REVIEW: 9 Affordable .380 Pocket Pistols


When ease and convenience factor heavily in choosing a CCW handgun, many increasingly consider among the smallest of effective solutions. Here’s a round up sure to satisfy the bill. Read on!

SOURCE: NRA Publications, by Brad Fitzpatrick

The .380 Automatic Colt Pistol (.380 ACP) has come a long way since John Moses Browning designed this little straight-walled cartridge over a century ago. Once considered too small for self-defense duty, the .380 ACP is now much more effective at stopping attackers than it once was thanks in large part to improvements in bullet design. And, since it is so compact, the .380 ACP is easy to carry.

All of this makes the .380 popular with CCW permit holders, but the real question is which of these pocket pistols is right for you? We’ve rounded up 9 of the best compact .380s, all with an MSRP of less than $700.

ruger LCP2

1. Ruger LCP II: Price $349
At 0.91 inches wide and just 5.17 inches long, the LCP II is an easy gun to conceal, thanks in large part to its snag-free rounded edges. The grip design makes it more comfortable to shoot than its predecessor, the original LCP, and a new single-action trigger system reduces the trigger pull from 10 pounds to just 6. The sights are fixed and have a low-profile design so they won’t hang up during a draw, but are also functional for defensive applications. This gun weighs just over 10 ounces and comes with a finger extension for the six-round magazine as well as a pocket holster.

Kahr CW 380

2. Kahr CW380: Price: $419
Kahr’s CW380 measures just under 5 inches long and weighs a bit over 10 ounces without the magazine, making it one of the smallest guns in this class. The polymer frame has textured grips that are quite comfortable, and the rear combat-style sight is drift-adjustable and easy to see. The front sight is a low-profile polymer ramp, and the slide is made from 416 stainless steel with a matte finish. The “safe-cam” design of this DAO (double-action-only) pistol provides a smooth trigger pull. Magazine capacity is 6 rounds.

Glock G42

3. Glock G42: Price $480
Glock launched the G42 as a compact carry alternative to their larger striker-fired guns, and this pistol retains many of the quality features that have made Glocks so popular. The trigger pull is a relatively light 5.5 pounds, and the polymer grips are well-designed and make recoil quite manageable. The rear sight is dovetailed into the steel slide, and although this gun is slightly larger than other pistols listed here (length is 5.94 inches, and unloaded weight is 13.76 ounces), it’s both easy to conceal and comfortable to shoot. The nitrite-treated steel slide has a matte finish that can stand up to the rigors of daily carry, and this single-stack magazine holds 6 rounds.

Taurus PT 738

4. Taurus 738: Price $355.66
At 10.2 ounces, the trim Taurus 738 is a light pistol, and with an overall length of just 5.25 inches it’s easy to conceal even under light clothing. The low-profile fixed sights are very basic, but they won’t hang up on clothing when you draw. Capacity is 6+1. This is a DAO (Double Action-Only) design, so trigger pull is fairly long. The polymer grip is comfortable and makes this gun easy to control. And, like other Taurus guns, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.

SIG Sauer P238

5. SIG Sauer P238 Nitron: Price $651
SIG’s P238 is a metal-framed .380 inspired by the popular 1911 design. As such, it features a single-action-only firing mechanism with an exposed hammer. The manual safety and slide lock are easy to manipulate, but are compact enough that they won’t impede your draw or irritate you when you carry the gun all day. Overall length is 5.5 inches, and the hard-coat anodized aluminum frame and the Nitron-finished stainless steel slide are resistant to perspiration, an excellent feature. The included SIGLITE night sights are very good, and although it isn’t the lightest gun on the list at 15.2 ounces, it certainly isn’t hard to conceal. With an MSRP of $651 (street prices will likely be lower), it makes the $700 cutoff, but this 6+1 .380 certainly deserves a spot on the list of “best pocket pistols.”

Beretta Pico

6. Beretta Pico: Price $399
Beretta’s double-action-only Pico .380 is thin, measuring just three-quarters of an inch wide with a weight of 11.5 ounces. That means this pistol is easy to carry under light clothing without printing. Like the other guns here it has a 6+1 capacity. The durable stainless-steel slide is very easy to manipulate, and the dovetailed three-dot sights are excellent. The Pico comes with two magazines — a flush-fit version perfect for maximum concealment, and an extended mag. that allows for a better hold when shooting on the range. Takedown is fast and easy, and the magazine release is ambidextrous, making this a great choice for left- and right-handed shooters.

Remington RM380

7. Remington RM380: Price $436
Remington’s compact .380 features all-metal construction: the frame is made of lightweight but durable aluminum, and the slide is steel. The low-profile sights are quite functional, and the large slide serrations make it easy to manipulate the slide when. It’s a DAO design, so trigger pull is fairly long but consistent, and the extended beavertail helps promote a high grip while protecting the hand from the moving slide. This gun weighs just over 12 ounces and measures 5.27 inches long.

Colt Mustang Pistol


8. Colt Mustang Lite/Pocketlite: Price $499
Colt’s Mustang is a great option for concealed carry. Like the SIG, it’s based on the venerable 1911, and as such it’s a single-action-only pistol with an exposed hammer. It has a manual safety, a crisp single-action trigger that breaks between 4.5 and 6 pounds. Sights are dovetail rear and machined post front. The Lite version has a polymer frame and weighs in at 11.5 ounces. The Pocketlite (shown here) has an aluminum alloy frame and weighs only one ounce more. Both versions have a stainless-steel slide with a brushed stainless finish, and both measure just 5.5 inches long, making them true pocket pistols. Like the other .380s here, these guns have a capacity of 6+1.

S&W Bodyguard

9. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard: Price $379
The Bodyguard is Smith & Wesson’s take on the pocket .380 pistol, and it’s loaded with features, including drift-adjustable stainless steel sights, a stainless barrel and slide, takedown lever, and an exposed manual safety. These guns come with two six-round magazines — one with a flat base for minimum overall size and another with a finger extension for a more comfortable hold, if that’s wanted. The durable polymer grip is comfortable, and for an additional $70 you can opt for the Bodyguard with a Crimson Trace laser sight. At 5.25 inches long and just 12.3 ounces (standard model) this gun is one of the smaller, lighter .380s on the list.

Editors Note:
Even though it’s called a “pocket pistol” put it in a holster… That keeps the handgun accessible and protected from obstructions and general gunk that can otherwise collect in and on it.

Even if it’s little you gotta feed it! Choosing the right ammo really matters to the effectiveness of a .380. Check out Midsouth offerings HERE

HUNTING: America’s Oldest Hunter Bags Third Deer of the Season at 104 Years Old


Pretty amazing story… Read it all!

104 year old hunter

SOURCE: American Hunter

By all accounts, Clyde Roberts of Evington, Virginia, with 104 years under his belt, is the oldest active hunter in the country. According to The Roanoke Times, he has already taken three deer during the 2017 season — an accomplishment any hunter, regardless of age, should be proud of.

While most assume Roberts is a lifelong hunter who can’t seem to take himself out of the woods he’s always loved, the truth is that Roberts is a late bloomer when it comes to hunting, having begun his journey after retirement at the age of 65. According to OutdoorHub, Roberts began his hunting career 40 years ago as a way to pass the extra time retirement afforded him, and with a rifle purchased by his son Mike, Roberts has failed to notch his tag only once, after an injury in his early 90s kept him out of the woods.

As if his age alone doesn’t set him apart, Roberts tagged three deer, two does and a very respectable 8-point buck, during the 2017 Virginia season; a feat, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, only 6 percent of the state’s hunters accomplish. On his latest hunt, with his son Mike by his side, Roberts was loaded for bear holding a .270 when a few does appeared. When Clyde spotted a buck, Mike grunted to stop him, and the .270 echoed through the wood, cartwheeling the big 8-pointer.

Congratulations to Clyde Roberts on another successful season, and best wishes in the seasons to come. His recent 8-pointer marks the 11th deer he has taken since turning 100 years of age!

RELOADERS CORNER: Semi-Auto or Bolt-Action? Two Things To Remember


There are essential differences in loading for these action-types. It might not matter if you know all about the one, but it is critically important to know about the other. Find out which is which… Keep reading!

casing in air
Any rifle with a gas operation system has to, well, have gas to operate! When it gets excessive is when the problems start. That’s another article, but the effects of the operating system is the basis for both the cautions in this article.

By Glen Zediker

Over the time I’ve been producing Reloaders Corner here at Midsouth, my focus has been exclusively on reloading for rifles, and, within that, primarily for semi-automatics. The reasons for that are based on two things, one is an assumption and the other is plain old fact. First, semi-autos are popular and represent the interest of a great number of new reloaders out there, and that’s my assumption. It doesn’t take long to come to the conclusion that high-capacity magazines and long days at the range combine to get expensive in a hurry! But the biggest reason I focus most of my material toward the needs of the semi-automatic rifle is because there are decidedly important differences in some decisions the handloader makes when tooling up for one. That’s the fact. Not knowing or respecting these differences can be disastrous.

I set out to be a sticker for clarity, but sometimes I overlook making more pointed references to these differences, when there are options associated with any one topic. I judge that based on the feedback I get from you all respecting tooling and component options. I want to start the New Year with this article, which I think contains some basic and important information to always (always) keep in mind. Hopefully it will also reduce questions, and I sure hope confusions. It also seemed to be, judging on feedback, the topic that created the most questions and comments.

Essential: When a round fires, the case expands, in all directions, as much as it can to fit the chamber. Since brass is elastic (can expand and contract) and plastic (can expand and retain that expansion) that last attribute, plasticity, results in a spent case that’s closer to rifle chamber dimensions than it was to its factory-new figures. Since many factory barrels have relatively generous chambers compared to most custom-done barrels, that’s either good or bad, depending on whether it’s a semi- or bolt-gun, and also depending (a lot) on what anyone buys into.

So, for reuse in a semi, that now overly-dimensioned case has to be brought back closer to nearer-to-new condition than it does for a bolt-gun. Has to be. Otherwise it might not chamber smoothly or fully.

full length sizing die
Due to the greater amount of case expasion, and also due to the need for smooth, easy feeding, any and every case used for a semi-auto should be full-length resized.

It’s important to understand that any semi-auto (at least any I’ve yet had experience with) has the cartridge case in a different condition right at the start of the extraction cycle. In a semi, the case is still holding pressure when the bolt starts to unlock. Bolt-gun, it’s all long gone by the time the knob gets lifted. That’s why a freshly spent case from a semi will raise a blister and one from a bolt-gun is cool to the touch. This pressure creates what amounts to greater case expansion in a semi-auto. Depending on the particular rifle and other factors that will get addressed in other articles, this varies from a little to a lot. The spent case measurements from one fired in a semi may not accurately reflect chamber dimensions, as they will with a bolt-gun.

The reason there’s still some pressure within the case when the bolt starts to unlock is because that’s how a gas-operation system functions. If all the pressure was gone the action wouldn’t even open.

neck only case sizing
A bolt-gun can be neck-only sized. I honestly don’t think this is a worthwhile practice, and I’ll talk more about that in another article, but as long as you’re willing to get a handle on case dimensions (so you know it’s still within specs to fit your chamber) it’s perfectly safe, and usually results in good group sizes.

Which brings us to the second essential difference in bolt- and semi-: Most semi-automatics, especially what is probably the most common (AR15 family) is very sensitive to gas port pressure. Gas port pressure is an actual measurement, but that’s not important to know, not really. What matters is understanding the effect of too much port pressure, and that is too much gas getting into the operating system, and getting in too quickly. That creates what most call an “over-function.” The action tries to operate, and the extraction cycle starts too early. There’s a lot of gas still binding the inflated case against the chamber walls. Many ills: excessive case expansion, excessive bolt carrier velocity, extraction failures (extractor either slips off or yanks the case rim, which can come off in a chunk).

.223 recommended components
Semi-autos are way on more sensitive about propellants, and, specifically, the propellant burning rate. Here is the set I use for my .223 Rem. competition loads (aside from a propellent that’s running in the range of the H4895, tough cases and thicker-skinned primers are part of the picture too).

From a reloading perspective, regulating gas port pressure is all in propellant selection. The burning rate range that’s suitable for semi-autos varies with the cartridge, but for both .308 Win. and .223 Rem. I cut it off at the Hodgdon Varget, Alliant RE-15 range: those are fine, but don’t go slower! Bolt guns don’t care about any of that.

Some will (certainly) disagree, but this is about the slowest-burning propellant I would suggest for .223 Rem. As a bonus, it’s also one of the highest-performing.

THE SHORT COURSE: Think “smaller” and “faster” when tooling up for sizing and choosing propellants for use (really, re-use) in a semi-auto. Smaller case sizing, faster-burning propellants.

This will all be hit on in upcoming articles in far greater detail but…

SEMI-AUTO: full-length case sizing, case shoulder set back at least 0.002 (from what a gage indicates as the fired case dimension), case neck “tension” at least 0.003 (difference between sized case neck outside dimension and loaded case neck outside dimension). Propellant selection: not too slow! Contrary to what logic might suggest, slower-burning propellants produce higher gas port pressures because they “peak” farther down the barrel.

BOLT-GUN: neck-only case sizing is (usually) okay (that means no case body sizing). Case shoulder set back: can be fine-tuned based on what’s necessary to easily close the bolt (ranges from none to “just a tad”). Propellant: doesn’t matter! As long, of course, as it’s suitable for use in that cartridge.

Check out some tools HERE at Midsouth

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.

HUNTING: .300 AAC Blackout for Deer?


This is a big question around the whitetail woods: how well can the AR-15 serve as a viable hunting rifle when chambered for this round? Here’s one answer… Read on!

300 blackout

SOURCE: NRA Publications, American Hunter
by Philip Massaro

The AR-15 platform has been modified and fiddled with for quite a while, and has its own series of cartridges designed specifically to function within the parameters of the rifle. The 6.8 SPC, the .458 SOCOM, the .50 Beowulf — all were built to give the AR-15 a different level of performance than the standard 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem.

There is also no doubt that .30-caliber cartridges are, have been, and probably will remain America’s favorite. So many cartridges have been modified to hold .30-caliber bullets that I have almost lost count. The .300 AAC Blackout is the cartridge built to function in the AR-15 platform, and with its design comes a different mindset, as the cartridge is called upon to fill a special role.

As a hunting cartridge, the .300 BLK certainly doesn’t look like one of the usual suspects: it is a stubby little guy, definitely lacking the look of a long-range cartridge. That’s fine, because the Blackout was never designed to fulfill that role. Perhaps a bit of history is warranted:

The Blackout’s roots are spread in the soil of the U.S. Military, which was looking for a round that would give better sub-sonic capabilities than their suppressed 9mm carbines, especially for close-in work. With some modification of a wildcat cartridge — namely the .300 Whisper — the .300 Blackout was delivered by Advanced Armament Corporation. The case itself can trace its roots all way back to the .222 Rem., through the .221 Fireball case also formed from that platform. It was designed to fit in a standard 5.56mm AR-15 magazine in double-stack configuration, yet use the long 220-grain .308 caliber bullets for subsonic performance. The Blackout did just that — pushing those 220-grain slugs at 1010 fps — but also did very well with the lighter bullets. That short case will push 125- and 130-grain bullets to a muzzle velocity of around 2200 fps — certainly no speed demon, but enough to get the job done on military targets. It functions perfectly through the AR platform, with one caveat: any ammunition that uses the sleeker-ogive bullets will actually chamber in the .223/5.56mm rifles, and that can pose one helluva problem should the ammo be confused. Please keep them separated!

In the the deer woods, the .300 AAC is an acceptable choice. If ranges are kept around 100 yards — much like the .30/30 WCF — things should go right for you. Were I using a Blackout on a deer hunt, I’d most definitely choose a premium hunting bullet in the 125- to 135-grain range, as they’ll produce the proper terminal ballistics. Those heavy 220-grain slugs are simply moving too slowly to give reliable expansion, and will more than likely whistle on through like a solid, resulting in a wounded or lost animal. No one wants that.

AAC deer rounds
Author believes that, loaded with a suitable bullet, the .300 Blackout is suitable for use as an effective deer cartridge, as much so as are others with similar ballistics, such as .30/30 WCF.

Ammunition choices are pretty broad now. As said, you’ll want to keep your hunting distances within reason, and choose a bullet that will expand reliably at the furthest distance you expect to take an animal with the Blackout — the range where that bullet will slow down. I’m not one of those who gets hung up on energy figures — where the commonly accepted figure of 1,000 ft.-lbs. to kill a deer came from, I don’t know — but you definitely need reliable expansion in order to kill effectively. Looking at just a few, Hornady loads the 135-grain FTX bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2,085 fps, and this will make a great hunting round. They also load their 110-grain GMX — an all-copper, polymer-tipped bullet — that will also get the job done well, again, providing you use it within reasonable ranges. Barnes builds their VOR-TX Blackout ammo around the 120-grain monometal TAC-TX bullet; Barnes worked very hard to deliver a bullet that is plenty accurate and yet gives good expansion and penetration.

The whitetail deer has suffered from guinea-pig status; I know hunters who seriously use calibers ranging from .17 Rem. all the way up to the .450 No.2 Nitro Express to make their venison, with varying levels of success. The whitetail is so prolific that, like feral hogs, sportsman tend to experiment with varying calibers and bullet weights. A good bullet, like that GMX or TAC-TX, at the lighter .30-caliber weights, will get the job done, and that’s been pretty well proven. Considering the Blackout’s trajectory, you’ll want to limit the range to 100 or 125 yards. To obtain a 200-yard zero with the Hornady FTX load, you’ll need to be 5 inches high at 100, which is a bit drastic. Perhaps a 100-yard zero, or 1 inch high at 100, where you’d be in vitals at 125 yards, makes more sense.

So, is the Blackout the perfect deer cartridge? It’s no .308 Win., but I that within 100 yards it’s a better choice than any .22-caliber centerfire. The choice is up to you, but if I were handed an accurate Blackout for a hunt in the northeast woods, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it, provided it was loaded with a good, sensible bullet.

Check out AAC choices at Midsouth HERE

SKILLS: Using a Single-Action Revolver for Self-Defense


Really? Yes really! Sheriff Jim examines some facts, not myths, about defensive handgun use surrounding one of the best-known (and effective) handgun designs. You’ve got to read this!


SOURCE: Shooting Illustrated
by Sheriff Jim Wilson

Far from being antiques, modern single-action revolvers are extremely popular among today’s handgunners. In this day of higher-capacity semi-autos and double-action revolvers, it’s difficult for some to consider the single-action as a viable choice for personal defense. But, single-action revolvers were originally designed as fighting guns and they did an excellent job of taking care of defensive chores for many, many years.

Today, the modern semi-automatic pistol and double-action sixgun have the old single-action beat in capacity and speed of reloading. But, center hits stop dangerous attacks, not the amount of ammo your gun carries or how fast you can recharge it. Let’s look at some who favor the single-action and examine some of the techniques that make the single-action a viable choice.

A large number of hunters and outdoorsmen choose a single-action because it is tough, sturdy, and can be relied upon when you are on the backside of the Rockies and miles away from the closest gunsmith. In addition, many find the single-action sixgun the most comfortable handgun to shoot when fed a steady diet of heavy .44 Spl., .45 Colt, .41 Mag., .44 Mag., or .454 Casull loads. The Colt-style single-action grip frame tends to roll in the hand and absorb a good deal of the recoil these big-bore loads produce. This reduction in felt recoil minimizes the tendency to flinch, and heavy handgun loads are mighty important when dealing with an angry bear.

Outdoorsmen and trail riders are often concerned about a predatory animal attack while enjoying a day in the woods. Today, however, they are almost as likely to encounter some two-legged predators. When properly managed, the single-action revolver is perfectly capable of dealing with either kind of threat.

Another group to become huge champions of the single-action revolver is cowboy action shooters. I was recently told 300,000 shooters participate in some form of the sport. Many of these folks fire hundreds of rounds a week through their single-actions. Naturally, a person is going to do his best work with the handgun he shoots the most. It makes sense to consider the same single-action as a personal-defense gun.

A few years ago, a group of us gathered at Gunsite Aacademy for a defensive single-action class sponsored by Ruger, XS Sights, and SureFire. We examined shooting techniques designed to make the best use of single-action revolvers.

Some years ago, the fast-draw craze gave single-action revolvers a bit of a bad name. This came about due to the tendency of the fast-draw boys to cock their handgun as it was drawn from the holster. If you were a bit faster on the trigger than you were on the draw, the gun could easily go off before it cleared the holster, which tends to send a heavy lead slug down in the vicinity of your feet.

Well, a better and safer method can be found.

The first step is to take a shooting grip on the holstered sixgun, with your trigger finger straight and outside of the trigger guard. The second step is to draw the gun straight up and out of the holster. The third step is to rotate the handgun until the barrel is pointed toward the threat.

At this point, the support hand (which has been flat against your body) comes out to meet the gun and a two-hand hold is secured. Make sure your support hand is never in front of the muzzle. Shooting your support hand will certainly ruin your day and nearly always spoil your aim.

With the muzzle pointed downrange (or at the threat) and a two-hand hold secured, the support thumb is used to cock the handgun. Throughout the draw stroke, the trigger finger is still straight, out of the trigger guard and along the gun’s frame. It is only as the gun is thrust forward and the sights go onto the target that the trigger finger goes to the trigger. Throughout the shooting sequence, the strong hand maintains a secure grip on the sixgun and the support thumb is used to cock the hammer.

Finally, the defensive single action shares two traits with the defensive shotgun: It just doesn’t hold very many cartridges and both are slow to reload.

The single-action revolver should be reloaded when there is a lull in the fight. Learn to flip open the loading gate, punch out the empties and top the gun off as quickly as possible.

If a single-action revolver is the handgun you shoot the most, you owe it to yourself to be as proficient with it as you possibly can. And, as with any defensive practice, it is important to work for smoothness, not speed. Speed results from smoothness.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Folks I just had to step in on this one… It struck a chord and rang a bell I hadn’t thought about much for years. Most know me as a competitive rifle shooter. That’s where my “credentials” are and also where I’ve focused my editorial attention over my career as a writer, well, that and handloading for those rifles. But! I’ve had a long life of guns, all kinds of guns, and all kinds of shooting. At one much (much) earlier time in my life I was obsessed with Single-Action-Army Colt’s-brand handguns. SAA’s. Based on my best recollection and a calculator, I’ve fired well in excess of 50,000 rounds through a few of those. I had a beloved mentor in my youth who shot competitively with rifles and helped me along there immeasurably, and also put on his own brand of “Wild West” shows for rodeos and what-not. And I learned all about that (I never quite got the rope tricks down…) Yep. One of those “fast-draw” guys that Sheriff Jim just suggested we not emulate. I strongly agree. However! What I learned about SAAs, what I know about SAAs, is that (after putting in the time, and it’s some time) to develop handling skills unique to these guns, they are daggone fast to the first hit. Reasons abound, but simplicity, balance, and “pointability” lead. Would I recommend anyone go out and purchase a Peacemaker for defensive use? NO! Would I carry one? YES! I can also tell you that a hit with one counts a little (or a lot) extra than anything rimless… Underneath all this, this blizzard of words being written in every publication about defensive handguns and their use, the topic of this article called back the basics: the winner of an armed encounter is almost always the one who hits first hardest.
— Glen Zediker

4 (More!) Weird Questions People Ask Women Who Carry Guns


If you enjoyed Tamara’s last article, you’ll love this one! Get ready for a chuckle! (But one with an important message.) Read on…

stupid questions

It’s just after Thanksgiving as I type this, and as the turkey dinner’s tryptophan haze wears off, one of the things I’m thankful for is all the friends I’ve made working in and around the gun industry. The reason I’m thankful for them is they don’t ask all kinds of weird questions about the hows and whys of me carrying a gun.

When I get away from my circle of gunnie friends, though, oh how do I get those questions, and they really put my ability to bite down on snarky answers to the test. Reading an earlier column put me right into story-time mode, because let me tell you, I have fielded some of those same kinds of questions myself. Let me share some with y’all…

Weird Question #1:
“Wow, do you carry your gun to the grocery store?
Snarky response I want to use: “Only on days I’m planning to be robbed in the produce aisle.”

Actually, you can substitute “mall” or “doctor’s office” or “church” or pretty much any other commonly visited location for “grocery store.” It never fails to amaze me that people think that I would only carry a gun to places where I “expect trouble.” If I expect trouble someplace, I generally solve that problem by not going there at all.

Part of carrying a gun, at least for me, is carrying it every day, and everywhere I legally can. It’s not like I drive my car with the seat belt off on Central Avenue because they don’t have many wrecks there, but plan to put it on when I turn on to 54th Street, because jeez have you seen those wreck statistics?

Weird Question #2:
“So, you carry a gun because you think you’re a vigilante? Like Batman?”
Snarky response I want to use: “Yup. You want to see my vigilante badge? I got it in a box of Frosted Flakes.”

First off, let’s address the Batman angle: If Martha Wayne had a CCW permit and a gun, there wouldn’t be a Batman and Heath Ledger never would have won a posthumous Oscar.

Secondly, no, I don’t think carrying a gun makes me any kind of freelance junior cop. I carry a gun for the immediate protection of me and mine. I don’t carry it to go looking for trouble, but rather just in case trouble finds me despite my best attempts to avoid it.

Weird Question #3:
“But…what do you do with it when you have to go to the bathroom?”
Snarky response I want to use: “Oh, I just hand it to someone trustworthy-looking standing by the sinks and ask them if they’ll hold on to it until I’m done.”

A friend recently quipped in an online discussion group that CCW training courses should be a seven-hour block of instruction on legalities and safety and a one-hour block on what to do with your gun in the bathroom. (Note: That thing on the back of the stall door is NOT a triggerguard hook!)

While some styles of carry, such as belly-bands or purse carry, avoid this problem, if you carry a gun in a belt holster, the question of what to do with it in the bathroom will arise. And the answer should be “Nothing.” If you are wearing a quality holster, the gun is not going to fall out even if the holster should inadvertently flop upside down, and the possibilities of the latter even happening are reduced by wearing a belt that is intended to support the weight of a holstered pistol in the first place.

Weird Question #4:
“Is it…loaded?”
Snarky response I want to give: A long hard stare, followed with, “Well bless your heart.”

While I’ve no doubt an unloaded gun has been used to successfully bluff a bad guy before, that’s a thin thread on which to bet one’s life. Of course my CCW pistol is loaded, else it wouldn’t be very useful!

Further, the mere act of pointing a handgun at someone in my state, absent the reasonable fear of an immediate threat to life and limb, is a crime, so it’s not something done lightly. If the gun is coming out, it’s coming out under circumstances that justify its use, and that’s no time to have to say “Oh, hang on, let me load this thing.”

I could go on and on in this vein, but I see the bottom of the page getting closer. How about you? What weird questions do you get? Share them in the comments!

Military Funding Bill Establishes Mandatory Program to Sell Historic Pistols to the Public


Wonderful news! Finally, 1911 pistols will soon be available to citizens via the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Read all about it!

CMP 1911

On December 12, 2017, President Trump signed into law H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA). Included in the law is a provision long sought by collectors of vintage firearms and militaria that would require military surplus M1911/M1911A1 pistols (1911s) to be made available for sale to the American public. The military currently has some 100,000 excess 1911s sitting in storage at taxpayer expense.

A previous version of the NDAA signed into law by then-President Obama in 2015 authorized, but did not require, the Secretary of Defense to transfer up to 10,000 surplus 1911s per year to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for sale to the public. Unsurprisingly, no such transfers were ever made while Obama remained in the White House.

The language in the 2018 NDAA effectively establishes a mandatory pilot program under which at least 8,000 — and as many as 10,000 — 1911s would be transferred to the CMP for public sale in 2018. The Secretary of Defense must then report to Congress on the outcome of the program. Thereafter, the Secretary would be authorized to continue transferring up to 10,000 surplus 1911s a year to the CMP for further such sales.

Despite the typical heated (and inaccurate) rhetoric from gun control advocates, the CMP pistols sales will utilize a variety of safeguards that exceed even the normal procedures the organization has used for years to distribute surplus military M1 Garands, M1 carbines, and .22 rimfire trainers.

For example, the pistol sales may only occur through a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) in the purchaser’s state of residence, who of course will be obligated to obey all state and local laws of the point of sale. Sales records allowing for the tracing of the firearms — should they later be found at a crime scene — will be kept both by the CMP and by the transferring FFL. Furthermore, the buyer must receive the pistol from the FFL in a face-to-face transaction at the FFL’s business premises. Pistols will not be provided directly to the buyers by the CMP.

The CMP has further indicated two background checks will be conducted in connection with each sale, one by the CMP prior to shipping the pistol to the specified FFL and another by the FFL before releasing the pistol to the customer at the FFL’s place of business. And while federal law allows an FFL to transfer a firearm three days after a “delay” response by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the CMP will only transfer the firearm to the FFL if NICS provides a “proceed” response to the first background check.

Those wishing to acquire one of the surplus 1911s must be U.S. citizens, eligible to receive firearms under federal law and the laws of their places of residence, members of a CMP-affiliated club, and able to provide proof of participation in a marksmanship activity. Only one 1911 will be available to each customer per calendar year.

Once 10,000 orders are received, the CMP will assign a random number to each customer. These customers will be contacted in sequence with the grading and pricing options that are then available.

No timeline for release or pricing information is currently available.

Nevertheless, this is another major victory for gun owners under the Trump administrations. The NRA in particular would like to thank Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) for their leadership in this historic effort.

Stayed tuned for further updates on the implementation of this program.


State Attorneys General Back National Reciprocity


Here’s a follow-up to the news presented here last time on the historic House passing of H.R. 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act… Keep reading!

nra banner


Immediately upon passing the House of Representatives, H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, gained support from a coalition of America’s highest-ranking law enforcement officers. Twenty-four attorneys general from across the country signed a letter spearheaded by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley supporting this common sense legislation.

The additional support for Concealed Carry Reciprocity follows House Judiciary Committee approval of H.R. 38.  A full House vote is expected soon.

“America’s highest-ranking law enforcement officers understand that law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while traveling across state lines without fear of unknowingly breaking the law. The NRA applauds these attorneys general for supporting this important legislation,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action.

The letter states that H.R. 38 is a much-needed solution to a problem facing gun owners and poses no threat to public safety. “The exercise of Congress’s power is particularly warranted in this case because too many states refuse to allow law-abiding visitors to carry concealed firearms. These states leave people without any real option for self-defense. Allowing concealed carry across state lines will not result in an increased risk of crime, as those states that have reciprocal concealed-carry agreements have not encountered any significant safety issues.”

H.R. 38 would eliminate the confusing patchwork of state laws that make it difficult for law-abiding gun owners to travel across the country with their firearms for personal protection. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act affirms that law-abiding citizens who are qualified to carry concealed firearms in one state can carry in other states that allow residents to do so.

A copy of the letter signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma*, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming can be found HERE.



Don’t lose sight of the basics when making tool, dimensional, or load choices. Here are four unchanging “musts” to make your results the best they can be. READ ON!

moly coated bullets
Bandwagon! I jumped on this one as did a whopping lot of others. Moly coating got a huge amount of attention and, indeed drastically improves bullet performance. The furf died down, though, after we discovered it had its share of problems (some were and some weren’t willing to accommodate or work around them). I still use coated bullets but now it’s Boron Nitride.

Glen Zediker

I have been basing some of my topics for this department on correspondence, and here’s another. Someone wrote asking me for a compare/contrast on the two handloading-specific books I’ve written, and the essential question revolved around whether or not the older of the two had been “updated.” Concerns were over inclusion or exclusion of new tools and propellants, and other components, and reloading techniques: essentially whether the newer book was better just because it was newer. Hmm… I thought long and hard about all that.

My answer, strongly self-paraphrased, was that there were always going to be new tools and propellants and bullets and cartridges and primers, but “what matters” in learning how to make ammo gin (accurately and safely) hasn’t really changed. Those who know my work over the past twenty-something years know I’ve never been eager to step up on a soapbox and proclaim coronation of the latest-greatest propellant, bullet, or even cartridge king. Instead, I’ve done my best to help folks learn how to judge merits and values of new things, based on a thorough understanding of all the old things. But this isn’t about me and it’s not just shameless self-promotion. It’s an overview of what I really think matters: it’s an effort to put into perspective the potential merits of all the new things.

full length sizing die

case neck sizing
Choosing the appropriate case and neck sizing die, and then learning how to correctly adjust it, for the needs at hand, which really means for the rifle the ammo will be used in, is another essential element in good loading.

For me, the four most important things to achieve with a handload are, one, that the case has been sized correctly and appropriately for the rifle; two, that care has been taken to ensure that the round is concentric (more in a bit); three, exercising some discretion in bullet velocity (also more in a bit); and, four, taking steps from reloading to reloading to maintain consistent performance.

Then there is an almost never-ending slew of finer points within all these points. And one ton of tools.

What I “know” about a load combination hasn’t come from one afternoon at the range. It’s often come from years. I have seen a whopping lot of bandwagons competitive shooters have jumped onto and off of. Newly hitched wagons are still rolling strong, departing continually. It is very important to have a set of components and processes and load structures to fall back on, which really then means a set that you can move forward from.

concentricity fixture
One of the “big four” goals I set for handloads is concentricity, run-out. Most of the tool and die upgrades I ever suggest making, as well as many case-preparation steps, seek to improve the straightness and centeredness of a loaded round. “Start in the center, finish in the center.”

I look at new things from a perspective of how and how well I can apply one of them to satisfy the same old needs. These needs are a filter, more or less, that helps determine if the new things are indeed improvements, or just new.

I am a competitive person. Our club CRO, Col. Floyd, once announced to the crowd at a local High Power Rifle tournament that I could smell gold-plated plastic through four feet of reinforced concrete… I admit to the truth in that. So, I am in no way suggesting that new things aren’t good, that we should all stay only with what we know. I’m always looking for ways to do better; but for me it’s not been so much trying something new, but rather taking another step using what’s been working pretty well for me thus far. That usually involves more focus on consistency.

I have a lot of stories about ultimate failures eventually resulting from initially wild successes, including lost championships, but the only value telling any of them would have is to make me sound way too old school. They are, again, never (ever) taken to mean that new things aren’t worth pursuit. Just shoot a lot of it under varied circumstances before packing it up along with the suitcase to attend a big event.

Back to setting down some tangible point to all this: most tool choices and case preparation steps I take have a goal of improving loaded round concentricity, which is to say centeredness or straightness. No doubt about it, a bullet looking dead center into a rifle bore is going to shoot better than one that’s cockeyed.

Cases with more consistent neck wall thicknesses, sizing die designs, and bullet seater designs can either enhance or detract from concentricity. Likewise, operations like outside case neck turning are done ultimately to improve concentricity. It matters!

The comment earlier about not getting too greedy for speed gets preached a lot by a good many, and the reason is avoiding anything that’s edgy. “Edgy,” to me, means something that’s going to take a turn for the worse on a day that’s 20-degrees warmer, or (in the case of the lost event mentioned earlier) 20-degrees colder.

pressure check carrtidge cases
Don’t get greedy on speed! An essential component in handloading success is consistency, predictability. Find a “tolerant” propellant, which means it demonstrates flexibility: shoots well at a little lower-than-maximum velocity, and shoots the same at different temperatures. No matter how small the groups were in testing, if pressure starts spiking due to some unaccounted for change those great test groups are likely to open up.

The best advice I can offer on this is, first and most obvious, use a little discretion working up a load to a ceiling higher than what equivalent-spec factory ammo can produce. It can take more than a few case and primer inspections to know if a “max” load is truly safe. Next is to get to work on finding a propellant/primer combination (mostly propellant) that’s showing good accuracy at less-than-max velocities. By that I mean I will not trust anything that seems to shoot well only when it’s running “hot.” Accuracy is, after all and always, what ultimately defines success.

(Since this piece is kind of a “year-end” thing, I plan to start the new year up fresh with a whopping lot more about specific new (and old) things that will help ensure you’re getting the most you can from your time spent at the loading bench.)

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.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Passes U.S. House of Representatives!


Great news for gun owners everywhere! H.R. 38 passes! Read all about it…

house of representatives


In a resounding show of support for the Second Amendment, on December 7 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a legislative package that included H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, and H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act of 2017. The bipartisan vote of 231 to 198 advanced a measure that would allow law-abiding Americans who are eligible to carry a concealed handgun under the law of a state to do so in all other U.S. states and territories that recognize the right of their own residents to carry concealed. Without a doubt, this is the strongest piece of self-defense legislation to ever come before Congress. It would also help shore up the National Instant Criminal Background Check System used for licensing and retail firearm purchases by adding additional layers of transparency and accountability to the system.

With this vote, the U.S. Congress ratified the premise that firearms in the hands of law-abiding Americans are a force for good. This of course has been borne out again and again over the past three decades, as more and more Americans have embraced their right to bear arms for self-defense through concealed carry. The nation’s violent crime rate has fallen to historic lows during this time, and concealed carry licensees have proven themselves one of the most law-abiding populations in America.

Today, all 50 states have laws under which residents may carry or apply to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia broadly recognize a right to do so. The remaining eight states, however, have laws that allow even the most qualified applicants to be denied a license unless they can show an extraordinary “reason” for having one.

This results in an arbitrary and unconstitutional system where people are denied their right to carry not because they’re a public safety risk but because licensing officials simply don’t believe that “ordinary” people should have the right. Meanwhile, favoritism and corruption are permitted to flourish, with licenses handed out to celebrities, rich political donors, and sometimes even applicants with disqualifying backgrounds who can afford to bribe the right people.

H.R. 38 would end this two-tiered system and ensure that no upstanding American would be denied an effective means of self-defense while traveling from state to state.

Needless to say, antigun forces will be marshalling an all-out effort to try to block concealed carry reciprocity in the Senate. The same people who insist that Congress has essentially unlimited authority to pass nationwide gun control that would undermine the pro-gun polices of most states are hypocritically citing “states’ rights” as a reason to oppose concealed carry reciprocity.

Yet under H.R. 38, states would maintain complete control of the standards by which they issue their own concealed carry licenses. And property owners, whether public or private, would maintain discretion over the carrying of firearms on their own premises. The primary effect of the bill would be that a handful of anti-gun states could no longer arrest and prosecute travelers simply for crossing into their territory with an otherwise lawfully carried concealed handgun. Any criminal behavior committed with that firearm, of course, would still be subject to the full force of local law.

Opponents of H.R. 38 argued against the bill by citing statistics concerning firearm-related crime and suicide. They did and could not, however, establish that lawful concealed carriers are the driving force of these incidents. Indeed, violent crime and criminals who recognize no restrictions on their own actions are the very reason law-abiding people wish to have their own means of self-protection. Concealed carry reciprocity simply helps even the playing field between law-abiding Americans and predatory criminals.

If the Senate is to send the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act to President Trump for his long-promised signature, American gun owners will have to make their voices heard as never before in the nation’s history.

This vote was a huge step forward for the right of law-abiding Americans to carry a firearm for self-protection, but the fight is not over yet.