Awesome new bullet! SEE MORE HERE
Awesome new bullet! SEE MORE HERE
This old .38 is a formidable handgun. READ MORE
Among the first police procedural dramas was Dragnet. Dragnet was down to earth and presented the facts well. As a child I enjoyed the series very much. Dragnet still has much to recommend. Professionalism and results are valued. Later many of the prima donnas and flawed characters in TV shows were less interesting. Few would have lasted a minute in any agency I worked for. Some of the shows were basically good trash versus bad trash and the good trash wins. Then we had the original Criminal Minds. While they compressed a six month investigation into an hour show the original was very good. Then the show devolved into ridiculous plots and became basically a show case for personalities. The tired old plot of cop gets framed or cop gets divorce and a lack of originality seems to dog many shows after the first season. Kind of a soap opera. The point of my dialogue is Dragnet was a very good show and it set the pace for some of the better dramas such as Law and Order. As long as there are criminals and cases there will be fertile ground for police dramas. If you can read a file and get the facts then you can write a dramatization of it. And it doesn’t take a show of force akin to an Israeli police action against terror to get the job done. Joe Friday, like all LAPD detectives of the day, carried a .38 Special revolver.
I began my reading and research in the firearms world with well written books by C B Colby. His work whetted my interest in firearms and most were written in simple prose that a nine year old could understand. As I progressed to reading Gun Digest I learned a great deal about handguns. By age eleven I had a Crossman air pistol and had fired several of my grandfather’s revolvers. I knew that Joe Friday carried a Military and Police .38 Special with a two inch barrel. This was one of the first short barrel .38 Special revolvers, introduced just before Colt’s Detective Special. The Military and Police revolver is a K frame revolver. It is considerably larger than the J frame five shot revolver. The Military and Police revolver features a full size grip that makes control good for experienced shooters. The sights are excellent for a fixed sight revolver. The action is smooth. While the smaller frame Detective Special has much merit the Military and Police snub nose is a fast handling and effective revolver.
I had wanted one of these revolvers after seeing Joe Friday draw and use his on Dragnet. Very seldom was the big Smith used but when it was Friday fired a single shot and got the job done. The lumbering old 200 grain Super Police load was standard for the LAPD in those days. While Friday’s gun fired blanks the LAPD fired many Super Police loads in the line of duty. I have owned a good number of J frame revolvers, primarily for use as a backup, and somehow I hadn’t added a full size Military and Police .38 Special revolver with two inch barrel to my collection. I kept my eye open for an example and actually ran across one about three years ago at a fair price. This was the first and last time I entered this shop. (It is now out of business.) I saw an older Smith and Wesson two inch barrel Model Ten with the desirable diamond grips. The revolver had a bit of wear, just like I like. A nice looking lady of perhaps forty years age handed me the revolver and we were within a few dollars of making the deal. A crusty overweight sourpuss (the owner) came to stand beside his daughter. I held the gun up to the light looking it over and remarked, ‘Hey this is Joe Friday’s gun.’ Sourpuss said, ‘I don’t care who in the hell pawned it it’s mine now.’ Seldom have I met such a solid combination of ignorance, disdain for a customer, and a lack of personality. I smiled at his lovely daughter and said ‘Let me think about it.’ I never graced the place again.
A few weeks ago I saw another of the now hard to find revolvers. The piece was in one of my favorite shops and it was marked at a fair price. I managed to whittle a few dollars off the price and took the piece home, cracked grip, worn muzzle and all. I didn’t want a new in the box example at all and that wasn’t in the budget. The action is tight and a check of the serial number showed the revolver left the factory in 1972. The bluing was decent and the chip off the bottom of the grip didn’t affect firing. Who knows — perhaps someone had used the gun butt as a kosh and buffaloed some deserving SOB. The Smith and Wesson Military and Police is a trouble free revolver. You could by pass every new revolver in the gun case at a well stocked gun shop and pick up a new Military and Police revolver and have a handgun that will last you for many years with heavy use.
I took the revolver to the range and loaded up the classic 158 grain RNL in the Remington Wheelgunner line. The revolver lines up on target quickly. Accuracy is good. The K frame really soaks up recoil. At 10 yards it was no mean feat to put six rounds into the X ring firing double action. Of course we don’t carry RNL loads. The Remington lead semi wadcutter hollow point is soft enough to plump up to .60 even at 820 fps, the clocked velocity from the Smith’s short barrel. There was more recoil with this 158 grain load but the big Smith and Wesson remained controllable. After firing a number of double action pairs I appreciated Sgt. Friday’s choice. This is a good handling revolver. The two inch barrel allows good concealment even when worn on the belt as a relatively short covering garment will conceal this handgun. I even tried a few shots at a long 20 yards. Bracing against a barricade and firing five rounds single action all five went into less than two inches- with three in 1.5 inches. These were among the most accurate revolvers to leave Smith and Wesson. Since the initial outing I have also fired a number of handloads using heavy cast bullets from Matt’s Bullets. A hard cast 200 grain bullet at 800 fps thumps the steel plates hard. Not recommended for J frame revolvers.
Joe Friday carried his Smith in a crossdraw holster. My research indicates this was a Lewis holster, a well made scabbard long out of production. I have on hand a spring loaded G Man crossdraw from the 1940s or so. The Smith and Wesson fit well and the draw was excellent. The holster has become loose with the years and that wont do. A modern Wright Leather Works crossdraw is superior to most anything Joe Friday would have owned. The Smith and Wesson Military and Police is a good fit for this holster, originally intended for a Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum with 2.5 inch barrel. The Wright Leather Works holster holds the gun butt in the perfect position for a rapid presentation.
In the end I like this combination very much. I am certain I will be using the Smith and Wesson .38 when hiking or other low stress activity and probably carrying it concealed from time to time. I would rather have this vintage Smith and Wesson than perhaps half of the guns I see in shooting classes. And that’s the facts — just the facts.
What challenges arise for disabled shooters? READ MORE
My good friend Randy Schiferl wanted to buy his very first handgun, and he had questions for me. Lots of them–best models, worst, prices, calibers and on it went.
“Let’s go to the range,” I said. “I’ll bring a half dozen handguns and ammo and we’ll see what works best for you. Okay?”
“Just give me the day and a time,” said Randy.
A couple days later found me deciding which handguns I should bring to the range, when it hit me: Randy is disabled. I don’t usually think of Randy as disabled. A very good friend is how I think of him, as well as a committed family man and a very successful dairy farmer. You can count on Randy—a good many people know this firsthand.
But, yes, Randy has disabilities. I wondered how it might affect his ability to use the various pistols I brought along that afternoon to our local sportsmen’s club shooting range.
This happened to him just a few years ago. In October 2017, Randy was walking to his car when his legs suddenly gave out. The rest of his body went limp, too. He had to be helped into the car and carried into our local emergency room. Numerous tests and consultations later, the medical staff arrived at a diagnosis: Guillain-Barre syndrome.
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Guillain-Barre (gee-YAH-buh-RAY) syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body.”
Days later, an almost completely paralyzed Randy listened to his doctor’s prognosis. Randy found out he would never walk again; never feed or bathe himself; never leave a skilled nursing home; and that he should expect a lifetime of near-complete paralysis.
Randy, now 55, heard it all and accepted it. Accepted that his doctor was wrong, that is. Today, after a tremendous amount of work, faith and (he will deny this, but I believe it is true nonetheless) a large reserve of inner courage, Randy walks, works his dairy farm, drives and does much of what he once did.
“Will I ever be 100% back to where I was before all this?” he said to me recently. “Probably not. But I’m not spending the rest of my life in a bed, either!”
He rates himself as physically at about 75% pre-Guillain-Barre. He does physical therapy and works out regularly, has monthly infusions and gets a little stronger and more flexible every week.
But he does wear leg braces and he walks with the noticeable, rolling gait of someone with a physical disability. Plus, he frequently travels on business. He goes to strange places and it occurred to him that criminal types might see him as an easy target. So, to maintain his safety and independence, Randy knew it was time to get a concealed-carry permit.
“I’ve always been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” Randy told me during our day at the range. “With my current physical condition, I am thinking about my right to own and use a firearm in a different way now, I will admit. I guess I never felt vulnerable before, but,” and here he shrugged, “Guillain-Barre has changed my life and I have to adapt.”
Randy is not alone in his need to adapt to changing physical conditions. According to the NRA’s Adaptive Shooting Program, some 74 million Americans qualify as “disabled.”
“This population is growing,” the Adaptive Shooting Program website notes, “as the Baby Boomer generation ages and as injured soldiers return from overseas. As a group, they are generally under-represented in the shooting sports, personal protection and hunting communities. The NRA’s goal is to increase access and participation in shooting activities for people with disabilities through specialized techniques and technologies that are safe and unique to each individual.”
“The NRA is one of the nation’s oldest civil-rights organizations with a mission to protect and defend the Second Amendment for everyone regardless of age or ability,” said Dr. Joseph Logar, PT, DPT, National Manager for Adaptive Shooting Programs. “The Bill of Rights doesn’t have an age limit; there’s no eye chart on the back; there’s no height requirement or strength testing needed to exercise your rights.”
The Adaptive Shooting Program website provides an Americans with disabilities information page, a range-accessibility checklist, an accessibility subsidy program and an adaptive product database. But the program’s work goes beyond providing information.
“We recently donated around $7,000 worth of gear to Lonestar Para-Athletic Development Academy, a non-profit out of Texas, to establish a training center/program for veterans with disabilities,” said Logar. “We are involved in many other similar projects to help people to actually participate in the shooting sports, whether it’s hunting or recreational shooting or self-defense.”
At the range that day, Randy and I did a safety briefing first, and then I had him handle the unloaded pistols. We immediately discovered that a small “pocket” pistol wasn’t going to work for Randy, given the flexibility issues with his hands.
But he did great shooting and manipulating larger handguns, including a Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield and a Remington R1 Enhanced 1911. Once he got used to handling these two pistols, the bullseyes hits started coming–and kept coming.
“This is a lot of fun!” Randy said with a big smile, after he was done putting a magazine of .45 ACP rounds into the center of a target. “I think my next stop is the gun shop!”
Photo courtesy of Brian McCombie
NRA Launches Online Gun Safety Courses. READ MORE
Marion P Hammer, USF Executive Director
In response to the growing number of first-time gun buyers during the coronavirus outbreak, the National Rifle Association’s Education & Training Division is pleased to announce the launch of four new online gun safety courses.
“These courses will provide an option for first-time gun owners who don’t have the ability to take an NRA certified instructor-led class at their local shooting range at this time,” said Joe DeBergalis, executive director of NRA General Operations. “While there is no replacement for in-person, instructor-led training, our new online classes do provide the basics of firearm safety training for those self-isolating at home.”
Those courses include:
Gun Safety Seminar
NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course — Distance Learning
NRA Basic Rifle Shooting Course — Distance Learning
NRA Basic Personal Protection In The Home Course — Distance Learning
Each course, lasting from one to eight hours, is available at NRAInstructors.org.
Though range time is part of some of the classes (Basics of Pistol Shooting — Distance Learning & Personal Protection in the Home — Distance Learning), there is still a wealth of knowledge available in every online section.
“The NRA recommends that all new gun owners seek professional training at the range, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start on learning the basics of firearm safety at home. New gun owners, old gun owners, it doesn’t really matter. Taking one of these classes moderated by a certified NRA instructor can only make you safer, and that’s our primary goal,” DeBergalis added.
The NRA also offers the award-winning gun accident prevention Eddie Eagle GunSafe program (eddieeagle.nra.org) nationwide and the NRA Hunters Education program (NRA.yourlearningportal.com) in selected states to help those safeguard their home and to be safe and responsible when they go afield.
More than 2 million guns sold in March. READ MORE
Aaron Eaton learned how to shoot in the Army back in 2006 but holstered a pistol for the last time when he left in 2009 and took a job as a technician for a sewer company. That all changed on March 26 when the father of four walked out of an Alabama gun store with a Beretta 92FS, the same gun he handled as a military policeman at the height of the Iraq war.
“Simply put: I wanted peace of mind when it comes to the safety of my family,” Eaton said.
Eaton’s pistol was one of 2.3 million firearms to fly off the shelves in March, the single busiest month for gun sales ever. The Washington Free Beacon spoke to half a dozen new gun owners who purchased a total of six handguns and two shotguns. All of the new gun owners provided proof of purchase, though some asked not to have their last names published because of potential career backlash.
“To me, it’s all about protecting my family, and if a gun makes that easier, so be it,” Scott, a California tech worker with a wife and daughter, said.
Many of the new gun owners cited concerns about personal protection as states began emptying jail cells and police departments announced they would no longer enforce certain laws. Jake Wilhelm, a Virginia-based environmental consultant and lacrosse coach, purchased a Sig Sauer P226 after seeing Italy enact a nationwide lockdown on March 9.
“[My fiancée and I] came to the conclusion in early March that if a nation like Italy was going into full lockdown, we in the U.S. were likely on the same path,” Wilhelm said. “Given that, and knowing that police resources would be stretched to the max, I decided to purchase a handgun.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group, said new customers represented a large swath of new gun sales even as gun stores faced depleted stocks and shutdown orders from state and local governments across the country. “A large portion of the 2.3 million sales during the month of March were to first-time buyers is what we’re hearing back from our retailers,” Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the group, said.
Retailers told the Free Beacon they’d never experienced anything like the recent surge of new buyers.
Brandon Wexler of Wex Gunworks in Delray Beach, Fla., said “at least 50 percent” of his sales in March were to first-time buyers. Michael Cargill of Central Texas Gun Works in Austin, Texas, said he was getting “100 calls an hour” at the peak and most were from new customers. Wayne Viden, vice president of Bob’s Little Gun Shop in Glassboro, N.J., said he also noticed an influx of new buyers.
“I think a lot of people were afraid of exactly what’s happening now,” Viden said. “They’re afraid if it continues to go on longer, things are going to get worse.”
Charrie Derosa, a saleswoman at Wex Gunworks, said shopworkers attempted to alleviate the unease caused by the lethal virus.
“‘We’re here for you.’ That’s the exact feeling that you have when you’re standing there and you’re looking at them,” she said. “And you can see it. You saw fear. You saw desperation.”
The fear extended past the disease to how communities would bear the strain of job loss, lockdown orders, and law enforcement policies adopted in the wake of the spread. One Tampa inmate who was released over coronavirus concerns has now been accused of murder, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Brian, a 40-year-old living near Tampa, lost his full-time bartending job in March but was concerned enough about deteriorating public safety that he dipped into his savings to purchase a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.
“My biggest fear is that our local police force comes down with the virus,” he said. “If the good guys are all out sick, who is going to stop the bad guys? When people have no hope, they get desperate. And we fear the worst is to come.”
Scott, the California tech worker, said he is preparing not just for thinned policing, but for a potential uptick in hate crimes against his family. While he is not Asian, his wife and daughter are. He said they have already faced racial harassment during the outbreak.
“Just walking on the street, folks have honked and yelled at us [for] wearing masks,” he said. “And robberies are common in Asian communities. I worry about them.”
Matthew Rosky, a North Carolinian who bought a Benelli 12-gauge shotgun for himself and a 20-gauge shotgun for his wife on April 4, said he doesn’t “plan on being relieved of my property or my life if it comes to that.” He said the couple lost their home to a landslide in 2019 and the threat of a national emergency pushed them to follow through on the purchase they had already been considering.
“I am not real enthused with politicians letting criminals out of jails, nor will I be surprised to see crime go up since many police departments are not responding to anything but the worst emergencies,” Rosky said. “Obviously, this is a pessimistic outlook but, ‘Hope for the best, prepare for the worst,’ seems like a good mantra at the moment.”
Andrew, a federal contractor living in Virginia who bought a Heckler & Koch VP9 for himself and one for his wife on March 21, said he had already experienced societal breakdown firsthand. He was a student at the University of Southern California during the Los Angeles riots and witnessed some of the destruction. He recalled “the acrid smell of smoke and the ceaseless police and fire sirens and LAPD choppers” as “the most poignant and searing memories” of his lifetime.
“The sad reality [is] that civil order can break down in less than 12 hours and the overwhelmed police can’t help you,” he said. “As I explained to my wife, I’ve seen things go sideways quickly — and with unpredictable results.”
Some of the new gun owners now find themselves caught in the political battles that have emerged in the wake of the coronavirus. Santa Clara County shut down gun stores before Scott could pick up his Smith & Wesson .357 revolver.
“To me, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” he said. “That’s why it’s frustrating to have that right taken away.”
Retailers said customers like Scott are the reason they have resisted shutdown orders. The stay-at-home order in Texas did not include an exemption for gun stores, but Cargill of Central Texas Gun Works kept his doors open even before state attorney general Ken Paxton said localities cannot shutter gun stores.
“I’m refusing to shut down because a lot of people lost their jobs,” Cargill said. “They don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from but they do know it’s up to them to protect their family. And they’re coming to me and they’re saying, ‘Hey, I have food for now and I have water and I have medicine but what I don’t have is a firearm to protect my house.'”
The adjustment to being a new gun owner has been easy for Eaton, the Alabama veteran.
“It’s the weapon the Army trained me with. I figured I should go back to something I’m familiar with,” he said.
He is an outlier among those the Free Beacon spoke to. A majority said they want to pursue further training–including those needed for carry-permits–once lockdowns are lifted and classes are available again. With closures in place, Scott has turned to online communities and video training. He said he had been impressed by what he’s seen from gun owners both in-person and online.
“It’s all about safety first and practice, practice, practice,” he said.
Owners face challenges as the nationwide lockdown persists. READ MORE
by Susanne Edward
Since late February, gun manufacturers have been doing all they can to keep the supplies flowing as gun sales soar.
“It has been a large, quick increase. People are mostly looking for under $500 handguns, ammunition and basic AR-15s–the people’s gun,” said Joe Meaux, owner of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Aklys Defense.
However, the rise in gun sales was left in limbo in several parts of the country as several state and local governments declared that gun stores are not “essential” businesses.
Even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in late March, deemed gun stores fundamental and gave the green light for them to remain open along with grocery stores and pharmacies, some local and state governments, including those in Massachusetts, New York and New Mexico, ordered them closed and thereby ignited a litigious firestorm.
Some parts of California also used the government’s long arm to shutter gun stores, with a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissing a lawsuit put forward by shop owners and gun-rights groups seeking a temporary order allowing them to re-open.
Roman Kaplan, owner of City Arms East in Pleasant Hill, Calif., who has filed a lawsuit against the local government, said that sales had initially “sky-rocketed” until they suddenly received a call last month from their local police department mandating they close down.
“We are unable to serve our customers as we are closed,” Kaplan said. “Yet criminals are being let out of jails and police departments are taking officers off the streets.”
Meanwhile, police departments and first responders are hardly immune to the coronavirus. They have been impacted by sickness and deaths in their ranks, and for weeks some departments have been warning communities they cannot respond to calls and crimes as they normally would.
“Folks started to realize the need for self-protection/preservation as news of the pandemic was nationalized,” said Gordon Gray, owner-partner of Sparks Black Rifle, in Sparks, Nev., which has been allowed to remain open. “People at first started buying shotguns and pistols. Then they moved to rifles, and then whatever was available.”
As the demand increased and the inventory decreased, Gray says the shipping times also increased. In some cases, they are three weeks behind.
Many gun-store owners also say they’ve seen a massive increase in first-time buyers.
“Many are opening their eyes as to how a firearm is acquired. Most thought they could simply purchase one from the internet or a gun show,” Gray said. “Some became angry at their politicians for not being truthful about how a firearm is purchased.”
Aside from some unconstitutional state and local restrictions, the pandemic’s large-scale lockdown has hurt the industry in other ways, too.
Gary Eliseo, the founder of the Arizona-based accessories retailer Competition Machine Inc., said that while his state has allowed them to continue working, the business has been drained primarily because of the loss of competitive shooting events.
“We need customers with disposable income to stay in this business; the longer we stay shut down, the more difficult the employment situation will be,” said Eliseo. “But it is clear to most of us who value our constitutional rights that the Second Amendment is more important now than ever. Citizens need the ability to protect themselves.”
Photo courtesy of NSSF
Giffords delivers sarcastic comments to those trying to protect their family and property. READ MORE
The FBI performed a record-breaking 3.7 million firearm-related background checks last month. According to an April news release from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), March 2020 estimates of firearm sales show an increase of over 85% from March 2019 – single handgun sales jumped by 91%, and single long-gun sales increased by over 73%.
In an interview with Cheddar news earlier this month, David Chipman, a “senior policy advisor” for the anti-gun group Giffords, was asked about his “biggest concerns” regarding the “coronavirus gun sales spike.” (If the name rings a bell, Mr. Chipman, formerly a “senior advisor” with Bloomberg’s pre-Everytown group MAIG and an ex-ATF agent, has, among other things, advocated that AR-15 rifles should be regulated “just like” fully automatic machine guns.)
During the interview, he claimed that first-time gun owners may think “in their [own] mind they might be competent.” However, they were really “putting themselves and their families in danger” based on whether these guns were being “stored safely” and properly in the home. Sitting in what appeared to be his own kitchen, Chipman advised “those people who were first-time gun owners” to “secure that gun locked and unloaded and hide it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you’ve stored in a cabinet and only bring that out if the zombies start to appear, and I don’t think they are.”
Of course, following this advice means that the firearm isn’t readily available for defensive use should the need arise. (Hiding firearms among the kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer or in the flour bin also isn’t consistent with the Giffords philosophy of mandating that all unattended firearms be kept unloaded, with a lock in place, and secured in a gun safe or other locked container.)
The real issue — apart from why anyone would take the advice of someone who thinks beef jerky comes in cans — is Chipman’s apparent incredulity at the need to keep guns in the home for self-defense. Even with law enforcement stretched thin due to sick or quarantined officers, and hundreds of inmates being released from jails and prisons (here, here, here and here), this former ATF SWAT team member assures us all that there’s nothing to fear because, well, “the zombies” aren’t coming.
Chipman, quoted elsewhere, had expanded on his jerky-zombie theme. “If we can imagine how horrible this crisis is … the people who hoarded the guns might decide six months from now – once they see no zombies around but they’ve run out of tuna and beef jerky – that they need the money to buy food.” The “horrible” part, apparently, is not just running out of food, but the more disturbing possibility of the private sales of these firearms.
In contrast to the weird pointers on how to store guns in the kitchen, the NRA has launched new online gun safety courses to address “the growing number of first-time gun buyers during the coronavirus outbreak.” Joe DeBergalis, executive director of NRA General Operations, says “[t]hese courses will provide an option for first-time gun owners who don’t have the ability to take an NRA certified instructor-led class at their local shooting range at this time. While there is no replacement for in-person, instructor-led training, our new online classes do provide the basics of firearm safety training for those self-isolating at home.”
The zombies aren’t coming, but regardless of how gun control advocates depict this recent, unprecedented affirmation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, law-abiding Americans — now as ever — are putting their money on the Second Amendment to keep themselves and their families safe.
One of the most infamous gun control duos in the nation’s history is teaming up again as former president Barack Obama endorsed his former vice-president Joe Biden in the 2020 contest for the White House. READ MORE
Biden will ever be remembered for dubiously encouraging Americans to fire their shotguns indiscriminately into the air to ward off potential intruders.
Obama, meanwhile, once brazenly wielded a finger gun at Americans in a public photo-shoot, the same gesture that resulted in untold numbers of harmless students being kicked out of or otherwise disciplined at school during his two terms as president.
But these high jinks aside, there was nothing funny about the real damage the two did and tried to do to the Second Amendment rights of Americans while they occupied the White House.
For example, the two presided over Operation Fast & Furious, a supposed investigatory effort in which federal agents encouraged fully functional firearms to be sold to Mexican narco-terrorists, who then used them to kill, even as the administration cited violence in Mexico to call for gun control in the U.S.
Their tenure also gave us Operation Choke Point, a supposed enforcement action by federal banking regulators against fraudulent, high risk, and illegal enterprises. This effort, which sought to choke off access to financial services, additionally went after legitimate but politically disfavored business sectors, including the firearm and ammunition industries.
Then, of course, there was the attempt to use executive action to ban one of the most popular types of ammunition for the most popular centerfire rifle in America, an effort that met tremendous backlash from America’s gun owners and culminated in the resignation of Obama’s ATF director.
And who can forget how the Obama/Biden administration sought to use Social Security disability benefits as a means of depriving tens of thousands of Americans every year of their lawfully obtained firearms?
As bad as those years were for gun owners, they would have been much, much worse if Obama/Biden had succeeded in other planned anti-gun schemes, including banning and confiscating most modern semiautomatic rifles and making private transfers of firearms a federal crime.
Only the vigilant activism of NRA members and other freedom-loving Americans kept them from realizing their most ambitious and sweeping gun control objectives. Indeed, Obama himself would later go on record claiming that his inability to enact federal gun control was the issue that left him “most frustrated” as president.
But now Obama hopes that his former vice president will succeed where he did not. Indeed, Biden is openly touting a gun control agenda in his White House bid that is far more ambitious and sweeping than what the Obama administration would publicly admit it supported. This reflects the increasing radicalization of the Democrat Party, a party whose most extreme elements even attack Obama himself for his supposed willingness to comprise on far left ideals.
“Choosing Joe to be my vice-president was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Obama said in announcing his endorsement. To the degree that’s true, however, it is more indicative of Obama’s own long history of bad decision-making than of Biden’s merits and abilities as a national leader.
And the years since Obama made that decision have not been kind to Biden, with the deterioration of his judgment and mental faculties a frequent subject of public comment, including by leftist partisans and non-partisans alike.
But make no mistake, Biden remains aware and alert enough to pose a very real danger to America’s gun owners, should he be elected.
In that regard, at least, he would no doubt do justice to the confidence of his former boss in the White House.
Corona, Covid-19, is daggone serious. I’m beyond on board taking the precautions I can to protect myself and mine. It can and has killed people. I have to keep that firmly in mind because about the time “we,” or at least those more immediately in vicinity where I live, really started to get into lockdown, shutdown mode now seems like a good while distant. Covid-19 isn’t nearly over with. It’s not yet even hit its stride. I’m not at all saying that to alarm or concern, just to keep firmly in mind that it looks like we’ll be all beyond arm’s length for a good long while.
Some of us will have more or less time on our hands.
But! Since we are interested in shooting, it sho could be worlds worse. There are so many ways to continue to productively participate in elements of our world. And, honestly, that’s an understatement. Some genuinely valuable things can be done and learned following a shooting focus away from target time.
I read and receive a lot of messages from handloaders digging into put-off projects (usually involving case prep or segregation, stockpiling, and on down a long list of opportunities to “finally” get something done that had been pushed back).
You might think about reviewing some of the Reloaders Corner articles in the past with respect to prep and segregation means, and also those dealing with ideas on how to bring the loading machinery into a little more comfortable, closer proximity. And! Always follow all the same rules, especially about cleaning up a the end of a loading session. Don’t leave primers or propellant to sit open.
We could all come out of this with from a little to a lot improved handloading accomplishments. Okay. I am admittedly grasping at straws, folks, because I’d rather just get back to normal, but I can tell you that shooting-related interests are way (way) easier to maintain and improve, certainly compared to something like mountain biking when there’s a forced layoff.
The status of range time access gets different answers. I know that virtually every organized tournament, outdoor or indoor, has been cancelled or postponed. I also just today see some conflicting views on the essential or non-essential angle of shooting ranges.
Finally, it looks like Reloaders Corner and the MSS Blog might be more frequent over the next bit, so keep looking for new material in these pages.
Check out Glen’s newest book America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.
One Shot Stops, 9mm vs. .45, Magic Bullet. READ MORE
In writing, I prefer my information to be valid and the research verifiable, and the experiments repeatable. I like to give the reader an opportunity to get a handle on things. Quite often the things that the critic points out harshly are the things that majority of the readers find valuable. I have found that the subject of handgun wound potential or stopping power isnt a puzzle at all but remains a puzzle to those that make it so. I realize that there is not natural law that gives a man a reward that matches his endeavor, so I hope that the reader finds something of value in this work. There has been more debate concerning handgun stopping power in the past 20 years than in the previous 100. A lot of gunplay took place in the old west, but period literature covers the tactics and personalities far more closely than the guns and calibers used. The .44 and .45 caliber revolvers in wide use on the frontier seemed to work with authority, and no one much questioned the efficacy of their ballistics. There are reports of the effect of the .44 on horses and the problems with the .36 at long range during the Civil War, but perhaps that is going back too far and reading too much into different technology.
Since the days when word-of-mouth was the only barometer of handgun effectiveness, we have made many advances in measuring handgun power. The standard was once pine boards to test handgun cartridges, penetration being the only criteria. Penetration is still the most important criteria. Ductseal and clay were widely used to test hollowpoints, both unrealistic media. Today we have carefully formulated ballistic gelatin, developed by trauma surgeons to replicate human tissue, as well as some highly significant scientific studies of gunshot effects.
The study of tactics and human behavior is more important than the weapon, caliber and loading used in combat. Marksmanship can be proven to be the most important component of handgun effectiveness. Wound ballistics is a science, with conclusions drawn from studying bullet tracks in both ballistic gelatin and corpses in the medical examiner’s morgue. Detractors of laboratory tests feel these tests cannot duplicate differences in point of impact, clothing, attitude, muscle structure and intoxication. But a ballistic scientist does not ask us to believe anything. He simply presents the results of his tests. The results are not only verifiable, they are repeatable, the real test of science.
Stopping power “studies,” on the other hand, ask us to believe in someone’s conclusion. Assuming such compilations are valid requires a considerable leap of faith. Reports are often sensationalized, even glamorized. Are such studies grounded in reality? Are they even useful? Can they be supported by scientific methods? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this — cartridges and loads are not as important as basic shooting skills. I don’t believe trick loads significantly alter the ability of a smallbore cartridge to inflict damage. I simply don’t accept many published reports because they are anecdotal and based on hearsay. Even if the shootings actually occurred — which is reasonable to ask — the methodology is flawed. In other cases, there are conclusions made that are so irrelevant to the reality of interpersonal combat that they are not even worth publishing.
A Skeptical Eye
When it comes to the various handgun “studies,” we must consider their validity. These “researchers” are not writing the King James version of stopping power. Yet the figures expressed are often quoted in the popular press as gospel. A criticism of some of the work might be the inability of others to inspect and review source material. To some, this reduces the validity of the study to zero. Certainly, such unsubstantiated work does not meet an investigative standard. As a longtime officer, I understand both sides of this debate. Confidentiality and respect for families must be considered. Cops who collect shooting histories may not have engaged in much gunplay, but have arrived just after quite a few gunfights ended. Cops from Area Six in Chicago, Fort Apache (the Bronx) in New York, or The Wall in California have a good idea of the type of damage different handgun calibers inflict. They are good investigators as well. They realize that three eyewitnesses testifying in good faith may perceive events three different ways.
Human perceptions differ. The road to a detective’s badge in many agencies is through the traffic division. Working wreck scenes is small-scale investigation, and separates the sleuths from the duffers in some cases. Applying normal investigative standards to stopping power studies often reveals bankrupt methodology or standards. These “studies” do not even meet the criteria demanded by some agencies in ascertaining who is at fault in a fender bender.
Most police trainers have long abandoned the attempt to study stopping power and instead have concentrated on tactical movement and the actions of felons in combat. Tactics carry the day. By criticizing issue arms and equipment, we undermine an officer’s confidence in his gear, something he is usually unable to change. Sure, a DAO 9mm loaded with subsonic ammunition is not my first choice but a good man or woman behind the sights can make a difference. Tactics and marksmanship are a better answer than hotter loads in minor calibers.
One writer did the boys and girls in blue no favor when he stated in pat terms that load selection is more important than shot placement. His reasoning was that we can control load selection, but not marksmanship. Evidently he does not realize that shots that do not find critical areas are relatively ineffective. Any hunter knows better, and hunting lessons do indeed translate to self defense. A gut-shot man behaves just like a gut-shot deer — both are up and running for quite some time. A man and a deer are similar in size and may be about as hard to put down. The man knows he has been shot, the deer does not, and men are more susceptible to shock.
Most studies, or rather I call them published opinions, eliminate multiple bullet strikes from the data as they ‘confuse the issue.’ This simply makes small caliber bullets look much better than real world experience would indicate. Most handgun fights will be multiple strike incidents. One shot failures would be rare. After all, if the first shot fails, won’t you fire another? Besides, trained shooters often fire double or triple taps before a subject can fall. A problem with handgun histories is qualifying hits. I have on hand a report from police sources in which a coroner and a medical examiner, both reputable men, disagreed concerning the number of hits on a felon’s body. In a class I once attended, a medical examiner spoke in glowing terms of a certain new generation hollowpoint. He showed an impressive slide in which a bad guy — “Satan Lives” was tattooed on his chest — took a single hit which produced a long and wide wound track. Years later, the officer involved in the incident spoke at a seminar. He noted the man took the shot, stopped his attack, and remained mobile for some time, asking the officer to call an ambulance. The felon expired. The officer was certain the man could have continued the fight had he so wished. Two conflicting opinions on the same shooting. Some adversaries are “machinegunned” in shootings — five .38s, seven .45s, or 41 9mms. Excited, frightened men empty their guns under deadly stress. If the felon goes down in such a volley, it may have been a one-shot stop. The volley that leaves a felon standing is always a failure to stop. Dismissing multiple hits eliminates the majority of smallbore shootings.
There are three components of wound potential that must be stressed — marksmanship, marksmanship and marksmanship. We are not very bright if we have time to arm ourselves with a long gun and fail to do so. In comparison to a 12 gauge shotgun or a .223 rifle, the “weak .38” and “strong .45” are more alike than they differ. A sobering thought.
Shooting histories should be used for tactical information first and bullet performance information second. As for lab work, gelatin is homogenous and flesh and blood are heterogeneous. It is not the same, but gelatin is a good media for comparing bullet performance. What counts is point of impact and perhaps the adversary’s tox sheet. (Certain drugs are not called painkillers for nothing.) Even ordinary water is good for comparing bullet expansion and penetration. Whether or not we regard the studies as valid, one rule we may take away from learned research is that bullet selection is more important in the weaker calibers. One authority, Dr. Vincent J. Di Miao, has stated that perhaps half of all handgun bullets designed to expand actually fail to expand in the body. They strike a portion of the body that doesn’t stop the bullet or they strike bone and close up on the nose. The works of this respected medical examiner do not inspire confidence in smallbore hollowpoints. We are led to the conclusion that all handguns are weak instruments.
Some decades ago the Police Marksman’s Association published a study that I found among the more valid of the day. The calibers included were .38 Special, 9mm Luger, .357 Magnum and .45 ACP. The .40 S & W was yet to come, so, yes, this was some time ago. While the results of the study are valid, the study, which was conducted by a respected researcher and the records were available to interested researchers, also included hit probability. This simply reflected the number of hits per shots fired. This was a reflection on training than anything else but notably the .357 Magnum exhibited the highest hit probability. The .45 auto and .357 Magnum revolvers showed the highest hit probability of any service handguns. Hit probability is a side issue, but one which remains valid. You would imagine if the agency has a hit probability of fifty per cent with the 9mm, the shots that hit are probably not well centered. Some agencies, such as the Kentucky State Patrol, engaged in rigorous training with their Magnum revolvers.
What follows is a divergence from the scientific, but bear with me — life has to have some fun too — and all this about combat reminds us that life is what it is because men live it.
Fun With Math
One “study” shows a 9mm cartridge that has proven to be a 50 percent stopper. Hit probability in this agency has proven to be 50 percent — far higher than average at the time. What are the chances two felons will be stopped with two shots? Given that only one out of two rounds will hit Felon X and Felon Y, at least four shots will have to be fired to connect, and then only one opponent is likely to be stopped.
Here’s the math on that probability: .50 x .50 = .25. What you have is a one-in-four chance of stopping Felon X with one shot.
What about the .357 Magnum revolver, per PMA stats? It works out like this: .75 x .60 = .45. The conclusion, if we were peddling this “study” as a major work, would be this: The .357 Magnum is nearly twice as likely to produce a one-shot stop as a 9mm Luger. So there you have it. How much faith can we put in these studies? We can learn from the PMA study that firing less with more accuracy means a lot. That doesn’t mean we are slower to the first shot but we should fire with greater accuracy.
What stops human adversaries during a deadly attack? A brain shot or a spine shot are the only two instant stoppers. Damage to blood bearing organs which causes rapid blood loss and a drop of pressure causes the body to shut down. Common sense is the best guide. Bigger bullets cause more damage. Bigger knives cut better. Bigger engines pull better. However, handgun bullets aren’t very big. We should practice with the largest caliber we are able to control. Accuracy can make up for power. The reverse may not be true.