Category Archives: Accessories

RELOADERS CORNER: Learning to Load Again, pt. two

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In handloading, there’s always another gage or means to measure. But which really matter, and when and why? READ MORE

reloading measuring tools
All you really need. And a few gages to index it off of. Read on!

Glen Zediker

Last time I started on a recollection of a recent event, which was a project (that is ongoing) teaching my son Charlie how to reload ammunition for his AR15.

As said then, learning to set up tooling is intertwined with learning to measure pertinent dimensions, and that experience involves learning to use measuring tools, and choosing which ones to use. That led to a look at the most essential and indispensable measuring tool of all: the caliper.

There’s more tools to be had, and to be used, to be sure.

As he was looking through my boxed and binned collection of tools I had fetched out for the project, he had a lot of “what’s that’s” and “when do we need this’s” and I kept telling him what it was, what it did, and that we didn’t really need it for what we were doing.

Most of that other stuff was measuring tools, very specialized measuring tools, gages. A commonly recommended tool for a handloader’s kit is a micrometer. These use a threaded barrel that’s turned in to a stop to measure the thickness or length of something (any lateral measurement). A “mic” is a more precise tool than a caliper, usually reading down another step, into the 0.0001 inches range.

reloading measuring tools
If you get a micrometer, digital is a lot easier to use, but I really don’t think you NEED a micrometer!

A mic is useful for measuring bullet diameters, for instance, or sizing die expander buttons. A specialized mic, called an inside or tubing micrometer, is the most precise way to measure case wall thicknesses. These have a ball end to more accurately mate with the curved shape of a case neck.

As with calipers, mics can be either manual or digital. Digital is a whopping lot easier to read, mostly faster to read, because there’s another layer of graduations to count toward an answer, in effect, on the barrel of a manual mic. No shock, a good mic usually costs more than an equally good caliper.

I can’t count too high recollecting the times I’ve used my mic in handloading. I use it more building rifles, measuring trigger pin diameters and the like.

reloading measuring tools
Something like this Forster tool can perform valuable quality checks. Here it’s being used to measure case neck wall thickness.

For me, the more useful means to check and note neck wall thicknesses (probably the most commonly applied use of a micrometer by in-depth handloaders) is a specialty gage that works off a dial indicator. These have a ball-end like an inside mic. Then the quality of the dial indicator matters a whopping lot. Good ones are expensive, but, in my experience, worth it. Take extreme careful care of your dial indicator!

reloading measuring tools
Something like this neck wall thickness gage from Hornady is not as perfectly precise as a tubing mic, but sho is faster to use. It all depends on how ticky anyone wants to get.

That measuring device, the dial indicator, is the heart of a few other measurement fixtures I’ve used, like a concentricity fixture to check the runout of cases or loaded rounds. One of these “spinners” is a good investment for someone who wants to get a little farther along toward perfecting ammunition, or at least being able to segregate it. The expense isn’t great, and the collected and applied results can be most beneficial. Most of these also provide a means to configure the appliance to check and record neck wall or case wall thicknesses. The accuracy is, as suggested, dependent on the quality of the dial indicator. Since most indicators have a “standard” 1/4-in. diameter shank, it’s usually possible to ramp up a fixture to incorporate a higher-precision dial if wanted.

reloading measuring tools
A good dial indicator makes the most of any tool based on one.

I have owned and used a good number of seriously specialized measurement tools. I unfortunately can’t say they ever really helped, or at least they didn’t help me for the targets I was facing. Long range and Benchrest shooters tend to be behind the development and production of tools such as bullet bearing surface comparators. As anticipated, this contraption actually measures and compares bearing surface area bullet to bullet. As with a more common caliper-mounted comparator, the idea is to measure through a box of bullets and segregate them into batches. The idea is that the bullets that are more nearly the same will perform more nearly the same on target. Whether those efforts are going to manifest in a smaller group is a combination of ammunition component quality to start, rifle component quality, and, no doubt, shooter skill.

reloading measuring tools
Here’s a bullet bearing surface comparator, the most specialized such device I have. Such measuring tools come about from attempting to attain near perfection. Most of us, shooting most guns at most targets, won’t see any difference.

I’ve known folks to check bullets using an electromagnetic appliance to gauge concentricity and, some think, much more respecting the internal structure and balance of each bullet measured. If you’ve never seen or heard of one, check out a Vern Juenke Bullet Inspector. Some say voodoo, some say magic. I can’t say I saw any difference.

reloading measuring tools
Here’s a Juenke. There’s still no verdict on exactly what it is that it does, but some swear by it!

So, meandering back to the point of this: all these different measuring tools and appliances do have specific points and places in handloading. These points and places can and have been, and no doubt will again be topics for specific articles.

Beyond that good caliper, though, there’s a very short list of measuring tools I will recommend as “must haves.” Top of that list is a cartridge headspace gage (which is used with that caliper). That’s beyond wise. Beyond that, a good concentricity fixture with a decent dial indicator might actually give some feedback that will improve a group for the most of us. Another is a bullet comparator, useful for those who want to do seating depth experiments, along with a gage to determine the distance to the lands in the barrel.

However, it is possible to load x-ring ammo without ever operating a micrometer. Promise!

Check out Forster spinner HERE 

Check out neck wall thickness gage  HERE 

Check out micrometers HERE 

The preceding is a adapted from information contained in from Glen’s books Top-Grade Ammo and Handloading For Competition. Available HERE at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.

 

 

SKILLS: Cold Weather Carry Tips

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Confident and effective concealed carry always demands planning and attention, and don’t forget the broad influence of environmental conditions. READ MORE

cold weather carry

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, Handguns Magazine

As a native Californian, I sometimes forget the whole world doesn’t walk around in T-shirts, shorts, and flip flops year-round.

Recent trips to northern Illinois and central Pennsylvania reminded me not everyone has it so easy when it comes to concealed carry. Clearing a baggy T-shirt to draw your handgun is a lot different than having to fish your handgun out from under layer after cold-blocking layer of garments. Add a pair of cozy gloves to the mix and getting to your gun in a hurry can be next to impossible. Even worse, if your gun snags on a garment during the draw stroke, it can be dropped with the muzzle pointing who knows where. If moving to a warmer climate isn’t in your plans, here are a few tips for cold-weather concealed carry.

Common Snags
Concealing a gun in cold weather is easy, but drawing it is surprisingly difficult. Obviously, the smaller the gun and the more layers of clothing covering the gun, the harder it will be to get to. On a damp, chilly morning at The Site in Mount Carroll, Illinois, I watched students struggle to draw from under a hodgepodge of garments. They might sweep their heavy unzipped jacket aside — only to fumble with a sweatshirt they try to lift over their holstered gun. This is way too much of a burden.

Whenever possible, wear clothing layers under your gun and a single garment (your coat) over it. Keep in mind your outer garment can present holstering issues. Heavy winter jackets, even those of the “tactical” ilk, have drawstrings that can inadvertently enter the holster after your gun is drawn. If one of these strings gets caught up in the trigger guard and snags the trigger as you holster, the result could be an unintended discharge. To remedy this, take a little extra time before holstering. Closed garments make it a little more difficult to holster, and the problem is exacerbated when your gun is worn behind the hip.

cold weather carry

Holstering Complications
Here’s where many shooters go wrong. While reaching across their body with their off-hand to move aside the concealing garment, they often inadvertently place a hand or arm in front of the muzzle. Safety concerns aside, reaching across your body while wearing a heavy winter coat can be difficult — especially when your gun is worn behind the hip. But with a closed garment you do need to use your off-hand to lift the garment and expose the mouth of the holster. To accomplish this, leave your gun pointed “downrange” and reach under the gun to lift the garment over the holster and pin it to your body.

Take a peek into the holster and, assuming it’s completely empty, holster your gun. If you’re using an open garment, you don’t have to deal with quite as much hassle. One holstering technique, taught by Gunsite’s Dave Hartman and others, is to orient the palm of your hand upward as you bring the gun to your body and hook the garment to sweep it aside and clear a path to your holster. Some instructors prefer to have you holster without looking at the holster, but since you shouldn’t even consider holstering if you have any doubt whether the fight’s over, I recommend taking a breath and a quick glance into the holster to verify there are no obstructions. Bulky clothing isn’t just problematic when drawing or shooting; it can actually induce a malfunction when firing a semi-automatic pistol.

Shooting From Retention
When shooting from a weapon retention position, with your gun held close to your torso, it’s possible for a garment to become entangled with the slide. If the slide can’t reciprocate, your pistol’s cycle of operations is disrupted. In other words, you’re holding a paper weight until you remedy the problem via the Tap, Rack, Assess protocol or something even more time-consuming. To keep the slide from snagging on their garments, many shooters are taught to cant their pistol outboard slightly. The top of the slide would be in approximately the two o’clock or three o’clock position to give the slide room to cycle.

cold weather carry

Alternatively, when shooting from retention, you could simply “flag” your thumb. With this technique your thumb is wedged between your gun and your torso to create just enough of a barrier for the slide to do its thing. Indexing your thumb to the same part of your body also promotes consistent orientation for enhanced close-quarter accuracy. Last but not least on the cold weather calamity list are gloves. Clearly, the thicker the gloves, the less dexterity you will have. This will affect your ability to grab and clear your concealing garment, grip your pistol, and manipulate the trigger. For these reasons, I would opt for the thinnest gloves you can get by with, and I would practice with them extensively. If not, your gloves will probably feel like mittens when you try to draw and shoot with them.

Originally appeared in Handguns Magazine.

Check out Handguns Magazine for more expert opinions and advice on concealed carry. The Handguns Magazine mission, as America’s only small-arms media property, is to emphasize the proper use and selection of handguns for self-defense and sport shooting.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Suppressors: Beyond The Myth

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With the growing interest in this firearms accessory, what’s real and what’s not? Here’s the real… READ MORE

suppressed handgun

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, by Fred Mastison

There are few items in the firearms world with as much mystique and wonder as the modern day suppressor. These handy devices have seen an astronomical increase in interest as people begin to discover all of the benefits of owning and using a suppressor on their firearms. The first step in this conversation about suppressors is to get a quick look at how these little gems work.

When we press the trigger the gun fires and a chain of events is set into motion. The fired round produces hot and pressurized gases that force the bullet down the barrel. Once they launch the round out of the barrel they escape into the open and in doing so experience a dramatic change in environment which causes the explosive sound we hear. Suppressors work by chambering and controlling those gases to more efficiently funnel them and cool them before they leave the gun.

The suppressor is composed of several parts depending on the brand and design, but essentially all share some common parts. The main body or expansion chamber is composed of a series of baffles that efficiently funnel, cool, and spread out the gasses to reduce their noise once they do reach the outside. The number and design of the baffles is often a trademarked item as each company looks to find the holy grail of silence. The end result of this gas pinball action is a quieter shot with reduced recoil.

Contrary to popular belief, suppressors do not completely eliminate the sound of a weapon being fired. Some do an exceptional job but they are in no way truly silencers. The funny thing about that is that the ATF in the NFA division actually list suppressors as “silencers.” Why they do so is not known to me, but my guess is that it was a term in common use when laws were written and it simply stuck. Suppressors are also commonly referred to as “cans” because of their design. The ultimate goal of a suppressor is to make the weapon “hearing safe.” This means the sound is controlled and diminished to the point that hearing protection is not required. In some guns this is easy and made easier by the use of subsonic ammunition. Others, however, will never reach that level, but the percussion of the shots are less spleen damaging.

The perks of running a suppressor are many, but protecting your hearing is by far the most critical. This is especially true for shooters that put a lot of rounds down range each year. There is a cumulative effect and in time without superior hearing protection you will begin to notice the effects. Suppressors help to reduce and even eliminate that problem. Another benefit is a reduction in muzzle rise. This allows us to stay on target and in turn shoot faster. One last positive aspect of suppressors is their ability to diminish muzzle flash. This is very important to military and law enforcement that use night vision.

There are essentially three types of suppressors that we have access to. First is the thread on can. These devices attach to the threaded portion of your rifle or pistol barrel. Once the most common type of can, they are starting to become a little rarer as designs have improved. Our second can is the quick detach or QD can. These devices are sold with a host muzzle device that is attached to the rifle. The can simply slides on over the top of the device and then locks into place via the company’s chosen method. These are popular because they allow us to more quickly move our can from one gun to another. All you need to do is buy additional muzzle devices and you can share one can across many guns. The last type are integral suppressors. These are devices that are incorporated into the actual barrel of the gun. These are considered to be the quietest cans because they have larger chambers and are set up for a specific gun. To the naked eye, these guns simply appear to have just a slightly thicker barrel. A great example of this is an integrally suppressed .22LR bolt rifle with a port. When using subsonic ammunition this gun is as close to silent as a suppressor can get. In fact the mechanical sounds produced by the gun such as the trigger clicking are many times louder than the shot.

The downside to suppressors is that they fall under the National Firearms Act or NFA. This means that in order to get one, you need to file specific paperwork with the ATF and pay a $200 tax stamp fee. The approval process can run anywhere from 90 days to nine months or more depending on how many forms the NFA has to process. Once approved you literally will get a stamp. It looks like a fancy postage stamp and is your golden ticket to owning your suppressor. You need to go through this process for each can you purchase and many people have become “stamp collectors.”

Even with it being a pain in the caboose, owning a suppressor is a great idea. If you take a new friend shooting for the first time, using a suppressor is a good way to ease them into things. Once again, I will mention hearing protection as one of the major benefits. Overall, the benefits of having a suppressor far outweigh the downsides. More companies are making them and prices have dropped dramatically over the years. If you have been considering going quiet, I encourage you to make the jump. The quicker you do the paperwork, the faster you will get your can!

Fred Mastison is a national magazine contributor, professional firearms and combatives instructor and executive protection provider and trainer. He is also the host of the weekly firearms podcast Center Mass. He has written over 600 articles for 27 different magazines. He is a reserve police officer and has been training in firearms & close quarter combatives for over three decades. Additionally he has almost 40 years in the martial arts and holds advanced degrees in multiple arts. He currently holds 17 separate law enforcement POST course certifications around the U.S. and is a certifying instructor for law enforcement firearms instructors in handgun, patrol rifle, shotgun and sub machine gun. In addition to training in the US, Mr. Mastison has divisions in Germany, Ireland and Mexico.

 

How Do You Protect Your Guns at Home?

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If you have them, here’s how to keep them, and keep them handy. READ MORE

gun safe

Jason Hanson

A few months ago, police in Las Vegas, Nevada, released a troubling report —

Three hundred guns were stolen from homes in a period of 40 days!

Obviously, Las Vegas is a big city. But the scary thing is there are 300 more guns in the hands of bad guys who might be willing to use them to commit more crimes. According to Officer Larry Hadfield, “People get their firearms stolen, and the same people that are committing these crimes commit other crimes.”

The sad fact is most people don’t think about locking up their guns until it’s too late. Another factor is that many states (Nevada is one) have no gun registration. So when a firearm is stolen, it’s difficult to track or verify if it ends up being used in a crime.

As gun owners, we are responsible for our firearms whether they are on our person or stored in our home. I’m a big fan of home security systems that include cameras and other layers of added protection.

But here are some more specific things you can do to protect your firearms — in addition to the security measures you should already have in place for your home:

Rapid-Access Safes
This type of safe typically uses RFID or similar technology to open quickly when you need to access your firearm. They can be opened with biometric technology, a card, bracelet or key fob and are a great way to keep others from getting to your guns.

Rapid-access safes are the perfect size for a nightstand or dresser. In fact, my home defense pistols (a Sig Sauer P226 and Springfield 1911) are stored in a rapid-access safe on my nightstand. I recommend looking at Hornady and Gunbox rapid-access safes.

hornady rapid access

To keep a criminal from walking off with the safe, secure it with a cable that runs down the back of your nightstand and is fastened to a large piece of furniture. Even if a criminal goes straight to your nightstand, they won’t be able to take the safe with them because the safe is anchored and the cable can’t be cut.

Gun Safes
You might think this is obvious. However, there are several factors to consider when it comes to gun safes — I can assure you all gun safes are not created equal. Plus, a gun safe is something you don’t want to go cheap on because it’s so important.

A large, quality safe will run you a few thousand dollars. A large safe will be difficult to move unless you have the right equipment and a number of people to lift it. The majority of criminals won’t even try to move a massive safe.

In addition to being heavy, safes of this caliber are very secure. They are extremely difficult to break into — unlike what you see in the movies.

Generally, most thieves who break into a home want to grab as many valuables as they can and quickly leave. They won’t spend hours trying to crack a large gun safe. Safes made by Winchester and Liberty are great options.

Wall Safes
This might seem like another obvious choice for secure firearm storage, but the fact is wall safes are a perfect way to store guns because they are easily concealed. You could install a wall safe behind a picture, mirror, clock — basically anything you can hang on your wall.

Even if a criminal uncovers your wall safe, they most likely won’t have the time or tools to pry it out. One wall safe I recommend checking out is made by Console Vault. Their Wall Vault sells for around $270.

Hidden Safes
These days, more and more companies are selling furniture with hidden compartments for firearms — beds, dressers, bookcases, clocks and more. In my opinion, this isn’t the most secure way to store firearms, but it is an option many people prefer.

tactical walls safe

One reputable company that makes this type of furniture is called Tactical Walls. This company sells everything from tables to clocks to lamps to stash concealed firearms. Most of their products utilize RFID technology to open the storage compartment which keeps your guns instantly accessible in an emergency.

Like I said, this isn’t necessarily the most secure way to store firearms, but I know many people would rather have an extra piece of furniture in their home instead of a massive safe. Plus, how many street criminals are smart enough to recognize a piece of furniture designed to store a gun and then be able to figure out how to open it?

The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to lower the chances of your firearms being stolen is to have multiple layers of home security including an alarm system, cameras, a dog AND a safe. If you have children or grandchildren, please take the extra steps to ensure all guns in your home are secure and inaccessible to kids.

Even if you live alone, I highly suggest using some type of safe or hidden storage area for your firearms. If you have a plumber or an electrician in your home, you don’t want them to see guns lying around. Even if they’re honest, you never know who they’ll share that information with.

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

The Hornady Rapid Access is on SALE now at Midsouth HERE 

 

How to Evacuate Fast With Your Guns

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If you have to leave a crisis area in a hurry, you need to be prepared to take your guns along with you. If not, you just might lose them… READ MORE

Jason Hanson

As you may remember, about a week after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans…

Local police went door-to-door evacuating residents.

During evacuations, police confiscated guns so they wouldn’t face armed resistance during the forced evacuation.

As P. Edwin Compass III, superintendent of the New Orleans police stated…

“No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns, or other firearms of any kind. Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons.”

Unbelievable.

Fast forward to Florida in 2017 and we witnessed Hurricane Irma hitting the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane and causing massive devastation through the southern U.S.

At least 92 people died throughout the U.S. in relation to Hurricane Irma and more than 9.2 million suffered power outages.

One of the many differences in the response to these two storms was that Floridians were allowed to carry concealed weapons, even if they didn’t have a permit to do so.

In 2015, then Governor Rick Scott signed a law that allows citizens without a concealed carry permit to carry concealed for 48-hours during a mandatory evacuation as they transport their families and belongings from the path of the storm.

Under the law, “People who may legally possess a firearm may carry concealed or carry on or about the person while ‘in the act of evacuating’ under a mandatory evacuation order during a declared state of emergency.”

This law is a no brainer.

When you are given an order to evacuate, you are going to take your family, survival gear, a few valuables, and your guns.

The last thing you want to do is leave a bunch of guns to get flooded or for looters to steal.

One of the best ways to evacuate with your guns during an emergency is to use a quality range bag.

These can obviously serve multiple purposes such as daily use at the range, but they are also important to have packed up and ready to go at a moments notice.

Considering how critical a range bag could be I want to share with you a few different options when it comes to bags.

5.11 Tactical Range Bag. 5.11 is a major player in the tactical gear market. This bag is capable of packing a lot of gear and you can tell it’s been designed by shooters.511 tactical bag
Excluding the main pouch, you get five pouches on the outside of the bag including a large pouch with eight pistol magazine pouches that can hold eight double stack mags or 16 single stack mags.

In addition, there is a divider that is perfect for storing your handguns.

The remaining four pouches are a little smaller but capable of storing ammo boxes or even a set of full earmuffs. The 5.11 Tactical Range Bag sells for $100.

G.P.S. Tactical Range Bag. The G.P.S. range bag is a backpack style bag instead of the common duffle bag style.

gps range bag

The biggest advantage to this design is going to be for evacuating or bugging out since you can easily throw this pack on your back.

The bag is made of Cordura Nylon with DuPont Teflon and features a military style triple stitched MOLLE system.

The main compartment is large and comes with a divider so you can separate your gear.

It also has two pockets for smaller items like a flashlight, phone, etc. The G.P.S. bag sells for around $130.

Case Club Tactical 4-Pistol. This bag is another backpack style that can carry at least four handguns. Plus, it has twin side pockets to store six extra magazines each, along with other gear.

case club tactical bag

It includes a pullout rain cover that protects gear in case of a sudden downpour and built-in Molle straps allow you to attach extra gear.

For security, it has lockable heavy-duty zippers for the gun compartment and thick moisture-wicking padding on the backpack straps. The Case Club sells for $100 on Amazon.

If you’re like me and have several handguns, you need to plan ahead for a way to safely transport them to the range or out of town during an emergency.

One of these bags would be a great choice and they are small enough you could have them loaded and ready to go 24/7 while storing them in a large safe.

During a fire or last-minute evacuation, you will want to be able to grab this bag and get to safety as quickly as possible.

Check out Midsouth tactical bags HERE

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

 

REVIEW: Taurus Judge

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Bob Campbell takes a look at this unique revolver that has in a short time become an iconic phenom. READ MORE

taurus judge

by Bob Campbell

Handguns are reactive instruments. They are carried on the person to answer a threat. They may be kept at home ready to address a threat in the home. If we have warning, then we are most often better advised to deploy a rifle or shotgun.

The handgun then is the weapon of opportunity. While handguns are not the most powerful firearms, they are the ones we are most likely to have on hand when a firearm is needed to save our life. I have spent several months evaluating the Taurus Judge and have formed a favorable opinion of the revolver for specialized use.

The Judge is a 5-shot revolver that chambers both the .410 bore shotgun shell or a .45 Colt cartridge. This means real versatility. By the same token, the design limits the accuracy and range of the revolver. As a pure, short-range home defender, the Taurus Judge has merit.

taurus judge

There is a considerable argument that getting on target fast and getting a hit — any hit — very fast is critical. This is true. I have taught that it is better to slow down and get a center hit than a fast miss. This doesn’t mean a fast hit isn’t possible; it simply demands practice.

The Judge addresses this need by offering a shot payload. The .410 bore isn’t a powerhouse, but with the right load — and that is the key — it offers a viable defense option. Surprisingly, my evaluation indicates the Taurus Judge may be viable for protection against predators at close range as well. My test piece is perhaps the most common Judge (there are several options), a steel frame revolver with a 3.0-inch barrel.

The revolver is light enough, handles better than its ungainly appearance suggests, and offers good hit probability for those that practice. Fit, finish, and smoothness of action are good. The revolver features a red fiber optic front sight. This sight offers a good aiming point and aids in rapid target acquisition.

A short barrel handgun with a smooth bore firing a shotgun shell is illegal, the .410 and the .45 Colt are close enough that Taurus was able to design and manufacture a revolver chambered for both the .410 shotgun shell and .45 Colt cartridge. There is rifling but it is fairly shallow.

Like all double action revolvers, the Judge is simple to operate. Open the cylinder, load the chambers, and press the trigger to fire. No slide to rack, and no safety to operate. The concept is to allow the shooter to get a fast hit with a load of shot. While each individual buckshot pellet doesn’t carry much energy the effect of the loads hitting instantly with several projectiles offers excellent wound potential.

Load Selection
You may have seen ill-conceived videos and hype in which the Taurus Judge is fired at a target and the target is peppered with hits. Birdshot is a tiny shot grade intended to humanely kill a bird with a few hits. It is by no means useful for personal defense. Like firing a full-size shotgun, birdshot is fine for practice but not personal defense. A charge of birdshot from 7- to 9 shot carries hundreds of small pellets that form a pattern.

taurus judge
Federal’s buckshot load is a simple and effective solution to .410 buckshot.

At the typical personal defense range, this pattern runs 18 to 32 inches. This is 7 yards, past that birdshot is useless. Worse, the small shot penetrates only a few inches. A felon wearing a heavy winter jacket may not be hurt at all. At about 15 feet, the Federal 4 buckshot load, carrying #3 buckshot, holds a cohesive pattern of less than three inches. This is a preferred load for those using the .410 load for personal defense.

taurus judge
This is a pattern from the Federal buckshot load at about 15 feet.
taurus judge
As range progress misses are inevitable.

The Federal load is advertised at about 750 fps but actually clocked over 800 fps in the Judge. The total payload is 292 grains. Winchester offers a PDX load with a total payload of over 300 grains, with three flat disks and a load of BB Shot. With this load, the pattern is often quite large (as much as 16 inches at 15 feet) with the disks striking the center of the target.

taurus judge
The Hornady Triple Defense load offers good wound potential.

The Hornady .410 defense load features a .41 caliber slug followed by two round balls. The slug generally tracks straight with the point of aim with the balls radiating around the center. It is essential you pattern the shot on a paper target to determine how the shot spreads at 5 to 10 yards.

In my opinion, 7 yards is the outside range for these loads, although the Hornady slug with its FTX design might be useful a bit beyond. The bottom line, buckshot and specialty loads are useful for home defense and for short-range defense against predators. Penetration tests in water jugs and wet newsprint indicate these loads will produce a serious wound.

According to A Prepper’s Guide To Shotguns, birdshot may penetrate a six-inch gallon jug and some shot will make it to the second jug, but very few. Federal’s 2 ½-inch shell with 4 OOO balls penetrates over 24 inches, which might correlate to 18 inches in gelatin. That is excellent.

The Winchester PDX load exhibits a much larger pattern. However, the three disks in the PDX offer a 3×4 pattern at 15 feet. The much larger pattern is made up of 12 BBs. The Hornady FTX slug penetrates 15 inches from this revolver, with the two round balls making a total 3 to 5 inch group at 15 feet.

These heavy loads should produce devastating results at 15 feet to perhaps 21 feet, the magic 7 yard average range. In truth across a room or bedroom is more likely. The Judge must be aimed, but the pattern has spread enough to aid in hitting at 10 to 15 feet. This handgun isn’t useful past 21 feet with shot loads.

Another option is to load the Judge with .45 Colt ammunition. In order to meet Federal law pertaining to handguns and shotshells the Judge is a .45 Colt revolver with the option of firing .410 shells. The barrel is rifled. The long jump of the .45 Colt bullet from the chamber to the barrel throat would seem to limit both velocity and accuracy. In some cases this is true. However, my most recent testing indicates that this loss isn’t always what we think it may be.

The Judge is plenty strong for the heaviest loads, including hard cast SWC bullet handloads. It depends on how much recoil tolerance you have. A good choice for personal defense is the Hornady Critical Defense. This 185-grain bullet has a good reputation for expansion and penetration. Velocity is 891 fps form the three-inch barrel Taurus Judge. Recoil is modest. This load strikes to the point of aim. At 15 yards, five shots fired from a solid benchrest firing position yielded a 3-inch group. This is plenty accurate for personal defense.

Another choice worth considering is the Winchester PDX 225-grain JHP. This load offers a heavy hitter at 780 fps. This bullet weight offers plenty of momentum. The .45 Colt is among a very few handguns that performs well without bullet expansion. This was proven in the Old West and in many engagements since.

A solid choice is the Winchester 255-grain lead bullet. This bullet exits at 770 fps from the Judge. (And 778 fps from a 4 ¾-inch revolver on hand for comparison.) Penetration is about 18 inches, ideal for personal defense, yet recoil is mild. This is also a relatively accurate load with a 3-inch, 15-yard group. If the Judge owner anticipates a long shot, the .45 Colt offers proven wound potential without high recoil.

The Judge is a specialized handgun. It isn’t a go-anywhere do-anything handgun by any means. But what it does, it does well. It is worth your time to explore the Judge.

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Does a Suppressed Pistol Sound like a Nail Gun?

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Not exactly! Not even remotely. But it’s another example of the gun control groups ignorance afoot and afloat out there. READ MORE

suppressor

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In response to reports that the Virginia Beach shooter used a firearm suppressor in carrying out his terrible crime, David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Giffords gun control group, claimed that a suppressed pistol is especially dangerous because the noise associated with the firearm is difficult to distinguish from a nail gun. As per usual for claims Chipman and his employer make about firearm suppressors, this is false.

In an article appearing in the Virginian-Pilot, Chipman claims, “The gun does not sound gun-like. It takes the edge out of the tone . . . This is how I would describe it: It makes a gun sort of sound like a nail gun.”

But, a suppressed .45 caliber pistol, like the one that is reported to have been used in Virginia Beach, is many times louder than a nail gun:

A suppressed .45 caliber pistol produces about 130-135 dBA.
A nail gun produces about 100 dBA.

Decibels (dBA) are a logarithmic scale, so sound levels increase in a non-linear fashion. A 3 dBA increase doubles the sound pressure level. (Although most people perceive a 6 to 10 dBA increase as double the noise level.)

The 30-35 dBA difference between a nail gun and a suppressed pistol will be perceived as at least eight times louder to the human ear.

As an interesting comparison, an unsuppressed pistol produces about 165 dBA. So the difference between an unsuppressed and suppressed pistol is about the same difference in sound pressure level between a suppressed pistol and a nail gun.

suppressor sound

Chipman can’t have it both ways, if, as he claims, suppressed gunfire can’t be easily identified as gunfire, then suppressed gunfire doesn’t sound anything like a nail gun.

This isn’t Chipman’s first attempt to mislead the public on firearm suppressors. In 2017, he made a false claim about the design intent of suppressors. And, his employer received three “Pinocchios” from the Washington Post fact checker for misleading claims they made about suppressors.

Unfortunately, the Virginian-Pilot article created further confusion about suppressors by producing audio files that purport to show the difference in sound level between nail guns, suppressed pistols, and unsuppressed pistols. Listening to recorded audio through speakers or headphones cannot accurately depict these sound differences. Due to microphone and speaker specifications, most sounds in audio recordings are reproduced at a similar sound level. This is why normal conversations and gunfire can both be reproduced in the same audio recording despite the fact that one of the sounds is over 100 dBA louder than the other.

The only way to accurately perceive the differences in sound levels is to hear them in person (with appropriate hearing protection). Short of that, if the Virginian-Pilot wanted to accurately convey differences in sound level, using commonly occurring sounds can be helpful.

For example, a suppressed pistol at over 130 dBA is louder than the maximum sound level of a jackhammer. Not exactly quiet and nothing like a nail gun.

 

3 Rapid-Access Safes For Your Long Guns

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Your best choice for defense doesn’t do any good if you can’t get to it. Jason Hanson shares a few ideas on how security and speed can go hand in hand. READ MORE

Jason Hanson

A 79-year old Benzie County, MI man was sitting in his home one evening around 11:20 P.M. when he heard a noise in his barn.

The homeowner grabbed his shotgun and proceeded to his barn to investigate.

Once inside the barn, the homeowner confronted an unknown man and told him to leave the property.

Unfortunately, the man inside the barn decided to move toward the homeowner in an aggressive manner, resulting in the homeowner firing his shotgun, striking the intruder in the legs.

The armed homeowner kept his shotgun pointed at the suspect until deputies and paramedics arrived.

The intruder was transported to a local hospital with multiple wounds from the round fired by the homeowner.

According to the Benzie County Sheriff…

“We believe he was defending himself, he did this in self-defense, but the prosecutor ultimately gets to make that decision.”

Clearly, this homeowner stopped a criminal from not only burglarizing his barn but also from physically harming him in the process.

This 79-year old man was prepared to defend his home and was ready with a shotgun quickly available so he could stop a threat.

The thing is, so many people who own long guns such as AR-15s or shotguns have them tucked away in large gun safes located in their closet.

This is clearly not a good idea if you are planning to use one of those guns for home defense.

Instead, consider a rapid-access safe for your long gun.

A few types to consider are below…

Hornady Rapid Safe AR Wall Lock. This particular safe is more like a lockable gun rack than an actual safe.

hornady gun lock

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It’s designed specifically to fit a standard AR-15 or larger AR-10 style rifle and they sell a version for shotguns as well.

The lock can be opened with a numeric code or you can use one of the included RFID tags.

There’s also a bypass key. The Hornady Rapid Safe AR Wall Lock sells for around $175.

Fort Knox Shotgun Security Box. This security box is an under-the-bed style safe.

The Fort Knox Shotgun Box is a big 10-gauge steel box with a spring-assisted door and a Simplex lock.

fort knox gun safe

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It’s limited in what it can store since it’s only 45 inches long and the opening is only 9 inches by 5 inches. That’s enough room for most shotguns, but it might be a tight fit if you’ve got a pistol grip.

An AR will most likely fit if there’s no magazine or optic attached.

One drawback to this safe is that there are no holes for cables or for mounting it to the floor.

However, this means you can easily move it around from under a bed or under a living room couch. The Fort Knox Security Box sells for $400.

Tactical Walls Rifle Length Shelf. Tactical Walls is a company that makes all different types of gun safes that look like ordinary furniture.

GUN SAFE

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The Rifle Length Concealment Shelf is the largest and most popular wall mounted safe the company sells.

It has a foam lined compartment that is 12-in. D x 42-in. W. The installation for the safe is the same as hanging any common shelf.

To access the secret compartment, simply disengage the hidden locks with the supplied keys.

The bottom half of the shelf is lowered with the assistance of a pneumatic strut.

Depending on the color and wood options you select, the Tactical Walls Rifle Shelf starts around $400.

Any of these three safe options will allow you to more quickly access your long gun than if it’s sitting in a giant safe in your closest that takes an eternity to open.

Since long guns are such a good option for home defense, I would have at least one of your ARs or shotguns in a safe you can open fast.

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

 

Why You Need an Air Rifle

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A good air rifle is not a toy! It’s a valuable multi-purpose gun, and you never know the purpose it might be put to… READ MORE

Gamo Silent Cat
Gamo Silent Cat

Jason Hanson

How many times have you been getting ready for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and you realize you need milk, eggs, butter or some other staple? Since grocery stores frequently change their hours during the holidays, a lot of folks end up running to a local convenience store to buy last minute items.

This is exactly what happened to an Indiana family and unfortunately their trip to the gas station was more excitement than they anticipated. While parked at the gas station, a nine-year old boy named Larry was waiting for his father, Kevin, in a Dodge Ram.

It was parked outside with the engine running when a man approached the driver’s side door.

Ollie Dunn, 32, opened the driver’s side door of the pickup with the intention of stealing the truck, but he was met by 9-year old Larry who grabbed his pellet gun and put it to Ollie’s face.

Obviously, this gave the criminal second thoughts so he backed away and slammed the door of the truck, moving on to another vehicle.

Eventually, Ollie found a vehicle that was running, with no one inside and sped off from the store. However, a short distance away he crashed the stolen vehicle and was arrested by police.

Ollie was charged with attempted auto theft, unlawful entry of a vehicle, vehicle theft, theft, and driving without a license.

The thing is, this brave 9-year old did exactly the right thing because who knows what Ollie would have done if he had taken the truck with the child inside. Clearly, the gun intimidated the criminal, whether he knew it was a pellet gun or not didn’t really matter since it was effective at keeping Larry safe.

The reality is, an air rifle can serve many different purposes and is something I would consider buying if you don’t already have one.

First, an air rifle is quiet and can easily be used to hunt small game such as squirrels or birds. Plus, they are relatively inexpensive, and ammo is also easy to come by. In addition, many air rifles come with iron sights and are simple to shoot, meaning they are a great way to teach new shooters before giving them a real firearm.

Finally, another advantage to air rifles and pistols is that they are legal to own in most states.

Oftentimes, people use the term BB gun and pellet gun as the same but they are very different weapons.

A BB gun typically shoots only round balls commonly referred to as BB’s. On the other hand, depending on the specific pellet gun, these guns can shoot both BB’s and pellets, which are more like the shape of a bullet, instead of just the ball shape.

Another thing is, pellet guns are typically more accurate and can fire at a longer distance compared to BB guns.

With that being said, I would definitely consider a pellet gun since they can serve more purposes and are usually more accurate. Considering this, here are the top pellet guns I would check out to add to your firearm collection.

Gamo Silent Cat (shown at article start).This is a .177 caliber pellet gun that shoots at 1000 feet per second, making it one of the more powerful pellet guns on the market.

It comes equipped with a 4×32 air rifle scope with rings and mounts. As the name implies, this gun is one of the quieter pellet guns you will find because the noise dampener mounted to the barrel makes the firearm noticeably more silent.

Plus, this is a spring-piston air rifle meaning you don’t have to pump the rifle to fire. The Gamo Silent Cat sells for around $150.

Remington AirMaster
Remington AirMaster

Remington AirMaster 77 Air Rifle. This is a multi-pump rifle that shoots either BB’s or pellets. The Airmaster 77 is coated in a black matte synthetic stock and forearm with a black metal receiver and brushed nickel barrel.

This shoots .177 pellets or BB’s up to 1000 feet per second so it gives you more options compared to other pellet guns on the market. In addition, the Remington comes with a fiber optic front sight and a 4X15 scope.

Since this is a multi-pump air rifle you can vary the power with which you’ll shoot depending on the number of times you pump the rifle. The Remington AirMaster 77 sells for around $85.

Ruger Blackhawk
Ruger Blackhawk

Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle. If you are going to buy an air rifle, you may want to buy one from a company that is known for making quality and accurate firearms.

This is exactly what Ruger delivers with the Blackhawk, which is a .177 caliber air rifle that shoots at 1000 feet per second. This rifle features rear optic sights and a 4×32 scope and mount so it can easily adapt to changes in elevation or wind.

This air rifle uses a spring-piston mechanism so there is no pumping the rifle before shooting. The Ruger Blackhawk sells for around $100.

The truth is, this is a perfect gift idea for those in your family who you may want to introduce to firearms or as an addition to your firearm collection that can serve many purposes during an emergency.

Lastly, remember these guns can do a lot of damage and are not the cheap guns we played with back in the day so always follow all firearms safety rules.

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

 

The Unequivocal Instrument: Snubnose Magnum Revolvers

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While the revolver is often looked down on as old technology, few handguns are as reliable and accurate as the short-barrel .357 Magnum revolver. KEEP READING

ruger sp101 357

Wilburn Roberts

With the great and growing abundance of concealed carry permits as Americans exercise their rights and commons sense, and with a present political climate that nurtures such progress, armed citizens are choosing to be responsible for their own safety. Choosing which handgun may be an easy enough choice for seasoned shooters, but quite a few of the new generation of handgunners are newcomers to one handgun in particular…

Many are steered toward a handgun that doesn’t fit their skill level. A semi-auto 9mm or .40 compact isn’t for everyone. However, the novice and very experienced shooter alike often choose a revolver. They are well armed when they do so.

snubnose revolvers
Short barrel revolvers are great personal defense firearms. Be certain to train well!

The snubnose .38 Special is a reasonable choice, however, the snubnose .38 is seen as less powerful than the 9mm pistol. (A “snubnose” is generally defined as having a barrel length 3 inches or less.) This is overcome by the power of the .357 Magnum revolver. When comparing the types, the advantages of the revolver have to be plain to make the short-barrel revolver an attractive choice.

Reliability is one advantage.

A further advantage of the revolver is that the revolver can be fired repeatedly even if it’s contacting an opponent. The semi-auto would jam after the first shot. It may also short cycle due to a less than perfect grip.

taurus 605
This Taurus 605 .357 Magnum revolver is carried in a 3Speed holster. This is a great deep concealment rig.

For a weapon to be used at conversational distance, the revolver’s reliability in this scenario is a big plus. A further advantage would be in a struggle for the gun — and this happens often — the gun grabber has little to hang onto in the case of a short-barreled revolver.

As said, an alternative to the .38 Special is the .357 Magnum. The .357 operates at almost three times the pressure level of the .38 Special. The Magnum operates at some 40,000 copper units of pressure compared to 18,000 for the .38 Special, and 20,000 for the .38 Special +P. This gives the magnum a great advantage in power, and the ability to use heavier bullets. There are .357 Magnum revolvers almost as compact as the snubnose .38, but often the Magnum will have a heavier frame and a heavier barrel which offers a better platform for the more powerful cartridge.

galco holster
Galco’s Carry Lite revolver holster is among the best for concealed carry. This inside the waistband holster is affordable and available.

These handguns also willingly chamber the .38 Special, providing a power level option in the same gun (that’s not available in a semi-auto). A .38 Special +P load is a good choice for the beginner for use in his or her .357 Magnum revolver. The shooter may move to the Magnum loadings after sufficient practice.

The obvious mechanical advantages of the revolver as related to reliability, the ability to use the weapon with a less-than-perfect grip and at point-blank range, are compelling sales features. However, in the end, the ballistics might be the best selling point. There has been a myth circulated for some time that the snubnose .357 Magnum is no more powerful than a .38 Special, as the Magnum loses velocity when fired in a short barrel. This is far from true. The Magnum does lose velocity when fired in a 2- to 3-inch barreled compact revolver, but it remains far more powerful than the snubnose .38 Special as the accompanying table shows. The .357 Magnum considerably outperforms the .38 Special by any measure.

With these revolvers, recoil could be grim to the uninitiated. Recoil energy approaches 12 pounds in some .357 Magnum revolvers, compared to 6 to 8 pounds in the 9mm and .40 caliber handguns, and a slight 4 pounds with .38 +P ammunition in a snubnose. This is a sharp jolt not to be underestimated. The person deploying this revolver must engage in practice and use the proper techniques to master this revolver.

sp101
The Ruger SP101 in .357 Magnum is among the strongest handguns — ounce for ounce — ever built.

Modern .357 Magnum revolvers such as the 5-shot Ruger SP 101 are designed with every advantage toward making the gun controllable. The factory grips on these revolvers are among the best ever designed. If you are able to find a Smith & Wesson K-frame revolver at a fair price, the 6-shot Smith & Wesson is even more controllable, albeit a bit larger.

Use a proper holster such as one of the Galco inside the waistband holsters and you will find the snubnose revolver very concealable. The revolver is simple to use — simply draw and fire. The Ruger and Smith & Wesson each have smooth double-action triggers that promote accuracy.

Another advantage of the revolver is superb accuracy. The Smith & Wesson Model 19 I often carry has been in service for four decades. A combination of excellent high-visibility sights and a smooth trigger make for fine accuracy. As just one example with the .38 Special Fiocchi 125-grain Extrema, this revolver has cut a 1.5-inch 25-yard group for 5 shots.

The .357 Magnum revolver isn’t for everyone, but for those who practice, one offers excellent accuracy, reliability, and proven power.

magnum specs

Check out Midsouth AMMO here.