Category Archives: NRA

Feinstein’s “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act” Might Make Replacement Triggers Illegal

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Almost immediately following the wake of the tragic events in Las Vegas, Diane Feinstein has already introduced a bill that could have devastating impact on the aftermarket parts industry, and on all shooters. Here’s what we know so far…

feinstein

SOURCE: TheTruthAboutGuns.com, Nick Leghorn

Just this morning [October 5, 2017] we heard that Dianne Feinstein had introduced her “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act,” a bill which would ban bumpfire stocks like the one used in the Las Vegas shooting among other things. In an attempt to make her new law apply as broadly as possible she not only specifically wants to outlaw bumpfire stocks, but also any modification that makes a firearm fire “faster.” But what exactly does that mean?

Here’s the relevant section:
Except as provided in paragraph (2), on and after the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a trigger crank, a bump-fire device, or any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.

The issue is in the definition of “accelerate.” Bumpfire stocks are an obvious step, and are specifically named. The same with hand cranks for triggers. But the bill wants to make anything which increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle illegal, yet it doesn’t do a good job of outlining exactly what that means.

For semi-automatic firearms the rate of fire is completely subjective. An untrained shooter and legendary speed demon Jerry Miculek will be able to achieve two very different rates of fire with the same firearm. The bill thankfully isn’t silly enough to outlaw training sessions and gym memberships — it concerns itself only with attachments and physical devices. Tools like the bumpfire stock are obvious targets, but other factors can have similar effects.

Lighter replacement triggers are a great example. A lighter trigger in a firearm can allow the shooter to fire faster than with a heavy trigger simply because their finger is less fatigued. We reviewed one such trigger years ago, the Geissele S3G trigger, which absolutely increases the rate at which a shooter can fire their weapon. For that reason, according to Feinstein’s bill the Geissele S3G trigger would be illegal to purchase or possess in the United States.

Another issue: what exactly is the baseline for the rate of fire?
The baseline rate of fire that can be achieved with a finely-tuned competition rifle and a bare bones budget rifle are two very different things. Would there be one baseline for each weapon platform against which all other examples would be compared? Would manufacturers be required to install the worst trigger possible in order to reduce the rate of fire? Or would it simply be illegal to modify the trigger from the factory installed version, making drop-in replacements like Timney and Geissele illegal?

On its face, it sounds like Dianne Feinstein’s bill, as written, would kill the aftermarket trigger industry and make it illegal to improve the trigger on your rifle. We’ll have to see whether this bill makes it out of committee, and what (if any) amendments would be added to give some clarity to the situation.

Watch this one closely!

Can The Government Confiscate My Firearms During a Disaster?

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firearms confiscation

During the recent disaster wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the impending landfall in Florida of Hurricane Irma, many of our members have been asking if the government can confiscate their firearms if the Governor or Federal Government declare a state of emergency.

Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the New Orleans police went door to door seeking people who rode out the storm in their homes to force them to comply with the forced evacuation ordered by the government. As part of the effort, the officers were also confiscating firearms.

This created an outrage among the law-abiding gun owners of the country and resulted in the passage of state and federal laws to prevent such confiscations from occurring in the future.

In 2006, Congress passed the DISASTER RECOVERY PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT OF 2006. The law was intended to prevent the government from seizing legally owned firearms during the time of a disaster. It was incorporated as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act 2007 and signed into law on October 4, 2006.

CAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONFISCATE MY FIREARMS?

This law amended 42 U.S.C 5201 Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to add the following provision:

SEC. 706. FIREARMS POLICIES.

(a) PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS- No officer or employee of the United States (including any member of the uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer, employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency, may–

(1) temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize seizure of, any firearm the possession of which is not prohibited under Federal, State, or local law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with Federal law or as evidence in a criminal investigation;

(2) require registration of any firearm for which registration is not required by Federal, State, or local law;

(3) prohibit possession of any firearm, or promulgate any rule, regulation, or order prohibiting possession of any firearm, in any place or by any person where such possession is not otherwise prohibited by Federal, State, or local law; or

(4) prohibit the carrying of firearms by any person otherwise authorized to carry firearms under Federal, State, or local law, solely because such person is operating under the direction, control, or supervision of a Federal agency in support of relief from the major disaster or emergency.

(b) LIMITATION- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person in subsection (a) from requiring the temporary surrender of a firearm as a condition for entry into any mode of transportation used for rescue or evacuation during a major disaster or emergency, provided that such temporarily surrendered firearm is returned at the completion of such rescue or evacuation.

Following the lead of the federal government, most state legislatures adopted their own version of this law.

TEXAS LAW ON FIREARMS CONFISCATION

In Texas, Government Code Chapter 418 (EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT) permits the Governor to declare a State of Disaster which suspends certain state laws and regulations to allow local authorities to conduct rescue and recovery operations.

However, it does not allow for the seizure of any legally owned firearms, with limited exception.

Specifically,

Sec. 418.003.  LIMITATIONS.  This chapter does not:

(5)  except as provided by Section 418.184, authorize the seizure or confiscation of any firearm or ammunition from an individual who is lawfully carrying or possessing the firearm or ammunition;

Sec. 418.184.  FIREARMS.

(a)  A peace officer who is acting in the lawful execution of the officer’s official duties during a state of disaster may disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual.

(b)  The peace officer shall return a firearm and any ammunition to an individual disarmed under Subsection (a) before ceasing to detain the individual unless the officer:

(1)  arrests the individual for engaging in criminal activity; or

(2)  seizes the firearm as evidence in a criminal investigation.

To read Governor Abbott’s actual declaration, click here.

FLORIDA LAW ON FIREARMS CONFISCATION   

Article IV, Section 1(a) of the Florida Constitution permits the Governor to issue an Executive Order to declare a State of Emergency in times of a natural disaster, allowing him to enact provisions of the State’s Emergency Management Plan.

For Hurricane Irma, the Executive Order provides specific provisions regarding the activities permissible to state and local officials during the emergency, as provided for in  Florida Statutes beginning with Chapter 252.31  “State Emergency Management Act.”

In part, the Executive Order states:

Section 2. I designate the Director of the Division of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency and direct him to execute the State’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and other response, recover, and mitigation plans necessary to cope with the emergency. Pursuant to section 252.36(1)(a), Florida Statutes, I delegate to the State Coordinating Officer the authority to exercise those powers delineated in sections 252.36(5)-(10), Florida Statutes, which he shall exercise as needed to meet this emergency, subject to the limitations of section 252.33, Florida Statutes.

But those powers have certain limitations with regards to firearms. In particular,

Chapter 252.36(5)(h) states the Governor may:

(h) Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles. However, nothing contained in ss. 252.31-252.90 shall be construed to authorize the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in the commission of a criminal act.

FINAL WORD

So, there you have it. During our times of disaster, we can all focus on recovery and not have to worry about the authorities coming along and confiscating our firearms. The Second Amendment survives disasters.

Surprising Hurricane Harvey Heroes

 

[Addendum: Due inquiries from Members, this story was updated on Sept. 7.]

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS CONFISCATING FIREARMS

On Tuesday, the island’s Governor ordered the National Guard to confiscate weapons and ammo that may be required for them to carry out their mission.  What that specifically means is unclear. Also, the U.S. Virgin Islands IS NOT governed by the U.S. Constitution, but instead by the “Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands,” a federal law approved by Congress in 1954. The island does not have its own constitution yet.

The NRA has threatened to file a lawsuit, and here is their take:

In 1997, the chairman of the House Committee on Resources asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to clarify just how the U.S. Constitutional applies to various “U.S. Insular Areas,” including the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its findings were inconclusive and unsettling, especially to those now living under Governor Mapp’s orders. Said the report:

Under the Insular Cases and subsequent decisions, rights other than fundamental rights, even though they may be stated in the Constitution, do not apply to the territories or possessions unless the Congress makes them applicable by legislation. The Congress can by law extend the coverage of the Constitution in part or in its entirety to a territory or possession, and has done so with respect to some territories. In the absence of such congressional action, however, only fundamental rights apply.

Digging further, one finds that only parts of the Fifth Amendment are considered to be “fundamental” based on court rulings, and none of the Sixth Amendment applies. And nothing is said in the 75-page report about the Second.

If the NRA does sue and their position is sustained by the courts that people living on the island are U.S. Citizens with full protection of the U.S. Constitution, the issue will be settled. If not, or no suit is filed, those living on the island will be subjected to having their weapons confiscated by the National Guard.

Review: IWI Galil ACE Rifles

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Not only is the Galil ACE an updated version of the AK-platform rifles, it’s an updated version of itself. And one very capable rifle series. Read the full review…

Galil ACE

SOURCE: NRA: Shooting Illustrated, originally by Steve Adelmann

As a young gun enthusiast, I did’t pay much attention to the Kalishnikov family of firearms. That wasn’t due to any bad experiences with AKs, but rather because I had no experience with them whatsoever. In those days, when the Vietnam War was still a fresh memory that our parents were trying to forget, the Kalashnikovs were either disdained or ignored all together by my shooting influences. There were no commercially-available AK-based variants available here in the U.S. until the Finnish-made Valmet M62S, first imported as a legal-to-own rifle in 1970, and thereafter the Egyptian-made Steyr/Maadi.

The Valmet, like the IWI Galil line reviewed here, improved and updated the basic AK design. The Valmet provided such upgrades as buttstocks better suited to larger-statured people, synthetic furniture, and good iron sights. I read everything I could find on the M62, which wasn’t much in those pre-internet days, but the search nonetheless led me to the Israeli-made Galil family of firearms. Here was a design that incorporated the best of the AK and Valmet features in one platform. Most commonly chambered in 5.56 NATO and carried in near-daily conflict by Israeli troops, the Galil made frequent appearances in my adolescent daydreams.

Most mid-20th-century fighting-rifle designs that have endured into the new millennium have also been upgraded to meet evolving needs. The modern Galil is no exception. It comes to us now as the ACE platform, courtesy of Israel Weapon Industries (IWI). The Galil ACE is offered in two pistol and two rifle configurations. Both pistols are chambered in 7.62x39mm and use 8.3-inch barrels. The only discernible difference between them is that one model has a stabilizing brace and the other does not. One rifle is likewise chambered for the Russian cartridge, while the other is designed around the longer 7.62 NATO. IWI’s U.S. product literature also shows new-for-2017 pistol models chambered in 7.62 NATO and a 20-inch 7.62×39 mm. Several 5.56 NATO models were also introduced at the SHOT Show in January. All Galil ACE models carry the same improvements over the old Galil models like a smaller (left-side) charging handle, reduced iron-sight profiles, magazine commonality with other popular platforms, and integral Picatinny rail mounting surfaces.

IWI Galil ACE 7.62 NATO
IWI Galil ACE 7.62 NATO.

One important note: all members of the Galil ACE rifle family are assembled in the U.S. from a combination of American-made and imported parts to stay in compliance with 18 USC§922(r).

I recently tested two Galil ACE rifles, and in spite of their different chamberings and receiver sizes, these modern Galil incarnations share many common features. The ACE’s reciprocating charging handle is manipulated through an easy-to-grab knob protruding through the receiver’s left side. A spring-loaded cover plate positioned below the charging handle’s slot moves down and out of the way as the handle moves rearward, then closes up to protect internal parts as the bolt moves back into battery. A polymer pistol grip that’s molded into a larger plastic section that is attached to the receiver does not appear to be interchangeable with either AR or AK aftermarket parts.

IWI Galil ACE 7.62x38mm
IWI Galil ACE 7.62x39mm.

Right-side-folding stocks have the added ability to extend or collapse to any of six positions. Each rifle includes a polymer cheek piece that snaps over the buttstock for use with high-mounted optics. The rest can be attached in one of two positions on the stock to better fit the shooter.

Galil ACE buttstocks
(left) A proprietary yet familiar-looking buttstock is shared by both platforms. (right) Standard on the 7.62 NATO variant, an extended rubber butt pad is an accessory for the 7.62x39mm rifle.

The ACE’s forend has a very stout, aluminum, assembly that provides rails at the 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions. Each section is protected by a textured, sliding cover. The 6-o’clock cover has a slight bump at the front edge that should function as a sort of handstop for the pistol variants. Recesses are milled into the front of each aluminum rail section to allow pressure switches and cables to be inset into the forend; covers can then be reattached while providing access to the accessory buttons beneath them. The outer diameter of the fore-end with rail covers attached is a tad wide for my liking at 2.3 inches. The bare-aluminum rails are pretty tough on skin, and a set of silicone, aftermarket covers would be wise addition.

Galil ACE lower receivers
Subtle differences in the lower receiver distinguish these two Galil ACEs. Note the variances in pistol-grip shape, the location and type of magazine-release actuator, and in the trigger-guard geometry.

Milled-steel receivers and stamped-steel gas cylinders are topped by linked sections of Picatinny rail. The gas cylinder’s bottom surface slides into receiver slots, but it still has some play when fully seated. Thanks to a stout return spring, the receiver cover is held under enough tension to keep it (and the rail attached to it) very snug. A set of robust iron sights are protected by steel ears on each of the ACEs I tested. A massive front-sight post is easy to spot through either of the rear apertures, and the larger hole and front post come standard with tritium inserts. An included sight-adjustment tool moves the rear sight for windage and the front sight for elevation ala those of the AR family (a bullet tip will work, too). Front sight housings are transverse pinned to dovetails in the barrel and double as gas blocks (also AR-style). They are positioned at the front end of each rifle’s handguard and provide seats for the gas cylinders to mate with.

There are multiple sling-attachment loops, including one on the left side of the folding stock hinge. The right-side folder covers the selector on that side when fully closed, which is right where it stays until needed. The stock quickly deploys into a rock-solid extended position.

Internally, the Galil ACE rifles are very much AK-like in basic design. The long-stroke piston’s chrome-plated operating rod is affixed to the bolt carrier and the bolt itself is assembled into the carrier just like the rest of the AK family. Likewise, the trigger and hammer assemblies appear to be quite Kalashnikovian in design. Both test ACEs had very long trigger pulls that stacked up quickly to the 6-pound, 9-ounce average measured on both rifles.

A small selector lever is present on the receiver’s right side in the familiar Galil location. This lever is positioned so that a right-handed shooter can actuate it with the right forefinger. We lefties are out of luck on that side, but the ACE’s left-side selector was retained from the older model Galils. The positioning just above the pistol grip is best-situated for righties, but a left-handed shooter can either bring the firing thumb over to the left side or use the trigger finger to manipulate the selector. Neither technique is great, but proficiency is possible with practice. Still, a more ambidextrous design would be nice to see in this 21st-century upgrade.

Both rifles fieldstrip the same as any other AK variant. The main difference I found was that the return spring’s guide-rod end protrudes through the rear of the receiver cover much farther than the small button on the back of a standard AK. This button locks very positively through the receiver cover and is a solid way to ensure the receiver cover stays in place. Traditional AK receiver covers are notorious for popping off when the rifle takes a hard hit or is in close proximity to a blast.

Because the rear of the Galil ACE’s receiver and stock hinge are higher than the line of bore, they should be cleaned from the muzzle rearward.

Fire-Proofing
These rifles are clearly intended for rough-and-tumble fighting roles, but I wanted to note accuracy potential just the same. So, the first shooting was conducted with a magnified riflescope mounted. The ACE’s fixed iron sights are sufficiently high that many one-piece scope mounts will not clear them. The rear sight is removable, but I wanted to leave it intact as designed, so I used an old backup scope mount that sits much higher than my normal rings. I also attached the snap-on cheekpiece to better align my shooting eye with the scope. For close-in work, I brought along a Meprolight Tru-Dot RDS Pro optic. As high as the fixed sights are, they do not co-witness with any of the red dot/reflex sights I have, so I planned to test the irons with no optics attached.

Galil ACE details
(left) An A2-style “birdcage” flash hider caps the barrel of the 7.62x39mm Galil, while the 7.62 NATO ACE has a muzzle brake for recoil mitigation. (right) Unlike most AK variants, the rear sight is at the very back of the solid receiver cover, much better!

After cleaning and lubricating both rifles, I gathered three different ammo types per gun and headed out. Relatively lightweight bullets were chosen for testing the 7.62 NATO-chambered Galil ACE model, due to the 1:12-inch barrel twist rate.

The 7.62x39mm was first on the line and also presented me with my only functional problem. One of the loads I selected for this gun was Golden Tiger, steel-cased 123-grain FMJ-BT. This Russian-made ammo is usually accurate, but the primers are notoriously hard to detonate reliably in anything other than AKs. Well, despite its lineage, the Galil ACE experienced an 80-percent failure-to-fire rate. That is in no way the rifle’s fault — this ammunition is just plain difficult. After hand-cycling through about a dozen rounds to get the scope on paper, I dropped this problematic ammo and moved on.

The 7.62x39mm recoil was predictably tamer than that of its big brother and was helped along by a synthetic rubber buffer installed on the return-spring guide. Shooting groups with the long, stiff triggers was difficult with each rifle. They tended to shoot three shots in five in a respectably tight group with two shots typically going wide. I attribute that to the triggers, or rather my manipulation of them. Neither of these rifles was a tack-driver out of the box. Fortunately, ALG Defense debuted a purpose-built trigger for the Galil ACE rifle and pistol platforms during the 2017 SHOT Show. I have not laid hands on one, but if it is anything like the company’s AKT family of AK triggers, the new AGT will be worth every penny paid for the retrofit. Overall grouping tended to hover around 2 MOA, which is about what I expected considering their lineage and design.

Galil ACE magazines, forend
(left) Magpul supplies magazines for both Galils, with the PMag AKM feeding the 7.62x39mm ACE and a Gen 3 LR/SR25 PMag for the 7.62 NATO. (right) Sliding rail covers allow purchase on the quad rail handguard at the 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions. A handstop cover is provided on the bottom rail. Interesting note: to comply with regs, IWI literature states to use only U.S.-made magazines (they are one of the firearm’s three U.S.-made parts needed for compliance).

Each rifle digested 100 rounds after initial zeroing and no malfunctions were noted beyond the bad ammo already mentioned. The 7.62 NATO model really put a hurt on its brass during the extraction and ejection processes. It was not quite at the Heckler & Koch fluted-chamber damage level, but it was almost universally banged up to the point of being non-reloadable.

Rapid-deployment drills revealed that the ACE ergonomics and handling were top-notch.

While time and exposure to other firearms have dulled the romanticism of my youthful battle-rifle dreams, I fully appreciate any gun that performs its core tasks with total reliability. The Galil ACE is every bit a 21st-century redesign of a storied and battle-tested platform. Either of the ACEs I tested could fulfill the battle-rifle role with aplomb.

galil ace specifications

Check it out HERE

Optics Terms Defined: Magnification and Objective Lens

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When it comes to optics for firearms, the specific terms that people use to describe them can be confusing. Here’s what all that argot actually means…

optics array

by NRA Staff
SOURCE: NRAFamily

Magnification
The magnification, or power, of a riflescope is expressed as a number corresponding to the size of an object viewed at a specified distance through the scope, relative to its size as seen with the naked eye. Put another way, an object 100 yards distant viewed through a 10X scope will appear to be the same size as if it were viewed with the naked eye from 10 yards away. Different scope magnifications are used for specific shooting activities.

High-magnification riflescopes from 15X to 50X with objective lens diameters of 40-50mm or more with adjustable objective-lens systems are popular for various types of centerfire rifle competitions such as benchrest and F-Class.

Varmint shooters normally prefer a scope with magnification levels of 12X to 24X and adjustable objective lens diameters of 44-50mm for their precision work.

Long-range big-game hunting demands a scope with an adjustable objective lens system of approximately 40mm diameter with power levels up to 15X that enable the hunter to judge game and wind conditions at extreme distances.

At dawn, dusk or during poor light conditions, scopes with large objective lenses of 50mm and above that gather all existing light are preferable, with powers between 6X and 12X. Illuminated reticles are a popular option on these scopes.

Low-power scopes of 1.1X to 4X with a wide field of view and fixed objective are well-suited for hunting in woods or brush at close range.

For general-purpose hunting, most sportsmen are well served by a 3-9X-40mm variable scope with fixed objective, which is a good compromise between a wide field of view for close shots (at 3X) and added magnification (at 9X) for distant shots.

As magnification levels increase, the field of view decreases, which makes target acquisition increasingly difficult. Increasing magnification also magnifies movement, making the reticle appear less steady and thus hampering the ability of many shooters to hold their point of aim. These factors conspire to make most scopes over 8X very difficult to use without a solid rest. When shooting from a rest on a bench, a narrow field of view and high magnification are less of a problem.

Objective Lens
The objective lens is the light-gathering lens at the front of the scope. The larger the diameter of the objective lens, the more light will be admitted into the scope. This results in a larger exit pupil with a brighter image.

Most riflescopes have objective lens diameters from 32mm to 44mm. These provide a good balance between light-gathering capability, cost and image quality. Such riflescopes are relatively lightweight and easy to mount on most rifles. For many hunting applications, such riflescopes are an excellent choice.

For hunting at dusk, dawn or in very low light conditions, the increased light-gathering capability of a larger objective lens may be a better choice. For such conditions, most scope manufacturers offer models with 50mm to 56mm objective lenses. However, there is a penalty to be paid for th is increased performance in the form of substantially increased weight, higher cost and difficulty in mounting a scope with such a large objective.

Varmint hunters and some target shooters prefer riflescopes with large 50mm or greater objective lenses for a different reason. They want a higher-power scope of 12X or more with a clear, crisp, flat image with excellent contrast and an adjustable objective to remove parallax. The image quality reduces eyestrain and enables them to clearly see small targets at long ranges and to judge wind and mirage precisely. They also spend considerable time looking through the scope with the rifle held on a solid rest, so unsteadiness from high magnification and a narrow field of view is less important.

4 Weird Things People Ask Women Who Carry Guns (and How to Answer)

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Prepare yourself for a good chuckle, but, really, it’s not “ha-ha” funny… There are a lot of misconceptions many have about CCW, and seemily especially so for women who chose it. Keep reading!

confused woman

SOURCE: NRAFamily, by Wendy LaFever

If you’re a woman who chooses to carry concealed, chances are quite good that sooner or later someone will question you about your decision. Most of the time, anyone with whom you’re close enough to have shared that information will be respectful towards you, but let’s face it: There’s a lot of misinformation out there about guns, gun owners, the laws about armed self-defense and carrying concealed. We responsible gun owners are usually facing an uphill battle trying to gently and respectfully correct those misperceptions.

For some reason, the conversation tends to be even more difficult when the subject is a woman who carries a firearm for self-defense. The reasons why are both beyond the scope of this article and this writer’s qualifications — although a tentative guess might be cultural expectations of women as nurturers — but it’s a fact that the questions directed at women who carry concealed tend to be a bit more pointed, shall we say, than those directed at men. It can be frustrating. That said, it remains important that we serve as good ambassadors for our beliefs, and that we do our best to be respectful towards people who (however clumsily) are at least trying to understand. One key to success is to keep your initial reaction on the inside…and have some polite replies ready to go. Here’s what that might look like…

Weird Question #1: “Aren’t you scared the gun will go off?”
Snarky reaction that you keep inside your head: “No.”
Actual reply:
“Firearms don’t really work that way. The only way to get my gun to discharge is to grip it securely in both hands, releasing the grip safety, then to deliberately squeeze the trigger. It’s not something that can happen on its own, or if the gun gets jostled or dropped.”
(Of course, different kinds of guns have different safety mechanisms, from passive to active, or both, so you’ll want to tailor your response. Just keep it simple and try to avoid using specific firearms terms that people unfamiliar with guns may not know.)

Weird Question #2: “Aren’t you worried the ‘bad guy’ will just take the gun away from you and use it against you?”
Snarky reaction that you keep inside your head: “No.”
Actual reply:
“The only reason I would ever even let the ‘bad guy’ know I had a gun is if my life were already in immediate danger. It’s an absolute last resort. What’s more, I’ve undergone extensive training to learn how to draw the gun from concealment and fire it quickly and accurately to stop the threat.”
(Of course, you have had the training, right?)

Weird Question #3: “Can’t you just carry pepper spray / get a whistle / learn martial arts?”
Snarky reaction that you keep inside your head: “No.”
Actual reply:
“Some people do choose ‘less lethal’ methods of self-defense, and that’s entirely up to them. The problem is that they’re generally not as effective at stopping a person who is determined to harm or kill. Even martial-arts experts can be overpowered physically by someone who takes them by surprise or is much bigger and stronger. Whistles won’t help unless there’s someone around to hear it…and they’re willing to intervene. Finally, although pepper spray can be quite incapacitating, it doesn’t work the same way on everyone. Some aggressors who are intoxicated or just very determined are able to power through it. It’s not a risk I choose to take.”
(Of course, “less lethal” self-defense tools can certainly be a part of your overall strategy, depending on your circumstances!)

Weird Question #4: “So…can I see it?”
Snarky reaction that you keep inside your head: “No.”
Actual reply:
“No. It’s irresponsible and, in some areas, illegal for me to display my concealed-carry firearm in public unless I am actively using it to lawfully defend myself. But if you’d like to go to the range with me and let me teach you the rules of gun safety, not only will I let you see it, I’ll let you shoot it.”

What weird gun questions have you been asked? How did you handle it? Tell us in the comments!

7 Things to Do Before Rifle Season

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Preparation is the key to virtually any successful venture, and deer hunting is no exception! Here are some valuable tips on how to best spend your time getting ready to go… Keep reading.

hunting trip
Image by Jim Bulger/Colorado Parks and Wildlife

by Steve Johnson, NRA Publications

Hunting season officially starts in September in most states…even earlier in others. Most states open with archery season and, as things progress and the rut draws nearer, they have a shorter season for folks who hunt with firearms. As a kid, firearm deer season in Nebraska was always the holy grail of hunting. We would get our rifles out and head to the range, usually on a cool October afternoon, staple a paper plate up on the 100-yard backstop and head back to the bench. Most of the guys I hunted with would take a shot or two, and if they hit the plate say, “meh, good enough,” then case their rifle back up and let the next guy shoot. Strictly speaking, you may only require a permit, rifle, ammo, and knife to go hunting, but there is more to it. A lot more.

ONE: First off: Boots
If you’ve never had a bad pair of boots, it can make it hard to appreciate a good pair. If you’ve only had good boots, you’re lucky or smart. Before you rush out and just buy a pair of “hunting boots” think about where you’ll be hunting and spend some time researching the correct boot for your environment. We grew up hunting in Sorel pack boots, which are great, as they’re waterproof and warm. If you go with a leather boot, Danner is worth a look, just make sure to protect them with the manufacturer’s recommended product for waterproofing.

TWO: Clothes
Both underwear and outer wear require thought beyond “what’s the coolest camo pattern”: Consider breathability, insulation properties (especially when wet), how well it layers, windproofing, etc. Will you be hunting in a tree stand-stationary and exposed-or still hunting, where you can find a warmer spot to sit? Think about where you’re hunting and which performance features will mean the most to you, then purchase accordingly. Check out companies like Icebreaker for out-of-this-world wool clothing. Synthetics have come a long way in the past 10 years, and one of the very best is Sitka.

THREE: Blades
There are a lot of good knives on the market, from the timeless Buck 119 to hunting knives that are bound to be classics like the KA-BAR Gamestalker. The one thing a knife needs to do is get sharp and hold an edge. Taking a dull knife into the field is dangerous. A sharp knife makes work quicker, easier and safer. Trying to cut tough materials, tendons, cartilage and hide with a dull and slippery knife is a good way to earn a trip to the emergency room. Keep your knife sharp. Sharpening a knife is a lost art, so take the time and learn how to sharpen your blade, get a good one and build a “relationship” with that piece of equipment. It will likely be one you can pass to a son or daughter along with your love of hunting.

Check out Midsouth offerings HERE

FOUR: Gather Intel
Trail cams have become a very important tool for the hunter, regardless of the species you hunt. They provide a lot of information about the type of critters passing through and their schedules. Trailcams can be found easily online. Spend some time researching features and talk to friends to get recommendations on the best camera for your hunting application.

Check out Midsouth offerings HERE

FIVE: Prepare Your Hunting Grounds
Prior to season, you’ll also want to head out for an afternoon and make sure your stands are in good repair, and that nothing has broken over the off-season. If you pull your stands after the season, this is the time to get them reinstalled. Cutting shooting lanes while branches still have foliage is not a bad idea either, as the foliage makes it easier to see all the little branches that might be missed if you cut a lane after the leaves have dropped.

SIX: Pack it Up
Make sure you’ve selected the correct pack for your hunt. There are many types of packs, frame packs, soft shell packs, hybrid packs…it’s almost limitless. The basic rule: “go in light, come out heavy.” This is the right idea. Take in only the essentials, and make sure and include spare batteries for any device that you will be using. Carrying a separate GPS is still a good idea, as cell phone battery life is normally very short when compared to a handheld GPS unit. Plus, there is a very good chance your cell phone GPS won’t work in a remote area. If you are hunting a large expanse of land on foot or horseback, it’s also wise to carry an old-fashioned paper map of the area, as paper maps are lightweight, and the batteries never go dead. At least one good flashlight is a must. LED flashlights have much longer battery life and generate more light with less energy. Basic firs- aid equipment is also a requirement. You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve got a back up knife, extra gloves and stocking cap so you can rotate them as they become sweaty or wet.

Check out Midsouth offerings HERE

SEVEN: Nom Nom Nom
Nothing will make you long to leave your tree stand like an empty stomach (not to mention how noisy it can get.) Some healthy, high-energy snacks are also a must. Nuts provide excellent energy and salt that you need to help replace minerals. Beef jerky is also an excellent, high protein, higher sodium snack that is very lightweight.

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

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The SHARE Act could have a very positive effect on gun-owning sportsmen as well as all gun enthusiasts. Here are some details…

SHARE Act.

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On Tuesday, September 12, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which had been introduced on September 1 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC). Following the subcommittee hearing, the full Committee on Natural Resources marked up and passed the SHARE Act by a vote of 22-13. All amendments offered in an attempt to weaken the bill were soundly defeated. The bill now awaits floor action in the U.S. House.

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting, and broadening access to federal lands for these purposes, this year’s SHARE Act contains reforms that would widely benefit sportsmen and the gun-owning public at large.

These reforms would protect Americans traveling interstate with lawfully-owned firearms, amend provisions of federal law that have been abused by antigun administrations to impose gun control by executive fiat, and make the health-promoting benefits of firearm sound suppressors more accessible.

Attorney and constitutional scholar Steven Halbrook, who has litigated firearms issues before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified at Tuesday’s hearing that the Act would “enhance protection of Second Amendment guarantees” without “adversely affect[ing] law enforcement interests.”

Halbrook provided background on several key provisions of the act. He noted that under current law, for example, certain federal courts have denied plaintiffs remedies for violation of their federally-protected right to transport unloaded firearms interstate between jurisdictions where they may be lawfully carried. This has emboldened certain states, like New York and New Jersey, to ignore these protections and arrest law-abiding Americans for exercising their rights under federal law. “Title XI of the bill will rectify this affront to the right to travel and the Second Amendment by explicitly immunizing law-abiding travelers from arrest and recognizing a civil action for violation,” he stated.

Halbrook also testified about the benefits of suppressors and how they were rarely implicated in violent crime. “That is why suppressors are freely available,” he noted, “even over the counter or by mail order, in many European countries.” In this regard, the bill would eliminate the current $200 transfer tax and a federal approval process that can take as long as a year to complete.

Others testifying focused on Title IV of the bill, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act, which will reduce the regulatory burdens for federal agencies to promote hunting, fishing, and shooting on federal public lands across the nation.

Testifying against the bill was David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Gabby Giffords/Mark Kelly gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Chipman claimed to draw on his experience as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in arguing that the Act “assaults the interests of our nation’s law enforcement officials and threatens our public safety and security.” In particular, his comments focused on the Act’s removal of impediments to the lawful purchase of suppressors. He also criticized the Act’s reforms to the “sporting purposes” standard for firearm importation.

Ironically, Ronald Turk, ATF’s current second-highest ranking official — who has spent over two decades working up the ranks of the agency from his initial assignments as a street agent — offered far different takes on these same issues in an interagency white paper that became public in February. Turk cited both of these issues as ripe for “regulatory changes or modifications … that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATF’s mission or adversely affecting public safety.”

Turk characterized the import restrictions cited by Chipman as serving “questionable public safety interests,” because they often affect firearms “already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States.” He also suggested a broader understanding of firearm “sports” was appropriate, to include activities and competitions that use “AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles.” Regarding suppressors, the white paper opined, “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act].”

The SHARE Act now heads to the House Floor, where it could receive consideration as early as September 25.

Please contact your U.S. Representative NOW and ask him or her to vote YES on H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act. You can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.

There has never been a better opportunity to pass this important and far-reaching legislation, but your help is urgently needed to ensure it goes the distance.

REVIEW: Beretta APX Pistol

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A radical departure from the infamous (and respected) Beretta Model 92/M9, this new handgun from the Italian maker has so far proven to be just about as good as a striker-fired pistol can get… Read the full review.

APX

by Jay Grazio
NRA: Shooting Illustrated

News of the Beretta APX, a full-size, striker-fired, polymer-frame pistol, took some by surprise, but the handgun has been in development for quite some time. The manufacturer best-known for its double-action/single-action Model 92, has rolled the dice on the APX, opting to break into the full-size, striker-fired market in a big way. While the company’s polymer-frame, striker-fired Pico and Nano subcompact pistols have been available for a while, the mainstay has always been the Model 92 and its military sibling, designated the M9.

Reaction has been somewhat mixed to the introduction of the Beretta APX. Some have wondered why the manufacturer has decided, seemingly out of the blue, to break with its tradition of double-action/single-action semi-automatics, which includes the Px4 Storm line. Others aren’t fans of the unconventional design — the prominent slide serrations are a “love it or hate it” kind of thing. One thing is apparent, though: Beretta did its homework when researching the APX’s target audience.

Beretta APX colors.
Its Italian design allows the Beretta APX to be color-matched with the fashionable shooter’s gear.

A common misconception around the Beretta APX involves the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) program for choosing a new handgun for our soldiers (which was ultimately won by SIG Sauer’s P320). Because APX development occurred during the original phase of the MHS project, it was assumed that the pistol was developed in response to the MHS program. Well, the APX had been on the drawing board before that process began, but make no mistake: The APX was designed with the law enforcement and military communities in mind.

A phrase that pops up repeatedly in discussion with Beretta’s engineers is “extreme duty use.” John Tamborino, tactical products manager for Beretta, pointed out that the APX’s prime duty was to work every time, under every condition possible, for people in harm’s way. Police, military, and civilians who carry concealed alike can benefit from the “function over form” design of the Beretta APX. While Beretta obviously recognizes that aesthetics are important in a firearm, for the APX, making sure it works every single time no matter what the task was the be-all, end-all purpose.

Tamborino stated, “Our intent during the development of the APX was to develop the pistol for duty use. Form was secondary to function as we integrated user needs into the pistol based on research conducted with Military, law enforcement, and citizens.”

APX sights
(left and center) Seated in dovetails for adjustment, sights are of the traditional, three-white-dot variety. (right) Controls are well-planned, ergonomic, and ambidextrous for the most part, and can be operated easily.

When talking with Tamborino, another aspect quite apparent in the design of the Beretta APX is the legwork that went into gathering information before the pistol even began. Literally years of crisscrossing the country, talking to hundreds of law enforcement and military members — from beat cops and front-line grunts to SWAT team members and Spec Ops door kickers — intel was plentiful and varied. What various operators liked, didn’t like, found useful, wished they had available; all information was collected, disseminated and studied. The APX project was based around one overarching question: “What does the user need?”

So, what sets the Beretta APX apart from what is an ever-increasing crowd of polymer, striker-fired pistols? The aforementioned slide serrations are the most visible, of course. However, the differentiation doesn’t end there. It’s obvious from even a cursory look at the APX that ergonomics are key: Some companies offer a multitude of backstraps and even side panels to custom fit the owner’s hand; others offer different frame sizes and configurations to achieve that goal. In the case of the APX, it’s both: three backstrap sizes are available, and while only a full-size frame is currently released, Beretta has plans for other options in the coming months and years.

APX features.
(left) Small, medium and large backstraps are available to better fit the APX to the shooter’s hand. (center) Swapping grips requires the pistol be stripped and a pin pulled at the bottom of the magazine well. (right) Two 17-round magazines keep the APX fed and feature sculpted floorplates to assist in removing them if needed.

Naturally, the removable fire-control group (FCG) sets the Beretta APX apart from most competitors as well. Introduced with the SIG Sauer P250, the concept of an integral FCG that comprised the actual firearm was a quiet game-changer. Even now, the concept isn’t really recognized as revolutionary, with the argument that “I’ll just buy another gun” offered to counter the modularity of the removable FCG. While the ability to change calibers isn’t exactly new, being able to change frame size at the same time is — and it’s astounding that the implications of this ability haven’t been better explored.

The trigger on the Beretta APX is pretty good right out of the box. I attended a Beretta Tactical event earlier this year when the APX was introduced, and we were given the opportunity to test it in various “real-life” scenarios with instruction from EAG Tactical (now Forge Tactical) trainers. Weak-hand-only, strong-hand-only, low-light, no-light and other scenarios were played out with the APX, and it repeatedly proved itself up to the task. In a group in excess of a dozen seasoned gunwriters and editors, nearly 5,000 rounds of plain-Jane bulk 9 mm ammunition was chewed up by the various APXs, and the only glitches experienced were a small number (able to be counted on one hand) of times where the slide didn’t go fully into battery on the first round. Given the novelty of the heavily textured slide, it was theorized the glitches were operator-induced (one of the writers who experienced the failure admitted he may have been overzealous in his overhand slingshot of the slide, which is not recommended with the APX).

APX mounting rails.
(left) Lights and/or lasers can be added to the accessory rail under the prominent “APX.” (center) Removable with some care, the fire-control group can be swapped between frames if desired. (right) Equipped with an internal safety, the trigger isn’t as mushy as others in its class.

Back to the subtle differences in the Beretta APX, one feature will appeal to the safety-conscious: the striker-deactivation button. Some striker-fired pistols require the trigger to be pulled as part of the firearm’s takedown procedure, which can lead to a discharge if all safety rules aren’t obeyed.

If you’re of the type who dislikes pulling the trigger to take a handgun apart, the Beretta APX is a handy choice. If you’re not, though, you can certainly disassemble the pistol traditionally: First and foremost, check and double-check to ensure it is unloaded, then drop the magazine and lock the slide to the rear. Turn the takedown lever 90 degrees and release the slide, pulling the trigger as the slide releases. Make sure you’ve got a spot for the slide to go, though, because it’ll come off the frame quick. Remove the captured guide rod and barrel, and you’re ready to start scrubbing.

APX takedown.
Capable of being taken down with or without pulling the trigger, disassembly is easy and intuitive.

The functional component of the Beretta APX was readily apparent on the range. On the first day, right out of the box, 440 rounds went through the APX with zero malfunctions. We chose a variety of bullet weights and profiles, opting for the most-common combinations of 115- and 124-grain full-metal-jacket bullets folks are most likely to use for practice as well as 115-, 124- and 147-grain JHPs suitable for defensive use. Nothing stopped the APX or even slowed it down.

In fact, the single glitch experienced with the Beretta APX occurred on a subsequent function-test range trip. We gathered up in excess of 700 rounds of ammunition from 80-grain PolyCase ARX to 147-grain Browning FMJ and even an old box of lacquered, steel-case ammunition of questionable origin in an attempt to get the APX to hiccup. Note, at no time was the pistol cleaned or even lubricated from the previous range trip. Around round 750, enough fouling had accumulated in the frame that the trigger was resetting more sluggishly than we would like for rapid-fire exercises. One spritz of oil and we were back in business; it’s hard to call this a failure given the total lack of lubrication at any other time in this test. Overall, in excess of 1,200 rounds were fired through the APX, with precisely zero failures to feed, fire, or extract a dozen different types of ammo.

It’s also important to recognize that the current Beretta APX pistol is only the first in what Beretta expects to be a full product line. Offered in 9 mm and .40 S&W initially, more calibers — including .45 ACP — are expected to become available, along with new frame/slide/barrel variations as well. It defies credulity to think Beretta won’t capitalize on this modularity to launch a complete series of compact and sub-compact variants to complement the full-size frame. The company plans on a compact version to become available in 2018, and hinted that a version compatible with a micro red-dot sight is also in the works.

So, you’ve got a pistol that has a decent trigger out of the box, has a variety of backstraps and frame color options, is easy to maintain and has been engineered for years of hard (ab)use. What, exactly, is not to like about that? Does it boil down to the aesthetics? If you’re letting the unconventional look of the slide serrations stop you from checking out the Beretta APX, don’t. Give it a look anyway. Take it to the range and shoot it. You’ll come away impressed.

APX specifications

CHECK IT OUT HERE

SKILLS: Sheriff’s Tips: What’s Your Stance?

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Sheriff Jim Wilson shares some recollections and history on development of the pistol shooting stance, and, most importantly, puts it all into perspective for today’s modern world. Keep reading…

by Jim Wilson
Source: NRA American Rifleman
Images courtesy Gunsite.com

The first experience that I had with a two-handed shooting stance was the isosceles stance as taught by the FBI at our police academy. The shooter stood erect and shot with both arms extended and elbows locked. This was also the same stance that we used in department qualifications and PPC matches.

Jim Wilson

This stance worked pretty well as long as we were firing .38 Spl. wadcutter ammo out of our revolvers. Where it got weak was when we were trying to make multiple hits with .357 Mag. ammo, or even .38 Spl. +P. We simply could not do a good job of managing the extra recoil of the fighting ammunition.

Isosceles stance
Isosceles Stance.

It was this same need to manage recoil when firing more than one shot that caused Jack Weaver, a California peace officer, to develop a slightly different technique. Weaver bent his elbows and made sure that his support elbow was pointed down towards the ground. He also exerted an isometric hold on the pistol, pushing forward with his shooting hand and pulling back with his support hand. Using this technique, Weaver’s arms absorbed most of the recoil and made the gun more manageable under rapid fire. Col. Jeff Cooper quickly noticed that Weaver’s technique was helping him to win quite a few matches and incorporated it into the Modern Technique of the Pistol.

Weaver Stance
Weaver Stance.

For quite some time, a healthy argument ensued as to which technique was really the best to use in actual gunfights. The Weaver camp often suggested that the Isosceles was best used in target shooting, while the Isosceles crowd quickly pointed to the number of actual gunfights won by people using the Isosceles method. As it turns out, what the arms are doing may not be nearly as important as what the rest of the body is doing.

The defensive shooter should use an athletic body position. He should be squared to his target. The feet should be about shoulder width apart, with the support foot just slightly ahead of the strong-side foot. By that I mean that the ball of the support foot should be about even with the tip of the toes on the strong-side foot. The knees should be slightly bent and the shooter’s weight should be on the balls of his feet. The shoulders should be slightly forward of the feet.

In this kind of position, the shooter can manage the pistol’s recoil better. And it also puts the shooter in a good physical stance that allows him to move quickly in just about any direction. And, depending upon body size, the shooter may adjust this position a bit in order to be most effective.

Whether one shoots with both arms straight or arms bent, he or she can exert a firm grip on his pistol and somewhat of an isometric, push-pull, hold. The key is to be in an aggressive, athletic body stance without getting into a crouch. As Richard Mann puts it, “Do it like you are killing snakes!” A firm stance and a firm grip are what is needed to manage recoil and allow for multiple, accurate hits.

Many of us older shooters well remember the magazine articles by Col. Cooper and Massad Ayoob as they argued back and forth on the merits of the Weaver vs. the Isosceles. I am told that, later in life, Col. Cooper made the statement that he wished he hadn’t made such as issue of the two stances. Whichever one a person chooses to use, his success will be noted in his ability to deliver quick, accurate shots with full-power defensive ammunition.

It may even be that a good defensive shooter should be well versed in both techniques. Depending upon the available cover, whether he is shooting over or around something, and the angle in which he may have to deliver his shots (we can’t always plant our feet and assume a classic stance when under a surprise attack) one or the other technique might work best.

I have come to the conclusion that arguing the Weaver vs. the Isosceles is about as productive as arguing .45 vs. 9 mm. I have better ways to spend my time and the guys who want to argue these issues might spend their time more productively in good training and practice.

5 Self-Defense Tips For College Women

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A young woman’s first year of college marks a dramatic lifestyle change for most. Here are some pointers on ensuring “victim” isn’t one of them…

college freshman

by Wendy LaFever
Source: NRAFamily.org

If you’re like the vast majority of young women, chances are your first year of college also represents the first time you’ve lived on your own for any length of time. It’s an exhilarating time, when everything is alive with possibility.

Unfortunately, one of those possibilities is becoming the focus of a criminal’s attention. Predators know that very young women lack the life experience to fully evaluate risk, which means that they tend to be too trusting. Campus life adds a few other wrinkles to one’s self-defense strategy, as well. New students frequently don’t have the option to choose where they’ll live or with whom; parking is usually assigned and underclassmen tend to get the least desirable spots; the possession of self-defense tools is frequently prohibited on campus. This article won’t address the wisdom or rightness (or lack thereof) of any of those “wrinkles.” Rather, we’ll focus on what you, specifically, can do to help shore up your own safety right now given the situation that exists.

ONE: Lock your car doors.
Did you just roll your eyes reading that? We can’t blame you if you did, but the fact is that many of the folks who prey on college students aren’t terribly sophisticated. In fact, many of them are college students themselves. The most commonly reported crimes on campus are burglary and car theft…and for many thieves, their targets are targets of opportunity. The unlocked car parked far away from the dorms is fruit hanging so low it might as well be a potato. Can a determined crook break into a locked vehicle? Sure they can—but why make it easy, quiet and safe for them by leaving your car unlocked? You can also cut your risk by remembering to stow or take with you any items that are portable and valuable, such as electronics or textbooks.

TWO: Lock your dorm entry points and insist your friends do the same.
At my alma mater, we had what was (at the time, anyway) state-of-the-art security doors for entry to the dorms as well as for each individual floor. Not that it mattered; the students pretty much never let them close. They — we –would chock them open at every opportunity so that we wouldn’t have to remember our student ID keycards, and so our friends could come and go freely. Most students didn’t bother locking their room doors, either. And then we’d all be shocked and angry when somebody’s computer or TV walked off. The problem is one of perception: Many young people judge the intentions of others based on their own intentions. You wouldn’t wander into an empty room and walk out with someone’s possessions, so it’s hard to imagine someone among your friends and neighbors would do such a thing…but they might. So could an outsider who doesn’t attend your college but just knows his or her way around. What’s more, theft is not the only possible consequence of subverting the security your campus has in place…the third most commonly reported crime on campus is sexual assault.

THREE: Got an image of a “criminal” in your head? Lose it.
In The Addams Family movie, young Wednesday Addams is asked why she isn’t dressed up for Halloween. “I’m a homicidal maniac,” she deadpans. “They look just like everyone else.” The line is played for laughs, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Not only aren’t criminals generally considerate enough to wear a badge identifying them as such, it’s also a sad fact that you are most likely to be victimized by someone you know. That doesn’t mean that you can’t develop a knack for spotting people who might be a problem; you absolutely can. But what you have to look for are suspicious behaviors and attitudes. Pay particular attention to people who discount or ignore your boundaries, people who try to guilt or shame you into doing things you don’t want to do, and particularly people who try to put you into positions of vulnerability.

FOUR: Party smarter, not harder.
Speaking of “positions of vulnerability,” the time when you are arguably at your most vulnerable is when you are under the influence. Although the absolute best advice is to never be under the influence, better people than I have failed at convincing young adults to follow it. So if you must party, do it smarter, not harder. One way to do this is to take refuge in the safety offered by numbers. Go out in groups, and go out with a plan. Determine ahead of time where you’ll go, when you’ll plan on leaving and where you’ll meet up. Arrange for safe transportation ahead of time, so nobody is stuck looking for a ride at the end of the night. Designate one woman in the group to be what we used to call the “mama hen.” Her job is to remain sober, to ensure that nobody gets left behind, and to be the voice of reason when anyone in the group gets any of those oh-so-terrific ideas that occasionally bubble up when folks are downing drink. Speaking of drinks, don’t leave yours unattended…even if it’s just for a minute. It takes seconds to furtively slip something into a person’s unattended beverage…and when everyone’s imbibing, it’s even easier to do so unnoticed.

FIVE: Recognize that there are worse things than being “rude.”
For better or for worse, young women are socialized to be polite. The “worse” part of that “better or for worse” equation is that many of us find it difficult to clearly enforce our boundaries for fear of being seen as rude. It’s even harder to do that when you’re doing your best to fit in with a whole new social circle; nobody, regardless of their age or gender, wants to gain a reputation for being boring, unpleasant or a stick-in-the-mud. That said, the worst thing you can do by being “rude” to someone who is making you uncomfortable is that you accidentally hurt the feelings of an innocent person. The good news is that innocent people who genuinely have your safety and comfort at heart will not only back off immediately, they’ll accept your apology later if you turn out to have been wrong.

As for what to do about the people who will take your wet clothing out of the dorm’s dryers and dump it on the floor the second you turn your back (and they will, just you wait and see)? Can’t help you there — but if you have any suggestions, the comment section is right below…