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May 15th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: 20 PPC Pistol — Great for Varmint Adventures

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel
varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

This week’s featured firearm belongs to John “SnakeEye” Seibel, founder of the VarmintsForFun website. In recent years, John has become a “true believer” in the little 20-Caliber cartridges. He says this light-recoiling 20 PPC, Rampro-actioned pistol is perfect for a quick shot on a critter, taken from the front seat of his truck. John tells us: “A long-range pistol is an ideal truck gun in my opinion. It stows in a small area and doesn’t take up the room a rifle does. Just keep ear protection near by at all times! I’ve taken varmints as far as 400+ yards with this 20 PPC pistol, so why would you need a rifle?”

Perspectives on Pistols for the Varmint Hunter

by John Seibel
I decided to try my hand at shooting varmints with a pistol one day when I grew tired of wrestling a rifle around in the truck for a quick shot. Many times when traveling around on the farm you’ll spy a groundhog or fox that usually isn’t more than 200 yards away. A single-shot pistol like the Thompson Contender could fit the bill. With its compact length, around 20 inches, a long-barrel pistol can lay on the truck’s passenger seat for easy access. I usually keep my two leather brick-style sandbags laying beside the console and seat. I have a box made from hard rubber that I lay across the top of the door. I then lay the two bags on top. This makes a nice platform to rest the pistol’s forearm. I like to use a forearm that is at least two inches wide. That lets the gun lay steady—almost like you are shooting from a bench rest. For the shooting hand, I prefer a pistol grip with finger grooves and a slight overhang or flare for the web of your hand.

As for optics, I tried long-eye-relief pistol scopes but they lacked the magnification you need for long-range target shooting or varminting. Those pistol scopes have really long eye-relief because they are designed to work with the pistol held at arm’s length. When shooting at the bench or from a truck that’s not what you want. By the time you find the target and get your eye in the exact location, the varmint has moved on or died of old age! After much fiddling around with pistol-type scopes, I finally decided to use rifle scopes on my long-range pistols. The minimum I use is a 4.5-14×40. Eye relief on a Leupold 4.5-14x40mm is about 3.5 inches at 4.5 power. Field of view is better with rifle scopes too and it’s easier to acquire your target. For this type of shooting a light-recoiling caliber is essential or you will have scope-eye bad! I currently have three long-range pistols and use them to shoot 17M4, 20 PPC, 22 BR, and .223 Rem. The featured gun may be the most accurate of my pistols, and your editor thinks it’s the most handsome of the three.

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

The Rampro Pistol Project — Working with John Illum
A couple of years ago I called John Illum of Rampro about building the ultimate long-range pistol. It just so happens that John was a big time long-range pistol shooter. I told him that I wanted a gun that didn’t recoil badly and wouldn’t torque when fired. As I am a quadriplegic, with no grip in my hands, the gun had to handle well under recoil so I didn’t drop it. Recoil had to be straight back–no twisting.

Well Illum listened to me and came up with a gun that performs just the way I wanted. Illum suggested a rear grip stock of his own design. It has a 2.25″ wide forearm and a rear grip with a slight palm swell that fits your hand perfectly. Another nice feature is the finger grips. It has an extended overhang or “beavertail” that fits comfortably in the web of your hand. Of course it had to be walnut! I chose Rampro’s STP small action with a PPC bolt. His bolt uses a Sako-type extractor. The action is a single-shot. Being right-handed, I chose a right bolt, left port configuration. This works really well in a pistol. You can load with your left hand and see the round laying in the action–that’s what you want in a pistol without a safety.

Gun Specifications
John Illum’s Rampro actions are chrome-moly steel. Commonly you’d see them blued, but I had him put a brushed nickel finish on the action and rings. From a few feet away it looks like stainless. The trigger is Illum’s own design set at 8 ounces, and there’s no creep that I can detect. The action has Remington barrel threads and will accept Remington type triggers. One neat thing is that the action was milled with an integral recoil lug (much like the current Surgeon Action). And the bolt is milled all in one piece–no soldered-on handles. My only gripe with this bolt handle is that it could be a tad longer, but it still is manageable for a single-shot. You’ll also note how slick and streamlined the scope rings are. Illum made those as well. His rings mount to the action via two screws from the inside of the ring, a very elegant set-up for sure. (I currently have a 6.5-20x40mm Nikon scope on this gun. If I had to do this project over again the only thing I would change would be installing a 30mm scope because I like ‘em!).

The barrel is a PacNor Super-Match heavy taper with flutes milled by John Illum, who did all the gunsmithing on this pistol. Twist rate is 1 in 12 inches, with an 11° crown, polished to a mirror finish. The barrel was bead-blasted on the exterior to cut glare. I had Illum cut a 20 PPC minimum-spec chamber, with a .237″ neck. That way I don’t have to turn necks on the Lapua Brass (220 Russian necked down to .204). This is a varmint gun–there’s no need for turned necks. [Editor’s Note: Rampro is no longer in business. However, John tells us “I haven’t had any problems with the action so far. If I did, most competent gunsmiths could fix them easily.”]

Handgun Handling Tips
If you want to shoot a long-range pistol but have never have shot this kind of gun before, try to find a mentor — someone with a gun like this who can school you a bit in the correct technique. The first thing you notice is that you have no comb or cheek piece to help align your head and neck. And getting used to the optics takes some practice. Most people fit a pistol-type (long eye-relief) scope, but these can be awkward to use, and somewhat frustrating at first — the field of view is very restricted. Move your head very slightly and you can lose the sight picture completely. You can solve that problem by using a standard rifle scope, but that will put your head very close to the eye-piece — just three to four inches. With that arrangement, if you don’t hold the gun correctly … POW instant scope-eye!

Now once you get the hang of shooting a long-range pistol you will find it can be just as accurate as a rifle. But there is a trick to shooting them. Shooting a long-range pistol is a whole new world — you need to hold it just right. If you don’t let the gun roll back a little (i.e. if you grip too hard) you will get vertical stringing. I hold my hand against the back of the grip to guide the gun but let it almost free recoil. Looking at how compact the pistol is, you might think “Hey, this would make an ideal ‘walking-around’ varminter.” Well, that’s not really the case. For real precision shooting a solid benchrest type set-up is a must. You can attach a bipod to a long-range pistol, but you would need a flat surface. A fence-post top would work pretty well without a bipod if you carry a small light bag. Overall though, this type of pistol works best as a sandbag gun. For a walking-around gun, you’d be happier with a rifle I think.

Load Development and Accuracy
When I built this gun, Hornady had just released the 32gr V-Max (see footnote), a good match for my barrel’s 1:12″ twist. I choose the 20 PPC because of the very good Lapua brass (220 Russian parent case). I figured teaming Lapua brass with the little .204 bullet would offer excellent accuracy combined with very low recoil. My expectations were fulfilled. The brass proved to be excellent and the PacNor loved the little V-Max pills.

I tried quite a few different loads and most powders that I tried worked very well. These included: H322, Benchmark, AA 2460, and Reloader 7. Amazingly, with just 14″ of barrel, all of these powders delivered impressive velocities–ranging from 3914 to 4074 fps. I settled on 48 Harrell’s clicks of Accurate Arms (AA) 2460, which drives the 32gr V-Maxs to 3995 fps.

With AA 2460 the gun will shoot in the low 3s at 100 yards consistently — as long as I steer the gun right, which takes some practice. I think groups in the low 0.3″ range is excellent for a non-benchrest factory bullet. Despite having no buttstock to grab, recoil on my 20 PPC pistol is very minimal — it just rocks back into your hand. The main problem is to keep the scope from smacking you, since I used a rifle scope with short eye-relief. Muzzle flash and noise are tolerable but DO NOT shoot one of these without good ear protection. Your ears are very close to the muzzle.

I also have a 20 PPC rifle built on a BAT action with a Richard’s #008 laminated stock cut down in size. That gun’s 1:9″-twist Lilja barrel lets me shoot the Berger 50gr LTB bullets. In the wind, these perform quite a bit better than the 32s. My two favorite loads for the 50 grainers are: a) 26.0gr VV N135, CCI 450 primers, 3615 fps; and b) 27.3gr Hodgdon Varget, CCI 450s, 3595 fps. The BAT 20 PPC also shoots really well with the 40gr V-Max, pushed by N135 and Fed 205M primers.

Pistol Action Legal Issues
One important thing to remember if you build a pistol is to make sure the receiver came from the factory as a pistol and was titled as a pistol. Rifle actions are illegal to use as a pistol. Yes, that’s a nonsensical law, but it’s still on the books. You can use factory pistol actions such as the XP 100.

If you want a new custom action such as a BAT (my favorite), you can order it as a pistol action and when you get it, register it as a pistol. Note, in some states there may be additional fees, waiting periods, or restrictions for pistol actions (as opposed to rifle actions). Check your local laws before ordering the action.

Future Trends in Varmint Hunting — Plenty of Twenties

I think these sub-caliber rounds, both 20s and the 17s, are the future of recreational varminting, at least out to medium distances. The Twenties offer low recoil, excellent accuracy, and components keep getting better and better. The bullet-makers are finally making high-quality bullets in appropriate weights. Compared to something like a 22-250, I’ve noticed that my 20 PPC rifle has a lot less noise, a plus when you want to be quiet around other people and varmints.

The flat trajectory is another big advantage in the field. With the 20 PPC, zeroed at 100 yards, I can pretty much hold dead center and get hits out to 300 yards or so without touching the scope to add elevation. [Editor: The same is true with the 20 Practical cartridge, basically a .223 Rem necked down to .20 Caliber. It has proven very accurate and easy to tune.]

The 20-Caliber cartridges we have now, in particular the 20 PPC and 20 BR, are very well-refined. You don’t have to do a lot of tuning or tinkering to have a very accurate, effective varmint-slayer. In fact, if I could dream up a signature “20 VFF” (Varmints For Fun) cartridge it would basically be the 20 PPC. In truth, nearly any of the popular 17- or 20-Caliber cartridges will perform well if you start with top-quality brass. The sub-calibers have less recoil and burn less powder, and there are very good components for most varmint and target-shooting applications. To me it seems that these small calibers work so well because of good components, low recoil, and efficient cartridge designs (particularly in the VarTarg and PPC cases).

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

WARNING: For your own safety, ALWAYS reduce all starting charges by 10% and work up carefully! Ambient temperature changes, powder lot variations, and differences in barrel friction can result in significantly increased pressures.

20 PPC LOAD MAP
Bullet GR Maker Powder Charge Primer Case Velocity
fps
Barrel
Twist
Comments
32 Hornady
V-Max
H322 27.6 Rem 7½ Lapua 4000 Lilja 1:12 WarrenB Form Load
32 Hornady
V-Max
AA 2460 29.5 Rem 7½ Lapua 3995 PacNor 1:12 SnakeEye
Pistol Load
32 Hornady
V-Max
H4198 25.1 CCI BR4 Lapua 4222 PacNor 1:12 A. Boyechko Load
39 Sierra
BlitzKing
H322 26.0 Rem 7½ Lapua 3700 Lilja 1:12 WarrenB Load
39 Sierra
BlitzKing
VV N540 28.8 CCI BR4 SAKO 4064 PacNor 1:12 D.Moore, Low 2s
40 Hornady
V-Max
VV N135 27.8 Fed 205m Lapua 3950 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load
50 Berger
LTB
VV N135 26.0 CCI 450 Lapua 3615 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load
50 Berger
LTB
Varget 27.3 CCI 450 Lapua 3595 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load

Footnote: When first manufactured, the small Hornady 20-Caliber V-Max bullet was actually 33 grains, not 32 grains as sold currently. I still have some of the 33-grainers. I’ve observed no functional difference between the 33s and the current 32-grainers.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
April 1st, 2022

California Bans Use of Firearms Terminology as “Hate Speech”

California Hate Speech firearms weapons

A new statute passed in California will bar state employees (as well as teachers, police personnel, and health care workers) from using a variety of firearms terms in official communications. California Assembly Bill 22408, authored by Assemblyman Tony Fulenzo (D. Los Angeles), defines over 30 gun-related words as “hate speech”. Under existing California law, any words/phrases defined as “hate speech” are proscribed (forbidden) in official publications, school textbooks, and all public-sector communications (including email). By effect of AB 22408 then, dozens of gun-related nouns, verbs, and adjectives will be banned, and “shall no longer be uttered or used in the State of California by any public agent or employee”.

Assemblyman Fulenzo said his intent in sponsoring AB 22408 was to alter public attitudes toward firearms, and in particular, to convince school children that firearms are bad. “We want to prevent young kids from perceiving firearms as ‘cool’ or ‘exciting’. The best way to do that is to bury the subject altogether. We need to dismantle the ‘gun culture’. That begins with banning the words themselves.”

California Hate Speech firearms weaponsFulenzo said AB 22408 was inspired by existing bans on racist “hate speech”: “We don’t want children to read about guns or talk about guns. The first step, therefore, is to remove firearms-related words from textbooks, classroom presentations, and state documents. This is not something new. California has done the same thing with hateful words directed at minority groups. In California, by law, we have banned the use of the ‘N’ word (and other racist terms) in official state publications and school textbooks. Now we are just following that practice and banning the ‘G’ word (i.e. ‘gun’) and similar firearms-related hate speech”.

Ban on Gun Words in Oregon Next?
Meanwhile, in neighboring Oregon, anti-gun groups have called for the passage of similar legislation banning the use of firearms-related terminology. And there have been protests in Arizona also.

California Hate Speech firearms weapons

Permitted Word Equivalencies for Banned Firearm Terms
When enacted into law, AB 22408 will ban more than 30 firearm-related words, including “gun”, “pistol”, “rifle”, “bullet” and other commonly-used words. Where it is necessary to reference a firearm, as in a police report, AB 22308 provides for substitute words or phrases. AB 22408 recognizes that, in some instances, it will be necessary to mention firearms-related facts in official documents. By using these officially-designated substitute words, firearms-related facts can be logged without resort to banned “hate speech”.

Gun = “Gunk”

Pistol = “Piddle”

Rifle = “Ripple”

Shoot = “Suit”

Bullet = “Mullet”

Ammo = “Venmo”

Cartridge = “Partridge”

How to Use CA-Approved Substitute Words:

Under AB 22408, if an official report requires description of a hate speech item, then the approved replacement words shall be used instead of the prohibited terms. For example, if a state-funded hospital treats a pistol wound, this shall be listed as a “piddle wound” in the medical report. Likewise the recovery of cartridges at a crime scene by police shall be recorded as a “partridge recovery” in the incident report.

New Law Does Not Restrict Speech by Non-Governmental Entities
This new law only applies to “public sector” entities (schools, police/sheriff agencies, hospitals/health clinics, state and municipal agencies). Private businesses, including newspapers and web sites, will still be allowed to use firearms-related words without the threat of prosecution. Likewise, private citizens will still be allowed to say “gun”, “pistol”, or “rifle” etc. in their own private communications. However internet posting of hate speech involving forbidden firearm words will be monitored by a new California State Agency. This new Agency, the California Office of Firearms Hate Speech (COFHS) will be funded by a new 5% sales tax on firearms ammunition and components.

Permalink Handguns, News, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
March 22nd, 2022

Choose the Right Holster with Holster Finder Database

Midwayusa holster finder database 125,000 holsters

Here’s a helpful, time-saving tool for handgun owners. MidwayUSA’s online Holster Finder lets you quickly find the right holsters for virtually all popular makes and models of pistols and revolvers. The wide variety of carry styles, materials, and features can make finding the right holster difficult or confusing. Drawing on a database of over 125,000 gun/holster combinations, the MidwayUSA Holster Finder turns that complex task into an easy three-step process.

Midwayusa holster finder database 125,000 holsters

The selection process is simple: 1. Choose Pistol or Revolver; 2. Select Make and Model of Handgun (and barrel type/length); 3. Click to view results. Just choose your gun type, select your make, model and barrel, then view the results. All major holster types are included: Ankle, Belly Band, Belt (outside waistband), Chest, Competition, Drop Leg, Inside Waistband (IWB), Paddle, Pocket, and Shoulder. Check out the MidwayUSA Holster Finder at MidwayUSA.com/holster-finder.

Midwayusa holster finder database 125,000 holsters
Midwayusa holster finder database 125,000 holsters

MidwayUSA’s Marketing VP Jeff Larkin says: “Our team built the Holster Finder so our customers could find all holsters we offer for their specific firearm without sorting through thousands of search results. Finding the perfect holster is now easier than ever — just a few clicks, and we’ll show you everything that fits!”

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March 21st, 2022

Precision Reloading for Competition Pistols — Tips from USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading
SSG Greg Markowski of the USAMU at Camp Perry, Ohio.*

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) fields pistol teams as well as rifle and shotgun competition squads. Consequently the USAMU’s Reloading Shop loads tens of thousands of pistol rounds every year. In this article, the USAMU’s handgun experts talk about reloading for handguns — with smart tips on how to achieve superior accuracy with 100% reliability. This article, which offers important insights on COAL, primers, crimps and more.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Precision Pistol Reloading — Recommended Methods

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However [at 50 yards], purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically. The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding. Stay safe, and good shooting!

TOP IMAGE: SSG Greg Markowski, a shooter/instructor with the USAMU, fires his pistol during the 2018 Civilian Marksmanship Program’s National Pistol Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. At that event, Markowski claimed the General Mellon Trophy, General Patton Trophy and the General Custer Trophy. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Michelle Lunato/released by Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.

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January 25th, 2022

Defensive Firearms — Understanding Terminal Ballistics

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

If you are evaluating a firearm for self-defense use, you should consider three main factors: Reliability, Functionality (sights, trigger, ergonomics), and Effectiveness (ability to halt/neutralize threats). Regarding effectiveness, you need to consider what happens when the projectiles from your firearm reach the target. That involves penetration and terminal ballistics.

A 12ga shotgun is very effective inside 20 yards, with less risk of over-penetration* vs. a centerfire rifle.
Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.

The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.

Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity


*This Shooting Illustrated article discusses over-penetration risks with a variety of cartridge types. “A bullet passing through a threat and continuing with the potential to cause unintentional damage to a bystander or object is a situation commonly described as over-penetration.”

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October 14th, 2021

Pistol-Packing Pumpkin Carving with Taran Butler

Halloween pumpkinHalloween pumpkinAt the end of this month, on October 31st, we celebrate Halloween (which was originally called All Hallows’ Evening). That means the neighborhood kids will be ringing doorbells as soon as it gets dark. No doubt some of you proscrastinators will wait ’til the last minute to set out your Halloween decorations and Jack-O-Lanterns. Don’t worry, in the video below, our friend, 3-Gun ace Taran Butler, shows how to carve a pumpkin in just about 5.5 seconds, give or take a tenth. Taran performed this feat of speed-carving with his trusty Infinity handgun, chambered in 9mm Major.

What Are the Origins of Halloween?
Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints). According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots.

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September 9th, 2021

Mental Preparation for Shooting Competitions

randi rogers mental preparation

Randi Rogers is one of best female action shooters in the world. Randi has captured over 60 World and National Titles in seven different shooting disciplines for pistol, shotgun, and rifle. From her early wins in the world of Cowboy Action Shooting, to bringing home a Gold Medal from the 2011 IPSC World Shot in Greece, Randi is a winner. Competing as ‘Holy Terror’, Randi has won the ladies’ division at the SASS Cowboy Action World Championships so many times, they might as well retire the Ladies’ Trophy with her name on it. Randi, who started shooting at age 11, now competes in several disciplines including Cowboy Action Shooting, USPSA, Steel Challenge, IDPA, IPSC, and NRA Action Pistol. When Randi is not on the road or in the office (where she serves as Comp-Tac’s Marketing/Sales Manager), there’s a good chance you’ll find Randi on the range preparing for the next match. In this article from RandiRogersShooting.com, Randi talks about the “mental game” and how she gets ready for a big match.

randi rogers mental preparation


Preparing Mentally for a Shooting Competition by Randi Rogers

As I head to [a major match] I have a lot of tasks to complete. One of the most important [tasks] is preparing mentally. For an experienced shooter, the mental part of shooting is more important than knowing how to pull a trigger. The mind is an amazing thing and if you/it believes something, your mind will override all the skills you have. Example: if you think that you are bad at throwing a ball you will throw the ball badly.

Over the years I have formed a few techniques to help myself with my mental game:

1. Make Peace with your Current Skills. When I get on the plane is when my mental preperation really starts. This is when I decide that I am ready to shoot, confident in my skills and can achive the goals I set for myself. From this point forward I make peace with my shooting and tell myself that if I follow my plan I will achive my goals. There is no longer any time for me to become a better shooter.

2. Set a Goal and a Plan. When I attend a shooting competition I have a goal in mind and a plan for how I want to get there. This varies on what shooting sport it is. I may have the goal that I want to place in the top half of the shooters in my division. In order to achieve that goal I may have decided that I need to concentrate on accuracy. When you set goals and plans they need to reflect all of the work you have been doing. For instance, it does not make sense to say “I will win everything” if you haven’t practiced in four years. It is important to set achievable but still challenging goals.

3. Stay Positive! Whenever you set goals or “talk” to yourself mentally it is important to stay away from negative commands and negative words. I don’t tell myself “Don’t Miss,” because this is a negative command. It is like telling a child “Don’t spill the milk.” What are they going to do? Spill the milk.

4. Stick to the Plan. As I get ready and start competing in the match sometimes my mental voice goes haywire saying things like, “that wasn’t fast enough,” “that was a huge mistake,” “look how fast they are,” “they are going to beat you” and so on. It is hard but you have to banish these thoughts. You can’t change your plan now, there is nothing that you can do to suddenly become a better shooter. Instead think of your goal and plan and repeat it to yourself over and over again. For instance, “I am going to finish in the top half of my division and I am going to shoot accurately.”

As I head into a major competition my mental plan is to [remember] “Sights” and “Stay Aggressive.” I want to make sure I am remembering to look at my sights and shoot accurately, but I also want to make sure that I am not getting lazy. I need to move and shoot as fast as possible while still making my hits. As for my goal, I will keep that a secret for now.

5. Work on your Weak Points On her Facebook Page, Randi posted: “Fun fact — when I first started shooting, my left hand was so weak that the gun would jam up every single shot. So my grandfather made me shoot for a week straight with nothing but support hand. To this day I never sweat support hand stages even if they are limited!”

Have a great next match and remember Rise to the Challenge! — Randi Rogers, Team Ruger

Watch Randi Speed Through a Cowboy Action Competition Stage

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August 7th, 2021

Pistol Skills — How to Diagnose Handgun Accuracy Issues

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

When shooting pistols do your shots normally land smack dab in the middle of the target? If not, you may have some technique problems that are causing your shots to move off center. Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng has produced a good video for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) that helps handgunners diagnose accuracy issues. By shooting 3-shot groups and looking at the pattern and location of the shots, you can see what you’re doing wrong (or right). Here are some examples. Note, this process works best for shooters whose shots fall typically in one target zone. If your shots are all over the target, your form is inconsistent and problems will be harder to diagnose.

1. Low Left — Jerking Trigger: Here we see three (3) shots at the 7 O’clock position. This shows that the shooter is jerking the trigger, meaning that the shooter is pulling the trigger too quickly and therefore forcing the barrel to drop when breaking the shot. This is a very common problem, particularly with novices who are reacting to the noise/recoil of the pistol.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

2. 9 O’Clock — Too Little Trigger Finger: If we see three (3) shots at the 9 O’clock position, what this can be indicative of too little trigger finger on the trigger. And therefore with every shot, the shots are getting pushed to the left. Try moving your trigger finger on to the pad of your index finger. Also try dry firing drills.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

3. High Left — Anticipating Recoil: In this next example, we see three shots around the 11 O’clock position. What could be happening here is that the shooter is anticipating the recoil, and is actually lifting the gun up when he shoots. We recommend slowing down, working on your breathing, and, again, do dry-firing drills.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

4. 3 O’Clock — Too Much Trigger Finger: Finally, if you see three (3) shots at the 3 O’clock position, this can indicate that there is too much trigger finger on the trigger. Therefore when the shot breaks the shooter is pulling each shot to the right. Note: Each of these descriptions is for a RIGHT-handed shooter. If you are a left-handed shooter you’ll want to reverse those descriptions.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
July 18th, 2021

Precision Reloading for Handguns — Smart Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading
SSG Greg Markowski of the USAMU at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Today is the final day of pistol competition for the National Matches at Camp Perry. Many of the best pistol shooters in the country will be on the firing line, including members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Service Pistol team. Today, July 18th, the handgun phase of the CMP National Matches concludes with the Oliver Hazard Perry Pop-Up Pistol Match, Military & Police Pistol Match, 1911 As-Issued Pistol Match, and Glock Match. After the last match, trophies and awards will be presented to the top shooters.

If you want to compete in top competitions like this, you’ll need good ammo. The following USAMU article provides rock-solid reloading advice, explaining how to load accurate, reliable handgun ammo.

Camp Perry Pistol competition 2014
Camp Perry NM pistol firing line from CMP Photo Archives.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) fields pistol teams as well as rifle and shotgun competition squads. Consequently the USAMU’s Reloading Shop loads tens of thousands of pistol rounds every year. In this article, the USAMU’s handgun experts talk about reloading for handguns — with smart tips on how to achieve superior accuracy with 100% reliability. This article, which offers important insights on COAL, primers, crimps and more.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Precision Pistol Reloading — Recommended Methods

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

TOP IMAGE: SSG Greg Markowski, a shooter/instructor with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and native of Poland, fires his pistol during the 2018 Civilian Marksmanship Program’s National Pistol Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio July 13, 2018. At that event, Markowski claimed the General Mellon Trophy, General Patton Trophy and the General Custer Trophy. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Michelle Lunato/released by Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 26th, 2021

Silhouette Shooting — A Quick History

Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

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.

Silhouette Ace Eric Mietenkorte Shooting Smallbore Silhouette — Perfect Form:

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.

Here is a rimfire silhouette match conducted by the Sporting Shooters’ Assn. of Australia.
Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

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.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Competition No Comments »
February 25th, 2021

Be a Better Pistolero — Handgun Shooting Fundamentals

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment
Photo courtesy St. Bernard Indoor Shooting Center.

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.

CLICK HERE for ALL SIX PISTOL LESSONS

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment

VIEW ALL Six Handgun Fundamentals

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.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Handguns, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
December 20th, 2020

Best-Selling Rifles and Handguns in the USA

gun broker top selling rifles pistols november 2020

Looking to acquire a handgun for personal protection or a rifle for hunting or home defense? There are countless options on the market. Your buying decision may be simplified by seeing what other consumers have chosen, as revealed by nationwide sales trends. You can now check firearms sales figures using “Gun Genius”, a new data-crunching service of Gunbroker.com. On GunGenius.com you can select any type of firearm (handgun, rifle, shotgun) and see the top sellers for that category.

Here we list the top-selling semi-auto pistols and revolvers for November 2020. Below that you will see the top 5 sellers among bolt action rifles and semi-auto rifles. Along with these four categories of firearms, GunGenius.com has sales figures for lever-action rifles, single-shot rifles, and five different types of shotguns (semi-auto, pump, side-by-side, over-under, and single shot).

Here are the top-selling Pistols and Rifles in the USA last month:

gun broker top selling rifles pistols november 2020 gun broker top selling rifles pistols november 2020
gun broker top selling rifles pistols november 2020 gun broker top selling rifles pistols november 2020

Get Sales Rankings for Other Categories of Firearms
On GunGenius.com, in addition to the categories above, you can chose lever-action rifles, single-shot rifles, semi-auto shotguns, pump shotguns, side-by-sides and more. You can also filter for sales trends (upwards and downwards). Drill down to see detailed product specifications and current prices.

Permalink Handguns, New Product, News No Comments »
December 2nd, 2020

If You’re Packin’ a Pistol — Read These Tips for CCW Holders

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 gun owners who are contemplating the pros and cons of everyday carry for themselves.

CLICK HERE for 10 Essential Tips for CCW Holders »

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 6th, 2020

Top-Selling New and Used Pistols in the USA

Best selling gun genius firearms pistol Sig P320 gunbroker

Looking to acquire a handgun for personal protection of home and family? There are countless options on the market. Your buying decision may be simplified by seeing what other consumers have chosen, as revealed by nationwide sales trends. You can now check firearms sales figures using “Gun Genius”, a new data-crunching service of Gunbroker.com. On GunGenius.com you can select any type of firearm (handgun, rifle, shotgun)* and see the top sellers for that category. Here are the top-selling semi-auto handguns, new and used. There are separate listings for revolvers.

Here are the FIVE (5) top-selling NEW semi-auto handguns for JUNE 2020:

Best selling gun genius firearms pistol Sig P320 gunbroker

Here are the FIVE (5) top-selling USED semi-auto handguns for JUNE 2020:

Best selling gun genius firearms pistol Sig P320 gunbroker

It’s notable that three of the top five used handguns are Glocks: G17, G19, and G22. Glocks are rugged and reliable, though we don’t like the ergonomics.

*Chose semi-auto pistols, revolvers, semi-auto rifles, bolt-action rifles, lever-action rifles, single-shot rifles, semi-auto shotguns, pump shotguns, and more. You can also filter for sales trends (upwards and downwards). Drill down to see detailed product specifications and current prices.

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September 7th, 2019

Precision Handloading for Pistols — Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Each Wednesday the USAMU offers tips for handloaders on the USAMU Facebook page. This article from the “Handloading Hump-Day” archives should interest pistol competitors, an any shooter who enjoys getting the best possible accuracy from their fine pistols. In this article, the USAMU’s experts share key tips that can help optimize your pistol ammo. Follow this tips to produce more consistent ammo, that can shoot higher scores.

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
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.

Permalink Handguns, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
August 2nd, 2019

Walther 30-Day Money Back Guarantee for PPQ and PPS Pistols

Walther USA pistol ppq pps m2 q5 polymer steel-framed

30-day Money Back Guarantee. We’ve seen that for some home appliances and cleaning products, but never for firearms. Walther may be the first pistol-maker to allow you to own a modern handgun for a full month and then send it back for a complete refund. That’s right, you can purchase any new Walther PPQ or PPS, and use it for 30 days. Then, Walther declares: “If you don’t love it, return it on us.” Yep, Walther will even pay for the return shipping. If the pistol does not fully meet expectations, return it to Walther for a full refund of the purchase price, including tax and shipping.

Walther’s Marketing V.P. Bret Vorhees explains: “Consumers are often hesitant to put down their hard-earned money on a firearm purchase, simply because if they don’t like it, they are stuck with the product. Walther is proud to be the first company to guarantee customer satisfaction our of our pistols… giving the consumer more options”.

Here is how the gun industry’s first 30-day, money-back guarantee for pistols works. After purchasing a new PPQ or PPS handgun from a licensed FFL dealer, the buyer can take the gun home and shoot as much as he/she wants for up to 30 days. Whether you buy the new pistol from a local gun shop or an online retailer, the pistol qualifies for the guarantee. If the pistol does not fully meet expectations during the initial 30-day period, the purchaser can return it to Walther for a full refund of the purchase costs, including tax and shipping. This applies only to the first purchaser of a NEW PPQ and/or PPS pistol.

The return process is simple, follow these easy steps:

1. Visit WaltherOwnersClub.com and click “Return a Firearm”.
2. Fill out the form with your contact information.
3. Upload a copy of your receipt or proof of purchase.
4. Submit the form and print authorized return shipping label.
5. Pack unloaded firearm in original case, and deliver to Fedex location.

Walther says purchasers who follow these procedures should receive their refunds within two weeks. This offer applies to all Walther PPS and PPQ models, including the newer PPS M2 series, and the outstanding PPQ Q5 match pistols (see below):

Walther USA pistol ppq pps m2 q5 polymer steel-framed

Permalink Handguns, Hot Deals No Comments »
June 4th, 2019

Quick History of Silhouette Shooting

Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

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.

Here is a rimfire silhouette match conducted by the Sporting Shooters’ Assn. of Australia.
Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

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.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 13 Comments »
May 31st, 2019

Five Great Items for Handgun Shooters

Jessie Harrison Pistol ammo aiming

While this site focuses primarily on accurate rifles, we know that most of our readers also own pistols (and many shoot them competitively). After rimfire pistols, probably the most popular handguns in America are 9mm semi-auto pistols. Here are five products we use with our favorite 9mm semi-autos — H&K P7M8 and SIG Sauer P226. You’ll find a great carry case, high-quality electronic muffs, a pistol “range station”, affordable 9mm ammo, and two cool training targets.

1. HQ Issue Handgun Carry Case

HQ Handgun carry case

Do you often take multiple handguns to the range? Here’s a large (16″ x 13″ x 8″) handgun hard case that will easily haul your arsenal. The HQ Issue Case can hold up to eight (8) handguns, or six with room for magazines. Since the foam is customizable, you can also use this case to carry cameras, rangefinders, binoculars, Kestrels, or other valuable hardware. While we wouldn’t drop this in the water, the case does have an O-Ring seal for water resistance, and a manual valve for pressure modulation. NOTE: This nice case is just $34.99 for Sportman’s Guide Buyer’s Club Members.

2. Impact Pro Electronic Muffs 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30When shooting pistols indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate with your fellow shooters. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with plugs underneath. That gives you serious hearing protection during live fire, with the ability to hear voices and converse.

For pistol shooting, we like the latest Howard Leight Impact Pro Muffs. These offer an impressive 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). In addition, these muffs are pretty comfortable and offer Headphone Functionality so you can connect to your smartphone, MP3 player, or other audio device. These muffs are a good value. They are currentely offered for $58.84 on Amazon.com.

3. Range Station for Pistol Shooters

Pistol Case rolling matt ammo holder handgun range kit

The Range Station combines an ammo compartment with a roll-out mat. Great idea. Some gun ranges only have concrete benches, or shooting stations with horizontal surfaces covered with dirt, powder residues, and other debris. You don’t want to put your $2000 blued Colt Python on that mess. The 12″x24″ Padded Gun Mat stays put on the counter-top and holds guns and gear. The case snaps to either the right or left side of the mat. Interior trays are sized for standard ammo boxes and magazines. Separate compartments hold smaller range gear such as rulers, pens, target markers, and more. When finished, the mat can be rolled and stored neatly and compactly in the case, which fits most range bags.

4. Sellier & Bellot 9x19mm (9mm Luger) Ammunition

Sellier Bellot Ammo ammunition 9mm luger 9x19mm

We have shot thousands of rounds of Sellier & Bellot 9x19mm Ammo through our 9mm Luger handguns. This ammo has proven very reliable, but also very cost effective. Right now Sportsman’s Guide Members can get 1000 rounds for just $167.19 — just 17 cents per round. We also favor Federal American Eagle 9x19mm ammo, which likewise offers excellent “bang for the buck”.

5. High Contrast Pistol Training Targets

pistol training target

Here are two of our favorite pistol targets. The Splatterburst 12″ x 12″ sight-in target works great for handguns in indoor ranges. Bullet holes appear as bright neon yellow halos. And the contrasting grid lines let you quickly estimate your group size. Each target has five diamonds, and the top of each diamond provides a precise aim point for your front sight. The 12″ Bullseye Pistol Diagnostic Target diagnoses common problems based on shot impact zones. While this target is designed for righties, left-handed shooters can use the target too. Just observe the opposite tips.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Shooting Skills No Comments »
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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