Showing posts with label revolvers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label revolvers. Show all posts

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Revolvers, Choice and Emotional vs Rational Decision Making

My buddy Displaced Louisiana Guy talked about revolvers and I did my own kinda brief post then well we got here. This hit on a couple things that merited a larger discussion.

I can not put words in my buddy's mouth. Don't know him that well and really knowing what someone is thinking is an iffy proposition at best.

To close at least as far as this discussion goes the revolver vs semi auto discussion. While the difference in capacity is huge in a service sized pistol it is less so in a sub compact carry piece. A G17 with one in the pipe holds as much as a wheel gun with 2 reloads. They are to modern gun fighting what the Henry repeater was to the civil war AKA a game changer. When we narrow it down to sub compact CCW type guns the real capabilities are a lot closer. If we go to single stack auto's, which probably carry closer to a J frame, the capacity is darn near the same though the auto still has a reload edge. A Kahr CW9, S&W Shield, etc all holds 7-8 and a typical J holds 5. Sure 2-3 rounds is something but it's not the game changing 3x advantage a Glock 17 has on a standard wheel gun.

Finding a scenario where a J frame falls short but a single stack like a Shield/ CW9/ etc comes through is iffy. A round or two more and a faster reload to lose the contact shot and easy button failure drill (squeeze trigger again) might not be a great trade off. Make it a Glock 26 or the M&P equivalent which hold about double the bullets at 10ish and it could well matter.

Still at the end of the day for a normal guy doing normal guy stuff facing normal guy problems a J frame is probably plenty. The cliche 3 rounds in 3 seconds  at 3 yards thing comes to mind here.

This brings us to a larger point. Being sentimental is part of what makes us human. Often survivalists and gun types are sentimental about kind of odd things like revolvers or old case folding knives or ALICE packs.  I think we gun types and survivalists can get so focused on making the right rational decision that we try to justify things that way. Instead of just saying that we like X, in this case wheel guns, and that we prefer it to another option which might actually have some rational advantages.

I think being honest about this has value. Why? First and foremost being real and honest is just plain useful. Second and more significantly being honest with ourselves lets us make decisions more rationally. Say item A has 85% of the overall capabilities of item B but I really like it for whatever reason? Well instead of trying to justify why A is as good as B I can look at whether A can do enough of the job to be good enough for me. Maybe item A only has 50% of the capability of item B and even though you love it you should put it up on the mantle above the fireplace and carry B instead.

So be honest with yourself and accept when you are being emotional about stuff. It will actually let you make better decisions in the end.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

From Around The Web

Massad Ayoob links to CSM Ret Zins talking about the benefits of using the distal joint of the trigger finger instead of the pad. These gentlemen deposit more handgun shooting knowledge into the urinal after too many beers than I possess. While relatively my opinion is meaningless I concur. I like the joint as a reference point and also think it makes for a smoother/ straighter pull than the pad.

Also no longer in the Bayou Rennaisance Man linked to a post by FerFal that discusses some commentary from the recent civil war in the Ukraine. The themes of food, water filtration, cash in a stable currency and or precious metals, communications and back up plans for heating, electricity, etc are consistent with most disaster preparedness thinking.

Our friend Displaced Louisiana Guy talks revolvers vs semi auto's. I semi inspired that post. The hard truth (and where I disagree with my buddy) is modern quality semi auto handguns are as reliable, if not more so than revolvers. Still revolvers have some advantages. First the failure drill for a revolver is just pulling the trigger again. Second the fixed barrel means you can execute repeated 'contact shots'. Third being thin at the barrel (AKA just barrel not slide frame) and butt (no mag) makes them more concealable than a similarly sized auto. Fourth for a worst case scenario revolvers can handle a lot wider range of ammo. All revolvers need is enough powder to move the bullet and do the job but not so much as to blow the gun up. Semi auto's need to cycle which is a bit more problematic. If folks are home brewing reloads I would take my chances with a steel .357 long before a Glock.

Downsides are the guns are considerably more fragile. More than a casual bump to the cylinder will put one out of action. Also they don't hold many bullets and the reload times suck.

I prefer auto's but do not feel under gunned for most normal civilian type situations packing a wheel gun. Some of them are very easy to shoot well. With one particular revolver I basically stopped shooting inside 50 meters because it was boringly predictable. Might just have 6 but if I can put those 6 in a pie pan at 75 yards the odds they will count are very high. Also a 158gr JSP .357 mag is no joke in terms of ballistics. I'll carry it for anything less than Grizzly bears. If I ever move to serious Grizzly country well I will buy a .44 mag and load it with 240 grain SP ammo.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Quote of the Day: Bill Jordan on Stashing Guns and Ammo For SHTF

He turned around to Bill and asked, “Mr. Jordan, what battle rifle would you stash away?”
Bill took another sip of his vodka tonic and said, “I’d put away a Smith & Wesson Model 19 and a box of cartridges.” Bill being from Louisiana, it came out sounding like “Kat-i-ges.”
Our local gun expert realized that Bill was a little hard of hearing, so he said, “No, Mr. Jordan, I meant what kind of AR would you want to have hidden away.”
Bill smiled, finished the vodka tonic, and said, “Sonny, I heard you the first time. And my answer is a Smith & Wesson Model 19 and a box of cartridges. If serious trouble starts and you can shoot at all, you can get whatever kind of little machine gun you’d want to carry. You could even get a little Jeep to drive and maybe even a nice looking uniform to wear… if you can shoot!”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From Around The Web

Lucky Gunner's Guide to the S&W .38/.357 Mag revolver. A pretty cool resource to wade through their myriad of different frames, configurations and model numbers. 

Two Commandments by Kenny of Knuckle Draggin My Life Away. Beware. Clicking through the link is fine for anybody. Wading into the general blog will expose you to foul language and pictures of beautiful women in bikini's, thong underwear, etc. Depending on your perspective that might be awesome or offensive.

Captains Journal talks M4 reliability. Looks like we are going back to industry, which makes some great rifles, for suggestions on improving the standard service rifle.

Mike Pattone and Defense Review talk The Big M4 Fouling Myth. They make a compelling case to swap out a few simple, user level, parts to improve the rifles ability to feed and cycle. Specifically a heavier buffer/ buffer spring and an upgraded extractor spring with crane 0 ring. Good to think about and not too expensive to impliment. Keep existing parts as spares.

Friday, April 3, 2015

S&W 642 Sold

I haven't carried it for awhile and some bills have came up lately. A buddy was interested and I sold it. A decent gun but I did not really find a niche for it. Will stick with my Glock 19 and Ruger LCP Custom for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan

Today I am going to be reviewing the book No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan.

This book is definitely old school written by one of the most preeminent western law men, pistol shooters and handgun authorities of his era. He spent 30 years on the border patrol, mostly as far as I can tell on the Texas border as well as fighting as a Marine in WWII and Korea. His shooting skills were legendary from wax bullet exhibitions drawing and point firing at asprin to a legitimate recorded .27 second draw and shot on target! Given that a one second draw to first shot is considered pretty good that is downright amazing. He was also the man behind the S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum which was the peak of the police/ fighting revolver.

This book is pretty short at 114 pages with a few thoughtful blank ones at the end for notes. There is a general opening followed by discussion on selection and maintenance of holsters, pistol grips, handguns, cartridges and bullets. After that it talks about the mechanics of the draw and how to work to build speed without losing accuracy (it's amazing how little some things change). After that it gets into some of the psychological stuff and a variety of different things then there is a summary and closing. Onto the usual format.

The Good: This book is short. At 110 pages I read it in about 2 hours. To say it is short is not an insult. It thoughtfully covered every topic necessary and left nothing out. There were enough 'no shit there he was' stories about cool old school lawmen/ gunfighters to be entertaining but so many as to bring the conversation off track or to add unnecessarily to the length of the work.

As noted before Bill Jordan probably sweated out more wisdom on the Texas border than most shooters, even competent instructors possess. Aside from being a tough guy in a tough place during a tough time some of the tangibles of his capabilities were downright amazing. Given that he lives to the era of shot timers and video cameras his feats carry a lot more weight of accuracy than those of an era where news was only passed by word of mouth and print.

So much of this work is still entirely relevant today. Granted the strictly technological stuff is dated, there isn't a way around that in a book that is 50 years old. Still a person outfitted with the gear described as optimal; a good wide gun belt, a stiff strong side leather holster, a double action 4" revolver with ergonomic grips and semi jacketed lead flat nose bullets could certainly do a whole lot worse. The setup he described is pretty much my perfect woods walking rig.

Gear talk aside so much of what was described is still so relevant.

I particularly enjoyed how Mr Jordan described the transition of different shooting techniques for different ranges. This is something I've thought about and practiced in the past. In short as distance increases you need more accuracy so there is a transition from speed to accuracy. It goes something like this.
0-3 yards- Draw and fire as soon as the gun comes level. Today we have reinvented this into a 'speed rock.This move is shown well in the beginning of the  Collateral 'Briefcase Scene'

3-7 yards. From the speed rock you extend the handgun and bring it out and a little up to get a better shot.
7-15 yards- The hands come together at stomach level.
15-25 meters- Traditional aimed fire at eye level.

So much more good stuff.

The Bad: Like anything that goes way deep into specific gear (vs concepts, etc) as time goes by it becomes dated. While I loves me some k frame S&W's that stuff is way out of date.

The Ugly: beautiful craftsmen quality fighting revolvers like the K Frame Model 19 .357 are no longer widely available and affordable for all but the lowest budgets in hardware and general stores.

Conclusion. You can take the gear stuff with a grain of salt though they represent the peak of the fighting revolver, well minus ammo. Today I'd choose a 158 grain JHP instead of the semi jacketed lead flat nose we tend to call a semi jacketed soft point today.  That being said I don't want to take either one to the chest.

Still gear aside the book has a ton to offer. Heck the 'there he was' stories and the amusing no longer politically correct outdated language is worth the price of the book for entertainment value alone. Seriously though this book has a ton of valuable tips and knowledge to offer. Also if you are so inclined a minute on google can find it in PDF.

Got bad assed old school gunfighter knowledge?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Baby Glocks and Snubby Revolvers

The comparison between snubby revolvers and subcompact double stack pistols like baby flocks and heir m&p equivalent ia inevitable. Here are my thoughts on this.

Small autos are easier to shoot well than.small revolvers. I suspect my experience is comparable to most folks here.

Small autos hold a lot more ammo than revolvers. Roughly twice as much.

Small autos can take mags from their larger siblings. This os handy for backup guns or if you have a larger compatible house gun.

Nothing is free in life. Smallpox double stack pistols are much wider throughout than revolvers so they do not well. They are harder to conceal than revolvers.

Small autos, particularly universal servo e pistol types withoutphysically accessible safetieare not as forgiving about poor carry methods and handling as revolvers. While tactically a poor idea I would comfortably stick a small revolver in.a back pocket without concern. Their heavy da trigger pull makes negligent dischargeunlikely. Treat a baby Glock or m&p like a wheel gun and you are asking for an nd. Universal srci e pistols need to have the.trigger fully covered, ideally with a stiff type sheath.

Without discounting the utility of the j frame modern subcompact pistols have a lot of benefita. I think a small auto is an excellent choice for realistic concealed carry. Purchase one that is compatible with your larger service pistol is an excellent idea.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Five Rounds Enough for Concealed Carry?

I once quoted James Yeager saying "The definition of an optimist is a guy with a J frame and a speed strip." Like many quotes my goal was more to provoke thought than say something is good or bad.

We can quote cases such as the 1986 Miami shoot out or stuff from FerFal that show the weakness of lower capacity firearms. I would discount the Miami case because I am not an LEO pursuing dangerous criminals. If I was I would relegate a J frame, if carried at all, to a back up. As to the FerFal stuff that is Buenos Aries not Peduke, Iowa or in my case western central Louisiana.

Most of the time I carry some sort of a Glock 9mm with a spare mag. Occasionally when there is one on inventory a J frame goes into the rotation. Distance being traveled, events being attended, perceived level of risk and my level of laziness really dictate the choice.

Do I feel well armed with a J frame? Honestly I do not. Then again the risk in my sleepy little town is low. My odds leaving the hardware store at noon or a restaurant at 7 of getting into something are tiny. The kind of situations I might get into (strong arm robbery, just caught in the middle of something, etc) are the type that any centerfire handgun is capable of handling. So when I go to get a gallon of milk and slip the .38 into my back pocket I feel adequately, if not particularly well, armed.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Range Report and Strike Hard Gear AK Chest Rig Initial Impressions

Went to the range today. I had the privilege of coaching a person who had never fired a handgun before. He did well which is always good for positive reinforcement. I think he plans to shoot more often then eventually purchase a handgun of his own.

I shot OK considering it's been awhile. Revolvers are always fun to shoot. It also helps on ammo that they only hold 5-6 rounds and do not reload as quickly. So a 50 round box lasts a lot longer than with a 17 round Glock 9mm.

Rifle shooting went well. Honestly the setup where I was didn't have sufficient range to test that much but I was able to do CQB type stuff plus a few longer shots out to 150 meters or so.

I was able to find ammo locally to shoot though it took going to a few stores. That was good as I only flew with a small amount of ammo and my Lucky Gunner purchase is still en route.

My Strike Hard Gear AK-47 Chest Rig showed up in time to come along on the trip. I went with the padded H harness and am very happy with it. They charge $8 or something for the padded H whic is very reasonable and totally worth it. I especially like that the harness attaches to the rig with buckles so you've got a variety of options. Adjustment was simple. It is also pretty comfortable as well as low profile. The 4 mag pouches with small admin pouches on the sides and a read map pouch is a nice configuration for most civilian needs. They make an add on shingle to take it to 8 mags if you want. The front has MOLLE so you could stick on all manner of pouches to suit your needs. Mags are secured by tabs (designed for AK mags) held by elastic cords. It is a nice simple system. Access to mags in a hurry was great, I was able to do a few shoot 5, reload, shoot 5 drills and it worked well.

Overall for $75 plus 8 for the H harness I think this setup is an excellent buy.

We had fun shooting up all the ammo we could afford to shoot. Got home then I oiled up the guns because it was pretty wet. Tonight after the kids go to bed I will bring them out to do a real cleaning.

Shooting is fun. How was your last range trip?

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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pairing Pistols For Field and CCW Needs

On my recent road trip the two pistols I chose to keep handy were a pair of Glock 9mm's, large and small. A friend of the blog Chris once described their "his and hers tactical/ carry setup" of subcompact and compact pistols. They chose .40 cal M&P's. The .40 S&W is a fine round (even ball ammo is pretty hot) though it can have issues in some pistols (like they blow up). In any case the point here is not to get into a cartridge or pistol debate but the idea. It could be Glock 9mm's which would be my preference but you could also do XD 45's or whatever.

The advantages of this setup are numerous. Familiarity is one. Common calibers between pistols is another. Most will take the same magazines from larger to smaller (though not visa versa). A guy with a pair of Glock 9mm's say a 19 and a 26 could buy one type of 9mm defensive ammo, and go heavy on Glock 17 mags with a few 26's to keep in the smaller gun for CC. Also (though I am not sure this is the case for all guns) just about every part except the barrel, frame and slide on a Glock 9mm (also .40) is the same. So it even makes streamlining spare parts easier.

For revolver fans I would go with a J framed .38/.357mag and a full sized 4" .357.  I would recommend for concealed carry the smaller revolver should probably be a lightweight type vs a small steel J that might as well be made of lead. A J frame in .357 magnum would be great but .38 special is sufficient. (Speaking of which here is 1k in .38 ammo for $420). Some would note a steel J will probably last longer but these little guns tend not to get much play anyway so for most the issue is negligible. An Airweight J frame is an excellent CCW revolver.

For the full sized revolver I would strongly recommend a .357 magnum over a .38. The .38 is a fine round but .357 mag is a real stopper. Also if dangerous animals are a concern with the right load .357 mag is a solid bear killer (though not Grizzly or huge Alaskan bear's which are .44mag and up). The versatility of that setup would range from a great woods gun to concealed carry in town with plenty of plinking fun in the middle. An excellent setup for wheel gunners.

We could quibble makers and models all day long but there are numerous good options. As my finances become a bit more comfortable over the years Smith and Wesson revolvers are becoming the norm. However that's largely because Ruger's haven't been available PP when I was looking. For sheer ruggedness a Ruger SP101, though a brick to carry, and a GP100 are probably the way to go. In any case I would be careful with Taurus's and inclined to avoid other makers.

I'm not saying you absolutely need to have more than one pistol but it is certainly nice. The second gun buys you a lot of options. If the gear and ammo for them is compatible that's certainly a benefit. Worth thinking about beforehand so you do not end up with a Glock 9mm carry pistol and a Sig .40 for tactical stuff with nothing compatible between the two.

On an unrelated note.  The emphasis on large "tactical" type pistols in modern training for civilians sort of bothers me. Folks going to the range and doing classes with a full sized or almost full sized pistol that has a tac light, maybe a red dot and extended magazines. That is cool but most of those folks do not actually carry those guns around. Spending all your training time on a full sized handgun then carrying a .32 in your pocket which has half a box of ammo through it a decade ago is called missing the point. While banging out a bunch of rounds and doing cool guy stuff is satisfying folks need to put a significant portion of their pistol training time and resources into the pistol(s) they actually carry on a regular basis.

Anyway the point I'm getting at is to think a bit and try to choose a set of pistols that compliment each other to suit all of your needs while keeping an eye on simple logistics.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Rambling Gun Stuff Discussion

In my recent discussion of the J frame Chris of Arma Borealis mentioned the reload advantage of automatic's vs J frame .38 or .357mag revolvers. For the sake of convenience I am going to break subcompact type automatics into 3 categories: subcompact double stack, subcompact single stack and tiny.

Subcompact double stack: Examples of this are the Glock 26/27 and the M&P/ XD equivalents. These guns offer a lot of firepower in a small package. A 9mm Glock 26 holds 11 and the grip extension (a must) buys you another round. I think the Glock .40 is 10. Unsure about the M&P/XD but they are probably similar. They are also pretty shootable if you have enough grip to get the pinky on it. Also these guns can take larger magazines like a Glock 15 rd or 17 rd mag which is handy. Power is good too as these guns are generally chambered in 9mm/.40S&W/.45acp.

 I notice little difference transitioning between subcompact and compact's of the same flavor. Being shorter in terms of length and grip makes these guns easier to conceal than their compact and full sized siblings. Also if the gun is of the polymer flavor (vs a tiny steel 1911 or whatever) they are pretty light. Reliability is comparable to their siblings, a Glock will of course fare better than a Kel Tech. However nothing is free.

The downside of these guns is that they are the same width as the bigger guns. The J frame is much thinner throughout (obviously not the cylinder).  This means while their height/ length and weight are minimal the width is a consideration. Depending on your method of carry it could be an issue.

As compared to the J frame these guns shoot better, hold a lot more bullets and reload faster but are thicker and this a but harder to conceal.

Sub Compact single stack: Old school examples are the Walther PP/PPK/S/PPK and the Bersa .380. Newer examples would be the Ruger LC9 and S&W Shield. These guns often hold 7-8 rounds. I think some of the .45 models hold 6. These guns offer moderate, at the high end of 8 to a J with 5, to negligible, the mini .45's with 6 to a J with 5, capacity advantages.

The reliability varies. Walther's have been made by so many people over the years with some better than others. In general they are well, German. A precision machine that functions perfectly however it demands good fuel (bullets it likes) and some maintenance to do so. If you cannot do this, or the concept of use does not allow it, then choose another gun. If you can meet the fairly modest requirements these guns will do their job well. Bersa's by every account I have heard will run all day long. The downside is they are a fairly big and heavy .380. The new Ruger and S&W offerings are by every account I have seen built to a professional standard and will perform as such. If you get a Kel Tech or Taurus that is a roll of the dice, some run all day long but many do not.

Power varies between adequate with 9mm to marginally adequate with .380 or weak with .32 (the only .32's I am aware of in this size are the Walther's like Brigid's). IMO as we compare to the .38 the only round that is equal in terms of power is the 9mm.

Accuracy is pretty good. The quality guns in this category are capable of excellent accuracy. The Walther's particular are very accurate. A buddy of mine had a little j frame .38 but at some point realized he couldn't hit squat with it and bought a beautiful Walther PPK/S that shot wonderfully. A HIT with a .380 is indisputably more effective than a miss with a .38/.357mag.

Measured up to the J frame. These auto's are thin and thus easy to conceal. The J is thinner in spots but not by a whole lot. Capacity varies but the reload goes decisively to the semi auto. Power varies from a wash (.38 to 9mm) to decisively favoring the J.

Tiny pistols: Examples of old school ones are the Beretta .22lr/.25/.32. Newer examples are the Kel Tech P3, Ruger LC380. These guns are IMO really in a different class than the J frame. Power sucks to varying degrees, they do not hold many bullets and are often difficult guns to shoot well. Some can be shot accurately and other's not so much. Realistically effective ranges vary from across the room to 'belly gun's. Some manufacturers do not bother putting sights on these guns. The J beats them in every category except concealability.

The real advantage of these guns is that they beat the hell out of knives, fists or harsh words. Short of a speedo/ bikini or nekid they can be carried any time.

Between a small semi automatic or a J frame .38/.357mag both are servicable weapons. Both type of weapons have pluses and minuses. In the last few years a lot of really viable options by professional grade manufacturers have come out on the semi automatic side. On the other hand I can see why there is still a market for the J framed revolver.

I recently handled a Glock with two common modifications; an extended mag release and an extended slide stop. The extended mag release was terrible. It stuck out too far and rubbed like crazy on my side when carrying the gun. Personally I have never had an issue hitting the mag release on a Glock, the extended one is not wider (which might let you hit it instead of missing it if you were off a bit) but just stuck out further, like not needing to push my thumb another 1/8th of an inch really matters. I see no reason for this modification. Maybe it would buy 1/32 of a second which matters to gamers. To me for a practical use CCW/ tactical pistol the trade off is not worth it.

The extended slide stop I was ambivalent about. The part looked similar except a tiny nubbin towards the back that stuck out a small fraction of an inch. Unlike the terrible extended mag release it did not bother me par se but it did not do anything for me either. I've never had an issue hitting the slide stop to bring the slide forward. My thumb sweeps down in light contact with the frame and there is so much surface area covered I can't see how the stop could be missed.

Personally I will stick with a 3.5lb connector and a steel guide rod as my choice Glock mod's.

For my Remington 12 gauge 870P I've done some thinking and plan to stick with a 1 point sling indefinitely. Between cycling the action and (once I get one) using the light there is enough going on toward the end of a shotgun that I do not need a sling up there.

Got a Blade Tech IWB holster as part of a trade. It is pretty nice. An undershirt is important as the edges can be a touch abrasive but otherwise it's comfortable and being able to reholster 1 handed with an IWB holster is nice. A good piece of kit.

Well that is all I can think of to talk about right now. Hope you all have a great Friday. As always input is welcome.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Letter Re: Checking Your Handguns for Feeding Problems: Round Nose Versus Hollow Points

This chain Checking Your Handguns for Feeding Problems: Round Nose Versus Hollow Points, re, re has gone on long enough and got off track enough that I have to weigh in. In no way am I disparaging Jim Rawles or his excellent blog. Jim has been a friend to me and this blog. I read his excellent blog daily. When you accept guest posts inevitably some will be a bit off track. 

To briefly recap a guy has a pair of Taurus pistols (a .45 Millemium Pro and a  TCP .380)and prudently, though a bit late, decides to actually try shooting his chosen defensive ammo out of them. Go figure both of them failed to feed multiple times within a few rounds.

The first reply is from one guy who goes into the history of care and feeding on 1911's (don't worry we will get there in a minute) and rambled about how hollow point ammunition is just a marketing gimmick. The second reply is from some guy who suggests using a dremel to polish the feed ramp of your pistol to improve feeding.

Onto my thoughts in no particular order:

1) Go figure a couple of new unproven designs by a notoriously mediocre company with spotty quality control had issues. Taurus revolvers are generally servicable but newly designed auto's probably aren't a good idea. (Though I have heard good things about their 1911's) Seriously this is like Lou Gehrig dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, how the hell did he not see it coming.

Weapons you are going to use to defend yourself and family (vs hunting, plinking, fun, etc) absolutely need to be built to a professional standard. They need to be able to be shot a lot and feed anything. Glock, Sig, HK, Smith and Wesson (M&P and revolvers), Springfield (specifically the XD), Beretta and Ruger all build guns to a professional standard. It would be an uphill battle to convince me there is a Taurus (specifically their automatics) or a Kel Tech that meets such a standard.

I'm not saying you have to spend a ton of money on a gun. We all have competing priorities and budgets. If you aren't willing to save another C note for a Glock/ M&P get a basic gun like a good used revolver instead of some POS automatic.

2) To further elaborate a fighting pistol needs to feed all ammunition put into it. We can break feeding issues down by broad gun type. In order older guns, pieces of junk and 1911's.

2A) Older guns. The older military surplus and pattern guns (WWII through the 1970's give or take) were designed to shoot ball ammo either FMJ or strait up lead round nose. I do not fault these guns for that. It was the ammunition used at the time so it just makes sense. With these guns IMO you have two valid options. The first is to just shoot ball ammo. A good friend of this blog (though lately absent) who is big into surplus guns and has quite an enviable collection does this. He often swaps through various high power's of different makes and it would be cost prohibitive and impractical to test and keep track of which gun feeds what ammo. So he just shoots ball in them. I'm not in love with this option but for some folks it makes sense.

The other option is to get your gun worked over by a qualified gunsmith who specializes in your particular type of gun. Send your high power to a high power guy, your older surplus 1911 to a 1911 guy, etc. This can be cost prohibitive. Unless there is some compelling reason you want to carry that particular gun it might be better to buy a modern pistol of professional grade.

2B) Pieces of Junk. Yes, I am saying that currently produced pistols which do not reliably feed modern defensive ammunition are pieces of junk. Do not buy a piece of junk for defensive purposes. Expecting a piece of junk to work when you need it is just not realistic. You wouldn't get upset when $10 Soldiers Choice scotch doesn't taste like Ballantine's let alone Glenlivet. Why should guns be any different? I am on the record as being in favor of quality used guns instead of new lower quality guns.

2C) 1911's. We addressed the older milsurp type 1911's already, as to the rest. At the risk of offending somebody here is my observation on 1911's. Two types of 1911's actually work reliably. The first are basic Mil Spec type guns from quality manufacturers specifically Springfield and Colt. These guns will shoot all day long with the accuracy you would expect from a service weapon (good but not amazing). The second are really high end custom guns like Ed Brown and Wilson Combat or the high end Colt's. These guns work well but they cost as much as a decent used car. Probably outside most peoples budget for a carry gun. If you can afford it without shorting yourself elsewhere then rock on.

The problems with 1911's come, in my not so humble opinion, from fly by night custom 'Bob's Mom's basement' makers and lower end "target guns". Bob sucks as an armorer and certainly is not a craftsmen. He slaps together a bunch of different brand parts without a clue what he is doing. There are issues with fitting and stacking tolerances. As to the lower end "target guns". Modern manufacturing technology makes it easy to crank down tolerances which makes guns more accurate but at the expense of reliability. Tight tolerances without serious quality control and craftsmen level fitting make for an unreliable gun. There is a reason AK's and those old WWII 1911's (with ball ammo they are designed for) will run all day long dirty as can be, they have fairly loose tolerances.

3) Good on this guy for actually testing his gun with the defensive ammunition he carries. I think far too few people actually do this and it is important. We could debate round count here. I've seen some folks say you need to shoot 500 rounds of carry ammo to know it is reliable. Honestly I am not doing that unless someone else foots the bill. Typically I shoot about 50 rounds. Since the only centerfire semi automatic pistols we own are Glock's there are never any issues, this is just a check.

4) To support #2 I do not carry super expensive all brass hollow points like the new Cor Bon stuff. I carry 115gr JHP Federal Classic Personal Defense. Awhile back I got a case of the stuff from Lucky Gunner for like .35 cents a round. They have it in stock now but given the state of things prices are considerably higher. They will come back down in due time at which point I will buy another case.

5) I am strongly against any home gunsmith work (not to be confused with basic armorer tasks like swapping out a simple drop in part) on defensive weapons unless you have some training and genuinely know what you are doing. By all means explore and try new things. Just do it with plinking/ fun, hunting or sporting guns. If your home repair/ work on a clay shooting shotgun or deer rifle fails worst case your day at the range or hunt is ruined. In the grand scheme of things neither of those are a huge deal. On the other hand if defensive weapons fail you and your family could end up dead.

This means either buy guns that work reliably which can be repaired using drop in parts (the way to go) or if that does not work or the problem is too serious take your defensive weapons to a legitimate gunsmith who is competent, or even specializes, in that particular weapon.

6. In conclusion- Buy modern professional grade guns for defensive use. If they break take them to a legitimate gunsmith to be fixed.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Basic Guns 4.5: Cheaper Alternatives to Basic Guns

So I have been doing this Basic Guns series and some folks have mentioned other cheaper generic/ off brand alternatives. In the case that brought this up it was Part 3: Shotguns and somebody mentioned the H&R Pardner.  This suggestion isn't good or bad parse it just brings up a point worth discussing.

Personally I would rather have a used quality gun than a newer less quality one. I'd take a Maverick 88 with a couple scratches and dings than a new H&R Pardner or a used Smith and Wesson .38 over a new no name revolver that has been in production for a year. The reason for this is that guns age very well and this goes double for good guns. Being honest most guns are not really shot much anyway. They sit in a nightstand, closet or gun safe most of the time. The bottom line is that good guns tend to last for a really long time. Also it is worth revisiting my thoughts on common manufacturer/ model/ caliber firearms before we go further. Some folks think otherwise and that is of course their right.

The reason I think this way is that good guns rarely fail you but cheaper guns often do. I'm not saying all the time but cheaper guns are more likely to have systemic issues and a higher rate of lemons. Especially since we are talking small differences in money the $20-40 difference is worth exponentially increasing the risk you will have issues with a gun. I know it's the basic guns series but people with few guns on tight budgets can afford to replace and fix stuff the least. They need the darn things to work as there are not backups.

The decisions about which guns to choose for this series come from my personal experience and the  experiences of others I have been able to draw on. I truly believe they are good choices but that does not mean they are the only choices. Other people might be comfortable with different, potentially cheaper guns and that is fine.

Well those are my thoughts on cheaper guns for this series. This weekend we will be talking rifles which should be fun.


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.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

A few things happened here. Recently I have put some time and energy into stocking a few extra household items. Stuff like laundry soap, light bulbs, etc. Also picked up a few OTC meds and a half gallon of 'emergency whiskey'. While obviously not a good choice for some emergencies but for plenty of more likely ones 2 drinks at the end of a long day would be nice. It isn't a bad idea to stash some of whatever you like.

Didn't really do a long run but overall last weeks fitness efforts went decent. 

Ended up selling off the crimson trace laser grips that came with my new revolver. They are cumbersome for concealed carry being fairly large for a small gun like a J frame. They are just subtly too big to really let the gun do what I want. Also I shoot it better using the sights anyway. It's true they may be useful someday but that potential day is a long way off and during that time many new developments will likely come into play. Long before then I will probably be running red dots on my defensive pistols anyway. Also it dropped the price point for the little wheel gun which was nice. More importantly along with another sale freed up some cash for some things I will keep to myself at least for now.

Well that is what I did to prepare this week. What did you do?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Glock Modifications


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)?
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