a 9mm or a .45 ACP. Revolver shooters will pick a .357 Magnum (for which .38 Special ammo can be used), a 44 Magnum (with .44 Special ammo) or perhaps a .45 Long Colt. Obviously other choices are available, too. One of my personal favorites being the .41 Magnum in a Smith model 57 or 58.
Your handgun choice can be fitted to any number of holster types and styles that suit your uses best. Pick a heavy duty, durable holster with good gun retention. A safety strap is not a bad idea, because when working outdoors and such you do not want any likelihood of the firearm dropping out of the holster or being snatched out by a tree limb or vine or trespasser.
Next besides a weapon would probably be a good camp knife. The blade choice should be something between a hunting knife, general purpose Bowie, or heavy blade that can do some chopping along with regular field cutting tasks. An ESEE #6 comes to mind. If you want or need a pocket knife sized utility blade or two, then carry one of those, too in a smaller scabbard.
Now comes all the options that preppers, farmers, or other outdoors workers might choose specifically for the kinds of field work they are performing. It might be a hatchet or small hand ax, a mini-first aid kit with meds, a canteen, compass, cell phone w/case, ammo pouch or pistol two-magazine pouch, bear spray, other accessory pouches (forestry tape, bright eyes, paracord, insect repellant, small digital camera, snacks and nabs, fire lighter, flashlight, multi-tool or other gear items). The balance in picking these items is not to unduly weigh down your belt rig.
Wearing the Rig
Where to wear or use this belt rig? Obviously, outdoors, but such a rig could be worn while working inside and out around the bug out camp, farmhouse, barn, or other situation. It should be an easy take along when riding an ATV, UTV, or even a horse or tractor. The rig would be ideal for walking the property to inspect fences, gates, and for security observation.
The belt rig would be good for hiking trips, too, assuming such carry is permitted on public use trails. WWII soldiers found great utility in the everyday carry of their gear over their coats with a webbed belt. It spread the weight around the waist, but gave immediate access to needed items. Preppers and survivalists can adopt this type of rig for many uses performing a variety of tasks. Be creative in how you design your belt rig so it becomes a real go-to gear carry option.
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Ricky Bryant has not used a regular hunting rifle for years. By regular he means a standard hunting rifle with a factory barrel. Why? Because Bryant of Clinton, Mississippi is owner and operator of BMS Machine short for Bryant’s Machine Shop on Highway 80 East in Clinton. What Ricky probably does not realize is that his shop is making an excellent rifle for prepping and survival work. Quiet, mean, and effective.
Among all the many machined parts for multiple industrial applications that BMS manufacturers in house, Ricky and his team including his mom and dad that work in the business also makes firearm suppressors for all types of firearms. Oh, they also make a customized line of AR rifles and rimfires for sport shooting, self-defense, hunting and of course, prepping.
Suppressor Hunting for Survival Foraging
“We got into hunting with suppressed or “silenced” rifles a number of years ago. We designed our own custom suppressors which are devices that screw mount onto the muzzle of an appropriate rifle. A suppressor actually muffles the muzzle blast sound of a centerfire or rimfire firearm, but many people mistakenly call them a silencer. We make suppressors”, says Ricky Bryant.
“Several of my hunting buddies and me started hog hunting and this is much easier with suppressed rifles. We hunt at night with thermal and night vision gear. Using a suppressed rifle allows us to shoot multiple targets often without disturbing the whole group of pigs. If you were using a regular rifle, after one shot, every pig in the field would be gone in a flash,” stated Bryant. All of the principles that Ricky discusses are just as applicable to prep survival, too.
Related: The AR-15 Discreet Carry Kit
“Over time we have gained a reputation for dispensing with wild hogs, and now landowners are contacting us to help thin their pig populations. It is amazing the damage a group of hogs can do to a field crop or a hay pasture. They just plow it up to the point that a farmer or landowner cannot even drive over the land. We enjoy taking care of those problems.”
Bryant Prepping ARs
Bryant says, “My hunting crew is really into using AR rifles for hunting. While we primarily started hunting hogs, now we make rifles for deer hunting, and even rimfire models for small game, pest control and just general fun shooting.” “We started displaying at outdoor shows and various venues, and the interest in our rifles has really expanded. Virtually every rifle we make is a customized model detailed out by the buyer. Sure, we have standard models for sale now, but the real fun part is making a rifle that fits exactly what the shooter wants.”
“Our ARs come with dozens of options including choices for lower and upper units decked out especially for the customer. We offer a wide variety of handguard types, materials, textures, and profile. We have a selection of custom color coatings that can be anything from matte black, camouflage to an American flag red, white, and blue, if that is what the customer wants. We can do custom engraving, and a customer can even specify a custom serial number that will be registered and unique to that one rifle only.”
Also Check Out: Do You Really Need An AR-15
While visiting the BMS shop I was able to see and handle a wide selection of display models that Ricky keeps on hand. It is amazing the custom details a shooter or hunter can get in an AR rifle or a rimfire like a Ruger 10-22. Any of BMS’s rifles can be suppressed or come as regular stock barreled rifles. The choices are endless.
Suppressed Hunting Cartridges
“We offer a pretty wide selection of AR rifle chamber choices, but of course we have our favorites after hunting with these rifles for years now. The most common chamber caliber choices we offer includes the ever popular .223 or 5.56, and the .22-250 for varmint and predator hunting,” Bryant explained “For hog and even deer hunting we chamber the 300 AAC or Blackout as it is known in some circles. This chamber can be made up for either a suppressed or regular barrel for different types of hunting. The same is true for the 6.8 SPC, which is one of my personal favorites. The 6.8 is devastating on pigs, and it is a good over all choice for deer hunting as well under regular hunting conditions. We also make AR rifle platforms for the larger .308 Winchester for those hunters that want more power and knock down energy.”
Getting A Suppressor Rifle
According to Bryant, “We help the customer through the whole process of designing their rifle and the suppressor they want, then we help with the processing of the federal BATF paperwork application required to legally own a suppressed firearm. Many people do not know that owning a suppressed rifle is even legal, but it is.” Check with your local state laws. “Our suppressors cost about $650 depending on what features the customer wants. Then they pay a $200 NFA (National Firearms Act) fee to obtain the suppressor owner permit.
We advise suppressor owners to set up a legal trust for the permit application and we walk them through that process as well. Once the permit is received back from the BATF, then we can build the suppressor and legally install it on the customer’s rifle and they are ready to go,” says Bryant. If you think hunting or shooting a suppressed rifle especially a custom AR of your own design sounds exciting, then check out the BMS web site or give Ricky a call at the number listed. If you can dream it up, Ricky and his team can build it.
Read More: Flash Suppressor and Muzzle Break Options
Obviously, the hunting applications of a suppressed rifle are beneficial in so many ways, but there is more to it for preppers. During a SHTF and your team is on lock down at home or off to an alternative site, a quiet suppressed rifle has real advantages. There are many times when you want to keep your location a secret and what better way if you have to fire upon targets 4-footed, or two. A suppressed rifle make this possible.
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LOS ANGELES – A California ballot initiative that opponents claim would lead to house-to-house gun confiscation leads in a statewide survey among registered voters.
Proposition 63, as it is called, is winning 64-28 percent, according to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll of 1,879 registered voters conducted by SurveyMonkey.
The proposition would ban magazines larger than 10 rounds. It also would:
- Require ammunition sales be made through licensed vendors.
- Require lost or stolen guns or ammo be reported to police.
- Require buyers pass a background check prior to purchasing ammunition.
“Millions of legal magazines will need to be sold out-of-state, taken out-of-state, or seized by law enforcement,” according to the Coalition for Civil Liberties, which opposes Proposition 63.
Many legal firearms will only operate with “magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, making them effectively illegal,” the coalition noted.
“This backdoor gun ban is not just on future sales, but forces you to surrender your existing private property to law enforcement,” it added.
The coalition asserted that Proposition 63, if passed, will lead to “house-to-house confiscation” of guns and magazines.
According to the text of the proposed law, anyone who is caught possessing an illegal magazine can be jailed for up to one year. Current owners of such magazines have three choices, according to the text: 1) remove it from the state, 2) sell it to a licensed dealer, or 3) surrender it to police “for destruction.”
What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:
The Ruger Vaquero was introduced in 1993 by Sturm, Ruger & Company for the fast-growing sport of cowboy action shooting. This single-action, six-shot revolver was based on an earlier model that Ruger had introduced in 1955, the Blackhawk. The Blackhawk, in turn, was a modernized version of the colt single action Army revolver of 1873. Blackhawks had been allowed in the “modern” category of cowboy action shooting, as the revolvers were equipped with adjustable sights, but these sights kept the revolvers out of the general categories.
The Vaquero was made with fixed sights, similar to the Colt. The lower price point and the overall quality of the revolver appealed to shooters who either did not want to take an expensive (and possibly antique) firearm into a match or those who were not satisfied with the quality of imported Colt “clones” that were on the market.
Ruger incorporated a transfer bar in the Vaquero for safety reasons. Colt Single Action Army revolvers had an inherent safety problem: With the cylinder fully loaded, the fixed firing pin attached to the hammer rests on the primer of a loaded round. Dropping or striking a revolver loaded in this manner can cause it to discharge, which is why traditionally, Colt SAAs are loaded with five rounds and the hammer resting on an empty chamber. Ruger had addressed the issue in 1973 on the Blackhawk and Single six revolvers by the addition of a transfer bar, which makes it safe for a shooter to carry six rounds in his revolver without a safety concern.
Two finishes are available: stainless steel and blue, with an imitation color case-hardened frame. This second option was a chemical treatment which gave the look of the color case hardening found on the original Colt revolvers.
Ruger offered the revolvers in three barrel lengths: 7 1⁄2 inch, 5 1⁄2 inch and 4 5⁄8 inch, which were similar to the three most common barrel lengths offered by Colt. Ruger initially offered the Vaquero in 45 Colt and later in 357 Magnum/38 Special, 44 Magnum/44 Special, and 44-40 Winchester (44 WCF).
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In 1998, some Vaqueros began shipping with faux ivory grips and engraving complete with gold inlay. In 1999, a limited run of 1,000 Vaqueros was offered by Ruger through a distributor. These revolvers featured a 3 ½-inch barrel and a shortened ejector rod. They were called the “Sheriff’s Model,” and half of these revolvers were stainless and the other half finished in blue. In 2005, this was added as a standard option to the catalog.
Ruger has offered three grip frame shapes in the past: the standard, the Bisley and the Bird’s head. The standard or plow handle is shaped similar to the traditional Colt Single Action Army. The Bisley has a shape based upon the Bisley Colt Single Action Army, which was designed as a target revolver. The Bird’s head recreates the unique shape of Colt’s double-action Lightning and Thunderer models of 1877 in an improved contour.
Aficionados of cowboy action shooting and single-action revolvers in general bought the Vaquero in droves. Because of the larger frame and the quality of the steel used, these revolvers could fire loads of higher pressures than the Colt Single Action Army and in some instances, these revolvers caught on in handgun hunting circles.
However, the larger and heavier guns received some detraction from purists of the sport of cowboy action shooting. Additionally, the Ruger “warning label” which appeared on the left side of the barrel cautioning the shooter to consult the owner’s manual was visually unattractive to many shooters. Ruger addressed these concerns in 2005 by introducing the “New Vaquero.” This version incorporated a smaller frame, making it closer in weight to the Colt Single Action Army and able to accept the two-piece grip panels made for the Colt. Ruger moved the “Warning label” to the underside of the barrel, making the revolver more appealing to the eye. The New Vaquero is offered in .45 Colt and .357 Magnum/.38 Special and is not meant for the heavier loads that the original model could fire.
My preference is for the original Vaquero due to its strength. With proper loads and the correct bullet, the 45 Colt is capable of taking any game animal in North America. I don’t feel under gunned when packing one for protection, either, and unlike the original Colt Single Action Army, you can load all six chambers in the Ruger.
Have you shot a Vaquero? Which model do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the section below:
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 .300 Blackout is an effective round that bridges some of the wide gap between a .223 and a .308 as well as allowing an AR15 platform rifle to encroach on the ballistics territory of the venerable AK 47. Plus the 300 BLK has the benefit of easily going subsonic making it about as quiet as possible given the mechanical noise of operating a rifle’s action. Adding to the quiet excitement is that the difference between a traditional AR15 in .223/5.56 and one in 300 BLK is little more than a barrel swap. That’s right, everything else might be interchangeable between the two.
Chicken or Egg?
Wildcat cartridges can successfully address niche ammo needs, but unless the specific cartridge was blessed by Sammy (properly SAAMI or Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute), the cartridge would not get the widespread support needed to be taken seriously by the big gun and ammo manufacturers let alone the general shooting public. AAC, or the Advanced Armament Corporation in collaboration with Remington Defense ironed out the kinks in the wildcat .300 Whisper cartridge getting formal SAAMI joy in 2011 which is why the .300 Blackout still has that new car smell.
The .300 Blackout is a 30 caliber solution that grew from a set of needs not the least of which included the use of existing AR-style magazines while maintaining the same mag capacity, the use of M4-style platform uppers and lowers; being ballistically similar to the AK 47 round of 7.62mm x 39mm, and be a higher-mass barrier-penetrating bullet while maintaining low recoil and high performance through short suppressed barrels. Oh, and best of all, easily running both supersonic and subsonic in the same rifle with absolutely no change in the gun. In fact, it is this latter capability that 300 BLK owners find most attractive. So the .300 Blackout can drop a deer at 200 yards, or lob 30-cal lead downrange with little more noise than a cycling bolt.
AK 47 rifles are near impossible to run subsonic due to the gas system. And they are certainly not able to interchange between supersonic and subsonic on the fly. Major adjustments and tuning would be needed. In the case of the .300 Blackout, it is a cartridge deliberately made to run flawlessly in an AR rifle in both subsonic and supersonic. In fact, the high bullet weight of the subsonic 300 BLK ammo is not just to slow down the bullet (F=MA in Newtonian physics) but also to provide enough of an equal and opposite force to cycle a traditional AR bolt and buffer (Newton’s Third Law of Motion).
While the initial ballistics of a 300 BLK running subsonic are very similar to a .45 ACP, the bullet shape of a .300 Blackout provides a much better trajectory and deeper penetration. A 220 grain 45 caliber slug flying out the pipe of a handgun designed prior to 1911 is much like a forty-five caliber musket ball. On the other hand the .300 Blackout behaves more like a 7.62×39 round causing death hundreds of yards away. A .45 ACP will bounce off cowhide at distance while the 300 BLK should still shatter bone.
300 BLK ammo in the supersonic variety did pass my Walmart test. That means it is sitting on the shelf at the local Walmart right now. However, I was unable to locate any subsonic .300 Blackout ammo at the any nearby Walmarts. Of course subsonic 300 BLK ammo was available at almost every gun store and big box sporting goods store I checked so the stuff is common. And the Walmart gun clerk did say they’ve had 300 BLK subsonic ammo in stock before, but it was elusive as 500 round bricks of .22 long rifle.
Related: 10 Basic Tools For Your Armorer Kit
The ammo choices for 300 BLK in supersonic was varied across price and performance. I found plenty of boxes of 20 from $16 all the way up to almost $50. Subsonic rounds hovered around $20-$25 and there was rarely more than one choice at any given store.
Changing a .223 AR 15 into a .300 Blackout can be as simple as swapping barrels. The complete upper, lower, magazines and gas system might work just fine with the 300 BLK. Usually there are a couple other parts that get changed out as well, but truly in a nutshell, it is just a barrel switch. So a best-case conversion to turn your .223 AR into a .300 Blackout is 1) remove your .223 barrel, and 2) install a 300 BLK barrel.
Changing barrels on your standard direct impingement AR is fairly straightforward, but does require some tools. The undeniable tool is a barrel wrench which is usually part of a multi-function armorers tool like the Magpul Armorer’s Wrench. But in order to turn the barrel nut, you must remove the gas tube. And in order to remove the gas tube, you will need to remove the gas tube cross pin using a 5/32nds punch (gently push it out from left to right).
With the gas tube removed, you can unwind the barrel nut freeing the barrel from the upper receiver. You can reuse the gas tube if its in good shape and the right length, and maybe even reuse the gas block as well assuming it works with your barrel and handguard. In my case, I opted for a new low profile gas block because I am going from a Magpul MOE polymer handguard mounted on a 5.56 barrel with an A2 (triangular) front post. The Midwest Industries free-floating handguard I’ll be shrouding the 300 BLK barrel with will need a new gas block. So it was Yankee Hill to the rescue.
Also Read: How To Trick Out A Cheap AR15
Backing up for a minute, there is an essential tool that makes barrel removal and installation every so much easier and that is an upper receiver vise block. The vise block is a blockish clamp that wraps the upper receiver like a glove allowing the whole unit to be clamped in a vise without concern of damaging or warping your upper receiver. Add a torque wrench to round out your toolset and you’re as good as done.
The .300 Blackout went into military service in July of 2015 when the Netherland’s Dutch Maritime Special Operations Force (NL-MARSOF) ordered 195 carbines chambered in 300 BLK. According to an uncited Wikipedia article on the .300 Blackout, it has an effective supersonic combat range of about 500 yards. Flying subsonic, 200 yards is pushing the limits of effectiveness outside of threats made of paper. Now before anyone goes all sniper on me, most folks, and let’s be honest here, are not able to shoot reliably to 500 yards even under ideal conditions. In fact, 200 yards is a very reasonable and ethical hunting distance. In my particular case, I intend on hunting with this rifle in thick woods where a 50 yard or less shot is common. I grew up hunting in such places with a Winchester Model 94 30-30 which is an excellent “brush gun” as we liked to call them. Iron sights were plenty good at these distances.
I also intend to hunt with a suppressor, or silencer if you want to retain the original name that its inventor Hiram Maxim called them back in 1902; the “Maxim Silencer” to be exact. On a side note, a movie in 1946 was made about Hiram’s life and titled “So Goes My Love.” But reading about the movie, it doesn’t sound like there is any gunplay in it, let alone any silenced fire.
Factory loads of 300 BLK come in several popular bullet weights. In general, those bullets over 200 grains slide down the pipe under the 1100 feet per second speed of sound while anything lighter breaks the sound barrier with a boom. Since most of the powder is burned within the first nine inches of barrel, near total performance can be achieved in very short barrels. To avoid paperwork and a tax stamp and months of delay, I opted for a 16” barrel literally off the shelf at a local gun store.
I already had a SilencerCo Omega suppressor so adding a can to this build was a no-brainer. In fact, that Omega is most of the reason I went down the 300 BLK road in the first place. A suppressed subsonic .300 Blackout literally is only as loud as the bolt cycling and bullet impacting.
Related: Firearms Maintenance When SHTF
All this is not without a problem. And it’s potentially a big one. A .223 or 5.56 round will cycle into a 300 BLK barrel, and possibly the reverse is true. This means you have to practice proper ammo management. At no time can you risk mixing up or mixing together your mags or your ammo.
There are various solutions and products to keep your ammo act together. The Blackout Band is a silicon bracelet you wrap around your 300 BLK mags. Some folks run different colored mags, while others mark their mags in personal ways. I chose to dedicate Magpul’s sand colored mags to my .300 Blackout with the intent to dye them later to a more fun and useful color. So at the moment, white mags for the Blackout. No exceptions. There is an ever growing number of tales where someone had a loose 300 BLK round that found it’s way into a .223 mag only to blow the gun apart when it was stripped off the top of the mag by the bolt and the trigger was pulled.
And as I noted in my review of the Magpul D-60 drum magazine, not all ammo containers for the .223/5.56 platform are completely interchangeable. In fact, some are downright dangerous. But since .300 Blackout ammo is easily twice to three times the price of .223 rounds at a minimum, getting sloppy with Blackout ammo shouldn’t be a popular problem.
It should go without saying that a 30 caliber subsonic suppressed round with a 200 meter range should have endless uses. Hunting is obvious as is protection. But let’s put a finer point on that protection thing. A bolt cycling is noisy but only within a very limited sound radius. Add snow or thick brush or trees and the noise of a buffer spring boinging and bolt clanking will not travel far. And the thump of bullet impact is evidence that it’s too late to do anything about it. Unfortunately, the 30 caliber bullet leaving the muzzle under the speed of sound drops like a mountain pass after a hundred yards, and like a double-black diamond ski slope at 200 yards. Beyond that it’s ballistics curve would be a boat anchor.
The Downside of Loud
And speaking of sound suppression, if you ever plan on popping off a round indoors, you will want to minimize the bang or risk temporary disorientation and permanent hearing damage. Sorry to be a buzzkill here, but I do have trouble taking seriously anyone who plans on using a short-barreled AR or AR pistol with spiked muzzle brake as a home defense weapon. One boom and it’s all over for most involved. Better get that first shot right because you will be too stunned for a follow up shot. Kind of like flash-banging yourself and loved ones.
Also Read: Review of the Glock 42
Just as a gas-powered generator makes an unwanted and unavoidable racket, and a campfire makes unwanted smoke and smell, firearms make unwanted noise. So having a silent solution with more umph than a pistol is a good thing. And when things do go noisy, you have a 500 yard solution at your index finger’s fingertip.
Given that the 300 BLK is still young enough to have spots it’s not surprising that reloading your own brand is the go-to option for the more-than-curious. There are limited factory ammo options for subsonic bullet designs often leaving the big game hunter to settle for either throwing projectiles faster than sound or launching barely hollow-pointed varmint rounds downrange to settle the score. But the big news here is that there is actually a selection of subsonic 300 BLK ammo on the shelves of the big boxes. So something’s going in the right direction these days.
Let’s see how this all works out. Stay tuned for Part 2.
All photos by Doc Montana
This article is for informational purposes only, please consult a gunsmith before you make any changes to your rifle.
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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:
The essential idea behind a pocket pistol is to carry it concealed on your person in the event of immediate need. During an active SHTF event, a prepper-survivalists may have multiple opportunities to engage their pocket pistol for a wide variety of reasons. It might be needed to get out of the office and home or out of the driveway to get on the road toward your Bug Out destination. It may be needed to thwart a threat at the front door or in the parking lot.
When things go south during a natural or unnatural event, self-defense and family/team protection can quickly become a top priority. For this reason, a pocket pistol has to be chosen very carefully with deliberate intents in mind at all times. A pocket pistol has to be small enough to be carried easily, but it must be retrieved quickly to put into play. Then it has to carry enough power to be an effective defensive threat. The shooter has to be trained and proficient in doing this.
The first round of the debate starts with the size of the hole in the end of the muzzle. The primary contenders are the .380 ACP, .38 Special, 9mm, and maybe with a select few shooters, the .45 ACP. See, I have already stepped on somebody’s toe by not mentioning this round or another such as the .40 Cal. Some 10mm fans might be offended. And if you are just getting into shooting handguns, start with the .22 rimfire from the get go, but then move up. Skip the rimfire for self-defense as it just has too many limitations for serious protection work.
Related: Buying SHTF Ammo
The bottom line here is to choose a caliber with which you are confident in using and in a handgun you can shoot well. Any one in this first list will perform well in the right hands of a properly trained and experienced shooter. The days are gone when the .380 and the .38 Special were considered wimps. Even the 9mm was slighted not all that long ago. Forget that. Ammunition manufacturers have stepped up the game with new highly potent and accurate self-defense loads new on the market. Many new offerings by Hornady, Remington, Winchester, Federal and others have laid to rest the arguments about these rounds being too weak for self-defense protection. Make your choice.
To simplify things I generically used the term “pistol” when I am really talking about both semi-auto pistols and revolvers as well. Believe it or not, a good revolver in the hands of a competent and confident shooter becomes an awesome defensive combination. The “pistol” is certainly a popular choice but by no means the only one or even the best one in every instance.
Related: A Case For The Revolver
A top of the line revolver such as many by Smith and Wesson, Ruger, Charter Arms, Taurus, and a few select others are good choices for prepper pocket pistols. An intriguing new revolver that I have yet to see or handle is the Kimber K6s Stainless in .357 Magnum, which of course can handle .38 Specials including hearty +P loads. This ought to be a grand pocket pistol, pricey, but extremely well made as all Kimber’s are.
Pistol wise there are just so many choices, the average or new prepper to the horse race is going to quickly get bogged down in decision-making over features, fit, grip, handling, magazine loading, pointing, slide cycling, sight alignment, safety mechanisms, weight, size, carry and concealment considerations. These are a lot of things to think about when picking out a good pocket pistol. Among the competitive leading makers of pocket pistols, you have to look at the Glock 42 and 43, the Ruger models LC9 and LCP, several from S&W including the Bodyguard and their 9mm series.
Related: 10 Tips For Concealed Carry
Remington has out a new .380 pistol to look at in earnest. Others worthy of a look include the Kimber Micro Pistols, the Solo, Ultra models, and some of the downsized 1911 versions. In this marketplace, there is no shortage at all of models, brands, and versions to examine for use as pocket pistols.
In the selection process, canvas internet recommendations from noted sources like Survival Cache. Check with reputable gun dealers, and nose around at shooting ranges, and gun shows. Handle and inspect as many different gun models as you can get your hands on. Shop where the inventories are large, selections and prices are competitive. If you know a cop, then ask them their opinions as well as other preppers and survivalists. Gather all the information you can as you make your choice or choices.
The pocket pistol profile is a lightweight, small, 2-4 inch barreled handgun designed to be easily carried actually in the pocket or in an IWB (inside waist band) or OWB (outside waist band) holster. It has to ready to be drawn quickly and deployed into action at a moment’s notice. Besides picking the right gun in the right caliber for you, proceed to knowing your gun. Learn it, clean it, take it apart, and get intimate with it. Spend a lot of quality time on the shooting range running it through the paces. Shoot your new gun at realistic confrontational distances.
Also Read: Gum Creek Vehicle Pistol Mount Review
Forget 50 yards. Concentrate on 7 feet to ten yards. Punch those paper plates in the center. Practice quick reloads with a fresh magazine or a 5/6-round speed loader. This is a learned talent all its own that requires lots of practice to perform smoothly and securely. Practice, too, withdrawing your pistol from your pocket and carry holsters. Dress up in the role of concealed carry to see how all that works out. Get in and out of your vehicles to test those moves. It all takes practice. Just keep at it.
Get your concealed carry permit so you’ll be legal. Start to tote your pocket pistol on a regular basis. Carry it around some to get used to the weight, feel and tug of it on your body. At home or discretely work with drawing your pocket handgun in practice, unloaded of course. Learn that sight plane down the barrel and pointing that muzzle nose to the target. If you have to depart your office, home, or vehicle during a SHTF event of any kind, you are going to want some measure of protection. A pocket pistol can help fill that role. Make your selection with earnest consideration, then move full forward to learning to use it effectively. It could save your life or the lives of family members, a prep team, or others caught exposed.
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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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
An old saying goes, “There is not very much that a man can’t fix, with 500 bucks and a .30-06!”
For more than a century, the caliber .30, year of 1906, has been America’s cartridge. From the trenches of World War I, to the battlefields of World War II, to the Korean War, the deer stand, and the rifle competitions at Camp Perry — the ’06 has been there.
The story of the versatile .30-06 actually goes back to the 1890s, a decade before its introduction. The US military was desperate to get away from black powder and the trap door, single shot Springfields that fired the massive .45-70 cartridge. At the time, nations all over the world were adopting smokeless powder and bolt-action rifles for their respective militaries, and there was no reason for the US to be left behind.
After a few years of trials and much political haggling, the US Army adopted the .30-40 chambered Krag-Jorgensen rifle, a Norwegian design. The rifle was obsolete from the get-go. It had to be loaded one round at a time, and it had a magazine cut-off. These two features encouraged the rifle to be employed as a single shot, with the magazine held in reserve if needed. This was utterly foolish, and proved just as stupid as it sounded on the battlefield during the Spanish-American War.
Another weakness was the ammunition. It was a short-ranged round and did not have the power equal to the ammunition used by the Spanish and their fine Mauser rifles. The US suffered enormous casualties at the Battle of San Juan due to the superior Spanish rifles and ammo.
After the war, the US copied the Mauser, in the form of the M1903 Springfield. It was a beautiful rifle and was originally chambered with a .30-03 cartridge. This was updated in 1906, much to the credit of then President Theodore Roosevelt. The new cartridge was based on the 8mm Mauser round used by the German army and was just as powerful. Thus, the .30-06.
The cartridge saw its first action in the Philippines, Mexico and France during WWI. After the war, soldiers brought back their Springfield and US Enfield rifles (also chambered in .30-06). Many were sporterized by hunters and taken afield, where the .30-06 proved a very capable hunting cartridge. The ’06 could handle any game animal in the US, and most other game around the world.
Another World War came, and afterward millions of rifles and billions of rounds of surplus ammunition flooded the civilian markets. By now, civilian hunting rifles chambered in .30-06 became more and more common. Deer, elk and moose hunters especially carted .30-06-chambered firearms into the woods to bash their hoofed quarry into submission and fill the freezers back at home. In fact, the .30-06 was the most popular sporting cartridge after the venerable .30-03 in the post-war years in America.
The .30-06 also has served as the parent cartridge for many equally successful loads, especially the .270. In fact, between the .270 and .30-06, more elk have fallen to these two cartridges in the past 70 years than any other chamberings, other than perhaps the .30-30.
In the 1960s, Remington introduced the model 700 hunting rifle, millions of which are chambered in the ’06. The age of mass-produced, relatively cheap hunting rifles had arrived and has not stopped. Today, the .30-06 maintains its place as the king of American hunting cartridges, long after its military service has ended.
The .30-06 can be found in many different bullet weights and powder loads. There are loads tailor-built for whitetail or mule deer hunting. There are loads for elk and larger game. There are even loads for sportsmen to take to Alaska and Africa to take dangerous game such as the coastal brown bear. Just about every gun shop or sporting goods center carries .30-06 cartridges. While more expensive than it has been in years past, it is still affordable. Cheap import ammunition still is available and makes the price much more affordable for the budget-minded shooter.
More than 100 years after its introduction, it’s clear why the .30-06 remains one of America’s favorite calibers.
What advice would you add about the .30-06? 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:
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:
Many of us would rather build our own AR-15. It can be much cheaper, depending on the parts, as well as customizing it to our own specifications. Then there are those of us who want to, but have no idea where to begin. So we hit YouTube and Google for research.
Wheeler Engineering’s “AR-15 Armorer’s Essentials Kit” contains several of the tools needed for building an AR-15. In this video OIFEagle will unbox the kit and discuss what tools you can expect to see, and why the kit grabbed his attention. He goes into detail about each tool that you need, and even some you might not know you need, what their function is, as well as the cost.
He purchased his kit for $89.99 at SportsmansGuide.com. (Item Number: WX2-294372) He also encourages people to shop around for a better price; however that is the cheapest he found.
OIFEagle is a U.S. Army Officer, Gentleman, and Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (OIF) He is a Free-thinking Conservative, Christian, Husband, and Father. He is also currently stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.
The main purpose of his video blog is to discuss politics, firearms, gunsmithing, and preparations for the zombie apocalypse.
Video By OIFEagle
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Article by American Preppers Network
The popular AR-15 rifle has been the subject of several recent media reports, and one reporter – Gersh Kuntzman of the New York Daily News – even reported it gave him a “temporary form of PTSD” after he fired it at a gun range.
“Squeeze lightly on the trigger and the resulting explosion of firepower is humbling and deafening (even with ear protection),” he wrote. “The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.”
But even though people have different reaction to different guns, Kuntzman’s description of an AR-15 rifle received pushback from gun owners. One YouTube video that went viral showed a 7-year-old girl enjoying time on the firing range with her father while shooting an AR-15 for the first time. The father does a great job teaching her about gun safety, and both of them enjoy the experience. Watch it below:
The Second Amendment does not give Americans the right to carry concealed weapons, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday in a decision that could dramatically impact the nation’s gun laws.
“We hold that the Second Amendment does not protect, in any degree, the carrying of concealed firearms by members of the general public,” the opinion by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals read. It was written by Judge Susan P. Graber, a Clinton nominee. “We therefore conclude that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms does not include, in any degree, the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”
The case, Peruta v. San Diego County, originated out of California, although its effect was felt across the country. The vote was 7-4.
“The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held today that residents have no Second Amendment right to carry a firearm outside their home for self-defense,” Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said. “In effect, the appeals court ruled that San Diego County can outlaw guns outside the home by declining to issue anyone a permit. This court’s decision is a direct challenge to the Second Amendment and is unconstitutional.”
In a dissent, Judge Consuelo Callahan, a nominee of President George W. Bush, wrote, “A prohibition on carrying concealed handguns in conjunction with a prohibition of open carry of handguns would destroy the right to bear and carry arms.”
The sheriff’s departments in two California counties, Yolo and San Diego, only issue concealed carry permits to people who can prove they are in danger from violent attack – such as by showing a restraining order. In 2009 two men, Edward Peruta of San Diego and Adam Richards of Yolo County, applied for concealed carry permits and were turned down.
That prompted the California Rifle and Pistol Association to sue the counties in federal court on behalf of Peruta, Richards and three others. Last year, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the policy violated the Second Amendment. The entire Ninth Circuit overturned that ruling on Thursday.
The immediate impact of the ruling is that it affects only the states in the Ninth Circuit: Alaska, Washington state, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, California and Hawaii. But if it is appealed to the US Supreme Court and upheld, then concealed carry could be banned nationwide.
The case attracted national attention, with briefs filed by states outside the district, including Alabama. All total, 20 other states signed the brief: Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The defendants in the case, San Diego County Sheriff William D. Gore and the state of California, were represented by California Solicitor General Edward C. DuMont. DuMont appealed the loss from last year, after Gore declined to do so, the Associated Press reported. The plaintiffs were represented by Paul D. Clement, who served as US solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration.
Interestingly, the court refused to touch on the issue of open carry of firearms in public.
“We do not reach the question whether the Second Amendment protects some ability to carry firearms in public, such as open carry,” the opinion read. “The Second Amendment may or may not protect, to some degree, a right of a member of the general public to carry firearms in public. We hold only that there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”
The court also ruled that the US Supreme Court’s Heller decision, which upheld the right of private gun ownership, does not affect concealed carry.
Most observers expect Peruta will be appealed to the US Supreme Court – the only court of appeal from the Ninth Circuit.
The case will presumably arrive at the Supreme Court sometime after Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement is on the court. Scalia, whose opinions supported gun rights, died in February.
What is your reaction to the ruling? Share your thoughts in the section below:
As noted in part one of Bug Out Gun Lights, mounting a light on a weapon, whether long gun or handgun, is a necessary option for every bug in and bug out scenario. The light is not just for discriminating among potential targets, but also to light the escape route, to light the impromptu medical theater, and to signal others as needed. In part one, the generalities of WMLs or weapon mounted lights were explored. In part two of Bug Out Gun Lights we will consider long rifle implications, shotguns, and specific lights.
Have vs. Want
The next time I get mugged, it will be in broad daylight, under a noon blue sky, inside the lobby of a police station, during SWAT open house, while POTUS is in attendance, and I just happened to have started my demonstration of how to load an MP5 with live ammo.
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Unfortunately statistics are not on my side. Most violent encounters in the US happen after the sun is well on it’s way to China. In other words, it’s dark. So training with a weapon mounted light is an important piece of the survival puzzle. FBI stats have shown that over 50 percent of LEOs that were killed in the line of duty met their end during the hours between 8pm and 6am. And even worse, 92% of all assaults on LEOs occurred between those same hours. While you might not be a LEO, the risk of assault, robbery, and pretty much everything nasty in between is more likely to happen at night. Thus the need for a WML. But also the responsibility of the gun owner to absolutely know his target. Wandering in the dark is ignoring 80% of the input the brain prefers to use to process a situation. Sight is our dominant sense, and light is essential for sight.
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Not all LEOs were giddy about dedicated weapons lights when they arrived. In fact, it was the K9 officers who were first in line to adopt WMLs. With one hand perpetually attached to a dog leash, they had only half the number of available upper torso appendages to begin with. By making gun and light one unit, the K9 cops could move around more like their unleashed brethren.
Location. Location. Location.
Now that WMLs are powerful enough to be practical on a rifle, it really is only a matter of time before you get one. But where to put it? Many modern ARs have three linear feet of rail or more, but only the final two inches near the muzzle will work for a light. If you have a fixed front sight, you probably don’t want to mount the light on the top rail since the photons will hit the first object they encounter the hardest (the front sight) and under maximum intensity it causes an unacceptable hotspot that will compromise your vision and aiming. If you are right handed, you might want the light opposite your support hand’s grip (the left side). That leaves the bottom rail and the right side as good choices. A bottom mount behind the muzzle will create a shadow above the gun, while a right mount will create a left-side shadow and can cause issues when rounding corners just as a left-side mount will.
For forest and ranch work, I don’t mind the under barrel mount on my AR. In this case I would rather have a clean view of the ground for safer travel. But a simple twist of the carry position moves the light into the 9 or more likely the 3 o’clock position minimizing any forward shadowing when needed.
Most mounting choices lock-in the light in one of the 90-degree positions: 12 O’clock, 3, 6 and 9 O’clock. The two things to consider are light activation by the support hand, and preferred shadow position opposite the light.
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If an intermediate option to the four standard coordinates is desired consider options such as the Daniel Defense light mount or the Magpul offset light mount. A downside to the Magpul mount is that it is screwed onto the rail (two bolts), and the flashlight is attached to the mount (two more bolts), so switching between using the light in-hand and-on gun takes time and tools. The Daniel Defense option is much simpler but three times as expensive. It uses a single large knob to attach the mount to the rail with the light held to the mount like a scope in a ring.
Muzzle blast and recoil can damage lights and coat their lenses with light-diminishing debris. Some lights like my now-discontinued Leupold have synthetic sapphire lenses to deal with the harsh life of living next to muzzle blast. Other lights might seem tough at the store, but a few mags later are crying for mommy. While I thoroughly appreciate the effort Leopold put into their now-defunct MX modular flashlight system, it should have been built for continuity with interchangeable LED modules since the lens, battery barrels, and switches are good for decades but the LEDs are evolving faster than the Avian Flu. So much good tech has gone to pasture due to fixation on the present.
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Lights must be strong enough to shake off gun recoil. While LEDs usually ignore impacts, the circuits, switches, battery contacts, and lens components can get their bell rung. Batteries have mass and thus prefer to remain still when the rest of the light is accelerated in a direction opposite of the bullet. Simple Newtonian mechanics. This can lead to compression of the springs and contacts that normally ensure a complete circuit that keeps the electrons flowing. Darkness falls whenever there is a break in the circuit causing the light to blink or go out all together. And sometimes the electricity never flows again. But this is a double-edged coin to mix my metaphors. Any working light will work until the trigger is pulled. So basically you have at least one shot with any WML. Good lights will keep running. Weak lights…well, you need to move to plan B.
Most good lights have O-ring seals at all material interfaces. But that won’t necessarily keep the light from unscrewing itself over time or during repeated fire. Keep an eye on the connections between components, and give the light a good shake every once in a while to listen for parts rattling around inside the tube.
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And speaking of moving parts, the design of the switch on paper is completely different from the operation of the switch in a human hand, especially when contacting that wonderful opposable thumb we’ve been taught separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. The thumb switch should have the right amount of resistance and tactile click to talk back during the activation. Of all my lights, there is just something about the Surefire and Fenix lights that have that proper click. Although you might have noticed that Fenix does not make any WMLs. That’s because they do, but they are marketed under different brand names and non-competition clauses will prevent Fenix from selling any for at least a few more years.
Toyota spends millions on the feel of it. And so does Geissele, Magpul and Daniel Defense. You see there are very few places on a weapons light that involve human interaction so those companies that pay special attention to the human-flashlight interface are those that I prefer. The reason for stressing this particular tangent of weapons mounted lights is that when the S hits the Fan, your pulse spikes, adrenaline is dumped into your bloodstream, and your vision tunnels, the operation of a WML must be like every other human reaction that has evolved over millions of years. Not time for memorized luminosity sequences. No time to wonder, to paraphrase Sigmund Freud, if a click is just a click.
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Another area to consider is the composition of the lens. Super-high-end lights use sapphire glass material, the same stuff in your Rolex watch crystal. Moving down in price is impact resistant glass of sufficient thickness, followed by glass. Then polycarbonate plastic. Then plastic of unknown origin. But anything near the business end of a rifle should not be made of a meltable oil-based material like plastic.
Mounting solutions run from simple to complex, and cheap to expensive. If the light has a built-in rail mounting option, then the rail slots must match the light’s size. On full-sized autopistols like the Glock 17, small form-factor lights may generate a substantial gap between trigger guard and light. A raw fact to keep in mind is that if a solidly mounted light extends further forward than the pistol’s barrel, it will be possible to jam the gun into the perp without concern of a misfire due to the slide being pushed rearward and out of battery while the business end of the gun squishes into the flesh of the bad guy. To put a friendly face on this important fact, there are notable events where a LEOs bacon was saved by the purp punching their lighted muzzle into the cop’s belly or forehead and jerked the trigger but no bang followed. All possible by the slightly-forward mounting of a WML.
On the other side of the coin, if you have a light such as the Surefire x300 Ultra you can enjoy the ease of switching the light between guns, hands or pockets. Do note, however, that the x300U fires up quite easily in the hand and pocket compared to traditional dialed-in flashlight designs due to its pressure activation in addition to its switch rotation. I’ve also fired up my x300 just by grabbing the gun out of a case. If done in the dark, you just shot your night vision all to hell. Just food for thought.
Also Read: Why The Tomahawk?
Inexpensive and versatile mounts include the ExtremeBeam Weaver mount. For $14, you can mount any one-inch diameter light to almost any gun. The mount can grab standard rails, or use the included rail mount to secure it to a barrel. I have used this mount on a 20 gauge Remington 870 shotgun in addition to ARs. There are almost no aftermarket tactical accessories for the 20GA 870 platform since it seems the entire rest of the world only cares about the 12 gauge so I was on my own to find a light mount. Lately I’ve settled in on using the rail mount of the ExtremeBeam Weaver to hold a Streamlight TLR-4 light/laser to my house-bound blued pump blunderbuss.
1000 Is The New Black
For a WML, 500 or more lumens is a great number for a pistol these days. But for a rifle that might breathe some fresh outdoor air once in awhile, 1000 lumens is my new best friend. Surefire makes some triple-cell lights under the Fury name. I have both the tactical version and the regular one. The P3X Tactical Fury has a no-click tail cap switch, but instead just a pressure button that fires the light as long as the rubber is held down. The Tactical only has one setting…full blast, which limits its general usefulness as a flashlight. To keep the light on, the tail cap must be rotated clockwise. I like to mount this light on the nine O’clock position so I can fire the light easily with my support hand thumb while keeping a tight grip on the handguard. If I want the light to stay on, I just grab the tail switch like the cap on a beer bottle and give it a twist.
Also Read: Taurus First 24 Kit
The regular P3X Fury has a two-stage tailcap click switch that fires first a 15 lumen beam, the a thousand lumen one if clicked again within a second. I prefer to pocket carry this Fury since most of the time I use it in first gear.
The Dust is Settling
At the moment, we are at an intellectual transition about weapon-mounted lighting. Much of the negative press and skeptical opinions are based upon old knowledge, old designs, old filament lights, and old tactics. Where modern bug out wisdom diverges from conventional law enforcement procedures is with duration of use, location of use, and situational use. Plus, in a bug out you are hopefully not running towards trouble like the LEOs are paid to do. In a true WROL, I will skew the rules in my favor. As they say, a fair fight is any fight you can lose. I know there are risks to using a weapon-mounted light, but frankly we’ve said the same things about so many other aspects of personal safety until the next generation’s embrace of the technology proved our historical concerns to be no longer founded in 21st century reality. So light it up.
Got a weapon mounted light and/or advise about your use of it? Tell us about it in the comments below.
All Photos by Doc Montana
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Carrying a concealed weapon is a major decision one must make, and ultimately you as an adult are solely in charge of defending your life. It can be an intimidating venture, but I have a few tips I’ve discovered after carrying a weapon for the last five years.
1. Wear your rig everywhere
Wearing a gun in a concealed fashion for the first time is quite uncomfortable. First off, holsters are often like boots: They have to be broken in. Not only does the holster have to be broken in, but you have to be broken into carrying a gun. If you are a new concealed carrier, or waiting for your permit, or scheduling a class, go ahead and start looking for holsters and guns. When you decide on one holster or another, just start wearing it. The more you carry, the more comfortable you’ll be with a gun.
You’ll also learn how to comfortably conceal your weapon. This means you can test your belt’s mettle, making sure it is supportive and comfortable. You’ll learn that if you use an inside-the-waistband holster, you’ll have to up your size of pants. You’ll also learn how to adjust a shoulder holster, and you’ll see if carrying your weapon is viable with your everyday attire.
2. Try a variety of holsters
When it comes to purchasing a holster, be prepared to purchase several holsters. You may read rave reviews about one holster or another, but find they simply don’t work for you. I love Alien Gear Holsters, but you may not. Be prepared to try some holsters out, and to start your own small collection. As a side note, stay away from cheap nylon holsters, and if your holster costs the same as a box of ammo, you’re doing it wrong.
Most people are going to face situations in their life where their normal method of dress will change. I wear a shirt and tie to my day job, and typically jeans and a T-shirt when I’m off work. These sets of clothing have different restrictions and challenges for carrying a weapon. I own a Sneaky Pete for carrying at work, and a simple Stealth operator compact holster from Phalanx Defense systems. I keep an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck for deep concealment in casual clothes. These three holsters give me options for nearly every clothing I choose to wear.
3. Know your weapon and holster inside and out
This is a big one. If you use multiple holsters like I do, then you want to train with all of them. Each of my holsters is similar enough to make cross training easy but different enough to make it necessary. If you choose to use different holsters and one has a retention device and the other does not, then you’ll have to practice for that. You’ll have to train how to draw the weapon not only with your strong hand but with your weak hand, with your back on the ground, and so forth.
Knowing your weapon is another major factor. For example, I typically carry a Walther PPS in 9mm. The Walther PPS has a different magazine release than most weapons, and I have to train to use it. If I carried a weapon with a safety, I’d train to disable that safety on every draw during practice. You need to practice mag changes with both hands, disabling the safety with both hands, and be able to use the weapon with one hand competently.
4. Practice with your everyday carry ammo
Most practice you do will be with standard full metal jacket ammunition; it’s cheap, effective and commonly available. No doubt, training with FMJs is valuable and will be the majority of training you’ll do. You do need to occasionally shoot your defensive ammunition. When you first purchase a gun and choose your defensive ammo you should buy two boxes — one for carry, and one for practice. Make sure your weapon can reliably feed in the weapon. Some defensive ammo may have a tweaked overall length, which may affect reliability. Some defensive ammo has a polymer tip to it, and this may affect reliability with your weapon.
Outside of reliability testing, you should shoot your defensive ammo just to remember how it handles. For example, I use Speer Gold Dot 124 grain that is +P. That +P adds some more power to the round and some more recoil. I want to make sure I am capable of handling this recoil and to expect it. Also, if you constantly rechamber defensive ammo after practice over and over, you may push the bullet into the case, reducing the overall length.
5. Be willing to fight
The last tip is a mental block some people may have to climb over. As a CCW instructor, I have heard it from a few people that they never want to shoot anyone, and hope the gun will simply scare the attacker off. This is a dangerous mindset, and if you aren’t willing to pull the trigger, you shouldn’t be carrying the weapon. If you pull your weapon and can’t pull the trigger, you may lose it to your attacker and suffer some serious consequences.
You need to be prepared to fight, to truly take hold of your responsibility to defend yourself, and, if necessary, shoot your attacker. Carrying a gun without the willingness to use it makes the weapon useless.
What concealed carry tips and advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Companion planting makes sense in an organic garden by creating plant diversity and using garden space more efficiently. Some plants work as pest deterrents, while others act as traps, drawing harmful bugs away from more susceptible veggies. Some gardeners are convinced that companion planting doubles the harvest, making it well worth the extra effort.
The Native American Three Sisters planting method, which involves corn, beans and squash, is one of the best examples of how companion planting works. As corn stalks gain height, they provide support for vining bean plants, and the beans repay the favor by fixing nitrogen in the soil. Squash, a fast-growing plant, does its part by shading the soil, preserving moisture and helping keep weeds in check.
Keep in mind that companion planting is not an exact science, and what works well for your friend across town may not work for you. Experimentation will reveal what natural friendships crop up in your garden.
Beets – Cabbage and related plants do well near beet plants, as do members of the onion family. Beets also like bush beans, lettuce and chard, but it’s best to keep them away from pole beans.
Beans – Bush beans interact positively with cucumbers, corn, radishes, celery, beets and members of the cabbage family. Pole beans, on the other hand, are a little pickier; they get along famously with radishes and corn, but hate beets. Plant potatoes next to either type of bean if you have problem with beetles, as potatoes tend to repel the pests. Avoid onions, garlic, leeks and chives, which may stunt bean plant growth.
Carrots – Onions, garlic and leeks help repel carrot flies and other pests, while members of the cabbage family also tend to discourage various pests that bug carrots. Beneficial carrot buddies also include peas, beans, lettuce, radishes, peppers and tomatoes.
Sweet corn – Beans are super helpful companion plants for corn, attracting beneficial insects that feast on corn-ravaging pests. Other companion plants that may enhance corn plant growth include potatoes, beans, melons, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and peas. However, plant corn and tomatoes at least 4 feet apart, as the two don’t do well together.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers thrive on nitrogen that peas and beans provide to the soil, while radishes help by drawing cucumber beetles away from tender cukes. Corn is a good companion for cucumbers, but potatoes and melons aren’t so good. Plant them in a different area of the garden.
Lettuce – Plant onions, garlic and chives nearby to deter aphids, maggots and other pests. Additionally, you can plant lettuce under tall tomatoes or corn, as lettuce appreciates the cool shade. Lettuce also gets along well with carrots, cucumbers, parsnips, beets and members of the cabbage family.
Onions – Onions grow well alongside many vegetable plants, including tomatoes, beets, peppers, lettuce, carrots, chard and most members of the cabbage family (with the exception of kohlrabi).
Peas – Plant peas near radishes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, parsley, tomatoes and turnips, but not in close proximity to onions, garlic, leeks or chives.
Peppers – Peppers get along well with most vegetables, including eggplant, parsley, carrots, tomatoes and members of the onion family. On the other hand, beans and peppers aren’t a good combination.
Radish – Radishes are cheerful little plants that get along with most vegetables, including carrots, beets, parsnips and spinach. Many gardeners think companion planting radishes and lettuce makes radishes more tender. However, it’s best not to plant radish in close proximity to members of the cabbage family.
Spinach – When you plant spinach and radishes side by side, the spinach works as a trap plant, meaning it attracts leafminers that are capable of decimating your spinach crop. Chinese mustard works in much the same fashion. Spinach also grows well alongside eggplants, celery and members of the cabbage family.
Potatoes – Plant spuds along with beans, eggplant, corn, peas and members of the cabbage family, but locate tomatoes, melons, squash, turnips and cucumbers in another corner of your garden.
Tomatoes – Many gardeners believe that chives can make tomatoes even sweeter. Other good tomato companions include parsley, carrots, celery, asparagus, onions, garlic and leeks. Tomatoes and corn are enemies, primarily because they tend to attract the same pests. Similarly, potatoes are susceptible to the same blight, which means they aren’t good companions for tomatoes. Plant tomatoes away from cauliflower, kale and other members of the cabbage family, which are believed to stunt tomato plant growth.
Which vegetables do you plant near one another – and avoid planting near one another? Share your tips in the section below:
One of my favorite carry pieces is a little known Austrian-made pistol: the Steyr S9-A1. On the surface it looks like a typical polymer framed, striker-fired pistol. But its utility is deeper than this.
Most people know of Steyr for their iconic AUG rifles. These futuristic bullpup rifles have been around for over three decades and represented innovations for rifle manufacture and deployment.
The S9-A1 pistol is no different.
Like the majority of polymer-framed striker-fired pistols, there are no external safeties or de-cocking mechanisms. This is not new, in and of itself. These types of pistols have proven themselves time and time again.
Where the Steyr starts to depart from the rest of the pack is in its trigger.
Wilhelm Bubits, who was the brain behind the Glock 20, developed this trigger. It is a two-piece type that is preset to a crisp-and-clean four pounds, and rearward movement is more reminiscent of a 1911 style pistol. A very short reset allows the shooter to make quicker follow-up shots.
Another key difference is the unique trapezoidal-type sights. Instead of traditional “three dots,” the Steyr S9-A1 makes use of a triangular front sight that reminds us of the reticle on our Trijicon ACOG. Diagonal lines cut into the rear sight allow the shooter to bring the sights to alignment and seem to allow the eye to capture this sight picture readily.
Some shooters have a hard time adapting to this sight picture, and that can be remedied by replacing them with traditional three-dot sights with tritium inserts.
My main reason for loving this pistol is the Steyr S9-A1’s superb-grip angle. Cut high into the frame, the shooter can easily maintain a grip which is close to the axis of the bore. I find it to be the most perfect grip design on any polymer-framed handgun, and think it needs no “grip reduction,” texturing or interchangeable back straps.
There is a short accessory rail on the frame to attach a visible white light or laser.
The magazines are masterpieces of construction, but this is one of the pistol’s shortcomings in my view. They are easily capable of holding 12 or 13 rounds, yet they are blocked off to hold only 10 rounds. They resemble circa 1994-2004 restricted capacity magazines and probably help sales in states with restrictive bans on magazine capacity, but I would like to see true factory magazines that are unrestricted.
Fortunately, magazines for the full-size M9 and L9 series will fit in the pistol, although they protrude from the bottom of the frame an inch or so.
Unlike other polymer-framed striker-fired pistols on the market, there are very few aftermarket accessories for the S9-A1. Part of the reason is that the pistols are just about perfect out of the box; the other is that it is not a well-known firearm.
The holster makers are getting better at producing holsters for the Steyr pistols, though. I went with a custom Kydex rig through L.A.G. Tactical of Reno, Nevada.
My main reason above all these for going with the Steyr is its accuracy. I regularly achieve sub-two-inch groups at distances of 50 feet with my Steyr. It replaced my H&K P7M8 for carry based on this alone.
They can be tough to find, but MSRP is less than $500, and every now and then you can find them on sale.
Weight: 26 ounces
Overall length: 6.7 inches
Barrel length: 3.6 inches
Have you ever used an S9-A1? What advice would you add? Share it in the section 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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Revolvers are here to stay, despite the fact that they hold a limited number of rounds and are slower to reload when compared to semiautomatic handguns. Does that mean that you need a six-shooter in your handgun battery?
For more than a century revolvers were the de facto “go-to” handgun for civilians, soldiers and peace officers. They remained in service after the introduction and adoption of the semiautomatic pistol, and their decline has only been over the past two to three decades.
Manufacturers continue to produce revolvers, and it seems that every time we try to write them off as obsolete, that a new model comes forth.
What is it about the revolver that still endears it to so many shooters?
For many shooters, revolvers hearken back to a simpler time. Whether it is from watching Western-themed movies or police dramas set from the 1940s through the late 1980s, the revolver played a dominant role from the taming of the frontier through the end of the Reagan era.
Many new revolvers coming to market are designed for period re-enactors who need to replicate arms from the Civil War, through the Old West up through the Roaring 20s.
As a student of history, the author can certainly appreciate revolvers from this standpoint.
There was a time when revolvers held the advantages of simplicity and reliability. The modern semiautomatic pistol has finally come into its own in this regard, but for many years they were denigrated as being “fussy with ammo types,” “prone to malfunction” and – heaven forbid — the “need to be maintained and cleaned.”
There is a lot to be said for any firearm that can be left loaded for long periods of time, remain reliable, have no worries about automatic ejection of spent casings before firing another round and no reliance on external safeties.
Many new semiautomatic pistols have this same advantage, but it is one thing that cannot be taken away from the revolver.
Apart from the reenactor revolvers, there are two other classes of revolver that shooters want to see. The first of these are the small, compact revolvers that can easily slide into a pocket holster and be carried comfortably all day.
The J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers and the mini revolvers from companies such as North American Arms make for outstanding concealed carry or backup guns to a primary defensive handgun.
Some revolvers with concealed or shrouded hammers can be fired from inside a pocket; not even the best compact 380 can manage that.
The other type of revolvers that shooters seem to want is the Magnum caliber revolver. Beyond 357 Magnum, 41 Magnum and 44 Magnum, there is an entirely new class emerging in the 454 Casull, 460 S&W and 500 S&W cartridges.
These large caliber wheel guns have all but replaced the various single shot and bolt-action pistols chambered in rifle cartridges for handgun hunting due to similar and sometimes superior ballistics — not to mention their ease of use when compared to the bolt action “mini rifle handguns.”
Semiautomatic handguns in these calibers need to be overbuilt in order to handle the pressures and the slides made much heavier.
Even with some modern auto pistol rounds (like the 10mm fired through a 6-inch Glock 40), the power factor is at the lower end of the power scale when compared to the revolver cartridge it is trying to emulate.
For a hunting handgun, the revolver is still king.
Regardless of the type of revolver, the hallmark of a wheel gun is its simplicity and shorter learning curve. We learned how to shoot on semiautomatic pistols, and when we started as an instructor we were convinced we could teach all our students the same way.
For some shooters, though, the revolver has a quicker learning curve. It may be they are distracted by ejecting brass, have difficulty with slide manipulation or are enamored by the superior grip characteristics of a classic Colt or Smith. If part of your goal is to introduce new people to the shooting sports, a spare 38 Special revolver can help a newcomer who might otherwise give up.
I simply like revolvers, for many of the reasons cited above. My Colt SAA is a piece of history at more than 115 years old, and a Colt Detective Special conceals easier in the summer months than a Glock 19. Additionally, my S&W 500 can drop an elk at 50 yards.
What are your thoughts on revolvers? Share them in the section below:
For many of us, owning a gun is all about being able to defend ourselves and protect our loved ones if needed.
But how do you follow the conventional rules of gun safety – keeping your firearm unloaded and secured until ready to use – and still have the weapon ready for self-defense?
If you have children, roommates or you frequently entertain and have guests over, you don’t want to leave your handgun loaded and laying on your nightstand. By the same token, it will be of little benefit if left unloaded in a safe in the garage or basement when a home invader kicks in your door at midnight.
We all too often read about children getting their hands on a firearm and catastrophic events follow. The child shoots a friend, a family member, or even himself. Sadly, these too often result in a death.
There are various child locks and wall or closet safes that can safely contain a handgun and keep it out of the wrong hands while still being accessible when needed.
Biometric safes have evolved by leaps and bounds and can be activated only by the user’s fingerprints. This gives quicker access than the various keyed and combination locks common to most safes and lock boxes. Best of all, the technology behind these is no longer prohibitively expensive.
The best recommendation, however, is to keep your defensive handgun in a comfortable holster and wear it at all times or as often as you can.
That way it is always completely under your control while remaining easily accessible.
Most children who pick up a firearm and have an accident do so because they think the firearm is a toy or they do not grasp the reality of the outcome of a gunshot.
To help teach children about gun safety, the National Rifle Association has a program called “Eddie Eagle.” The program is designed to teach children how to act if they come across a firearm.
It is a simple mantra, not unlike the one most children are taught to protect themselves from burning in a fire: Stop, drop and roll.
This is designed for preschoolers through fourth graders and, in my opinion, should be mandatory for all children. Even if they don’t have a firearm in their home, other family and friends may have firearms in theirs. Here’s what the NRA teaches children to do if they find a gun:
- Stop: The first step is the most critical. A mental note to stop gives the child a cue to pause and remember the rest of the safety instructions.
- Don’t touch: Firearms are not sentient and capable of acting on their own. If a firearm is left undisturbed it will not be fired and thus poses no risk.
- Leave the area: This takes the child away from the potential source of danger. Your child may not pick up the firearm, but another child might.
- Tell an adult: Children are taught to find a trustworthy and responsible adult such as a neighbor, relative or teacher if a parent or guardian is not available.
These four simple steps are only the first layer in a network of safety to prevent a child from having an accident with your firearm.
What advice would you add? How do you keep your children safe? Share your tips in the section below: