Showing posts with label Smith and Wesson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Smith and Wesson. Show all posts

Sunday, December 15, 2013

RE: Hoss USMC on the FBI Miami 86 Gunfight



This case is very interesting. I absolutely agree with Hoss on the importance of using cover. If nothing else like Max Velocity says Get LOW.

As to revolvers vs pistols. Double stack pistols offer an undeniable advantage in round count. A loaded Glock 17 is equal to an S&W model 19 PLUS TWO SPEEDLOADERS. You'd have to have a whole belt o speedloaders to equal the Glock plus 2 spare mags. Then again the power of the old Combat Masterpiece can come in handy sometimes.

Granted the whole thing was a total cluster F and agents carrying auto pistols didn't perform much better but to say this incident highlighted the long reload time under realistic combat conditions is an understatement. The revolvers slow reload time was unfortunately a big part of why some FBI agents did not come home that day. To the inevitable person who links to Jerry Miculek or Bob Munden reloading a revolver in .024 seconds 1) They are not using realistic duty gear. 2) The average decent shooter is not Jerry Miculek or Bob Munden. 3) The amount of manipulation required to reload a revolver is absolutely more than a mag fed auto. More manipulation means more time and more things to go wrong. If the death of the service revolver had to be attributed to a single incident it would without a doubt be the Miami 1986 gunfight.

Does this absolutely mean a magnum revolver as a duty/ go handgun is not a valid option? I don't think so. Just because there is a better option doesn't mean a revolver is not a viable tool. I'll get to the specific issues that I believe were more important in a minute.

I am hesitant to criticize the individual agents for their performance or lack thereof. Aside from the worst luck ever, which some could attribute to flaws in their training, a couple things worked against them.

First and foremost the FIBs faced trained and determined opponents, particularly Platt. The FBI agents failed to act as a group; training in contact drills would have helped a lot. This brings up the fact that lots of bad people do in fact have training and experience. IMO both Platt or Maddox were probably better trained for a full on gunfight than the FBI agents.  Also the bad guys were very focused and probably more willing to accept risk than the FBI agents. A trained person who doesn't really care if they die and wants to take as many people with them as possible is going to cause a lot of damage.

Why Maddox was not really a factor in the fight is unknown to this day. It is however good for the agents as if Maddox had pulled his share there would've been a lot more casualties.

Secondly Platt had a magazine fed RIFLE while the agents were armed primarily with various handguns and a couple shotguns. The round count, accuracy and lethality of rifles is such that anybody armed with a pistol is at a huge disadvantage. The results of the fight show this enough I do not need to belabor the point.

I consider the lack of rifles to be more of a critical gear problem for the FBI agents than the specific handguns they were carrying. Had every agent been carrying a Mini-14 or AR-15 variant this fight might have gone down differently, no matter the wheel guns on their hips.  Even the most antiquated rifle is better than just a pistol in a fight. A model 1894 30-30 in a FBI agents hand could have ended this fight a lot faster with fewer casualties.

This event, followed by the North Hollywood shoot out led to the swap out of shotguns in favor of rifles as the law enforcement back up long gun. For a variety of reasons that changeover was a lot slower than the move from wheel guns to pistols and there are still plenty of 870's riding around in cop cars today. Shotgun vs rifle is another discussion but from a strictly combative angle (excluding for a minute economics, legality in anti freedom areas and versatility) I will take a rifle every single time. There is nothing a fighting shotgun does that a fighting rifle cannot do better.

Lethality vs incapacitation:
It is critically important to understand the difference between these two things and why it matters. Obviously lethality means death. Incapacitation means a person is seriously degraded or outright incapable of being an active combatant. Incapacitation is not always lethality. Example, a bullet goes through a person's arm and another hits the hand on the other side. Dude can't manipulate a weapon and as such is incapacitated. Dude's odds of living are very high and he'll probably make a good recovery but for the sake of this fight he is no longer a factor. Lethality is a bit more problematic. A person dying eventually does not make them cease to be a threat right now.

Platt is the textbook example of this. The 9mm round to his chest early in the fight was probably an unsurvivable wound. He could have been on the table in Johns Hopkins and it would not have mattered. However in the time it took for Platt to die (during which he was shot several times) he extracted a fearsome toll.

Don't just expect to shoot somebody once and have them die immediately. The human body is a weird machine, a fraction of an inch can be the difference between immediate lethality and a drawn out death or even a totally survivable wound. If somebody is worth shooting they are worth shooting a lot. Continue shooting your enemy until they are incapacitated and no longer a threat.

Wrapping it up:
Use cover
Do not just be a bunch of individuals, work as a team with your compatriots
Double stack pistols beat auto's as a duty gun
Have a rifle handy for prolonged situations
Expect to shoot somebody a lot before they cease to be a viable threat

So those are my thoughts on that. What is your take?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gun Time Warp: Skills and Strategy Matter Not Hardware

Lets just say that tomorrow I woke up and my firearms battery was very different. Instead of the more modern guns in our current battery I had a Remington 870 Wingmaster with an 18.5inch cylinder bore barrel and a 28" modified choke, a Marlin model 60, a J frame .38, a 1911 or maybe a K frame .357 and a 30-30 Winchester. All of these guns were available a half century ago in the 1960's.

I could hunt anything in the Continental US, have a solid CCW pistol as well as a house gun a shotgun that will do anything plus a good rifle and a .22. I would be down a lot in capacity but honestly that is rarely the issue which decides the day for Joe Six Pack civilian. Realistically this setup could handle all manner of sporting, home defense and a pretty nasty Katrina like SHTF scenario. I won't lie and say it is equal to a Glock 19 and AR or AK but assuming the operator does their job in anything short of a full on war the difference in capacity is rarely needed.

What I am getting at is that skills and strategy matter a lot more than hardware. If you are on a basic guns type budget it might be worth putting money into training before looking at upgrading your guns.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Low Carb Week 2, Home Renovation and New Holster

During Low Carb week 2 I lost 2 pounds. Didn't bother to weigh myself last week (week 3) for reasons I can't recall. Overall this is going pretty well. The cravings and hunger type feelings are long past. Some folks say they feel a ton more energy. I have not experienced that but do feel a lot more even throughout the day. No carb crashes messing with me which is nice.

I have been killing it in the gym which is cool. Well I've been doing awesome on press and deadlift anyway; bench is iffy and squats are not so great. For whatever reason those lifts dropped off more during the move. I have refocused to deep, a** to the grass squats. Taking off a bit more weight was humbling but it feels good. John Mosby said something about stretching out muscles and tendons. Instead of hurting (knees, not muscles) the day after squats I feel just fine. Only 3 work out's into that but am liking it.

The only down sides of this diet are limited breakfast options, especially on the go, and cost. Our food budget has more than doubled which sucks. In that regard, as well as the limited options we probably will not do this over the long term. When the initial planned period is done I plan to reintroduce fruit and some carbs (oatmeal, wheat bread, a bit of brown rice, beans occasionally) if just for financial and food rotation reasons. Moving on.

The floor is in place and looks really good. We'd been ignoring the room because the carpet in it looked like a crime scene but now that room live up to it's high potential. Just got to do trim then it will be good to go. We'll paint the infamous door and the immediate needs/ strong wants will be done.

Got a new holster today. A Safariland 200 for the Smith and Wesson K Frame. It's definitely used and I need to order/ get a screw (2/3 mounting screws are in place so it's still solid but I am OCD like that) and give it a bit of TLC but for $15 it was a great deal.

On an unrelated note Archer Garret is donating all book proceeds (his cut not purchase price) to Orange Jeep Dad. Buy a book to help out or donate strait to Orange Jeep Dad.

Hope you all have a great Saturday. I'm going to watch last weeks episode of The Walking Dead (it's on after my bed time) then hit the rack.

Take care of each other.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Long Day Of DIY Plus Random Linkeage

My weekend evaporated into 2 home improvement projects. On the good side some stuff got done. We made legitimate, tangible progress on the two things that will really make our residence optimal.

Putting laminate flooring into one room stalled out yesterday. It was dinner time plus I needed materials so that was a pause. Got the stuff to move forward today.

However since that project just wasn't getting done in a day we decided to put up an interior french door instead. Somehow we missed that being a fairly complicated thing to do. Anyway it was a complete Charlie Foxtrot. Numerous google searches and 3, count them three, trips to the hardware store ensued. There were literally blood, sweat and tears. Thankfully we all came out alive and more or less intact.

It would be an exaggeration to call it an unmitigated disaster. Eventually the door did get up and I think it will work out quite well. Maybe it was a bit more like say, the British misadventure in the Falklands. A situation where something fairly easy got quite complicated, partially through self inflicted problems then ended up in a win eventually.

I have a post on DIY stuff coming up.

Since I spent all day breaking then trying to fix stuff my brain is fried so you will get linkage. 

This post on The Smith and Wesson Model 19: The Perfect Police Man's Revolver is excellent. The Magnum K frame was probably the peak of revolvers as combat handguns. The only real improvement would be a more corrosive resistant finish and the M19's cousin the M66 has that. I would not hesitate for a second to take a Model 19 into the woods or for that matter carry it in town. They are very accurate, rugged/ reliable within reason (ain't a Glock) and heavy. Heavy is good, heavy is reliable, if it doesn't work you can hit them with it. Seriously though a fringe benefit of steel revolvers (and 1911's) is that if a threat is up close you can just whip the hell out of them with the big piece of metal in your hand. Whack somebody in the noggin with an S&W Model 19 and the fight's probably over. Not so much with the (otherwise much desirable) polymer wonders.

It is true a K frame will not stand up to endless shooting with heavy .357magnum rounds. Folks who for whatever reason want to shoot 500 rounds of heavy .357 mag ammo a month should get the bigger N frame or a Ruger GP-100. However most revolver owners do not shoot that much .357 mag ammo so the issue is in my mind negligible.

A normal citizen or hunter, even a real shooter who (like most) tends to practice with .38 ball and occasionally a bit of 357 mag to test duty as well as afield/ duty could use a Model 19 for decades without metal stress issues on the forcing cone/ backstrap. They are great guns, an excellent combination of history, beauty and function. On the other hand, while I do not own one, I would lean towards a Ruger GP-100 for a rifle and backpack run to the hills scenario.

Max Velocity's post on Rhodesian Cover Shooting (The Drake Method) is worth reading and keeping in mind. Basically in scenarios where a group is taking fire from unknown locations or fears/ believes enemy is sneaking up every shooter will put a round or 2 into each piece of cover they think someone could be behind within their field of fire. It is worth noting that ethically this technique must be reserved solely for isolated or otherwise free fire areas.

I truly believe we are, as civilians or soldiers, accountable morally if not legally (which we almost always are) responsible for every round we fire. That being said if I am in a small unit moving through the middle of the woods/ desert and we get into contact, maneuver or whatever, then (if it is part of their TTP's) the enemy starts with harassing fire or is going to try to close into our lines I'd put 2 into the bush and 1 on each side of the tree. At the point where 2 or more armed groups have been shooting at each other for awhile the shepherd boy has run off, the shaking bush is probably a bad guy. The Rhodesia Cover shoot is not the answer for every problem but it is a good technique to have in your head just in case.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Living With My J Frame Part 2: Overall Attributes and Shooting



I wrote Living With The J Frame about a month ago. Immediately realized there were some holes in that post. Seems it has taken me awhile to get there but there is no time like the present. So here we go.

I thought it would be interesting to look at the J frame by characteristic. Accuracy, Power, Capacity, Concealability and Reliability.

Accuracy: The J frame is mechanically a fairly accurate firearm. The professional quality brands; in this case Smith and Wesson, Ruger and formerly Colt (their prices are now well in the collector realm so unless you've already got it go elsewhere) will perform well in general and particularly in regards to accuracy. If I recall Massad Ayoob spoke once about doing grouping with these guns at 100 meters that were well under 12 inches. The budget brands such as Rossi and Taurus do not perform as well but unless your gun is a lemon (budget companies have A LOT more lemon's) it's probably a serviceable gun. Charter Arms is at the bottom of that range though the company has been sold so many times reliability is anybody's guess though the best case is probably OK and the worst is paperweight.

If you read carefully you would  have caught that I said the J frame is mechanically a fairly accurate firearm.

Translating that mechanical accuracy into real world shooting however is another matter. As Alexander Wolfe noted the J frame is not an easy gun to shoot well. Honestly in my opinion the J frame is a downright difficult gun to shoot well. The front sight and U notch is not a good sight, short sight radius, tiny grips, heavy (though fairly smooth in quality guns) trigger pull and a tiny handle make these guns very hard to shoot. They have been called an expert's gun and there is some truth to that. If you are an expert with handguns in general you will shoot the J frame well, if you are a good shot you will shoot the J frame OK, If you are in OK shot you will shoot the J frame poorly.

Honestly I do not think the 9/10 people at a gun range on any given day can hit @#(($ with a J frame at 20 meters. The local Community College baseball team's pitcher tossing a fastball worries me more at 20 yards than average Range Guy with a J frame. Sure the the shooter can theoretically kill me but a bolt of lightning could also strike me dead while Bobby can't make it in Div 3 ball would drill me with an 80 mile an hour fastball.

Shooting a J frame well takes a certain level of overall capability and a good amount of practice. One could very well argue that time would be better spent with a firearm that is easier to master.

Power: The .38 special is amply powerful. If you put round(s) reasonably near the right places a .38 special will stop 2 legged predators. Sure there are newer more Tacti Cool rounds out there but if you do your part by putting lead into meat the .38 will do it's part by putting that sack of meat out of the fight.

Capacity: Most J frame revolvers hold 5 rounds. To my knowledge the only exception is the old Colt J's which held 6. This is not great but for that size isn't terrible either. Really it is fairly representative of that size range of guns. Plenty of comparably sized auto's hold 6-7 rounds which is not so different. There are subcompact double stack auto's that hold more however those guns are considerably thicker so there is a trade off there.

Concealability:  Personally I have comfortably carried J frame revolvers in 3 ways. The first is along the waistband. For concealment of course this means inside the waistband. Unless you are trying to stick 20 pounds of you into 15 pounds of pants the J can be carried anywhere along the waistline. I prefer 1 o'clock but lots of folks like the classic 3-4 which works fine also.

The second is in a coat pocket. This is handy. In the winter my favorite setup is to have a J frame in my coat pocket and a full sized handgun on my belt. My right hand sits on the grip of the J in my pocket as I walk around. Nobody notices, lots of folks have a hand in their pocket. I could shoot it through my pocket or take it out to let a few rounds go, potentially before transitioning to a full sized pistol.

The third way is in a pants pocket. Lots of folks seem to do it but I can't pull off carrying a J frame in my front pants pocket. If fits in normal pockets but I think it prints pretty good. My J ends in the cargo pocket of my shorts (I live in Arizona and haven't worn long pants outside of work since February ish.) in a pocket holster a lot. Admittedly not the perfect setup but I am carrying a pistol that can be brought into play reasonably quickly. Certainly this is a huge step up from a gun in our vehicle's glove box.

Reliability: Quality (Ruger, S&W, Colt) revolvers are very reliable weapons. (The lesser brands tend to have 'studs and duds'. It's not so much that they are not capable of making quality guns, just that the 'lemon' ratio is a lot higher than better brands) They will work for a long time and shoot a lot of rounds with only basic maintenance.

However the rose colored glasses of time have affected our perceptions of revolvers. They can go have parts break, out of timing, get jammed or otherwise fail. This is worth discussing. An old saying goes "fixing a semi automatic pistol is as close as the nearest spare parts, fixing a revolver is as close as the nearest qualified gunsmith'. Like most sayings there is some truth to it. Modern semi automatic pistols tend to have drop in parts. In other words break an extractor, identify the issue, take the gun apart, replace the problem part(implied task have spare parts) like an extractor and get back to shooting. In this regard 1911's are iffy and revolvers are pretty much a no go. These guns require parts be 'fitted' ie honed, adjusted, etc to function properly. Honestly most people and a decent percentage of 'gunsmiths' can not do this reliably. Something to think about in terms of long term sustainability.

Anyway that was a bit more formulaic than I planned for but it seems to cover all the bases. As always your input is welcome.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Living With My J Frame

I've had my little Smith and Wesson 642 for a little while now. Since it's purchase I removed then ended up selling the Crimson trace laser grips and replacing them with Hogue boot grips. The boot grips are a lot smaller which lets the gun better suit my concept of use which is a little concealed carry piece. Here is what my little J frame looks like now.
I am pretty happy with it though at some point plan to set it up like Alexander's J frame with the wood S&W grips and a Tyler T grip. Aside from looking really good that setup will probably shoot better than my current grips. The only reason I haven't done it is that $60-75ish discretionary gun purchases are a long list.

My holster is a Blackhawk IWB.
It is perfectly adequate for carry in its intended role and does OK as a pocket holster. I'm not in love with it but it works; given the price point around a half rack of cheap light beer it offers a lot of value. If money were no object I would have a nice soft leather IWB holster, a Safariland pocket holster and an ankle holster for this gun. However as mentioned before gun stuff that would be nice to have is a really long list.

Awhile back Alexander Wolfe and I had a discussion about the size difference between compact Glock's like the G19 and J frame revolvers. Since I have been alternating carrying the two for a few months now plus the camera was already out I figured it might be fun to take some pictures then talk about my thoughts on the matter.
The Glock 19 and Smith and Wesson 642 side by side. Man who is the lucky duck that has both of these great carry options. At the first glance they look very similar in size. However as we will see appearances can be deceiving and the differences, however small, are in places where they matter a lot.

The Smith & Wesson 642 sitting on top of the Glock 19. The picture does not really show it bit the J frame is slightly offset and higher than the Glock 19 just because of the way the angles of the two guns came together. This is where the first significant difference in size becomes apparent. The length and height of the two guns are not THAT different. However as you can see the back of the J frame is curved while the back of the Glock 19 is roughly in the same location as the furthest point back on the pistols grip. The backstrap is one of the two points on a pistol that prints (shows through clothing while concealed) the most. Also it is one of the reasons the J frame vanishes under anything except a skin tight t shirt.
Looking at the two guns from the back we get a better picture of their relative height. The S&W is just a little but shorter than the Glock 19. However when we look at width it's a different story. Aside from the cylinder and the fattest part of the grips the S&W 642 is significantly thinner than the Glock 19. Also very significantly it is a lot thinner at the end of the grip. Combine that with the grip being shorter and you have most of the reason the J frame conceals much easier than the Glock 19. Personally I can hide a J frame under almost anything while the Glock 19 takes a loose button up or polo shirt that's roughly a size larger than my body.

A top view of the guns in the same position. Shows the overall differences in width and length.

Bottom line is the J frame is smaller in all the right places (barrel, width, grip size) to make it a much more concealable gun. It is much easier to conceal than the G 19. I can conceal the J frame wearing anything other than a swim suit. On the other hand the Glock 19 takes a polo or button up shirt 1 size larger than my body to conceal with a real belt to hold it.

Between the two there is no dispute the Glock 19 is a superior firearm. It holds 3x the darn bullets plus it's a much easier gun to shoot well. However that is not the point of this comparison. It's great for folks to pack a full sized Glock, M&P or 1911 with 2x reloads. Seriously good for those guys. However my observation is that most people will not actually pack a full sized heater with any regularity. The running joke that if you ask any guy who says he packs a full sized 1911 to show it to you right now he will mumble some BS about how it's in the glove box/ nightstand/ safe runs true far more often than not.

I genuinely believe in high percentage carry. Personally I carry a gun unless it is really illegal, like years in prison not 'asked to leave the establishment' kind of illegal. When you carry all the time the inevitable 'running to the store for a gallon of milk' scenarios come up. Also there are times you just plain don't feel like strapping on a larger pistol. Plus it is hot and getting hotter down here. Any gun beats the hell out of no gun.

Personally I go back and forth between carrying the J frame and the Glock 19. There is a sort of informal risk assessment for every trip. If I'm leaving our little town it's the Glock 19. If it's after 8 o'clock or so it is the Glock 19 with a light. If I am carrying a lot of cash or making a significant trade it is the Glock 19. Last weekend between my wallet, some garage sale cash and money for the the gun show I was walking around with about a grand; so I carried the  G19 on my right hip and the .38 in my off side cargo pocket.

However all things considered my lifestyle is pretty safe as there are not a lot of muggings and shootings between 3 and 6 pm. Since the risk assessment of going to the store for groceries at 4pm on a Tuesday is pretty low the J frame wins a lot. It wins because I should have a gun but don't need that much of one.

I feel adequately armed with the J frame and 2 reloads.  Sure it's not a Glock 19 with a reload. That being said what realistically concerns me these days is 1) somebody trying to rob me in the parking lot or 2) getting carjacked, the distant 3rd would be just getting caught in something here or there. Either of those  (2 probable) situations will be over one way or another before I shoot 5 rounds. The cold hard truth is that I'll have won, lost or be behind something with time to reload by then.

That being said I am in the market for a Glock 26. Sooner or later one will be saved from a life of an owner who is not me. That might just be the setup. Until then I will split my time between the Glock 19 and the S&W 642.


As always your opinion is welcome.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Odds N' Ends

The lettuce, spinach and green beans went into pots today. That was big fun. This whole growing my own vegetables thing is pretty cool. Also I'm excited to say it looks like I'll be involved with an intro to canning thing in the near future.

Had dinner and a couple beers at a local bar. Since neither driving slightly inebriated or taking a cab appealed to me I decided to hang out drinking water and reading till the booze wore off. I am currently reading Ghost Wars:The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. I got halfway into this book way back in IBOLC but it lost my interest. These days I am a lot better informed on Afghanistan and the players involved, through research and personal experience, and am probably more patient so it's a bit easier to get through.

On the plus side guns are becoming more available. The local shop has a variety of evil black rifles and semi automatic pistols. They are also doing pretty well on mags. A variety of AR mags including PMAGs at $22ish were present. They had limited pistol mags, I think mostly various Ruger and XD mags plus a few Glock 19 mags at $32ish.

Ammo is trickling into the shops and flying out. A lot of guys are showing up at Wally World early in the morning. Some to meet their own needs and some to resell at stupid prices. The local shop sold 7k in .223 in 2 days with a 3 box per customer limit. Personally I'm semi actively looking and buying when prices are right.

As summer hits here we are seeing consistent temps in the 80's. My little .38 J frame is definitely earning its keep. The G19 is really only viable for open carry these days. However given that it I'm in Arizona that option is legally on the table and socially acceptable to boot. Sort of depends on my mood and the risk of a given venture. Since I'm much more of a grocery store at 4pm than an ATM at 3AM kind of guy the risk is usually pretty low.

In writing this rambling, I'm too lazy to do something serious post I realized that a month ago I wrote basically the same thing. Big fun.








Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cyprus, Herbs and Taters, Smith and Wesson M&P and Ramlings

That whole mess in Cyprus was pretty interesting. The model that government will screw citizens to protect banks is proven yet again. At this point banks are playing like Nicki from Casino. Gamble and collect if they win; should they lose they do not pay. If I was a Cyprusian, or whatever they call themselves, who happened to of had 100k Euro's in the bank I would be a lot poorer and very angry right now. Like buy a hoodie and a bandana then start burning stuff down angry.

The jilt of the situation is that bank deposits were stolen levied in a one time tax to help support the EU bail out of the countries banking industry. Cyprus is unique as it is a popular place for rich to moderately well off sometimes crooked Russians to stash money. Needless to say Russians are not a big fan of this. Maybe President Putin who is a real life bond villain and the most awesome man in the world will kill them all. I'm not sure.

This brings up a couple interesting points. As TEOTWAWKI Blog noted it is important to have some cash on hand. A month's cash expenses (food, fuel, medicine, incidentals) is a good reasonable goal. More would not hurt if your overall situation merits it. Given the effectively negative interest rates these days if you have more lying around one could go to 2-3 months cash expenses.

Claire Wolfe brought up a good point about considering how much cash you have in the bank. This is something that concerns us. We have a lot of money, by percentage and considering our life situation in the bank. Over the next several months we are going to do something about that.

Some dude in Tuscon is looking at handing out shotguns to low income women in high crime areas. I cannot see how it could make the war zone that is low socioeconomic status Tuscon any worse. Heck it might just make things better.

Today for dinner I heated up some frozen meatloaf MIL made when she was here. Did up some crashed potatoes to go with them. I liked that Greek oregano and green onions from the gargen were part of it. That is pretty cool. It looks like one of the strawberries died. The other strawberry plant I think is going to be fine.

So I've been hanging around in gun shops to buy ammo recently the opportunity to handle a couple of guns has come up. I really liked the ergonomics of the Smith and Wesson M&P. That gun feels great in my hand. It would be a very hard sell to get me to purchase a 9mm that isn't a Gen 3 Glock but I like the M&P a lot. Should I decide to buy a .45 it might be an M&P.

Also handled a Rossi Ranch Hand. That thing might just be a stupider gun than the damn Judge. A lever action pistol caliber gun you need to hands to reload, seriously people. If it's compatible with a bigger stock you could (of course pay $200 and fill out some forms first) make a Cowboy SBR I guess. Seriously folks just get a revolver that beats this piece of junk in about every possible contest.

Been doing a lot of reading about the battle of Grozny (the first one in late 94 to early 95) for some work stuff. Will probably talk more about that later. There are definitely some lessons to be learned and it is pretty interesting.

Well I'm bored of writing now so it's time to end this.

Hope you all are having a great weekend.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Carry and Gardening

The weather here in Southern Arizona seems to have decided to stop snowing and that it's Spring. A pleasant change but pretty fast. Suppose that's the nature of the desert. This brings up a couple issues worth discussing.

Carrying a gun in the fall and winter is easy. Pack whatever you want then put on a coat. It's the good times for sure. The benefits of packing a full sized piece without any of the issues of concealment. Spring and summer are what separates those who practice high percentage/ consistent carry from the fair weather strap on a heater in the winter or when they are going to wherever and want to pose.

Warm weather carry is not hard with a bit of planning. Get an inside the waistband (IWB) holster and get started. Blackhawk makes a decent one at a great price. You can choose to carry a compact pistol like a Glock 19 or subcompact pistol like a baby Glock or J frame which makes things easier. While I do not like following the rabbit hole of smaller guns down to a really small gun like a Beretta 21A/ NAA .22 revolver, etc but  they certainly beat not having a gun at all. On the other side of the coin you can dress around a bigger gun (though most won't and it will stay in the glove box/ nightstand/ safe) or open carry.

The endstate is to not let the weather getting warmer stop you from carrying.

The garden is coming along pretty well. The green onions from the store definitely sprouted in the cup of water. Turns out the roots need space below them and once I lifted them off the bottom of the cup they went crazy.  Now they are sitting in a pot of dirt. The potatoes (also from the store) are sort of going. They definitely have white shoots coming from the original taters and a couple are growing some leaves. I am optomistic that the rest will catch up. Hopefully they will get to growing and in a week or so I'll put them into a container.

The garden is coming along. So far I am really enjoying it and find the whole thing quite calming. Maybe I will try to do a second wave of stuff and or try to grow some more herbs.



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Basic Budget Guns Part 2: Handguns

To continue the ongoing series (Part 1, Part 1.5, Part 1.75) today we will talk about handguns. To catch you up I recommend buying common model firearms from reputable and common manufacturers chambered in a common caliber. Also remember to consider the cost of fully equipping them when comparing and pricing guns.

The goal here is to get a basic gun that fits a tight budget but is still a good solid weapon to bet your life on. The distinction between this and the cheapest guns out there is significant.

While I do not have a clear price range in mind a loose goal of $350 (of course markets vary so these guns might be 4 and a quarter in LA or 300ish in Alabama) to $400 seems like a good mark. This is of course for the gun itself, though if you buy used a holster (and maybe extra mag) might get tossed into the deal.

For a one handgun solution I tend to favor compact pistols. A .38/.357mag *3 inch* J(small) or 3-4" K(medium) sized revolver is a really good option. I would recommend Smith and Wesson or Ruger or if those are not available a fairly new Taurus. Unless you know what you are doing (which is not the target audience of this series) an older Charter Arms, Rossi, Taurus, etc might very well be a lemon and only useful as a paperweight. Newer Smiths run out of this price range in a hurry but an older revolver like a Model 10 or 64 can be had in this price range. Rugers do pop up here also. Both will probably run a bit closer to $400 but they do not need mags.

The reason revolvers will come in the cheapest is because you do not need mags. Figuring $25-35 for most mags (not today, we'll get to that in a minute) and that IMO you want a bare minimum of 6 mags cost adds up fast.

For semi auto's the Kel Tech PF9 and Ruger LC 9 both seem like pretty decent contenders and are in our price range. They are towards the smaller end of guns I would be comfortable with for an everything handgun but they are readily available and take single stack mags which are still out there at sane prices. The really little .380's and 2" J frames are difficult guns to shoot well and not especially fun to shoot which means you are less likely to put in the time to learn to use them. This combination makes them less than ideal beginner guns.

Interestingly Iraq Vet8888/ Barry of Moss Gun and Pawn did a video on handguns under $350.

Won't disagree with anything they said but there are inherent compromises in basic budge guns. Compromises that are acceptable for one person might not be acceptable for another. If you are a bit less concerned about commonality of ammunition and parts the Bersa .380 is worth looking into. If you plan to buy all the ammo and parts you will every need with the gun then the Makarov is a fine option.

Note that I really haven't talked about  any double stack auto's. Glock pistols and in particular the Glock 19 (which would otherwise be my choice here) are relatively hard to find these days. You can get them but (excluding oddballs like .45GAP) they are running a bit more expensive than before firearmagedon. In my neck of the woods it will be very hard to touch a non oddball used Glock for under $550 with $600 probably being average. Most significantly the price of full capacity double stack mags that hold more than 10 rounds (especially Glock 9's)  is up considerably, though they are slowly trending down. Glock mags are running $43-45 in my neck of the woods and it's a sellers market. This is significantly up from the $25-28 pre panic prices. For a guy like me who wants to have 9-10 mags that is a big price difference. Between the higher price of the gun and mags I think the Glock 9mm is currently priced out of a "common man" budget. The same can be said for the other pistols that would normally be in this range. Smith and Wesson Sigma's and the old Ruger P series still offer good value if you can find mags at a sane price.

My basic budget handgun setup would be:
-handgun (duh)
-6 magazines for an auto/ some speedloaders for a revolver
-500 rounds of ammunition. In a perfect world you might have 500 rounds of JHP ammo and then some FMJ for plinking but if the budget is tight consider getting 100 rounds of JHP and the rest FMJ. If the budget is uuber tight just rock boring old ball ammo.
-decent holster that can be used for concealment
-belt stuff enough to comfortably hold said gun in holster

Personally I would be looking for a decent used revolver either a Smith and Wesson Model 10/64 .38 or a Ruger Security 6 .357 really whichever came up first.

Hope that helps somebody. Next chapter we will talk shotguns which will be short and easy.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Glock Modifications



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I saw this video awhile back. Steve Fisher saying the goal of modifying a gun is to improve functionality without messing with durability or reliability I think is a good starting point.

While I do think the Glock is probably the best standard bone stock fighting pistol out there it could be a bit better. I like swapping the normal guide rod/ spring out with a spring that has the same tension (or whatever they call it) but a stainless steel body. The primary reason for this is that a little bit of weight up front helps decrease muzzle rise. Some might also argue they are more durable.

Something new I did today is to swap out the standard trigger connector with a #3.5 trigger connector. Between the reference manual and youtube it wasn't too hard to figure out. Took the gun to try at the range today and it was pretty awesome. It's just a bit lighter and smoother but makes a whole lot of difference. The combination of the steel guide rod and 3.5lbs connector is awesome. It is seriously like a whole different better shooting gun. I shot the same gun about a month back and groups were probably less than half the size this time.

Night sights are pretty much required and are an easy upgrade on most modern service type pistols if the gun does not come with them.

I think the combo of ss guide rod/ spring, 3.5lb connector and night sights is an upgrade all of my Glocks will get. Might just stash a spare set or three (at that mythical time when I have $500 for gun stuff and nothing else to buy) just in case. That way I could set up a Glock acquired however down the road the way I like it. Stole that idea from Matthew Bracken's newest book Castigo Cay.

A pistol mounted light like a Streamlight TLR-1 is a solid option. I have a love hate relationship with them. I love the capability but hate the added bulk. For a dedicated home defense or open carry/ tactical gun a light is an easy decision. For a gun that is going to regularly pull concealed carry duty it is a harder call. I like the idea but the Glock 19 with a light kept getting left at home in favor of the J frame. A more concealment oriented slimmer holster would help but that's still carry under a sweatshirt or something, not AIWB which is my preference for concealed carry. I do not think anybody makes an AIWB rig for a gun with a light and if they did I'm not sure it would be tolerable to carry. Definitely better to carry a Glock without a light than to think I carry a Glock with a light but actually pack the snubby 9/10 times. I think running a concealed carry Glock and a home/ tactical one is probably MY way forward.

That's what I have done to Glocks. Things I can see doing

A modern red dot like a Trijicon RMR or the new Leupold offering seems like a really cool way to go. I'm going to wait for some more R and D to happen and prices to slip down a little bit over a few years before seriously considering taking the plunge. Obviously higher suppressor sights would need to go with this setup.

A threaded barrel to go with a suppressor would be cool at some point.

Stippling has potential to help with grip, etc. I would want to see and handle a gun done by a shop before giving them my gun. Too many yahoos with a dremel and a soldering iron think they are gunsmiths these days to trust just anybody offering the service.

Beyond that I cannot think of anything currently available that I want to put on a fighting handgun.

What have you done to Glocks (or I guess other pistols)?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dry Fire Practice- Little Things

This evening after putting Walker to bed I conducted some dry fire training. It was pretty good. Definitely getting used to handing the smaller J frame and it's trigger. One nice thing about a DAO revolver is that you cannot cheat and thumb cock it so you just have to get comfortable with the trigger. I am eager to get it out to the range and put some more ammo through it. This trip will coincide with zeroing the new scope for the AR after it arrives.

Did notice one interesting thing when shooting the wheel gun. My Blackhawk IWB holster came out with the gun a couple times. Admittedly it was probably just because I was repeatedly drawing without taking the time to really reset the holster. That consideration aside it is still no bueno. An easy fix is to undo the velcro on my rigger belt, slip the holster in and then re velcro the belt. The bottom of the plastic clip sort of looks like an upside down T that hooks on both sides of the belt keeping it solidly in place. I will probably talk more about this holster at some point. It's not perfect but for $10 picking one up when you get a gun then figuring out another option down the road when your budget allows (if you even feel the need to) is a solid option. Elitists will hate it but a $10 holster that is good enough for casual use or to get you started on a busget has some real value in the market place.

Next I shifted to rifle work. I haven't rocked iron's as primary sights for awhile and wanted to get used to using them in a CQB type setting. Also I needed to knock some dust off the old muscle memory. Rifle work was good. Weapon manipulation and target acquisition were solid. Also spent some time training with the tac light. With it located at about 1:30 the setup is pretty natural. The only minor issue is if I get lazy about grip my thumb can obscure the sights. Optics sit slightly higher so this should be less of an issue. If a bit more training will not fix this I will look at other mounting options or a pressure switch.

The point I am trying to get to is that we find flaws and weak points in our gear, systems and capabilities when we use them. Little things come up and we figure them out by setting stuff up differently or training appropriately. Occasionally something big pops up that must be dealt with. If you just buy a gun, a holster and a bunch of hollow points  then load up the gun and stick it in the holster to occasionally travel with you these flaws never appear. It is true that you may live a charmed life and never have these unknown flaws become huge problems but not everyone is so lucky.

Get out and use your stuff. Getting out and shooting is great but with the limited availability and high price of ammo these days it may be hard to do often. Dry fire is free and you can do it at home so there are no excuses.

Just Do It!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From Around The Web

Teotwawki Blog did an excellent Snub Nose Gear Roundup.

A journalist was not treated very nicely when he asked if Mayor Bloomberg was giving up his armed security. The classic elitist liberal position that chosen ones deserve the best protection the public purse will buy but us peasants can dial and die. Bet they aren't packing neutered 7 round mags either.

Assault Weapons ban does not have the votes to pass the senate. Next step is to protect our right to be full people unlike New Yorkers who are 7/30ths as important as chosen ones. After that we tell them to keep away from law abiding citizens right to buy and sell their private property with other law abiding citizens. Enforcing the gun laws we have would be a good start.

The lost art of cut shells.

Detroit edges closer to bankruptcy.

About every centerfire rifle in existence is just waiting to be redefined as a cop killer.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Five For Sure

I like this saying. Would argue that a Glock 19 (and its S&W MP and XD contemporaries) is 15 for sure but this package is smaller and a lot lighter. It is a catchy saying all the same.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Small Revolver Choices- SW Airweight .38?

We talked before about whether I should get a revolver or a little semi auto.

Anyway I decided to go with a little revolver. There were a lot of different considerations involved in this.

The Kel Tech 9mm is at least temporarily rejected. If one comes up at a deal and it is from a person I know (that will say if the gun sucks or not) maybe but for now I think not. There are a whole flock of new subcompact single stack 9mm's but I want to see how they fare and let some kinks get worked out.

There were a variety of options but I quickly narrowed it down to a Ruger SP 101 .357 mag or a Smith and Wesson .38/.357. Lots of other companies (Taurus, Charter Arms, etc all) make decent revolvers but I am looking for something that I'm not going to have issues with or want to replace in 2 or 3 years.

After some consideration the role I am looking to fill is a carry piece smaller than a Glock 19. This will give me some options and since I will be in Arizona through the summer that is important. I do think the steel framed models are probably more durable over the very long term. However since subcompact revolvers tend to be guns that get carried a lot and not have crazy round counts so to me the issue is negligible. Also this is another consideration in buying a quality revolver. My concern about the SP 101 is that despite being small it is heavy enough to be problematic for my intended use of summer or casual carry.  Also I tend to want to go lighter for a carry gun which makes the air weight smiths a good option.

[Eventually this little revolver will be paired with a stainless steel .357 or some variety. A Ruger GP 100 4" would be nice but a 3" SP 101 might just be the ticket.]

Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog noted you do not get a lot from the .357 cartridge (vs the .38 special) in a snubby and there are probably shoot-ability issues in lighter guns. I would be inclined to go with a .357 mag and load .38's just to have the chamber capacity if it ever came up. So I got to looking. Around here SW stainless .357 mag's of the small variety are semi rare and in the air weight flavor they might as well be made of unobtainable and have diamonds for night sights. Nice guns but way more coin than I want to spend.

Anyway the combination of my preferences, budget and availability makes me think a Smith and Wesson Airweight .38 special as the best available option. Thoughts?





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