Category Archives: Handguns

SKILLS: My Caliber Crisis: Do I Need A 10mm?

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Every gun owner at some time is compelled to test the waters with a new cartridge. Here are Tom McHale’s thoughts on his latest pursuit. READ MORE

10mm
The 10mm and the Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite Operator makes for a potent combination.

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, by Tom McHale

I’m having another caliber crisis.

Over the years, I’ve ventured into cartridge odysseys that include unusual chamberings like .357 Sig and 300 Blackout. More recently, I’m kind of developing a thing for 10mm. I’ve been testing out a Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite Operator chambered in the big-boy version of the .40 S&W and I’m kinda liking it. There are definitely some benefits. Let’s discuss.

Weight and Velocity
We’re going to argue forever about whether the light, small and fast 9mm is as good as the heavy, fat and slow .45 ACP, so why not just choose heavy, moderately portly and fast?

The 10mm, when fired from the Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite Operator, launches 200-grain bullets in the 1,100 feet per second velocity band. That’s the mid-weight of the .45 ACP bullet family and the mid-velocity range of 9mm.

How Powerful is a 10mm?
Many stand in awe of the 10mm, likely because it has a simple, yet badass name. Then there’s the fact that the FBI moved to it (sort of) for a time. It’s hard to argue with credentials like that.

Being the inquisitive sort, I wanted to see how it stands up to all the other common cartridges and a few other kinetic energy-generating objects. So, I dug up my database from all the ammunition and guns I’ve tested over the years and looked up a pile of actual cartridge, velocity, kinetic energy, and momentum calculations for some representative samples.

10mm
The 10mm is the big-boy version of the .40 S&W, and offers a lot of punch downrange.

As a side note, I like to look at both kinetic energy and momentum to tell the whole story of how “powerful” a cartridge is. Kinetic energy is easy — we all know “foot-pounds” as a standard measure of “oomph.” However, kinetic energy emphasizes velocity the way it’s calculated, so a super-light bullet can have huge foot-pound numbers simply because it’s moving fast. The slow and fat projectile crowd likes to take bullet weight into consideration and that’s where the momentum calculation comes into play.

At the risk of insulting physics, you might think of kinetic energy as destructive power, like a power drill. And you might think of momentum as the ability for one object to move another. The more weight the “mover” object has, the more powerful it is. Think wrecking balls. They don’t move all that fast, but few of us would want to be hit with one.

Anyway, I fired several different loads from the Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite Operator pistol you see in the picture above and recorded velocity so I could run the numbers. Just for fun, I did the math on a few other non-shooting moving objects and added in info on several other chamberings.

So, what does all this mean? Here are the important learnings —

The 10mm mostly tops the charts for “rational” handgun power levels. Sure, a .44 Magnum brings half again more kinetic energy, but unless you’re Dirty Harry, it’s not the most practical carry handgun.

If you’re a foot-pounds junkie, 10mm thumps 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.

The 10mm and .357 Magnum are similar from a kinetic energy perspective. While the .357 Magnum uses a much lighter projectile, it moves a lot faster, hence the high foot-pound count.

A 10mm has about the same momentum as a PGA drive launched by Bubba Watson, although I’m pretty sure the 10mm projectile will win handily in the penetration and expansion tests. Sorry Bubba.

10mm

Capacity
There’s nothing to write home about here. Normal capacity for a 10mm is virtually identical to that of a .40 S&W. That’s because the case diameter is the same, although the 10mm cartridges are longer. Remember, the whole point of the .40 S&W “great compromise” was to offer more capacity than a .45 ACP pistol while launching larger bullets than a 9mm.

While 10mm is powerful, it’s by no means the uncontrollable “hand-cannon” that many have claimed. In a solid gun like the Range Officer Elite Operator, it’s more than manageable.

But What About Recoil?
I think the real recoil penalty (or lack thereof) is what makes the 10mm interesting. While it’s not as easy to control as a 9mm or .40 S&W, it’s not all that different from that of a .45 ACP pistol of the same weight. What you feel as recoil depends largely on the weight of the pistol, so if you’re comparing a steel 1911 chambered in .45 ACP to one packing 10mm, the numbers work out about the same.

I won’t bore you with the common-core math details, but the recoil energy of a .45 ACP 1911 and 10mm 1911 works out to 5.43 and 6.28 foot-pounds. To put those numbers in perspective, the same math on much lighter Springfield Armory XD-S pistols in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP works out to 5.07, 6.92 and 8.15 foot-pounds.

The Bottom Line
Here’s my take. If you want a gun that’s super-duper easy to control so you can deliver rapid-fire strings without the sights moving, buy a steel 9mm like a Range Officer or EMP. If you want more power in a semi-automatic package that’s as carry friendly as a .45, consider the 10mm. You might fit an extra round or two in a gun of similar size owing to the smaller cartridge diameter while fulfilling your need for speed.

10mm

Tom McHale
Tom is a perpetual student of all things gun and shooting related. He’s particularly passionate about self and home defense and the rights of all to protect themselves and their loved ones. As part of his ongoing learning, Tom has completed dozens of training programs and is a certified National Rifle Association instructor for pistol and shotgun. Tom is a professional writer by trade these days and has published seven books on guns, shooting, reloading, concealed carry, and holsters. In between book projects, Tom has published somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,700 articles for about a dozen gun and shooting publications. If he’s not writing, you can probably find him on the range.

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.

Anti-gun AGs Push “Universal” Background Checks for Ammunition

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Gun control laws aren’t about stopping violent criminals, they are about burdening law-abiding gun owners. Few pieces of legislation illustrate this fact better than H.R.1705/S.1924. READ MORE

ammo background checks

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

H.R.1705/S.1924 would extend anti-gun lawmakers’ cumbersome so-called “universal” background check proposal to cover the commercial and private transfers of ammunition. On September 23, this onerous plan received the support of 21 politically minded state attorneys general, who signed a letter to congressional leadership advocating for the proposal.

H.R.1705, introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Fla.), would treat commercial sales of ammunition in the same manner as the commercial sale of firearms. Under the legislation, any person seeking to purchase ammunition at a store would be required to undergo an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check before acquiring the ammunition.

Moreover, the legislation would encumber nearly all private transfers of ammunition. The bill provides,

“It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer ammunition to any other person who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the ammunition for the purpose of complying” with the NICS background check requirement.

The legislation provides a minor exemption for ammunition transfers between immediate family members. There are other narrow exemptions for transfers “at a shooting range or in a shooting gallery or other area designated for the purpose of target shooting,” “while reasonably necessary for the purposes of hunting, trapping, or fishing,” or “while in the presence of the transferor.”

It is difficult to overstate how burdensome this policy would be for gun owners. Forcing all ammunition sales through a Federal Firearms Licensee would put non-FFL ammunition sellers out of business. This would severely curtail the availability of ammunition to the average gun owner. Gun owners would no longer be able to order ammo through the mail directly to their home, as they would need to have an FFL run a background check before taking possession of the ammunition.

Every law-abiding gun owner would be forced into a potentially lengthy background check procedure each time they purchased ammunition. A shooter couldn’t pick up a box of .22lr from his friend on the way to the range. A reloader couldn’t give a friend a new rifle load for them to try out on their own property.

This inconvenience is not a trivial matter. According to the 2018 NICS Operations Report, only 70 percent of NICS checks result in an instant determination, while 10 percent result in a significant delay. Only 1.2 percent of checks result in a denial.

Many individuals experience a delay for merely sharing a personal characteristic similar to that of someone with a potentially prohibiting record in NICS. FBI notes that “A delay response from the NICS Section indicates the subject of the background check has been matched with either a state or federal potentially prohibiting record containing a similar name and/or similar descriptive features (name, sex, race, date of birth, state of residence, social security number, height, weight, or place of birth).”

It is bad enough that such delays are so prevalent when Americans purchase firearms, which are a durable good. Extending this to ammunition sales, which occur with far more frequency because ammunition is a consumable good, would compound this injustice.

Despite being the top law enforcement officials in their respective states, it does not appear as if the anti-gun attorneys general know anything about existing federal gun laws. According to their letter to congress, the proposed legislation — would make it illegal for individuals who are already “prohibited purchasers” under federal law — including convicted felons, domestic abusers, and individuals with serious mental health conditions — from purchasing or possessing ammunition.

The attorneys general might find it interesting to learn that prohibited persons are already barred from purchasing or possessing ammunition. 18 USC 922(g) provides that it is unlawful for a prohibited person — to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

A prohibited person found in possession of a single round of ammunition faces up to 10 years imprisonment.

The attorneys general also appear unaware that the U.S. has already experimented with federal ammunition control. The Gun Control Act of 1968 required all ammunition dealers to be federally licensed. Moreover, the GCA required all ammunition dealers to keep a record of sales of — ammunition to any person unless the licensee notes in his records, required to be kept pursuant to section 923 of this chapter, the name, age, and place of residence of such person if the person is an individual…

The experiment was not a success.

In 1982 .22 caliber rimfire ammunition was removed from the record-keeping requirement. In 1984, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that ammunition dealer licensing “was not necessary to facilitate legitimate Federal law enforcement interests.” In 1986, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms supported eliminating the record keeping requirement: “The Bureau and the [Treasury] Department have recognized that current recordkeeping requirements for ammunition have no substantial law enforcement value.” As a result, the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 repealed the ammunition restrictions.

Federal ammunition control is a proven failure. Of course, that’s if the goal was to prevent criminal violence.

The current legislation pushed by Wasserman Schultz and the attorneys general is aimed at harassing law-abiding gun owners to further burden the exercise of their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. If enacted, H.R.1705/S.1924 would achieve this detestable intent.

 

Wal-Mart Expands Their Anti-Gun Agenda

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What the absolute heck is Wal-Mart doing? Once a proud symbol of American Capitalism, and the face of big-box retail, Wal-Mart continues to alienate it’s base of consumers with another knee-jerk reaction prodded by woke-troopers and social justice warriors.

wal-mart ammo

by Midsouth Shooters

Wal-Mart has been steadily rolling back their support of the Second Amendment since 1993 when they stopped the sale of all handguns in every state except Alaska. Then, in 2015 it ended the sale of AR-15 style MSR rifles, and any toy or airgun resembling any “military-style rifle used in mass shootings,” per the published Wal-Mart policy. Last year, it raised the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, two weeks after 17 students and teachers were killed in a shooting at a high school in Parkland, FL.

Just this past week, Wal-Mart rolled out another set of policies after the recent shooting at a Wal-Mart Super Center in El Paso, TX. The shooting resulted in 22 deaths and 24 injuries. Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old from Allen TX, was arrested shortly after the shooting and charged with capital murder. Police believe he published a document, described by others as a white nationalist, anti-immigrant manifesto, on 8chan shortly before the attack, citing inspiration from that year’s Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand.

Wal-Mart CEO, Doug McMillon was quoted as saying:

“After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.

Wal-Mart has also stated in it’s newly minted policy they will no longer sell handgun ammo. McMillon previously said Walmart was responsible for 2% of firearm sales in the US and 20% of ammunition sales. Walmart expects its share of ammunition sales to drop to between 6% and 9% as a result of the newly announced changes. The company will continue to sell the shotguns and rifles that it carries.

“In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again,” McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday. “The status quo is unacceptable.”

Another rider on the new Wal-Mart policy affects customers who open-carry in their stores. If shoppers openly carry guns into Walmart stores going forward, store managers may ask the shopper to leave and safely secure their gun in their vehicle before returning to the store. “The policies will vary by location, however, and shoppers who are openly carrying guns may not always be asked to leave the store,” a Walmart spokesman said.

“We encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger,” McMillon said. “We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness.”

In the days since the new policies have taken effect, Kroger, and it’s holdings have also announced their plans to cease the sale of handgun ammunition.

It’s the belief of this writer the precedent set here is a slippery, if not inherently dangerous one. Capitalism is the lifeblood of any strong economy, and works hand-in-hand with a strong republic, but allowing a company to be swayed by social temperature is inherently dangerous, not only for the company, but the population at large.

In a quote from 2007, Jason Hornady of Hornady Ammunition said, “As long as a Hornady is at Hornady, we will never sell direct to Wal-Mart. They are no friend of the industry.”

Midsouth Shooters was founded on the tenants of honesty, family, and fairness, rooted in American and God. For a company, or organization, to be swayed by knee-jerk reactions sets a precedent of allowing the mob to dictate overreaching policies which put many in harms way. Effectively, Wal-Mart has been bullied into cow-towing to the social justice warriors, and woke-ninjas in the vocal minority.

Wal-Mart may not sell the ammo you need, and more companies beholden to the pressure of the vocal minority may follow suit. Midsouth will continue to sell the ammunition and reloading supplies you need, regardless. Our Second Amendment right is a sacred right, and for you to protect your family with the tools available, you need access to fairly priced ammunition and firearms.

REVIEW: The Commander With No Name — The Rock Island Armory 10mm

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“This isn’t a two thousand dollar gun but it shoots like one!” Attention hard-hitting 1911 fans, here’s a 10mm Commander to check out. READ WHY

RIA 10MM

Bob Campbell

Some time ago the 10mm cartridge hit the ground running and enjoyed a flash of popularity. Soon after the 10mm was eclipsed by the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge. The 10mm was kept going by a small but loyal base. But the 10mm is enjoying a credible comeback. I think that a learned appraisal of the cartridge is part of the reason. The 10mm isn’t a .41 Magnum but with modern loads it nips at the heels of the .357 Magnum with certain offerings. There are 10mm loads with modest recoil that are easily handled and others that breathe fire and recoil like a drum roll. We have rapidly expanding frangible loads, jacketed hollow point bullets with an excellent balance of expansion and penetration, and hard cast bullets that feature deep penetration for game hunting.

I recently tested a very expensive handgun called “The Gun With No Name.” That three thousand dollar 1911 was stylish with no scroll work to distract from the beautifully machined slide. It inspired the handgun reviewed here, the Rock Island Commander 10mm — yep, a Commander-length 10mm — has had the slide “wiped” of the markings some of us find distracting (although this pistol still has ‘RIA’ in the serial number). It’s the Tac Ultra MS.

RIA 10MM
Note scalloped ejection port and well designed beavertail safety.

The Philippine produced Armscor pistols are affordable but workmanlike handguns that enjoy a deserved good reputation. The company produces bare-bone bones GI guns and also target pistols. The ‘Rock’ is offered in 9mm, .38 Super, 10mm, .45 ACP, and .22 Magnum, as well as the .22 TCM caliber. The pistol illustrated is a Commander type with 4.25 inch barrel. The kicker is this is a 10mm Commander, a relative rarity in the 1911 world.

RIA 10MM
The bull barrel is a good feature. It is well fitted.

While the slide treatment and refinish are aftermarket and custom grade, the best things about the handgun were already in place. The pistol features a bushingless bull barrel. This means that the barrel dispenses with the typical 1911 barrel bushing but uses a belled barrel to lock up with the slide. This makes the full-length guide rod necessary. The pistol features a bold front post sight with fiber optic insert. The rear sight is a compact but fully adjustable version. The ejection port is nicely scalloped with a unique and attractive treatment. The beavertail grip safety is an aid in insuring the grip safety is properly pressed to release its hold on the trigger. Those that use the thumbs forward grip sometimes form a hollow in the palm and fail to properly depress the grip safety. The RIA beavertail eliminates this concern. The extended slide lock safety is an ambidextrous design. The indent is clean and sharp. Trigger compression is a tight 5.2 pounds on my Lyman Electronic Trigger Gauge. The grips are checkered G10. The pistol is supplied with two magazines, and I added several additional MecGar magazines into the mix for testing.

RIA 10MM
The pistol’s sights leave nothing to be desired.

For the test fire the magazines were loaded with SIG Sauer Elite FMJ 10mm. This load is clean burning, affordable, and accurate enough for meaningful practice. The pistol comes on target quickly and handles like a 1911. The low bore axis, straight to the rear trigger compression and hand fitting grip make for excellent handling. The pistol proved capable of center punching the target time and again at 7, 10, and 15 yards. The pistol is controllable but this isn’t a 9mm that you may punch holes in the target with at will. The much higher recoiling 10mm demands a firm grip and focused concentration. The mantra here isn’t a nicely centered group on target but a few solid hits with plenty of horsepower. Be certain you understand this before trying the 10mm. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. If you choose the 10mm you have a cartridge with excellent penetration, good wound potential, and, if need be, the ability to protect the owner against dangerous animals.

RIA 10MM
The pistol was fired with a variety of ammunition.
RIA 10MM
The pistol is controllable in rapid fire- but the shooter must expend some effort.

I also fired a number of first-rate defense loads. These included the SIG Sauer V Crown hollow point, the Buffalo Bore 155 grain Barnes X bullet, Hornady 180 grain XTP, and the Federal 200 grain HST. I fired a magazine full of each. No failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Even firing these loads the pistol remained controllable. I fired, allowed the trigger to reset in recoil, and fired again as the sights were returned to target. To test absolute accuracy I fired the pistol from a solid bench rest position at 20 yards. I used the Hornady 180 grain XTP and the SIG Sauer 180 grain FMJ loading. The results were good, with the average group at 2.5 inches. The Rock Island 10mm pistol is clearly accurate enough for personal defense and perhaps even hunting thin-skinned game or wild boar out to 35 yards or so.

RIA 10MM
The GALCO Stryker was used during range drills.

Learn more HERE

SKILLS: Why You May Want A Laser On Your EDC Pistol

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Great advice from umpteen time pistol shooting champion Rob Leatham. Take it! READ MORE

rob leatham

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, by Rob Leatham

The fact you’ve chosen to carry a firearm means you want to be prepared to protect yourself. Being able to hit what you shoot at — that’s what it’s all about. However, simply having a gun isn’t enough. You need to, among other things, HIT what you aim at. Otherwise the resulting use of your firearm may create more problems than it solves.

Unfortunately, to be blunt, most concealed carriers are not skilled enough to hit what they shoot at. I know I sound pessimistic, but I have seen it for decades — shooters who do not prepare for the realities of when, where and how real world situations occur.

Are You Ready?
If you want to do this right and have a chance of survival, you have to be as ready as you can be. Being ready is a byproduct of preparation.

Here is the beginner’s list:

First step — you need to have a concealable gun, like the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 9mm.

XD-S Mod.2 9mm

Second step — you have to train and practice. And I mean doing it like it matters. You can’t just shoot 10 shots through the gun to see if it works and say you are good to go. The gun will work. You’ve picked one of the most reliable compact handguns possible. That’s why I carry one. I’m not worried about the gun working, I’m worried about you working!

Third Step — learn marksmanship. To train to protect your life, you need to look beyond just having the gun and knowing some tactics. You have to address the elements of marksmanship that lead to its effective use. If “IT” hits the fan and you have to shoot, you had better hit what you are shooting at. In regards to that, there are two points that standout as being the most important: Fire Control & Aiming.

In this article, I’m going to address aiming.

Front Sight Fiasco
The problem with aiming is that we have taught you all wrong. I apologize. We “shooting instructors” tend to focus on aiming in a clinical sense with little attention paid to how situations might really happen. Let me explain…

Scenario: You are in a fight for your life, things are happening around you fast and the distances are close. Too close. Like the really dangerous distances of contact and just out-of-contact range.

Action plan: You will likely need a better marksmanship goal than the old guidelines of, “Look for that crisp, clear front sight focus.” I have heard it explained far too often that you can’t hit anything if the front sight isn’t clearly in focus. This is absurd.

In a fight you will likely need to watch and monitor what is happening. Your gun may be in your hand. You likely will have it pointed at an imminent threat. You likely will be stressed and nervous. You likely will be scared. You will likely be reacting to events as they unwind. And, unfortunately, if national statistics are referenced, you will likely MISS when the time comes to shoot. Let’s try to avoid this by outfitting ourselves well.

Armed to Aim
You need to stack the odds in your favor. It’s already a day gone bad, so let’s not make it worse. You need to give yourself the best possible chance to not miss. You do this by training and preparing your mind and equipment.

While far more important than your equipment choices, training is a complex subject that needs to be addressed in a personal and physical manor. I just can’t do it very well from across the inter-web. I can tell you about which guns and holsters and calibers to choose. I can tell you what skills to work on and describe drills that test you. But I cannot train you. I need to be able to watch you to correct you.

But I can tell you about aiming:

Aiming is the process of recognizing and causing alignment of your firearm onto the target. This is unchanged regardless of context.

Aiming is simple and yet not easy, especially if you don’t shoot a lot, and especially under pressure or duress. Fortunately, there are products that can help if this is something you struggle with.

The sights that come on something like the XD-S Mod.2 9mm are excellent for quickly aiming that pistol. They are easy to see and allow you to accurately align your pistol on target. Fiber optic and/or night sights, they are as good as iron sights can be. Period.

But are they your best possible choice?

Let’s say you are an experienced shooter who has trained for decades and shot hundreds of thousands of rounds. Like me! You have learned simply by feel how to do most of the aiming/aligning process. You are what many would call a good “point shooter” too. I will likely never need anything as good as the sights that are on the XD-S Mod.2.

But what if you are not like me? And what if it is dark? And what if you have not practiced enough with your awesome new carry gun? How are you going to know where that gun is pointed in that moment of need? You won’t have the feel I do, nor the confidence. You may need something more.

Sharks With Laser Beams
Have you thought about a laser (If it’s good enough for a shark…)? #AustinPowers

A laser aiming device will show you, while allowing you to keep your eyes on your target, exactly where the gun is pointed.

Even if it is dark.
Even if you are not holding the gun in a manner where you can see the sights.
Even if you are knocked down and lying on the ground.
Even if you physically CANNOT see iron sights clearly.

Does that sound helpful? Beneficial? Favorable?

And how about this, do you wear vision correction like I do? While I can put on my fancy DECOT shooting glasses in preparation for a competition, they aren’t my daily wear. They allow my old eyes to focus on the sights, something I can’t do with my daily eyeglasses. And I don’t want to wear them for anything except shooting. Sure, they are magical. They have returned my ability to see standard sights like I did decades ago. They do this by making my eyes focus at the approximate distance of the front of my gun at arms reach. Kinda like if you have to wear “readers” to read, but everything past that is fuzzy. This is perfect in a competition, but in a fight I need to see what is “downrange” much more clearly than “fuzzy.”

So About That Laser…
A gun-mounted laser allows you to see where the gun is pointed, regardless of your vision or the distance or how you’re holding the gun. You can see where the gun is pointed in low light, and/or with the gun in a retention position. The list of benefits goes on. For many, if not most of us, a laser on your pistol solves many mechanical problems you may encounter in a fight.

The Viridian laser mounts perfectly to the XD-S Mod.2 9mm. It is quick to install, simple to use and fast when it comes to aiming. And most importantly, it will likely be a great tool for those who:

Aren’t able to train every day
Don’t have great hand-eye coordination
Have poor/substandard vision

It is by no stretch of the imagination a guarantee of acceptable marksmanship on its own, but a gun-mounted laser can be an excellent solution for your “aiming issues.”

I suggest you give one a try on your EDC gun. I can’t imagine a better compact self-defense combination.

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.

ROB LEATHAM
Rob Leatham, captain of Team Springfield, has been with the Springfield Armory family since the late 1980s. He is a world-renowned competition shooter and firearms instructor who is highly regarded as one of — if not THE — most-winning Practical Pistol Competitor in history. Rob’s sheer number of National and World Shooting Titles make him unique in the firearms industry. He has trained shooters from all walks of life — from IPSC World Champions to Military Special Forces Operators and from Law Enforcement Officers to civilians for Self Defense. In the competitive shooting world of IPSC, USPSA, Steel Challenge, IDPA and NRA Action Pistol, Rob’s competition career has spanned decades.

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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.

 

REVIEW-RETROSPECT: Surplus Beretta 92S

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Here’s a retired 9mm with still a lot of fight left! READ MORE

beretta 92s
For a pistol manufactured in the early 1980s my example shows surprisingly little wear.

beretta 92s

Robert Sadowski

“Surplus” has different meanings depending where you are in the world. Surplus firearms in the U.S. means extra on-hand or dated equipment, in other countries it could mean scrap metal. I try to avoid the latter, but I am always on the look out for a diamond in the rough and thought I’d look at the Beretta 92S. I have seen these advertised by a variety of online gun sellers. This 9mm is an early generation of 92FS so it is more of a European gun than the 92FS which definitely has U.S. influence. This is what I found with this old pistol.

The Model 92S is basically a Model 92FS with slight differences.The original Model 92 was introduced in 1976 and had a frame mounted safety similar to the Taurus 92 pistol or a 1911 style pistol. Police and military in Italy wanted a slide mounted safety and in 1977 Beretta introduced the 92S, the second generation 92, and started to sell these pistols to police and law enforcement agencies around the world. Where the 92S differs from the 92FS is in the grip, hammer pin, receiver shape, and magazine release. The 92FS has an enlarged hammer pin to stop the slide from flying off the receiver if it cracks. This was done at request of the U.S. military after testing with high pressure loads. The 92S has the safety lever mounted in the slide. Rotated up it exposes a red dot and the pistol is ready to fire. Rotate it down and the trigger is disengaged but the slide can still be manipulated. The hammer cannot be cocked. With the pistol cocked, rotate the lever to allow the hammer to move forward. The safety is not ambidextrous.

beretta 92s
The 92S was the first of the 92 series to have a slide mounted safety lever.

The receiver has a rounded trigger guard and the magazine release is located in the butt. Press the button and the magazine falls free. If you have ever fired a pistol in snow or tall grass you will understand why the magazine release was located here. Using the support hand to manipulate the magazine drops the empty magazine into the palm of the support hand. Here in the U.S. we are used to dumping the empty magazine and while it is falling insert a full magazine. This is a European trait of the 92S. It’s really all in the training. Most magazines made for the 92FS are compatible with the 92S, so finding extra magazines — both factory and aftermarket — is simple.

beretta 92s
That button is the magazine release, which took some getting used to.
beretta 92s
That D-shaped hole in the magazine allows the magazine to be used in 92s with a magazine butt release. Many current manufacture 92 magazines have this cut out.

The front and rear grip straps are smooth and there is a lanyard loop attached at the butt. The 92S feels rounded in hand, different than the 92FS. The plastic grips were checkered on the bottom portion but not the top which is odd. I would have liked fully checkered grips to better grip the pistol.

beretta 92s
The 92S did not have any front or rear grip strap serrations. They were missed.

My example showed signs of holster wear but little actually firing. The bluing was worn and I would rate this pistol 80-75 percent by NRA standards. The slide had no wiggle — it was tight. The trigger measured 11 pounds in DA mode and felt like it. In SA mode there was a lot of take up and a bit mushy. Not show stoppers by any means, just a typical used service pistol. The sight were small, fixed, and without contrasting dots or lines. On a dark background the sights can get lost.

Since this is an older pistol I did not test with +P+ loads. This pistol was not designed for that type of high pressure ammunition, not that I am implying this is a sub standard pistol. The 92S is safe when used with ammunition originally intended. What I did want to find out was if performance would be affected if I fired different bullets types — meaning FMJs and hollow points. I used off the shelf 9mm ammo consisting of Hornady American Gunner with 115-grain XTP jacketed hollow points, Aguila 124-grain FMJ, and SIG Sauer 115-grain FMJ.

beretta 92s
Sights are small and glare when used in full sunlight.

For accuracy testing I used a bench rest at targets set at 25 yards.

All ammunition cycled flawlessly through the 92S. Magazines seated easily. I would have liked more slide serrations to make the slide easier to rack.

Bench rest accuracy was good, averaging about two inches for five rounds at 25 yards. The 92S had a pleasant recoil. The pistol magazine release took some getting used to and slowed me down when it came to rapid reloads.

beretta 92s
If you’ve spent time under Uncle Sam’s tutelage you know a 92 field strips quickly.

The 92S is no 92FS but still provides an excellent example of Beretta’s 92 series performance, and is a little piece of history too. The 92S is about half the cost of a new 92FS.

92S92S

SKILLS: Cut Your Reaction Time

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Speed is of the essence in any defensive situation, and in most any defensive situation, the fastest solid hit wins. Here’s how to get faster. READ MORE

speed drills

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life

The martial arts offer an age-old perspective on something critically important to your shooting performance — reaction time. Employing a punch, a round kick, an edged weapon, or a firearm in self-defense means that you’re reacting to a rapid and dynamic escalation of force.

Your objective is to stop or gain control of that escalation. The single most important factor in meeting that objective is time.

Tick Tock
In any self-defense situation with or without a firearm, TIME is a double-edged sword — it can be both your dearest friend (when in ample supply), and adamant foe (when turned against you).

Reactionary Gap is a term applied to the amount of space at your disposal in response to a real-world active threat. The greater the reactionary gap, the more time you have. The smaller gap, the less time.

Physical violence that causes you to go to guns in defense of life or limb, usually means a minimal reactionary gap. Relying on precision shooting when fighting for your life at extreme close quarters, may not be your very best bet. However, having true reactive shooting skills in your tool kit will help make optimal usage of time.

Reactive Shooting School
Founded (more than 40 years ago) by former FBI Special Agent and renowned professional competition shooter, Bill Rogers, is a reactive shooting school that trains you to do just that — shoot reactively.

If you’re a student of defensive handgun and you’ve never been, the Rogers Shooting School, located in Ellijay, GA, is a very worthwhile training investment. Reactive shooting is unlike any other, in that, just like the real world, you don’t have much time to react. The Rogers system demands alacrity in both effective gun handling and marksmanship.

According to Bill, we humans have an average “Unit of Human Reaction” (UHR) time measured to be approximately .25 seconds, that’s one quarter of a second. It’s the measurable amount of time your computer (brain) needs to process stimulus response. Although the aggregate may be about a quarter of a second, this is a very subjective measurement and can vary from shooter to shooter.

stopwatch

One way to find your UHR is to use your shot timer. At your next practice session, face down range. Load up. No target required. Point your muzzle into the berm and take up as much slack in the trigger (if any / as possible) without sending the round down range.

Beep, Boom
With the timer set to random (to provide more of an unknown variable — like the real world), have a buddy hold it to your ear. When you hear the beep, break the shot. Beep — boom, it’s that simple. The time registered between beep (stimulus — your sensory input followed by computer interpretation) and boom (response — signal from your brain box down the neural pathways leading to your trigger finger) is your approximate UHR. Run it several times to find your average.

Taking this average as your par time, you can use it to measure that initial critical step (interpretation and processing of life-threatening information) in making rapid and accurate round placement from concealment. Depending upon your skill level, running this drill repeatedly will better familiarize you with operating in fractions of a second and, in the long run, eventually lower your reaction time (UHR).

Reducing your UHR allows you to get to your gun faster because it lessens the amount of time required in decision making — which is a significant and contributing factor in the processing time from initial stimulus to response.

Given that the purpose of defensive shooting is to make combat-effective round placement in a timely manner when reacting to an active threat, time is not on your side. Reducing your UHR by even one tenth of a second shortens your overall time in placing a warranted first round on threat.

Other Opportunities
In addition to using a shot timer at the range, look for and run other “drills” or training opportunities in your day where you may be able to work on reduction of your UHR. Such innocuous training as opening the microwave door during the countdown just as you see the one-second display, but prior to the beep, is a good drill.

Another training opportunity is when driving and sitting first in line at a red light. With your foot on the brake and your eyes on the traffic light – not on your cell phone — the split second you see the light change from red to green, move your foot off the brake pedal, faster than you normally would, but with good control to not stomp on that gas pedal. In fact, you want to make very light placement on that gas pedal. This action is similar to getting on your trigger quickly from the holster, in rapid control, but without disturbing muzzle alignment with the target.

Using these and similar reactionary gap training drills can help you to continually be cognizant of and work on reducing your reaction times. After a couple of months of running these, remeasure your presentation times. You may be pleasantly surprised with the performance benefits of cutting your UHR.

Steve Tarani
Steve is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail. He is also the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) and others.

 

REVIEW: Bond Arms Bullpup — A Great Carry 9

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This may be the most advanced 9mm handgun on the planet.  READ WHY

bond arms bullpup

Bob Campbell

When we look at a new firearm we like to know where it came from and what operating principles it is based on. The Bond Arms Bullpup is a result of Bond Arms purchasing the rights and machinery to the Boberg pistol. Before that there isn’t a lot owed to anyone for this design. The pistol uses the proven locked breech short recoil principle but with a twist — literally. The pistol features a rotating barrel. A rotating barrel lessens the need for a heavy recoil spring and guide while controlling recoil. This is important in a very small 9mm handgun. Recoil energy is expended over a longer period of time. The barrel rotates 14 degrees during the recoil cycle as the slide unlocks and shoots to the rear. The recoil spring is pretty light, with its main function moving the slide back into battery after the spent cartridge case is ejected. As a result of this design the slide is very easy to rack. Easier than any other 9mm I am aware of.

bond arms bullpup
The mechanism is complicated but works well.

At first glance the pistol appears to have a very short barrel, when you realize the barrel takes up a lot of the slide. The 5.1 inch slide contains a 3.35 inch barrel. This means that the average velocity loss compared to a Glock 19 as an example is less than 40 fps average. That’s impressive and necessary as well as the 9mm demands good velocity to ensure bullet expansion. The Bullpup moniker comes from the pistol’s unique design. The magazine is loaded conventionally but the front of the magazine is closed and the rear open as the cartridge feeds from the rear. A dual tongued drawbar catches the cartridge case rim and pulls it from the magazine and feed it into the chamber. This is controlled feed at its nth degree. The cartridges must be carefully selected. The problem isn’t a blunt nose but cartridge integrity. A firm crimp is demanded. With this in mind, the company supplied a list of cartridges they have tested and which offer feed reliability. Included are inexpensive training loads and top notch defensive loads.

bond arms bullpup
Good sights are essential for combat accuracy.

I am particularly impressed with the grip design. The supplied wooden stocks are attractive and offer good abrasion and adhesion. The stocks are wide enough to soak up recoil and remain slim and trim for concealed carry. The sights are good examples of combat sights. As for improvements over the original pistol the primary improvement is in fit and finish. The Bond Arms Bullpup is as well made as any handgun. It isn’t inexpensive but it is innovative and it works as designed. A big reason the new pistol isn’t as finicky as the original — and the Roberg ran fine with good ammunition and proper lubrication — is that the reciprocating barrel and barrel block now feature a frictionless space age coating. This eliminates the need to keep the barrel and locking block coated. The take-down is the same as the original using a lever to remove the slide. This lever may be turned to the six-o’clock position in order to lock the slide to the rear. The slide does not lock open on the last shot, it simply isn’t practical with the Bullpup design. Be aware during combat practice of how the pistol behaves. Get a rhythm going and perhaps try to count the shots and practice tactical loads.

bond arms bullpup
Firing the pistol is a joy- this is a light recoiling and accurate piece.

When firing the Bullpup 9 I had a pleasant surprise. This is a very nice pistol to fire. It isn’t the lightest 9mm at about 22 ounces but recoil is decidedly light. The trigger action is very smooth. The Lyman digital scale measures 7 to 7.5 pounds on average. Press the trigger straight to the rear until it breaks cleanly and you have a good hit. During recoil allow the trigger to reset. The result is good control and surprisingly good combat accuracy. Most of the ammunition fired has been the recommended Winchester 115 grain FMJ, as well as Sig Sauer Elite 115 and 124 grain FMJ. The pistol is also reliable with modern expanding bullet loads including the Hornady Critical Defense and Critical duty and the SIG Sauer Elite V Crown loadings. Accuracy is exceptional for this size handgun. The pistol will exhibit a five shot 1.5 inch group with most loads at 15 yards, firing from a solid benchrest firing position. Of course this doesn’t have much to do with combat shooting.

Firing offhand it isn’t difficult to keep a full magazine in the X-ring well past 10 yards. I executed the 10 10 10 drill — modifying it to 10 10 7. Ten yards, ten seconds, and seven shots. The pistol stayed in the 8 and 9 ring. This is good performance. The pistol demands attention to detail, both in maintenance and in handling. The Bond Arms Bullpup comes with a hefty list of advantages foremost of which is its small size. Yet the pistol retains a full length, for a compact, pistol barrel and offers light recoil and excellent accuracy. This isn’t a handgun for the slightly interested. For the demanding shooter it is a top notch piece.

bond arms bullpup
This is a group fired from a solid rest at 15 yards.

Among a very few concealed carry holster makers offering a suitable concealed carry rig for the Bond Arms Bullpup 9 is Alien Gear. The soft backing coupled with a rigid Kydex holster makes for good comfort and a sharp draw. There isn’t another holster offering a better balance of speed, retention and comfort along with real concealment.

bond arms bullpup
The pistol carries well in this Alien Gear holster.

SEE MORE HERE

SKILLS: Verbal Skills During An Armed Encounter

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Managing an armed encounter successfully takes more than shooting skills. Put yourself in a better defensive position with these essential verbal skills. READ MORE

INTRUDER

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life

Verbal Strategy
Verbal skills tend to come in handy during an armed encounter. As a police officer, I’ve used the “gift of gab” to great effect on a number of occasions, but verbal skills aren’t just for cops. Saying the right thing at the right time — and with the right delivery — can prompt a would-be assailant to back down. Since voluntary compliance is always preferred to bloodshed, it’s important to give careful consideration to how you can communicate effectively in crisis.

The problem with many well-intended firearms instructors is they offer to their students little more than a few canned phrases such as “Don’t move!” “Drop the weapon!” or “I have a gun! If you come through the door, you will be shot!” While any of these directives could prompt a criminal to reconsider his plan, they could also backfire.

Rather than rely on these phrases, students of the gun must be trained to think before they speak. Let’s say you turn away from the ATM and are confronted by a thug who sticks a gun in your face. Clearly, you’re in no position to issue verbal commands, but the right words and tone could still be of tremendous benefit.

Saying something like this might work well. “Hey, buddy. Calm down. I’ll do whatever you say. Take my wallet, just please don’t hurt me.” This type of submissive verbal response is an excellent segue to you either cooperating or feinting cooperation until it’s more advantageous to counterattack.

Another good strategy when an assailant has the drop on you is to ask questions. While pretending to beg (or actually begging) for your life, ask what the assailant wants you to do. When you ask a question, the assailant will likely consider what you’re asking, and this will likely make him just a bit hesitant.

If you’re planning to counterattack, the time to make your move is when the assailant starts to answer. That’s because it’s hard to talk and shoot at the same time — which is a good thing to keep in mind when you are armed and giving verbal commands.

Body Language
Make sure your body language matches your spoken language. Your tucked chin and raised open hands appear to match your submissive speech, but this posturing actually prepares you to act, if that’s what you choose to do. Your chin down minimizes the likelihood of being knocked out if you are struck in the head, and your hands being up enables you to more efficiently fend or redirect and control the weapon.

So should you give verbal commands if you’re in a position to do so? There’s no right answer. If you catch a burglar attempting to pry open a window screen on your house with a knife, bellowing out clear, unconditional directives like those previously mentioned would make sense — especially if those orders were issued from behind cover. They would likely cause most criminals to either comply or flee.

Now, imagine walking around the corner of a building and seeing an assailant holding someone hostage with a weapon. Should you issue a forceful verbal command? If you’re thinking, you realize that by verbally challenging the assailant in this scenario, you may make an already highly volatile situation even worse.

At the very least, you will have forfeited the element of surprise and put the ball in the assailant’s court. Will he run away? Attack the person he was threatening? Attack you? If you’ve just barked orders at him, you’re about to find out.

Warning Obligations
As the good guy, are you obligated to give an assailant warning prior to using deadly force? Not necessarily. While such a warning may be required in some states, many statues are written so that a warning should be given prior to the use of deadly force “when feasible.”

Laws differ from state to state but typically deadly force is authorized to prevent the imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to yourself or someone else. When an assailant is pointing a gun at someone’s head, that criteria has certainly been met.

What about when someone shatters a window and you and your family move to your “safe room” where you barricade behind the locked door, arm yourself and call 911. Shouldn’t you shout verbal commands from inside the room to advise the intruder that you’re armed and that the police have been called? Not necessarily.

Giving a verbal command alerts the intruder to your location. Then, assuming he enters the room, he has an idea where you are. Heck, he may even shoot through the wall toward the sound of your voice.

Perhaps a more tactically sound plan would be to turn off the lights, get behind cover and watch the door. Should it fly open, you will have a clear view of the intruder because he must come through the doorway to get into the room.

In personal and home-defense situations, verbal skills can be important. But don’t assume yelling forceful commands is always the answer. Sometimes it’s better to speak softly or not at all. It’s up to you to gauge the situation and respond appropriately. You’ve got to think before you speak.

Originally appeared in Handguns Magazine.

SEE THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE