Category Archives: Handguns

SKILLS: A Beginner’s Guide To Choosing Pistol Ammo

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If you’re new to all this, there is an overwhelming amount of ammunition options. Team Springfield Armory’s Kyle Schmidt helps sort through them. READ MORE

pistol ammo

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The authors of the Declaration of Independence were brilliant. The wording they used was so profound that it still has a tremendous impact on our lives today.

Sure, all people were created equal – but when it comes to ammunition, not so much.

THE AMMUNITION SPREAD
As a newer shooter, choosing ammunition can be a daunting task. Full-metal jacket, ball, hollow point, wad cutter, round nose, flat point, plated, coated and the list goes on. These terms can seem pretty overwhelming, and these are just common types of pistol bullets.

So, how is a new shooter supposed to know what kind of ammunition to buy?

KEY COMPONENTS
Centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition are made up of four components:

Case
Primer
Powder
Bullet

(NOTE: I often hear people refer to ammunition as a bullet. Although this is generally accepted slang for some, it can be confusing when discussing ammunition. For the purposes of this guide, when referring to a “bullet,” I am referring to the individual component that is a part of a single round of ammunition.)

Generally speaking, the two biggest variables in ammunition come from the powder and the bullet. The type and quantity of powder will predominantly affect the velocity of the bullet. The bullet design has a significant effect on accuracy and performance once the bullet impacts the target.

PURPOSE
When determining what ammunition to choose, the first question to ask is, “What’s it for?”

Ammunition is designed with a variety of purposes in mind — hunting, target shooting, competition, and personal defense among them.

hornady critical defense

HUNTING & PERSONAL DEFENSE
In general, ammunition made for hunting and personal defense is designed to have a higher velocity, a heavier bullet, and a bullet designed to expand when it strikes the target. Commonly, this type of ammunition is sold in containers of smaller quantities and often comes with a higher price tag. This ammunition generally has more felt recoil, which is more commonly referred to as “kick.”

match ammo

COMPETITION
Ammunition made for competition is usually designed with the specific requirements of a given type of competition in mind. Some competitions heavily favor extreme accuracy, while others may be more speed-oriented. Because some events require a great deal of accuracy, this may lead to an expensive bullet design and a higher cost. But it’s typically still less expensive than hunting ammunition.

Generally speaking, competition shooters look for ammunition that has less felt recoil. So, keep in mind that many competition shooters modify their guns so they will work with ammunition of different lengths and with ammunition that requires very little energy to function the gun. Be cautious when purchasing ammunition designed for competition, as it may not function all firearms.

target ammo

TARGET SHOOTING
“Target ammunition” is a general-purpose term. This is the ammunition you might see in bulk packaging at the sporting goods store. The bullets and powder used vary significantly. Unlike competition ammunition, this ammo is generally designed to function a wide variety of firearms reliably but does not have the same high level of felt recoil as the hunting or self-defense ammunition. This ammunition is probably the most common type purchased by the typical shooter for practice. This ammunition also gives shooters the most “bang” for their buck, as it can be the least expensive option.

Most importantly, the ammunition you purchase needs to safely and reliably function the gun.

JUST REMEMBER
When purchasing ammunition, there are a couple of other things to consider before filling your home with a new type of ammo.

Quantity: Start in small quantities when purchasing new ammunition. Most places will not take ammunition back, so if you find out the ammunition does not function your gun and you just purchased thousands of rounds of it, you’ll be stuck with trying to sell it to someone else.

Function: Some guns just don’t like some ammunition. The ammo may work fine in one gun, but cause constant malfunctions in another.

Accuracy: Some bullets shoot better out of some guns than others. Even if you buy the latest, greatest new ammunition that your favorite YouTube video depicted to be the most accurate ammo in the history of galaxy, it may not shoot well out of your barrel. Conversely, you may find that a particular bullet shoots well out of your gun that your know-it-all buddy says is terrible.

Manufacturer: Consider the source. I have seen numerous problems with ammunition over the years, including ammunition that did not have any powder and ammunition that had way too much powder. Occasionally, I have seen ammunition destroy a gun. I have even seen this happen with ammunition from well-known manufacturers. However, they have been responsive when paying for repairs or replacing the gun if needed. That same expectation may not be realistic for the small, garage-based ammunition companies.

ASK YOURSELF…
At the end of the day, the ammo questions you need to ask yourself are:

Will you shoot it?
Does it meet your reliability requirement?
Does it meet your accuracy requirement?
Does it meet your felt recoil requirement?
Does it meet your cost requirement?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you probably shouldn’t purchase the ammo, as you likely won’t enjoy shooting it. If you don’t enjoy shooting it, the ammunition will just stay in the box and you won’t get any practice. If you don’t get any practice, you definitely will not get any better.

And if you don’t get any better, you won’t ever get to experience the great enjoyment that comes from being a competent gun owner.

 

REVIEW: Walther PPS M2 9mm

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“Based on two years of carrying and shooting the PPS, it is my perception that it is one of the best subcompact concealed carry single-stack guns on the market…” READ WHY HERE

pps

Major Pandemic

Even despite the insanity of the gun market — up, down; so much of it driven by politics and panic — some manufacturers have stayed true to their roots. Walther has retained the long history of innovation while ushering in a completely new era of firearms. Sure, they still faithfully produce those great symbols of Bond 007 spycraft and have even expanded that line with new entries, but the new Walther pistol designs have rightly captured a lot of attention. A few years ago, I reviewed the original PPS in 9mm — a gun that has become one of my favorite concealed carry guns. The PPS was a gun ahead of its time delivering a feature rich, accurate, and configurable, ready-to-carry single stack that could behave like a compact, mid- and full- sized gun. Based on two years of carrying and shooting the PPS, it is my perception that it is one of the best subcompact concealed carry single-stack guns on the market despite the introduction of many other competitor firearms.

Fit, Finish, Feel, & Features
What many did not like about the first PPS was that it was a bit blocky looking. Another major point of contention was that the PPS featured a European guard paddle-style magazine release, which Americans were not terribly excited over. The PPS M2 resolved those complaints with a standard, button magazine release and rounder ergonomics that mimic the amazingly comfortable PPQ and other Walther pistols.

The Walther PPS M2 retains the hybrid design that allows it to morph from a sub-compact-sized pistol to a larger hand-filling gun. Included with the gun are three magazines — one each in 6-, 7-, and 8-round capacities. With the flush fit 6-round magazine, your pinky is left dangling like it would with any sub-compact or micro-compact format pistol. Just a swap to the 7- or 8-round magazine will deliver a full-sized grip and control — plus a few extra rounds of ammo. In essence, this allows the user to just swap out a magazine to transform the PPS from a full-sized feel for home defense to a smaller magazine for concealed carry.

pps mags
Upsize the PPS M2 easily with just a magazine swap from 6 to 7 to 8 rounds.

The original point of the PPS is not to be a high-capacity firearm, but to deliver an extremely thin and slim profile for concealed carry that is small enough both men and woman can carry comfortably. It is a lifestyle gun that was designed to be a carry gun that would always be with you versus being left in the car or at home. The PPS M2 carries through on that design goal in a big way.

Walther did some serious ergonomics studies before moving the mouse pointer in the CAD software. From my perspective, this has to been the most comfortable sub-compact pistol I have handled, carried, and shot. I love my Glocks; however this fits the hand better and has a far better grip surface which all add up to a more confidently handled gun. I used a few male and female friends as testers to shoot the PPS M2 and all loved it. In fact several loved it so much they may buy one.

The finish and fit were exceptional; the milling on the slide was well thought out with the front and rear serrated slide still providing enough bite to charge the PPS reliably. The PPS M2 features low profile, snag-free, three-dot metal luminescent combat sights with the rear sight being adjustable for windage (Tritium night sight options are available in the LE version). The luminescent sights pick up ambient light or a quick flash from your flashlight and glow with usable illumination for about 15 minutes. A Tenifer-coated slide and barrel are used for corrosion resistance, and other features include a loaded chamber viewport. The red cocking indicator at the rear provides both tactile and visible status.

pps grip
Extreme comfort are the words most describe the PPS M2 grip

The smooth, beveled snag-free slide stop locks back when empty and features one of these most crisp, smoothest, and lightest 6.1-pound trigger pulls I have tested on a factory compact gun. The PPS M2 trigger feel is better than the PPS M1 though both tested to break right at the same 6.1-pound point. The short trigger reset is similar to a Glock reset window. Walther did drop the front Picatinny mount from the PPS M2 model. Likely, with the proliferation of weapon specific lights and lasers, they saw it as an unneeded feature that bulked up the gun.

Some of the other details to enhance functionality are minor, but I noticed them. Rarely, you will end up with an especially non-acrobatic piece of spent brass that will almost make it out of the ejection port. The PPS design has an angled front cut on the port, bevel on the ejector size, and ramped area at the top rear of the port on the slide which all work in tandem to lift, turn, and push out brass attempting to cause a jam.

The design is similar to the Kahr PM series of pistols, which I think are excellent. However, the PPS is more ergonomic and has thinner feeling 1-inch concealed-carry profile.

Function & Accuracy
Functionally, the Walther PPS M2 is a striker-fired pistol that is very similar to a Glock. There are certainly some differences and probably some patent differences. However, to my eyes, they look the same, which is a great thing because it is a proven design. In fact, the PPS even takes down identically to a Glock—clear the gun, pull the trigger, pull down on the two take down tabs, and remove the slide from the frame. Walther even has the double guide rod spring assembly we see in the newer Glocks.

pps sights
Luminescent sights glow for around 15 minutes after being exposed to light.

Accuracy was excellent for a gun this size and delivered 3.5-inch 25-yard groups with Federal Guard Dog ammo from a shooting rest. Functionally, I had no issues from the first round to the last shot before writing this article—excellent reliability all the way around. I have easily cleared a regulation police qualification test with the PPQ and do carry it as needed for some security work.

Holster options are already everywhere, but I choose a Klinger Stingray Flush Fit 0-cant holster that delivered everything I needed for testing of this pistol.

Final Thoughts
The trigger unit works like a Glock — with all those wonderful internal safeties — there is even the joyous absence of a safety or decocker. The fit and finish is better than a Glock; the trigger is leagues better as well; there is more steel rail contact between the frame and slide. This equates to a smoother action. The grip actually offers, “Grip.” Most importantly, the PPS M2 looks like someone with an eye for design actually had a crack at making a decent-looking pistol, and it is even comfortable to hold, shoot, and carry. The PPS M1 was the single stack Glock 43 we were waiting for that Walther delivered many years earlier than Glock. Well, at least that is how I would compare it to a Glock, if I were working the gun counter. The bottom line is that I own a Glock 43 and carry the PPS M1 and M2 versions far more than I ever do the comparable Glock 43 because they feel, carry, and shoot better for me.

The PPS represents a lifestyle firearm that is flexible enough to accommodate a wide array of clothing, defense, and concealment needs. It is big enough to not feel under-gunned, and small enough to conceal better than any double stack firearm. Walther has a great design with the PPS that is realistically proportioned to offer compact-sized power in a sub-compact-size pistol that people will actually be able to carry. The PPS M2 is a top-grade pistol that can easily fulfill everything from home defense to concealed carry and magazine swap options to extend the grip make it that much more versatile. With 6-8 rounds on tap, and one in the chamber, this is hopefully a new legacy that Walther will continue with and maybe… just maybe Bond could start carrying one of these instead of that retro PPK with the electronic trigger lock.

pps specs

See more HERE

pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple — tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly.  www.MajorPandemic.com]

SKILLS: Priority One With A New Concealed Carry Gun

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New gun? Here are some pro tips on getting it ready to go right off the bat. READ MORE

priority one article

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

Recently I had the chance to field test the new Springfield Armory 9mm XD-S Mod.2. I was pretty excited when I received the gun, as my 9mm XD-S is already my go-to concealment gun. After checking out some of the cool new features, like the extended grip safety, the improved grip profile and the Pro-Glo Tritium sights, I immediately took the gun to the range.

PRIORITY ONE
Whenever I get a new gun, my top priority is to get the gun zeroed and shoot some groups with different ammunition:

First and foremost, I need to make sure the gun is zeroed with my primary ammunition.

Second, I like to see how the gun shoots with my practice ammo.

Call me weird, but I like shooting groups; it gives me a chance to practice some fundamental marksmanship skills while I am testing other important criteria. And shooting groups / zeroing a firearm is a skill; one that I find challenging, rewarding and beneficial.

Since this is a gun I would plan to carry concealed while off-duty, I needed to zero the gun using some self-defense type ammo. In this case it is old duty ammo, as that is what I would be required to carry in an off-duty gun.

kyle schmidt

SIGHT-IN SESSION
When I am testing ammo, or zeroing the gun, I always try to get the gun as stable as possible. How I do this may change depending on the gun and the range configuration.

TABLE & CHAIR:
If I have a chair and a high table available, I will shoot off the table while seated in the chair. This allows me to relax into a comfortable position, while stabilizing the gun on the table.

PRONE POSITION:
Most of the time, I just shoot from the prone position because I consider it the most stable. If I am shooting a full-sized gun, I will rest the frame (magazine base pad) on the ground to help stabilize the gun. In this case though, the frame of the gun is so compact that I can’t comfortably get the frame on the ground from the prone position. So, while I was prone, I used a sandbag to both elevate the gun and stabilize my hands while shooting.

TARGET CHOICE:
I prefer to use a USPSA target at 25 yards to shoot my groups. “A” zone hits at 25 yards with a sub-compact gun like the XD-S Mod.2 9mm is a reasonable test of accuracy.

Before shooting the groups, I attach a 4-in. black circle in the middle of the target to give me a consistent aiming point.

DEFENSE AMMO:

kyle schmidt
Kyle Defense Ammo Group

I shot a group of 6 shots with the self-defense ammo first, just to see what zero adjustments I might need to make. The zero was perfect! The group I shot was about 2-in. and all in the black circle. That is far better than what my expectations are for a concealment gun, especially right out of the box.

PRACTICE AMMO:

kyle schmidt target
Kyle 115 Practice Ammo Group

I then shot a group of 6 with some cheap 9mm 115-grain FMJ ammo that I bought online. This ammo had virtually the same impact location as my self defense ammo, although the group wasn’t quite as tight, but it was definitely still acceptable.

MATCH AMMO:

kyle schmidt group
Kyle 147 Grain Ammo Group

Lastly, I shot 6 extremely soft-kicking 147-grain ammo that I would typically use for fast-paced competition matches. I know from experience that this ammo doesn’t typically group as well. It is designed to have a softer feeling recoil, but since I had some in my truck, I wanted to try it out. As expected, the 147s did not group as well as the self-defense ammo, but it felt really soft, and the gun functioned perfectly. All but one of the shots were in the “A” zone.

REPETITION & RESULTS:
After repeating the grouping session with all 3 types of ammo a couple more times, I now know that the gun shoots both the self defense ammo and the less-expensive practice 115-grain ball ammo extremely well and with the same zero. This is important to me because it allows me to do most of my practice with the cheaper stuff and save the expensive ammo for when I carry.

I encourage you to take the time to check your zero with your carry ammo. As responsible, safe gun owners, we need to be 100% certain the ammunition we are using impacts the target where we expect it to. You may not be able to shoot really tight groups at 25 yards initially, but keep working on the fundamentals for accuracy and you should see your group size shrink. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn something about your ammunition and gun, while practicing fundamental skill building.

And you may even grow to enjoy it.

 

REVIEW: Glock 48

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The Glock 48 just may be the ideal carry 9mm for Glock fans, and for the rest of us as well! READ WHY HERE

G48
The Glock 48 is a handsome handgun, light, and reliable.

Wilburn Roberts

One of the great revolutions in handgun manufacture is the polymer-frame striker-fired revolution. Glock led the way and still dominates the market. Arguably Glock remains first with the most. I should note that I am not the greatest Glock fan but I certainly am not a Glock basher. The Glock is in my opinion the baseline gun for personal defense and a great choice for many shooters. The Glock is as reliable as a handgun may be, easy enough to use well, and chambers popular cartridges. If you spend less money than the Glock then you should look hard at the pistol in question and determine what corners have been cut. If you pay more than the affordable price of a Glock you should be certain of the advantage. If you choose a more expensive handgun with a different trigger action or manual safety then be certain you are willing to master the handgun. When you take a hard look at the alternatives Glock looks good.

G48 sights

G48 sights
The standard Glock sights allowed good speed and accuracy at close range.

One of the new introductions is the Glock 48 9mm. I do not form an opinion of any handgun until I have fired it for myself. As an example I was interested to see the introduction of the Glock 19X, which some felt was not a good idea. I liked the 19X but I find the Glock 45 9mm a better fit for my preferences. When you fire the piece and work it out on the range the differences in handguns become more apparent. For some it may be the reliable and fast-handling Glock 19, others may prefer the longer Glock 17. All are good. When testing the Glock 48 I expected certain things regarding reliability, trigger action, and accuracy from any Glock but kept an open mind.

Glock 48 Specifications
Length                            7.3 inches
Height                            5.04 inches
Width                             1.1 inches
Weight                           19 ounces
Magazine capacity 10 rounds

The Glock 48 is about two ounces lighter than the Glock 19 9mm and otherwise similar in dimensions save for the thinner grip frame and slide. The pistol appears to have a stainless slide. The actual material is silver nPVD coating. The sights are the standard plastic Glock variety with white outline. These work well for personal defense shooting at ranges of 5 to 15 yards and are still useful for those that practice at longer range. The grip has an excellent feel to it. My hands are smaller than average but I have never had a problem handling and controlling the Glock 17, 19, 22, and 23 and similar frames (the Glock 21 is too much of a stretch). That said, I do feel more in control with the Glock 48. The grip frame is nicely pebbled and offers good adhesion when firing. Trigger action is standard Glock Safe Action. My Glock 48 breaks at 5.7 pounds. The pistol features forward cocking serrations. There is a lightening cut under the front of the slide. The barrel features a nicely countershrunk barrel crown. The interested shooter will find many good features on the Glock 48. The slim line grip holds a relatively thin 10- round magazine.

G48 magazine
This is the Glock 48 slim line magazine.

Performance
Next was to find out how it handled in firing combat drills and firing for accuracy. The pistol was lightly lubricated and taken to the range with an assortment of ammunition. I used Federal American Eagle 124 grain FMJ and Federal 124 grain Syntech for the majority of firing. I also had Federal 124 grain HST, Speer 115 grain Gold Dot, Speer 124 grain Gold Dot +P Short Barrel, and Speer 147 grain Gold Dot, and Federal 135 grain Hydra Shock. This mix included ball ammunition and both standard pressure and +P 9mm loads as well. This should give an idea of how the piece handles all types of ammunition.

G48 ammo
The Glock 48 was tested with a wide range of loads.

The Glock 48 proved to be fast from the holster and fast to a first shot hit. I burned up 100 rounds each of American Eagle and Syntech loads firing personal defense drills. The Glock is fast in use, very fast, and that means a lot in personal defense. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Control is little if any different from the Glock 19 9mm. I would rate the pistol a bit easier to use well than the Glock 43, however, since the heavier slide dampens recoil and the longer grip also helps spread recoil about the palm.

Moving to personal defense loads I found much of the same. Load selection is important for defense. While the 9mm offers good wound potential careful testing and research should be behind your choice. I prefer a loading with a good balance of expansion and penetration. I fired at least a magazine full of each JHP load, and two magazines with some of the other loads. The pistol is well regulated for a 6-o’clock-hold and 124 grain loads. The 147 grain load also strikes to the point of aim. Lighter loads may be used with the dead on the target hold. At 10 and 15 yards it wasn’t difficult to empty a magazine into the X-ring. Recoil is greater with 9mm personal defense loads but the pistol remains controllable and overall pleasant to fire.

The Speer 124 grain Gold Dot +P is a Short Barrel load with a projectile designed to open up at the lower velocities exhibited in short barrel personal defense handguns. It has performed well as far as expansion goes and is a highly recommended personal defense combination. I particularly like the 135 grain Hydra Shock, but to each his own. The Glock 48 will exhibit the same velocity as the Glock 19, Glock 19X, and Glock 45, but it feels like a smaller gun in the hand, is easier to conceal, and yet, as said, recoil is manageable. The pistol fired over 300 cartridges in the first range outing without complaint or sore wrists, spaced over a little more than an hour and a half. Some may find the thinner grip makes for a heavier push in the palm than the Glock 19. In my opinion the lighter Glock 43 9mm is a sweet shooting handgun for its size and the Glock 48 handles a bit easier. The longer grip frame allows a faster grip acquisition.

I also fired the piece from a standing braced barricade for maximum accuracy at 15 yards. I fired the American Eagle 124 grain FMJ and the Speer 147 grain Gold Dot in this drill. I shot several 5-shot groups firing quickly but regaining the sight picture after each shot. Firing a 5-shot 3-inch group wasn’t difficult with some 5-shot groups falling into 2 inches. The pistol is as inherently accurate as any Glock 9mm pistol.

g48
The Glock 48 is slimmer than the Glock 45, top, and doesn’t mount a combat light.

Where does the Glock 48 stand in the scheme of things? The Glock 17 is a holster pistol that a few dedicated shooters wear concealed. The Glock 19 is easier to conceal — and not a bad service and duty gun at all. The Glock 48 is a superior concealed carry handgun. I think that many shooters may find the Glock 19 a stretch for their hand size. I do not, but the Glock 48 may feel better for some shooters. Yet, you do not give up much in capacity the pistol is a ten-shooter. You do give up the ability to mount a light rail, so consider how important this is to you. The Glock 48 fills a similar niche to that once filled by the SIG P225. Although the SIG P228 holds more rounds many shooters preferred the slim line P225 for hand fit and also felt that it was faster from concealed carry. The Glock 48 is fast, very fast, and offers a good chance at a rapid first shot hit. The extra two ounces of the Glock 19’s weight may make for better recoil control but you cannot prove that easily. I find the Glock 48 a very neat, attractive and useful handgun. It may be the best Glock for concealed carry yet manufactured.

glock grips
The Glock 45, top, is a larger grip than the Glock 48, bottom, and both are nicely pebbled.

SEE MORE HERE

Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup Coming Up Next Week!

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The world’s best shooters are headed to Lake Charles LA to attend the first event in the Action Pistol Triple Cup Challenge! READ MORE

crawfish cup logo

SOURCE: Staff

The Crawfish Cup presented by Midsouth Shooters is the first leg of the Action Pistol Triple Cup Challenge (now along with Flagler Cup and the Cameron Cup).

The Crawfish Cup  will be held on April 12 & 13 near Lake Charles, LA. Online entry is now available at matchsignup.org.

Big names attending this year are Doug Koenig, Julie Golob, Tony Holmes, Bruce Piatt, Adam Sokolowski, and our sponsored shooter Kevin Angstadt. Doug, Bruce, and Kevin have all also won NRA’S Bianchi Cup in the past few years.

Kevin Angstadt
Kevin Angstadt

The course of fire consists of two moving targets, the falling plates, the barricade, and the practical.

Julie Golob
Julie Golob

Lake Charles is a warm and wonderful place! Fantastic food and very friendly folks make this an event the shooters and spectators really look forward to. Come on down if you can!

Look for a FULL REPORT next edition!

CHECK US OUT HERE

crawfish cup

SKILLS: Your Best Defense

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Personal defense is not all or only about having a handgun! Steve Tarani discusses developing your own broad-spectrum skill set. Important! READ MORE

steve tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

As a professional instructor and keynote speaker throughout the public and private sectors, my courses range from awareness-based training (preventative measures) to empty hand defense, to non-ballistic weapons defense (edged, impact, flexible), to defensive firearms.

At the very end of each course delivery, time is allotted for participant’s questions. In a year’s time I deliver training to about 1,500 attendees. Over the past 30 years (yup, do the math), that’s lots of folks asking me the very same question that plagues any defense-minded individual seeking viable solutions to tactical problems.

THE QUESTION IS: WHAT’S MY BEST DEFENSE?
At the risk of sounding pedantic, personal defense is, well, personal. To provide an appropriate answer to such a broad-spectrum question, one must consider that each of us have certain physical and mental attributes that make us better at one thing or another than the person standing behind us in line at the store. Given this consideration, there are three things you can do to build your very best personal defense against a real-world active threat:

Be Prepared
Be Aware
Be Trained
BE PREPARED

Success favors the prepared. Referencing personal defense against an active threat, it’s my conviction that there are only two types of people walking the earth today, the prepared and the unprepared.

What does it mean to be prepared? It means to take responsibility for your own personal security and that of those you protect. During a violent physical threat, you don’t have the time to wait for the cavalry to ride over the hill. You need to handle it, and now. AKA mindset, you must decide that you’re going to take defensive action before an event occurs or you will be left far behind the action-reaction power curve when it does.

You must accept the fact the bad things can and do happen to good people. It can happen not at some far-off imaginary date, but the split second you step out of your car, walk into a shopping mall or step into a restaurant.

You must have the will to do whatever it takes to get yourself and your protectee off that fateful “X” and to safety. If you do not have the will to take action against another human being, then when the time comes, you most certainly will not take action. If you do not have this will, then you can forget about any personal defense as you will not be able to act.

Lastly, there is a stark difference between preparedness and paranoia. If you’re paranoid — you are looking around every corner, behind every tree and under every table for some imagined threat — it’s hard to live like that.

Being prepared is simply adopting the mindset that it’s your responsibility. Having the will to take defensive action, and knowing that bad things can happen and that they could happen at any time gives you the advantage. If you’re waiting at a red light and the light turns green and you look left and then right before moving, is that being paranoid or prepared?

BE AWARE
Being aware of your immediate environment solves more potential problems than you can imagine. Situational awareness can defuse a situation before it even starts. Using input from your senses, can make you aware of fire (if you smell something burning), screeching tires, gunshots, etc., which provide you with the earliest defensive warnings. Having your face buried in your phone like a cow eating grass, can attenuate or even eliminate this critical input.

Your ability to read body language and recognize threat indicators are two important skills that are part and parcel of being aware. Much more information on threat recognition and how to raise your awareness, can be found in my latest book Your Most Powerful Weapon: Using Your Mind to Stay Safe.

Think about how many times you’ve been in a knock-down, drag-out, face-in-the-dirt street fight or have had to use your firearm in a defensive situation. Compare that to how many times you’ve used your situational awareness so that you didn’t need to go to hands, knives or guns. Odds are you will continue to utilize your awareness far more often than your hand-to-hand or defensive firearms skills.

BE TRAINED
According to the seventh century BC Greek author Archilochus “We do not rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” Looking at it from a personal defense perspective, you have only two choices: remain untrained or get yourself some training. Which of these two choices will better prepare you to defend yourself and or your protectees in the event of a violent physical altercation?

THE QUESTION THAT USUALLY FOLLOWS IS: GET TRAINED IN WHAT?
There’s an endless list of hand-to-hand options, such as:

Muay Thai
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Karate
Aikido
Tae Kwon Do
Western Boxing
Krav Maga, etc.

And many options for ballistic weapons and non-ballistic training :

Handgun
Shotgun
Carbine
Filipino Martial Arts

It truly doesn’t matter which one(s) you choose. My recommendation is to match your natural attributes with the art designed to best fit your personal profile and available time. Either way it’s time and money well spent. Far better to have and not need, then to need and not have.

Being prepared gives you the right mindset. It makes you accountable, which provides you the motivation, or will, to take action against another human being if need be.

Using your awareness affords you the opportunity to see it, hear it or smell it coming — a tremendous tactical advantage, so be aware.
Get trained — any type of physical skills are better to have in your tool kit than standing there holding your fruit basket when it hits the fan.

Be prepared, be aware and be trained. You can choose one, all of these (your best defense), or none of the above. The choice is yours.

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.

Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

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Major 2nd Amendment boost! Judge overturns California’s ban on “high-capacity” magazines, the ban was “turning the Constitution upside down.” READ MORE

high capacity magazine

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In one of the strongest judicial statements in favor of the Second Amendment to date, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined last Friday that California’s ban on commonly possessed firearm magazines violates the Second Amendment.

The case is Duncan v. Becerra.

The NRA-supported case had already been up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the question of whether the law’s enforcement should be suspended during proceedings on its constitutionality. Last July, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Benitez’s suspension of enforcement and sent the case back to him for further proceedings on the merits of the law itself.

Judge Benitez rendered his opinion late Friday afternoon and handed Second Amendment supporters a sweeping victory by completely invalidating California’s 10-round limit on magazine capacity. “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” he declared.

In a scholarly and comprehensive opinion, Judge Benitez subjected the ban both to the constitutional analysis he argued was required by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and a more complicated and flexible test the Ninth Circuit has applied in prior Second Amendment cases.

Either way, Judge Benitez ruled, the law would fail. Indeed, he characterized the California law as “turning the Constitution upside down.” He also systematically dismantled each of the state’s purported justifications for the law, demonstrating the factual and legal inconsistencies of their claims.

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox hailed the decision as a “huge win for gun owners” and a “landmark recognition of what courts have too often treated as a disfavored right.”

“Judge Benitez took the Second Amendment seriously and came to the conclusion required by the Constitution,” Cox said. “The same should be true of any court analyzing a ban on a class of arms law-abiding Americans commonly possess for self-defense or other lawful purposes.”

Unfortunately, Friday’s opinion is not likely to be the last word on the case. The state will likely appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which has proven notably hostile to the Second Amendment in past decisions.

Nevertheless, the thoroughness of Judge Benitez’s analysis should give Second Amendment supporters the best possible chance for success in appellate proceedings, particularly if the case ultimately lands before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Friday’s order prohibits California from enforcing its magazine restrictions, leaving its law-abiding residents safer and freer, at least for the time being.

To stay up-to-date on the Duncan case and other important Second Amendment issues affecting California gun owners, click HERE. And be sure to subscribe to NRA-ILA and CRPA email alerts HERE and HERE.

REVIEW: Ruger’s Magnum Times Seven

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The Ruger GP 100 Seven-Shooter may be the best combat revolver of the century. Read why HERE

GP 100 7
Ruger’s GP 100 7-shooter is a well balanced and nicely finished handgun.

Bob Campbell

The buying public is voting for revolvers and buying them in great numbers. Fueling the new trend, Ruger introduced a 7-shot version of its popular GP100. While there has been a previous 7-shooter in .327 Magnum, this new model fires the .357 Magnum cartridge.
Ruger offers longer barrel versions, but the 2.5-inch version is, in my opinion, among the finest combat revolvers ever manufactured. There are many who appreciate tradition, and others, who simply trust revolvers.

While modern self-loading handguns are as reliable as a machine can be, the revolver is more likely to fire after long term storage while loaded. You may leave the revolver at home, ready, and it will come up shooting. The revolver may also be placed against an adversary’s body and fired. On the other hand, a self-loader may jam after the first shot in this scenario.

In its best versions, the revolver is accurate and powerful, making it well suited to outdoors use. This latest from Ruger, the GP100 7-shot, is an exciting handgun. It is accurate, well-balanced, and fast-handling.

GP100 accuracy
The GP100 provides real accuracy off hand.

OVERVIEW
The GP100 was introduced in 1986. Police service handguns in .357 Magnum had not always held up well to constant firing and frequent qualifications with the Magnum cartridge. The larger and more robust GP100 solved a lot of those problems. For many years, the majority of qualifications were done with the .38 Special 148-grain target wadcutter. Problems with this oversight led to court decisions forcing agencies to qualify with the issue load. A hot 125-grain JHP was hard on small parts and sometimes the shooter as well. The 125-grain .357 Magnum hollow point at 1,380 to 1,480 fps was the most powerful cartridge fielded by police agencies — and the most effective. However, it was also difficult to master.

Today, the police carry self-loaders. However, the .357 Magnum cartridge remains relatively unequaled for wound potential. Those who train hard and master the cartridge have a powerful loading that is effective against both two- and four-legged threats, and against light cover.

GP 100 power
The GP 100 cycles very quickly and offers real power.

The GP 100 is capable of absorbing the pounding of a steady diet of .357 Magnum ammunition without going out of time or self-destructing. The shooter will be tired long before the revolver shows any signs of trouble. The GP100 is not only among the most rugged revolvers ever designed, and it is among the most accurate as well.
The GP100 will accept heavy handloads that will literally lock up other handguns. As an example, I worked up a load using H110 powder and Hornady’s 125-grain XTP that develops 1,628 fps from my 4-inch barrel GP100. This load never sticks in the cylinder or exhibits excess pressure signs. When the .357 Magnum was first developed an adventurer wrote, after killing an attacking jaguar — the .357 Magnum was like “having a rifle on your hip.” I agree.

Lobo Gunleather
Lobo Gunleather offers a well-designed IWB holster that provides good concealment.

The GP100 has been manufactured in 4- and 6-inch barrel versions, 3-inch barrel fixed-sight revolvers, and a .44 Special version. The new 7-shot revolver is certain to be popular. As said, mine sports a 2.5-inch barrel. It is surprisingly compact and well balanced. The sights are the Ruger fully-adjustable rear, and a green fiber-insert front sight; this combination makes for a good sight picture.

The compact grips are an aid in concealment, and they offer good control when firing Magnum loads. When working the action, the 7-shot action feels different from the 6-shot’s trigger press. Some of the cocking force is used to move the hand and cylinder while the rest cocks and drops the hammer. The GP100 action has always been smooth, but the action feels a bit shorter than the 6-shot version. This results in faster shooting. The heft is excellent — neither handle heavy nor barrel heavy.

The muzzle blast  is sometimes startling, but with most loads the GP100 isn’t difficult to control. The balance is similar to the Smith & Wesson Model 27 with a 3.5-inch barrel, but the GP100 is lighter. There are other short-barrel revolvers that are difficult to use well. They twist in the hand, and their excessive muzzle flip is uncomfortable. The GP100 is the fastest-handling, and most controllable, short-barrel Magnum I have fired.

hornady 125 critical defense
Hornady’s Critical Defense 125 grain load offers good performance.

PERFORMANCE
I began my test program with .38 Special ammunition. I suspect many shooters will engage most of their practice targets with .38 Special loads. That is the proven path to proficiency and marksmanship.

I used three choices from Double Tap ammunition in the first evaluation. These included the 850 fps 148-grain wadcutter, a 110-grain JHP at over 1,000 fps, and the 125-grain JHP at 959 fps. With these, this revolver was actually docile. It wasn’t difficult to make fast hits using double-action pairs. Moving to .357 Magnum loads, I fired a representative number of self-defense loads. First came the Hornady 125-grain Critical Defense. At 1,215 fps, this load hits hard and expands well. Velocity fell from the 1,383 fps exhibited in the 4-inch revolver — par for the course with short barrel Magnums.
The Federal 125-grain JHP broke at 1,221 fps. I also fired a handload I consider my favorite in .357 Magnum. At 1,250 fps from the 4-inch barrel, this load — using Titegroup powder — retained 1,180 fps in the Ruger. A handloader may tailor loads to the handgun, and using faster-burning powder clearly paid off in this application. This load isn’t difficult to control and makes a good all-around choice. The balance of expansion and penetration is on the long side. All threats are not two-legged, so penetration is desirable.

I continue to be impressed with this GP100 the more I work with it. With a smooth double-action trigger press and good sights, the revolver is well suited to use by a trained shooter. With proper load selection, the GP100 makes an excellent all-around defense revolver.

gp 100 accuracy
Despite a short barrel the GP100 posted excellent results in velocity testing.

For protection against the big cats and feral dogs, I cannot imagine a better choice. Against bears, I would load the Buffalo Bore 180-grain loading, or one of my own handloads using a hard cast 175-grain SWC. Ounce for ounce, the GP100 offers plenty of power for the street or trail.

Slow-fire accuracy fired from a solid benchrest firing position at 15 yards, 5-shot group —

.38 Special
Federal 129-grain Hydra Shok +P                                1.25 in.
Double Tap 110-grain JHP                                               1.5 in.
Buffalo Bore 158-grain Outdoorsman                      1.4 in.

.357 Magnum
Buffalo Bore 158-grain Low Flash Low Recoil      1.2 in.
Hornady 125-grain Critical Defense                          1.5 in.
Hornady 125-grain XTP                                                     1.0 in.

MSRP: $899

Check out this gun HERE

Check out AMMO HERE

 

SKILLS: Dry-Fire Practice With Lasers, Part Three

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This is the third and final installment of this series by Team Springfield Armory’s Kyle Schmidt. It really works wonders! READ ON

laser practice three

EDITOR’S NOTE: I ran Part 1 of this installment a spell ago. Find it HERE to refresh your memory. Part 2 is HERE. Good stuff! And it really works.

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

In Part II of Dry Fire Practice With Lasers, I focused on Acceptable Sight Picture Drills. Let’s move forward now to some more-advanced laser drills.

REFINED TRIGGER PRESS — DRY PRACTICE DRILL
Once a shooter has identified (and hopefully improved) how well they are able to hold or keep the gun aimed on the desired target area — and they understand what an “acceptable sight picture” is, the next obstacle is to determine if they have the ability to press the trigger without moving the gun out of the intended target area.

To practice this technique, try my “Refined Trigger Press” (RTP) dry-practice drill.

laser target 1
LASER TARGET 1

RTP DRY-PRACTICE DRILL — PART I:
Place Laser Target 1 (with C-Zone side of the dry practice target facing you, above photo), at your desired distance.

Make sure the laser and sights are zeroed for this distance.

Aim the [unloaded] gun in the center of the C-Zone using the laser.

While watching the laser, start pressing the trigger.

Watch the dot closely as you press the trigger.

Does the act of pressing the trigger move the dot outside of the C-Zone? If it does, then while you are pressing the trigger, you are also moving the gun. Ideally when you press the trigger, you do NOT also move, push, pull, jerk the gun out of the intended scoring zone. You must learn to isolate the trigger finger so that the act of pressing the trigger does NOT move the gun out of the intended scoring zone. Repeat this drill until you see a noticeable improvement in the movement of the “dot”.

Once you have mastered the C-Zone, repeat and master the RTP Dry Practice Drill on:
The body A-Zone (Laser Target 2)
The entire, head (Laser Target 2)
The A-Zone head (Laser Target 1)
Finally the black 1-inch square

Once you have mastered each of the above zones, move back from the target, re-zero the laser for the new distance and start all over with the C-Zone, eventually going through each of the zones.

You can gradually increase the difficulty at one distance by reducing the target size, and then increase the difficulty again by increasing the distance.

laser target 2
LASER TARGET 2

Ultimately you are trying to find the level that is difficult for YOU and learn to master that.

Continue to experiment at different distances to see how well you can press the trigger while keeping the gun aimed in the desired scoring zone.

INSTANT TRIGGER PRESS — DRY PRACTICE DRILL
Once you have mastered the refined trigger press (RTP), you cannot stop there. That type of trigger press is rarely ever used, but it’s a great starting point for you to learn what is happening to the gun as you are moving the trigger.

If you want to shoot fast, some shots require that you develop the ability to instantly move the trigger from its at-rest position all the way to the rear position to fire the gun.

Try my “Instant Trigger Press” (ITP) dry practice drills to hone this skill.

ITP DRY PRACTICE DRILL — PART I:
Place Laser Target I (with the C- Zone side of the dry practice target facing you), at your desired distance.

Aim the gun in the center of the C-Zone using the laser.

While watching the laser, press the trigger as quickly as you can.

Watch the dot closely as you move the trigger.

Does the act of moving the trigger quickly move the dot outside of the C-Zone? If it does, it’s because you are also moving the gun. Ideally when you press the trigger you should not also move the gun out of the intended scoring zone, regardless of the pace you pull the trigger.

You may have to practice this drill hundreds of times before the movement diminishes on a consistent basis.

When you can easily pull the trigger quickly without moving the gun, move on to ITP Part II dry practice drill.

Once you have mastered the Instant Trigger Press in the C-Zone, repeat and master the ITP Dry Practice Drill on:

The body A-Zone (Laser Target 2)
The entire, head (Laser Target 2)
The A-Zone head (Laser Target 1)
Finally the black 1-inch square

Once you have mastered each of the above zones, move back from the target, re-zero the laser for the new distance and start all over with the C-Zone, eventually going through each of the above zones.

Continue to experiment at different distances to see how well you can quickly move the trigger while keeping the gun aimed in the desired scoring zone. It’s not as easy as it may seem, so I recommend practicing these drills on a regular basis.

 

SKILLS: Dry-Fire Practice With Lasers, Part 2

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Team Springfield Armory’s Kyle Schmidt shares some insight on a use of a laser sight that’s truly beneficial to shooting better. READ MORE

laser sight

EDITOR’S NOTE: I ran Part 1 of this installment a spell ago. Find it HERE to refresh your memory. Good stuff! And it really works.

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

In Part I of ‘Dry Fire Practice With Lasers,’ I outlined the following:

Creating the dry fire targets, specifically Laser Target 1 and Laser Target 2
Attaching and zeroing the laser
Holding / Aiming Dry Practice Laser Drills

Let’s move forward now to some intermediate laser drills.

ACCEPTABLE SIGHT PICTURE — DRY PRACTICE DRILL
One of the more difficult concepts to get people to understand is the concept of an “acceptable” sight picture. If you’re like me, you were probably taught that “perfect sight alignment” requires:

The front sight perfectly centered in the rear sight notch
Equal lines of light / space on each side of the front sight
Front and rear sight perfectly level across the top

perfect sight picture

That sight alignment should then be placed perfectly in the center of the target before you should even start to move your trigger finger to the trigger.

Luckily for me, I was “un-brainwashed” of this filth by my buddy Rob Leatham many years ago. Not all shots require the above-mentioned “perfect sight alignment.”

We must learn what an “acceptable sight picture” is based on the difficulty of the shot.

An acceptable sight picture is a relatively difficult concept to explain because there are so many variables that affect how the sights appear from one shooter’s gun to the next. Target size, target distance, the type of sights, the sight radius, the length of the shooter’s arms, even the head position can affect how the sights look in relation to each other and how they correspond to the intended target.

And although I immediately understood the concept of an acceptable sight picture, it still took me a long time to really be able to apply it regularly.

When instructing, I use this dry-practice drill to help others better understand what an acceptable sight picture is, for the difficulty of the shot. The latter part of that sentence is very important! I would recommend first doing this drill at a relatively close distance, maybe 3 to 5 yards.

center c zone

ACCEPTABLE SIGHT PICTURE DRY PRACTICE DRILL:
Place Laser Target 1 (with the C-Zone side of the target facing you), at your desired (and zeroed) distance.

Aim the gun in the center of the C-Zone using the laser (above image).

Now look at the iron sights. They should also be lined up in the center of the target.

While watching the laser, start moving the front of the gun, and the laser dot, to the LEFT.

Try to keep the rear sight in the middle of the target and only move the laser and the front of the gun.

Stop once the dot from the laser reaches the left edge of the C-Zone (below image).

left edge of c zone

Shift your eye focus back to the iron sights.

If the rear sight is still in the middle of the target where you started, then look where the front sight is. It should be really far to the LEFT. If you are only a few yards from the target, the front sight will likely be completely hidden behind the rear sight.

This is how mis-aligned your sights can be to still be aimed in the C-Zone of the target. Pretty amazing, right?

When you are done being mesmerized and you’ve finished trying to convince yourself this can’t be possible, repeat this drill a few more times. Then move on to the right side of the target:

Aim the gun in the center of the C-Zone using the laser.

Now look at the iron sights. They should also be lined up in the center of the target.

While watching the laser, start moving the front of the gun, and the laser dot, to the RIGHT.

Try to keep the rear sight in the middle of the target and only move the laser and the front of the gun.

Stop once the dot from the laser reaches the right edge of the C-Zone (below image).

right edge of c zone

Shift your eye focus back to the iron sights.

If the rear sight is still in the middle of the target where you started, then look where the front sight is. It should be really far to the RIGHT.

Now repeat the drill two more times, but use the top and bottom of the C-Zone.

top c zone

Make a mental note each time you do each drill so you can recall the positioning of the sights later.

Once you get a good feel for the C-Zone, use Laser Target 2 (flip the target over to the A-Zone side) and repeat the drill, left, right and top, bottom.

left a zone top a zone bottom a zone

Although the A-Zone is substantially narrower than the C-Zone (almost by half), notice that you could have quite a bit of sight mis-alignment and still be in the A-Zone.

Once you figure out the body A-Zone, move up to the head and see if you can keep the dot in the head reliably.

Next, use Laser Target 1 (flip the target back over) and move up to the head’s A-Zone.

Finally use the 1-in. black square of tape for your aiming spot.

You should continue to experiment at different distances to see how mis-aligned the sights can be, even out to 25 yards and still be in the corresponding scoring zone. (Remember you need to make sure the laser is zeroed with the sights for whatever distance you are experimenting at.)

As long as the laser is “aimed” in the desired scoring zone, the corresponding sight picture would be “acceptable.” All that is left is to fire the gun.

CHECK OUT LASER SIGHTS HERE