Big-city cop and gunfight veteran Gabe Suarez teaches you the most vital lessons and techniques for prevailing in any situation where you must draw your weapon. Chapters in The Tactical Pistol include The Dynamics of a Gunfight, The Rules of Close-Quarter Combat, Holding Hostiles at Gunpoint and more. This is not the only Suarez book I have reviewed because he has written several books worth reviewing. I particularly like his book on the combative perspective. This particular book builds upon the mindset lessons of the combative perspective by showing specific pistol techniques that you should master. This is not the only
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:
I love shooting. It doesn’t matter if I’m plinking with a .22 or shooting long range with a high powered rifle. I enjoy all of it. But when you get a really high end pistol in your hands, GAAAAWD the drool starts flowing. Don’t spend your money on multiple mediocre pistols when you could own better. Let’s look at three awesome high-end pistols that will change your world.
Dan Wesson Discretion Commander
The 2018 Dan Wesson Discretion Commander is spectacular. There were no compromises made in the manufacturing of this pistol. A threaded barrel for a suppressor. High front and rear night sights. Lightening cuts on an all-black-finish slide. And a stainless steel barrel. All of the above make this a beautiful pistol to look at, and a dream to shoot.
This shorter, Commander-length version of the Discretion might actually be a better suppressor host than its 5″ big brother. By reducing slide and barrel length, weight is removed from the muzzle end, meaning once your suppressor of choice is attached, it’s much less muzzle-heavy than its Government-sized counterpart. – danwessonfirearms.com
STI 2011 DVC 3GUN
The new 2018 STI 2011 DVC 3GUN pistol is the ultimate competition pistol. The modern version of the iconic 1911 is the STI 2011 with a double stack 9mm magazine. This little Texas company makes some of the best pistols ever. If price is no worry, then you will own a STI.
The DVC 3-GUN is specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s 3-gun enthusiast while keeping true to the DVC heritage of Accuracy, Power and Speed “Diligenta, Vis, Celeritas.” Shoot flatter. Shoot longer between reloads. Consider the performance critical handgun portion of your 3-gun arsenal duly covered. – STIGuns.com
TTI John Wick Combat Master Package
The Taran Tactical Innovations or TTI John Wick Combat Master Package is the ultimate Glock upgrade. Send TTI your GLOCK 34 Gen 3, pay over $1300 AND wait over 20 weeks and they will send you back the Glock of your dreams.
Maximize your Glock for ultimate John Wick performance with the TTI Glock John Wick package. Gives you a vital edge over the competition, this upgrade package includes improvements to make your Glock ready to compete with the best. Whether you’re just breaking into the shooting scene or a seasoned competition veteran, the TTI Glock Combat Master Performance Package sets your Glock apart for excellence. – TaranTacticalInnovations.com
If you own four or five pistols that are JUST okay. Then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Don’t be tempted to buy quantity over quality. Spend your money on one great pistol that will BLOW YOUR MIND every time you pick it up.
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:
Here are some free downloads of various books on knots and military manuals that you may find useful. You may want to consider downloading them to an older laptop and sticking it in a Faraday Bag. This will let you keep them handy, even in a worst-case scenario, without the expense of printing them.
Free military manuals
The post Free Manuals: Military Manuals & Books About Knot-Tying appeared first on Preparedness Advice.
Generally speaking, when we talk about carrying concealed, we’re talking about carrying a pistol. I’ve carried a pistol concealed for years, allowing me to protect myself and my family, and by extension protecting society at large wherever I go. But that doesn’t mean that I think of a pistol as my only weapon, merely my most effective weapon in most cases.
In addition to my pistol, I carry a knife; actually, I carry two. One is a fairly normal pocket knife, which I use like a tool, for everything from cutting food to whittling tent pegs. But I also carry another knife concealed, one that is more suited for use as a fighting knife.
“Why do I do that?” you might ask. Because there are times when a gun might be a bit too much for the need. One such case would be if I was defending myself against an unarmed man. Although I am older and not a prime physical specimen, using a gun if a stronger, younger man attacked me with his bare hands could be seen as unnecessary by the courts.
The knife gives me another option, one that (hopefully) will look good to the courts. My lawyer will be able to argue that I did not use the most deadly option available to me, but met their attack with a more measured response. That may not necessarily work, but then, it might.
Another time when that knife might be useful is if I go in someplace where I am forced to leave my gun in my car. You aren’t allowed to carry a gun into a U.S. Post Office, even with a concealed carry license. So, even though I am forced to leave my gun in the lockbox in my car, I am not totally unarmed.
Using a Knife for Self-Defense
One of the things that keeps more people from carrying a knife as a self-defense weapon is that it takes quite a bit to learn how to use a knife effectively as a weapon. Without sufficient training, most of us feel that a knife could be taken from us and turned against us, making it more of a danger than a help. But unless you are facing someone who is truly trained in using a knife for fighting, chances are they aren’t any better off than you are.
The first rule of using a knife for self-defense is something we all know from carrying firearms concealed; that is, use the element of surprise to your advantage. In other words, carry it concealed and don’t remove it from its place of concealment, until you are ready to use it. This means that you also have to have it hidden in a place where it will be readily available when you are ready to use it.
The second and most important rule is don’t fight your opponent’s body; fight their knife arm. The normal tendency in knife fighting is to try to get past the other guy’s defenses, so that you can stab him in the body. That’s not necessary. You’re really not trying to kill him; you’re just trying to keep him from killing you. So, focus on eliminating his ability to fight, not on taking him out.
In order to do this, what you want to do is cut the other guy’s knife arm. One good cut or even a few smaller cuts will most likely cause him to drop his knife or run from you because he will no longer be able to defend himself. In either case, you’ve won; and you didn’t have to kill him to do that.
What Kind of Knife to Carry
Just as there is no perfect pistol, there is no perfect knife. Literally any knife can be used as a defensive knife; a lot depends on your personal preference. But some knives do provide advantages over others. So let me at least give you some food for thought.
To start with, you’re better off with a fixed-blade knife, rather than a folding knife. Not only is it faster to draw and use, but you don’t have the risk of the blade closing on your fingers or the hinge breaking. Make sure that it has a full tang, so that the handle can’t break off during use.
Generally speaking, fighting knives are double-bladed. However, there are exceptions. As originally designed, the K-bar is a clip point knife, with the back side of the blade tip ground. While it isn’t sharp, this makes it easier for the knife to penetrate, than if it wasn’t ground. However, you can’t really cut with the back side of the blade.
There are two basic double-bladed designs: the dagger point (sometimes referred to as a needle point or a stiletto point) and the spear point. Dagger points are narrow, with the two edges relatively straight. Dagger points are curved, making for a wider tip. This makes the tip stronger and less likely to break. While dagger points look cool and are popular for that reason, a spear point is better for a true fighting knife.
Not all double-bladed knives are fully sharpened when you buy them, because the manufacturer is thinking that they will be used as a stabbing knife. But if you are going to use it for defense, especially in the manner I mentioned above, it would be best to have it sharp.
Carrying a Knife Concealed
There are a number of different ways of carrying a knife concealed, but only a few that are truly effective. By effective, I meant that they truly are concealed, as well as being readily accessible if the knife is needed. You’ll have to decide for yourself which one works best for you.
In all cases, a knife with a thin, flat handle is easier to conceal, than one with a thicker handle. In the pictures below, the black knife handle is about ¾ inches thick, while the silver one is less than ¼. That’s why I carry the one with the silver knife every day.
This is a rather classic concealed knife carry and a very effective one for hiding the knife. It works even better with western style boots than it does with the tactical boots shown here. This can be rather uncomfortable if you position the knife on the ankle bone, instead of behind it. The problem with it, is that it is hard to get to quickly, just like an ankle holster for a pistol can be hard to get to quickly. Still, this is better than not having a backup knife with you at all.
Inside the Belt
Like an inside the belt holster for a pistol, putting the knife sheathe inside the holster makes it sit flush up against the body, making it much more concealable. I have found that the knife tends to shift in this position, requiring repositioning from time to time. The problem is that few knife sheathes allow this, while still making it possible to unsnap the safety strap and draw the knife. As you can see in the picture, this sheathe is designed for this sort of carry, with a tab sticking up from the safety strap, making it easy to undo.
Horizontal on Belt
This is my personal favorite and the one that I use every day. To do it, I had to modify the knife’s sheathe, as I couldn’t find a sheathe that allows this sort of carry. What I did was to sew a couple of lengths of webbing to the back of the sheathe, making belt loops out of them. I am then able to thread the belt through the loops, putting the handle of the knife near the butt of my pistol’s grip (barely visible on the right edge of the picture). I used a knife with a very flat handle. So that it wouldn’t be protruding as much.
Strapped to the Arm
Strapping the knife’s sheathe to the forearm is a favorite of experienced knife fighters. Unfortunately, I don’t have a sheathe set up for this to show you a picture of right now. If you know what an arm guard looks like for archery, it is similar to that. The knife is strapped to the arm with the point on the inside of the elbow and the handle down at the wrist. Concealing it requires a long-sleeve shirt, with wide sleeves, which is what I don’t like about it. Nevertheless, it is one of the easiest places to draw a knife from quickly.
Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the 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:
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:
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:
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:
It’s very simple: The police usually will not be able to save you. Don’t get me wrong, as I have been a law enforcement officer for many years. Police want to get to you, but the majority of the time the incident is over by the time police arrive.
That’s one reason I believe in my right, and your right, to protect ourselves and those around us. But do not take your decision to carry lightly. Once you have made this decision, stay well prepared and confident with your firearm and carry system. A fellow instructor once told me “it has to become a lifestyle” when it comes to your personal defense, and by necessity your own well-being and preparedness. I couldn’t agree more.
So, what do I carry? It depends on many factors. When I teach concealed carry classes, I talk to students about tradeoffs when they begin carrying a concealed firearm. Considerations include concealability of your handgun, single-vs.-double-stack magazine models, caliber, ease of operation, dependability and comfort.
If your carry handgun and carry system are not comfortable, then you will not carry for long. This brings to mind the quote, “The gun you have on you is better than the one left at home.”
My selection for carry on any particular day is driven by such factors as weather (hot or cold outside?), activities and location planned for the day, and attire.
The following comprise my concealed carry selection 98 percent of the time:
Smith & Wesson Shield in 9mm. I like the feel of this pistol; it’s streamlined and easily concealable. I shoot it well and have found it to be very reliable. It comes with eight- and seven- round magazines, plus one in the chamber, and it is a reasonable carry gun. I most often carry this pistol in an appendix position. I like the Guardian Angel holster system that provides a leather or soft back with a firm Kydex outer portion. I most often carry a spare magazine, too.
Glock 19, 9mm. Likely one of the most common handguns for concealed carry. Very reliable with good accuracy and a great mid-size carry gun with a magazine capacity of 15. I will carry in a Guardian Angel or SpetzGear appendix or belt-mounted Kydex, pancake-style holster.
Glock 42, 380 Auto. When I need to go small with a high degree of concealability, this is my choice. I carry in the appendix or pocket position via a BladeTech or Sticky holster. The Glock 42 is very reliable and suitable for those attire-limiting occasions. The Glock 42 comes standard with a six-round magazine, but plus-two extensions are available for the magazine.
Ruger LCR, 38 Special. Very concealable and problem-free from an operational standpoint. The 38 Special cartridge has taken care of its share of “bad guys” over the years, and there is a wide variety of good defensive ammo available for this caliber. I often carry in the appendix position in a soft-sided Sticky Holster.
I have no opposition to larger caliber handguns, such as the 40S&W or the 45ACP. I have and will carry these caliber guns on occasion. It all boils down to your comfort and ability to shoot and handle the gun well.
Other EDC items I am seldom without include; a spare magazine or ammo source for my carry gun du jour, a flashlight (most often a Steamlight ProTac-2L), a good blade (or two), and a tourniquet (CAT, SWAT or comparable).
If you’re a person who has a high degree of concern over the caliber issue, perhaps keep in mind the following: Carry the largest caliber handgun you can shoot well and will commit to carrying every day. And then train well, train often. After all, you are carrying to protect yourself and those you care about.
What are your favorite EDC guns? Share your thoughts in the section below:
For more than a decade, I’ve carried concealed and competed in area matches. Now I’m an instructor.
As a practitioner and teacher of concealed carry and gun handling, there are a handful of errors that don’t surprise me anymore. Some, I made myself and now witness others doing the same.
This article is an attempt to help others learn from typical mistakes of new concealed carriers.
1. Choosing a gun that’s too complicated.
I tend to agree with a comment made in a class I took earlier this year with Rob Pincus of Personal Defense Network: “It’s 2017. You should have a gun that goes bang without you having to do anything but press the trigger.”
His comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the sentiment is valid. Safety is the result of observance of muzzle-and-finger discipline first, and a good holster that covers the trigger guard second. In light of the handful of drop-safe manufacturing issues in recent years, selecting a model with a solid reputation in that department earns a place on the safety checklist, too.
In that high-stress moment that the gun is carried to address, the ability of the mind to tell the fingers to do things like disengage a safety lever is greatly diminished. Likewise, many people commit accuracy errors on that initial long trigger pull that is the correct firing procedure on a double/single action handgun. The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle should apply when choosing a lifesaving product.
This advice will make some fans of certain platforms scoff. I love my 1911 as much as the next person, but I’ve also tested myself with it in competition and have experienced a couple moments in which my finger “forgot” to disengage the safety lever. Lesson learned.
2. Blowing the bank on the first holster.
It’ll likely be necessary to experiment with various methods of carry before settling on one that suits your lifestyle. That holster that had great reviews in the magazine, or was praised by a friend who carries, and perhaps cost over $100, may not suit your daily habits.
What does “suit your lifestyle” mean? It means the gun/holster setup must be comfortable enough to wear for the typical hours you spend doing things typical for your day. Examples: people who have to bend from the waist a lot will find “printing” of the gun to be a problem if they carry inside the waistband, behind the midline. Women who wear dresses may find that carrying on-body means choosing a gun that’s much smaller than what they’d prefer, as models that fit comfortably and safely in thigh or bra holsters are limited.
Retention of the gun in the holster is a consideration. If your job involves climbing trees or on and off roofs, for example, the ability of the holster to not allow the gun to slide out without your help is critical. Velcro is a popular retention device, but is noisy—a potential risk in some situations.
Above all, the holster must prevent penetration of the trigger guard by any outside object, whether the gun is worn on the body or off. Choices abound; it’s wise to keep an open mind and try several rigs until you find one that’s ideal for you.
3. Yakking about your armed status.
It’s very tempting to talk about your gun, choice of holster, licensure and experiences as a concealed carrier, especially in the workplace. A few workplaces nurture a culture friendly to self-protection; many more do not. Conversations, even among trusted friends or coworkers, can increase your risk for burglary when inside-circle stories about firearms are inevitably shared outside of that circle. A staggering number of people have a close relative who is substance-dependent and possibly motivated to steal.
Likewise, boasting about your armed status via gun stickers or catchy sayings stuck on your car or front lawn also may increase the likelihood of a car or home burglary when you’re not around. In a recent survey of Oregon inmates convicted of burglary, signs like “due to the price of ammo, don’t expect a warning shot” repelled about half of would-be burglars. Others reported they view such signs as an advertisement of where to snatch guns when the homeowner is away.
Braggadocio should be reserved for supportive circles, and not T-shirts, public social media posts, or even the interior of your AR-15’s dust cover. Unfortunately, wearing or otherwise promoting somewhat tongue-in-cheek statements, the kind about self-defense commonly found in gun-owner circles, are often cited as legal evidence the gun owner was looking for a fight. While gun owners should not have to kowtow to the whims of anti-gunners, the fact is, public statements about gun use may well be used to your detriment in court.
These three “mistakes” will surely not meet with agreement of everyone. I hope it gives readers who are new to, or in their first years of daily carry, food for thought as they navigate decisions about defensive living.
What mistakes would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Turkish gun maker Canik manufactures a compact 9mm worth looking at for daily carry, recreational shooting and home defense. Though Canik is the manufacturer, this double/single action pistol bears the name of its importer, TriStar.
The TriStar C100 has an all-aluminum frame and weighs 37.3 ounces unloaded. Its barrel is 3.7 inches. It’s not light, and it’s not tiny. However, it is compact enough for carry, and the weight helps make it a low-recoil shooter. It’s shipped with two metal 15-round mags, the followers of which are the only plastic components I can find on the gun.
The C100 has a rather easy-racking slide. Racking the slide, with a loaded magazine, chambers a round and cocks the external hammer. Unlike traditional double/single action firearms, it has no de-cocker. There is a thumb-operated safety that’s easy to use, not unlike a 1911 safety. The pistol is thus capable of being carried “cocked and locked,” avoiding the long double-action trigger pull if desired.
For those who prefer a double-action first shot, for safety or nostalgia, it’ll do that, too. It’s necessary to de-cock the hammer using both the trigger and a thumb on the hammer to let it down softly. Since this requires breaking one of the firearm safety rules, keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you’re ready to shoot. Be sure to honor another safety rule: Never allow the muzzle to cover anything you’re not willing to destroy during de-cocking.
The trigger’s operation in double-action mode is heavy, in excess of 12 pounds, but smooth. In single action, there’s still a slight bit of takeup. In both modes, the break is crisp and the travel is buttery.
Textured grips have indentations in all the right places to make this non-modular handgun fit an impressive range of hand sizes. Deep sculpts at the trigger-finger area shorten the distance from backstrap to trigger. The mag release is a fairly easy reach, as well.
The ergonomic assets continue with the low-bore axis of this pistol. In 9mm, it’s a treat to shoot, with very little recoil. The C100 also comes in .40 S&W, which I have not tested.
Under the barrel is a standard rail, long enough to accommodate most tactical pistol lights. Although a DA/SA handgun isn’t my choice for home defense, this one will do the job.
On the range, the C100 has so far been dependable, with a variety of brass- and aluminum-cased ammo, both FMJ and hollow point. I was expecting misfeeds resulting from incomplete or delayed ejection of brass from its small, right-side only ejection port. Those misgivings turned out to be unfounded.
Accuracy is good from this little gun, in no small part due to the rails that run the entire length of the frame. The barrel is not fixed, but its range of deviation is less than half that of typical polymer pistols.
The three-dot sight system on this pistol is better than it needs to be for an economy gun. They’re steel, and the rear sight is drift-adjustable. It’s easy to distinguish the front from rear-sight dots as the front one is larger, but not gaudy. The rear sight has rounded edges that are concealment-friendly.
There is detailed texturing on the pistol, with a line of about 12 custom-looking grooves along the top of the slide, grippy-cocking serrations, and grip panels with sandpaper-like texturing for the lower fingers. Such detail is quite unexpected and lovely to behold, but could prove annoying for those who work in dusty conditions or roll around on the ground with the gun.
For the person who wants a classic profile and a solid metal handgun for daily carry, the C100 just may fit the bill. For the family wanting to have one gun every trained member of the household can easily use, it fits the bill. Thanks in part to having a rail and 15+1 capacity along with a trim size, the C100 will make a top pick for anyone needing versatility from their handgun.
The price is right, too. Currently, the C100 is typically priced around $360.
Incidentally, much ado has been made about whether the C100 is a clone of the CZ 75. In many ways, especially its profile, it appears to be. I, for one, wouldn’t hesitate to choose this well-made new model over the CZ, especially where budget is concerned.
Have you ever shot a C100? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Fans of the double/single action platform looking for a moderately priced but quality pistol for home and self-protection have a new, little known but solid choice — the Rex Zero 1 pistol series.
I have a test copy of the compact version of this pistol in hand for testing. Last fall, I had the chance to fire the full-size Zero 1. Based on these trials, I feel these pistols deserve more awareness in the market.
Rex pistols are made by the Arex (pronounced: ARRR-ex) factory in Slovenia, a modern manufacturing facility that has the latest CNC machining equipment. The brand is popular in Europe, but relatively unknown in the United States.
FIME (pronounced like “fine” with an m) Group of Las Vegas is the sole U.S. importer of Rex pistols, and local dealers can order from them.
For those familiar with traditional DA/SA design, such as the Sig Sauer P220, the Rex offers a couple of differences. First is 9mm chambering. Modern 9mm defense rounds are, of course, smaller than 45 ACP, but their higher velocity and improved bullet design offer undeniable destructive power. Also, you get higher capacity magazines. The standard model holds 17 rounds. The compact packs 15. A newer tactical model holds 20.
In addition to bigger capacity and the reduced recoil of a 9mm, the Rex adds a thumb-operated safety lever. It can thus be carried in the cocked and locked position, allowing the user to avoid the time and effort associated with its 13-pound double-action trigger pull. Of course, a sturdy holster that shields the trigger guard should be part of wearing or storing the gun in this configuration, keeping in mind there is no mechanical substitute for muzzle and finger discipline.
Another reason to choose a sturdy holster for the Rex Zero 1 is to protect the magazine release. It’s not unheard of for ambi safety levers to be disengaged during a struggle, whether with another human or a seatbelt.
Like a traditional DA/SA, Rex Zero 1 pistols feature a de-cocking lever on the left side only. Upon chambering a round or pausing during a string of fire, safe users will de-cock or put the safety on before re-holstering or storing in loaded condition. My own thumb, on my small/medium-size hand, has a struggle reaching and sweeping the decocker from the firing grip position. The decocker doubles as a slide stop.
Beneath the barrel is a Picatinny rail for mounting an auxiliary light. The addition of a light brings into question holster availability. FIME’s sister company, KVar, offers a variety of inside- and outside-waistband rigs.
Lots of survival-minded folks shy away from polymer pistols, preferring something that feels more durable. The lower is made of 7075 aluminum, which isn’t going to rust or go bad in severe elements. The slide is steel, as are the sights.
It’s Dependable, Too
The Mec-Gar metal magazines are equally durable. This company makes magazines for many big-name brands and understands the need for reliability in mags.
These are hefty pistols that fill the hand and deliver very little felt recoil. The full-size Rex Zero 1 weighs 29 ounces without the magazine. Despite the thickness of the grip, I am able to operate the trigger in double action without much effort, thanks to thoughtful sculpting of the grip that makes it thinner right where the trigger finger lies. That’s not true for every DA/SA pistol, including full-size Sigs. A short and light five-pound pull is found in single-action mode. Trigger reset is good, crisp, and what I consider just long enough to be appropriate for a non-competition handgun.
The white, drift-adjustable, three-dot sights are low-profile but highly visible. They are not, however, night sights.
Dependability is excellent — perhaps this should be the first criterion for a self-defense handgun! I fired two inexpensive brands of FMJ and one brand of hollow-point cartridges through the gun with no malfunctions. The ejection port is uniquely shaped, with a bit of extra room at the rear, and this surely enhances clean ejection.
FIME Group and Arex went the extra mile to develop a very detailed, clearly illustrated owner’s manual. In the age of generic manuals in which manufacturers force gun owners to head to YouTube to consult self-appointed experts for advice, The Rex Zero 1 series provides all needed information in the manual. It’s included in the hard case that comes with the gun.
These tank-like handguns are shootable by most adults and make a good choice for home or vehicle defense, as well as recreational shooting. Due to its size, carrying one concealed would require commitment and is best suited for waistband carry under loose covering garments. MSRP on the standard and compact Arex Rex Zero 1 pistols is $670. The tactical model’s suggested price is $200 more. Real market prices are substantially lower.
Have you ever shot an Arex Rex Zero 1? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:
There’s a big difference between going to the range to shoot a few paper targets, and having to use a firearm to protect yourself. A gap exists between those two situations that can be measured in miles. So even if you’re a really good shot, you’re not necessarily proficient with a firearm. You have to be prepared to use a firearm in real world situations, and those situations can be unbelievably messy and chaotic.
One thing you should prepare yourself for is the possibility that in an actual gunfight, you may only be able to aim and shoot with one hand. For instance, what if you were shot in the hand? That’s a very intricate appendage, and even a small caliber round could disable it.
That’s why you should learn how to fire and reload a pistol with only one hand. It’s very easy to learn, and could easily save your life one day. Here’s how it’s done.
And, it’s not just pistols that can be reloaded with one hand. The same can be done with AK-47 type rifles.
To prepare for a firefight in the real world, you have to consider the worst case scenario, and train yourself to overcome it. You have to abandon any immature fantasies you have and accept reality. No matter how good you think you are, you can still get shot in places that can significantly hinder your ability to shoot back. So don’t settle for just shooting at paper targets. Become genuinely proficient with your weapons, and learn how to stay alive in even those direst situations.
Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.
Joshua’s website is Strange Danger
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
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:
In Part 1 of this Project Squirrel Pistol using a Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory .22 long rifle semi auto pistol, my focus was on the gun and its parts. For part 2, let’s take the Victory out for a spin. The Victory is not a light pistol. Not even of average light. The Victory is heavy. Out of the box, the Victory weighs in at 36 ounces. Compare that to the Ruger 22/45 Lite I used for my B.O.L.T. Pistol build at 25 ounces. So when I add an optic, suppressor, and 11 round mag, the Victory is approaching three pounds. That’s well over halfway to a lightweight .22 rifle.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com
My initial field tests of the Victory highlighted three main things. First, the Victory is accurate. Its heavy barrel balances the gun while holding the front sight on target easily. Second, it ate all the regular .22 ammo I threw at it. Whether rapid fire or slow and deliberate, the Victory cycled 100% of the time. No light strikes, no FTF, and no FTE with or without a silencer. However, when loaded with several different brands of subsonic .22 ammo, about half the time there was a failure to eject leading to a very predictable and easy to clear stovepipe. In fact, the odds of a successful reloading cycle with subsonic ammo can be improved by holding the ejection port down. Yes, gangsta style. Most of the time, the bolt was slamming down on an almost-ejected case. Put a little gravity in your favor and your odds improve. So much so I wondered if maybe the ridiculous sideways gang-style holding of an autopistol was a natural evolution of getting a cheap-crap gun to eject the spent round. Probably not though.
The factory sights on the Victory are excellent. In fact, they could easily be mistaken for an aftermarket upgrade. A green horseshoe fiber optic on the rear sight provide to bright zombie-green dots in which to center the front fiber optic green dot. Frankly, I think it would be a nice touch to have an orange front sight dot rather than another green one. Or even a fiber optic color kit like some Rugers come with. For precision shooting, a black front blade is sometimes more welcome than an in-your-face bright dot, but for this build I am going to leave the irons alone and move on to both a red dot and a scope. The Project Squirrel leanings of this project require more than irons can deliver consistently. Low light, long distance, and tiny targets all tax the irons. When shooting golfball sized objects at 30 yards, the target can disappear behind the sight, or be hard to see above the trio of green dots.
Related: The SW22 Part 1
For a red dot, the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro seemed a perfect match. Lightweight, low profile, simple interface, and rock solid. The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro also has the advantage of being able to swap the battery without tools and without removing the sight from the gun. Further, the topside sealed battery compartment allows the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro to mate with any mount without the need for additional sealing plates. Using a 2.5 MOA dot, it’s possible drill target after target with a simple accuracy one reserved for those with extensive shooting experience. The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro uses a steel housing shell over the core aluminium housing. The steel shell transfers the force of blows around the important parts of the sight. Another feature of the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro is that it has “Motion Sensor Technology” meaning that the red dot turns on automatically when the sight moves. So the DPP as it’s known will shut off when still, yet fire back up instantly when moved. Of course you can shut off the DPP completely if you like.
To run an optic on the Victory, you may need to replace the back sight rail with an included picatinny rail. The included S&W rail is polymer so there are aftermarket machined aluminium versions available to maximize a stable zero for competitive target shooting. I considered one, but then I havn’t noticed any issues yet with my optics on the Victory. The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro has zero magnification, and the scope is a 2x. Plus both are held at arm’s length from the eye. Now if I was using a 4x or higher rifle scope on a polymer rail, I would have serious concerns about zero retention. Another hesitation with an aftermarket rail is that the factory one has a notched rear sight so if you lose your optic, you can still use your irons with the rail as a traditional matte black rear iron sight. Given the growing number of aftermarket barrels for the Victory, and that the competition barrels have no front sights, I’ll probably upgrade the rail if ever upgrade the barrel. But for the moment, the factory match grade heavy barrel works perfectly for this project.
Check Out: Weaponized Nanotechnology
On the muzzle-end of this Victory is a factory-threaded barrel. It came with a heavy steel thread protector so when not running a suppressor, use a TandemKross compensator. While adding only three-quarters of an ounce to the mix, the compensator at four times longer than the factory option gives direction to the muzzle exhaust providing a reduction in muzzle rise and even some indexing potential. And I’ve experienced shooting with the TK compensator on the B.O.L.T Pistol on snowy surfaces only to have the “dust signature” of the snow be an issue without the compensator, and be a non-issue with one.
So if Project Squirrel Pistol matches your bug out needs, than the S&W SW22 Victory is a great starting point. And ending point.
Short-barreled rifles (SBRs) and pistol versions of popular rifle platforms are interesting niche firearms that are designed to bridge the gap between your pistol and your rifle.
Traditional rifles provide excellent long-range accuracy and firepower, but are not as effective for use in close quarters. Conversely, pistols are not considered effective beyond 50 yards, and even that can be a stretch for most shooters. This middle ground is where SBRs and pistol variants shine. They are roughly the size of a sub-machine gun, giving the user greater magazine capacity and accuracy than their pistol, without the size and weight of a full-sized rifle.
What is legally considered a pistol, rifle or short-barreled rifle can be somewhat confusing to the uninitiated. In a nutshell, the standards are as follows:
- A rifle has a total barrel length (including muzzle devices) of 16 inches or more, an overall length of 28 inches or more, and a stock.
- A short-barreled rifle has a barrel length (including muzzle devices) of less than 16 inches, and a stock. SBRs are regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA); they require a background check and tax stamp from the ATF to own. Not all states allow ownership of SBRs.
- A pistol has a barrel length of less than 16 inches, and does not have a stock. If a stock is added to a pistol, it becomes a short-barreled rifle, and is subject to ATF regulations under the National Firearms Act. However, the use of a stabilizing brace is permitted on a pistol.
While an SBR is the ideal midpoint between a pistol and a rifle, not every state allows you to own one. Furthermore, the process of getting an SBR takes months to complete, and having to purchase a tax stamp for the weapon adds hundreds of dollars to the cost of ownership. Consequently, many people will buy a pistol version of a rifle as an alternative to an SBR. While it’s not quite the same thing, it’s close enough for most shooters.
When considering a SBR or pistol variant, barrel length and caliber are important deciding factors. Most AR platforms come chambered in .223 Remington or 5.56mm NATO, but there are some models available in pistol calibers such as 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. Other platforms, including the Sig MPX, CZ Scorpion, and variants of the venerable H&K MP-5, are offered almost exclusively in 9mm.
You should select your weapon’s caliber and barrel length based on the maximum distance you may need to engage a threat. In terms of rifle calibers like .223 or 5.56mm, the shorter your barrel is, the less effective your bullet will be over great distances. Comparatively, pistol calibers are most effective inside of 50 yards. If you want a weapon that is effective out to 150 yards, a 5.56mm pistol with a 10.5-inch or greater barrel would be ideal, whereas a 9mm with a 7.5-inch barrel would be perfectly adequate for 50-yard engagements.
An SBR or pistol with stabilizing brace makes a great addition to any bug-out bag or 72-hour kit. They are ideal for maneuvering in confined spaces, such as the inside of a home or vehicle, and are easily stored in a bag or backpack when not in use. Many people keep a pistol variant as a trunk gun, just in case they find themselves in a hostile situation while on the road. When placed in a bag designed for concealed weapon transport, such as the 5.11 Select Carry Sling Pack or Blackhawk Diversion Carry Racquet Bag, a pistol variant or SBR can be stored discreetly while still being readily accessible when needed.
Before attempting to purchase a pistol variant or SBR, consult your local gun store to find out what is legal to own in your state. While pistol variants are technically pistols, open carry of this type of firearm is strongly discouraged, as it will likely cause concern among members of your community, result in unnecessary attention from local law enforcement, and identify you to criminals as a potential target. If you intend to carry this sort of firearm in a bag, you may need to obtain a concealed pistol license. When going on a road trip with this type of firearm, research gun laws in the states you will be crossing.
Have you ever owned a short-barreled rifle or pistol variant? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:
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:
As an instructor of many new shooters, I’ve come to expect certain equipment problems that crop up repeatedly. Here are some insights to help you not be that person whose enjoyment of shooting is diminished — or worse, injuries are sustained — as a result of gear issues on the range.
1. Inadequate pistol holsters.
Holsters, whether for open or concealed carry, come in two general types: rigid ones that stay open wide when the gun is drawn, and soft ones on which the opening collapses to some degree when empty.
There’s nothing wrong with a softer holster as a storage device for a gun that’s rarely used, or for uses in which you have lots of time to re-holster the gun after use.
Where problems arise is when people attempt to use non-rigid holsters for serious training, like rapid draws. Usually, they fail to position the gun in the same place every time, forcing the user to fumble around during the draw. If it’s a life-or-death situation, or a serious defensive shooting class you’re preparing for, soft holsters are a poor choice.
Fully collapsible holsters, like the soft one I wear in my waistband as a concealment aid, are great for comfort and everyday wear. For practice, I must remove the holster, safely re-holster the gun using two hands, and then put the whole business back in my waistband. There’s nothing fast about it. If I were in a situation where I had drawn my pistol for self-protection and the threat is still active, and I still had the gun out when police arrive on scene, I’m better off dropping my gun to the ground and trusting its drop-safe construction than fooling with a holster, gun in hand, and risking the appearance of being a threat to police.
The most frequent problems I see with soft-sided holsters, purses included, are safety issues. People often fail to realize they’re passing the muzzle over their own hand during the draw or re-holstering. On belt-mounted holsters that feature retention straps that cross over the backstrap and snap into place, risk of shooting oneself in the leg is presented by not making sure the holster opening is clear of the strap before inserting the gun.
There’s a time and place for soft-sided holsters, and a time to choose a rigid one. Although rigid holsters generally cost more, acceptable ones can be found for less than $45. That’s cheap prevention of a disabling injury.
2. Revolvers that aren’t maintained.
Virtually every presentation geared toward new shooters touts revolvers as an easy, user-friendly choice. Yet they are by far the most problem-riddled firearms that show up in my classes. Why? Lack of maintenance. Most users pull out or borrow a revolver, or ammunition, that’s been in storage and neglected for years. Then it’s a surprise when the cylinder won’t rotate, or won’t open, or when bits of hot shrapnel are spewed back to the shooter’s face (one reason you MUST wear glasses when shooting).
Revolvers, like any firearm, require occasional maintenance. Lint and dust can build up around the extractor. Repeated firing can change the barrel-to-cylinder gap, or cause excessive side-to-side travel when the cylinder is closed, among other problems. Any of these can cause a revolver to malfunction. Attention to cleaning and lubrication, even when in storage, can go a long way to prevent frustrating or unsafe experiences with your revolver.
3. Handgun sights that aren’t up to snuff.
Whether they’re an aftermarket add-on or factory-made, a loose, broken, or fallen-off sight can ruin your plans for practice. Regularly check your front and rear sights. Ensure they’re not cracked or broken, missing parts like the day-glow or tritium insert, or loose.
There are many advantages to high-visibility sights, especially for that all-important front sight. Many aftermarket front sights are elongated to accommodate light-collecting tubes or other features. Especially with those designs, but with all models, there will at some point be leverage exacted on those sights, usually during re-holstering. Knowing this may affect what sights you select to replace the stock ones.
Many times, it won’t be immediately obvious that there’s a problem with the sights. Often the first sign is when shot patterns on target begin to be uncharacteristically inaccurate and random, especially for experienced shooters. Choosing sights made of steel instead of plastic can increase the odds that your sights will remain solid over time. Installing sights according to manufacturer’s instructions, particularly those that screw in, is not to be overlooked. It’s tempting, but can be disastrous, to over-tighten screws, for example. Follow instructions, and be vigilant about inspecting sights at the beginning and end of your practice time.
It’s Not About the Money
Usually with firearm equipment, the least expensive choice of product delivers the most disappointing results. However, it’s almost never true that the priciest choice is superior, either. Choosing reputable guns and gear is important, but the biggest advantage is gained by paying attention to the condition and maintenance of equipment. The only investment needed is a little time.
What problems would you add to our list? Share them in the section below:
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:
Most people who apply for a concealed carry permit fail to take into consideration that effective concealed carry is actually a lifestyle change.
Approximately 80 percent of the licensed students I work with report that they usually don’t carry on a daily basis. Most say they carry only in their vehicle or while traveling.
Along with the decision to carry daily come some changes in how you go about day-to-day life. Your attire most likely will need to change. (I recommend concealed carry over open carry.) If you carry off-body in a purse, bag or other off-body manner, this will require some adaptation.
Once you’ve established carry methods, your training should continue. This article will cover some key areas to cover in your concealed carry training.
As always, practice and live by the four critical gun safety rules:
- Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
- Don’t let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you’re ready to shoot.
- Be aware of your target and what’s around it.
With that in mind, let’s examine seven critical skills you need to practice for everyday carry:
1. Getting the handgun into play if needed
Can you draw your handgun from its place of concealment efficiently? For most folks, getting the pistol out of concealment will present its own challenges and must be practiced. It will require more effort than when drawing from a strong-side open carry setup. Also, what about getting the gun back into its hiding place once the incident is over? You will want to establish a good grip while drawing (a fundamental of marksmanship), and your concealment method should help facilitate this. Practice your concealment draw method now, ahead of any stressful incident in the future that you hope never happens.
2. Defensive accuracy
If you must shoot, then hit what you’re shooting at. There is bullseye accuracy and then there is self-defense accuracy. Your goal should be to blend the two…. meaning you want a combination of speed and accuracy. Shooting lightning fast is great — to the extent you can hit the intended target. Shooting well is a perishable skill; you must hone this skill with solid training. Visit Pistol-Training.com for some excellent drills, or spend some lesson time with a qualified trainer.
3. Running the gun
I always have suggested to students that shooting accuracy is only half the battle. Skills such as emergency or speed reloads, malfunction clearances, one-handed shooting with both right and left hands and again drawing the gun from concealment are just some basic skills every armed citizen should develop and feel confident doing. I teach and practice these skills constantly, both for students and myself.
4. Moving to and shooting from cover
A deadly force confrontation happens in seconds. However, the situation may allow you escape and avoidance (which you should do if at all possible), or you could find yourself needing to take cover. Cover is any object that hopefully will stop incoming bullets. If possible, you should add into your training the act of moving to and shooting from cover.
For most people, this will be a different experience that can change how a person grips their handgun and sees their sights. Practice shooting from kneeling, sitting and prone now, instead of always keeping your feet planted in one place and hoping you will never have to move into an uncomfortable shooting position.
5. Dim light shooting
You must be able to identify your threat! There have been far too many tragic cases where a person shoots their own loved one believing they were an intruder. I ALWAYS carry a handheld flashlight and know how to shoot with the light in my support hand. You should have this skill, too. After all, approximately 60 to 70 percent of crime happens in dim light conditions. Depending on the technique used, this may mean firing your pistol one handed … a skill I recommend you train for. A weapon-mounted light system may or may not be appropriate, depending on the risk of flagging innocent people and your carry method.
6. Distance shooting
While most encounters (over 90 percent) occur from about seven yards or less, there could be a situation where a longer shot must be made. With the increase in active shooters, a shot from 12 to 25 yards or farther may be the only option. With a handgun, this can be a challenge for even the seasoned shooter. Train to make center mass shots at least out to 25 yards with your EDC handgun. As with all shooting, your marksmanship fundamentals must be constantly reinforced.
Distance shooting will test these skills.
7. Scenario based or “force decisions” training
Scenario-based training is one of the best techniques you can employ to prepare for an encounter you hope never comes. This type of training should be done in a highly safe and secure manner with qualified trainers, and only with Simunition or airsoft guns. Force decisions (also called reality based training) will challenge you mentally. Your mental prowess is, in my opinion, where the rubber meets the road. You can be the best bullseye shooter in the world, but making decisions under immediate high stress and reacting appropriately is what this type of training is all about. We use this training often. Many students begin to realize where their strengths and weaknesses really are.
A Final Thought
Remember that everywhere you carry, there is now a gun on the scene. Don’t let your gun be used against you. There are many cases of open carry or even concealed carry guns being taken right off the citizen carrying them. Carry discretely and securely.
As a fellow trainer once told me: “Train well and train often.”
What advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Concealed carry is a big responsibility, but before you can begin “packing heat,” you first need to select the right pistol.
The decision, of course, can be intimidating. There are an abundance of different guns to choose from, ranging from tiny pocket pistols to big full-sized firearms.
Most people will favor something small, such as a compact single-stack 9mm pistol or a pocket-sized .380. But I carry a full-sized pistol, specifically a Walther PPQ M2 in 9mm.
Why do I carry a full-sized pistol instead of something that would be smaller and easier to conceal?
Let’s examine that question.
1. Greater capacity.
The single biggest reason I favor conceal carrying a large handgun is the greater capacity in the magazine. The PPQ holds 15 or 17 rounds, depending on the magazine you use. Why is this important? The answer is that you may find yourself going up against multiple attackers, and in this scenario it’s always better to have more bullets than less. In contrast to full-sized 9mm handguns, the single-stack counterparts such as the Glock 43, S&W Shield, or Walther PPS hold 6, 7 or 8 rounds in the magazine.
2. Recoil control.
Another huge advantage to the full-size pistol is greater recoil control. Not only does the increased weight and size help dampen the recoil, but you will have improved control over the weapon, as well. It always will be easier to shoot a Glock 19 or 17 than it is a pocket pistol like a Ruger LCP or Kel-Tec P3-AT
Finally, I also prefer a full-sized pistol for its overall versatility. While I can conceal carry the PPQ, I also can strap it to my hip for open carry for a sidearm when I venture out into the woods, such as for camping, hunting or motorcycle/ATV riding. In other words, I don’t have to buy one pistol for concealment and another for general purpose use. I can use one gun for both purposes.
Now, could you technically also carry a smaller pistol such as S&W Shield in this fashion? Sure, but most people would agree that a larger pistol is more preferable for general purpose outdoor use than a smaller one.
Next, let’s go over a couple of tips you can use to make conceal carrying a full-sized pistol as easy as possible.
Invest in a quality belt and holster
Quality holsters almost always cost more money, but they are well worth the investment. Factors to look for in a holster include rigidness, touch stitches or rivets, and the ability to hold the pistol tightly while also permitting a clean drawn. High-quality leather or Kydex works great for this; nylon or anything cheaply made will not suffice.
In addition, don’t forget to buy a high-quality belt. Avoid some dress belts, as they may not be able to support your holster, firearm, spare magazine(s), and whatever else you have for the whole day and could end up breaking. Instead, go with a thicker leather belt made specifically for supporting the increased weight of your gun and equipment.
Be conscientious about what you wear
A major goal of concealed carry, regardless of which firearm you are carrying, is to minimize or prevent printing. The best way to prevent printing of a full-sized pistol is to wear loosely fitted outer layers, such as a long and loose T-shirt, jacket or sweat shirt. In addition, the darker the color of the garment, the less the pistol will show. Remember: You don’t want to draw attention to yourself, so wear something that looks as casual as possible.
What do you prefer for concealed carry – a full-sized pistol or a compact one? Share your observations in the section below:
Shooting a handgun is an activity that looks really easy, but definitely is not. It’s a skill that requires more focus and dexterity than using a rifle or a shotgun, and I’d wager that for most people, it takes a bit longer to master the basics too. That’s why if you’ve never fired a handgun before, you definitely want to take some advice from someone with more experience before you get started.
And what would be better than learning from the best? That’s what you get when you listen to Rob Leatham, a world renown professional shooter who has won dozens of competitions over the past 30 years or so. In the following video, he tells you the basics that every first time shooter needs to know before they pick up a handgun, and maybe even a few things that moderately experienced shooters might not be aware of. (warning, mild language)
Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.
Joshua’s website is Strange Danger
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
Survivalists who find themselves on serious budgets always will be faced with the problem of accumulating the gear they want within a price point that they can afford. Putting together a survival armory of guns is no exception.
Let’s say that you only have $500 to spend on guns. Many would say that with this budget, it’s A) impossible to build a complete armory that covers your bases, and, B) the guns that you do buy for your armory will be cheaply made or of low quality.
Both of these are absolute nonsense. While $500 is certainly not going to buy you as many guns as a $2,000 or $3,000 budget will, it’s still not impossible to gather the guns you need for this amount.
In fact, you will be able to acquire the three most important guns that you need for just $500. The specific models that you can buy may not be the fanciest examples on the market, but they are still reliable and will work well enough.
Let’s outline what the three most important categories of guns to have are, and then list an example of a make and model of gun that you can have in that category.
12 GA SHOTGUN – MAVERICK 88 ($180)
It’s hard to say no to a 12-gauge shotgun being the first gun that you own. The 12-gauge round is highly versatile. You can use buckshot for home defense, birdshot for target shooting and bird/small game hunting, and slugs for hunting bigger game such as deer or wild boar.
You also should ideally make your shotgun be a pump-action model over a single shot or semi-automatic, the reason being that you have more capacity than a single and greater reliability with feeding different types of rounds over the semi.
We’re going to cap off the price of a budget shotgun at $180, and the best model that you can buy for this price is going to be the Maverick 88 shotgun, which is the budget model of the world-renowned and highly popular Mossberg 500. While the Maverick doesn’t come with a lot of the same features as the 500, it is still highly reliable and more than adequate for defensive or hunting use.
Although the Maverick 88 usually costs around $200 for a new model, you can very easily find used ones for $180 or even a little less on online auction sites such as Gunbroker.com.
.22 RIFLE – MOSSBERG 702 PLINKSTER ($100)
No gun collection of personal battery of arms is complete without a .22 rifle, even if you only have $500 in total to spend. .22 ammunition is very small, meaning you can store and carry lots of it on you. It’s also a perfect round for small game hunting, plinking, general homestead use, and for introducing new people to the sport of shooting. If necessary, it could be used for self-defense, as well.
Normally, the three .22 rifles that I would recommend first would be the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60, or Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. Unfortunately, none of these options is going to work, since I’m capping off the price for a .22 rifle at $100.
At this price point, your best option will be the Mossberg 702 Plinkster, which can be found used for even $80 or $90 if you look hard enough online. The Mossberg 702 is available in a wide variety of configurations and comes standard with a 10-round magazine, although higher capacity 25-round magazines also are available.
9MM PISTOL – TAURUS PT111 G2 ($220)
We’re now left with $220 to spend on our final firearm, which absolutely must be a pistol. The pistol is the gun you will have strapped to your side at all times during a disaster scenario. You want it to be easily concealed. I also recommend in this case that your pistol be a 9mm, simply because it’s the cheapest and most plentiful pistol caliber there is.
The specific pistol that I am going to recommend at this price point is going to be a pistol I wrote about recently, the Taurus PT111 G2. While it normally sells for around $250 new at most sporting goods stores, a quick perusal on Gunbroker shows that it can be purchased new or used in good condition for the $200-$220 range.
The PT111 G2 is a compact firearm, which makes concealment easy, but is also large enough so that you can get a full grip on the weapon. It holds 12 rounds in the magazine plus an additional round in the chamber, which is plenty of firepower for defending yourself against multiple attackers. Reviews of the PT111 G2 have been mostly very positive, and owners applaud its reliability, ergonomics and overall value. And besides, it looks much better than a Hi-Point.
So, there you have it. For $500, give or take a few dollars, you should easily be able to acquire a solid survival armory. And they cover your bases: target shooting, home defense/personal protection, and small-game or big-game hunting.
What do you think? What would be in your $500 survival gun armory? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Ruger caught up with the times in 2015 when the company released a full-size polymer frame, striker-fired, easy-maintenance 9mm. In late 2016, the compact version of the Ruger American was unveiled, and it does everything its big brother can do — while doubling as a concealable handgun.
Last fall, I got to handle and fire the new Ruger American Compact 9mm at the Blue August gun writers’ conference. Factory reps explained the method behind Ruger’s seeming madness of delaying their foray into the striker-fired pistol market: customers who use modern pistols now know exactly what they want, and Ruger sought to provide it on the first try.
Ruger American pistols incorporate common requests the company collected in its extensive pre-design market research. Here are ways in which the company says design is wrapped around customer demand:
- Modular grip system. Three choices of grip panel that wrap around the rear and sides come with every gun. Grip can thus be customized for different hand sizes.
- Quality trigger with clear reset. The trigger features a safety lever, a common feature on many mass-market, striker-fired handguns. It has moderate travel, about 4.5 pounds of pull, and a clear reset that’s comparable to triggers in the Springfield XD series. I think it’s a great trigger for both defensive use and range practice.
- A prominent magazine release. The mag release is easy to feel and operate. Operation is ambidextrous with no changes required. This is my only criticism of the firearm. Too many people have reported that an exposed mag release caused the magazine to unseat as a result of pressure from a seatbelt or an attacker.
- A no-cost optional slide safety. The Pro model of the Ruger American Compact Pistol has no safety lever other than the passively operated one on the trigger. The standard model has a sizeable safety lever on both sides. People feel strongly one way or another about having a safety. With the Ruger American, folks on both sides of that argument can have it their way.
- Easy racking. The recoil spring is tensioned to ensure both dependable operation and light racking action. Although this is mostly an appeal to folks who haven’t learned good technique, it is a common complaint among novice gun owners, and Ruger is to be commended for aiming to encourage entry-level shooters.
- Recoil reduction. Slide and frame design increases the time from striker hit to return of the slide. Though there is no perceivable delay while shooting, this reduces muzzle rise, ultimately making fast follow-up shots easier.
- Accessory-friendly. A Picatinny rail allows installation of a light or light/laser combo.
- +P-rated. Use +P ammo if you want, and the Ruger American Compact will handle it.
- Easy takedown. The gun breaks down quickly with no trigger activation, and is easy to clean and reassemble.
- Tough. Ruger reps swear the company didn’t design the American platform with the intent of competing for the coveted U.S. Army contract. Nevertheless, the gun meets or exceed U.S. Army modular handgun standards.
- User-friendly sights. Ruger was wise to choose Novak’s Lo-mount sights. This snag-resistant, highly visible, durable sight set adds real value. Ruger’s custom shop allows buyers to upgrade to tritium sights if they want.
- Pinky rests. The shorter magazine has a pinky rest, which some shooters feel is necessary for comfortable firing.
- Big capacity. The Compact’s mag holds 12 rounds. It accommodates the standard Ruger American 17-round magazine. One of each is included with a new 9mm pistol.
- Caliber choices. The popular, affordable 9mm was the first to roll out in 2016. It’s also available in 45 ACP.
Here are the specs:
Barrel length: 3.25 inches.
Slide: 1.05 inches of stainless steel with black Nitride finish.
Overall length: 6.65 inches.
Height: 4.48 inches.
Weight, unloaded: 28.7 ounces.
MSRP: $579. Real prices are in the mid-$400s.
The Ruger American Compact is a superb choice for anyone seeking low-maintenance, dependable mileage from their carry gun. It fits just about anyone and is easy to operate, but has none of the oddball features some other “easy” guns have. Those features often punish the muscle memory of experienced shooters. It’s great for families who share a pistol for home defense. For the money, it’s as good or better than similar choices on the market.
What do you think about the Ruger American Compact? Share your thoughts in the section below:
The Best Concealed Carry Pistol for a Defensive Prepper A concealed carry pistol could make the difference between life and death. A properly trained person with a CCP can make a whole area safer, but you already knew that. You’re here for the best concealed carry pistol on the market. The truth is, the …
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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:
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:
Recently I had the opportunity to test a type of handgun that I have had little experience with — the derringer. I crossed paths with the folks from Bond Arms in the fall of 2016 at a media event in Florida and again at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January 2017. A homegrown company in Granbury, Texas, Bond Arms builds derringers with a wide variety of options. Admittedly, a derringer is not my top choice for a carry gun, but if it were, a Bond Arms derringer would be my pick.
I tested the Bond Arms Backup. Perhaps one of the greatest assets of this little gun is the fact that you can easily switch barrels, and thus switch calibers, in less than a minute. In our test, Bond Arms provided their Backup model in 45 ACP. It also comes in 9mm. Along with those were two additional barrels: 45 Long Colt/410 and 22 Magnum. The additional barrels are an added option.
Another Backup is handsome, with a gray bead blasted textured frame in a 2.5-inch barrel and black rubberized grips. All of the Bond’s derringers are over and under barrel two-shot system. While the company does make models without a trigger guard, I liked the fact that the Backup has one.
At 18.5 ounces, the little gun has some heft which is probably good considering the recoil felt from 45ACP exiting a 2.5-inch barrel. While not excessive, the recoil does not go unnoticed. The 45 Long Colt/410 in a 4.25-inch barrel also displayed significant but manageable recoil. The 9mm and 22 Magnum calibers were both very easy to handle in the recoil department. The company provides an oversized black rubberized grip as an option that I would highly recommend for firing those stouter calibers.
Bond has a wide variety of barrels, from 2.5 to 4.25 inches in both a bead blasted matt and stainless finish. In all, there are 16 barrels and 22 calibers from which to choose. This hammer-fired derringer also has a cross-bolt style safety and a pronounced front sight.
At seven yards, all shots from both the top and bottom barrel were within defensive accuracy standards, easily within an eight-inch target area.
Some advantages of the Bond Arms derringer, which by the way is one of the oldest gun designs in the world, are fairly obvious. Among them: concealability, ease of carry and convenience. Bond Arms has a very nice leather holster that is an added option for all of their derringers.
Disadvantages of a derringer platform would include having to manually cock the hammer and defeat the safety before firing. Also, if using a pocket carry for concealment, the hammer could become a snag point in getting the gun into play. One must be cognizant of the short barrel options and keeping hands and fingers out of the way when getting the derringer out in a hurry.
MSRP on the Bond Arms Backup is in the $450 range. As a pocket or last-ditch gun, Bond Arms derringers provide an alternate choice for folks who may not be able to carry a small revolver or semiauto. It is perhaps one of the most overlooked options for concealed carry today.
Have you ever shot a Bond Arms Backup? Do you like derringers? Share your thoughts in the section below:
When training new shooters, especially rookie law enforcement officers or those new to concealed carry, I always provide a solid foundation of basic marksmanship.
There is, however, another critical element of preparedness and training for those relying on a firearm for defensive purposes. When I started out many years ago in a law enforcement career, my training sergeant left me with a quote I will never forget: “Don’t let your equipment defeat you.” I find myself constantly using that doctrine still today, for both myself and students. Due to the constant new choices and technology for all firearms-related gear, it applies now more than ever.
So what, exactly, am I referencing? Simply put, do not allow your selection of equipment to be a hurdle to success in defending yourself. Tools must be deployed effectively and quickly when your life or the lives of others are at risk. If the gear you utilize for concealed carry impedes your ability to respond and deploy accurate fire … then that gear may in fact defeat you. Put another way, your gear can lead to a deadly encounter.
The following are areas where I regularly see students struggling with their concealed carry gear.
1. Belt and holster system
How may your carry system defeat you? By not allowing you to access your firearm quickly, wearing your gun in a way that others can access it, having too many retention devices to defeat in order to get the gun into play, or forcing you to draw in ways to which you’re not accustomed. These are but a few of the issues that can occur.
Your holster or carry system must secure the handgun properly. That means retaining the gun in a way that prevents unintentional loss to gravity or another person, while giving you easy, rapid access. The shortest path to such a system is a sturdy belt and holster for waistline carry or a designated compartment for off-body carry (purse, pack, brief case, etc.). You must train with the holster system that you intend to use on a daily basis.
How may your magazines defeat you? By not feeding ammunition properly, not allowing the slide to lock back, and possibly interfering with ejection/extraction. Again, to mention but a few!
I like to address the magazine separately because it is critical to proper functioning. My suggestion: Use good, factory-made magazines for your defensive pistol, and test them! There are some excellent aftermarket mags for certain handgun platforms, but day in and day out, I use original factory mags for everyday carry.
After hard use in training you may want to consider having a second set of mags for everyday carry. Inspect your mags and never hesitate to replace if needed. Also, consider carrying a spare magazine for your carry pistol — something I rarely see CC folks do.
Revolver carriers must make sure that their speed loaders and/or speed strips match the revolver they carry.
How may ammunition defeat you? There are two ways – by not cycling in your handgun of choice or not firing when you pull the trigger. There are a variety of causes; most commonly it’s old ammo, hard primers, poorly made reloads, etc.
Another cause is human-induced and may seem obvious, but I have seen it often enough to mention: inattention or misunderstanding of the caliber of ammunition your handgun requires. This can, of course, lead to injury to both shooter and gun.
Most folks train with ball/FMJ ammo, as do I. However, I never fail to test the ammunition I carry every day in my sidearm. This is to determine if the ammo will feed and cycle without fail in my carry gun. Anyone who has been shooting a semiauto handgun has probably experienced some failures to feed with certain types of ammo. Some handgun platforms and models are more prone to this than others. Bottom line: Shoot a magazine or cylinder full of that costly defensive ammo, just to make sure.
4. The handgun itself
How may your handgun defeat you? There are lots of ways:
- Not a good fit for your hand.
- Too many added features that interfere with reliable operation.
- Safety and de-cocker mechanisms that the shooter cannot manipulate well, especially under stress.
- Sights that are barely visible.
- A magazine release that won’t allow for mags to drop free and clear when an emergency reload is needed.
The choices are endless. Caliber, make and model, single- or double-stack magazines, to name a few. Not to mention the add-ons: night sights, red dot sights, laser, extended mag or slide release, etc.
To me, the simpler and more reliable, the better! Don’t get me wrong: I like some added features (such as night sights), but I can live without most.
5. Failure to train
While training is not equipment, it cannot be minimized. In fact, it may well be the most critical factor. You cannot and most likely will not prevail in a defensive encounter if you have not drawn your carry pistol from its holster under stress. Or you have not fired some rounds down range in the last year. Or you’re using magazines with ammo that you’ve not tested together. Can you clear a handgun malfunction quickly if needed?
Bottom line: Does the handgun go “bang” every time you need it to? Does it have reasonable accuracy? Does it function well with all brands and types of ammo? Are the sights easily visible and highly functional? Is it easy to operate without lots of unnecessary manipulation?
I don’t get wrapped around the axle about caliber. Choose what you shoot well, have confidence in, and train with it often. All this will add up to not letting your equipment defeat you!
What mistakes have you seen concealed carriers make? Share your thoughts in the section below:
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.
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:
There are a lot of false ideas floating around about what works as cover — in other words, what sorts of things will protect you from getting shot. We’ve all seen actors on television turn a table on its side and hide behind it to shoot, or duck behind a corner and see the bullets hit the wall, but not penetrate it. This has left us with a false idea of how well common items will protect us from the damage caused by flying bullets.
Your Home Isn’t Bulletproof
In reality, there is little in a home that will stop a bullet. Appliances are often made of sheets of steel that are much too thin to stop a bullet, even a smaller caliber bullet like a .22 LR. Furniture is made of materials that don’t stand a chance against a bullet, even if it’s “heavy” furniture. Interior walls aren’t much better. Made of drywall and studs, a typical bullet can pass through several interior walls before losing enough energy to stop.
It is rumored that in the Old West they said that a .44 bullet (supposedly the most common round of the day) would pass through six inches of pine. If you think about it, that’s quite a bit. My personal testing has shown that a 9mm FMJ, which has more penetrating power than just about any round available, will just barely make it through that six inches. But to be honest, I used stacked-up pieces of plywood, which probably was harder to penetrate.
When you compare that to your home, you see that there is little chance of anything in your home coming close to stopping a pistol round, let alone a rifle round that has much more penetrating power.
Some might say, “But the brick of the home would stop bullets!” I used to think that, too. But then I stuck some bricks together and shot at them. Sadly, I found that the only bullet a typical brick will stop is a .22 LR. Everything else, from a .380 on up, busted through the brick. You see, the air holes in the brick weaken it tremendously. If it was solid, it would probably do much better.
Now, to be fair to the brick, let me say that I had stuck them together with construction adhesive and I didn’t have the weight of an entire wall. It is possible that the weight of the wall above the brick that is hit by the bullet would help hold the brick together, reducing the penetrating power of the bullet. But I wouldn’t want to bet my life on it.
Why Bulletproof Walls?
So if your home isn’t bulletproof, what can you do? I mean, if you’re stuck in your home and have a bad guy outside, how do you fight effectively, without getting shot? Or if you live in a neighborhood where, sadly, there may be drive-by shootings, is there a solution?
Fortunately, the U.S. Army solved that problem long ago with an extremely low-tech answer. That is, the humble sandbag. Sandbags are effective at stopping anything and everything, up to and including .50 caliber machine gun bullets. Granted, enough machine gun bullets would tear the sandbags up, destroying their defensive capability, but that’s not likely to happen to you.
A one-foot-thick sandbag wall is enough to stop any rifle and pistol bullet. Any home that is built to meet the requirements of the Uniform Building Code (UBC) will have floors strong enough to support a three-foot-high, one-foot-thick sandbag wall. Actually, they’ll probably support a bit more than that, but that’s all we’re concerned about. In a crisis situation, if you built such a wall below your windows, you’d have perfect firing positions to use in the defense of your home.
Something a Bit More Permanent
The only problem with the sandbag wall is that it’s a bit unsightly. I mean, who really wants sandbags stacked up in their living room or bedroom? That’s best left for emergencies only. But there are solutions which can be used more permanently, building the protection into your home.
One solution is to buy the fiberglass panels that they use for making the walls of a safe room. They’re made of woven roving and high shear strength epoxy. Depending on the thickness of the panels you buy, these will stop anything up to and including 7.62mm rifle fire.
While an expensive option, this is one that is highly effective. These panels can be installed underneath the drywall inside the home, hidden away but still offering protection.
Another material option, other than the fiberglass panels, is ballistic steel plate. Please note that for this to work, you need to buy ballistic steel, not just any steel. The steel you can buy in the hardware store or your local steel supply is what is known as “cold rolled steel,” which isn’t anywhere near as strong as ballistic steel.
A one-quarter-of-an-inch thick ballistic steel plate will protect you from rifle fire, up to 5.56mm x 45 NATO and .308 Winchester ammunitions. It will not protect you from any armor piercing rounds or larger calibers, like .50 cal.
Once again, the steel plate can be hidden under the wallboard, making it a permanent but unobtrusive addition to your home. But, like the fiberglass panels, it’s going to be an expensive option.
There is one inexpensive way that you can make your walls at least somewhat bulletproof. That is to fill them with packed sand. A home wall usually has 3 ½ inches of empty space in it, except where there are studs, wires and pipes. If you were to remove the insulation and fill that area with sand, it would stop at least all pistol rounds, although that isn’t enough sand to stop rifle rounds. Please keep in mind that the sand would have to be packed for this to work; loose sand isn’t as effective.
In order to fill walls with sand, you have to cover both sides with plywood. They can’t be covered with drywall or with the foam sheeting that is commonly used as sheathing on homes. The plywood should be screwed to the studs, rather than nailed, so that it can’t pull out.
What advice would you add on constructing bulletproof walls? Share it in the section below:
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:
It’s a fact that without ammunition, your guns will be little more than metal and plastic clubs. But it’s also a fact that if your ammunition has been stored in poor conditions, it not only won’t last as long as it should, but it also could potentially become dangerous to shoot if it is corroded or deteriorated.
This is why you need to store your ammo the same way you store your firearms. After all, you store your firearms in a secure and environmentally safe location, so why wouldn’t you do the same with your ammunition in which you may have invested even more money?
All ammo has a definitive shelf life. Eventually, it will go bad. But if you use proper storage techniques, you can make your ammo last on the shelf for year and years. Ammunition that has been taken care of properly and stored in the right conditions should last for 12 to 15 years before you begin to notice signs of discoloration or corrosion.
Let’s learn about some basic and yet effective storage tips you can use to ensure that you get the most out of your ammo:
1. Store in metal ammo cans.
Regardless of whether you like to keep your ammo in the boxes it came in or store it loosely, you will need to place it in metal ammo cans for storage purposes. Green metal ammo cans can be found at virtually any sporting goods store, in the $10-$20 dollar range, depending on the size of the can.
The reason why you should store your ammo in these metal cans is not just for ease of organization, but also because the cans are airtight and waterproof. They are sealed around the edges, which means you could even dunk them underwater and they would keep the water out.
2. Store in a dry place.
Humidity and moisture in general will be the biggest contributor to corrosion and discoloration. Since corroded ammo is not safe to fire, it’s imperative that you select a storage location where the moisture is kept to a minimum.
Yes, storing your ammunition in the green metal ammo cans will do a lot to resist moisture, but it never hurts to be extra careful. Keep in mind that ammunition is not cheap, so you want to take extra good care of your investment. Store it in a dry place with low moisture levels, and you can sleep knowing your ammo should remain in good condition several years down the road.
3. Store at normal room temperature.
Whatever you do, never store your ammunition outdoors, or even in a garage or an outdoor shed, for that matter. This is because the temperature level fluctuates drastically outdoors, between night and day. In the summer, for example, it can be hot and humid during the day and then cool and chilly during the night. Excessively hot temperatures, in particular, will cause your ammunition’s overall shelf life to shorten. This is why you must store your ammunition indoors at all times, and what’s more, you must store it in a place that remains consistent at a normal room temperature.
4. Store it in a secure location.
Last, store your ammunition in a secure location where it will be safe from those who shouldn’t be handling it – whether that is children or thieves. If you can afford it, you could even store your ammunition in a separate safe from the safe where you store your guns.
At the very least, your ammo should be stored locked. This means either putting a small lock on each ammo can, or storing it in a room with a lock on the door.
Remember: Apply the same levels of precaution to storing your ammo as you do your guns. That way your family will be safe – and your ammo will be there when you need it.
What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:
Ever since I created the Katrina Rifle, I’ve considered adding a Katrina Pistol to my loadout. So when Glock read my mind and released their Modular Optics System (MOS) pistols, I knew the time was right to build a Katrina Pistol. Based on the same survival philosophy as my Katrina Rifle, the Katrina Pistol needs to be good enough to sit at the top of my short list of things to grab when running out the door for possibly the last time.
Symptoms and Solutions
The features of the Katrina Pistol are based on the need for a versatile, multi-purpose firearm. To be clear, the Katrina Pistol is not intended to be the simplest gun on the planet. If that were the case, the Katrina Pistol would be an overbuilt revolver in .22, .357 or .500 S&W. Instead, the Katrina Pistol is a hard working gun with features specifically chosen to make it effective and manageable. The Katrina Pistol needs no instruction book, fires when the trigger is pulled, lights up the night, paints the target, floats a red dot on the point of impact, and launches jacketed lead downrange with extreme prejudice.
When developing this pistol, it was not hard to outline the general features. Choosing a Glock for the platform was an easy choice. Perhaps, it was the only choice. No other pistol has the same reliability and lack of external safeties as the Glock. The cartridge, a 9mm, was another easy choice. The ubiquity and global popularity of the parabellum round minimizes the likelihood that this bullet will ever be in short supply.
Read Also: Glock 42 Review
The two Glocks most likely to claim my Katrina Pistol title are the Glock 17 and Glock 19. Both are 9mm, have rails, and double-stack magazines. Since the G17 and G19 are available in MOS, or Glock’s Modular Optics System, it was a no-brainer to move in that direction. To be clear, the capabilities of an optics-ready pistol are a game-changer. In the same vein as the Aimpoint on the the Katrina Rifle, a red dot on the target can make all the difference in the world for the shooter.
The rail is necessary for a weapons-mounted light. If possible, so are attached lights and lasers. Running a weapon-mounted light is essential for one-handed operation and positive target ID. If two hands are needed to operate both a light and a pistol, then you are out of hands when it comes to climbing, carrying, and breaching. Without a weapons mounted light, there is a very real chance of needing to put the gun down in order to light the way. That’s just not in my plan.
Follow The Laser Brick Road
Adding a laser is an excellent sighting solution that does not require alignment of front and rear markers, or a red dot superimposed on the target. Lasers can mark the aimpoint right on the target so there is no need for the gun to be aligned with a dominant eye. A laser-aimed Katrina Pistol can be fired from the hip, around corners, and off balance.
Further Reading: Bug Out Long Term (B.O.L.T) Pistol
Green lasers are physiologically more advantageous than their red counterparts. The human eye is much more sensitive to short wavelength green than long wavelength red. There is an issue with green light than can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Particles in the air will reflect (or Rayleigh Scatter) the shorter wavelength green light more than red light. This bit of physics is the reason a green laser visibly shoots a line through the air, and even into outer space if you point your gun skyward. The danger is that a bad guy can trace back the green line to its source. This can be to your advantage if you work it right.
Back on Task
The Katrina Rifle article followed two lists: things I did and things I avoided. The semi-auto handgun, like the semi-auto rifle, is a mainstay of any modern planning. Glock is an obvious choice for handgun load-outs. Here are seven features I chose for the Katrina Pistol
1. Caliber: The cartridge of choice is the 9mm. No questions asked. The parabellum round is likely the most common defensive round in the global arsenal. It’s a battle-proven round with plenty of bullet options. Other considerations include the .45, the .40, the .22 Long Rifle, and the .380. But those other calibers, while effective, each carry their own inherent disadvantages. So to simplify the start of this project, 9mm it is.
2. Weapon Mounted Light: There are small lights available today that fit small pistols, produce small lighting areas, and have short lives from their small batteries. For my Katrina Pistol, I want a huge, mountable light output. The perfect choice is one that blasts out hundreds of photons across a wide area for a long time. CR123 batteries are fine since they are powerful and have a 10 year shelf life. Moreover, they work in freezing temperatures.
For this build I went with the Streamlight TLR-2G. It’s a rail-mounted 300 lumens light with integrated green laser. Three hundred lumens is bright enough to travel fast and ID targets, but not so bright to impede your own vision. Just be careful not to Barney Fife a hallway mirror and blind yourself. I played with smaller light/laser options like the TLR-4, as well as slimline brighter lights including the Surefire X300-Ultra. In both cases, I felt the green laser was necessary for a pistol to be Katrina-worthy. If needed, the laser can be turned off or run separately from the light.
3. Green Laser: The concept behind a laser is simple, but the execution of using one is a little more complex. Painting a target with a laser mounted on your handgun expedites ballistic performance. Where a laser really comes into play is when using the pistol away from your face. While red dot sights negate all discussion of sight radius, lasers negate the need to have your eyeballs behind the gun. A further benefit is that he laser can be used for one point-of-impact distance and another sighting option can be for a different, likely much greater distance.
4. Red Dot Sight: As anyone who uses a red dot on their AR 15 knows, it simplifies the aiming process to epic proportions. One eye, two eyes, blurry eyes, daylight, darkness, through a gas mask, offhand, weaver stance, flat on your black, strong hand, weak hand, both hands, it doesn’t matter. The bullet hits the dot.
For this Katrina pistol build I am going with toughest sight I know of, the Trijicon RMR. The RMR is a battery operated reflex red dot sight that is small, lightweight and one of the top choices for the Glock MOS system. Running for years on a single 2032 battery, the RMR, Ruggedized Miniature Reflex, is an adjustable-brightness red dot optic available in several MOA dot sizes. Furthermore, the red dot system is housed in an incredibly tough aluminium housing with specially engineered corners to distribute force.
5. Co-Witnessing Iron Sights: Co-Witnessing is often overrated. Mostly it is used to guarantee that the backup sights or iron sights will work fine with the optic in place. In other words, a single sighting plane must contain both both the red dot, post, and valley of irons. For this Katrina Pistol, I selected the all-black Ameriglo Tall Flat Black Sights. Besides being on the inexpensive side, the Ameriglos are a fast and simple replacement for the factory glock hard sights. Rising above the fray, they are, unlike standard sights, easily visible through the Trijicon RMR. Alas, the Glock MOS for RMR does not entertain such indecision.
6. High Capacity Magazines: Sometimes called “Happy Sticks”, the Glock-branded 33 round magazines are worth every cent. While it’s true that some other guns will run oversized mags, few do so with the reliability, durability and capacity of the Glock’s. But that is not surprising. In reality, the Glock 19 will happily accept any magazine sized for the Glock 17,19, 34 and larger. In fact, the only double stack 9mm Glock mag the 19 won’t eat is the 10 rounders for the Glock 26. This particular Katrina Pistol will be running mags with 15, 17, and 33 round capacities.
7. T-Reign Lanyard: Ripping a page from military history, this Katrina Pistol has a lanyard option in the form of a T-Reign retractable lanyard. Using the factory-installed hole at the base of the Glock’s grip, the retractable lanyard is easily attached and detached using a Nite-ize clip. It has the retention necessary to keep the pistol tethered under reasonable conditions. Moreover, it does not impede aiming the weapon. If this feature becomes unwanted, it can be detached with little effort.
Related: Prepper Pocket Pistols
There are many reasons to include a pistol lanyard. A Katrina-level event will provide plenty of opportunities to lose one’s grip on a pistol. Having a gun just a yard away is always a good thing. Furthermore, the lanyard will not interfere with holstering.
Taking it Home
The next step is to assemble the components and take them from theory to practice. I can’t initiate a Katrina-Level event to test the gun. This doesn’t mean I can’t test the Katrina Handgun in other ways. Keep an eye out for Part 2 to see how well the Katrina Pistol works.
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You have made the decision to carry a sidearm on your person or in your vehicle daily. You have selected a handgun and obtained some baseline training, and perhaps shot a qualifying score in a concealed carry class. Your accuracy is good – if you are standing squared up in front of a non-moving target, under little or no stress.
So while you continue to add layer upon layer to your training regiment, consider giving positional shooting a try. This will add to your overall shooting abilities and boost your confidence.
Because many shooters do not practice often from alternate positions, they find shooting accurately can be difficult. These positions can change how you see your sights, grip your handgun, and therefore influence trigger press. Remember, though, that the fundamentals are still the same: stance (alternate stance), grip, sight alignment, sight picture, breathing, trigger press, and follow-through.
Listed here are the positions I believe are practical and will make you a better defensive shooter.
Aside from a good standing position, kneeling is usually the first alternate shooting position I teach to new law enforcement officers. There are at least four kneeling styles commonly taught: speed, braced, California, and extended speed kneel. I prefer the California (both knees on the deck) for greater flexibility in upper torso movement and shooting around cover. The extended kneel (strong side knee on the deck) is a close second and allows for the shooter to recover from the kneeling position quicker. Making yourself a smaller target is also a plus.
We spend hours sitting each day — in our vehicles, at work, at a café and the movies … so it would be logical to devote some training time shooting from various seated positions. Getting your handgun into play while seated may well be the biggest challenge — and something you should not assume will be easy under high stress. How and where you carry your pistol will influence quick acquisition and the ability to draw it.
While not the most likely defensive position to find yourself in, shooting from prone with a handgun is a skill set I want to have. It does, however, offer some unique challenges. Most folks would assume because your body is flat on the ground and you can use both arms and elbows to support the pistol that it would be easy to shoot accurately from this position.
At 25 yards during training, I see about a 50 percent miss rate from law enforcement officers in the prone. Why? It is not practiced enough and it puts the shooter outside the comfort zone. I teach a rollover prone position that gets the shooter more onto their side and off their diaphragm. This method also allows for resting the head on your bicep instead of straining your neck while lying flat and square on with the target. If you have minimal cover or have something you can get under to shoot from (a vehicle), prone may, in fact, be just the ticket.
I have seen little training devoted to this position. In reality, it’s not all that improbable that you could find yourself on the flat of your back in a confrontation. If so, you may find yourself looking up at an attacker with a knife, bat or some other deadly weapon in their hands. You have only a second or two to react. Shooting at a threat standing over you or having to shoot between your knees from your back as a threat closes in is disconcerting at best. Run some drills with a good instructor while performing these tasks so that your reaction would be “oh yeah, I’ve done this before” if that day ever comes.
5. Using cover or a barricade.
There is little doubt that if you find yourself in an exchange of gunfire that cover will become your friend. Shooting from or around cover, just like the different positions mentioned above, changes how you see your sights and how you grip your pistol, because now you are doing something outside the box, forcing you to become uncomfortable. You must practice it, from standing, kneeling and prone. Use cover when it’s available and if the situation allows for it.
Adding these abilities to your skill set will boost your confidence and make you a better shooter. Along with these shooting positions, you will find that shooting with movement and shooting with one hand will also be advantageous … but that is for another discussion.
What advice would you add for those practicing defensive shooting drills? Share your tips in the section below:
Remember back in 1935 when the .357 Magnum round was introduced? It was selected for use by many law enforcement agencies across the country. The new magnum was highly touted as being able to shoot through the block of a car and stop the engine dead. Well, I’m not sure if that is true. A vehicle’s engine and compartment makes for a pretty formidable bullet stopper. That’s a good thing when using a vehicle in a defensive position. We more or less expect (or hope) that our car, truck, or SUV will shield us somewhat during SHTF escapes, bug outs, or other defensive maneuvers.
Is the composition of a vehicle enough to protect you from incoming bullets? Some recent field trials bring new light to this question. The results are both good and bad.
A Thin Veil
First, understand that the exterior skins of nearly all conventional vehicles will not stop bullets from most handguns. The field trial did not test rifles, but it did test 12-gauge shotgun buckshot and slugs. Other reports suggest some rifle calibers such as the 5.56/223 fair no better, but the .308 does have some penetration success.
The good news is that inside the doors and panels of a vehicle are a conglomeration of parts, window winding mechanisms, radio speaker magnets, crash beams, wiring, and other fixtures. These components seem to deter, slow down, or stop bullets quite well.
The field trial I studied used traditional bullets and loads in the .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 12 gauge. None of the pistol bullets had much success in fully penetrating a vehicle if the bullets struck an auto component. The exception to this is with certain types of .45 ACP bullets. Full metal jacketed bullets in the .45 produced some level of success in busting through a vehicle door.
Related: Best Handgun Calibers For Survival
If these bullets ferreted past one of these structural fixtures or parts, then the occupant could be struck, albeit to a lesser damaging threat. Engine compartments including the radiator, water pump, and manifolds resisted penetration. Wheel wells provide a good defensive position, although exterior coverage is far from complete. It is difficult for an adult to huddle behind a car wheel and tire without being somewhat exposed.
I was recently instructed that the door beams between the front and rear doors offer a fair deflective structure for most handgun bullets. In fact, the reason low-riding thugs are crunched down in their seats with their heads positioned behind this middle door jamb component is to avoid bullet penetration to the head. Considering this part of the vehicle can stop incoming rounds, this strategy makes sense.
The Shotgun Conundrum
Likewise, the shotgun buckshot did not perform as well as one might believe. I think most of us rely upon a good 00 buckshot load to sail through just about anything. Maybe we have been watching too many movies. The buckshot pellets passed through car skins, but were then caught up by crash struts, electric window motors, door locks and other mechanisms.
The 12 gauge slug was extremely effective. These loads punched right through both the exterior and interior panels of the test car, entered the ballistic gelatin and passed completely through the entire mold. Bad news bears for those inside a vehicle.
Read More: Tru-Bore 12 Gauge Chamber Adapter
The shotgun slug should prove a highly viable choice, if you have to be shooting at an individual inside a vehicle. While this strategy may be effective, keep in mind the skill it takes to properly shoot a slug load from a shotgun. It would be wise to consider using shotgun slugs in a self-defense scenario.
Keep in mind that the recoil and muzzle blast can be abusive. Decide if you need to go to a full 3-inch shotshell slug or if the standard 2 ¾ -inch can do the job. The field report I studied did not specify this.
Auto Glass Resistance
Now let’s get some clarity on glass. Today’s automotive glass is far superior to auto glass of the past. Contemporary windshields, side windows, and rear glass are more durable and crash resistant. Moreover, modern auto glass produces cleaner fractures. This is a plus for armed interactions and for passenger protection.
Current auto glass is much more likely to deflect pistol bullets shot from various angles due to the composition of the materials and the rake of auto glass panels. The “rake” of a windshield is the angle at which it rests inside the car frame. For example, a sporty car or pickup truck has a windshield with a sharper rake. By contrast, some Jeep models have front glass that stands square to the frame.
A severe auto glass rake helps deflect bullets and may prevent penetration inside the vehicle cabin. Of course, this is often contingent on the angle of the shot. In the field trials report, most of the pistol bullets did not completely penetrate the plate glass panel. The glass may have cracked and fragmented, but the bullets did not pass through.
So, while modern auto glass cannot be relied upon to provide complete passenger protection, it certainly affords a better barrier than older auto glass. When engaging an adversary, putting several layers of glass between yourself and incoming bullets offers extra protection.
In practice this might mean hiding at the rear quarter panel of the vehicle thus putting the rear glass, side glass, and a windshield between yourself and an assailant shooting from a position in front of the vehicle.
Also Read: Urban Survival Food Strategy
So, there you go. A vehicle is a reasonable barrier against oncoming gun fire unless the attacker happens to be using shotgun slugs. If a pistol bullet dodges mechanisms inside a door, the passenger could certainly be wounded. The same would occur if the bullet’s pathway hit glass just right. However, I would rather have the structure of a vehicle in my favor than be standing out in the open.
John J. Woods
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After reading Howard’s article about the new gun control laws in California, it struck me how the left never really gives up on any of their goals, no matter how unpopular they might be with the majority of the population. Gun control is a prime example. In spite of liberal politicians claiming they won’t touch our guns, these recent examples show that to be a lie.
Even if the citizens of California vote to overturn those laws, there is surely other restrictive legislation waiting in the wings. I’m convinced the legislation and regulations are written in advance by far-left activists, are filed somewhere handy, and then dragged out whenever the political climate might allow them to become reality. Of course, a liberal judge is always right there, ready to wield his or her power in support.
The fact that there are hundreds of millions of both firearms and firearm owners is immaterial. Enemies of the 2nd Amendment can and will come after our Constitutional rights from every conceivable angle. They’ve been doing that for decades. While we stand firm on the rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution, they are chipping away at the foundation with fervor and focus.
This has lead me to wonder if my kids will be able to buy firearms when they reach adulthood. This California law, in particular, worries me:
Assembly Bill 1135 and Senate Bill 880 would make changes of monumental scale to California’s firearm laws by reclassifying hundreds of thousands of legally owned semi-automatic rifles as “assault weapons.” This legislation effectively outlaws magazine locking devices, more commonly known as “bullet buttons”. As of January 2017, all AR-type of firearms and even some hunting rifles will no longer be legally sold in the state. There is still a lot of confusion about the law. Depending on the way it is interpreted, it may even cover M1 carbines.
If you register your gun as an assault weapon, there are draconian limitations on how you own and transport the gun. You can never sell, give, lend, or trade an assault weapon to another person. Nor can you hand down an “assault weapon” to your spouse, children, or grandchildren. Upon your death, it is turned over to the state for destruction. If you move out of the state, you cannot move back into the state with your guns.
This law focuses on the “assault weapon”, but what’s to stop other categories of firearms from being included in similar laws down the road? I can easily envision a future in which the purchase of firearms and ammunition become so onerous that few will make the attempt. As well, if simply giving firearms to our children becomes outlawed, then the 2nd Amendment dies by the time they come of age.
So what can we do now to insure that our children and grandchildren have access to firearms in the future?
First, we need to make sure the next generations fully understand the importance of the 2nd Amendment and why it was included in our Bill of Rights. In fact, a good education in our Constitution and Bill of Rights is vital. If you’re looking for a good book to use with your kids or grandkids at home, this one is highly recommended.
One of my life mottos is, “There’s always a work around.” In the case of these draconian laws, with more on their way, it might be very wise to begin equipping our kids with a selection of firearms and gifting them now, rather than wait until additional laws are passed which would outlaw that simple gesture.
Most of us would probably agree that the following firearms are the basics:
- .22 rifle
- 12-gauge shotgun
- Pistol of a common caliber (9mm, .40, .380, etc.)
- Revolver of a common caliber
- AR15 Et al.
We can quibble over specifics, but overall, this is a decent selection, along with plenty of accompanying ammunition. If you’re concerned that your children and grandchildren may not have the chance to purchase firearms, why not begin making those purchases now? Private sales if at all possible, of course.
The firearms could be locked away until the kids come of age, but they would be there, nevertheless. Think of it as a sort of 2nd Amendment Hope Chest.
This solution isn’t for everyone and may not be your cup of tea, but our 2nd Amendment rights are under fire every single day and in every way. Liberals/progressives will never, ever stop. Yes, I know how many gun owners are in the U.S. and how many guns are out there, but laws such as these recently passed in California show the very creative, imaginative ways our rights can be limited and, eventually, extinguished.
If you agree with me, how would you put this plan of action into place, and if you disagree, explain why. I welcome your comments and opinions.
The post A Simple Way to Protect Your Child’s Second Amendment Rights appeared first on Preparedness Advice.
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:
I didn’t grow up with guns in the house because my family didn’t live in the continental United States. Due to my Dad’s job, we were all over the globe and living in places that didn’t exactly have Second Amendment rights. However, during my high school years, two of my older buddies were finally of age and could legally go through the process to purchase firearms. We started target shooting. Not advanced shooting classes, but just shooting for fun.
Living near the ocean, we would sometimes go out to remote places where we could shoot into the water. We’d throw empty gallon milk jugs into the water and then do our best to shoot at them while they were bobbing on the waves. This, by the way, wasn’t exactly legal! At other times, we went out into the boonies and shoot at anything we could: soda cans, bowling pins, and even lizards. Those were not easy to hit! They were skinny and constantly moving!
My first advanced shooting class
During this time, I didn’t have any formal training. I just went shooting for the pure fun of it and the personal challenge of getting better each time. That changed during my college years, though, when I was allowed, as a civilian, to participate in a semester-long police firearms training academy. The other civilian was my lizard-shooting buddy, Paul.
It was during this semester that I learned, in a more formal setting, the fundamentals of shooting, and how to effectively shoot shotguns and pistols. This was probably the best firearms education a person could ever have. Our group went out every single Saturday for four straight months. We spent 8 hours on the range, getting about an hour of instruction and then 6-7 hours of shooting drills. I don’t think I even ate lunch on those days! I would be starving on the drive home.
Our 2 instructors were Mr. Hill, with a background in the prison systems and the main firearms instructor for this shooting academy, and Mr. Dennis, a former police/narcotics officer. Mr. Hill was a behemoth of a man and very effective with a shotgun, in particular. Both these instructors lived to shoot — maybe they were married and had families, but guns and shooting seemed to be their first loves. They were determined that not a single student would leave the class without being highly competent in shooting skills and comfortable with their “use of force” decisions.
The muscle memory developed from dozens and dozens of hours of (mostly) handgun shooting remains with me and is ingrained in my body, even after all these years. Techniques I learned to improve my accuracy are still effective, and I’ve taught them to my wife and kids. I feel very, very comfortable with a firearm in my hands, but it wasn’t until I took another class many years later that I was challenged on a whole other level.
Advanced shooting class with a military twist
This time it was, again, my buddy Paul who invited me to join him in an all-day class on a military base where he worked. The invite was irresistible. I would be spending the day with a group of Air Force combat personnel who were preparing to be deployed and were required to take this class in urban warfare. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and nobody questioned my presence or credentials. I kept my mouth shut — definitely a don’t ask, don’t tell situation!
For the first time in my life, I was in a scenario in which live fire was being used and I wasn’t exactly behind the firing line. There was no firing line! We performed exercises in which we were constantly moving and engaging targets, tactical reloading while moving, maintaining communications with team members, and doing all of this under non-stop pressure by the instructors who were screaming and cussing and deriding us. One guy’s gun jammed and the diatribe by the instructor was merciless and, I have to admit, very funny at the time.
Initially, I had the jitters because this was very exciting to me and the setting unfamiliar. I had always wanted to be in a scenario like this — but without being a target by a real criminal with a real gun! Been there, done that.
After a few minutes, my mind and body became accustomed to the adrenaline and excitement. My nerves calmed, my breathing slowed down and became more regulated, and I was able to make the quick decisions and reactions being demanded of me. By the end of that day, even though I had been shooting for years and had received so much instruction and practice, I knew my shooting expertise had reached a new dimension.
Without the many years of casual and formal practice and instruction, there’s no way I would have been ready for such an intense training experience. A few of the Air Force guys in the group left that day realizing they needed more practice. When I think about the low training requirements of nearly all law enforcement officers — this is what they actually need, each and every year as our cities and streets become more dangerous and hostile to police officers, in particular.
Reasons every shooter needs advanced classes
So, why must you take advanced shooting classes? In a real life situation in which self-defense is necessary, you need enough practice hours behind you so that muscle memory is there each and every time you pick up that gun. You won’t be standing behind a line with your pistol on a bench and with a motionless paper target. You need to spend hours under some kind of pressure, so you become comfortable with all aspects of shooting. You’ll have to make lightning quick, on the spot decisions. Everything about shooting, from stance to grip to aim should all be so familiar that the only decision to make is whether or not to pull the trigger.
In my case, my upbringing and where I lived in the world was a little different. I happened to be at the right place and, apparently, had a connection or two that allowed some unique experiences to come my way. However, a good shooting range will offer advanced classes, and I encourage you to take as many as possible. When you find a good instructor, take every class he or she offers. Classes you might consider are concealed carry classes (if allowed in your state), defensive handgun, defensive shotgun, and tactical firearm classes. Courses that integrate mindset, marksmanship, and individual/team tactics under realistic conditions will not fail you.
Prepare to be challenged in every way possible. Your physical endurance will be tested. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and how you react under extreme duress — something that most people never experience in their entire lives. One more tip: be sure to get a good night’s rest the night before. You’ll need it.
Disclaimer: Know your local, state, and applicable federal laws. Shooting at lizards may not be legal where you live and I don’t recommend it anyway!
Choosing your holster is as big a consideration as choosing your gun. A holster needs to be comfortable, easy to wear, and should support and retain the weapon while encouraging an easy draw.
When it comes to choosing a holster, there are hundreds of options, but from experience we’ve found five that seem to be the best.
1. Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB
I have a long history of disliking inside-the-waistband holsters, the main reason being the comfort level. I had difficulty finding one I could carry comfortably day in and day out. I resisted purchasing an Alien Gear because I couldn’t try it on, and I ignored the spew of positive reviews out there for Alien Gear holsters. What finally broke me was a deal Alien Gear was running on buying two holsters. I bought an outside-the-waistband one and an inside-the-waistband one. The purchase of the Cloak Tuck 2.0 came side by side with my purchase of the Ruger LCR 9mm, so I chose the LCR holster just to have a holster for my new revolver.
The Cloak Tuck 2.0 is a hybrid holster, meaning it’s a combination of Kydex and cloth materials. The base is neoprene, which looks and feels somewhat like leather. This neoprene base is comfortable against the skin, and flexible for different body types. The base is molded polymer and holds the weapon tight to the base. The holster performs like it should; it’s sturdy, easy to use and customizable. When ordering, you have lots and lots of options for different guns, belt clips, and you get an accessory bag of goodies to customize the holster’s fit. The main thing I have to say about this holster is how comfortable it is, to the point where I have taken a nap with it, and my weapon on, completely forgetting about it.
2. Sneaky Pete
The Sneaky Pete makes the list due to its bit of genius utilized when bringing the holster to the market. The Sneaky Pete original leather belt clip holster resembles a carrying case for a modern smartphone. With phones growing and growing in size, it seems the Sneaky Pete becomes more and more invisible. The Sneaky Pete is best used, in my opinion, for concealing weapons like the LCP and S&W Bodyguard, but they do produce larger options for weapons like the Glock 43, S&W Shield and Walther PPS. The design of the Sneaky Pete uses a large cover that does make the width of the pouch difficult to see.
The Sneaky Pete uses either a complete leather belt loop or metal clips to keep the holster in place and steady. Once it’s on your belt, it would be nearly impossible to rip off. You can get a holster in either leather or nylon, and there are a few different colors. The Sneaky Pete is perfect in business wear, formal wear, and can be used in casual clothing. It is a little slow to draw because you do have to open the holster, but in some situations, it’s the only option some people can carry on a day-to-day basis.
3. Raven Concealment Phantom
If you carry a Glock or Smith & Wesson M&P, then the best holsters on the market for those weapons is made by Raven Concealment. With Raven, you can choose to customize a Phantom holster just for you, or purchase a pre-made model. The concealment Phantom is an outside-the-waistband holster that comes in either light bearing or standard models.
The Raven concealment holster takes the cake by allowing the easy carry of a full-sized pistol. The holster clings to your body nice and tight but is still comfortable. This makes keeping the weapon concealed a breeze, and allows you to carry, say, a Glock 20 with 15 rounds of 10mm. When you build a custom holster, you can build the holster of your dreams for the gun of your dreams. As long as that gun is a Glock or Smith & Wesson M&P.
4. Stealth Operator Compact
The Stealth operator has a cringe-worth, tacticool name, but it’s honestly an amazing holster. I purchased one originally because of the claim of a multi-fit holster that could fit over a dozen guns. I test and evaluate guns all the time, and this often involves carrying them, so this holster solved a lot of carry problems for me. I’ve been carrying four different weapons in it, and at a price point of about $30, I am spending less than $10 a gun so far.
The Stealth Operator can fit dozens and dozens of guns, and it carries them securely. I suggest checking the Internet for the complete list. The Stealth Operator is an outside-the-waistband holster, made from Kydex. The holster uses a passive retention device, and it actually works; the gun doesn’t move. The guns I’ve carried in this holster are the Walther CCP and PPS, the CZ P09, and the Glock 19 without issue.
5. Miami Classic
The Galco Miami Classic is the choice for those looking to carry in a shoulder holster. Stay away from cheap shoulder holsters; they are often uncomfortable, hard to use and tend to dangle the gun. The Miami Classic is an all-leather holster which draws its name from Miami Vice. The holster is very easy to wear, and can be adjusted for an individual user’s body. The actual holster portion is molded for a specific weapon, and this aids in retention and reducing the dangle factor.
The Miami Classic is easy to draw from, comfortable to wear and provides options for those in specific positions where carrying a firearm on the waist is difficult. These holsters do, of course, require a cover garment, and this may scare some off. The Miami Classic holster is expensive and around $150, but it is quite high in quality. This was the perfect holster when I worked as a driver, and still serves me well in the winter when I want to carry a large handgun.
What holsters would you add to our list? Share your advice 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:
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:
If you ever want to start a debate on a survival or shooting forum, just ask, “How much ammunition is enough for an emergency stockpile?” Then take cover. You’ll be amazed at every single armchair general who comes out of the woodwork to offer his or her opinion on the matter. Some folks are minimalists: “Only what you can carry” is their cry as they announce their plans to survive by scrounging their way through the apocalypse. Others say, “Buy it cheap, and stack it deep!” These fellas are the ones who plan on getting into a gun fight every single day as soon as the power goes off.
Many folks out there don’t fall into either group, and they don’t believe there is any reason to stockpile rounds for an emergency. In fact, I know plenty of shooters who always say “buy only what you shoot.” I used to be that guy. But I had to be honest with myself that this isn’t the Pax Americana anymore. Turn on the news and each day we are confronted by the realities of our existence in an increasingly unstable world. Now, I’m a realist.
As a gun writer and firearm instructor, I have heard the question more and more: “Hey Zach, how much ammo should I have in case something happens?”
Well, I just ran out of battery power for my crystal ball. But I can say that you should have enough ammunition to protect your family and feed them with fresh game and meat if needed. Here is the amount I recommend and strive to keep stocked in my own closet.
There is no better tool out there to constantly bring home game than a .22. From squirrel to rabbit, a .22 can bring home the bacon. Every homesteader and survivalist should have at least one reliable .22. During the depression, .22s kept families fed, and they can do it again. I strongly recommend aiming for at least 1,000 rounds per .22 — ideally 2,500-5,000 rounds. Start where you can.
In addition to a .22, homesteaders and survivalists should have a .12- or .20-gauge shotgun. The shotgun can be used for small game like a .22 — for waterfowl and wild turkey, for instance. A round of 00 buck or a common deer slug can be used for much larger game. I cannot speak highly enough of the reliability of a good pump action over a semi-automatic shotgun.
I have two 12-gauge shotguns and a 20 gauge. I have two different barrels for each — one for slugs and 00 buck, and one for birds and small game. The slug barrels I keep are 21-inch barrels with a smoothbore and rifle sights. I have four-different chokes for each bird barrel.
At a minimum, I keep 200-400 rounds of game load for waterfowl, upland bird and small game, 100 rounds of 00 Buck and 100 slugs.
The Big Game Rifle
Although many claim that within months after a disaster there will be no wild game or anything to hunt, I think they are wrong. The person with a game rifle may be able to put more meat on the table over the person who does not.
I try to aim for around 200 rounds minimally for big game rifles. I shoot common calibers such as .30-30, .243 and.308.
The Semi-Auto Sporting Rifle
A modern semi-auto rifle can be a great all-around firearm. For hunting, personal protection and home defense, these rifles can put a lot of rounds on target with decent accuracy.
For my AR-15s and AKs, I have about 4,000-5,000 rounds each. These rifles shoot a lot of lead, and have the potential to be “bullet eaters.” If you are on a budget, aim for at least 1000 rounds per rifle as well as 10 magazines.
My wife and I carry common caliber handguns — mostly in 9mm. I carry a Glock 19 daily and she carries a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. I always aim to keep about 400-500 rounds on hand for each handgun.
What type of stockpile do you keep? What advice would you add on stockpiling ammo? Share your advice in the section below:
One of the most popular firearms manufacturers is Sig Sauer. For more than six decades, the company has earned a reputation for quality rifles and handguns used by elite forces around the globe.
At last count, I own 10 different Sig models and decided to highlight what I consider the five best Sig handguns out there.
1. Sig P210. For decades, this single-action, single-stack, full-size 9mm pistol was the standard by which all other service pistols were judged, and for good reason. Meticulous craftsmanship and assembly in Switzerland for the Swiss Army meant that the P210 was accurate and reliable, but unfortunately it was limited to Swiss military contracts and its scarcity on the common market kept it priced out of the realm of the average shooter.
When the manufacture moved to Germany, the pistol still commanded higher prices than any other factory pistol on the market. Yet the desirability was still there and a friend of mine in the VIP protection sector noted that this was the pistol he carried when he could not have access to a carbine, as it was accurate out to 100 yards.
Thankfully, Sig announced at SHOT Show 2016 that the P210 would now be made in America as a production piece. At least two versions are in the works, including an improved service model with more user-friendly controls, as well as a target version with adjustable sights and checkered grips.
We have been told that prices will range in the $1,300 to $1,500 realm and that the pistol is still capable of ringing steel at 100 yards and beyond.
2. X-5. The X-5 is built on the legendary P226 platform, except that it is a SAO (single action only) pistol designed for competition, although I know a few people who carry one cocked and locked 1911 style.
Because it was intended as a competition pistol, almost everything on this handgun can be customized, replaced or improved.
The 5-inch barrel length lends to the addition of an oversized rail. The pistol’s sights are fully adjustable and can be replaced with a variety of options. The trigger is adjustable for weight, reset, pre-travel and can be moved 0.4 of an inch forward or to the rear based on the shooter’s hand size or finger length.
We expect to hear the new US-made version announced at this year’s annual NRA Convention.
3. Sig P220 In 1975, Sig unveiled the P220. Based on the P210, some changes were made to make this a more affordable pistol in order to compete for a quality sidearm.
On the surface, the P220 resembles a Browning-style semiautomatic pistol that uses a decocking lever to safely lower the hammer carry with no external safeties. Double-action-only and single-action-only variants have been made as well.
The pistol operates by means of a linkless barrel without locking lugs. Instead, the P220 makes use of an enlarged breech block which holds the slide and barrel as one while firing.
Usually found in 45 ACP and 9mm, Sig released several variants in 10mm in 2015.
4. Sig P320. Released in 2014, the Sig P320 is a striker-fired, polymer framed handgun that is completely customizable to match not only the shooter’s hand but the shooter’s intended use.
A serialized chassis/fire control unit allows changing from full size to compact size on the frame and interchangeable back straps can allow the pistol to be configured for a variety of hand sizes. Calibers can be configured depending upon the barrel.
This is the pistol for the shooter who only wants to own one handgun, but has a need for different configurations.
A Picatinny rail and SIGLITE night sights round out the package.
5. Sig P229. The P229 is a compact version of the P226 that was designed from the ground up to handle the company’s potent 357 SIG caliber.
A CNC-milled slide of stainless steel was chosen to handle the higher pressures of the new cartridge and its higher velocity as opposed to the stamped slide of its predecessors. This allows the use of a lighter recoil spring.
Used by US Navy Pilots and military intelligence personnel as the M-11A1, it is much more compact than the standard issue Beretta M9.
We could have easily done a Top 10 list to include models such as the P226 (which has influenced at least two of these models), the compact P238, or their now classic line of 1911 pistols, but felt that these five Sigs have raised the bar high enough to give a better overview of the “best of the best.”
What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
The Glock pistol has become so entrenched in the firearms realm that I recently heard it was common for outsiders to refer to handguns simply as “Glocks.”
Indeed, the word “Glock” has become synonymous with the word “pistol” or “handgun,” much in the same way that “Colt” or “Smith & Wesson” may have in the past, or even how the term “Buck knife” became a catch-all for “pocket knife.”
Yet with seven different calibers, nine different frame sizes and 12 distinct slide lengths, one Glock does not cover all bases.
There are Glocks made for duty use, competitive shooting, concealed carry and even hunting purposes. Some can fill multiple roles and some are very user specific.
Here, we took a look at all of Glock’s offerings in order to determine a well-rounded battery of five of these handguns for the dedicated Glock owner.
1. Glock 19/23
The G19 or G23 is a compact offering with a shorter barrel, slide and frame than the standard models 17 and 22. The main difference between the G19 and the G22 is the caliber, with the G19 being chambered in 9mm like the larger G17, and the G23 chambered in 40 S&W like the G22.
For a pistol that is a “Jack-of-all-trades” it does not get much better than the G19/G23. It is large enough to serve as a uniformed duty pistol, small enough to carry concealed and the G19 holds 15 rounds in its factory magazines. These pistols also take the magazines of their larger counterparts.
2. Glock 42
The smallest pistol that Glock makes is the G42 chambered in 380 ACP. It runs a little on the large side when compared to other pistols in this caliber, such as the Sig P238, Ruger LCP or Kahr 380, but that slightly longer grip and heavier slide makes for a compact pistol that is accurate, controllable and actually pleasant to shoot.
3. Glock 30S
For years we hailed the G30 as the perfect Glock pistol. It was chambered in 45 ACP, held 10 rounds and was accurate and comfortable to shoot.
Die-hard Glock fans took it a step further, customizing their G30s with slides and recoil assemblies from Glock’s slim-line 45 pistol, the G36. The end result was a thinner slide that could fit most of the holsters intended for the similarly sized G19s and G23s.
Glock listened to its customer base and made it a factory offering in the G30S. This is the compact 45 ACP fighting pistol that makes the most sense.
4. Glock 41
Some readers might think we are a few tacos shy of a combination plate for mentioning this offering, as it is chambered in the powerful 10mm auto cartridge.
For years, gun magazine writers have been calling for the death of the 10mm round and proclaiming its recoil is too powerful for use in most handguns for comfort or fast follow-up shots.
That may be the case with the smaller Glocks, such as the compact Model 29 with its light weight and short barrel. However, the G40 sports a 6-inch barrel, a Gen 4 grip frame and a heavy slide that has a mass capable of absorbing nearly all the recoil of this potent chambering.
The longer barrel increases the velocity of most 10mm loads to push ballistics closer to that of a 357 Magnum or lower end 41 Magnum.
When we mentioned hunting with a Glock, we had this pistol in mind and it is rapidly becoming a favorite of feral hog hunters throughout the United States, especially when equipped with an electronic sight.
5. Glock 43
We tested the G43 before its official release in early 2015, and at first had contempt for the pistol, finding it too small for our hands, too large for pocket carry and we were convinced we were going to hate it.
Then we actually shot it and completely changed our mind.
The G43 was one of the most accurate out-of-the-box pistols we had ever fired, especially for a Glock. It may have taken a few years of tinkering to get it just right, and critics claimed Glock was a day late and a dollar short when the G43 hit the market, but those critics are eating those words as the pistol outperforms platforms put out by Smith & Wesson, Ruger and other competitors.
These five pistols from Glock offer a multitude of options from basic home or self-defense to concealed carry and even the hunting of dangerous game with the G40. They are definitely our choices for a range of options.
Which Glocks would you take off the list? What would you add? Share your gun advice in the section below:
Defending your home, and more importantly your own life and the lives of your loved ones, is a serious undertaking. If there is one thing that is true out there in the world of home defense it is that there are options.
Of course, specific needs can vary based on the individual and the layout of the home. An urban apartment dweller will have very different requirements than a rural rancher with thousands of acres.
But if you can own a gun where you live, these are the first five firearms we recommend for someone interested in self-protection in their home.
1. Pump shotgun
Based on reading Internet forums, one might conclude that the shotgun is an obsolete and antiquated tool for home defense. However, the shotgun has certain advantages that cannot be matched by any other weapon.
First, there is the power factor. The shotgun may not be able to reach out and touch someone at 200 yards, but in the confines of your home, very few threats will engage you at a great distance. At close range, the shotgun is king when used in 12 gauge or 20 gauge and stoked with the appropriate loads like No. 4 Buck shot.
A short barrel will make the shotgun more maneuverable within the confines of the home. The federal legal limit is 18 inches. Anything less will require a federal tax stamp and National Firearms Act (NFA) registration. I recommend using a comfortable butt stock and attaching a white light to identify threats in the dark.
The actual brand is not important, but I recommend something reliable with a minimum caliber of 38 special or 380 ACP.
For residents in areas of the country where gun ownership is restricted, I highly recommend choosing the same type of pistol and ammunition in use by local law enforcement, if permitted.
The only other requirement I look for is a rail to mount a flashlight and perhaps the addition of fiber optic sights (tritium night sights are largely useless outside of dawn and dusk).Backup handgun
3. Backup handgun
Sometimes a more discreet handgun is needed. Maybe one that can be quickly dropped in the pocket of a robe when answering the door or checking on a strange noise in the basement. For this I prefer a five-shot revolver chambered in 38 Special with an interior or concealed hammer.
It may seem like overkill for home defense, but sometimes your home or business may be attacked by multiple opponents – particularly in a riot-type situation. And threats may appear beyond 25 feet, with rifles of their own.
This is rare, but it can happen and when it does an AR-15 variant may be more comforting than a 380 ACP pistol.
I like to keep my rifles simple with a mounted flashlight, sling and usually a sight of some type.
5. Pistol caliber carbine
A rifle chambered in a handgun caliber may seem like an unusual choice as the extra barrel length seldom offers a ballistic advantage. But optics or simply the longer sight radius and stable shooting platform makes these carbines more accurate. Also, they can be legally bought by adults 18 and over. In certain areas, handguns cannot be purchased until a person is 21.
I recommend various AR-15 carbines chambered in 9mm: the KRISS Vector in 9mm or 45 ACP, or various lever-action rifles chambered in 357 Magnum or 45 Colt.
The disadvantages of the long gun come into play when the homeowner needs to call 911 yet still remain armed. For this reason, I recommend the use of slings – or even a pistol grip – to hold and control the weapon with one hand while calling the police.
What would you add to the list? Share your gun advice in the section below:
There are countless stories of folks getting stranded in the wilderness unarmed and with few supplies. And in many cases, their lack of preparation cost them their lives. There also are many stories of people who get lost and end up surviving. What’s the difference between those who survive and those who don’t? The vast majority of people who survived were sportsmen who came prepared with knowledge and supplies.
One tool for survival which can make the difference between life and death is the firearm. Food, defense and signaling are all possible with a good gun.
Here are my top picks for survival firearms.
1. Glock 17/19
The Glock has arguably the finest reputation in the handgun world for reliability. I have carried a Glock 19 daily for a long time. It has never once failed me — not once. The 9mm is not a choice chambering for bear defense, but for hunting and defense against smaller critters it is plenty adequate. Magazine capacity is excellent with 15-round magazines standard for the Glock 19, and 17-round magazines for the Glock 17. If you carry a couple extra magazines you should have plenty of ammunition to get you through. The Glock safe-action trigger may unnerve newer shooters, but it is completely safe if you practice gun safety.
2. Springfield XD Service model or XDM
Springfield has built an excellent polymer framed handgun in the XD model. The XD, like a Glock, has an excellent reputation for reliability. The XD features a grip safety similar to those found on 1911 model handguns and it has a Glock style trigger.
XDs are available in many different chamberings, including the big three for auto pistols: 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Magazine capacity differs slightly between the service model and the XDM, but is comparable to a Glock.
3. Smith and Wesson Model 29
Go ahead and make your day. If you are in bear country and in need of a handgun that will give you a fighting chance against a brown or grizzly bear, my go-to handgun is a Smith & Wesson 29 chambered in .44 Magnum. Recoil is stout and most new shooters will shy away from such firepower.
4. Taurus Judge
The huge advantage of the Taurus Judge is the ability to shoot both .45 Long colt and .410 shot shells, including slugs, 00 Buck and bird shot. This gives you a wide variety of munitions and you will only be limited by what you pack with you.
5. .22 Pistol
I also want to say that having a .22 pistol in your pack is a great tool for harvesting small game for sustenance. Semi-auto or revolver — anything that is accurate to 20 yards and allows you to hit baseball-sized targets with regular consistency is a good pick.
6. Remington 870 or Mossberg 500
This is kind of a no-brainer, and survival shotguns have been argued to death in article after article. Either one of these shotguns will do the trick. Both are reliable and I wouldn’t hesitate to use either. In bear country, slugs and 00 Buck is the ticket, and you can keep shot shells in your pocket for small game. A slug from a .12 gauge will handle any big game in the world under 75 yards. It has put down elephants, hippos, water buffalo, polar bear and Kodiak bear. You will be limited to range, but not on firepower.
If you are out elk hunting and you get lost, you’ll be stuck with your elk rifle. A .30-06, .270 or just about any big game rifle makes a fine survival firearm as long as it is reliable, accurate and has some extra ammunition. I’m not going to list hunting rifles here, as the list would be longer than my arm. But my top picks for hunting rifles are both the Remington 700 and the Savage 11. Both are outstanding rifles. They would do well in a survival situation and are very simple in their operation and upkeep.
7. Marlin 1895G
The 1895 guide gun fires a .45-70 projectile. The .45-70 is a very old and very large hunk of lead that has been in use since the 1870s. With the right loads, it will put a grizzly in its place, put down a bison and bring home the bacon with any large game in North America. You’ll be limited to about 150 yards at most.
8. Ruger 10-22
The perfect lightweight carbine for small game is a great choice if you are not in grizzly country. The rifle is chambered in .22 long rifle or .22 WMR. This small game rifle is utterly reliable, uses a 10 shot magazine and can be had for about $230.
The US semi-auto AK variants on the market are fine choices for survival. I would rather have an AK than an AR in a survival situation, as there are fewer moving parts. The 7.62x39mm round is capable of taking up to deer-sized game. It is perfect for a truck gun or in a disaster scenario. The rifle feeds from a 30-round, detachable magazine and has plenty of firepower.
What firearms would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:
If you’re into self-defense, one item that cannot go overlooked is the budget-priced handgun. You might treasure your $800 Sig P226 or custom 1911, but there are times when something else is more appropriate.
We are not talking about “cheap pistols made from spurious materials,” but rather proven platforms that can be had for a fraction of the price of new state-of-the-art handguns. The reasons for these types of firearms are many, and we will examine each one of them.
In today’s day and age, not everyone has the means to buy a $1,000 pistol and heap the same amount in custom work on top of it. For the average working-class shooter who has to provide for a family, make the rent, factor in car repairs or gas to work, there is simply a matter of balancing the household budget — and the difference between a few hundred dollars can look like financial ruin.
But there are many other reasons you should consider a budget pistol. For starters, it could be stolen. This is more the idea of: “If my handgun is stolen out of my car or luggage, do I want to be out $1000 or $350?”
My advice: Don’t leave a firearm in a vehicle. For many years I did (a police trade-in Smith & Wesson Model 6906) and one fateful day it was stolen. However, some people insist on doing this and in those cases a cheaper alternative is preferable.
Another consideration: Should your pistol be used in self-defense, depending upon the jurisdiction, it may be taken away from you as evidence. In the day and age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it may bring friends or family members of the assailant to your door looking for revenge. It makes sense to have another alternative, if necessary.
So What Are We Talking About?
Ten or 20 years ago, this would have been about the “police revolver.” Nowadays, though, those old police trade-in revolvers are appreciating as collector’s items and some of our budget handguns may do that as well, but this is not a collector speculation article. This is about choosing something viable to save your life.Beretta
The hottest handgun of the 1980s has been turning up as a “police trade-in” from a variety of sources. One of the best deals is the Beretta 92S that were former Italian police pistols. These double-action 9mm auto-loaders resemble the same pistols used by the US Military with a few exceptions: a European-style magazine release, different magazines and a safety mounted on the left side only. I have seen these pistols offered as low as $229. It may not be an ideal concealed carry piece, but I would take it over a Hi-Point for home defense any day of the week.
For a little bit more money, genuine Model 92 FS pistols have been coming in from various departments that are a little rougher condition-wise, but the upgrades such as night sights, the ambi-safety and the US mag release puts them in the $300-$400 range.
On the smaller side, various Beretta model 84s and 85s in 380 ACP have been turning up from former Israeli police service. A seven-shot 380 like the Model 85 for $300 may not sound very attractive, as these pistols run on the large size, but the Model 84’s double-stacked magazine holds 13 rounds.CZ
From CZ and Tanfoglio there are a number of double-action pistols hitting the surplus market for the same price point as the Berettas. Like the Berettas, they can be had from Aim Surplus, Southern Ohio Gun and CDI Sales.
The CZ75 is a classic design that is reliable, and spare parts and magazines are always in supply. Even if an actual CZ75 is not available, the Italian-made Tanfoglio clones, sometimes imported by EAA, can be had for very reasonable prices. Likewise, there are the reliable Jericho pistols made in Israel that operate on the same principle.
I have found the Tanfoglios as cheap as $225 in a little rougher shape finish-wise with some minor pitting, but this is for a dependable and accurate pistol, not an heirloom piece intended to be left in the safe.
Working guns can come from the ranks of Glock, SIG and Smith & Wesson that were former police pistols. The prices may run a little higher, but magazines and spare parts are still widely available for these fine handguns. Some may show holster wear or have department markings on them, but they are usually just a casualty of either a department upgrade to a new caliber or more modern generation.
There are lots of options out there and while it might be comforting to have several high-end pistols at your disposal, do not be so quick to turn your nose up at a bargain priced pistol that is still completely functional and relevant.
What pistols would you add to the list? Share your advice in the section below:
There are lots of concealed handguns out there, and with so many options it can be difficult to buy just one.
These are my favorite choices. I’ve fired all of these weapons, and would personally trust my life to any one of them. I’ve given them each a specific category I feel they fit.
1. Beretta Nano – Best Ultra Small 9mm
The Beretta Nano is an interesting design and is about as small and thin as you can go with a 9mm semi-auto. The Nano offers an interchangeable lower frame and a variety of magazine sizes, and can equip a laser and swap sight easily. The Nano is rated for hotter +P ammunition and is still small enough for most people to carry comfortably. There may be smaller 9mms, but the Nano offers a lot of customization options and is plenty reliable. The only letdown is the heavy trigger pull.
2. Baby Glock – Best Double Stack CCW
This isn’t one specific gun, but any of the baby Glocks, the 26, 27 or big babies like the 29 and 30. These double stack weapons offer plenty of capacity in a small package. Glocks are known for their reliability and ease of use and the baby Glocks are no different. One of the biggest advantages is the baby Glock’s ability to take magazines for their bigger brothers, giving them a much higher capacity if the situation calls for it. The Glock is a sort of Jack of all trades. It’s pretty good in most departments, but lacks the finesse of other, more expensive firearms.
3. Bersa 380 – Best Budget Option
The Bersa 380 is a clone of the Walther P series of small 380 ACP pistols. The Bersa lines are made in Argentina and sold in the USA for a few hundred bucks. There a variety of different Bersas, including the Thunder and the Concealed carry, but the original is often the most affordable. A Bersa 380 can be had for under $200 if you know where to shop. The Bersa is a reliable, accurate weapons with excellent ergonomics. This is one of the few weapons that makes a slide mounted safety work well.
4. LCRx and LCR – Best Compact Revolver
The LCRx and the LCR are the same revolver, but the LCR has an exposed hammer that can be cocked for single action shots. (For brevity, LCR will cover both models.) The LCR is a lightweight, compact, snub-nose revolver. Available in 22 Magnum, 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 327 Federal Magnum and even 9mm. The LCR series has an excellent trigger and is surprisingly lightweight. The revolver heavily uses polymer materials to reduce both weight and cost. The LCR is relatively affordable when you consider how awesome it is.
Available in 22 Magnum, 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 327 Federal Magnum and even 9mm. The LCR series has an excellent trigger and is surprisingly lightweight. The revolver heavily uses polymer materials to reduce both weight and cost. The LCR is relatively affordable when you consider how awesome it is.
5. Dan Wesson Guardian – Best 1911 for CCW
The 1911 is probably the most popular handgun, and is easily the most-produced American handgun. It is a large and heavy platform, but is very thin, and the single action trigger is an absolute dream. The DW Guardian is a compact 1911, and the user can choose either 38 Super, 45 ACP, or 9mm. Dan Wesson 1911s are simply built to a higher standard at a decent price.
6. CZ P09 – Best Full-Sized Auto for CCW
If you are going to go big, go really big. The size difference between the P09 and other full-sized pistols is negligible, but the P09 offers a 19 in the magazine and 1 in the pipe, for a total of 20 rounds. The P09 is a modern version of the CZ 75, with a polymer frame, an accessory rail, a DA/SA trigger, and the ability to choose either a de-cocker or safety right out of the box. The CZ P09 is also cheaper than your run-of-the-mill Glock or S&W.
7. Ruger LCP – Best Pocket Pistol
The Ruger LCP is a great little pocket pistol for concealed carry. The Ruger LCP is one of the smallest, most effective weapons you can pocket carry. This 380 ACP gives you 6 + 1 rounds of ammo and is common enough that a variety of accessories and holsters exists for it. The LCP can be outfitted with a laser, an improved trigger, and there is an adjustable sight model The LCP can be found for under $200 for you savvy shoppers.
8. S&W 686 – Best Full-Sized Revolver for Carry
The revolver is far from dead and is still a favorite for a variety of different shooters. The 686 is one of the best-made revolvers on the market. The S&W 686 has a variety of different barrel lengths, but even with a 2.5-inch barrel, the 686 is a large gun. With a full-sized grip and heavy frame, a user can shoot 357 magnums much easier than from a standard air weight J frame. The 357 Magnum is still a hard round to beat for defensive use.
9. Walther PPS – Best Single Stack CCW
The Walther PPS beat both the S&W Shield and Glock 43 to market by years, and it’s still the better choice in my opinion. The Walther PPS is a slim pistol, but is not super small, so it’s more controllable and easier to shoot. The Walther PPS has a variety of different magazine sizes that actually affect the overall size of the weapon. The PPS features an awesome trigger, is lightweight and very reliable.
10. Sig Sauer P938 – Best Gun for Smaller People
The Sig 938 is a 1911 copy but is much, much smaller than any other 1911. The weapon is very easy to rack because the user can cock the hammer, reducing most of the pressure on the slide. The all-steel frame also aids in reducing recoil, making the 9mm more comfortable to shoot.
What weapons would you add to the list? Delete from the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Regardless of what the government figures and mainstream media reports the economy has left many families struggling. Those on a tight budget may find themselves overwhelmed and disappointed during a trip to the gun shop. With just a few hundred dollars it is absolutely possible to secure a very capable means to defend the homestead.
Here are a few examples:
1. Stevens 350 Security Pump Action 12 gauge Shotgun – The Stevens comes equipped with synthetic furniture, 5 round capacity, and ghost ring sights. The 350 also ejects out the bottom of the receiver. It will fire 3″ shells and has a fiber optic insert in the front sight.
Priced at around $275.
2. Taurus PT111 Millennium Pro G2 9mm Pistol – If a pistol is desired the Taurus G2 is an excellent choice. Taurus seems to have a mixed reputation especially on Internet gun forums but my personal experience has been very positive. I own one. My brother owns one. A fellow group member owns one. We all love it. It has been extremely reliable, accurate and handles like a dream. Fantastic carry gun with a 12 round capacity.
Priced between $200-$275.
3. Ruger 10/22 .22LR Semi-Automatic Rimfire Carbine – While I would never recommend a .22 for self defense it is better than nothing. The Ruger 10/22 is incredibly reliable and has excellent accuracy. Spare 10 and 25 round factory magazines can be carried for quick reloading. Also great for small game.
One .22 in me is one too many.
Price at around $250.
There really are a lot of options out there. Many shops have lay-a-way available which allow some of the more expensive firearms to be paid on over time. Most importantly for those with nothing – is to get something(and train, train, and train).
Daisy Red Rider? No….you’ll shoot your eye out!
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Great deals on Kindle’s – perfect for creating an electronic preparedness encyclopedia.
Home Workshop Guns for Defense & Resistance Volume II is a clear and simple guide to building a semi- or full-auto pistol or a single-shot, falling-block handgun from common materials in the privacy of your home workshop. In addition to offering many alternative workshop gunsmithing tips, the author explains how each part and section of […]
The post The Handgun (Home Workshop Guns for Defense & Resistance, Vol. 2) appeared first on Shepherd School – Home for DIY Prepper Projects.
Sometimes it’s fun to get out to the range and shoot up multiple targets with different weapons, various distances, all sorts of drills. After all if you are spending the time and your own money to get out and train some element of it should be entertaining. Yet there are points in time when it’s all about the fundamentals and repetitive drilling, continuing to build that foundation on which all shooting skills are based upon. I remember someone once saying that there was no such things as advanced shooting, but rather doing the fundamentals faster.
In any event I don’t consider myself a great shooter but I do try to train when I can and (in addition to cool guy drills) focus on the fundamentals. Before the first round goes down range I spend time dry firing and working my presentation, target acquisition and all the other important tidbits (stance / grip / sight alignment / trigger squeeze), I’ll then work in 4-5 mags of ball and dummy drills where I load the mags with live and dummy ammo (randomly), hoping not to flinch when I pull the trigger and no live round is fired. Once all that is over with I’ll move on to my one drill, which requires one target stand and a 3×5 card.
– A place to shoot where you can draw and fire (most stupid indoor ranges won’t allow this, btw I hate indoor ranges and shooting around people I don’t know).
– Target stand
– 3×5 Card
– Shot Timer
– Ammunition of preference
– Start at 5 yards, draw and fire 1 round into the 3×5 card which is placed between chest and eye level on the target.
– Start very slowly at first, checking the time of each shot.
– Gradually ramp up the speed until the rounds start to impact outside of the 3×5 card, and then back it down until you are within the comfort zone.
– Once in the zone I’ll work through 4 or 5 mags, 1 round at a time. Timer goes off, draw and squeeze off a round while working the fundamentals. Reholster and do it again.
– Back up to 7 yards, repeat process, times will be greater.
– Back up to 10 yards, repeat process, times will be even greater still.
– Replace 3×5 card as necessary.
The Bottom Line:
This is a great drill that works the fundamentals and although it can be somewhat repetitive and “boring” as compared to other stuff seen on YouTube, I guarantee you it’s worth the time and effort. I have to give credit where it’s due, frequent contributor The Maj turned me on to this and it’s really increased my proficiency and especially my first shot hit percentage. If you can draw and put 1 round into a 3×5 card at 10 yards in a decent amount of time on a flat range consistently, out on the street if the real deal goes down your chances of success are greatly improved. Give it a shot sometime, pun intended.
Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!
Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!
Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!
Click widget below to listen.
Click widget below to listen.