Category Archives: Handguns

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.

HANDGUNS: 10 Minutes of 10mm History

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Many-time champion Rob Leatham gives his take on one of the most powerful semi-auto loadings. Listen! HERE’S MORE

springfield armory 10mms

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Rob Leatham (find Rob on Twitter)

The 10mm auto is a curious cartridge.

Designed originally as a best-of-all-options for the defensive pistol world, it was targeted to be an all things to all people service pistol cartridge. Sort of a hybrid of the service pistol standards, .45 ACP and 9×19 rounds. The goal? To have more capacity than the .45 and be more powerful than the 9mm.

Without completely retelling the detailed history, in the early 1970s, the late Col. Jeff Cooper was reportedly looking for a round that combined the advantages of both velocity and momentum. The ballistics of a 200 grain .400 (10mm) diameter bullet traveling 1000 feet per second looked good to Jeff on paper.

CASE CREATION
There was a problem, however. There wasn’t a readily available cartridge case for an auto pistol that would handle that bullet diameter. So it wouldn’t be as simple as just powering up an existing cartridge as had been done with .38 Special, .38 Auto, and .44 Special.

A new case had to be devised. Well, maybe not new, but altered and repurposed.

Similar “wildcat” cartridges had been developed previously using .224 Weatherby and .30 Remington brass. These had been chambered in a number of different guns. Most promising was the .40 G&A round developed by Whit Collins, followed shortly thereafter by the Centimeter and then the .40 S&W.

Of those, only the .40 S&W would ever make it into production, albeit much later, but the ground was laid for the 10mm as we know it.

10mm

BREN TEN
When the design of this new hybrid cartridge occurred, a new gun (with design input from Colonel Cooper) was being developed to accept it. Known as the Bren Ten, it was basically a sized-up CZ 75.

Both the 10mm gun and round were in development about the same time. However, the ammo was finished long enough before the gun that people were becoming impatient to try this new hybrid.

WE HAD AN INTERESTING NEW ROUND AND NOTHING TO SHOOT IT IN.

So, what to do? The combat pistol world was in its hey-day and the buzz over this new combination was eagerly awaited by pistol enthusiasts worldwide. As time dragged on and the Bren Ten didn’t seem to be happening, Colt stepped in and introduced a model to accept the 10mm. While familiar, it really wasn’t the totally new, complete package we were all hoping for.

AMMO ADVANCES
Remember that the design goal was originally to achieve a 200 grain bullet at 1000 FPS. This would deliver a flatter trajectory, greater penetration with a slightly higher level of power in both energy and momentum than standard .45 Auto (with the bonus of increased magazine capacity).

Norma, the company that originally developed the 10mm, in their enthusiasm to make the round as good as modern propellants would allow, made their ammo far more powerful than was originally requested. The ammo was approximately 20% higher in velocity than the original specifications called for. While this sounds like a good idea, it was in fact not. At least not for service-pistol use.

With that increase in power came costs that were just not worth it for the majority of shooters.

While exceeding the power of any other standardized auto pistol combination encountered, the gun/ammo combination was just too difficult for most to control.

To add to the overall problem, the Bren Ten Pistol was long delayed and in the end, sadly never made it. Some were built, but they too couldn’t take the beating of the “hot” Norma ammo. Other manufacturer’s 10mm guns did not deliver on the promise the 10 had made. They were harder to shoot than .45 in the same platform and did not hold up well to the very high-pressure ammunition.

So for most shooters, the existing 1911 platform pistol with the powerful 10mm ammo just didn’t offer enough benefits to replace the already-available and time-tested .45ACP.

Springfield Armory 10mm

10MM TIMEOUT
With no viable new gun, the high expense of ammo, and the excessive recoil that made it hard to control and shoot, the 10mm never became as popular as was hoped. And it mostly vanished from the public eye.

But it didn’t die.

Although too hot for most applications for a service pistol, the 10mm with its potentially higher power levels continued [slowly] to make friends in the civilian and law enforcement world. A lot of shooters still wanted a 1911 with more velocity, penetration, momentum, energy, and flatter trajectory than the .45 offered. The 10mm’s devout but small following, by those who recognized its niche, soldiered on.

FBI CONNECTION
The FBI adopted the 10mm after the infamous 1986 Miami shootout, where they unfortunately discovered that they needed more gun, power, and firepower than they currently had.

The bureau soon concluded after the adoption, that existing 10mm ammo was “too hot” and as a result, requested a special lower-pressure load developed for them. This new load didn’t exhibit the same problems the original hot 10mm cartridges did, and proved a good compromise between power and controllability.

This ammo was more inline with the original request. Due to the FBI adoption, the 10 was back in the limelight and major loading companies jumped on the band wagon.

Since then, the 10mm has continued to exist for both gun manufacturers and ammunition companies, albeit not as a best seller. I sense a change in the air though…

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY 1911 TRP 10MMS
Springfield now produces their top-of-the-line TRP in 10mm in both a 5-in. and long-slide 6-in. model.

But wait, what about all the 10mm problems of gun wear and tear and hot ammo?

Better materials, 10mm-particular specifications, and improved manufacturing capabilities allow us to produce superior, more-durable 10mm pistols. Specifically, one that will withstand the force of the “hot stuff” and still work with the lower pressure “standard ammo.”

Flat out, the Springfield 10mm pistols are better than any previously available models from any manufacturer.

The only thing that could make our 10mm TRPs better, is if they were easier to aim. #OldEyes

springfield armory optic 10mm

MEET SPRINGFIELD’S 1911 TRP 10MM RMR
With the Trijicon ACOG® RMR® optic sight, this 1911 offers the ballistic advantages of the 10mm round in a strong, accurate, durable package with the latest in optical sights.

For many shooters, aiming is difficult. Some eyes just don’t see that well. While vision issues can be resolved with glasses or contacts, there is almost always a compromise. You can correct vision to either the sights or the target, but one of them is NOT going to be in focus.

Optical sights allow focusing on the target. You never have to refocus back to the gun to align the sights. Seeing all the elements of a good sight picture clearly is no longer difficult. Look at your target and the dot is superimposed, showing the potential impact point of the round. The old argument of whether to look at the sights or the target no longer applies. Everything is in focus.

The 10mm is the most powerful round commonly available that fits the 1911 platform. It can be a viable “all things to all people” chambering.

For you speed junkies, the 10mm offers high velocity. Some loadings have bullets going upwards of 1300 FPS. This guarantees high energies and flat trajectories.

For the big-and-heavy-is-better guys, the 10mm bullet is .400 inch in diameter and regularly available in 200 grain weights. So it’s a perfect fit for those who like the old saying, “I don’t care what caliber it is as long as it starts with 4.”

So thanks to all you stalwart 10mm fans, a purposeful caliber has survived and will continue to thrive into the future.

Check out the new gun HERE

 

CCW: Avoiding Reloaded Ammo?

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Many handgun owners reload, but is it wise to count on that ammo for defensive carry? Jason Hanson says “no.” READ WHY

handgun bullets

Jason Hanson

During war, one of the most common tactics used to fight the enemy is to disrupt their supply lines.

During the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers did this in a different way than just simply stopping supplies from getting to the enemy.

This specific operation, code named “Project Eldest Son,” was carried out by U.S. Green-Beret patrols, who captured enemy ammunition stashes that were typically 7.62 X 39mm ammo cartridges, which were used in the AK-47’s regularly carried by Communist forces.

Once the U.S. captured the ammo stashes, the cartridges would be disassembled and then put back together with different components.

For instance, the powder in the cartridges was replaced with a high explosive powder that would generate five times the pressure in the firearm.

The high explosive powder inside the cartridges would typically cause the AK-47 receiver to explode sending bolts and pieces of the gun backwards towards the person holding the rifle.

Once the sabotaged ammo was ready to go, U.S. forces would return the ammo to the stashes and would usually put one bad round in a container full of good rounds.

Basically, this would put doubt into the enemy’s mind regarding the safety and reliability of their ammo.

In addition, most of the Communist forces ammo was coming from China so this also was done so the enemy would question the ammo they were receiving from China.

The fact is, our firearms are obviously worthless without ammunition that works.

I’m sure you’ve heard how many gun activists want to make ammo harder to come by and there is no question that depending on where you live, it’s becoming more difficult to walk into your sporting goods store to buy ammo.

This has led to a continuing growing popularity of reloading your own ammo. Now, I know people who have done this for years and are very good at what they do.

On the other hand, I have a family member who spent countless hours reloading thousands of rounds, only to find out the powder was a little off and the ammo was unusable.

This is why if you reload ammo you have to take your time and know what you’re doing. This is not something you want to watch one YouTube video about and then think you’re a pro who knows it all.

So, if you are considering getting into reloading ammo, keep in mind the factors below and make sure you invest the time to do it right.

Reliability.
As I mentioned, I had a family member who reloaded his own ammo and was slightly off with his measurements.

Of course, no one is perfect, but the thing is, the big ammo manufacturers clearly have numerous safety inspections in place that make their ammo much more dependable, which is why quality ammo rarely has any issues.

Cartridge gets weaker.
Unless you keep your eye on every cartridge you use for reloading, you never know how many times the cartridge has been reloaded. The more you reload a cartridge, the weaker it will become over time.

Essentially, as it becomes weaker, it will be more prone to failure and malfunctions.

Legality.
I realize this is a big “what if,” however, if you were ever involved in a self-defense shooting would you really want to explain your reloaded ammo?

Again, I realize this is a stretch, but it is one more thing an aggressive prosecutor or civil attorney could use to try and blame you for what happen. During a trial, the best thing you can do is show the court a box of ammo from the manufacturer and say contact them with any questions.

When it comes to ammo, some of my favorite brands are Speer, Hornady, Remington, Winchester, and Federal. These are all quality and dependable brands that won’t break the bank.

I do realize a lot of folks reload ammo for the huge savings cost. If this is the case, I see nothing wrong with reloading rounds for simply target practice at the range or shooting with friends.

However, I would not use reloaded rounds in my self-defense weapon and I would spend the extra money to make sure you have a reliable round when your life depends on it.

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

Keep Telling Your Members of Congress to Oppose “Universal” Background Check Bills!

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Two bills recently introduced into Congress are no more than traps for law-abiding gun owners. READ WHY

gun control

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On January 8, two bills were introduced in Congress to impose so-called “universal” background checks. The bills, H.R. 8 and S. 42, are being misleadingly described as simply requiring background checks on all sales of firearms, but this is just a small part of what these overbroad pieces of legislation would do.

A vote on this gun control legislation could take place as early as the first weeks of February. Therefore, it is vital that gun owners immediately contact their members of Congress to urge them to oppose this legislation, and that gun owners encourage their freedom-minded family and friends to do the same.

Both bills would make it a crime, subject to certain exceptions, to simply hand a firearm to another person. Any time gun owners carry out this simple act, they would potentially be exposing themselves to criminal penalties. While the bills do create some exceptions, they are overly complicated and create many traps for unwary gun owners. Accidental violations of these complicated provisions are not excused under the proposed legislation.

Ask your Representative and Senators to oppose H.R.8 and S.42. Additionally, you may call your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators using the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

This legislation is not about public safety. These bills attack law-abiding gun owners by placing further burdens on gun ownership and use. For the anti-gun groups and politicians intent on criminalizing the private transfer of firearms, this legislation is just another step in their effort to extinguish America’s vibrant and legitimate gun culture.

Expanded Background Checks Don’t Work
Proponents of so-called “universal” background checks claim that this legislation is the “most important” thing that can be done to stop dangerous people from obtaining firearms. This is a lie. There is no evidence that expanded background checks are useful for this purpose.

Just last year, a study by anti-gun researchers confirmed that expanded background checks in California did not reduce gun homicides or gun suicides.

This finding is consistent with a review of past studies on expanded background checks by the RAND Corporation that found that “evidence of the effect of private-seller background checks on firearm homicides is inconclusive.”

In 2013, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice researched so-called “universal” background checks and determined that they would be not be effective without further harsh firearms restrictions and efforts to combat straw purchasing.

Criminals are not deterred by background checks. ATF has reported, “[t]he most frequent type of trafficking channel identified in ATF investigations is straw purchasing from federally licensed firearms dealers. Nearly 50 percent …” A Chicago-area inmate explained this reality to researchers from the University of Chicago in relation to Illinois’s stringent firearm licensing regime for a 2015 study, stating, “All they need is one person who got a gun card in the ‘hood’ and everybody got one.”

A 2016 Department of Justice survey of “state and federal prisoners who had possessed a firearm during the offense for which they were serving” found that the most common source of prisoner firearms was “Off the street/underground market.” This was defined as “Illegal sources of firearms that include markets for stolen goods, middlemen for stolen goods, criminals or criminal enterprises, or individuals or groups involved in sales of illegal drugs.” Less than one percent had obtained their firearm from a gun show.

The research confirms that anti-gun members of Congress aren’t interested in actually addressing violent crime; they’re just trying to deflect the blame on law-abiding gun owners. Please use this link to let your elected officials know that you won’t be blamed for the actions of violent criminals. Ask your Representative and Senators to oppose H.R.8 and S.42. Additionally, you may call your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators using the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

 

REVIEW: Optic Ready Glocks for Concealed Carry

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Glock G17 and G19 Gen4 Modular Optic System (MOS) guns are ‘game changers’ according to the author. Read more about this new trend in carry guns HERE

glock mos

Wilburn Roberts

There are times when you don’t notice a shift in the paradigm, but with the new Glock G17 and G19 Gen4 MOS (Modular Optic System) pistols the move is obvious and clear. Concealed carry pistols equipped with optics are the next stage in the evolution of defensive pistols.

Glock has taken its most popular models, the full-size G17 Gen4 and compact G19 Gen4, and created MOS variants. The MOS variants that feature a small cover plate just forward of the rear sight. After removing the plate and replacing it with a mounting adaptor the user can mount a reflex red dot sight such as the popular models from Trijicon, Leupold, Meopta, C-More, Docter, and Insight. What this means is, a shooter can acquire a target faster and shoot with more accuracy while doing it with a pistol meant for personal protection. Red dots are not just for competition shooting and hunting any more.

mos mount
The optic-ready mounting is easily accessible.

Glock introduced the MOS (Modular Optic System) variants a few years ago. The G34, G35 and G41 Gen4 received the MOS treatment making them easier to equip with a red dot sight for competition shooting. Glock did the same for the 10mm G40 Gen4 MOS. The addition of an optic increases the shooter’s effective range. Mounting a reflex red dot sights increases the speed and aiming accuracy over traditional iron sights — well, plastic sights in the case of Glock. With a red dot, all a shooter needs to do is focus on the red dot and place it on the target. Traditional sights have three planes — rear sight, front sight, and target — that need to be aligned for accurate shooting. Adding a red dot simply seems to be the natural progression for concealed carry pistols.

Fobus IWBL
I hauled the larger G17 with Delta Point in a Fobus IWBL holster, which required no alterations.

I recently had the opportunity to test a G17 Gen4 MOS and G19 Gen4 MOS. I mounted a Leupold Delta Point to them. At the range, I found I was more accurate and faster on target when compared to the same guns using only iron sights. Drawing the G17 and G19 from concealed cover, I experienced a bit of a learning curve. Make sure your concealing garment is out of the way. The optic is obvously higher and could potentially snag.

The transition from iron sights to optic also requires the shooter to aim differently. In my case, I needed to slightly lower the muzzle of the pistol to acquire the red dot within the sight’s window. Within a few magazines and practice draws, I was comfortable with the optic sight and the smaller groups in the paper downrange indicated my accuracy had improved. I’ve particularly grown fond of the G19 in a DGS Arms CDC (Compact Discreet Carry) kydex appendix holster, which I modified to fit the new Glock equipped with the Delta Point. I hauled the larger G17 with Delta Point in a Fobus IWBL holster, which required no alterations.

discreet holster

The size of the sight does mean the optic has the potential to snag, but proper training should alleviate any fumbled draws. The battery means you need to replace it on a schedule so you are not caught with a dead battery — both are easily managed. I also used the Delta Point as an improvised handle to rack the slide. Not something I would normally do, but I want to see if the mount held and if the sight went out of zero. I had no issues. The pistol ran like you would expect Glocks to run — flawlessly.

optics accuracy
Accuracy is better with optics!

With the G17 Gen4 MOS and G19 Gen4 MOS, Glock is redefining the conceal carry pistol, making the pistol easier and faster to aim, which is an advantage. And we all want the advantage.

glock mos specs

Check out dot optics at Midsouth HERE

leupold dot sight

Check out details from GLOCK HERE

 

Researchers Credit Right to Carry Law With Reduction in Chicago Property Crimes

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Less crime due to criminals weighing gains against the possibility of an armed victim? Sounds like the argument that gun-rights supporters have been making for a long time. READ IT ALL

governor quinn

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In July 2013, the Illinois legislature overrode the veto of then-Governor Patrick Quinn to eliminate the state’s status as the last holdout in refusing to issue concealed-carry permits. In moving from “no-issue” to “shall issue,” law-abiding citizens of the Land of Lincoln were finally able to enjoy the Second Amendment rights affirmed in D.C. v. Heller, McDonald v. Chicago, and Moore v. Madigan. Yet, even while benefitting from armed protection at the expense of taxpayers, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel maintained that “gun control is essential,” and that the new concealed carry law would result in an increase in crime.

Recently, two researchers disproved at least some of Emanuel’s prognostications and added to the growing body of evidence that allowing citizens the right to defend themselves with guns outside their homes can lead to a decrease in crime (see, e.g., here, here, here, and here for examples). Publishing in Applied Economics Letters, Srikant Devaraj and Pankaj Patel (from Ball State University and Villanova University, respectively) used neighborhood-level crime reports from Chicago and Philadelphia during the period January 2006 to December 2015. Their goal was to ascertain the effect of the Illinois concealed carry law on property crimes in Chicago, with the Philadelphia data serving as a “control” comparison over the same term. (Philly was selected because of its similar population density, demographic characteristics, and property crime levels, and because Pennsylvania also is a shall-issue state.)

Using a variation of regression analysis (i.e., zero-inflated negative binomial regression, appropriate when data are counts of an event, occurrence, etc., and having high/frequent occurrence of zeros as values), Devaraj and Patel assessed property crime rates as a function of the availability of permits in Illinois, examining rates prior to the introduction of shall-issue and at three points following the law’s enactment: 0-6 months, 6-12 months, and 1 year or later. Other, potentially important variables for which the researchers controlled were the number of violent crimes; overall time trend; economic recession; whether a crime was reported on the first day of the year or first day of the month (to account for artifacts in record-keeping); and, the city in which the crime was reported.

“The results show[ed] that after the implementation of the ‘shall issue’ CCW law in Chicago, property crimes decreased,” and the reduction continued across all three time intervals. The authors offered several potential explanations for Chicago’s decrease in property crime, not least of which is that concealed carry “may influence the opportunity cost for committing … crimes, as criminals may weigh gains … against higher risk (with the possibility of a victim carrying a firearm)” (Devaraj and Patel, 2018, p. 1128, emphasis added).

SKILLS: Advantages To Competing With Your Carry Gun

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Competition creates competence, and Team Springfield’s Ivan Gelo reveals 4 big reasons why. KEEP READING

ivan gelo

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Ivan Gelo

When I began my life of daily carry almost 30 years ago, I carried what was approved and available. My respect of the .45 ACP round goes this far back, as that is when I chose to purchase a single stack .45 ACP as the handgun which would reside in my holster. I actually opted out of the .357 revolver that was department issued at the time.

Not long after, I began seeking out some of the best firearms shooting and training that was available. Living in a shooting mecca, I quickly caught the match shooting “bug.” It was in those early years that I met fellow Springfield Armory SMEs Steve Horsman, Kyle Schmidt, and some guy who was often seen riding wheelies around the range on his mountain bike. You guessed it — this multi-tasking dude was Rob Leatham. Being able to compete with shooters of all levels, from beginners to Master Class World Champions was both inspiring and awakening.

I decided then and there that for the majority of my match shooting, I would compete with some form of my duty or daily carry firearm.

CARRY OPTIONS
Fast-forward many years to the introduction of the Springfield Armory XD line of firearms. Since then, the XD(M) in 9mm has been one of my two primary carry / duty companions. In addition, it is the handgun I shoot in USPSA Production, IDPA Stock Service Pistol, and multi-gun matches. My second carry / duty handgun is a Springfield Lightweight Operator in 45 ACP. #EqualAdmiration

STOCK OPTIONS
Other than adding grip tape and experimenting with various iron sight combinations, my XD(M) pistol is in its factory stock condition. The only trigger enhancement that I have done is by way of hard use and repetition. The trigger components have refined one another simply by the thousands of rounds of 9mm ammunition that’s been fired through the gun.

ADVANTAGE, ME
I teach a lot of classes — from the novice shooter and the new police academy recruit, to the veteran SWAT officer and experienced competition shooter. Not only do I compete with the gun I carry, I teach with the same. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s simple, because there are so many advantages to competing with your carry gun.

1. TRAIN LIKE YOU FIGHT
I have thoroughly enjoyed attending Pat McNamara’s TAPS classes; his energy, shooting skill, experience and sarcastic sense of humor (at times) make him a great instructor. “Mac” brought to the forefront the reflection of the “overused axiom” of “train like you fight”. Understanding the history and actual concept behind this mantra still holds a lot of merit and is certainly applicable in the arena of competing with your carry gun.

The consistent use of your daily carry handgun in competition will pay dividends if you ever have to use your handgun in “real life”.

Anyone who competes regularly has done thousands of under-pressure first shot draws. This repetition, which is done on every stage of a match, assists the daily carrier’s tendons, bones and muscles in learning the precise angle the wrists need to be aligned for consistent, repeatable, proper sight alignment during a draw or presentation of the gun.

ANGULAR APPROACH
It’s a known fact that different handguns have different grip angles. This angle needs to be “learned” to the point where the draw is a reflective action. Much like shooting baskets in basketball, the mind integrated with the body, learns how much input, angle of release and arch needs to be applied to make the ball go into the bucket. This can only happen through repetition.

The draw is no different, and that grip angle is one of the reasons I like the XD(M)so much. The different-sized replaceable grip inserts allow a custom fit to the shooter’s hand. The XD(M) grip angle is also very similar to my other favorite carry gun, my Springfield 1911.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Each model of the wide variety of available handguns has a different, even if ever so slight, recoil impulse or timing. This feel and response also varies with different ammunition, even in the same caliber.

Shooting my XD(M) carry gun in competition helps me better understand the timing of my handgun. Acquiring the recoil / timing knowledge and experience of my defensive handgun enables me to shoot faster and more accurately. #BecomeOneWithTheGun

Shooting often in a competition setting — training — with the gun you may have to use in a lethal force encounter — defending lives — can only benefit you and those you protect and care about the most.

2. EXPENSIVE CUSTOMIZATION NOT REQUIRED
Most competition shooters eventually modify their firearms and/or end up purchasing brand new highly-customized guns for the sport. #ChaChing

Not me.

My XD(M) is the standard 4.5 inch 9mm model — again, it’s the handgun I compete with, as well as my basic duty / daily carry firearm. This particular Springfield has performed these multiple functions for me for almost a decade. During this time, I have spent little money to modify the gun. With the simple addition of grip tape and fiber optic sights, my cost to customize has been kept to a minimum.

USPSA Production and IDPA Stock Service Pistol divisions have been a perfect fit for me and my 9mm XD(M). The gun has served me extremely well, at a very cost-effective price point and I have no doubt it will continue to do so for many more years — in both competition and defensive roles.

3. THOROUGH TESTING & COMPLETE CONFIDENCE
Let me ask you a couple of questions:

How many rounds have you fired in the last couple of months with your carry gun?
Under what conditions have you shot your carry gun?
Do you have complete confidence in the reliability of your carry gun?
Do you have complete confidence in your ability to shoot your carry gun?
Within 20 rounds or so, I can tell you exactly how many rounds I have fired through my daily carry XD(M) in the last month.

MATCH REPORT
On the date of writing this article, I shot a 5-stage USPSA club match in northern Arizona. It had hit 105 degrees in the Phoenix area and summer had just started, so getting out of the excessive heat, if only for a day, was welcomed.

As with most USPSA matches, there were some very technical shots:

A “standards” stage with shots out to 50 yards.
Stages with a series of close, mostly open targets, where you can run the gun as fast as possible — with splits in the low teens.
Aiming-oriented stages with several “head” shots.

Everyone who shot the match was tested in a variety of situations, and all of this was done under the time and pressure of the clock. There are few better tests you will encounter with your daily carry firearm that require the variety of skills that matches offer.

RELIABILITY REQUIRED
Don’t discount the reliability of your gun, associated magazines, and ammunition used during a match setting either. Not only is it very important to your score, but the reliability of this same equipment during a lethal force encounter is CRITICAL.

Want to further test your carry firearm? Want to have complete confidence in your personal defense / carry gun? Make the commitment to shoot it consistently at your local matches.

4. TEACHING CRED
Any instructor worth their salt will always demonstrate the drills that they require of their students. And it brings even more credibility when these same demonstrations are done with a firearm that is similar to what the majority of the students are using or carrying.

The students will not only respect that you are shooting with them, but it’s almost more important that you are doing it with the same type of firearm, a firearm that they are also using and/or carrying for everyday personal defense.

To date, I have never regretted my decision to compete with my EDC / Duty pistols. My Springfield 9mm XD(M)® is still one of my favorite multi-use tools with great features.

XDM

So compete with what you carry, and rest assured that you will have the advantage at your next match AND every day as you get dressed and walk out your door.

REVIEW: Rock Island 1911 .38 Super

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Although it’s fallen out of the mainstream, .38 Super is a formidable choice for a critical-use handgun, and it’s one any serious operator should consider. READ WHY

1911 38 super

Wilburn Roberts

The .38 Super was introduced in the 1911 handgun in 1929 to arm peace officers with a hard-hitting round that offered good penetration against the new breed of mechanized thug. The .38 Super saw extensive use in the hands of the FBI and figured into the demise of dangerous fugitives such as Baby Face Nelson.

The .38 Super is dimensionally identical to the .38 ACP of 1900, and Colt’s offered this in the 1903 model pistol. The .38 ACP fired a 130-grain bullet at 1,100 fps. Colt’s upped the power of the cartridge but used the same length cartridge case and chambered the 1911 in .38 Super when it dropped production of the .38 ACP pistols. The .38 Super was a sensation, noted for its high velocity of 1300 fps and 9 fast shots. At the time, you had to know not to fire a .38 Super in the older Colt’s 1903 pistols.

The effectiveness of .38 Super cannot be argued. The penetration of the cartridge and reliability of the 1911 gave law officers an advantage. However, the .38 Super suffered in popularity after the introduction of the .357 Magnum. In those days, lawmen were revolver men. The question is this: Is the .38 Super a viable personal defense and tactical combination today?

The answer would be yes! Ammunition development continues. Federal Cartridge recently introduced a 115-grain JHP load in its American Eagle Line, and Double Tap ammunition offers excellent tactical-grade loads. SIG Sauer also recently introduced a new .38 Super load.

Rock Island GI Series
The 1911 is a good home for the .38 Super. The 1911 features straight-to-the-rear trigger compression, a low bore axis, a grip that fits most hands well, and excellent speed into action. Its lower recoil makes the .38 Super an an easier cartridge to master than the .45 ACP, and the .38 Super gives two additional rounds of magazine capacity.

38 super
The .38 Super is a great all-around handgun. The Rock Island GI Series are high-quality, well-made, and affordable.

Rock Island Armory offers a GI-type 1911 chambered in .38 Super. The pistol is well finished, offers a smooth trigger compression at 5.5 pounds, and, overall, the parts on my test gun were well fitted.

38 super magazine
.38 Super magazine, above, .45 ACP, lower. The smaller diameter Super case gives a full two more rounds capacity.

The Cartridge
Federal offers a 115-grain JHP in the American Eagle line that breaks almost 1200 fps. This is a good practice load and is just a bit hotter than most 9mm loads. The SIG Sauer Elite 125-grain V Crown JHP breaks just over 1200 fps. Either is a good defense load for most situations.

38 super ammo
Double Tap ammunition and MecGar magazines gave excellent results.

38 super ammo

For loads mimicking the .357 Magnum, consider this: The .38 Super uses relatively fast-burning powder that produces less recoil energy than the slow-burning powder used in the .357 Magnum. The recoil spring captures much of the recoil energy as well.

federal 38 super
Federal’s American Eagle .38 Super is a boon to those who love the .38 Super in an accurate and affordable loading.

There are loads available that maximize the caliber. If you wish a rapidly expanding load for use in an urban situation the Double Tap 115-grain Controlled Expansion JHP offers that option. For those preferring an all-copper bullet, the Barnes TAC XP load is an option with greater penetration.

Barnes JHP
The Barnes all-copper JHP is a credible performer.

At over 1400 fps, the 125-grain JHP Double Tap would be an excellent all around service load. I normally load my .38 Super with the 115-grain load for home defense. If using the pistol for tactical use, I would deploy the 125-grain bonded core loading. The following table outlines the load’s performance. The Rock Island Armory 1911 .38 Super produced good accuracy with each loading.
The .38 Super fits my needs well. Modern loads put the .38 Super just where it needs to be — a high-velocity loading with good performance, excellent penetration and governable recoil.

38 super stats

38 super energy

CHECK OUT THE GUN HERE

 

SKILLS: Great Handguns Under $500

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It doesn’t have to break the bank to latch on to a quality, reliable handgun. Here’s a few that won’t let you down. READ MORE

500 dollars

Jason Hanson

One evening, Grayson H. and five of his friends decided they wanted to go catch a 7:00 PM movie at the Central Mall in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The mall was overly crowded so they parked about 100 yards from the door and walked to the ticket counter.

The group decided to go back to their vehicles since they had a little time to waste before the movie began.

One of the friends in the group named Tabitha was going through a difficult divorce and the group of friends were looking forward to a fun evening to cheer her up. However, while the group was standing in the parking lot waiting for the movie to start, Grayson noticed that Tabitha’s ex-husband was driving around.

Before he knew it, Tabitha’s ex had jumped out of his vehicle and was walking toward the group. The ex, identified as 34-year-old Fadi Qandil pulled a gun from his waistband and fired multiple shots at Tabitha, missing her.

Grayson saved Tabitha by pushing her out of the way, but he was hit by the gunfire and fell to the ground. Immediately, Grayson pulled out his own gun, a Smith & Wesson, and returned fire striking and killing Qandil. Grayson made a full recovery from his wounds.

Obviously, Grayson saved lives that day and while he carried a Smith & Wesson, which is a great gun, his was definitely not the most expensive gun on the market.

I hear from a few folks that think guns are too expensive these days, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality gun.

Here are some solid handguns on the market that are under $500.

Walther Creed
This is a relatively new pistol from Walther that the company came out with to meet the demands of folks wanting a decent entry-level gun without breaking the bank.

The Creed is designed with very comfortable ergonomics and a high-quality trigger that you will typically see on guns that are much more expensive.

In addition, in the 9mm you get 16+1 rounds, which is a great number for a compact 9mm.

The Creed starts around $400 and I love to carry this gun.

Walther Creed
Walther Creed

Smith & Wesson SD9VE
Smith & Wesson is known for its long tradition of making quality firearms including both revolvers and semi-automatics.

The SD9VE is a polymer-framed striker-fired 9mm pistol with a magazine capacity of 16 rounds.

The thing is, this firearm has been around since the 1990s and legend has it that the company spent millions of dollars on researching the shape of the human hand to create the best grip and shape of the pistol.

Essentially, for around $400 you can get a solid handgun.

Smith & Wesson SD9VE
Smith & Wesson SD9VE

Canik TP9
Canik is a Turkish company that broke into the U.S. market with their poly-frame striker that is extremely accurate and reliable.

One of the biggest advantages to this firearm is that you can easily purchase aftermarket accessories to upgrade or replace any parts.

Plus, you get a 9mm with an 18+1 capacity for around $350. I own this gun and it’s never given me any issues.

Canik TP9
Canik TP9

Ruger
For over 25 years, Ruger produced the P Series, popular with law enforcement and civilians alike. This series of firearms are known and respected for being reliable, and simple to use. Sadly, that series is no longer made, but has been replaced by at least equally capable models like the Security-9. All Ruger firearms are good quality, reliable, and sturdy, and this one is no exception.

The mid-sized Security-9 uses a blued, through-hardened alloy steel slide and barrel and glass-filled nylon grip frame. This pistol has some innovative safety and performance features and a 15+1 capacity, and retails at $379.00

Ruger Security-9
Ruger Security-9

CHECK THESE LINKS FOR MORE

WALTHER 

SMITH & WESSON

RUGER

CANIK

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

SKILLS: Chasing Time

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“The very first step to shooting fast is not to go fast at all but to literally stop the gun!” Steve Tarani explains all that next… READ ON

tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

As a sworn deputy and later a federal employee, it was incumbent upon those of us carrying firearms to qualify with those weapons, meeting the minimum standard as set by that agency or department.

Technically speaking, you could squeak by your in-service qualification with a barely-passing score. However, to the rest of the team you’d be considered a second-rate schmuck if you didn’t hit close to that perfect score. The boys might let you slide if you were down one or two points, but any more than that was considered pedestrian, and you’d pay the price of choking on a giant mouthful of humble pie.

TO TOP QUAL OR NOT TO TOP QUAL
To keep your qualification scores near, or at the top, you must maintain your skills.

To do that, you need to train.

Whether defensive tactics or shooting, all physical (hard) skills are perishable. Although we would like to think that we would rise to the occasion, it was the ancient Greek philosopher Archilochus (680 to 645 BC) who said, “We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.”

As state employees, we were subjected to, what one of my esteemed colleagues refers to as, “institutionalized inbreeding” — that which is taught by rote from generation to generation of department/agency — without question or personal edification. “Son, this is the way we’ve done things since the last world war.”

As an employee you are required to adhere to the institutionalized system.

TRAIN TO MAINTAIN
Again, if you want to maintain your current skills you must train — you don’t have another choice in the matter.

If you want to raise your skill level above the standards set by your organization, you need to step outside the proverbial box and seek outside instruction.

Receiving outside instruction can expand your knowledge base and raise your level of understanding, which, in turn will eventually help raise your level of performance.

TRAINING OTB
Recalling one of my first ventures outside the box, my instructor, Rob Leatham, asked me point blank, “What do you want from this training?” My response was, “To shoot faster and be more accurate.” To which he replied, “Don’t we all!”

After much contemplation, trial and error, sweat, blood, tears, and countless rounds, it turns out the very first step to shooting fast is not to go fast at all but to literally stop the gun! Hailing from an institutionalized training perspective, this was a completely foreign concept.

Ensconced in systemic protocol, we were programmed to “beat the clock” and indoctrinated with “Your passing score is 80%” dogma. Passing the qualification test (QUAL) meant you had to complete each string of fire meeting a par time. So, what was our mental approach to shooting? Chasing time.

PARADIGM SHIFT
Stepping out of the box also meant a paradigm shift in our mental approach to shooting. The goal was to be a better shooter. Whereas, inside the box, the goal was to pass the qual. Two very different mission objectives.

Back in the box, the range master would bark out commands for the next string of fire. “Shooters on the line, facing down range at the ten-yard line, deliver two rounds to the body in two seconds from the holster — stand by.”

Outside the box, you might here something like, “At ten yards, I want you to guarantee placement of two rounds in the “A” box of the body from the holster. No time.” If you can’t complete that task on demand minus a par time, then you have no right to be on a clock. Weak performance does not warrant measurement.

Inside the box we tried to “be better” but that translated to going faster. We tried hard to beat the clock. “Trying harder” meant chasing time.

BUT FIRST, SKILL
On the outside, the training objective is to develop your skill to complete the task. Once you can do this, on demand, and without error, then you have gained that skill. Only after you’ve gained that skill, can it be measured.

Outside the box, time is a measurement of skill.

Inside the box, skill is a measurement of time.

Let’s take this task:shoot a five-round drill:

All rounds inside the “A” box…
…at ten yards
…from the holster
…in under a three second par time

You have at least two diverging training approaches. One, is to really “try hard” to hammer those five rounds into the “A” box under three seconds. Running the same drill over and over again “trying harder,” you either drop a round or two or fail to meet par time. Either way your only remediation is to “try harder.”

Using this training approach, you chase time.

The other is to put your timer away for a while, and train to guarantee placement of your first round, then guarantee placement of your first and second round, then your first, second and third round. Who cares if it takes you seven or even ten seconds — you’re developing a new skill!

tarani timer

Training with the “get your hits and forget about time” approach, eventually you will develop the skill to guarantee all your hits. Each time you train, you consistently put all your rounds right where you want them — not by luck or by chance, but by repeatable performance.

Over time this becomes more comfortable. Eventually you develop confidence in your newfound abilities.

The day you feel comfortable and confident in your performance of that task, is the day you can dust off your timer and take a measurement of your skill.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is 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.