December 20th, 2014

Quick History of Silhouette Shooting

The NRA Blog ran an feature on Silhouette shooting by NRA Silhouette Program Coordinator Jonathan Leighton. Here are selections from Leighton’s story:

NRA Silhouette Shooting
The loud crack from the bullet exiting the muzzle followed by an even louder ‘clang’ as you watch your target fly off the railing is really a true addiction for most Silhouette shooters. There is nothing better than shooting a game where you actually get to see your target react to the bullet. In my opinion, this is truly what makes this game so much fun.

Metallic Silhouette — A Mexican Import
Silhouette shooting came to this country from Mexico in the 1960s. It is speculated that sport had its origins in shooting contests between Pancho Villa’s men around 1914. After the Mexican Revolution the sport spread quickly throughout Mexico. ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ uses steel silhouettes shaped like game animals. Chickens up front followed by rows of pigs, turkeys, and furthest away, rams. Being that ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ was originally a Mexican sport, it is common to hear the targets referred to by their Spanish names Gallina (chicken), Javelina (pig), Guajalote (turkey) and Borrego (ram). Depending on the discipline one is shooting, these animals are set at different distances from the firing line, but always in the same order.

Before Steel There Was… Barbeque
In the very beginnings of the sport, live farm animals were used as targets, and afterwards, the shooters would have a barbeque with all the livestock and/or game that was shot during the match. The first Silhouette match that used steel targets instead of livestock was conducted in 1948 in Mexico City, Mexico by Don Gonzalo Aguilar. [Some matches hosted by wealthy Mexicans included high-ranking politicians and military leaders]. As the sport spread and gained popularity during the 1950s, shooters from the Southwestern USA started crossing the Mexican border to compete. Silhouette shooting came into the US in 1968 at the Tucson Rifle Club in Arizona. The rules have stayed pretty much the same since the sport has been shot in the US. NRA officially recognized Silhouette as a shooting discipline in 1972, and conducted its first NRA Silhouette Nationals in November of 1972.

Now There Are Multiple Disciplines
The actual sport of Silhouette is broken into several different disciplines. High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Cowboy Lever Action Rifle, Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, and Hunter’s Pistol are the basic disciplines. Cowboy Lever Action is broken into three sub-categories to include Smallbore Cowboy Rifle, Pistol Cartridge Cowboy Lever Action, and regular Cowboy Lever Action. Black Powder Cartridge Rifle also has a ‘Scope’ class, and Hunter’s Pistol is broken into four sub-categories. Some clubs also offer Military Rifle Silhouette comps.

Where to Shoot Silhouette
NRA-Sanctioned matches are found at gun clubs nation-wide. There are also many State, Regional, and National matches across the country as well. You can find match listings on the Shooting Sports USA website or contact the NRA Silhouette Department at (703) 267-1465. For more info, visit SteelChickens.com, the #1 website dedicated to Silhouette shooting sports.

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December 11th, 2014

New Pistol Storage Solutions Use Gun Safe Space Efficiently

There are many different systems for storing handguns in a gun safe: coated wire racks (with U-shaped baskets), wood racks, plastic racks, rotary racks, door-mount brackets, door-mount holsters, and vertical shelving units. The rotary racks take up a lot of vertical space (and have a fairly large footprint), while the wire racks use up considerable horizontal space for their capacity.

If you’re looking for the most space-efficient, in-safe handgun storage system, consider the clever Handgun Hangers from Gun Storage Solutions. These vinyl-coated, wire hangers organize handguns below the shelf, freeing up storage space above the shelf. You simply slide each hanger on the shelf and then slip your pistol’s barrel over the lower rod. Handgun Hangers are intended for guns with an overall length of 10 inches or shorter. They will fit shelves that are at least 11 inches deep and 5/8-1 inch in thickness. Handgun Hangers will hold handguns .22 caliber and up, though the fit is a bit snug on .22s. A four-pack of Handgun Hangers costs $15.14.

hand gun storage solution under shelf handgun hanger coated wire

WARNING — Always Make Sure Handgun is UNLOADED when using Handgun Hangers!!

hand gun storage solution under shelf handgun hanger coated wire

hand gun storage solution under shelf handgun hanger coated wireGun Storage Solutions also offers an Over-Under Hanger that holds two handguns — one above the shelf, and one below. A two-pack of Over-Under Hangers (capable of holding four handguns) costs $16.96. This may be a good solution for you. This editor personally prefers the standard model, so I can use the upper surface of the shelve to hold odd-shaped items such as cameras, binoculars, and miscellaneous valuables.

hand gun storage solution under shelf handgun hanger coated wire

Magnetic Gun Caddy for Safe Doors or Walls

hand gun storage solution under shelf handgun hanger coated wireMany gun owners like to mount handguns on the inside door panel of their gun safes. If this doesn’t interfere with your long gun storage, this can be a smart solution. Most of the door-mount units require special holsters or a series of peg-board style hangers. That may not work if the exposed inside of your door is bare metal. Here’s a smart solution from Benchmaster. The new two-pistol Magnetic WeaponRAC has four magnetic strips that allow the $24.99 two-gun caddy to mount directly to a metal door surface or the inner side-walls of your safe. If your safe door and walls are carpet-lined, there is also a two-pistol WeaponRAC Caddy with Velcro Mounts. A single-pistol caddy is also offered in both magnetic and Velcro versions.

Editor’s Comment: If you only have 3 or 4 handguns, you may want to avoid racks altogether. Our preferred solution for 3-4 handguns is to place each gun in a synthetic fabric BoreStores sack and then line them up on the end of the top shelf in the safe. The silicone-treated BoreStores sacks wick away moisture and provide vital cushioning for the gun. This works fine for a small collection. If you have lots of wheelguns and pistols, however, look into the Handgun Hangers — they really are a space-saving solution.

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October 24th, 2014

Haul 4 Pistols Securely in Specialized Handgunner Backpack

Here’s a handy product for pistol shooters and 3-Gun competitors. The NRA Handgunner Backpack provides a convenient transport solution for your pistols, magazines, and assorted range gear. This product offers all the carrying capacity of a large range bag, in a design that, when worn on your back, leaves your hands free to haul long-gun cases, target frames, spotting scopes, or other bulky hardware. Measuring 17″ wide, 22″ high and 9″ deep, the pack has plenty of room for your gear.

NRA Handgunner Backpack

NRA Handgunner BackpackQuad-Pistol Gear Hauler
The cleverly-designed Handgunner Backpack carries up to four pistols. Undo the zipper, slide out the compartment, place your pistols in one of the four foam gun cradles. Store your magazines in a zip-up side pocket with six (6) individual mag sleeves. There are also specially designed compartments for ammo boxes, muffs, protective eyewear, target stapler, and more. You’ll find handy embroidered patches showing the right spot for each gear item.

Lars Dalseide, editor of the NRAblog, tells us this pack is comfortable and sturdy. The shoulder straps and the rear back panel feature moisture-wicking padding and the pack comes with a waterproof cover. And the pack won’t collapse when you set it on a bench — it stands up on its own.

NRA Handgunner Backpack

We’re impressed with the design and features of this pack. A lot of smart thinking went into its design. As you might expect though, because the Handgunner Backpack has so many features, it’s not cheap. This specialized backpack sells for $119.95 at the the NRA Online Store. We don’t think that’s too much, considering what this pack can do. This could be a sweet Xmas gift for the pistolero or 3-Gun shooter in the family. If you are running a shooting match, the Handgunner Backpack would make a great prize — way more useful than a walnut plaque.

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October 6th, 2014

Win $5,000 for 100-yard Pistol Shooting

Here’s an interesting contest from Kahr Firearms Group (Kahr), the makers of Kahr compact carry pistols. To demonstrate the accuracy of its pistols, Kahr invites shooters to showcase their long-range pistol skills in a YouTube Video. There’s some serious prize money up for grabs.in this Long Range Shooting Video Contest. The contest winner receives $5000.00 worth of firearm products and accessories from Kahr, Magnum Research, and/or Auto Ordnance.

Kahr video pistol contest

Submit Video for a Chance to Win
To enter the contest you need to shoot a Kahr pistol at a distance of at least 100 yards. Video your shooting session, and upload that to YouTube. The person whose YouTube video gets the most views will be named the Grand Prize winnner. The contest period runs November 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 and the winner will be announced on January 6, 2015.

“Our goal of this shooting contest is to dispel the myth that accuracy is sacrificed in exchange for a smaller sized pistol, like that found in our concealed carry product line.” stated Justin Moon, CEO of Kahr Firearms Group.

The Long-Range Shooting Contest video must be original footage running from thirty seconds to three minutes in length. The footage must demonstrate shooting at a target distance of 100-yards (or more), exclusively using a Kahr pistol. CLICK HERE for Contest Rules.

Tech Tip — Pistol Accuracy
What kind of accuracy is possible with a small semi-auto pistol? Rested from a bench, we’ve seen production 1911s shoot inside 2″ at 50 yards. That may be hard to achieve with a Kahr, but who knows? If you are using the standard Kahr iron sights, you may want to use a 6 o’clock hold on a black bullseye. Alternatively, you can make a target with a large, thick horizontal line with a red/orange dot in the center (see sample below) The horizontal line helps you align the top of your front blade with the rear sights for best control over elevation.

Kahr video pistol contest

Try Custom Hand-loads
If you’re serious about this contest, you should experiment with various custom hand-loads. (As far as we can tell, the contest rules allow custom-loaded ammo.) You may find that you get the best results with cast lead bullets (as opposed to jacketed bullets). Try a variety of load recipes, with a range of velocities (slow, medium, and fast). Some of our pistols like fast loads, while other handguns prefer slow (725-950 fps), subsonic loads.

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September 28th, 2014

Smith & Wesson Performance Center Ported M&P Pistols

M&P smith wesson ported pistol 9mm .40sw

Smith & Wesson is introducing a new series of ported M&P pistols. Chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W, the Performance Center M&P Ported pistols offer a factory-ported barrel and slide. Both 4.25″ and 5″ barrel configurations are offered in each caliber. A special Performance Center sear provides a crisp 4.5-pound trigger pull with faster reset. The 9mm pistol has a 17+1 round capacity while the .40 S&W variant features a 15+1 round capacity. Both handguns (9mm and 40 S&W) have an MSRP of $812 with two magazines.

The ported design should help competitors, says pistol ace Jerry Miculek: “The two biggest advantages of running a ported gun in competition involve reduced muzzle rise and less perceived recoil. This [will] help with shorter split times and more rounds on target — two things every competitor wants.”

M&P smith wesson ported pistol 9mm .40sw

The new ported M&P pistols feature a slide-top platform for easy mounting of red-dot optics. These guns also have high-profile iron sights that can be used in conjunction with the optics. The M&P Performance Center Ported models also feature a textured interchangeable back strap. Three palmswell grips are supplied with each pistol, allowing shooters to custom-tailor grip size to their preference.

M&P smith wesson ported pistol 9mm .40sw

Video Shows Ported Pistol Features and 3D CAD Views:

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September 13th, 2014

Brownells Videos Show How to Maintain Your 1911-Type Pistol

While AccurateShooter.com focuses on rifles, we know that a large percentage of our readers own handguns, with 1911-style pistols being particular favorites. For you 1911 owners, here are four short videos from Brownells showing how to fieldstrip, clean, lubricate, and re-assemble a 1911-style pistol.

1911 Browning Pistol Brownells Wilson Combat

Firearm Maintenance: 1911 Disassembly (Part 1/4)

1911 Cleaning (Part 2/4)

1911 Lubrication (Part 3/4)

Firearm Maintenance: 1911 Re-Assembly (Part 4/4)

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September 8th, 2014

When Do Gunsmiths Need a Firearms Manufacturing License?

colorado school of trades gunsmithing ATF

When does a gunsmith become a “firearms manufacturer”? That’s an important legal question that professional gunsmiths need to consider. Normally, a gunsmith (with an FFL) can receive firearms, chamber/fit barrels, do bedding jobs, and install stocks without requiring a firearms manufacturer’s license. However, other gunsmithing tasks may spill over into “manufacturing activities”. Sometimes the distinctions are not so obvious. Consider these three examples provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF):

Surplus Rifle Sales Version 1: A gunsmith purchases surplus firearms, cleans the firearms, then offers them for sale to the public.

ATF Verdict: The company does NOT need to be licensed as a manufacturer.

But consider this…

Surplus Rifle Sales Verson 2: A gunsmith buys surplus military rifles or pistols and removes the stocks, adds new stocks or pistol grips, cleans the firearms, then sends the firearms to a separate contractor for bluing. These firearms are then sold to the public.

ATF Verdict: This would be considered manufacturing of firearms and the gunsmith should be licensed as a manufacturer.

And “Sporterizing” an old military rifle can be considered “manufacturing” as well:

Surplus Rifle Sales Version 3: A gunsmith buys surplus military rifles, bends the bolts to accept a scope, and then drills the receivers for a scope base. The gunsmith offers these firearms for sale.

ATF Verdict: This would be considered the manufacturing of firearms and the gunsmith should be licensed as a manufacturer.

These three examples provided by the ATF suggest that gunsmiths need to study the law, and be mindful that the more a firearm is altered and modified (with the objective of resale), the greater the possibility that a manufacturer’s license would be required.

ATF Guidelines for Gunsmiths
On its Manufacturers FAQ Page, the ATF has provided some guidelines to help gunsmiths and FFL-holders determine when a manufacturing license is required:

“Generally, a person engaged in gunsmithing requires only a dealer’s license (type 01). However, there are circumstances in which a gunsmith might require a manufacturing license. Generally, a person should obtain a license as a manufacturer of firearms if the person is:

1. Performing operations which create firearms or alter firearms (in the case of alterations, the work is not being performed at the request of customers, rather the person who is altering the firearms is purchasing them, making the changes, and then reselling them), 2. is performing the operations as a regular course of business or trade, and 3. is performing the operations for the purpose of sale or distribution of the firearms.”

ATF Examples Showing When Manufacturer License Is or Is Not Required
Below are examples of gunsmithing operations with guidance as to whether or not such operations would be considered manufacturing under the Gun Control Act (GCA). A key factor is whether the “operations performed on the firearms were… for the purpose of sale or distribution”. (NOTE: These examples do not address the question of whether the operations are considered manufacturing for purposes of determining excise tax.) View ATF Manufacturer FAQ Page for more details.

  • Example 1: Completing Rifle on Customer-Supplied Action.
    A company receives firearm frames from individual customers, attaches stocks and barrels, and returns the firearms to the customers for the customers’ personal use.
    ATF Verdict: Manufacturer License NOT Required.
    The operations performed on the firearms were not for the purpose of sale or distribution. The company should be licensed as a dealer or gunsmith, not as a manufacturer of firearms.
  • Example 2: Barrel-Making. A company produces barrels for firearms and sells the barrels to another company that assembles and sells complete firearms.
    ATF Verdict: Manufacturer License NOT Required.
    Because barrels are not firearms, the company that manufactures the barrels is not a manufacturer of firearms. [However], the company that assembles and sells the firearms should be licensed as a manufacturer of firearms.
  • Example 3: Single Gun Project. A company acquires one receiver, assembles one firearm, and sells the firearm.
    ATF Verdict: Manufacturer License NOT Required.
    The company is not manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business and is not engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms. This company does not need to be licensed as a manufacturer.
  • Example 4: Production of actions or frames for direct sale. A company produces a quantity of firearm frames or receivers for sale to customers who will assemble firearms.
    ATF Verdict: Manufacturer License IS Required.
    The company is engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms and should be licensed as a manufacturer of firearms.
  • Example 5: Production of actions as parts suppliers. A company produces frames or receivers for another company that assembles and sells the firearms.
    ATF Verdict: Manufacturer License IS Required
    BOTH companies are engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms and each should be licensed as a manufacturer of firearms.
  • Example 6: Modification of Pistols. A gunsmith buys government model pistols and installs “drop-in” precision trigger parts or other “drop-in parts” for the purpose of resale.
    ATF Verdict: Manufacturer License IS Required.
    This would be considered the manufacturing of firearms, as the gunsmith is purchasing the firearms, modifying the firearms and selling them. The gunsmith should be licensed as a manufacturer.
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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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August 8th, 2014

How to Hold a 1911 Correctly — Tips from Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett is one of the world’s best handgun shooters. A multi-time World Champion, Todd knows a thing or two about semi-auto pistols, particularly 1911s and 1911-based raceguns. Jarrett holds four World titles, nine National titles and has won more than 50 Area championships, as well as many other action shooting events. Jarrett is the only USPSA Triple Crown Winner and he holds four USPSA National titles: Open, Limited, Production, and Limited-10. Jarrett revealed in an interview that between 1988 and 2001 he shot about 1.7 million rounds during practice: “I had a gun in my hand for two hours every day for 10 years to develop my skill level”.

Todd Jarrett

In the video below, Todd explains how to get the proper grip on your handgun, and how to employ a proper stance. We’ve watched many videos on pistol shooting. This is one of the best instructional videos we’ve seen. Todd explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the key elements of grip and stance. One very important point he demonstrates is how to align the grip in your hand so that the gun points naturally — something very important when rapid aiming is required. If you watch this video, you’ll learn valuable lessons — whether you shoot competitively or just want to have better control and accuracy when using your handgun defensively.

Related Article: Thumbs-Forward Shooting Grip for 1911s
“Shooting semiautomatic pistols using the thumbs-forward method really becomes useful … where speed and accuracy are both needed. By positioning the thumbs-forward along the slide (or slightly off of the slide) you are in essence creating a second sighting device: wherever your shooting thumb is pointing is where the pistol is pointing. This makes it incredibly fast to draw the pistol, get your proper grip, and press forward to the target without needing to hunt around for the front sight.” — Cheaper Than Dirt Blog, 9/13/2010.

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July 13th, 2014

Moving and Shooting — Can You Do This Treadmill Drill?

In the real world of self-defense, you can’t stand still like a bullseye target shooter*. You may need to move to cover, go to the aid of a family member, or otherwise move while being able to shoot. We’ve seen a variety of “move and shoot” drills, but most involve walking a few steps, then stopping, then moving again.

Here’s a drill that raises the degree of difficulty to another level entirely. In this video, instructor Dave Harrington engages 24 targets (one with a double-tap), while striding briskly (and continuously) on a powered treadmill. That’s right, Harrington stays on the treadmill for nearly a minute, and goes 25 for 25 with two (2) mag changes. (Shots 7 and 8 are a silhouette double-tap, for a total of 25 shots.) Harrington makes it look easy. But do you think you pull this off with no misses?

Shooting from Treadmill — Firing Sequence Starts at 1:20

Our friend Dennis Santiago, who also is a firearms instructor, says Harrington’s treadmill drill is no mean feat: “OK, this I am impressed by. This is not easy.” Another viewer commented: “That, I assure you, is a whole lot harder than it looks to run it clean like [Harrington] did.” As Harrington notes, a treadmill “is extremely unforgiving … you either possess the skill or the treadmill will take you to school.”

*That’s no knock on our bullseye shooters. They are very skilled. However, self-defense is a different challenge altogether.

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July 13th, 2014

USAMU Soldier Wins National Pistol Championship

Report based on story by Lars Dalseide for NRA Blog
This afternoon, SSG Patrick Franks of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit walked off the Rodriguez range as the new NRA National Pistol Champion. This is his first-ever National Pistol Championship — and it didn’t come easy. With a final score of 2649-147X, Patrick’s victory was by a slim margin.

“He won by 16 Xs,” said Match Director Tom Hughes. “I can’t remember one ever being this close.”

Patrick Franks Pistol Championships Camp Perry

2014 has been a great year for Patrick Franks. “This year was my first 1st-place win at Interservice (the 55th Interservice Pistol Championships at Fort Benning),” said Franks. “A lot of our team matches at Interservice and at Canton were milestone performances and looking back at those I just kept going with it while I’m here.”

Patrick Franks Pistol Championships Camp Perry

“I thought I was shooting pretty well,” Franks continued. “Good for my average, good for being up here. Just tried concentrating on the team matches and ended up coming out better than I expected. Just enough.”

The USAMU Pistol Team enjoyed a clean sweep of the individual matches, won the .45 caliber team match, and secured the overall Team title. Congratulations to SSG Patrick Franks on winning his first National Pistol Championship, to SFC James Henderson for taking second, and to SGT Greg Markowski for taking third. (Markowski also won the Revolver Match). 13-time NRA Pistol Champion Brian Zins, a few weeks out of hip surgery, finished 10th.


Here are photos from the CMP Photo Gallery for the 2014 National Trophy Pistol Matches at Camp Perry.

Patrick Franks Pistol Championships Camp Perry

Patrick Franks Pistol Championships Camp Perry

Patrick Franks Pistol Championships Camp Perry

Patrick Franks Pistol Championships Camp Perry

Patrick Franks Pistol Championships Camp Perry

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July 12th, 2014

2014 NRA National Pistol Championships Are Underway

National NRA Matches Camp Perry Pistol

Story by Lars Dalseide for NRA Blog
Port Clinton, Ohio – If you’ve never attended a match held by the National Rifle Association then you don’t know what you’re missing. The sights and sounds are enough to overwhelm the tamest of firearm enthusiasts, driving one to ask … why the hell am I watching and not shooting in this thing?!

This year that question can be answered with a simple it’s too late. But next year? That is definitely a possibility. So pick up that pistol, head down to the range, and get that trigger finger in shape for 2015.

Until then, here’s a look at what you’re missing:

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