Photo courtesy NRA MuseumClick Photo to View Larger Image
With today’s plastic-framed Glocks and Keltecs, aesthetics have been sacrificed on the altar of functionality. Not so in the early 20th century — in that period, the best firearm designers created guns that looked as good as they worked. One example is the classic Colt Woodsman. This design came from the legendary John Moses Browning and was later refined by Colt before the pistol’s introduction in 1915. The Colt Woodsman’s frame design evolved over time in three distinct series: Series One 1915–1947, Series Two 1947–1955, and Series Three 1955–1977. Shown above is a stunning Carbonia-blued and engraved Third Series model with ivory grips.
Engraved Colt Woodsman from NRA Museum
In the NRA Museum’s Robert E. Petersen Gallery are many fine engraved arms. This Colt Woodsman .22 pistol is one of the Third Series guns that were made until 1977. Heavy barrels in either 4.5 or 6 inch lengths were offered in this variation. The Museum’s staff says: “We think the poised golden rattlesnake near the serial number is the [best] embellishment without putting down in any way the ivory grip panels or gold outline inlays.”
You can see this lovely Colt and countless other fine firearms at the NRA Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. The Museum is open every day from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, and admission is free.
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Here’s a very funny video that should put a smile on your face — especially if you’ve ever competed in action shooting events. This tongue-in-cheek video from the SuperSetCA team identifies seven (7) annoying/insufferable types of shooters you’ll find at shooting matches. You can’t help but chuckle watching this video. The satire is “dead on” — we’ve all met these kind of clowns at one time or another.
Among the personality types lampooned by the video are the “way too serious” type, the completely unprepared type, the “Hollywood” show-off, the “always an excuse” type, and of course the “I’m too old for this” competitor. As a shooter past age sixty, this Editor might even fall into that category — at least when it comes to “run and gun” games. When I’m asked to gallop around a range carrying heavy gear, yes I’ve been known to mutter: “I’m too [insert swear word] old for this….”
Here’s an extra challenge for you. According to the video’s producers, there are several TV and/or Movie references sprinkled throughout. Can you name them all (with run-times)? (Hint, look for Lethal Weapon and Matrix spoofs).
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.22 Plinkster runs of the most popular gun-centric YouTube channels. His videos have been watched by hundreds of thousands of firearms fans. Many of .22 Plinkster’s videos involve trick shots, such as shooting a .22LR through 100 balloons, but he also does serious reviews. He’s actually a very competent marksman who has shot a vast collection of .22 LR/22 WMR pistols and rifles, making him a qualified rimfire expert (as well as a trick-shot artist and showman).
Here are Four of our Favorite .22 Plinkster Firearms Reviews:
Savage A22, 22 Magnum (WMR) Rifle Field Test
The Savage A22 is the .22 WMR “big brother” to Savage’s popular A17 17 HMR rifle. In this video, .22 Plinkster demonstrates that the A22 is a very reliable semi-auto that can deliver near-1 MOA accuracy when the barrel is clean. This rifle retails for about $390.00.
Smith & Wesson Model 41 .22 LR Pistol Review
The S&W Model 41 is a classic American rimfire target pistol. Beautifully crafted, the Model 41 boasts a superb trigger, comfortable grip, and excellent accuracy. New or used, a Model 41 would be a fine addition to any firearms collection.
Volquartsen Scorpion .22 LR Pistol Review
The Scorpion demonstrated exceptional accuracy in the hands of .22 Plinkster. It comes with a large target-style grip. With a built-in compensator, the Scorpion stays on target with almost no muzzle rise. The comp can be easily switched out with a suppressor (See video at 3:00 time-mark).
S&W Victory Vs. Ruger Mark IV Pistol Shoot-Off
.22 Plinkster liked both pistols. He favored the grips on the Ruger while preferring the S&W’s trigger. He felt the Ruger’s iron sights were best for precision work, but he noted that the green dot fiber optic sights on the S&W Victory worked better for speed work.
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TEN Shots in 0.303″ (0.289 MOA) at 100 Yards
How does Dan’s XP-100 pistol shoot? Look at that target showing TEN shots at 100 yards, with eight (8) shots in the main cluster at the top. The ten-shot group measures .303″ (0.289 MOA), as calculated with OnTarget Software. Not bad for a handgun! What do you think, can your best-shooting rifle match the 10-shot accuracy of this XP-100 pistol?
Report by Boyd Allen
This pistol belongs to Dan Lutke, a Bay Area benchrest shooter who publishes the results for the Visalia matches to the competitors and the NBRSA. He has been an enthusiastic competitor for an number of years, at various ranges, notably Visalia and Sacramento. The action is a Remington XP-100, to which a Kelbly 2 oz. trigger has been fitted. On top is an old Japanese-made Tasco 36X scope (these were actually pretty darn good). The Hart barrel (a cast-off from Dan’s Unlimited rail gun) was shortened and re-chambered for the 6x45mm, a wildcat made by necking-up the .223 Remington parent case. The custom stock/chassis was CNC-machined by Joe Updike from 6061 Billet Aluminum to fit the XP-100 action and mount a target-style AR grip with bottom hand rest. The gun was bedded and assembled by Mel Iwatsubu. In his XP-100 pistol, Dan shoots 65gr custom boat-tails with Benchmark powder.
This diagram shows the most common 6x45mm wildcat, which is a necked-up version of the .223 Remington parent cartridge. NOTE: The dimensions for Dan Lutke’s benchrest version of this cartridge may be slightly different.
ACAD drawing by Peter Gnanapragasam CC by SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Title Added.
Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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In the near future, there could be changes in the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) treats sound suppressors (aka “moderators” or “silencers”). An official government White Paper, dated 1/20/17, was recently leaked to the press and revealed by the Washington Post.
The ATF White Paper makes some key points about suppressors:
1. 42 States currently allow silencers.
2. Silencers are not a threat to public safety, and are rarely used in criminal activities.
3. The inclusion of suppressors in the NFA is “archaic” and should be reevaluated.
4. The definition of regulated suppressor components should be narrowed, so that only key items are regulated as opposed to “any combination of [silencer] parts”.
5. A change in Federal law removing silencers from regulation under the NFA would save resources, allowing the ATF to focus on reducing actual gun-related crime.
Here is the operative text of the ATF White Paper:
Current Federal law requires ATF to regulate silencers under the NFA. This requires a Federal tax payment of $200 for transfers, ATF approval, and entry of the silencer into a national NFA database. In the past several years, opinions about silencers have changed across the United States. Their use to reduce noise at shooting ranges and applications within the sporting and hunting industry are now well recognized.
At present, 42 states generally allow silencers to be used for sporting purposes. The wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF to have a significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is now approximately 8 months. ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses, and dedicating over 33 additional full-time and contract positions since 2011 to support NFA processing. Despite these efforts, NFA processing times are widely viewed by applicants and the industry as far too long, resulting in numerous complaints to Congress. Since silencers account for the vast majority of NFA applications, the most direct way to reduce processing times is to reduce the number of silencer applications. In light of the expanding demand and acceptance of silencers, however, that volume is unlikely to diminish unless they are removed from the NFA. While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.
ATF’s experience with the criminal use of silencers also supports reassessing their inclusion in the NFA. On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendants a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately 6 of the defendants had prior felony convictions. Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings. Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act] (GCA].
If such a change were to be considered, a revision in the definition of a silencer would be important. The current definition of a silencer extends to “any combination of [silencer] parts”, as well as “any part intended only for use in” a silencer. Compared to the definition of a firearm, which specifies the frame or receiver is the key regulated part, any individual silencer part is generally regulated just as if it were a completed silencer. Revising the definition could eliminate many of the current issues encountered by silencer manufacturers and their parts suppliers. Specifically, clarifying when a part or combination of parts meets a minimum threshold requiring serialization would be useful.
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Man does not live by long-guns alone. We know that many of our readers own .45 ACP handguns and load for this extremely accurate “classic” cartridge. When selecting a powder for the .45 ACP, there are many good options. All the major powder manufacturers make propellants with appropriate density and burn rate characteristics for the .45 ACP. Popular powder choices include: AA #5 (Accurate Powder); Bullseye (Alliant); Clays, HP-38, and Titegroup (Hodgdon); VV N310, N320, N340 (Vihtavuori); and WW 231 and WST (Winchester). We’ve tried these powders in a variety of .45 ACP handguns. When we consider the factors that make for a good pistol powder, we think N320 is one of the best available propellants for the .45 ACP. Vihtavuori N320 is very accurate, it meters well, and it burns clean, with minimal smoke and flash. If you haven’t tried VV N320 yet, you should.
Pros/Cons of Different Powders for .45 ACP
This Editor has personally tried out eight or more different powders for the .45 ACP. Bullseye works but it is very dirty (both smoke out the barrel and sooty powder fouling on case). Though it otherwise burns clean, Titegroup leaves a singular (and nasty) high-temp flame streak on your brass that is hard to remove. AA #5 is a good choice for progressive press newbies as you use more powder so a double charge will (usually) be obvious. I like AA #5 but N320 was more accurate. Clays burns clean but some powder measures struggle with flake powders like this. WW 231 offered excellent accuracy and metered well, but it kicked out sparks with little pieces of debris that would hit me in the face. Who wants that?
I personally tried all the powders listed above with lead, plated, and jacketed bullets. After testing for accuracy, consistency, and ease of metering, I selected VV N320 as the best overall performer.
No powder tested was more accurate (WW 231 was equally accurate).
Meters very well in all kinds of powder measures.
Produces very little smoke from muzzle.
Does not put nasty burn streak on brass like Tite-Group does.
Low Flash — you don’t get particles and sparks flying out like WW 231.
Cases come out from gun very clean — so you can tumble less often.
Forum member and gunsmith Michael Ezell agrees that N320 is a good choice for the .45 ACP. Mike has also found that WW 231, while accurate, produces sparks and a large flash. Mike writes: “I first started using N320 after my first night shoot, while shooting IDPA/IPSC matches. It was astonishing how much of a fireball the WW 231 created. I was literally blinded by the flash while trying to shoot a match. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out very well. I went from WW 231 to N320 and never looked back…and the flash from it was a fraction of what a kid’s sparkler would give off. I have nothing but good things to say about [N320] after using both. Night shoots are a real eye-opener! When it comes to a personal protection… there is, statistically, a very high chance that if you ever have to use a gun to protect yourself or your family, it’ll be in the darkness[.] Being blinded by muzzle flash (and deafened by the noise) are things that should be considered, IMO.”
This Editor owns a full-size, all-stainless S&W 1911. After trying numerous powders, I found VV N320 delivered the best combination of accuracy, easy metering, consistency, clean burning qualities, and low muzzle flash. My gun has proven exceptionally accurate using N320 with bullets from 180 grains to 230 grains — it will shoot as accurately as some expensive customs I’ve tried. At right is 5-round group I shot offhand at 10 yards with my 5″ S&W 1911. The bullet hole edges are sharp because I was using semi-wad-cutters. Rounds were loaded with Vihtavuori N320 and 200-grain SWCs from Precision Bullets in Texas.
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If you shoot a pistol, you should watch this video. It covers the key fundamentals of handgun shooting: stance, arm position, grip, sight alignment, and trigger control. This excellent video features USAMU shooter SGT Shane Coley.
Arm/Elbow Position: You should not lock your elbows says SGT Coley: “Because my elbows are slightly bent, it allows the recoil to transfer into my shoulders, down my core, into my legs and to the ground, allowing me to maintain a flat-shooting gun … on multiple targets.”
Grip (Hand Position): SGT Coley explains how to divide the support between both hands: “In terms of grip pressure, I’m applying about 60% to my support hand, and 40% to my strong hand. This is because I need to maintain dexterity with my strong hand to operate the trigger at high rates of speed.”
Trigger Control: The placement of your finger on the trigger blade itself is very important notes Coley: “Putting too much (or not enough) of your finger on the trigger can cause you to pull or push your shots. When you squeeze the trigger, make sure to squeeze it all the way to the rear, in one smooth motion. A quick dry-fire drill to help you with this is to take an empty piece of brass and place it on the front of your slide. Aim at the target, and with the proper trigger control, you should be able to break the shot without the piece of brass falling.”
On the web, you’ll find hundreds of pistol shooting videos — some good, some not helpful at all. In some of those “not helpful” videos the featured shooter has bad habits, or more often than not, he exhibits poor accuracy on target. You won’t find those kinds of shortcomings in this USAMU-sponsored video. SGT Coley doesn’t make foolish mistakes, nor does he exhibit bad habits when shooting. And his accuracy is outstanding. When you look for a pistol trainer — stick to someone like SGT Coley, who has solid fundamentals, the complete skill set, and superior accuracy. A trainer can’t teach a skill that he doesn’t understand himself.
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A striker-fired 9mm 1911, with a lower bore axis. That’s how we’d describe the brand-new Hudson H9 pistol, which debuted at SHOT Show 2017. The feel in the hand will be familiar to model 1911 owners — this single-stack pistol shares the ergonomics of the classic J.M. Browning 1911. It also has a trigger feel similar to a 1911 (but there is more take-up than on a 1911).
The big news is up front — that bulky section in the front of the frame below the muzzle allows the guide rod and recoil spring to be carried very low. That permits the slide to be placed lower relative to the web of the hand. This, combined with the striker firing mechanism, all translates to a lower bore axis and lower Center of Gravity. In practice this does reduce muzzle flip and perceived recoil.
We shot the Hudson H9 at Media Day at the Range, and it did seem to be have less muzzle flip than a typical 9x19mm pistol of similar weight. However, we would stop short of calling this revolutionary. To be honest, we think some other gun journalists have gone a bit overboard. The Hudson H9 is an innovative pistol to be sure, but honestly it wasn’t shockingly good. This Editor has shot probably 40 different 9mm pistols, including custom 9x19mm 1911s. The Hudson H9 is good, but, to be honest, my H&K P7m8 is better (in terms of muzzle flip). And HK’s P7 series pistols were designed 40 years ago!
From Russia with Low Bore Axis
If you want to get excited about a low bore axis, check out this Kalashnikov PL-14, introduced in 2015. Note the very low-profile slide, with a grip design that allows the web of the hand to be carried very high. We think this is actually a more advanced design than the Hudson H9. Still, for 1911 fans yearning for a striker-fired option, the Hudson will feel familiar, and it does seem to be well-made and sturdy.
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Bring the Bling, Baby! This Desert Eagle Mark XIX features a highly polished Gold-Tone Titanium Tiger Stripe finish. Conspicuous Consumption, SHOT Show Style.
There were literally thousands of handguns on display at SHOT Show, most of which you could hold, cycle, and test the trigger pull. Among the hordes of handguns, we found some very eye-catching examples, such as the Gold-tone Titanium plated “Tiger Stripe” Desert Eagle above. Just what a Rap Star or Tin-Pot Dictator needs. Below are some other interesting handguns we saw at SHOT Show 2017
Ed Brown Signature Edition Engraved 1911
This Ed Brown Signature Edition Model 1911 boasts elaborate engraving over the entire slide and frame. The blueing is rich and deep (the photo does not do it justice). This is not an “entry-level” handgun, that’s for sure — the wholesale “dealer price” is a whopping $6,156.00. Expect to pay well over $7000.00 at retail. Beauty ain’t cheap.
Smith & Wesson Performance Center 9mm Revolver with Hogue Mods
This handsome S&W Performance Center 9mm revolver features a beautiful Cocobolo and Walnut grip along with a special speed lever for the cylinder release. That speed lever assists rapid reloading of the pistol with moon clips. This kind of revolver is used in action shooting matches, such as the Bianchi Cup.
Best of the Old West — A Slew of Schofields
At the Taylor & Company booth, there were hundreds of single action revolvers on display. Here is a brace of top-break Schofields. This design features a hinge at the front of the frame which allows rapid unloading. Based on the original S&W Model 3, the “Schofield” model was named after Major George W. Schofield, who modified the original Model 3 to better serve the needs of Cavalrymen. Smith & Wesson incorporated the Major’s mods into an 1875 design that now bears Major Schofield’s name. S&W Model 3 Schofield revolvers saw service in the Indian Wars, and they were popular with legendary lawmen and outlaws in the American West (including Jesse James).
9mm 1911 — Havoc Dan Wesson Elite with Angled Reflex Sight
We like 1911s, and we like the 9mm Luger cartridge for its affordability and low recoil. Put the two together and you have a very accurate, shootable package, with a superb trigger. This bad-ass 9mm 1911 is a Dan Wesson Elite Series Havoc. It caught our eye because it boasts a C-MORE SlideRide red dot Reflex Sight mounted at an angle on the left side of the slide. Clever design — that gives you the advantage of the Red Dot Sight, with a lower profile. The Havoc, which sells for $4,299.00, is also offered in .38 Super.
Taurus Spectrum — A Pastel Pistol Fashion Statement
Apparently small carry guns have become fashion items. Tauras displayed its new .380 ACP Spectrum pistol in a rainbow of frame/grip color combinations. Along with white frame and blue grip, there were gray/tan, gray/green, gray/red, and gray/blue versions. Taurus really does deliver a spectrum of colors…
Double Trouble — Two Super-Sized Revolvers
At the Smith & Wesson booth, one visitor showed off two mega-sized S&W Performance Center hunting revolvers. These jumbo S&W500™ wheelguns, chambered for the mighty 500 S&W Magnum cartridge, feature massive 10.5″ barrels plus muzzle brakes. Overall length is 18″. Size counts right?
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Shown is a new .338 Lapua Magnum rifle from Israel’s IWI. Impressively beefy rig.
For folks in the gun industry, the third Monday in January is the best day of the year. Held in conjunction with SHOT Show, Media Day at the Range lets us try out dozens of new rifles and pistols, as well as meet top gun designers and friends in the shooting sports. We saw some very interesting new products this year. Here are some of the most interesting “take-aways” from Media Day at the Range 2017 on January 16th.
Most Innovative — “The FIX” Rifle from Q
The star of Media Day, at least in the rifle category, was “The FIX”, a new modular rifle from the Q Team. This innovative rig features a totally unique bolt system with a 45° lift and a bolt housing that runs on rails (literally). This thing cycles fast and smoothly.
The trigger, set at 2.5 pounds, was one of the best we’ve ever tried on a centerfire factory rifle. One has to admire the engineering on “The FIX”. This new rifle has definitely “raised the bar” for tactical-style rifles. It’s different, it works, and it offers real advantages for both hunters and tactical style shooters.
Savage 10 with Ergonomic GRS Stock
Perhaps the most ergonomic rifle we shot all day was the new Savage GRS-10 in a stiff, composite GRS stock. European-crafted GRS stocks feature a very comfortable hand-grip, plus fully adjustable cheek-piece and adjustable length of pull. As shown this rifle is very affordable for PRS production-class competition.
To be frank, this Editor liked this rifle more than the Ruger Precision Rifle. A lot more. The GRS stock fit better, the Savage bolt cycled much more smoothly, the trigger was better, and the magazine seated more easily. If you don’t have to be “tacticool” with a metal stock, you should definitely consider this Savage. The new Savage GRS-10 will be offered in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win chamberings. Here’s a video review by Guns America.
Blacktical Bolt-Action Rifles — The PRS Influence
We saw many new (or upgraded) PRS-style bolt action rifles in modular aluminum frames. There were offerings from Savage, Bergara, Tikka, and more. We’ll provide a more thorough run-down on these new guns next week. We really liked the new Tikka T3x TAC A1, while tactical shooters Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) were impressed with the new Bergara: “Bergara has in-sourced chassis and triggers to produce very high quality offerings at a very competitive price. Handling, shooting and cycling the bolt on the $1150 MSRP Hunting and Match Rifle would lead one to believe the price tag was a mistake (maybe the first digit should have been a 2). We felt the same when we got behind the $1,699 Bergara Match Precision Rifle.”
Tikka T3x TAC A1
Bergara Match Precision
Pistols — The Sounds of Silence
The most interesting handgun on display was SilencerCo’s Maxim 9, which features an integral suppressor. It looks bulky but it felt relatively normal in the hand. The silencer did tame muzzle lift as well as reduce sound levels dramatically. This is an impressive piece of engineering.
There were many other pistols equipped with more conventional screw-on silencers. Here is a special edition Smith & Wesson M&P model.
Optics — High-End Models from Schmidt and Bender
There were many new optics on display at Media Day, none more impressive than the new 5-45x56mm PMII from Schidmt & Bender. Led by our good friend Kyle Brown, Schmidt & Bender USA had a strong presence at Range Day, with many optics models fitted to high-end tactical rifles. Jason Baney (shown below with Kyle), used one of these rifle/scope combos to make 5 of 5 hits on steel at 960 yards.
Jason Baney checks out the new 5-45x56mm PM II with help from Kyle Brown (left).
Meeting Old Friends
One of the great things about Media Day is the chance to re-connect with old friends. At the Winchester booth, it was great to see Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic medalist (including three golds). She is the first Summer Olympian to win an individual medal at six consecutive summer games. Kim, a Californian, is leading efforts to challenge draconian new California laws that will severely restrict how ammo is distributed and sold in California. Kim said that, under the new ammo laws, she will not be able to obtain the special “International Loads” she shoots in competition. We wish Kim well in her efforts. We believe that California’s new laws restricting the purchase of ammunition are unconstitutional and, hopefully, will be challenged successfully in court.
Along with Kim we met with our friends Steve (L) and Ed (R), aka the 6.5 Guys, along with past Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann (in middle below).
World Record AR Speed-Shooting by Jerry Miculek
At the Smith & Wesson shooting bay, we watched the legendary Jerry Miculek set a world speed record for 10 rifle rounds total on three targets. Before a cheering gallery of fans, Jerry drilled multiple sub-two second runs using his S&W M&P 15T semi-auto rifle. The fastest split was a 1.59 (but we’re waiting for final confirmation on that). We’re told that’s definitely a new world record. Jerry may not be getting any younger, but he’s still blazing fast. Jerry calls this 10-shot drill “STL” or Share the Love.
Ammunition — Polymer Jacketed Pistol Bullets
One of the more notable, recent developments in pistol ammo has been synthetic jacketed bullets. With a total polymer shell over a lead core, these are safer when shooting steel targets because they do not fragment like conventional, jacketed bullets. With no exposed lead or copper, there’s minimal contact between these materials and the barrel, so there’s less copper and lead fouling. Moreover, according to Federal’s test engineers, the red Syntech coating produced 12% less friction in the barrel. Here is the American Eagle 9mm Luger 115gr Total Syntec Jacketed ammo provided by Beretta at Media Day.
And that’s a wrap… now on to SHOT Show.
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Shotgun vs. Handgun — which is better for home defense? That’s a question that inspires strong opinions on both sides. We think the best answer may be “both”. There are some situations where a pistol is most handy, while there are other situations where the power (and lethality) of the shotgun clearly wins out. Some would argue that the shotgun offers an “intimidation” factor that may better resolve a threat without a shot being fired.
The NSSF, in cooperation with Thunder Ranch Training Center, has created an interesting video that examines the Shotgun vs. Handgun debate. As the Cheaper Than Dirt Blog notes: “The primary argument against the shotgun is a longer length leading to less maneuverability. On the other hand, the pistol offers better maneuverability, but lacks the stopping power of a shotgun”. Moreover, the pistol may be less accurate, according to some critics. This NSSF video looks at the question from a logical standpoint — making some surprising points.
As you can see in this still frame from the video, the shooting stance of the pistol shooter (Clint) is NOT much more compact than that of the two shotgunners (compare actual muzzle positions). So a shotgun may actually be more handy inside a home than some people realize. Clint concludes that the gun selection debate “is all very easily solved by only one question: ‘If someone was going to run across a bedroom at you and they had a big knife, would you rather shoot him one time with a pistol or one time with a shotgun?’ When you answer the question you figure out why this [shotgun length] doesn’t really bother us. We simply take these [shotguns] and use them in a slightly different manner…”
In this video, Thunder Ranch Director Clint Smith explains why the overall length of a shotgun, as held in firing position against the shoulder, is not really that much greater than the “shooting stance length” of a handgun held in a proper firing position (with arms extended). Accordingly gun length/size should not be the deciding factor when choosing a firearm for home defense.
Whatever Weapon You Choose — Train with It
Fundamentally, you should use the firearm that is 100% reliable, and with which you have trained regularly. Mastery of a defensive firearm — whether shotgun or handgun — needs to be second-nature. You should be able to operate all the controls (safety, pump, decocker, slide, bolt handle etc.) by “instinct” based on hours of training. Likewise you should know how to operate the light/laser if your defensive firearm is so equipped. Importantly, you should be able to reload in darkness, and clear malfunctions without panicking.
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One of our Forum members asked: “Are there any good books on pistol marksmanship? I’m looking for a book that covers techniques and concepts….” Here are our recommendations — six titles that can make you a better pistol shooter. These books run the gamut from basic handgun training to Olympic-level bullseye shooting.
Good Guidebooks for Pistol Shooters
There are actually many good books which can help both novice and experienced pistol shooters improve their skills and accuracy. For new pistol shooters, we recommend the NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting. This full-color publication is the designated student “textbook” for the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course.
Serious competitive pistol shooters should definitely read Pistol Shooters Treasury a compilation of articles from World and National Champions published by Gil Hebard. You could work your way through the ranks with that book alone even though it is very small. It is an excellent resource.
If you’re interested in bullseye shooting, you should get the USAMU’s The Advanced Pistol Marksmanship Manual. This USAMU pistol marksmanship guide has been a trusted resource since the 1960s. Action Shooters should read Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos, and Ben Stoeger’s new-for-2013 Practical Pistol Book. Brian Enos is a well-known pistol competitor with many titles. Ben Stoeger is a two-time U.S. Practical Pistol shooting champion and a member of the USA Team at the 2011 World Pistol Championships. Last but not least, Julie Golob’s new Shooting book covers pistol marksmanship, along with 3-Gun competition. Julie holds multiple national pistol shooting titles.
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The NRA has announced a new summer event — a trade show focused on licensed “carry”, self-defense, and home protection. The new NRA Personal Protection Expo (PPExpo) will be held August 25-27, 2017 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is a 3-day educational and interactive experience for citizens interested in personal protection, concealed carry, and defense tactics. According to the NRA: “This all-new event will equip visitors with the products, training and mindset necessary to prepare and defend themselves and their loved ones when threats arise.”
Expo guests can attend educational protection/defense workshops taught by leading experts and instructors from across the country. The Expo’s Exhibit Hall will showcase firearms, shooting accessories, concealment gear, storage products, tactical gear, and home defense solutions.
The Expo’s concealed carry (CCW) workshops will cover concealment methods, holster selection, and tactics. Personal protection seminars will cover personal defense, situational awareness, product selection, and skills building. Home defense seminars will cover home defense plans, preventative security measures, and responding to intruders. For more information about the Personal Protection Expo, visit https://www.NRAPersonalProtectionExpo.org.
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More guns were sold on November 25, 2016 (Black Friday), than on any other day in the history of the United States (based on NICS numbers). According to the NRA Blog: “On Black Friday 2016, the FBI processed 185,713 background checks through their National Instant Criminal Background Check System, breaking last year’s record by about 400 checks. Leading up to November’s Presidential election, gun retailers nationwide reported record sales in the month of October.”
In fact 2016 has been a record-breaking year for U.S. gun sales so far. It looks like, if gun sales continue at the current pace, more guns will have been sold in 2016 than in any other year in American history. The question remains, will gun sales remain high with a Republican in the White House?
The continuing record-setting volume of gun sales after the November election surprised some experts, who opined that the Republican election victory would ease concerns about future gun control. Such fears certainly drove gun sales in the first three quarters of 2016 as most “experts” predicted that Hillary Clinton would be the next President, and that she would push for restrictive gun laws.
Fast and Furious — FBI Processes Three NICS Checks Per Second
On Black Friday 2016, NICS Background Check processing topped Black Friday 2015 when the previous single-day record of FBI-processed gun transactions was set. In fact, so many Americans lined up to purchase firearms on Black Friday 2016 that the FBI was processing three background checks every second.
Think about that — three gun sales per second. That’s triple the normal rate of gun sales. The website The Blaze reported: “The typical Black Friday boom in gun sales doubles the number of background checks handled by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), from one per second on an average day to two per second.” On Friday afternoon November 25th, that figure had reached three checks per second.
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This is the MOTHER LODE of GUN INFO. If you’d like to have instant access to 6300+ gun schematics and descriptions of 64,300+ firearms, then consider signing up for a Firearms Guide subscription. The annual subscription is on sale right now for just $24.95 as a Cyber Monday Special. That’s a 38% savings ($15.05) off the regular $40.00 annual fee.
You may be familiar with the Firearms Guide when it was distributed as a DVD. Now the 7th Edition is a fully interactive, subscription-based online database of firearms and ammo, which is also the most complete guide to global gun values on the web. The amount of imagery is amazing — there are tens of thousands of photos and over 6300 schematics, which help you work on a firearm or identify key components/parts. Published since 2009, the Firearms Guide permits detailed searches of antique and modern guns and side by side comparisons of search results. Guns are cross-referenced with the ammunition database.
Guns and ammo are presented with prices, specifications, features, ballistics, and up to 12 high-rez zoom-able color pictures. GUN VALUES are provided for dealers and gun collectors. You can access thousands of printable and zoom-able GUN SCHEMATICS (diagrams or exploded views) with parts lists and blueprints for professional gunsmiths.
If you are a gun collector, or just an information junkie, you’ll find the Firearms Guide to be an invaluable resource. The scope is truly worldwide, with coverage of gun makers in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South America, South Africa, and Asia as well as North America. The online database’s search capability lets you search by gun caliber, manufacturer, and key features (e.g. “.223 Rem, Colt, folding stock”). There are 14 different search criteria — this allows you to “drill down” precisely to find the gun you want in seconds. Shown below are typical profiles of listed products:
About the Firearms Guide Database Firearms Guide has been published from 2009 to 2015 on DVDs and sold through Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, the NRA and other vendors. In 2016 Firearms Guide was transformed into a subscription-only, online searchable guns and ammo reference and gun value guide for industry professionals and enthusiasts. Firearms Guide is a proud sponsor of the NRA.
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Do you enjoy shooting pistols for sport, or perhaps you carry a handgun for self-defense? If you’re like most of us, you might benefit from a “refresher course” on the fundamentals of handgun shooting. The NRA has created a useful Infographic that covers important basics of handgun marksmanship — key things such as Sight Alignment and Trigger Control. Here are the first two (2) lessons. Click the link below to see all SIX (6) training topics: Sight Alignment, Sight Focus, Trigger Control, Breath Control, Hold Control, and Follow-Through.
Video Shows Sight Alignment, Grip, Stance, Trigger Control and More
In this USAMU video, SGT Shane Coley talks about the basics of sight alignment and trigger control. But then SGT Coley talks about other important control factors such as grip, arm position, and body stance. For rapid-fire shooting, you need to have a good arm and body positioning to control recoil and get back on target quickly. This video is a valuable complement to the NRA Infographic because it demonstrates all the important pistol fundamentals during live fire, at the range.
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AccurateShooter.com offers dozens of FREE, printable targets for target practice, load development, and fun shooting. We also offer a few of the most popular NRA Bullseye targets. One or more of these printable targets should work for most training purposes. However, some readers have asked: “Where can we get the real targets… exactly like the ones used in NRA, IBS, and NBRSA shooting matches?”
All these vendors carry nearly all the NRA High Power and Smallbore targets, including the new, smaller F-Class targets. Germany’s Kruger Targets sells all the important NRA targets, and international (ISSF) air rifle and smallbore targets too.
Orrville Printing currently sells IBS targets for rimfire (50 yard) benchrest, short-range centerfire Benchrest (100, 200, 300 yards), Hunter BR Rifle (100, 200, 300 yards), plus the official 600-yard and 1000-yard IBS targets. National Target Company also has most of the IBS targets. NBRSA short-range, 600-yard, and 1000-yard benchrest targets are available directly from the NBRSA Business Office. Call (307) 655-7415 to order for the season.
Hodgdon/IMR has released a new family of clean-burning shotshell and pistol propellants utilizing “green” technology. This series of five, fast-burn-rate powders will work with an extremely wide range of shotshell and pistol cartridges. Each powder was designed to match current shotshell bushing charts, so hand-loaders will already have the appropriate bushings available for each load.
IMR notes: “This new technology burns clean [and] all of these powders are REACH compliant*, meaning these propellants are not harmful to the environment.”
The first powder in this new family, IMR Target, is a fast-burning pistol powder. This fine-grained, small-flake propellant meters superbly, providing very precise loads in even the smallest pistol cartridges like the .25 ACP!
The second powder in this new family was designed to be an efficient, clean-burning, 12-gauge target powder. IMR Red also performs nicely in various lead pistol target loads, such as match competition loads and Cowboy reduced loads.
New IMR Red powder is well-suited for light Cowboy Action loads with lead bullets.
Having the slowest burn speed of the five new propellants, IMR BLUE is well-suited for for heavy 12-gauge 2¾-inch, 3-inch and 3-1/2-inch field loads.
These new IMR powders will be available in January 2017 at quality reloading powder dealers everywhere. IMR Target and IMR Blue will be available in one-pound (1 lb.), four-pound (4 lb.) and eight-pound (8 lb.) containers. IMR Red, IMR Green, and IMR Unequal will be offered in 14-ounce (14 oz.), four-pound (4 lb.) and eight-pound (8 lb.) containers.
Complete load data for these versatile and useful propellants is accessible on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center at HodgdonReloading.com.
* Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union regulation adopted in December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment.
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For decades, shooters have depended on Brownells to provide tools, parts and accessories for nearly all kinds of modern sporting and hunting firearms. Starting this month, gun owners can now purchase rifles, shotguns, and pistols from Brownells, which has opened a web-based, gun sales division. The company’s entry into selling firearms online makes Brownells a true, one-stop-shop for gun owners and shooting sports enthusiasts.
“We’ve been a gun company from the beginning,” said Pete Brownell, CEO of Brownells. “For 77 years, we’ve serviced all corners of the firearms market – new shooters to gunsmiths. This is just one example of many upcoming programs we’ll be launching to serve every portion of the gun industry.”
Brownells’ new Firearms Sales Center features more than 3,500 production firearms from over 30 popular gun manufacturers, including Remington, Ruger, Browning, CZ-USA, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Beretta, Benelli, Glock and more.
Customers can order guns online using the simple, step-by-step instructions. The quickest, easiest method for completing an online gun purchase will be to choose a Brownells Featured Dealer from the online list of FFL dealers who have already agreed to perform transfers on guns bought from Brownells.
News Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Ruger was the big winner at the recent National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) Expo in Kansas City. Ruger was recognized as the NASGW Firearms Innovator of the Year for the second year in a row. In addition, Ruger earned its tenth straight Firearms Manufacturer of the Year Award. That’s an impressive double victory for Ruger, which has been on a roll lately, with many hot-selling guns, including the hugely successful Ruger Precision Rifle. In Kansas City, Ruger CEO Mike Fifer was also presented with the NASGW Chairman’s Award.
According to the NRA’s American Rifleman: “The Firearms Innovator of the Year award is given to the company that is committed to developing unique products, services or strategies that set that company apart from its competitors; has made an outstanding contribution in furthering the image and development of shooting sports; enhances and increases significantly the growth and expansion of shooting sports; and actively supports NASGW and its wholesaler member firms. The Firearms Manufacturer of the Year recipient is determined by NASGW Wholesaler members who evaluate the performance of manufacturers on four key criteria: distribution policy; marketing, promotions and sales; logistics and operations; and NASGW and industry support.”
Along with its hot-selling, practical/tactical RPR bolt guns, Ruger has upgraded its handgun line-up with value-priced compact carry pistols and the well-designed line of Ruger American pistols. Ruger’s engineers worked hard to develop these new products, and the payoff has been in record sales numbers and impressive corporate earnings. “The Ruger American Pistol is the most advanced semi-auto pistol we’ve ever produced,” noted Ruger CEO Mike Fifer, who is featured in this NRA-produced video:
Ruger CEO Demonstrates New Ruger American Pistol:
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