August 13th, 2019

NRA Personal Protection EXPO Coming up in Texas

concealed carry permit CarryGuard NRA Utah Virginia permit class convention

Serious competitive shooters and hunters often travel across state lines to pursue their hobbies. And many of those same firearms owners have pistol carry permits. If you are looking to improve your skills and confidence as a CCW-holder, you may want to attend the upcoming NRA Personal Protection EXPO in Fort Worth, Texas. The event will be held September 6-8, 2019, at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

SEE EXPO Booth Floor Plan » | SEE EXPO Seminar Schedule »

At the EXPO, dozens of companies will display guns, holsters, ammo, and accessories. In addition, there will be many interesting self-defense and gun rights seminars. The NRA Personal Protection Expo is a three-day trade show for individuals interested in increasing their knowledge and skills of personal protection, concealed carry and home defense. This event showcases “the products, skills, knowledge and mindset necessary to be prepared to respond when a threat arises.”

EXPO Seminar Topics
EXPO visitors can attend more than 120 seminars and workshops. These will include self-defense techniques, home defense and preparedness, situational awareness, concealed carry techniques and lifestyle, medical and trauma training, and much more. Here are some of the Notable Seminars and Workshops at the Personal Protection EXPO:

Enhancing Your CCW Shooting Skills »

concealed carry permit expo ccw shooting skills self defense pistol

Home Defense — Safeguarding Physical Security »

concealed carry permit expo ccw shooting skills self defense pistol

Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events »

concealed carry permit expo ccw shooting skills self defense pistol

First-Care Provider — When Seconds Count »

concealed carry permit expo ccw shooting skills self defense pistol

Methods of Concealed Carry »

concealed carry permit expo ccw shooting skills self defense pistol

Basic Travel Security (Host E. Penny, Former Navy SEAL) »

concealed carry permit expo ccw shooting skills self defense pistol

Panteo Handgun video concealed carry pistol free

Panteo Productions offers a three-part video series for gun permit holders. Part Two of this series covers key concealed carry permit considerations.

In the video, A Concealed Carry Permit, instructors Kyle Harth and Massad Ayoob carrying a handgun for self-defense, and the important issues associated with defensive gun use. This video reviews concealed carry, traveling from state to state, prohibited carry locations, the use of deadly force, protection of persons and property, and interaction with law enforcement. If you are considering obtaining a concealed carry permit or live in a state where you can carry open or concealed without a permit, this video is for you.

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May 3rd, 2019

Carry Gun Bargains — Five Pistols under $250.00

Carry pistol $250 bargain ccw handgun review discount sales

We frequently receive inquiries about compact self-defense pistols. Many folks ask: “What’s a good compact pistol I can carry or keep in a vehicle during trips?” Of course, there is the Glock 19. And the new Sig Sauer P365 is quite good. But they are both around $500.00. You can spend half that and still get a reliable carry pistol with lifetime warranty and good ergonomics.

Here are five compact and sub-compact handguns, all available now for under $250.00. In fact, our final choice, the Keltec P32, is currently just $149.00. That’s a serious bargain … it’s a buyers’ market right now.

1. Walther Creed 9mm — $249.99 at CDNN sports

Walther Creed  9mm carry pistol handgun bargain cdnn sale discount

The Walther Creed offers excellent ergonomics, good accuracy, and well-designed controls at a killer price — $249.99 at CDNN Sports. This gun, designed to be a value-leader, emulates Walther’s more expensive PPQ model (MSRP $649.00) at a much lower price. The Creed’s frame size and shape is the same as the PPQ, but the Creed lacks interchangeable backstraps. Slide and trigger are very similar. The Creed features a snag-free bobbed hammer. Testers have praised the new Creed, saying that, despite the bargain price, it “sacrifices little to nothing in… ergonomics, accuracy, and reliability.”

2. Smith & Wesson 9mm Shield — $249.00 at GunPrime.com

We like Smith & Wesson compact pistols. Many users find the grip more comfortable than a Glock, and we like Smith & Wesson customer support. Right now Smith & Wesson 9mm Shield on sale for just $249.00. This striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol features a 3.125″ barrel, thumb safety, and ships with two magazines. You’ll find a full review of this pistol, from a lady’s perspective, on Guns.com.

3. Ruger EC9 9mm — $209.99 at Brownells with CODE M8Y

Ruger 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownells

Ruger 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownellsThe striker-fired Ruger EC9 features a 3.12″ barrel and measures 6.0″ overall. This 1.07-lb EC9 is slim for easy concealment. Weighing just 1.07 lbs., this is definitely an “all-day carry” option. With Brownell’s current sale pricing and promo codes, you can get this little pistol for just $209.99 delivered (see right). You heard that right. Sale price is currently $219.99 with a $10 handling charge. However, during check-out you can use code “M8Y” to receive $20 Off and get FREE delivery. That lowers your net cost, so that your all-up price, delivered to your FFL, is just $209.99.

That’s a great price for a reliable gun backed by Ruger. Here is a recent review from verified buyer: “It’s an LC9 with fixed sights that are milled into the slide. Same trigger. Same frame. Sweet shooter. Perfect for concealed carry. Can’t beat it for the price.”

4. Taurus G2c 9mm — $184.99 with Factory Rebate

Carry pistol $185 bargain Taurus G2C ccw handgun review discount sales

This is a good little gun at a great price. Taurus is running a factory rebate through the end of May 2013. Palmetto State Armory has the OD Green-frame Taurus G2c 9mm for just $209.99 with FREE shipping. But the Taurus $25 Factory Rebate lowers your price to just $184.99 for this G2C. Or, if you like basic black, you can get a black-framed G2c for $174.99 after rebate. Despite its small size, the G2c has a 12-round magazine. We like the fact it has a left-side manual safety (unlike the Glock).

5. KelTec P32 .32 ACP – $149.00 at GunPrime

Keltec .32 acp P32 P-32 pocket CCW concealed pistol handgun $149

Here’s a very small gun, in a small caliber. This is a choice for those seeking “ultimate concealability”. The P32 can be carried in a pants pocket, or small purse. The .32 ACP cartridge doesn’t have the stopping power of a 9mm of course, but this can be a good back-up gun (with ankle carry), or it can serve when a larger 9mm just isn’t practical. Currently Gunprime.com has the Keltec P32 for just $149.00. That’s just about the cheapest price you’ll find for a new American-made carry gun. The P32 has low-profile sites and a 7-round magazine.

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December 7th, 2018

Self-Defense Handguns — Ladies Choose Their Favorites

Self Defense Pistol Options Female Lady Ladies concealed carry permit CCW women

Women are arming themselves — millions of females now have carry permits. What factors should women consider when choosing a handgun for self-defense? What are good choices for a lady’s defensive handgun, suitable for concealed carry? Is a self-loading pistol better than a revolver?

We thought it was best for to hear the ladies’ own perspectives on these questions. After all they are the ones who will be carrying the firearm in a purse or on their person. In this article we include three videos focusing on handgun options for females. The videos cover six key factors: function, size, weight, ergonomics, reliability, and concealability.

Self Defense Pistol Options Female Lady Ladies concealed carry permit CCW women

Classic Swiss Precision — the Sig P239
The single-stack Sig P239 is an ultra-reliable, compact pistol with a grip suitable for smaller female hands. Weighing 25 oz. in 9mm, it is slightly heavier than polymer-framed handguns, but that may be a good thing. During my handgun training days, this Editor found most women shot the Sig P239 better than Glocks, with more control over recoil. This is a hammer-fired pistol with decocker but no separate safety. There are many other good handgun options for concealed carry — some smaller, thinner and lighter, but the Sig P239 provides a good benchmark for reliability and accuracy. Shown is the .40 S&W model. We prefer the 9mm Luger version. Photo Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.

Choosing a Self-Defense Handgun — Ladies Explain the Options


Self Defense Pistol Options Female Lady Ladies concealed carry permit CCW women



Self Defense Pistol Options Female Lady Ladies concealed carry permit CCW women


Not Just a Guy Thing — 23% of Gun Owners are Women

Women & Guns magazineHere’s an interesting statistic — according to an NSSF survey, the percentage of gun owners who are female has increased dramatically since 2005. Back in 2005, just 13% of U.S. gun owners were women. By 2012 that number had risen to 23% — a huge increase in less than a decade.

The vast majority of first-time female gun buyers acquire a handgun for defensive purposes. However, the statistics also show that many new female gun owners are also getting involved in sport shooting and/or competitive shooting.

NRA News host Cam Edwards has interviewed Celia Bigelow, who has written about the rise of gun ownership among ladies on the Townhall.com website. Tune in to the interview on Cam Edwards’ YouTube Channel. CLICK HERE for interview.

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April 19th, 2018

Three Under $300 — Trio of 9mm Carry Pistols All under $300.00

CCW 9mm 9x19mm Pistols Brownells Bargain Smith Wesson Walther Creed Ruger

We frequently receive inquiries about compact self-defense pistols. Many folks (some of whom already own a full-sized pistol) ask: “What’s a good compact 9mm pistol I can carry or keep in a vehicle during trips?” Of course, there is the Glock 19. And the new Sig Sauer P365 is quite good. But they are both around $500.00. You can spend about half that and still get a very good 9x19mm pistol with lifetime warranty and good ergonomics.

Here are three 9mm handgun options, all available now for well under $300.00. In fact, our third choice, the Ruger EC9, is currently just $209.99 at Brownells (with promo code). That’s just a few bucks over two hundred! It’s a buyers’ market right now…

1. Walther Creed 9mm Pistol, $269.99

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Canik RP9 Kahr S&W M&P Walther Creed CT9

The Walther Creed offers excellent ergonomics, good accuracy, and well-designed controls at a killer price — $269.99 at CDNN Sports. This gun, designed to be a value-leader, emulates Walther’s more expensive PPQ model (MSRP $649.00) at a much lower price. The Creed’s frame size and shape is the same as the PPQ, but the Creed lacks interchangeable backstraps. Slide and trigger are very similar. The Creed features a snag-free bobbed hammer. Testers have praised the new Creed, saying that, despite the bargain price, it “sacrifices little to nothing in… ergonomics, accuracy, and reliability.”

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Canik RP9 Kahr S&W M&P Walther Creed CT9

2. Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm, $249.99 with CODE M8Y

Smith Wesson SD9V 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownells

Smith Wesson SD9V 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownellsThe two-tone Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm pistol features contrasting stainless-steel slide and barrel. Weighing just 22.7 oz, this DAO pistol ships with two 16-round magazines, offering plenty of fire-power. Overall length is 7.2″ with a 4″-long barrel. Both front and rear sights are drift-adjustable. This is a nice medium-sized pistol that shoots well. The Smith & Wesson SD9VE is on sale now at Brownells. Sale price is currently $259.99 with a $10 handling charge.

SAVE MORE: During check-out at Brownells.com, you can use code “M8Y” to receive $20 Off and get FREE delivery. That lowers your net cost to just $249.99 shipped to your FFL. Under $250.00 for a nice S&W Nine is a great deal.

3. Ruger EC9 9mm — $209.99 at Brownells with CODE M8Y

Ruger 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownells

Ruger 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownellsThe striker-fired Ruger EC9 features a 3.12″ barrel and measures 6.0″ overall. This 1.07-lb EC9 is slim for easy concealment. Weighing just 1.07 lbs., this is definitely an “all-day carry” option. With Brownell’s current sale pricing and promo codes, you can get this little pistol for just $209.99 delivered (see right). You heard that right. Sale price is currently $219.99 with a $10 handling charge. However, during check-out you can use code “M8Y” to receive $20 Off and get FREE delivery. That lowers your net cost, so that your all-up price, delivered to your FFL, is just $209.99. That’s a great price for a reliable gun backed by Ruger. Here is a recent review from verified buyer: “It’s an LC9 with fixed sights that are milled into the slide. Same trigger. Same frame. Sweet shooter. Perfect for concealed carry. Can’t beat it for the price.”

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August 1st, 2017

One in 15 American Adults Has a Handgun Permit

Crime Prevention Resource Center John Lott CPRC Report 2017

The latest Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) study on concealed handgun permits reveals that over 16.3 million Americans now have them, and that the ranks of permit holders are becoming more diverse, with more women and minorities getting permits than ever before. The major findings of the 2017 CPRC report are summarized below. A copy of the report is available for download here.


CLICK for Full CPRC Concealed Carry Permit Holders Report »

There are now over 16.3 million gun permit holders, a record 1.83 million increase in permits since July 2016. Nationwide, 6.53% of adults have a concealed handgun permit. That’s roughly one in 15 adult citizens. Outside of California and New York, 8% of adults have a permit. The permit issuance numbers for women, Blacks, and Asians are increasing at faster rate than for men and Caucasions.

More guns, less crime — that’s the conclusion of the latest report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC). The CPRC Concealed Carry Report attributes some of the drop in crime rates to the fact that more Americans than ever before are carrying handguns for protection. In the past eight years, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared, growing from 4.6 million in 2007 to over 16.3 million this year. Overall, 6.53% of the U.S. adult population, i.e roughly one in fifteen American adults, now has a concealed carry permit.

Crime Prevention Resource Center John Lott CPRC Report 2017

Here are some interesting findings in the 2017 CPRC Report:

  • 6.53% of the total adult U.S. population has a weapons carry permit.
  • Last year, the number of permit holders grew by a record 1.83 million. This is more than the previous record increase of 1.73 million, set just the year before.
  • In 11 states, more than 10% of adults have permits. Alabama has the highest rate — 20%. Indiana is second with 15.8%.
  • In 14 states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. This is a major reason why legal carrying handguns is growing so much faster than the number of permits.
  • In 2016, women made up 36% of permit holders in the 14 states that provide data by gender. Eight states had data from 2012 to 2016 and they saw a 326% faster increase in permits among women than among men.
  • From 2012 to 2016, in the five states that provide data by race over that time period, the number of black people with permits increased 30% faster than the number of whites with permits. Asians appear to be the group that has experienced the largest increase in permitted concealed carry.
  • Regression estimates show a significant association between increased permit ownership and drops in murder and violent crime rates. Each one percentage point increase in rates of permit-holding is associated with a roughly 2.5 percent drop in the murder rate.
  • States with the largest increase in permits have seen the largest relative drops in murder rates.

Crime Prevention Resource Center John Lott CPRC Report 2017 Handgun carry permit

Carry Permit Holders are Law-Abiding
Interestingly, Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at one-sixth of the rate at which police officers are convicted. From 2014 data, police officers commit crimes at rate of 103 per 100,000 (national average) compared to 12.8 per 100,000 for permit holders in Florida and 22.8 per 100,000 for permit holders in Texas.

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December 19th, 2016

New NRA Personal Protection Expo Debuts Next Summer

personal protection expo NRA Milwaukee Wisconsin 2017

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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September 30th, 2016

New Compact Ruger American Pistol in 9mm Luger

Ruger Compact American Pistol

Ruger has just introduced a new compact version of its Ruger American Pistol. We predict the new American Compact will become popular with CCW-holders. With a 3.55″ barrel, and 6.65″ length, Ruger’s new 9mm carry gun is similar in size to a S&W M&P9C, and slightly smaller than a Glock 19. At 28.7 ounces, the new Ruger Compact is heavier than the M&P9C (21.7 oz.), and the Glock 19 (23.6 oz.), but the Ruger is the slimmest of the three, with a slide width of just 1.05 inches.

Ruger Compact American Pistol

We’re pleased to see the American Compact is offered either with or without an external frame-mounted safety, to suit the buyer’s preference. Also, the gun offers easy take-down with no trigger pull required (by contrast, you have to pull the trigger to take-down a Glock).

Ruger Compact American PistolRuger’s new Compact American Pistol is offered either with 10+1 capacity*, or 17+1 capacity. The 17+1 version employs magazines from the full-size Ruger American pistol, with a sleeve or “boot” to fit the shorter grip. With either type of magazine, the gun has proven 100% reliable, according to writer Rich Grassi, who tested the new pistol for The Shooting Wire.

The grip ergonomics on the Compact American Pistol could be described as “Walther-esque”. Rich Grassi says that’s a good thing — this little pistol is comfortable in the hand: “You also don’t pinch a finger when inserting a magazine – either magazine – into the American Compact. Like the service-size gun, three grip modules (back strap with palm swells) are included. The gun has the Novak Low Profile carry sights with the ‘3-dot’ pattern thereon.” Grassi said his test pistol shot low with a standard sight picture, but otherwise the accuracy was good.

NRA testers say the new Compact Ruger American Pistol is extremely reliable and very accurate.

Ruger says this pistol “combines a recoil-reducing barrel cam… with a low-mass slide, low center of gravity and a low-bore axis to provide better balance, less felt recoil, and less muzzle flip[.]” The Ruger Compact American Pistol also features a pre-tensioned striker system, which allows for a short-take-up trigger with positive reset. Like its bigger brother, the Compact American Pistol features a modular wrap-around grip system that fits a wide range of hand sizes.

Ruger Compact American Pistol

*Some early reviews have stated the “standard” capacity as 12+1. However Ruger’s website and the official Spec Sheet lists 10+1.

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June 24th, 2016

More Guns, Less Crime — The Numbers Prove It

Gun Control FACTS Chart

Amidst the hue and cry (and Congressional sit-ins) calling for more gun control, few observers have actually looked at the facts. Do we, in fact, have an increasing gun crime problem in this nation? Is gun violence spiraling out of control, as the anti-gunners would have you believe?

What do the verified FACTS say (as opposed to the ‘sky is falling’ anti-gun zealots)? Well, the truth of the matter is that major gun-related crime rates have been steadily on the decline for more than a decade. Likewise, most of the major violent crime rates have been declining over the past two decades. What’s more, even accidental gun deaths have been declining despite a huge rise in gun ownership.

Gun Control FACTS Chart

So the next time someone tells you that guns must be outlawed to halt a terrible increase in gun crime, you can respond, with 100% certainty, that gun-related crime is going down, not up.

And interestingly, as the supply of handguns has increased, the amount of property crimes has plummeted. Maybe the bad guys are thinking twice before breaking and entering…

Gun Control FACTS Chart
Chart Source: www.GunFacts.info.

Gun Facts™ debunks common myths about gun control. It is intended as a reference guide for journalists, politicians and anyone interested in learning about gun control facts… crime, and the Second Amendment. The free Gun Facts e-book provides over 100 pages of indexed information.

Credit Boyd Allen for finding this first chart. We welcome reader submissions.
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May 15th, 2016

Free eBook for CCW Holders from Beretta

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

Do you have a concealed carry permit, or do you plan to carry a concealed handgun in the future? Then you can benefit from Beretta’s FREE 15-page e-book, Ten Essential Tips for CCW Holders. This eBook, in handy PDF format, helps gun owners select an appropriate handgun (and holster), understand legal obligations and responsibilities, and train effectively with the firearm. This short eBook offers many useful tips to consider, in particular for gunowners who are contemplating the pros and cons of everyday carry for themselves.

Click here to download 10 Essential Tips for CCW Holders as a PDF

As the Beretta CCW booklet says, “Carrying a concealed handgun requires a certain amount of confidence. You need to be confident in your knowledge of laws and regulations. You have to have confidence in your accuracy, and you need to trust that you can carry a gun effectively, securely and comfortably. If a gun is a burden for you to carry, you probably won’t.”

Surprising Facts About Actual Defensive Handgun Use
You may be surprised to learn when and how handguns are actually used for self-defense. Most defensive uses are at very short range and the incident only lasts a matter of seconds. You need to be prepared, and train to be proficient drawing and aiming your weapon. And remember, shooting is a last resort, when a safe retreat is not available.

55% of gunfights take place in 0-5 feet.
20% of gunfights take place in 5-10 feet.
20% of gunfights take place in 10-21 feet.
95% of gunfights take place in 0-21 feet. (Source: FBI)
The average man can cover 21 feet of ground in 1.5 seconds.
The average gunfight is over in 3-5 seconds.
3 to 4 shots are usually fired.
Most gunfights take place in low-light conditions.
On average, one shot in four strikes someone.

Here are two (2) sample pages from Beretta’s CCW eBook.

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

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April 14th, 2016

Good Concealed Carry Holster — The Clinger Atom

Clinger Atom Holster

Many of our readers have concealed carry permits. When carrying a handgun concealed, holster choice is key. A good holster will carry more comfortably, “print” less, and be 100% secure while still allowing rapid access. Our systems admin Jay C. recently acquired a Walther PPS M2 as a carry gun. Jay has a CCW permit, and he sometimes chooses to carry a concealed handgun, particularly on trips.

After looking at many options, Jay chose a Kydex Clinger ATom Holster. These are very affordable, yet they have many great features. The most important design feature of the $19.99 Clinger Atom is the location of the belt clip. This is placed over the trigger guard area, not the slide. This pulls the grip in closer than if the clip was mounted over the slide as on other holsters. This smart design feature really works, improving concealment and comfort. Jay says: “the Atom works great with my little Walther — it’s very stable and comfortable.”

Clinger Atom Holster

The $19.99 Clinger Atom also offers adjustable “ride height”. This is accomplished by moving the belt clip up or down. Holster retention (the clamping tightness) is easily adjusted with a simple hex screw.

Along with its popular Atom holster, Clinger offers two other holsters: 1) the $29.99 Stingray model (with choice of 0°, 15°, or 30° cant); and 2) the dual-clip, ultra-thin No-Print Wonder Holster priced at $59.99. The latter is a good choice for carrying a heavier pistol for long periods. All three holsters (Atom, Stingray, No Print Wonder) are shown in the video above.

Clinger offers a Zero-Risk Guarantee. Try any Clinger holster for two weeks. If you don’t like it, you can return it for a full refund. There is also a “Bumper-To-Bumper Lifetime Warranty”. If anything on your Clinger Holster ever needs repair the manufacturer will repair it or replace it for free.

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March 25th, 2016

NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course Now Available Online

nra pistol basic shooting training course

Do you know someone who wants to get started in pistol shooting? Here’s a new opportunity. The NRA now offers its Basics of Pistol Shooting Course in an online format. That makes it easy to cover the “classroom” part of the course on your own time. The $60.00 online course includes 11 step-by-step lessons (to be followed by live range training). CLICK HERE to enroll in online Pistol Training Course.

Train Online, Then Register for a Range Session
For the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course, Phase 1 is conducted in an online environment, completed on your own time (cost is $60.00, non-refundable). After successfully completing the online exam, students can register for Phase 2, the instructor-led training session. Phase 2 is conducted at your local range with an NRA Certified Instructor. You must successfully complete Phase 1 and Phase 2 in order to receive your NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course certificate.

nra pistol basic shooting training course

Designed and developed by experts to accommodate busy schedules, the web-based course takes a blended learning approach to firearms training with both online and physical components. Students have 90 days to work through 11 online lessons before registering for Phase 2, the NRA Certified Instructor-led phase at a local range. “America has more first time gun owners than ever and the NRA remains dedicated to being the number one provider of firearm training,” said Executive Director of NRA General Operations, Kyle Weaver. “Thanks to our online courses and network of more than 125,000 NRA Certified Instructors, it has never been easier to learn basic firearm skills.” The NRA offers other online training courses at Onlinetraining.nra.org. These offerings include a Range Safety Office (RSO) course, and a Range Development and Operations course.

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March 19th, 2016

Walther PPS M2 — Small Gun, Big Performance

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Jay Christopherson is AccurateShooter.com’s systems administrator — he keeps the servers up and running. Jay is also a very talented rifle shooter who holds a carry permit. Recently, Jay acquired a Walther PPS M2, a compact, defensive carry pistol. Here Jay reviews that pistol, which is now his “go-to” handgun when he chooses to carry a firearm pursuant to his CCW permit.

The Walther PPS M2, Single-stack 9mm is a Comfortable, Reliable Everyday Carry Pistol.
Looking for a new carry pistol in a single-stack, 9mm configuration, I tested out the slim (1″-wide) Walther PPS M2, with three different magazine capacities. For someone who has carried a 5″-barreled, .45 ACP model 1911 for the last few years, the switch to a single-stack 9mm was a big change — but a welcome one in terms of weight and comfort. I like my big 1911, but the PPS M2 gives me the feeling that if it’s needed, it’ll be a safe, effective, and reliable option. I still love my 1911, but when it comes to carry, the 1911 will stay in the safe while I “pack” the smaller, lighter PPS.

Click Image for Large View of Pistol Specifications Sheet
Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Like many of AccurateShooter.com’s readers, I have a permit to carry a concealed firearm and I use the privilege regularly. I’m no great shakes with a pistol, having focused most of my efforts on long-range rifle shooting, but I do spend enough time at the pistol range to ensure that I am familiar with my weapon and comfortable shooting it out to ranges where I might encounter a situation requiring its use.

Part of being responsible is selecting a carry weapon that you can be comfortable with, both using and carrying. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve focused a lot on the former, but not as much on the latter. I’m an unabashed fan of John M. Browning’s crowning (in my opinion) achievement, the Colt .45 ACP M1911. My current 1911, with a 5” barrel, is not the easiest pistol in the world to carry comfortably. While I love shooting it, carrying it is another situation altogether. I’ve tried many different configurations, but found myself carrying it less and less.

And so, I decided that I needed to enter the world of the 9mm single stack for a carry weapon. There are a lot of reasons why I chose to go that direction, but it’s a highly subjective and personal subject (some of the arguments out there are pretty heated), so I won’t bore you with mine. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of available information for you to make an informed decision. To help with testing, Walther Arms was kind enough to provide a new Walther PPS M2, in 9mm, for evaluation.

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Three Magazine Options
Along with the PPS M2, Walther provided three magazines — the 5-round standard mag plus 6-round and 7-round extended magazines. I tried all three magazines, both for carry/fit, and at the range to see if they would affect my ability to shoot the pistol. For reference my hands are roughly 9.25″ wide — according to the Internet, the average hand size for a male is 7.44″, so I guess I’ve got larger than average hands. The shortest magazine was a bit too short for me to grip comfortably — my pinky finger had zero engagement and my two-hand grip suffered for it. The middle magazine let my pinky engage the grip partially, but was still not ideal. The longest magazine fit perfectly. My guess is that if your hand is in the average range, the middle magazine will work for you. For women, I think the smallest grip will work nicely. My wife has an average hand span for females and thought that the smallest grip felt pretty natural for her.

The trigger is fair — the takeup is smooth, the trigger breaks relatively cleanly and predictably, but a rough spot on the Glock-style trigger safety lever wore against my finger, leaving it feeling a bit raw. It’s fairly minor and something that can easily be resolved. And even with my larger fingers, I still had no problem with trigger guard clearance. Disassembly is fairly easy, though the take-down lever takes some effort to work. [Editor — on the PPS M2 I tried at SHOT Show, the small slide-stop lever was hard to manipulate.]

After having carried my 1911 around quite a bit, I found the Walther PPS M2 to be much lighter and easier to carry (I use a Clinger holster). I rarely notice it, even when getting into and out of a car. With the PPS M2 it’s easy to carry without “printing”, at least with the appendix carry method I prefer.

General Function and Accuracy Testing
I took the pistol down to the range to test it out and get a feel for it. I bought a variety of 115 grain FMJ ammunition to test including PMC and Blazer brass-cased 9mm. I ran about 400 rounds through the little Walther. None of the ammo experienced any sort of issue and the pistol never failed to perform flawlessly. With 400 rounds through the PPS M2 cleanly, I am confident to carry the PPS M2 when I feel the need to carry.

I set up targets at 15 feet and 30 feet — remembering that I’m looking for a personal defense/carry pistol and that I don’t practice for competition! At both ranges, shooting all three magazines, I had no problems putting together groups that are more than accurate enough for “center mass”.

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mmDuring a second testing session, I shot the pistol for accuracy with my forearms rested on sandbags. The results were impressive. Above is a seven-shot (7-shot) group at 10 yards (30 feet) with the CCI Blazer Brass ammo. At right is a group shot at 5 yards (15 feet), forearms rested, with the PMC ammo. The one shot that went up outside the group was probably me, the shooter. Remember this is a very small, light-weight pistol that does have some muzzle flip. I’ve seen other tests done with the Walther PPS M2, at longer ranges in the hands of skilled shooters and producing much cleaner groups.

Summary — Walther PPS M2 is a Keeper
Overall, I really like the 9mm single stack Walther PPS M2. It’s a very handy, manageable pistol. After testing the gun for AccurateShooter.com I decided to purchase the pistol and keep it. That’s the ultimate vote of confidence. This gun shoots comfortably, accurately and reliably, and most of all, the PPS M2 is comfortable to carry. When I choose to carry, should I ever need a firearm, I have every confidence in the Walther PPS M2.

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September 22nd, 2015

Don’t Be Stupid at Airports . . .

TSA Security Airport Carry-On Seizure
This photo shows some of the handguns actually found by the TSA in carry-ons last year.

Here’s an important reminder to our readers who have concealed-weapon carry permits — don’t overlook your carry gun when traveling through airports. Many travelers with carry permits are forgetting weapons stashed in carry-on luggage. The TSA is encountering more firearms than ever, and those weapons are normally confiscated with their owners subject to penalties.

In 2014, according to TSA.gov, 2,212 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country (that’s a 22% increase over 2013). Of those, 1,835 (83 percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 224 airports.

CLICK to VIEW Actual Weapons Seized by the TSA at U.S. Airports.

Another problem is that Carry Permit holders may enter an airport with their guns still on their person. Here are actual examples:

A 94-year-old man attempted to enter the checkpoint at LaGuardia Airport with a loaded .38 caliber revolver clipped to his belt.

A loaded .380 caliber firearm was discovered strapped to the ankle of a passenger who walked through a metal detector at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

A loaded .380 caliber firearm was discovered in the rear pocket of a San Antonio International Airport passenger during advanced imaging technology screening.

TSA Security Airport Carry-On Seizure

If you are traveling by air, make sure you remove all firearms from your person (or carry-on luggage), unload the firearm(s), place any weapon in a locked, hard-sided container, and declare them as checked baggage. Anything else can land you in jail.

Here are the TSA guidelines for transporting firearms as checked baggage:

  • Comply with regulations on carrying firearms where you are traveling from and to, as laws vary by local, state and international governments.
  • Declare all firearms, ammunition and parts to the airline during the check-in process. Ask about limitations or fees that may apply.
  • Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Firearm parts, including firearms frames and receivers, must also be placed in checked baggage and are prohibited in carry-on baggage.
  • Replica firearms may be transported in checked baggage only.
  • Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.
  • All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are prohibited in carry-on baggage.
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August 17th, 2015

Big Growth in Concealed Carry — 5% of Americans Have Permits

CCW Concealed Carry Permits Growing Handgun Permits

More guns, less crime — that’s the conclusion of a recently-issued report from the Crime Prevention Resource Center (CPRC). The CPRC Concealed Carry Report attributes some of the drop in crime rates to the fact that more Americans than ever before are carrying handguns for protection. In the past eight years, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared, growing from 4.6 million in 2007 to over 12.8 million this year. Overall, 5.2% of the U.S. adult population, i.e roughly one in twenty American adults, now has a concealed carry permit.

Here are some interesting findings in the 2015 CPRC Report:

  • 5.2% of the total adult U.S. population has a concealed carry permit.
  • The number of concealed handgun permits is growing at an ever-increasing rate. Over the past year, 1.7 million additional new permits have been issued – a 15.4% increase in just one single year. This is the largest ever single-year increase in the number of concealed handgun permits.
  • Five states now have more than 10% of their adult population with concealed handgun permits.
  • In ten states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. This is a major reason why legal carrying handguns is growing so much faster than the number of permits.
  • Since 2007, permits for women has increased by 270% and for men by 156%.
  • Some evidence suggests that permit holding by minorities is increasing more than twice as fast as for whites.
  • Between 2007 and 2014, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.
  • States with the largest increase in permits have seen the largest relative drops in murder rates.


CLICK for Full CPRC Concealed Carry Permit Holders Report

CCW Concealed Carry Permits Growing Handgun Permits

Carry Permit Holders are Law-Abiding
Interestingly, concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In fact, police officers commit crimes at a higher rate (103 per 100,000, national average) than do concealed carry permit holders in Florida (12.8 per 100,000) and Texas (22.8 per 100,000).

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November 21st, 2014

New Pistol from Taurus has Lights, Laser, Curved Frame

Taurus has introduced an innovative new DAO pistol, the “Taurus Curve”. This .380 ACP compact carry pistol ($392.42 MSRP) features a curved frame (see photos below). Seen from the rear, the grip curves inward (to the left). Seen from the front, the frame and grip (below the slide) curves to the right. The purpose of the curve is to make the gun fit more comfortably when carried in a pocket or inside the waistband. (The Curve comes with a built-in metal spring clip for inside-waistband carry).

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

The extended front section of the Curve’s frame houses a red laser and a lamp with twin LEDs. That’s a smart feature on a carry pistol we think. Taurus claims the Curve is the first production pistol that combines both integrated LED lights and an aiming laser.

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

The 10.2-ounce Curve is a tiny gun. With a 2.5″ barrel, the pistol measures just 5.2″ long and 3.7″ high. Width is 1.18″ inches, while the grip is just 0.88″ — very slim indeed. Capacity is 6+1 rounds of .380 ACP. There is no external, selectable safety, though the Curve does have a magazine disconnect and loaded chamber indicator.

GUNS Magazine was able to field-test an early production Taurus Curve. Reviewer Mark Kakkuri reports that the DAO Curve was reliable: “The 100 or so rounds I fired through the gun fed well and the empty cases ejected perfectly. The long trigger was decently smooth and the recoil, while sharp, was manageable. And not only was the gun a reliable shooter, it also hit where I aimed, thanks in part to its integrated light and laser.”

The reviewer also validated the Curve’s unique shape: “In my pocket, the Curve indeed fit comfortably, printing less than most other pocket pistols, looking sort of like a large wallet. In my waistband… the well-designed bend in the frame proved more comfortable than most other pistols this size.”

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

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August 26th, 2014

New Valuation Resource for Carry Guns

As the majority of states now allow concealed carry (under “shall issue” or similar doctrines), there are more Americans armed with carry guns than ever before. And now there’s a new resource that lets CCW holders keep track of the value of their totable weapons.

Carry Gun values book publishing

A Guide Book of Carry Gun Values covers all types of carry handguns from derringers up to full-frame semi-autos and large relovers. This full-color book offers accurate pricing estimates along with handgun specifications, production history, and market information.

This resource features the Red Book Code™, a universal system of identifying and organizing firearms on the secondary market. Additionally, since wear is a huge factor in determining a firearm’s value, the book offers a firearm condition grading scale, rating guns at NIB (New in Box), Mint, Excellent, VG+ (Very Good Plus), Good, Fair, and Poor.

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June 17th, 2014

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry — Miculek Offers Good Advice

Jerry Miculek Open Carry concealed videoThe inimitable Jerry Miculek has produced a clever, yet thought-provoking video about concealed and open carry options. If you ever carry a handgun for protection (whether open or concealed), you should watch this video. Jerry offers sensible advice about concealment, gun retention, holster choice, caliber selection, and handgun safety.

Jerry also demonstrates practice drills that help you draw your gun safely and get a round on target quickly. Jerry points out that a gun in your pocket may be useless in a risk scenario if you can’t draw it out quickly and smoothly. Jerry also offers advice on open carry rigs that you might use around a ranch or farm. Miculek believes “ranch carry” rigs should have positive retention so that the gun won’t fall out when the user is climbing in and out of vehicle or doing physical tasks.

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April 29th, 2014

Big Jump in Number of Concealed Carry Permits in USA

Be courteous to your fellow Americans — there’s a good chance that they might be packin’. Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of concealed carry licenses (CCLs) issued throughout the United States. In fact, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) the number of CCLs has risen 29% in the short period from 2010 to 2012 (see chart). We can expect this trend to continue, because Appellate courts have recently ruled in favor of expanded carry rights in California and other states. For friends of the Second Amendment, that is a good thing.

Carry Permit Gun NSSF Trend Chart

Comments by Gun Owners
I’m a Defensive Firearms Trainer and in my state and in my community the number of people seeking training to get certified to obtain their permits is constantly on the rise.
— Chad K.

Good! America can only be safer with more law-abiding citizens carrying. I hope to see this figure increase steadily. — Matthew C.

Think about how much money those states that charge for permits make from those 9 million people each year. Maybe if New Jersey thought about that it would start to issue permits. — John P.

Bet the trend in violent crimes went down by at least the same rate. — Frank H.


Interactive Reciprocity Maps

Do you hold a Concealed Carry Permit or CCW license in your home state? Do you plan to travel to other states in the near future? Then you should determine whether other states will recognize your carry permit. You should study the law carefully so you understand your rights (and the limitations on your rights).

You can begin your research by consulting the Reciprocity Maps that are available online. There are many versions — and it’s wise to check more than one. We caution that not all the maps may be 100% up-to-date for all jurisdictions. We suggest you start with the map provided by USACarry.com. Read the detailed instructions.

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June 18th, 2013

Innovative 5.11 Holster Shirt for Warm-Weather Carry

concealed carry holster shirt 5.11 accurateshooter.com5.11 started out as part of the Royal Robbins line of clothing for rock climbers. 5.11 Tactical became a separate company in 2003, and now 5.11 Tactical ranks among the 250 fastest-growing private companies in the country. 5.11 Tactical gear is popular with military and LEO types as well as civilians who want tough, durable clothing. Recognizing the vast market for concealed carry gear, 5.11 has come up with a cleverly-designed under-shirt with twin pockets (right and left) for a small handgun.

5.11’s holster-shirt allows the wearer to comfortably carry a small revolver or auto-loader securely and discretely. When worn underneath an outer-garment such as a Hawaiian shirt, the carry weapon doesn’t print. Riding under the arm in a 6.5″ x 7.5″ pocket, your firearm is hidden from view but easily accessible. The opaque mesh concealment pockets feature reinforced fabric support panels over the shoulder to prevent sagging when carrying. The main body of the shirt is constructed of Dri-X-treme, an anti-microbial, quick-dry fabric. This shirt, made from an 80% polyster/20% Spandex blend, is designed to fit snugly. The 5.11 holster-shirt is offered in both Crew-Neck and V-Neck versions, white or black, starting at about $60.00. An NRA signature version is sold through the NRA Store.

concealed carry holster shirt 5.11 accurateshooter.com

concealed carry holster shirt 5.11 accurateshooter.com

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January 3rd, 2011

Ruger Unveils Slim New LC9 9mm Carry Pistol

Ruger has just introduced a new 9mm carry pistol. Very light (17 oz.), very thin (0.9″), Ruger’s LC9 is the bigger brother to the company’s successful LCP pocket 380acp. According to Ruger CEO Michael Fifer, consumer demand inspired this new pistol: “Customers repeatedly requested a lightweight, compact 9mm pistol. Frankly, they wanted an LCP chambered in 9mm.”

Ruger LC9

Ruger LC9 Press Release
The LC9™ [is] a lightweight, compact 9mm pistol for discreet carry by law abiding citizens, or a full-power, no-compromise backup for off-duty law enforcement officers. This highly requested pistol was developed through Ruger’s Voice of the Customer program….

The LC9 has a 3.12″ barrel, is 6.0″ long and 4.5″ tall, making for a very compact 9mm pistol. The LC9 is impressively narrow at a mere .90″ wide, and weighs only 17.1 ounces with an empty magazine. Featuring a black polymer (glass-filled nylon) frame and blued alloy steel slide and barrel, the lightweight, full-featured Ruger LC9 offers the versatility and capability of the popular 9mm cartridge in a highly compact, reliable, and user-friendly pistol.

LC9 Design Features
The LC9 is a double-action-only, hammer-fired, locked-breech pistol with external extractor, and single-sided manual safety. The Ruger LC9’s polymer frame and steel slide feature smooth “melted” edges. One seven-round, single-column magazine is provided with each LC9 pistol, with an optional finger grip extension. Yes there is a nanny-state mag disconnect, and a California-approved loaded chamber indicator. Sights are low-profile with one dot in front, two in the rear.

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