We usually want the most velocity we can SAFELY get, and here’s all about how to stay safe. Keep reading!

Glen Zediker

I’ve been on the topic of load development — “working up” a load — for the past couple of editions, and, based on the excellent feedback from you all, here’s more. As always, there’s only so much I can write before I have to cut myself off.

I’ve said that velocity is the initial leading indicator of pressure. Velocity, in itself, however, is not a definitive indicator of pressure. I’d like to clarify… The first point is that I am a big believer in establishing a goal for load development, and, for me (and likely most others) that is a velocity. Accuracy is a given! I will never consider a combination that’s not shooting little knots downrange, but accuracy and velocity are not mutually exclusive. I also would never consider a combination that produced very small groups at an unacceptably low velocity, and that’s because I’m shooting (always) beyond 200 yards. The super-accurate low-velocity load gets its bullet shifted that much more in a variable wind, so it’s way on less likely to maintain those small groups.

I want to hit the velocity ballpark I have in mind and that’s why chronograph readings as I’m incrementally increasing the propellant charge are my leading indicator to how close I’m getting. I am also, always, looking for pressure signs on the spent cases — each and every one ejected.

So about those pressure signs…

Primer condition gets first attention.

primer pressure signs
Middle is what I want to see: pretty much a new primer with a nice round dimple in the center. Right, well. Massive pressure! But notice that the primer still shows a radius on the edges and is only a little rougher in appearance, well, aside from the crack…

A primer should have a smoothly dimpled firing pin indention, a shiny appearance, and a visible radius on its edge. If any of those are missing or compromised to varying degrees, there’s your sign… A dull and flattened primer has been abused, as well as one with a pitted or cratered appearance. Clearly, a crack or leak (indicated by black fouling) is way over the limit. After experience, backed up by gauged measurements, you’re liable to find that judging what’s “normal” and “safe” from one rifle can be different from another. I have had individual guns that flattened primers at any point near a safe-maximum charge. And, I’ve had them that just lied. Unfortunately, small-rifle primers don’t show always show pressure signs as reliably as large-rifle primers (structural differences). I’ve had experiences where the primers are all nice and shiny like and then blow out with the next increment. Shame on me for taking it there, and, speaking of: don’t get greedy! That’s one reason a velocity goal is important. Despite what your kindergarten teacher told you, you’re not that special… If you’re reading another 50+ feet per second more than what consensus says you should, better bet you’re over-pressure. “We” went through a lot of that when coated bullets got popular: those changed all the rules for “maximums.”

flattened primer
Here’s flat. My experience has been that large-rifle primers tend to display this indication more so than small. What’s happened is that the primer has flowed quite forcibly to fit the confines of its pocket and the bolt face. It’s also normal for some rifles, but that just means you have to know: pay attention and back off if you see a flattened primer.

The best pressure indicators show at the loading bench.

primer seating
My best “gage” for pressure is seating a primer in a fired and resized case. It’s a feel, gained through comparative experience, but too easy means there was too much pressure.

The reason I suggest (strongly) doing load work-up with new cases is because you then have a baseline. Measure the case head diameter (on the case, not the rim or groove) on the new case and compare it to the fired case. Up to 0.0005 (that’s ten-thousandths) is really high but some say acceptable (not me), and 0.0002-0.0003 is what I’d prefer. Plus, since a new case is at its smallest, meaning it will have a little less capacity than a fired case, you’re getting some assurance that the pressure will likely be a little lower from the same load in subsequent reuses of that case.

All dimensions are at their minimum in a new case. Primer pocket expansion is related to case head expansion. I get (what’s proven to be) a very accurate indication of pressure based on the resistance to seating a primer in that resized case. You have to use a priming tool that gives adequate feedback (meaning low leverage) but if the primer just slips right back in, that load was over-pressure. In a more extreme circumstance, the primer won’t stay seated. Yes. I have seen that. Shame on me, again.

Finally, a new case easily points out the difference between a “pressure ring” and a “sizing line” that can show just above the case head along the case body. A bright ring there indicates excessive stretching (a sizing line comes from the die reducing that area, and is perfectly normal). That “pressure ring” sign is also likely an “improper headspace” sign, but that’s another article.

pressure ring
Here’s a “pressure ring.” This poor old fellah used to be a brand-new Lake City Match case. I suspect there was some issue with this rifle’s headspace, but if you see this bright stretch mark, red flag it! It means the case is going to crack right there next use (called an “insipient head separation”).

Pierced Primers
This is a common malady on AR-platform guns, and especially on the big-chassis versions (SR-25, AR-10, and similar). Pressure both isn’t and is the culprit and the solution. Lemmeesplain: What causes the pierce is a firing pin hole that is too large. It is not the fit of the firing pin tip to the hole! An engineer can explain it, but it has to do with surface area covered by the firing pin hole, and then along with it the surface area of the primer. Simply: the firing pin hole turns into a cookie cutter. A primer pierce creates all manner of ills, including wrecked firing pins, gas flow through the charging handle area (where your face is), and abrasive debris scattered throughout the lower interior, including the trigger parts.

firing pin hole size
Blueprints call for a 0.058-inch diameter firing pin hole on an AR15 bolt. If the hole is too large then primer structural failures (pierces) will, not can, rear up. Too big is anything more than 0.062 inches, and I’ve seen plenty bigger than that. I use machinist’s drill bits to quick-check bolts: 1/16 (0.0625) and #53 (0.0595). If the first fits the hole, find another bolt. If the #53 won’t go, use that bolt with confidence.
pierced primer
Notice that this primer doesn’t really show excessive pressure signs. Just has a hole in it…

Excessive pressure gets blamed for a pierce but what’s really going on there is that it’s not certain that amount of pressure would be judged as “excessive.” It’s just gotten high enough to bring on this result. So, yes, lightening the load will stop the piercing, but, in my experience and that of many others, the pierces can start happening before reaching what most might agree on is a max load. I say that because “we” are all shooting about the same bullet/primer/case/propellant combinations in NRA High Power Rifle (with respect to Service Rifle division AR15s, for instance). Seeing pierced primers before hitting the proximity of competitive velocities points to “something else,” and that is the firing pin hole.

In a truly over-pressure load, the primer can crack or blow slap out, but it won’t pierce.

The information in this article is from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available HERE at Midsouth. Also check HERE for more information about this and other publications from Zediker Publishing.

REVIEW: BPM-15 Barnes Precision Machine AR15 Pistol Review


Looking for a SERIOUS AR15 pistol? Check out this one… READ MORE

Major Pandemic

BPM AR15 pistol
Overall, the BPM embodies everything an AR-platform can be. It’s a capable, very serious, tool. And a lot of fun to shoot!

Last year Barnes Precision Machine (BPM) added AR15 pistols to its line-up. Being a long-term fan of BPM, and reasons for that will come out in this article — I had to have one.

Generally, as a reviewer of a continuous stream of AR15 rifles, I have to strain a bit to understand the benefits X-brand delivers vs Y-brand…because in most cases 99-percent of AR15 manufacturers all use the same parts from the same OEM manufacturers. Barnes is one of those OEM manufacturers in the list who makes parts for the biggest names in the industry.

With nearly every part being made in-house Barnes has the ability to assure every part they use comes together in the most optimal fashion. The result is a tighter fitting and feeling rifle with a higher potential for accuracy.

Barnes has both the build and part quality down; however, what sets them apart is the 100-percent in-house production (excluding springs, trigger, and furniture). I know of four manufacturers in the US actually making a majority of the AR15 parts in house — LMT, Daniel Defense, Colt, and Barnes Precision — however there are a few others starting to pop up here and there.

sig brace
The BPM pistol comes with the excellent Sig Brace over a KAK buffer tube, which can be easily replaced with a stock, given proper approval.

Many manufacturers are creating ARs and AR accessories because they look cooler than the original. Do they work better? No, generally it is about blinging out your AR versus increasing any real level of performance. Barnes Precision takes a different route with the belief that the overall AR15 platform and design is excellent as is, but some smart tweaks can make it exponentially better without huge cost increases — and still maintain the integrity of a Mil-Spec rifle. Little things make a difference like a captured take-down detent spring that doesn’t go flying when you remove the buffer tube, a tight receiver-to-receiver fit that can even be tightened with an internal receiver tension screw, a sub-MOA match-grade barrel included even in their least expensive rifles, and softer-shooting mid-length gas systems. BPM includes their own Barnes NiBo (Nickel-Boron) coated bolt carrier group and a nice lockable hard-sided Patriot Case with die-cut foam inserts.

There are other innovative design concepts BPM pioneered to improve reliability and durability of the AR15 platform. The in-house made bolt’s cam pin hole is reamed versus being peened which increases the strength of the bolt. BPM designed the first long extended barrel nut design for free-float handguards which does not require indexing, allows perfect torquing of the barrel, and delivers a significantly stronger rigid handguard (in my opinion it is the most solid in the industry). The design is so rigid that certain Military units are using the handguard to mount precision sighting systems. BPM was also the first in the industry to offer NP3 coating on AR15s not because it was cool looking, but because it protected all those typical phosphate coated parts from rust and corrosion in a marine environment. Of course all these great features are included in the BPM-15 Pistol as well.

BPM pistol
On this model, the stainless match barrel, gas block and gas tube are Melonited inside and out.

Back in 2014, I had several discussions with Andrew Barnes (President BPM). His perspective was that he did not want to offer an AR15 pistol because everyone else had one, he wanted to assure it could be a tool for military, law enforcement, and civilians from a practical perspective. With the rise of the Sig Brace and civilian comfort with Trusts to register SBR — Short Barreled Rifles — he believed there was a niche. Input from his military and LEO contacts really wanted a fast AR15 pistol or SBR which could get in and out of vehicles fast with all the same features as the BPM-15 rifle, including good accuracy. College campus security wanted something light and fast which could address terroristic threat on campus, but be light and small enough to carry every day on the golf carts and Segways used on campuses.

The base of the pistol is exactly the same as their rifles, but with a shorter 7.5-in. barrel, shorter handguard, and Sig Brace with extended buffer tube. The result is a civilian-legal short, fast, and powerful defensive and sport pistol that is a tool versus a toy.

The handguard for instance is not the cool-looking extended-over-muzzle-length style because the handguard length is sized to assure clearance of any muzzle device or suppressor without worrying about handguard interference. Barnes also used a heavier barrel to assure it could satisfy the demands of sustained continuous fire versus a faster-heating skinny barrel. Instead of just slipping a Sig Brace on the back of a standard pistol buffer tube, BPM used a KAK buffer tube to provide a more comfortable shooter platform with the Sig Brace. The end result is a tight, well-thought-out AR15 pistol which is useable out of the box as a defense and sporting tool, but can be easily converted to a shoulder-stocked SBR with the properly acquired tax stamp.

BPM handguard
BPM uses a proprietary extended barrel nut design that produces a very rigid handguard.

Almost every other manufacturer who offers some fancy diamond hard finish are only at best delivering a upper and lower receiver with a really hard finish. The problem is that they are coating the hard anodized items which are already the most impervious to corrosion, but all the other phosphate parts are left exposed which can rust of corrode quickly in a marine or wet environment. Barnes offers 100-percent NP3 coated firearms as a BPM NP3 Parts Upgrade Package.

BPM pistol
My test gun featured Barnes Precision Machine NP3 Parts Upgrade Package.Trigger assembly pins, trigger set, ejection door components, forward assist components, charging handle, selector, take-down and pivot-pins, springs, castle nut, egg plate, even the detents, handguard bolts, barrel nut, crush washer, and flash hider are NP3 treated.

The package includes NP3 coated trigger assembly pins, a trigger set, ejection door components, forward assist components, charging handle, selector, take-down and pivot-pins, springs, castle nut, egg plate, even the detents, te handguard bolts, barrel nut, crush washer, and flash hider are are NP3 treated. On my model, the stainless match barrel, gas block and gas tube are Nitrocarburization treated (AKA: Melonited) inside and out which is better than chrome because it delivers superior corrosion resistance and does not degrade accuracy like chrome can.

In the end, the coatings deliver a totally corrosion-resistant AR. All this was done not to deliver the stunning custom-look it has, but, as Andrew Barnes was quick to point out “the cool factor is only a side benefit…it’s all about performance.”

Mepro 21
An Israeli Mepro 21 is the perfect sight for this firearm.

My testing did not center around the conventional accuracy testing, but instead testing the pistol for what it was designed for — fast shooting on man-sized targets from 0-300 yards. For this task, I attached an Israeli Mepro 21 sight which has proven itself easy in combat environments as one of the best combat reflex sights on the market. My Mepro 21 features the triangle dual (fiber optic and tritium) illuminated reticle. Frankly I love this optic and it proved perfect for this BPM15 Pistol.

Once I established a 25-yard zero and confirmed no additional tweaks were needed at 300 yards, I started having A LOT of fun. With my steel Action Targets set up at 25, 100, 200, and 300 yards, I was extremely impressed how easy the Barnes pistol was to shoot. They had done their homework. I was able to keep my hostage 6-inch swinger swaying on the 200-yard line. Of course I missed a few shots here and there, however for an AR15 Pistol, this gun is well-suited to serious work whether for defense or sport.

AR15 pistols are, of course, just as legal and easy to acquire as any other handgun through your local FFL. An AR15 pistol is a great path to acquiring a Short Barrel Rifle complete with any rifle shoulder stock you might want. A buyer can purchase and enjoy the AR15 pistol while waiting for ATF SBR tax stamp to come through and then swap out the Sig Brace for a rifle stock. I cannot wait to push my SBR stamp through on this build to convert from pistol to Short Barrel Rifle.

About a year ago, I was very skeptical of the usefulness of an AR15 pistol in the home and urban environment. Today I stand converted. Once I shot a well-designed AR15 pistol and realize how quick the gun is for urban home interiors, I began to believe that the AR15 pistol is actually the best home defense option that combines the accuracy, power, and capacity of the AR15 with the maneuverability of a pistol. This BPM-15 pistol embodies that concept perfectly.

BPM pistol specs

Barnes Precision Machine
The Mako Group (Mepro sight)

Major Pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

CNN ANALYST: Women Carrying Guns Is Not Practical…


Whoa… Really, Tom? CNN offends a major segment of gun owners. Read how and why HERE

tom fuentes

Posted by Robyn Sandoval via A Girl & A Gun

On February 24 CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes asked the question, “For a woman, where are you going to hide that gun during the day?” He continued with another question, “If you wear a dress, if you wear a skirt, are you going to have to wear a jacket everyday with a belt and a holster the way a detective on duty would do?”

Yes, he actually asked those questions on national television in 2018. Dave Marris captured Tom Fuentes’ comments; see the clip HERE.

It is unfortunate that someone with such a public persona and lengthy career in the FBI is so ignorant about women and our ability to carry a firearm. Never before have their been more products available specifically tailored to women’s needs. There are holsters designed for all areas of a woman’s body that can be easily and safely concealed under everyday clothing. The traditional OWB holster that Mr. Fuentes references is used by some women who prefer to wear jackets or overshirts to cover the firearm, but that is only one option. There are quality holsters for inside the waistband (front, side, or back), corset/bellyband, bra mounted (both front and side), thigh and ankle holsters, boot holsters, and others. Millions of women know how to evaluate a concealed carry holster for EDC safety and functionality.

Secondly, firearms themselves have become smaller and easier to conceal. It is not uncommon for women to have a variety of pistols that conceal better with different wardrobe choices or activities. We recently compiled a list of the best concealed carry handguns that our female pistol instructors carry on a daily basis. There are dozens of quality firearms on the market that are perfect for on-body carry for men and women to easily conceal. These firearms are secured safely in a holster unless the person determines, under the law, that lethal force is required.

Finally, firearm safety is not a gender issue. All people must always follow the 4 Rules of Gun Safety. There are 3 safe places for a self-defense pistol and all men and women must adhere to these principles. Mr. Fuentes jested that a woman would leave her concealed carry pistol in her desk drawer and he showed his ignorance to the emphasis that our organization puts on the safe storage of firearms.

We invite Mr. Fuentes and his colleagues at CNN to become more familiar with female gun owners, our gun-carrying lifestyle, values, and abilities. Many women come into gun ownership with the primary purpose of protecting themselves. Thousands of women turn to organizations like A Girl & A Gun for holster information and responsible firearms training. We welcome them to the mindset of being their own first responders by carrying handguns and taking charge of their personal safety and the safety of their loved ones. We welcome Mr. Fuentes to learn more, too.

Find out more about this group. Reach A Girl & A Gun HERE

A Beginner’s Guide To Choosing Pistol Ammo


Don’t get lost in the sea of cartridge boxes at the gun shop! This article will point you in the right direction. MORE

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Posted by Kyle Schmidt

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The authors of the Declaration of Independence were brilliant. The wording they used was so profound that it still has a tremendous impact on our lives today.

Sure, all people were created equal — but when it comes to ammunition, not so much.

As a newer shooter, choosing ammunition can be a daunting task. Full-metal jacket, ball, hollow-point, wad-cutter, round-nose, flat-point, plated, coated, and the list goes on. These terms can seem pretty overwhelming, and these are just common types of pistol bullets.

So, how is a new shooter supposed to know what kind of ammunition to buy?

Centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition are made up of four components:
(NOTE: I often hear people refer to a round of ammunition as a “bullet.” Although this is generally accepted slang for some, it can be confusing when discussing ammunition. For the purposes of this guide, when referring to a “bullet,” I am referring to the individual component that is a part of a single round of ammunition, which is also called a “cartridge”.)

pistol cartridge parts

Generally speaking, the two biggest variables in ammunition come from the powder and the bullet. The type and quantity of powder will predominantly affect the velocity of the bullet. The bullet design has a significant affect on accuracy and performance once the bullet impacts the target.

When determining what ammunition to choose, the first question to ask is, “What’s it for?”

Ammunition is designed with a variety of purposes in mind — hunting, target shooting, competition, and personal defense among them.

In general, ammunition made for hunting and personal defense is designed to have a higher velocity, a heavier bullet, and a bullet designed to expand when it strikes the target. Commonly, this type of ammunition is sold in containers of smaller quantities and often comes with a higher price tag. This ammunition generally has more felt recoil, which is more commonly referred to as “kick.”

defensive ammo

Ammunition made for competition is usually designed with the specific requirements of a given type of competition in mind. Some competitions are heavily designed around extreme accuracy, while others may be more speed-oriented. Because some events require a great deal of accuracy, this may lead to an expensive bullet design and a higher cost. But it’s typically still less expensive than hunting ammunition.

Generally speaking, competition shooters look for ammunition that has less felt recoil. So, keep in mind that many competition shooters modify their guns so they will work with ammunition of different lengths and with ammunition that requires less energy to function the gun. Be cautious when purchasing ammunition designed for competition, as it may not function all firearms.

match handgun ammo



“Target ammunition” is a general-purpose term. This is the ammunition you might see in bulk packaging at the sporting goods store. The bullets and powder used vary significantly. Unlike competition ammunition, this ammo is generally designed to function a wide variety of firearms reliably but does not have the same high level of felt recoil as the hunting or self-defense ammunition. This ammunition is probably the most common type purchased by the typical shooter for practice. This ammunition also gives shooters the most “bang” for their buck, as it can be the least expensive option.

bulk ammo

Most importantly, the ammunition you purchase needs to safely and reliably function the gun.

JUST REMEMBER — When purchasing ammunition, there are a couple of other things to consider before filling your home with a new type of ammo.

Quantity — Start in small quantities when purchasing new ammunition. Most places will not take ammunition back, so if you find out the ammunition does not function your gun and you just purchased thousands of rounds of it, you’ll be stuck with trying to sell it to someone else.

Function — Some guns just don’t like some ammunition. The ammo may work fine in one gun, but cause constant malfunctions in another.

Accuracy — Some bullets shoot better out of some guns than others. Even if you buy the latest, greatest new ammunition that your favorite YouTube video depicted to be the most accurate ammo in the history of the galaxy, it may not shoot well out of your barrel. Conversely, you may find that a particular bullet shoots well out of your gun that your know-it-all buddy says is terrible.

Manufacturer — Consider the source. I have seen numerous problems with ammunition over the years, including ammunition that did not have any powder and ammunition that had way too much powder. Occasionally, I have seen ammunition destroy a gun. I have even seen this happen with ammunition from well-known manufacturers. However, they have been responsive when paying for repairs or replacing the gun if needed. That same expectation may not be realistic for the small, garage-based ammunition companies.

At the end of the day, the ammo questions you need to ask yourself:
Will you shoot it?
Does it meet your reliability requirement?
Does it meet your accuracy requirement?
Does it meet your felt recoil requirement?
Does it meet your cost requirement?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you probably shouldn’t purchase the ammo, as you likely won’t enjoy shooting it. If you don’t enjoy shooting it, the ammunition will just stay in the box and you won’t get any practice. If you don’t get any practice, you definitely will not get any better. And if you don’t get any better, you won’t ever get to experience the great enjoyment that comes from being a competent gun owner.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory®.

You’ll find all you need HERE!

How to Break in Your New Pistol in 4 Easy Steps


Don’t wait too long after getting that new handgun to get it, and yourself, ready for use. “Right now” isn’t too soon! Read why HERE


Jason Hanson

Imagine being the victim of a burglary five times in a six-year period. Not only would you be losing personal valuables during each burglary, but undoubtedly the ongoing victimization would take a toll on your life in other ways.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to a man named Harvey Lembo. Harvey is a retired lobster fisherman who lives in a small apartment in Maine. He takes multiple medications and uses a motorized wheelchair to get around.

Most likely, the criminals who kept breaking into Harvey’s apartment knew he had prescription medications in his home. They also assumed he was an easy victim since he was only able to move around using his wheelchair.

The fourth time Harvey’s apartment was burglarized, the thieves made off with around $1,000 and several prescription bottles. It was then that one of Harvey’s neighbors suggested he purchase a gun to protect himself. About a month later, Harvey decided that was probably a good idea. So he went out and purchased a 7 mm Russian-made revolver that he kept under his pillow.

The same day he purchased the gun, Harvey was awakened in the night by a noise coming from his kitchen. He got out of bed, moved himself to his wheelchair and quietly proceeded to the kitchen with his gun.

When he reached the kitchen, he saw a man going through the cabinet where he kept his medicine. Harvey told him to sit down and wait for the police or he would shoot. The burglar didn’t listen to instructions and Harvey ended up shooting the suspect as he ran out of the apartment.

A short time later, police arrived and followed the trail of blood. It led them to 45-year-old Christopher Wildhaber, who had been shot in the shoulder. Wildhaber was arrested and charged with burglary. He was later sentenced to four years in prison.

According the Maine Criminal Code, “A person in possession or control of a dwelling place or a person who is licensed or privileged to be therein is justified in using deadly force upon another person… when the person reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other person.” Basically, Harvey was perfectly within his rights to do what he did to protect himself in his own residence.

But consider this: Within hours of buying his revolver, Harvey had to use it to defend himself. He didn’t have weeks or months to spend time at the shooting range practicing and breaking in his new gun. That being said, today I want to share with you four steps for breaking in a new firearm — which hopefully you’ll have time to do before ever having to use your gun.

1. Clean your gun
Even if you purchase your gun brand-new straight from the factory, it doesn’t hurt to give it a good cleaning. You never know how long it’s been sitting on a store shelf or under what conditions it’s been kept. Whenever you clean your gun, you should visually inspect each part of the firearm. Make sure there aren’t any loose metal shavings or barrel obstructions. And don’t forget to grease your gun with some sort of oil or lubricant such as Remington oil.

pistol cleaning kit

2. Practice dry-firing
If your new gun is a semiautomatic, you should definitely dry-fire and function-test your gun. In other words, rack the slide to ensure it moves properly, and then dry-fire the gun multiple times. As long as it’s a centerfire gun (not rimfire like a .22), you can safely dry-fire your new gun without damaging it to make sure it works properly.

3. Shoot an FBI qualification
The first time you go to the range with your new gun I recommend shooting an FBI qualification test. This is only 60 rounds, but it’s a good way to get started with your new firearm. Of course, 60 rounds aren’t enough to break in your firearm. Ideally, you should shoot at least 500 rounds through your new gun to break it in. This should include different drills in addition to the FBI qualification test. In short, you need to test out every aspect of your new gun. Now is the time to find out if you have a bad magazine or you need to adjust your sights — not when an intruder is barreling toward you.

4. Test your self-defense ammunition
Go to the range and run your self-defense ammunition through your gun. You need to make sure your hollow points feed properly and the gun doesn’t jam with this type of ammunition. I realize self-defense ammo is a lot more expensive, but this is very important to do. I know some people who shoot two or three rounds of hollow-point ammo and then start carrying their gun. Personally, I’m not comfortable carrying a gun I’ve only shot a handful of defensive rounds through, which is why I recommend putting at least 100 rounds through the gun. Once I’m sure my new gun functions flawlessly with my self-defense ammo, then I’ll give it another cleaning and start carrying it.

self defense ammo

If you follow these four steps to break in your brand-new firearm, you will be better prepared to use it if and when the need arises. It’s lucky that Harvey was successfully able to use his new revolver to keep himself from being robbed a fifth time, but that’s not a chance I’d want to take in my own home.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, click HERE.

Check out Midsouth Shooters Supply for a few products mentioned in this article HERE (cleaning supplies) and HERE (defensive ammo).


NRA Statement on Corporate Partnerships


There’s a lot going on out there, folks. Here is NRA’s statement regarding recent calls from some to boycott the defender of the Second Amendment. READ IT HERE



The more than five million law-abiding members of the National Rifle Association have enjoyed discounts and cost-saving programs from many American corporations that have partnered with the NRA to expand member benefits.

Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, a number of companies have decided to sever their relationship with the NRA, in an effort to punish our members who are doctors, farmers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, nurses, shop owners and school teachers that live in every American community. We are men and women who represent every American ethnic group, every one of the world’s religions, and every form of political commitment.

The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System, or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement.

Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.

Let it be absolutely clear. The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world.

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter@NRA.

Midsouth Shooters Supply Blog Editor Note —
We follow a policy here of avoiding heresay, unbased-opinion pieces, editorializing, rants, raves, Tweets, twits, and the like. I’ve read a lot (a lot) of hateful commentary this past week or so, and am waiting for something concrete to take shape so we can present it here in these pages. Until then: Boycotts work both ways…
— G. Zediker

Flooded With Ammo


Is it safe to shoot ammo that’s been exposed to water? Depends… Read more!


by Jason Hanson

In 2016, the U.S. experienced 19 major floods, which was a record number for a single year. 2017 was been a busy year for flooding as well, especially with Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Combined estimates of the damages of the two recent hurricanes will most likely exceed 150 billion dollars.

The fact is, flooding can occur in every state in the U.S. and floods kill more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Now, with the amount of flooding we have seen this year there is no question that many people in Texas and Florida have lost personal belongings, likely including guns and ammo.

The reality is, it doesn’t have to be a natural disaster for you to experience flooding in your home since a broken water pipe or an overflowing toilet can also lead to a messy situation. Considering the number of gun owners who have most likely experienced flooding recently it leads to the question of whether or not ammunition that has been submerged in water can still be used?

To be clear, there is a big difference between ammo that has been used while you’re training outdoors in the rain or snow compared to ammo that has been sitting in a basement completely submerged in water.

I have trained outdoors in all types of weather from rain to snow and I’ve never had these elements affect my gun or ammo. Of course, I always give my firearms a good cleaning after training so as long as you do this as well, you shouldn’t have any issues when training in wet weather.

For ammunition that has been under water for any amount of time there are a few different issues that could potentially arise. The problem is, there are so many different factors when flooding occurs that it’s difficult to give a one fits all type of answer. For example, the depth of the water, the amount of time the ammo was submerged, and whether the water had contaminates can all affect the ammunition.

Nevertheless, once you remove the ammo from the water you would obviously want to dry it out. However, during this process the ammo could be damaged or deteriorate even more than what occurred when it was in the water.

In addition, you face the risk of a weaker powder charge when you fire the weapon, which could mean there isn’t enough pressure to push the bullet out of the barrel. In other words, you could pull the trigger and the bullet might only move slightly, then, if you pulled the trigger again while the bullet was still stuck you could seriously injure yourself.

Perhaps, the most critical issue with ammo that has been submerged in water is that it could fail to fire for a number of different reasons caused by the water. If you’re like me and carry a concealed firearm everywhere you legally can, then you probably don’t want to risk using ammo that may or may not fire.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize a malfunction can happen with any ammo but that’s why I train to clear the malfunction and move to the next round in my firearm if I need to defend myself. The thing is, I wouldn’t bet my life on ammo that has been submerged in water.

Unfortunately, the problem is there is really no way to tell which ammo is safe to use and which is completely damaged. Basically, you can’t inspect every round because you never really know what kind of internal damage has taken place.

Also, I’ve heard some people mention that the primers in their ammo are sealed so water wouldn’t be able to get in. However, I still wouldn’t risk firing the ammo because there is truly no way to check the primer to make sure its safe.

In contrast, I understand that ammo can be incredibly expensive and if you have thousands of rounds stocked up for an emergency you are no doubt losing a ton of money by getting rid of the ammo. However, I would never risk firing a round that could cause injury or death to myself or someone I was training with or might not work when I needed it to save my life.

Lastly, if you happen to have ammunition that was damaged by flooding I would contact your local police department and ask them if they are able to dispose of ammo.


Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, click HERE.

RELOADERS CORNER: Incremental Load Work-Up


To get the most from your load testing, in the shortest time possible, learn the “Audette Method,” and put it work for you. Here’s how!

sight in target
Use a target that’s, one, easy to line up on, and, two, lets you make notes on the target itself. I usually circle and note the 3-shot increments, or you can add a number by each shot hole to indicate which try they belong to. Midsouth has some HERE

Glen Zediker

Last edition I suggested taking the step toward putting together a “portable” loading setup to allow for load development right at the range. This time I’ll talk about an idea on getting the most out of a test session in the quickest and surest way.

I have followed an “incremental” load work-up method for many years, and it’s served me well. Some call it the “Audette Method” named for the late and great Creighton Audette, long-time long-range and Benchrest experimenter.

Backing up a bit: Being able to employ this method efficiently requires having spent the preparation time, doing your homework, to know exactly how much “one click” is worth on your meter. Whether the meter clicks or not, it’s the value of one incremental mark on the metering arm. The value of that click or mark varies with the propellant, but by weighing several examples of each one-stop variation (done over at least a half-dozen stops) you’ll be able to accurately increase the charge for each test a known amount.

harrell's meter mounted
I count on a Harrell’s Precision meter. Its Culver mechanism allows for easy and accurate incremental adjustments in working up a load. The dryer sheet eliminates static electricity.

I usually test at 300 yards. That distance is adequate to give a good evaluation of accuracy and, for the purposes of this test, is also “far enough” that vertical spreads are more pronounced. Testing at 100 yards, sometimes they all look like good groups… So it’s at about 300 yards where we’ll start to see more difference in good and bad.

Get to the range and get set up, chronograph in place. Put up a target. Use whatever gives you a clear aiming point, but it’s helpful to have a light background not only to see the holes easier using a scope, but also to make notes on. More about that in a minute.

Use the same target for the entire session. (Put pasters over the previous holes if you want, but don’t change paper.) The reason for using the same target for the whole session is that helps determine vertical consistency as you work up through successively stouter propellant charges.

I fire 3 rounds per increment. As it gets closer to “done,” I increase it to 5 or 6. At that point I’ve hit a couple of speed points, two or three increments that represent a performance level I can live with (one is on the “iffy” end of the pressure, and I rarely choose that one) and am focusing more closely on group size. Final confirmation comes with one 20-round group. For what it’s worth, I usually pick the one in the middle.

A 3-round volley might seem inadequate, but it’s not if there’s confidence that the rounds are being well-directed and speed is being monitored. If I’m seeing more than 12-15 fps velocity spreads over 3 rounds, I’m not going to continue with that propellant. Same with group size: if it’s a big group over 3 rounds, it’s going to be a bigger group later on.

I’m sho no mathematician-statistician, but from experience I’ve found that, while certainly there’s some probability that the first 3 rounds fired might represent the extreme edges of the load’s group potential, and that all the others are going to land inside them, uhh, that’s not even a little bit likely. If it starts bad it finishes bad. On the contrary: no, just because the first 3 shots are close together and the velocity spread is low doesn’t mean it’s not going to get worse. Groups normally get bigger and velocities get wider, but, we have to start somewhere. It’s a matter of degrees. Also, the quality (accuracy) of the meter factors, and the better it is the better you can judge performance over fewer examples. And this is new brass, so that’s going to minimize inconsistencies further.

I can also tell you that it’s possible to wear out a barrel testing. No kidding.

Back to the “incremental” part of this test: As you increase the charges, bullets impact higher and higher on the target paper. You’re looking for a point where both group sizes and impact levels are very close together. If the groups are small, you won! That’s what Crieghton called a “sweet-spot” load, and that was one that didn’t show much on-target variance over a 2-3 increment charge difference (which is going to be about a half-grain of propellant). The value of such a load is immense, especially to a competitive shooter. It means that the daily variations, especially temperature, and even the small variances in propellant charges that might come with some propellants through meters, won’t affect your score. It’s also valuable to a hunter who’s planning to travel.

audette method loading
Audette Method: If it would only always work this way… This actually did work as shown so I captured and recreated it for posterity. The numbers on the left represent approximate propellant charge weights and the lines each indicate one click on my Harrell’s powder meter, a value about 0.15 grains of the propellant used in this test. Going up two clicks at a time for eight tries took me from 24.0 grains to about 26.0, which is a good range from a reasonable starting charge to pressure symptoms. I didn’t add in the velocities since that’s inconsequential to this illustration, but will say that “8” was too much and I settled on “6.” To make more sense out of this illustration, that ended up being 25.5 grains — step 6. I also went up using three rounds and skipping ahead by adding more clicks to the meter after viewing the (low) speeds on the first three groups (that’s why there’s no number 4 step; I went from step 3 to step 5). This has a lot to do with intuition sometimes. Point is, and should be, that here’s how the “Audette Method” is supposed to work: impact elevation on target goes up (these were fired at 300 yards) with charge increases, groups get smaller (hovering around two inches for this test) and stay small, and then elevation begins to stabilize. Choose a load that’s within this range. Then it’s a “sweet-spot” load. If this happens in your test, ask for no more!

That was the whole point to following this process. First, and foremost, it’s to find a good-performing load. It’s also how you find out if the propellant you chose is going to produce predictably. I can also tell you that I have chosen a propellant and a load using it that wasn’t always the highest speed or even the smallest single group. It was chosen because it will shoot predictably all year long. I base everything on the worst group, biggest velocity spread, not the smallest and lowest. If that doesn’t make sense it will after a summer on a tournament tour. If the worst group my combination will shoot is x-ring, and the worst spread is under 10 fps, it’s not the ammo that will lose the match…

As said to start this series, I started loading at the range because I got tired of bringing home partial batches of loser loads. And, you guessed it, the partial boxes usually contained recipes that were too hot. The only way to salvage those was to pull the bullets. Tedious. Or they were too low, of course, and fit only for busting up dirt clods. Plus, I’m able to test different charges in the same conditions. It’s a small investment that’s a huge time-saver.

If you do invest in a portable setup, exploit potentials. The possibilities for other tests are wide open, seating depth experiments, for instance.


The information in this article is from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available HERE at Midsouth. Also check HERE for more information about this and other publications from Zediker Publishing.

REVIEW: Glock G42 .380


A strong contender in the “Best .380” contest, the Glock G42 offers big-gun features and feel  in the sub-compact class. Read the full review HERE

Glock G42

by Major Pandemic

As a huge fan of Glocks and one who carries one on a constant basis, I look forward to the introduction of new models. Oddly when the .380 ACP chambered single-stack G42 was introduced everyone thought, “What was Glock thinking?”

Apparently Glock is smarter than all the loud screamers, because the G30S sub-compact .45ACP 10-round pistol everyone loathed initially, was hugely successful. The G42 set new product sales records for Glock which flattened even the G30S success. Years after the introduction customers are still demanding the G42 and Glock is just barely keeping up with demand.

If you are some macho dude reading this eating steak covered in bacon and washing it down with dark beer and scotch with a 1911 holstered on your waist, this may not become your primary firearm. That noted, the G42 is not really targeted to the regular Glock’iphile either. From every conceivable perspective, it is designed specifically to target the first-time gun owner, and, more specifically, females. Glock has noted that new female shooters are still the primary buyers, but guys wanting a highly concealable gun are also buying the little .380.

The G42 is more concealable by a huge margin compared to its similar sized but fatter G26 9mm brother. It fits a smaller hand more comfortably and the action is easy and light to hand-cycle. Add on accuracy and confidence-inspiring performance and you have one heck of a nice little gun for personal defense. My wife foresaw all these features and swooped it off our kitchen counter literally right after picking it up and I have had to fight her for it since just to test the little bugger. We now both own one.

.380 comparison
[top to bottom] G26, Kahr CM9, G42, Walther PPK
The Glock G42 represents a bold step forward for Glock USA as it is one of its first 100% USA-manufactured Glocks. Since late 2012, Glock has been working on moving US-sold Glock manufacturing to its US Georgia manufacturing facility.

I will sum up about six paragraphs of fit, feel, and features, but saying the G42 is every bit your standard Glock with the same slide finishes, grip treatment, five internal safeties, and internal design of your standard Gen 4 series Glocks. What is different is the size. It is a gloriously comfortable gun for small handed shooters and a size that hides in all sorts of places on the body, clothing and purses. The best way I can sum up the G42 is that it is an updated Walther PPK; you know the one Bond carries. The Walther was a tight and compact gun which still offered a good handhold with just enough sight radius and weight to make it accurate and pleasant to shoot. The G42 is the modern sleeker, lighter and more ergonomic version of the PPK.

Glock G42, Walter PPK
G42 vs Walther PPK.

The Glock G42 is not an uber-compact micro-pistol such as the Ruger LCP, it is a small sized gun that strikes the perfect balance between the size and weight and the power of the .380 ACP round. After all, that energy has to go somewhere and usually tiny guns will beat the hell out of the shooter, especially new/inexperienced shooters. The G42 is about as pleasant to shoot as your average .22LR pistol, really a pleasure to shoot. In fact I blew through 200-rounds of various FMJ and HP defensive ammo so quick, that I was really disappointed I didn’t have more ammo. With the exception of the Walther PPK, this enjoyment was a new experience of not being battered while shooting a small pistol. The G42 is indeed an excellent first time shooter gun.

There are several reasons why the Glock G42 is so darn comfortable to shoot. The pistol itself has enough size for a decent handhold and heft to dissipate some of the recoil of even the more hotly loaded .380 ACP rounds. Glock designed the pistol around its newer Gen 4 dual recoil spring design which also take a bite out of recoil. The smaller grip size, thanks to the .380 round and single stack design, allows the a shooter’s distal joint (the bend point next to the pad of your finger) to reach the center of the trigger even on small hands. The distal joint trigger reach allows shooters with less hand strength more leverage to pull the trigger without straining. Additionally, the more the hand comfortably wraps around and covers the grip, the better control the shooter has. This all adds up to a gun which is friendly to handle, grip, control, and shoot even for smaller handed shooters.

Glock G42
Although small, the G42 fits the hand well, large hands or small hands.

There is another functional feature which sets the G42 apart from other guns for first time shooters and those with less hand strength. From a physics perspective the shorter a pistol is the more tension the spring must pack into a shorter space. The result of a tiny little gun is that they can be harder to hand cycle and chamber a round than larger pistols. The dual recoil spring and non-diminutive size allow the G42 to hand cycle easily and confidently for the new and low hand strength shooter.

G42 magazine
Six-round single-stack magazine.

Many people logically think that the .380 ACP round is far less powerful and thus less a man stopper than other rounds, however the Ellifritz Study actually tells a statistically different story. In fact the study paints a story indicating statistically that the .380 ACP was actually a better man-stopper than almost all the other traditional “defensively preferred” calibers. If we look at the overall statistics of the study, it clearly indicates that one-two rounds of any caliber will stop and attacker, because no one enjoys being shot. (Click HERE to read the study.)

Some have claimed that the .380 ACP round is more effective simply because it has a low probability of over penetration and almost guarantees 100% energy transfer within an attacker. It is also a more controllable round, which means that shooters are statically likely to deliver more consistent follow-up shots on target which is important in a defensive situation. For the shooter waffling on the “capability and power” of the .380 ACP round, I would encourage your own analysis of the Ellifritz study. It is my current opinion that I am well armed with quality defensive .380 ACP rounds such as those form Hornady and I statically want no part of being shot with it.

Glock G42
Takedown is familiar.

In the comparison of .380 ACP powered pistols, the Walther PPK is a little more accurate gun, however the Glock is way easier to shoot more quickly and more accuracy. The Walther you need to concentrate, the Glock G42 delivers hits easily and offers more user-friendly function in the process. It a no contest match between the Ruger LCR and the G42 with the Glock being exponentially easier to handle and shoot with far more comfort. The Ruger is more concealable, however the Glock has proven to be more reliable.

Honestly, I was so pissed off it was not a 9mm that I artificially hated the G42 initially. But then, I shot it and fell in love with the format. The G42 is like shooting a fun .22LR pistol and you could shoot and train with it all day. I cannot say that of the micro-sized .380 ACP pistols on the market. I will guarantee that this pistol will be a better defensive tool for nearly every newer shooter and even the seasoned folks, simply because it is fun and easy to shoot without pain. The gun you shoot a lot with will be a gun you feel comfortable with defending your life with.

Mrs Pandemic loves, loves, loves the G42 and considers it one of the best concealable firearms on the market for the female shooter. The slim G42 allows her to still wear all the more fitting styles of today without needing to go up a size just to conceal a firearm. I will tell you as a long-time married man, no woman ever wants to go up a size for any reason. I am already over the macho BS and love the G42 format.

Glock G42


G42 specifications

major pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

Federal Premium Launches All-New Hydra-Shok Deep Personal Defense Load


New for 2018, a proven self-defense handgun load gets a performance boost! Read all about it HERE

Hydra-Shok Deep

Federal Premium Ammunition announced  a new high-performance self-defense load: Hydra-Shok Deep. This new offering builds off the time-tested Hydra-Shok platform with design improvements that better meet modern performance measurements. Shipments are being delivered to dealers.

Federal Premium Hydra-Shok ammunition has proven itself for self-defense since 1989. Hydra-Shok Deep’s redesigned bullet features a more robust center post and a core design that provides as much as 50 percent deeper penetration than classic Hydra-Shok.


Larry Head, director and chief engineer of handgun ammunition: “Hydra-Shok Deep offers consumers a round that results in consistent, reliable performance through typical defensive barriers and penetrates to the depth deemed optimum by the leading law-enforcement agency in the United States.”

Hydra-Shok has been a self-defense staple since its debut in 1989. At that time, the FBI had requested a projectile with better terminal ballistics than traditional cup-and-core bullets, and Federal responded with Hydra-Shok, which uses an expanding bullet with a notched jacket, non-bonded lead core and unique center-post hollow-point design. That provided better penetration and more consistent threat-stopping expansion than other bullets at the time.


The new Hydra-Shok Deep bullet features a core design that provides up to 50 percent deeper penetration than original Hydra-Shok and similar loads from competitors, and the center post has been improved so it’s more robust, which provides better integrity and performance through barriers. Testing shows that Hydra-Shok Deep penetrates 15 inches in bare ballistics gelatin, which is the optimal depth, according to FBI standards.

“The primary goal of Hydra-Shok Deep was to penetrate to the FBI’s optimum depth of 14 to 16 inches and at the same time provide more consistent performance though the intermediate barriers,” Head said. “We also wanted to develop a round that would score significantly better through the FBI protocol testing than standard Hydra-Shok. Hydra-Shok Deep does all of this with a 70-percent improvement in FBI protocol score.”

Hydra-Shok deep bullet

Although the bullet’s performance in ballistic gelatin is impressive, many shooters might wonder how Hydra-Shok Deep will boost their real-world performance. Head explained why the remarkable improvements in expansion, penetration and integrity through defensive barriers are especially important to self-defense.


Hydra-Shok Deep will initially be offered in a 135-grain 9mm Luger, with other loads coming soon.

Check out Federal Hydra-Shok at Midsouth HERE

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