Category Archives: Pistol

REVIEW: Walther PPS M2 9mm

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Looking for one handgun to serve well for home-defense and concealed carry? This might be the best one! Read all about it…

pps m2

by Major Pandemic

Even despite the insanity of the gun market some manufacturers have stayed true to their roots. Walther has retained its long history of innovation while ushering in a completely new era of firearms. Sure they still faithfully produce those great symbols of 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 — one that became a favorite concealed -carry gun. The PPS was a gun ahead of its time delivering a feature -rich, accurate, and configurable single -stack that could behave like a compact-, mid- and full-sized gun. Based on the two years of carrying and shooting the PPS, I think it is one of the best subcompact concealed-carry single-stack guns on the market despite the introduction of many other competitors.

pps m2

FIT, FINISH, FEEL & FEATURES
What many did not like about the first PPS was that it was a bit blocky and featured a European-style paddle magazine release which Americans are not terribly excited over. The PPS M2 resolved those complaints with a standard button magazine release and more rounded ergonomics that mimic the amazingly comfortable PPQ and other Walther pistols.

The Walther PPS M2 retains the hybrid design which 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. But just a swap to the 7- or 8-round magazines deliver a full-sized grip and control plus extra rounds. In essence this allows the user to swap out a magazine and transform the PPS from a full-sized feel for home defense to a smaller magazine for concealed carry.

The original point of the PPS was not to be a high-capacity firearm, but to deliver an extremely thin and slim profile for concealed carry that is small enough that both men and woman can carry comfortably. It is a “lifestyle” gun that was designed so it would always be with you versus being left in the car or at home. From my perspective, this has to been the most comfortable sub-compact pistol I have handled, carried, and shot. I love my Glocks, but this fits my hand better and has a far better grip surface which adds 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 are exceptional, the milling on the slide is well thought out with the front and rear serrations providing enough bite to charge the PPS reliably.

m2 glowing sights
Luminescent sights glow for around 15 minutes after being exposed to light.

The PPS M2 has low -profile snag-free three -dot metal luminescent combat sights with the rear sight adjustable for windage (Tritium night sight options are available in the LE version). The luminescent sights will pick up ambient light or a quick flash from a flashlight and glow with usable illumination for about 15 minutes. A Tenifer-coated slide and barrel are provides corrosion resistance, and other features include a loaded chamber viewport and red cocking indicator at the rear to give both tactile and visible status, smooth beveled snag-free slide stop with a lock back on empty, and features one of the most crisp, smoothest, and lightest 6.1 lb 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 lb 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 unnecessary feature that bulked up the gun.

Some of the other details to enhance functionality are minor but I notice 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, a bevel on the ejector size, and a 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.

pps m2 grip
Extreme comfort are the words most describe the PPS M2 grip.

FUNCTION & ACCURACY
Functionally, the Walther PPS M2 is a striker-fired pistol with a mechinism similar to a Glock. There are some differences, but to my eyes they look the same which is a great thing because it is a proven design. In fact it even takes down identically to a Glock: clear the gun, pull the trigger, pull down on the two take -down tabs, and move the slide off the frame.

Walther even has the double guide rod spring assembly we see in the newer Glocks. Accuracy was excellent for a gun this size and delivered 3.5-in. 25-yd. groups with Federal Guard Dog ammo from a shooting rest. Functionally I have 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 which delivered everything I needed for testing of this pistol.

m2 magazines
Upsize the PPS M2 easily with just a magazine swap from 6 to 7 to 8 rounds.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The trigger unit works like a Glock also with all those wonderful internal safeties and 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. Compared to Glock there is more steel rail contact between the frame and slide with equates to a smoother action, the grip actually offers “grip.” Most importantly the PPS M2 looks like it was designed by someone with an eye for design. The PPS M1 was the 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 was 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 Glock 43 because they feel, carry, and shoot better for me. The PPS is flexible enough to accommodate a wide array of clothing, defense, and concealment needs. It is big enough not to feel under-gunned and small enough to conceal better than any double -stack . The PPS M2 is a top-grade pistol that can easily fulfill everything from home defense to concealed carry.

Check it out HERE

pps specs

Major 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. Click HERE to learn more.]

.300 BLACKOUT — Take The Plunge!

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Here’s a compelling argument in favor of this relatively new cartridge for an AR15 enthusiast wanting to expand the capabilities of this firearms platform. Read why…

300 blackout

SOURCE: Team Springfield, posted by Steve Horsman

Historically, I have been hesitant to jump on the bandwagon of newly introduced cartridges. I am already heavily invested in several pistol and rifle calibers. When a new caliber comes out, I usually wait to see how it’s received and if it’s going to stick around. So when the .300 Blackout made its appearance several years ago, I took the “wait and see” approach.

As time went on, and it was apparent that the .300 Blackout was here to stay, I took the plunge and built an AR-style rifle with parts that I had on hand. I had to buy a barrel in .300 Blackout, so I invested in a 16-inch. When I put it all together, the rifle worked great. I’ll admit that I have only put a few hundred rounds through that gun, but like any good firearm enthusiast, I purchased the dies and components to eventually handload .300 Blackout.

As time went on, I continued researching the caliber, but my .300 Blackout rifle largely remained in the gun vault due to other firearm projects taking priority. #FirstWorldProblems

saint 300 blk

DUTY CALLS
In late 2017, Springfield Armory® introduced the SAINT™ Pistol in 5.56, and to say it has been successful would be a huge understatement! Prior to the release, I was tasked with testing the pistol and subsequently penned a blog about it shortly after it came out.

After literally shooting thousands of rounds through my 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol (and having a lot of fun), I started to think that a cool, new version would be if it were available in .300 Blackout. Well, the decisio- makers at Springfield Armory® were on the same track (great minds think alike), and designed the newest SAINT™ Pistol chambered in .300 Blackout.

I was excited to get my hands on one of the early production samples and I admit, though I really like the first 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol, I LOVE the newest chambering of .300 Blackout.

My .300 Blackout test firing consisted of shooting multiple steel and paper targets at 80 yards, and I also performed some reload drills. The only ammunition I had on hand when testing the .300 Blackout was 125-grain supersonic FMJs. Even though that ammo may not have been the optimal choice, the .300 blackout SAINT™ Pistol functioned perfectly and shot amazingly well. I was able to put one round on top of another at the 80-yard distance. I was very pleased to say the least.

BALLISTIC COMPARISON
There is a ton of ballistic data available for the .300 Blackout on the internet, so I will share just a little of the basic info with you here.

Compared to the 5.56 round, the .300 Blackout performs really well, and it actually excels in a short-barreled gun (primarily because it doesn’t lose velocity as rapidly as the 5.56 out of a shortened barrel).

The 5.56 REQUIRES velocity for peak performance whereas the .300 Blackout’s peak performance is based much more on the combination of bullet weight and velocity.

What I am basically saying is that the lightest bullet (commonly a 110-grain projectile) in the .300 Blackout is double the weight of the most common 5.56 bullet weight (a 55-grain).

A quick comparison shows that a 55-grain 5.56 round out of our 7-inch SAINT™ Pistol comes out at about 2300 FPS, creating about 650 foot pounds of energy. On the other hand, the 110-grain .300 Blackout round comes out of the 9-inch SAINT™ Pistol at about 2100 FPS, creating about 1090 foot pounds of energy.

If you’re more of a visual learner like I am, this may process better:

SAINT™ Pistol 5.56 — 55 gr. bullet — 7-inch barrel — 2300 FPS — 650 FT LBS

SAINT™ Pistol .300 — 110 gr. bullet — 9-inch barrel — 2100 FPS — 1090 FT LBS

Ballistically speaking, because of the huge difference in bullet weight, the comparison is pretty incredible!

SIDE BY SIDE SAINT PISTOLS
At first glance, the SAINT™ Pistols in 5.56 and .300 Blackout visually appear similar, but on closer inspection you will notice that the .300 Blackout version does not share the muzzle blast diverter that the 5.56 has. Also, the barrel on the 5.56 model is 7 inches long, whereas the .300 Blackout has a 9-inch barrel with a conventional A-2 flash hider.

NOTABLE SIDE NOTE
Most gun enthusiasts know that all 5.56 / .223 AR-style magazines and ammo work and function perfectly with .300 Blackout chambered guns. This may seem like a small detail to some, but the reason this is critically important to talk about is that the opposite is NOT true. Do NOT try to shoot a .300 Blackout cartridge through a 5.56 firearm!

While it may take some effort to get the .300 Blackout round into the chamber of the 5.56, it is extremely dangerous and will cause great damage. Just do a Google search to see photos and video of what actually happens. It’s not good and it’s not pretty. #ChamberDanger

Needless to say, I was very happy to see that the SAINT™ Pistol .300 magazines are smartly marked “.300 Blackout” on the side. This makes it easy to quickly differentiate from my 5.56 mags when I put my new SAINT™ .300 Blackout into the gun safe with the rest of my arsenal.

WRAP AND ROLL
The Springfield Armory® SAINT™ Pistol in .300 Blackout just might be the perfect size-to-power ratio in an AR-based pistol. The .300 and I will be spending a lot of time together this summer both at my backyard range and in my truck. Now, I’m not getting rid of my first 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol in the truck. I’ll just have two now — one for me and one for my lovely Mrs. The sleek, compact size of the SAINT™ pistol family makes that totally doable.

I’m also making space in my reloading bunker, because I’m now committed to another proven caliber.

Click HERE to check out AMMO at Midsouth!

saint pistol

Click HERE for more on the SAINT

SKILLS: 4 Dry-Fire Drills To Challenge Any New Shooter

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Learning to shoot better is from a balance of live fire at the range and dry-fire away from the range. Do it with a purpose to get the most from it! READ HOW

dry fire

SOURCE: Team SpringfieldPosted by Ivan Gelo

Dry-practice should be a fairly significant and useful portion of your training package — especially when learning a new technique or focusing on specific principals like the four below.

SAFETY FIRST
Let’s start with the basic safety rules for dry-firing:

CONDUCT with your full concentration — no distractions.
ENSURE the gun is unloaded — no magazine inserted.
VISUAL & TACTILE CHECK — With the slide (or bolt) locked back (via the ejection port) look into the barrel chamber and down through the grip area toward the magazine well to confirm that the firearm is unloaded and no magazine is inserted.
DOUBLE CHECK that all magazines are unloaded — no live ammo.
REMOVE all ammunition from the dry-fire area.
PLACE targets to use as specific aiming points.
CHOOSE a suitable backstop / direction, so that if a round was to discharge, your backstop stops the bullet and causes no injury and minimal physical damage.

Before doing that first trigger press — CHECK AGAIN that the gun is unloaded. Once you’ve gone through the safety checklist, you’re ready to start your dry-fire practice.

1. TRIGGER PRESS DRILL
This is a great exercise that focuses on keeping the gun as still as possible while learning to manipulate the trigger quickly:

Rack slide to set the trigger.
With the gun in your two-handed firing grip at full presentation, bring the gun back to your “natural handclap position” while maintaining grip pressure and hand positions. (I got this description from Ron Avery many years ago — thanks Ron!)

Focus your attention downward, where you are essentially looking over the top of the gun — you are primarily seeing the top of the slide. Press the trigger as you so deem necessary — imagine the type of shot you are trying to replicate, i.e. shooting a group at 15 yards.
As you work the trigger up to the point the striker or hammer is released, pay specific attention to how much left or right movement there is while looking at the top of the slide.

dry fire drill

Most new shooters will see movement to the left or right and/or down or up. This is typically caused by movement in the hands or by the trigger finger. No movement at all means you’ve done a good trigger press!

Repeat starting at Step 1. Once you are able to hold the gun still, increase your trigger press speed. Focus on the consistency and stillness of your hand/grip pressure as you increase the speed of your trigger press. Work up to the point where you are working the trigger quickly — one-eighth-of-a-second from start to finish of press. Minimal to no movement is the goal.

2. START POSITION VARIATIONS
At a match you will, and in real life you might, be drawing from positions other than standing, gun loaded and holstered, with both feet stable on even ground. Practicing varied positions can be extremely beneficial.

Vary your dry-fire start position:

Seated
Holding an item in your hands
Kneeling
Standing behind a wall
Facing “uprange”

You can also vary the gun’s start position:

Gun on a table
Gun in a box
Gun in a drawer

dry fire drill

3. MASTER MOVEMENT
Once you’ve practiced some of these different start “positions,” incorporate movement during your draw or after retrieving your firearm. Movement changes everything! Relocate yourself left, right, forward, back during your practice.

4. BEDTIME ROUTINE
At night, do you keep your firearm on a nightstand, in a drawer, or in a bed-mounted holster? If so, when was the last time you dry-practiced getting out of bed to retrieve your firearm from its location?

And in what condition is your firearm? If you keep your firearm “cruiser ready” or “condition 3” (magazine inserted and seated with the chamber empty), have you practiced racking your slide under duress?

In this situation, dummy or inert training rounds are invaluable! NEVER use live ammo at home to practice quickly loading your gun! Safety first — always.

When using training rounds, go through your safety checks very deliberately — again, remove all live rounds from the training area and check and then check again that all rounds are inert.

2018 Crawfish Cup: Road to the Cup Starts Here!

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Two things happen every spring in Lake Charles, LA which shouldn’t be missed: The wonderful folks at Choupique Crawfish start up the giant boiler, and serve pounds upon pounds of delicious crawfish, and The Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup prepares the Action Pistol competitors for another year of excitement.

2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup
Welcome to the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup!

There’s nothing in this world quite like gathering around a newspaper-covered table, and dumping a huge pile of boiled crawfish, potatoes, onions, and sausage. You get to break bread with friends and family, throw most of your good manners to the wind, and enjoy.

the 2018 Crawfish Cup carries the same essence as the communal table. We gather, hungry for the competition. We trade stories of past victories, or near losses. We remember those who can’t be with us. Most importantly, the family comes together to share in a special event.

Kevin Angstadt, Tony Holmes, Troy Mattheyer, Bruce Piatt, and Jeremy Newell
Kevin Angstadt, Tony Holmes, Troy Mattheyer, Bruce Piatt, and Jeremy Newell

The event itself is a will be held on April 27th and 28th. It’s a prelude to Bianchi Cup, where the best of the best come to compete, hone their skills, and get in the Action Pistol mindset; the Zen Trigger Mode. What makes the Crawfish Cup unique? It’s not just elite competitors like Doug Koenig, Julie Golub, and Bruce Piatt! It’s novices, it’s intermediates, and it’s professional shooters like Midsouth Shooter Kevin Angstadt! It’s a great place for those new to the discipline to learn from the best in Action Pistol. It’s a place where all pretenses are dropped, and the competition brings everyone together, on a level playing field.

We’re excited to travel back to Lake Charles, and we hope you’re ready to join us for some of the best Action Pistol events in 2018. Make sure to follow all the action on the Crawfish Cup Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Crawfish Cup Facebook

The Crawfish Cup Twitter

The Crawfish Cup Instagram

Hit The Range: a new shooters guide to etiquette and safety

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New to shooting? Whether you’re going with a friend to the range or taking a class, there are a few things you should understand before you take your first shots. KEEP READING…

kippi leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield Armory, by Kippi Leatham

Here are first-timer tips and best practices for firearm safety and range procedures.

SAFETY FIRST — SAFETY ALWAYS
The first and most important thing to learn as a first-time shooter is safety. There are four basic rules of firearm safety. Read them, understand them and always follow them. You don’t want to end up getting the “attention” of the range safety officers – or worse yet, booted off the range for not following the fundamental, universal safety rules.

1. THE GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED
Always treat your gun as if it’s loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction (more on that in rule number 2). Check — and double check — the condition of the gun BEFORE you continue with the task at hand.

Check that the chamber is empty and there is no magazine inserted BEFORE you clean, disassemble, store, dry fire, or put the gun on a table to walk down range, etc. This important rule applies also when you are getting a gun out of storage, whether from a safe, range bag, gun case, etc.

Even if you’re positive the gun is not loaded, check again. You never want to have a negligent discharge and potentially injure someone because you “thought” the gun was unloaded.

2. NEVER POINT THE GUN AT ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY
Muzzle direction is especially important, regardless of whether or not the gun is loaded or unloaded (and it’s ALWAYS loaded, see rule #1). The muzzle must never point at any part of your own body, another person, family pet, or in any unsafe direction.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — AT THE RANGE
Most ranges are designed with a common firing line. That means all shooters are standing in a line next to each other, parallel to the backstop, shooting at targets downrange. You are allowed very little muzzle movement right and left (laterally) because of the shooters next to you.

From the moment you pick up your gun or draw it from your holster, the muzzle should point straight downrange, parallel to the ground. The muzzle should never point up (toward the roof, light fixtures, or sky) and it should never point down (toward your feet, shooting table, or the ground/floor).

When you finish shooting, keep the muzzle pointed downrange when UNLOADING the gun. Many right-handed shooters rotate the gun and muzzle to the left — pointing it at the person to their left — when unloading. Lefties do the opposite. Teach yourself to keep the muzzle STRAIGHT downrange. Rotate your body 90 degrees if you need additional leverage to unload the gun and/or lock the slide open.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — NOT AT THE RANGE
Want to show your best friend the new Range Officer® Elite you just purchased? You can easily do this when not at a live firing range. Here is the etiquette to follow:

Create a dry-fire line — facing in a safe direction — perhaps behind a table, counter, or workbench, pointed into a corner.

Make sure none of your family members — or the dog and cat — will be walking in front of your dry-fire line (downrange).

Take the gun out of the case, with the muzzle pointed downrange and your finger out of the trigger guard.

Ensure the gun is unloaded (no magazine and an empty chamber).

Lock the slide open so the empty chamber and empty mag well are visible to everyone.

Hand the gun to your friend, keeping the muzzle pointed downrange with your finger out of the trigger guard.

Continue to handle the gun as if it were loaded.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
This is an extremely important safety rule to follow, but even many experienced gun owners put their finger on the trigger at the wrong time. This can unfortunately cause accidents.

Remember, your finger should be on the trigger ONLY when you have fulfilled the following criteria:

You are pointing the gun at the target.

You have made the decision to shoot the target.

At all other times, there is absolutely no reason to have your finger on the trigger. Train yourself to keep your finger off the trigger (and out of the trigger guard) during ALL other times that you handle the gun, including:

When taking the gun out of a case, bag or safe.
When picking the gun up from a table.
When drawing the gun from a holster.
When checking the status of the gun (loaded or unloaded).
When loading or unloading the gun.
When reloading the gun or changing a magazine
When locking the slide back.
When putting the gun down on a table or bench.
When holstering the gun.
When clearing a malfunction.
When placing a gun back into its case, bag or safe
When disassembling the gun.
When handing the gun to another.

If you develop a good trigger finger habit, you will hopefully never have a negligent discharge, firing the gun when you are not ready to shoot. That’s a club you should want to belong to. #LifeMember

Being aware of your finger position is one of the best “safeties” on your gun. If your finger is not on the trigger, the gun won’t, can’t, or shouldn’t discharge.

4. ALWAYS BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT’S BEHIND IT
It is our responsibility as shooters to know what we are shooting at, what is beyond our target and what is between our gun and the target. We call that “the line of sight.”

TARGET — Always shoot at targets that are approved for the shooting range layout, and your gun and type of ammunition, i.e. paper, steel, clays, etc. Never shoot at glass or anything that could ricochet or leave dangerous remains on the ground.

BEYOND TARGET — Make sure you know what is beyond your target also, as the bullet doesn’t typically remain in the target. At indoor ranges or outdoor ranges with berms and backstops, this is usually not a problem. But if you’re not at one of these types of ranges, it’s your responsibility to know what is in the area behind your target (for several miles possibly), as bullets can and do travel a long distance.

LINE OF SIGHT — It’s imperative that there is nothing obstructing your line of sight. That means there shouldn’t be any objects between your sight picture and your target.

Follow these first-timer shooting tips to stay safe and have fun — whether you’re at home or at the range.

Don’t Buy This… Buy That

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Guns and gun accessories go together, no doubt. However! Some are indispensable. Here are a few. READ MORE..

pistol magazines

by Jason Anderson

If you’ve ever gone to a gun store and purchased a firearm or just picked up a gun magazine, you have undoubtedly been inundated with the many, many gun accessories you can add to your firearm.

The reality is there are some people who spend more on gun accessories than they do on the gun itself. Which begs the question are any of these accessories really necessary? The short answer is yes — as long as you purchase the right accessories.

Accessories for your gun are worth every penny if you buy ones that actually make a difference in performance. Don’t waste your money on an add-on that has no functional purpose. With that in mind, here are the most important gun accessories I recommend for your firearm:

Tactical Light: This is the No. 1 gun accessory I recommend. If you wake up in the middle of the night from the sound of someone in your house, you’ll need a light to investigate. Most people will just grab a flashlight in this scenario, which is fine. But if you decide to go this route, I encourage you to practice shooting while holding your flashlight so you get used to having only one hand on the gun instead of two.

You can also buy a tactical light/laser combo that will help you aim in the dark, but like anything gun related, these gadgets can be expensive, and they’re not something you want to go cheap on

Holsters: Whenever you purchase a new gun, you should buy a holster at the same time. Owning multiple holsters is beneficial for a few reasons. First, you need to make sure you always have a holster that works with the clothes you’re wearing. For example, the holster I wear with my jeans wouldn’t work with the shorts I wear on my morning run.

Second, you need to have a holster that best fits your lifestyle. What I mean is if you’re always going to carry concealed, you might want an inside-the-waistband holster. However, if you live on a large piece of property and regularly patrol it, you may find that an outside-the-waistband holster is more comfortable and convenient

Sling: When it comes to long guns, I believe a sling is a must-have accessory. A sling makes it easier to carry your gun while hunting or patrolling. Plus, a sling often makes it easier to transition from a long gun to a pistol in an emergency. Don’t forget, if you buy a sling, you will have to purchase swivels to attach the sling to your gun, but this accessory is well worth the price

Extra Magazines: I recommend everyone have — at the absolute minimum — three magazines for each gun they own. The fact is, if you are in a bug-out situation, you should have all three mags loaded and ready to go. Even if you just keep your guns at home, you should keep your extra mags ready. If, heaven forbid, multiple intruders break into your home, you’ll be glad you’re prepared. In addition to having extra magazines, remember to practice reloading them so you won’t miss a beat in an emergency

Gun Cleaning Kit: A basic gun cleaning kit isn’t expensive, and while it’s certainly not the sexiest gun accessory, it’s one that’s often overlooked. Keeping your gun clean and well oiled is critical to ensure it functions properly when you need it. Now, I know people who say they’ve shot thousands of rounds with a Glock without having to clean it. While that may be true, the fact is grime and dirt will build up eventually, so always remember to clean your gun regularly.

pistol cleaning kit

Some people spend thousands of dollars to add all kind of bells and whistles to their firearms, but I’m a big believer in the idea that a quality self-defense gun doesn’t need a lot of fancy add-ons. One final note: No matter what, please don’t do a trigger job on your self-defense gun. You don’t want to find yourself facing a prosecutor trying to explain why your gun has a two-pound trigger.

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

 

REVIEW: Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope

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Looking for a high-performance scope to realize the accuracy potential of your handgun? Get a good one… READ MORE

leupold handgun scope

by Major Pandemic

During my review of the EXTAR AR15 pistol, I saw that it had accuracy potential far more than what people give the AR15 pistol format credit for. This pistol deserved a fitting optic that could take advantage of the accuracy without diminishing its close-range capabilities. I chose the Leupold FX-II 4x28mm scope. This scope has enough magnification to exploit the potential of the AR15 pistol format but also plenty of eye relief for arms-length aiming.

EXTAR
Adding this Leupold FX-II brought out the full accuracy potential of this fine EXTAR pistol.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES & FUNCTIONS
Leupold has a long and well-deserved reputation for high-quality optics. Leupold really only makes two pistol models: the FX-II fixed power 4X magnification and the VX-3 variable power scope.
Compared to a rifle scope, handgun optics are actually subjected to higher than normal recoil due to the lower weight of the firearm, and the sometimes very powerful cartridges being shot in handguns. In the past, some shooters used triple or quad rings to help distribute recoil more evenly to the scope tube and provide more rigidity. The reality, though, is that lower quality optics just do not hold up to the punishment some handguns dish out. Leupold pistol scopes are famous for their durability on heavy recoiling pistols. And they have a warranty that will put anyone’s mind at ease.

The Leupold 4x FX-II pistol scope offers all the usual Leupold optic features including their Multicoat 4, Xtended Twilight Lens System, Diamondcoat II and other proprietary image, reflection, light transmission, and durability enhancements. Leupold also delivers some impressive gas waterproofing which actually increases image quality as well.

The 4x FX-II features Twin Bias Spring Erector System, Super Fast-Focus Eyepiece, Lockable Fast-Focus Eyepiece, Clasic/Standard Lockable Eyepiece, Micro-Friction 1/4 MOA, and 1/4 MOA Finger Click. With a 1-inch tube diameter 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum main tube the FX-II delivers a simple mountable scope with very common and less expensive rings.

leupold fx
Leupold makes some of the finest and most durable optics on the planet.

Most people incorporate far too much magnification on both handguns and rifles. The 4X Leupold FX-II handgun scope delivers a usable magnification that is not frustrating to hold steady at arms-length. Once you up magnification beyond that, you can become frustrated with a reticle which keeps jumping around unless shots are taken from an very stable rest. 4X magnification on a handgun is just right and provides the precision needed to reach out beyond distances that eyesight and iron sights can deliver.

Having shot behind a number of handgun optics, the biggest challenge is having an optic that delivers a large enough eye-relief box/window. If the eye-relief box is too narrow, the shooter is constantly fighting the distance the gun is from the eye to see the full field of view and reticle. The Leupold delivers a huge flexible eye-relief box which enables you to concentrate on the target and not finding the right scope mount length.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The Leupold FX-II Handgun scope delivers a proven and reliable design which is specifically built to take the increased punishment a handgun can deliver even the really big handgun rounds like 45-70 and even .308. Obviously the EXTAR 5.56 AR15 pistol didn’t even phase this scope, however it did deliver a super light pistol which when equipped with a scope was more than accurate enough for varminting and plinking all the way out to the 300-yard-line.

leupold fx-II specs

Check it out HERE at Midsouth
Leupold information HERE
Extar

Major 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. Click HERE to learn more.]

 

SKILLS: How To Zero In a 1911 Pistol

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One of the world’s greatest-ever pistol shooters details the process he follows to get a 1911 on target. Pay attention! KEEP READING

rob leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Rob Leatham

I just got my grubby little hands on a few of the new Springfield Armory® 1911 Range Officer® (RO®) Elite pistols. (Four to be exact.) And the one that grabbed my attention first was the Target Model. Probably not a big shock to those of you who know me as a competition shooter — this pistol was designed for someone just like me.

After looking it over and admiring how well put together it is, I can’t wait to see what it can do. Which means it’s time to hit the range! #LetsGoShoot

TESTING DAY
Any time I get a new gun, the first item on my to-do list is “zeroing.” Zeroing is the process where I test for point of impact on a target and, if needed, make changes to the sights to cause that position to coincide with where I actually see (or think I see) the sights on the target.

A properly zeroed pistol means there is no variation between where I aim the gun and where the bullets hit. Now, to be honest, the term “zero” means there is zero variation from sight to bullet impact. The reality, though, is there is seldom a time when I use a gun that is 100 percent “zeroed.” So for me, zeroed means “sighted in.”

Since this is kind of confusing, I’m going to document my zeroing-in process for your information and enjoyment. The RO® Elite Target is fitted with my preferred fiber-optic front sight and a fully adjustable target rear sight — a perfect setup for quick and easy zeroing.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYES
Several factors come into play that affect zeroing a pistol:

Eyesight
Ammunition
Distance to Target
Shooter Preference and Skill

I’m pretty efficient at zeroing my guns, as I’ve been doing it for many decades. The more you do it, the better you’ll get too. Just follow these easy steps:

ZEROING PROCESS
Gun and Ammo Initial Check: I first test how well the gun shoots out of the box and which ammo is the best or most suitable. This can be done in many ways, but I usually shoot standing, slow-fire with a two-handed grip at 25 yards.

I try a variety of bullet weights, brands and loads and make my final choice of which to move forward with based on several factors, including accuracy and felt recoil.

I check to see if the grouping size is adequate for my intended need. Once I establish which load I will move forward with, I then work on point of impact (POI).

POI Versus Point-of-Aim Check: With the selected load, I use a very specific aiming point in the center of the target. A square piece of 3/4″ black tape works well, but sometimes I just use a full-size USPSA target and shoot at the “A” imprinted in the middle of the body zone or the center of the smaller “head” of the target. I shoot five-shot groups to see where the gun/ammo combination actually hits. When I establish whether it is dead on, high, low, left or right, I start making basic adjustments to the rear sight.

How precisely I zero the pistol is based on the intended use of the gun. For many applications, it is at this point “close enough” and nothing further needs to be done. My competition guns however are a different story. I want them perfect.

Windage Check: I prefer a given gun/load combo to have as little lateral variation (windage) as possible. I never want the gun to impact left or right, so if it’s off I make corrections until my hold is the variation, not the sights.

Elevation Check: As a general rule, I also do not like a gun to shoot low at the distance I am zeroing. Dead on to a little high is what I want to accomplish. Once I’ve done this, I have a basic zero. Now it gets a little more complicated.

Specific Zeros: I next determine my “practical distance and accuracy” requirements. I need a gun’s elevation to be set for a specific POI at a specific distance, based on the usage/shooting discipline.

Concealed carry guns: Dead on at 10 yards

Bullseye guns: One to two inches high at 50 yards

Bianchi pistols: Dead on at 50 yards

USPSA production & single-stack guns: One inch high at 25 yards

I shoot slow-fire groups (standing) at the required distance and make fine adjustments to both windage and elevation until I’m satisfied. Based on your skill level and ability to hold the gun stable, you may need to use a rested position. Since I notice variations in my POI between a rested and standing shooting position, I prefer to do my sighting in from the position I most likely will use, which is standing. The only time I shoot from a stabilized position (i.e., sand bags on a table, seated, etc.) is when I’m testing for accuracy, which is a completely different task.

So now that you know what I require to zero the gun, how is it that you specifically accomplish the task? Well, it’s not always a simple process, because the type of gun and kind of sights determine the difficulty of the challenge.

TYPES OF SIGHTS
A “fixed sight” gun usually allows for some windage adjustment by moving the rear sight, but elevation changes may require modification or replacement of the front or rear sight.

An “adjustable sight” gun typically has a rear sight that allows you to move the “blade” in small increments (with a small screwdriver), usually with a “click” you can hear or feel. Depending on the sight, this allows you to simply and easily make adjustments.

VARIATIONS OF SKILL
The shooter’s skill level plays a very large part in the zeroing process. You must be able to shoot well enough to determine if the gun is zeroed. If you can’t shoot a good enough group at the needed distance you may need to work on your shooting skills before you worry about adjusting the sights.

The good news is, most shooters will never see enough POI deviation at the closer distances they shoot for it to matter.

DISCIPLINE AND DISTANCE
It should be relatively simple for experienced shooters to zero their concealed carry pistols, since the guns are typically expected to be employed at very close ranges. I can’t imagine any out-of-the-box pistol deviating significantly in terms of POI from one to five yards, unless operator error interferes.

The four different XD-S® pistols I use for carry can hit a USPSA target in the center A-zone at 25 yards straight from the factory, which highly exceeds my requirement for a concealment pistol.

My IPSC Classic Division competition 1911, on the other hand, needs to be much more precise at much greater distances, as many as 60 yards. I shoot non-standard ammunition loaded to a very specific velocity to keep recoil to a minimum. I prefer a 147-grain bullet with a special powder, because I like the feel of the combination and it’s super accurate.

The Springfield factory standard ammo for 9mm is 115 grain FMJ standard velocity ball, which shoots a much different POI than my special “cheater” loads. Because of this, I almost always need to adjust the sights when I get a new gun from the shop.

I make bold adjustments at first and then fine tune it with a click here and a click there until I’m convinced that I can’t get it any better. That’s when it’s nice to have a finely tuned and easily adjustable target sight on your pistol.

CONFIDENCE AND IMPROVEMENT
Each time you get a new gun or lot/type of ammunition, be sure to follow a zeroing procedure. But do so based on your “practical distance and accuracy” requirements. I bet you will end up not only more confident in your equipment, knowing exactly where your gun impacts, but hopefully also more confident in your skill level, as you should hopefully start to become a better shot.

Find Rob on Twitter!

REVIEW: Auto Ordnance Deluxe Titanium Gold Thompson Tommy Gun

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Is this the ultimate Chicago Typewriter? The venerable Tommy Gun gets a brand new look. READ MORE HERE

gold tommy gun

by Major Pandemic

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
Auto-Ordnance was the original manufacturer of the “Tommy Gun.” The current reformed company is now owned by the same company as Magnum Research and Kahr Arms — all of which are delivering high quality firearms. The current Auto-Ordnance Thompson Tommy Guns are actually higher quality and higher toleranced versions of the 1927A-1 originals, but fire from a closed bolt and in semi-auto only. If you want a full auto Tommy Machine Gun even as a LEO or Military you have to look into the extremely expensive old pre-ban options. Auto Ordnance does offer NFA registrable factory made short barreled rifle models and also non-functioning display models as well.

gold finish
With the Gold Nickel Boron finish this is a finish that will take plenty of punishment and still look good.

The Tommy Gun represents a timeless style which harkens back to the Roaring 20s, mobsters, and WWII. The Thompson design ran a long hard used course through history as one of the most heavily purchased and issued submachine guns in history by civilians, law enforcement, and military. It was a gun that helped empower the big New York and Chicago mobs, provided law enforcement and military with reliable firepower for fighting crime and in the trenches, and was also a favorite ranch/truck gun as well. It was pretty accurate, fired the effective .45 ACP round, and the weight and design delivers almost insignificant recoil even with the heaviest .45 ACP loads.

tommy gun muzzle
Although the 45ACP has negligible recoil in a 13-lb rifle the brake take all recoil out of the rifle.

This titanium gold nitride plated version is the same 1927A-1 Auto-Ordnance sells in a variety of configurations. The difference among the many versions is finish quality and slight variations through the years of production.

The 1927A-1 version is the most popular in the line, so Auto Ordnance decided to offer a special Deluxe edition. This Deluxe model features a mirror polished finish which is then coated with Titanium Gold Nitride. Auto-Ordnance offers this limited edition Deluxe model in this Ti-Gold finish and polished chrome. The Ti-Nitride-Gold finish is the same coating used on top end drill bits so it can take a beating and still look beautiful. Magnum Research uses the same finish on some of the limited edition Desert Eagle pistols and it has proven itself durable over the years. Once your friends find out you own one, it is hard to keep the Gold Tommy in the safe.

tommy gun case
Who would not want one of these? And get the case… Both you and the gun deserve it!

The T150TG includes both a 20-round stick and 50-round drum magazine, each titanium gold plated. Now, if you are going to drop $3000+ on this limited edition gun, then you really should go all the way and order the custom “Violin Case” available in either cello or guitar profiles. The case delivers a luxurious foam interior which can accommodate your Chicago Typewriter, a stick mag and round drum magazine.

WHEN MEN WERE MEN
As I hoisted the 13-pound (not a typo), muzzle heavy 1927A-1 Tommy Gun to my shoulder I was reminded that in the old days men were not wimps. If you fill and attach the 50-round drum, the Tommy Gun can easily top the 20-pound mark when it’s ready to rumble. It’s a beast of a gun!

tommy gun patents
The twelve patents are listed on the gun — on this gun the added numbers are part of history.

With its smallish charging knob and wicked-strong recoil spring, charging the Thompson is difficult.

FUNCTIONAL FUN WITH GOOD ACCURACY
Though this Thompson 1927A-1 is equipped with a ladder-style rear sight, which is in theory calibrated to 600-yards, it’s not a tack driving gun. The Tommy delivers practical accuracy of around 1.5-inch groups at 25-yards which equated to 5-7-inch groups at the 100-yard range. At 200-yards I was still able to ring a standard steel silhouette and usually ring it eight out of ten times at 300 yards. Defensive accuracy? Absolutely, and a whole bucket of fun in the process. During the hundred of rounds I had zero issues with feeding and functioning.

tommy gun magazines
This model comes with both polished twenty and fifty round magazines.

$400 IN AMMO GONE IN NO TIME
Well, the T150TDG Thompson 1927A-1 “Deluxe Semi-Auto” Titanium Gold Plated Tommy Gun may not shoot rounds quite as fast as an AR15, however the case of .45 ACP rounds seemed to evaporate stunningly fast. This is a blast to shoot, it delivers zero recoil to the shooter, and is way more accurate than it should be for a 1927 design.

tommy gun rear sight
If you want to mortar rounds at distance the Auto Ordnance is equipped with flip up leaf sight.

FINAL THOUGHTS
With all this discussion about outlawing deadly AR15s, I have not heard anyone say peep about Tommy Guns…at least that was my justification to my wife. This was the defensive carbine of the 1920s, 1940s, and all the way to the 1970s when the AR15 started to get into civilian hands.

These are limited editions and will not be around forever. If you want something special, something unique and something that brings a wow factor to any range session you had better get one on order. This is not only a unique collector piece which Tommy gun fans will value highly down the line, but it delivers a huge fun factor. I cannot recommend this wonderful gun enough. Suck it up and whip out the Amex, it is worth it.

CHECK IT OUT HERE

Major 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. Click HERE to learn more.]

SKILLS: 9mm VS. .45ACP: The Ultimate Caliber Conundrum

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This debate has raged for decades, but it’s  important  to settle for yourself when choosing a defensive caliber., Read what some of the best have to say HERE

pistol calibers compared

 

SOURCE: Team Springfield Armory 

And here we go again … you already know that you can’t go wrong with either of these classic calibers. But it’s a debate that continues to create controversy among shooting enthusiasts everywhere. Each round has its pros and cons when compared, yet each remains a staple among firearm fans.

Read on for not just some of the same old argument (there’s some of that), but considerations from our Team Springfield™ SMEs on which caliber may be the best for you.

45 compared to 9mm
There is more to answering this question than just the 0.095 difference in bullet diameters…

9MM
RECOIL
The greatest attribute of the 9mm cartridge is that it has the easiest-to-manage recoil. Pair this with the weight of a full- or mid-sized pistol, and handling will prove to be comfortable and pleasant. And this combination is also a perfect gun for brand-new shooters to start with.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY
If you don’t want to go broke buying range ammo, then 9mm has your back. Due to its prominence among our military and law enforcement communities, and popularity with civilians, the 9×19 is the most commonly-encountered pistol round world-wide.

This and the relatively small amount of material used in the manufacturing process also makes 9mm the most economical center-fire pistol round currently available.

PERSONAL DEFENCE
When it comes to personal defense, the 9mm is more than ready to do the trick, especially with hotter +P (increased velocity) hollow-point loads. Its lighter recoil makes follow-up shots quicker, and the smaller size gives 9mm pistols additional round capacity.

OUTDATED DATA?
Team Springfield™ SME Ivan Gelo, is a huge fan of the .45, but knows that much of the comparison bullet “data” stems from bullet performance technology that is over 25 years old. Like most tools, equipment and devices, bullet technology has grown by leaps and bounds over that same period, especially in the area of the 9mm pistol round. Ivan says that, “Old 9mm technology was related to the .45 and the concept of the heavier bullet; hence the widespread use of the 147 grain 9mm bullets. With advances in technology though, the more common 9mm 124/125 grain +P loads have substantial stopping power. So with greater mag capacity and the lighter ‘carry’ weight, the 9mm benefits are easy to argue.”

PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS
If you have any physical limitations, i.e. carpel tunnel, tendinitis, loss of hand-strength, etc., Team Springfield™ shooter Kippi Leatham recommends the 9mm over .45 without question: “I shot larger calibers through many of my competitive years. My first competition gun was a 1911 .45 — and I loved it! Eventually though, over several decades, I developed tendinitis in both elbows. With continued proper strength training and a decision to shoot exclusively 9mm pistols, my elbow injuries are no longer an issue.”

So if you have physical limitations or pain, don’t continue to damage your body or create discomfort in exchange for greater stopping power. In Kippi’s opinion, a well-trained, competent and confident 9mm pistol owner is easily able to defend him or herself should the need arise.

.45ACP
STOPPING POWER
The terms “stopping power” or “knockdown power” are concepts popular with the self-defense crowd. The .45 regularly is considered to have more stopping power than a 9. It’s a big reason why it was adopted alongside the 1911 for U.S. military service back in the day. While its velocity is slower than 9mm, what you lack in speed, you more than make up for in a larger and heavier projectile.

To its fan base, the .45 is the best round for law enforcement and personal and while the .45 does obviously have more recoil than 9mm, that is the cost of increased power.

Curiously, decades later the US Military also adopted the 9mm and widely replaced the .45 with it, but for more reasons than power alone. Many Spec Ops groups did not change, and retained the .45 for its greater power.

Team Springfield™ Captain Rob Leatham says, “My position on this subject is well documented: I like the .45. While currently, I do shoot more 9mm in competition than anything else, it’s because of the rules and subsequent advantages the lower-powered, lighter-kicking 9 has. For defensive use, especially in a mid- or full-sized, easily controlled pistol, I would choose the .45 every time.”

FROM THE PREPPER’S MINDSET
Steve Horsman — Team Springfield™ Expert Prepper — has multiple guns in an assortment of calibers. But he does have a preference when carrying for self defense. He likens the .45ACP v 9mm debate to hunting. Steve states that choosing a 9mm for self defense, with the higher-capacity, lighter kick, and lighter-weight, is like him choosing to hunt elk with an AR 15 with a 30 round magazine. “No one in their right mind would ever use a .223 for elk hunting; they would more likely choose a .308 [minimum]-caliber rifle. Given the choice, I will pick the bigger bullet with more power every single time.” Magazine capacity alone cannot and will not substitute for power and accuracy.

AMERICAN AS…
Apple pie, baseball, bald eagles, and .45ACP! This cartridge has a proven track record in America that dates back over a century. It was trusted by the United States through two world wars, and, while its use among the military and LE agencies has lessened more recently, it still serves a large role in many specialized units, as well as remaining a favorite of many civilians.

Supply of this cartridge should also be high. The .45 auto has been around for double-digit decades and while pricier than 9mm, the large quantities in which it’s produced makes it easy to find.

PICK ONE AND PRACTICE
To summarize, both the 9mm and the .45ACP are great self-defense rounds. Though a 9mm pistol will hold more rounds, the .45 ACP definitely packs more punch.

So as with most things firearms related — pick your preference: heavier and more powerful cartridges with more recoil OR a caliber that allows for greater capacity, less recoil and a lower cost to shoot.

And as you read above, even our Team Springfield™ SMEs don’t agree on caliber… but they do agree on this:

Whichever caliber you choose, put some rounds down-range, shoot a lot of them actually, and make sure you train on a regular basis. Become proficient with your caliber of choice, because that is the best way to maximize the effect of any firearm that you carry for self defense.

Great video featuring Rob Leatham, Team Springfield Captain HERE