Category Archives: Pistol

SKILLS: Top 6 Public Range No-Nos

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There’s a lot for a new shooter to learn, and a lot of it is learned at the shooting range. But learn first  about the range!

by Jeff Johnston, NRA Family

So you’re heading to the range for the first (or maybe the second, or third) time. Here’s what NOT to do, both from a safety and a common courtesy perspective.

DON’T…
…Bring a shotgun and shoot it with anything except slugs. In most public range settings, lanes are set mere feet apart from each other. While a shotgun loaded with any pellet-type load might hit only your target at 10 yards, at 50 yards the spread of its pattern will turn your neighbor’s pristine new target into Swiss cheese. For this reason most ranges don’t allow shotguns on the range for anything except slugs. You should know this beforehand, so you don’t buy everyone new targets later.

DON’T…
…Place your finger on the trigger before your sights are on the target. This is the quickest way to tell everyone in the range, “Hey, everyone! Look at me! I don’t have the foggiest clue what I’m doing! Ha! Ha!” You may notice people begin to look at you like you’re wearing a Bin Laden costume as they back away slowly. Why? If you don’t know the second NRA rule of gun safety, you are obviously not safe. So keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Perhaps you can’t hit a bullseye to save your life, but at least everyone around you knows you’re  trying to be safe.

This one is for indoor ranges that max out at 50 yards:
DON’T…
…Bring your .338 Lapua Mag. (or .300 Win. Mag. or any other high-power rifle that’s equipped with a muzzle brake) to “sight it in.” To zero your rifle for hunting you should shoot it at 100-200 yards anyway, so why kill people’s ear drums at the range by getting in on paper there? A muzzle brake sends sound waves and hot gases backwards, and many times the long, 26-inch barrels of magnum hunting rifles extend past the side barriers, sending those unfiltered sound waves and gases directly back at your neighbors. Think the opposite of the Nike commercial and just don’t do it.

DON’T…
…Place your target above or below eye level. Some ranges clearly post rules against this, while others do not. Regardless, consider what your bullet does after hitting the target: It continues on its merry way at its given angle, and if that angle is steep, it will stop in the floor or the ceiling, not the backstop as it should. Wood and debris from the floor or ceiling will fly, and the range officers will begin eyeballing you like buzzards above a bloody road kill. So place your targets at eye level so your bullet goes into the backstop where it should.

DON’T…
…Give unsolicited advice to complete strangers. Sure, it’s OK to politely point out or correct a major safety violation if someone is clearly being unsafe (if the range officers are non-existent), but if the good-looking girl on lane 14 would’ve wanted your advice, she’d have given you some type of signal. That’s right, like a “Hey, you” from across the range complete with “come ‘ere” wave and a tractor-beam eye hook. But 100 times out of 100 she just wanted to shoot her new Springfield a few times without being hit on as if it was closing time at Hooters. And see that cool dude with her? One of the reasons she’s with him is because he’s not always telling her what she’s doing wrong. So go back to your lane, make happy face targets with your .357, then go home and make yourself a few bachelor burritos.

DON’T…
…Let some Magnum PI-looking yahoo on lane No. 13 tell you how to shoot your own gun. I’ve seen it all too often. The minute you try to be polite by saying, “OK, thanks for the advice,” Magnum thinks he’s Steve Spurrier with a renewed license to coach. So instead, just say, “If I wanted instruction, I would’ve hired a professional,” and turn away. I hate to sound crass, but the shooting range isn’t the place to put up with this kind of nonsense. Of course, if he or she is offering good advice in a non-creepy way, and is in fact Tom Selleck, feel free to listen.

What are your public range pet peeves? Tell us in the comments! 

 

 

8 Reasons to Invest in a 9mm Pistol-Caliber Carbine

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Here is a list of compelling reasons that a PCC might just become your favorite, most-used firearm. Keep reading…

Gil Horman, NRA Publications

Just before our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I were rear-ended at high speed while making a right-hand turn. Our car was totaled and my wife suffered serious soft tissue damage to her neck and shoulder. Although she has healed over the years (the pain has never completely left her), it was a long time before she could participate in any shooting sports, let alone fire guns with stiff levels of felt recoil.

Ruger PC9
Ruger PC9

I started researching low-recoil defensive options that she could use (if you’ve ever wondered why I write about this topic as often as I do, now you know). At the time, Ruger was still making the now-discontinued PC9 Police Carbine chambered in 9mm. If not for the magazine well designed to accept Ruger P Series pistol magazines, the blowback operated PC9 could be mistaken for a 10/22. It was lightweight, compact and easy to operate. I thought my wife would be able to manage the recoil at the practice range so that it could be kept on hand as a home-defense gun. The carbine had the added benefit of using the same magazines as a Ruger 9mm pistol we owned at the time, making for an ideal home-defense pairing.

I strolled into a local gun shop and asked the college kid behind the counter to hand me a PC9 carbine off the rack for closer inspection. His face took on a subtle, but noticeable, look of distain. As if I had asked an English butler to pass me a dead mouse, he slowly reached for the rifle and with forced professionalism dropped it into my hands.

I explained why I was interested in this particular model. I was looking for a low-recoil defensive option for my wife to use. In a perfect dead-pan voice he said, “Yes, and when the ammunition runs out it will make an excellent club.” In other words, after 15 rounds of “wimpy” 9mm hollow points fired through a 16-inch barrel harmlessly bounced off the home invader, like so much confetti, my poor wife would be forced to swing for the bleachers.

This gun store conversation took place in the late 1990s when the 9mm and all of its platforms were still wrestling with the reputation of being weak defensive options. It’s a bias that’s stuck to 9mms of all sizes like glue, even the carbines. That is, until the last few years. Defensive 9mm pistols of all shapes and sizes have moved to the center of the defensive limelight. And this year in particular, pistol-caliber carbines (PCC) chambered in 9mm have enjoyed a surge in sales not seen before.

Here are eight reasons why 9mm PCCs are a good choice for home defense as well as general shooting —

ONE: A Variety of Models to Choose From
Some types of firearms are only available in limited configurations which in turn can make it a challenge to find a good fit for some shooters. This is not the case with pistol-caliber carbines. The 9mm PCC may be enjoying a new level of popularity today but it’s been manufactured by several companies for quite some time. I still hear folks talk about how much they love their Marlin Camp 9 even though the gun has been out of production since 1999. 

NOTE: CLICK ON THE PHOTO CAPTIONS TO VISIT THE WEBSITES

JRC carbines
Just Right Carbines offers a wide range of configurations.

If you enjoy working with the AR-15 type carbines, several 9mms are available from reputable manufacturers including the SIG Sauer MPX 9, and the Wilson Combat AR9. The 9mm AR models tend to come in two varieties, those with dedicated 9mm only lower receivers and those that use standard .223/5.56 lowers fitted with magazine adapters.

Some models, including the Just Right Carbine, are built around proprietary actions that accept AR-15 accessories. The receivers, barrels and controls are unique but the removable grips and six-position adjustable shoulder stocks can be swapped out for popular aftermarket AR-15 upgrades.

If the AR-15 is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other designs to enjoy. For instance, the Chiappa Firearms M1-9 is a modern variation of the WWII-era M1 carbine. One of the more unusual options (if you can find one) is the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 which folds in half for easy storage.

Kel-Tec Sub-2000
Kel-Tec Sub-2000

TWO: Proven Designs
Many semi-automatic 9mm PCC platforms use blowback-operated actions, which are among the simplest and most reliable designs available. The bolt assembly is held in place by its own weight and the recoil spring. The force of the cartridge case being pushed backwards by expanding gases cycles the bolt. That’s all there is to it. There’s little in the way of complex parts, gas tubes or pistons to worry about failing and the guns are often easier to clean and lubricate.

Chiappa M1-9
Chiappa M1-9

THREE: Pistol Magazine Compatibility
Just like the Ruger PC9 mentioned earlier, many of the modern PCC platforms feed from removable semi-automatic pistol magazines. Right now many carbines have magazine wells and bolt assemblies designed to work with the common, easy to find and inexpensive Glock factory and aftermarket magazines. This is especially convenient if you already own, or plan to buy, a Glock pistol. Companies that make pistols as well as carbines, like Beretta, often build their carbines to accept the same magazines as their handguns.



FOUR: Low Levels of Felt Recoil
I continue to be baffled by the notion that if a gun doesn’t leave the owner battered and bruised at the end of a practice session it’s not a legitimate home-defensive option. Guns don’t need to hurt the operator in order to be effective. In fact, low recoil provides a couple of important tactical advantages. Any activity associated with pain can cause us to hesitate. In a fight for your life, when every moment counts, it’s important to avoid any unnecessary hesitations that may cloud a defender’s judgment. Low recoil also aids in placing faster, more precise follow-up shots.

Sig MPX
Sig MPX

FIVE: Cheap and Plentiful Practice Ammunition

Proper practice sessions held on a regular basis are the key to mastering a carbine’s controls and to improved accuracy. The more rounds fired downrange per practice session the better. As of this writing, the only platforms I can find that are cheaper to run than the 9mm are those chambered in .22 Long Rifle. The good news is that practice-grade 9mm is more readily available than .22 (which is still experiencing shortages) and can be found in sporting goods and big-box stores around the country.





SIX: Top Notch Defense-Grade Ammunition

The 9mm cartridge is not just popular in the United States, it’s one of the most common calibers used around the world for military, law enforcement, and civilian applications. Millions of dollars have gone into improving bullet designs and overall cartridge effectiveness. More +P loadings are available now than ever before. This improvement in cartridge performance combined with carbine magazine capacities ranging from 17 to 33 rounds provides a level of firepower not to be taken lightly, especially at home-defense distances.

9mm defensive ammo
There is effective 9mm defensive ammo available, and it’s made more so via the higher velocities attained when fired through a 16-inch barrel.

SEVEN: Improved Ammunition Performance
Generally speaking, 9mm pistols are constructed with barrels somewhere between 3- to 5-inches in length. Carbines, on the other hand, are usually fitted with 16-inch barrels. This increased length boosts the performance of the cartridge because of the longer powder burn time, which increases velocity, and additional rifling that improves bullet stability.

The degree to which performance improves when using a carbine depends on the load fired. But in some cases, especially with +P ammunition, the increase in downrange energy is impressive. This table shows some of the 16-inch barrel performance results gleaned from carbine tests posted to this website along with the manufacturers’ listed pistol velocities for comparison.

The standard velocity loads shown here demonstrated a velocity increase of 101 to 238 fps. resulting in bullet energy going up by 70 to 153 ft.-lbs. when fired through a 16-inch barrel. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But it’s the +P loads that seem to benefit the most from the longer barrel. Velocity jumped between 173 to 684 fps. increasing bullet energy by 94 to 356 ft.-lbs. 



EIGHT: Flexible and Fun To Shoot
Whenever possible, it makes sense to invest in firearms that can fill multiple roles instead of just one. The 9mm PCCs fall into this category. These platforms are ideal for informal plinking, target shooting, home defense, or riding along as a trunk gun. I’ve heard that a good sized part of what is driving the new interest in these guns are the new divisions in 3-Gun and other practical-style competitions that allow the use of 9mm carbines. Imagine spending a day honing your shooting skills at a match, getting home, giving your carbine a quick cleaning, and then staging the gun you know inside and out to defend your home in case of an emergency. That’s about as flexible as a gun gets.

Texas Legislative Wrap-Up: More Great News for Gun Owners

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Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker visited with TSRA Legislative Director Alice Tripp at the Texas House of Representatives Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee hearings in Austin earlier this year. Edwin testified on a number of pending bills.

The 85th Texas Legislature adjourned on May 29, and in the session, legislators passed several bills that enhance gun-owners’ rights in the state. Following are descriptions of several bills that have passed the Legislature and have either been signed or are awaiting Gov. Abbott’s signature:

H.B. 1819

Purpose: Creates Texas Penal Code § 46.05(a)(7) which states that firearm silencers that are curios or relics, or are possessed, manufactured, transported, repaired, or sold in compliance with federal law, are not prohibited weapons. This means that if the federal “Hearing Protection Act of 2017” becomes law and removes firearm silencers from ATF regulation under the NFA, they will no longer be prohibited weapons under TPC §46.05.

Amends Texas Penal Code § 46.05 to state that prohibited weapons does not include those weapons that are not subject to the ATF registration requirement. This means that since the ATF has chosen not to regulate the Mossberg Shockwave as a short-barreled shotgun under the NFA that it is not prohibited under TPC § 46.05(a)(1)(C).

Signed by the Gov.: May 26, 2017

Effective: September 1, 2017

S.B. 16

Purpose: Amends Texas Government Code § 411.174(a) to reduce the fee for an LTC application to $40. Amends TGC § 411.185(a) to reduce the renewal fee for an LTC to $40.

Amends TGC § 411.190(c) to reduce the application fee for LTC instructors to $40.

Amends TGC § 411.194(a) to reduce the fee for a duplicate or modified LTC (currently $25) by half and reduces the renewal fee to $5, for an indigent person.

Amends TGC § 411.190(c) to reduce the application fee for LTC instructors to $40.

Amends TGC § 411.195(a) to reduce the fee for a duplicate or modified LTC (currently $25) by half and reduces the renewal fee to $5, for a person who is 60 or over.

Amends TGC § 411.1991(d) to eliminate LTC fees for peace officers.

Signed by Gov.: May 26, 2017

Effective: September 1, 2017

H.B. 435

Purpose: Creates Texas Penal Code § 46.01(18) which is a Volunteer Emergency Service Personnel (VESP), that includes volunteer firefighters, volunteer emergency medical services, or any individual who provides services for the general public during emergency situations. It specifically does not include peace officers or reserve LEOs, who are performing law enforcement duties.

Creates an exception to TPC §§ 30.06 & 30.07 for VESPs who are LTC holders.

Creates an exception to the prohibited places listed in TPC § 46.035(b)&(c) for VESPs who are LTC holders and engaged in providing emergency services. Creates a new exemption under TPC § 46.15 to the prohibited places under TPC §§ 46.02 & 46.03, for VESPs who are LTC holders and engaged in providing emergency services.

Creates an exemption to the prohibited places under TPC §§ 46.02, 46.03, & 46.035 (except correctional facilities) for LTC holders who are the attorney general, assistant attorney generals, United States Attorney, assistant United States Attorney.

Creates an exemption to Texas Government Code § 411.209 for 10 specifically listed state hospitals that can exclude handguns carried by LTC holders via a posted sign.   Also, creates a civil fine for an LTC holder who violates the sign, in addition to the existing criminal penalty.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

S.B. 263

Purpose: Amends Texas Government Code § 411.188(a) to remove the minimum caliber requirement for the firearm used to qualify during the range portion for an LTC.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

H.B. 913

Purpose: Creates Texas Penal Code § 46.01(18) (the numbering conflicts with H.B. 435) which defines Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to be a completed and operational bomb. It specifically does not include the unassembled components or an exploding target used for firearms practice, i.e. Tannerite.

Creates TPC § 46.05(7) (numbering conflicts with H.B. 1819) to add IEDs to the list of prohibited weapons.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

S.B. 1566

Purpose: Creates Texas Education Code § 37.0815 to prohibit school districts and charter schools from having employment rules that prohibit school employees who are LTC holders from keeping handguns, firearms, or ammunition, that is not in plain view, in a private, locked motor vehicle in a school-owned parking area. This does not allow a school employee to exhibit a firearm to cause alarm or personal injury or to violate TPC §§ 46.03 or 46.035.  It is important to remember that this law applies only to school employees who are LTC holders. School employees who are not LTC holders continue to be subject to school employment rules under Texas Labor Code §52.062(a)(2)(B)&(C).

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

H.B. 1935

Purpose: Amends Texas Penal Code § 46.01(6) to remove the term “Illegal” knife and create the term “Location restricted” knife. Knives will no longer be classified as throwing knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, poniard, bowie knife, sword, or spear. The only requirement to be a “Location restricted” knife is having a blade over 5 ½ inches long, from the guard to the tip.

Creates TPC § 46.02(a-4), which prohibits a person under the age of 18 from carrying a location restricted knife except on their own property, their motor vehicle or watercraft, or under the direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian.

Creates TPC § 46.03(a-1) which adds the following prohibited places for location restricted knives to the list of weapons prohibited places already in TPC § 46.03. These places include 51% businesses, high school, collegiate, professional sporting events or interscholastic events, correctional facilities, hospitals, nursing facilities, mental hospitals, amusement parks, and places of religious worship. The offense for taking a location restricted knife into the premises of a school or educational institution is a 3rd-degree felony. The offense for taking a location restricted knife into any other prohibited place is a Class C misdemeanor. There is no requirement to give notice of the location restricted knife prohibition, i.e. no 30.06 or 30.07 criminal trespass notice, or 51% business establishment notice needed.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

H.B. 3784

Purpose: Amends Texas Government Code § 411.188 to allow for online LTC classroom qualification courses. The range portion of the LTC qualification must be done in person by a qualified instructor who will also provide an additional 1-2 hours of range instruction prior to shooting.

Amends TGC § 411.190 to create qualifications for online instruction certification.

Creates TGC §411.1993 to allow for licensed county jailers to qualify for an LTC without additional training.

Creates TGC § 411.1994 to allow for state correctional officers to qualify for an LTC without additional training.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

H.B. 867

Purpose: Creates Texas Education Code § 37.0813, that extends the school marshal program to private schools.

Amends TEC § 37.0811 to allow for one school marshal per 200 students instead of 400 students or allows for one school marshal per building on a school campus.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

S.B. 2065

Purpose: Created Texas Occupations Code § 1702.333, to allow places of religious worship to have volunteer security teams without being licensed by the TxDPS as a security guard or security company. In order to qualify under this provision, the members need to be unpaid volunteers and not wear a uniform or badge that says “Security” or gives the appearance of being a police officer, personal protection officer, or security officer. There is no restriction on members of the security team who are LTC holders from carrying their handguns.

This is still awaiting action by Gov. Abbott. If signed, it will become effective on September 1, 2017.

—Compiled and written by Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker, a lawyer with the Walker & Byington firm in Houston.

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

The “purple paint law” became official in Texas on September 1, 1997. The law doesn’t appear to be common knowledge for every hunter in the Lone Star State, even though Texas hunting regulations describe it.
Can your employer restrict your ability to carry firearms at the workplace? Click to watch Emily Taylor, Independent Program Attorney with Walker & Byington, explain that in Texas, employers call the shots regarding workplace self-defense.
In this excerpt from a U.S. Law Shield News live report, watch Emily Taylor, independent program attorney with Walker & Byington, discuss the ground rules for carrying firearms into restaurants and bars. Click the video below to find out the significant differences between blue signs and red signs in Texas establishments, and how getting those colors crossed up could lead to some orange jumpsuit time.   If you would like to see these reports live on Facebook, click here to join the Texas Law Shield Facebook page and sign up for live notifications.

Campus Carry — Very Safe, Despite Worries from Anti-Gunners

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By: John R. Lott Jr., Ph.D.

My recent op-ed in The Hill newspaper points out that while professors seem to be very concerned about allowing permitted concealed handguns on college campuses, their actions don’t match their rhetoric. While a professor’s resignation at the University of Kansas gets national news attention, for example, only one out of 2,600 faculty members has left his or her post at the school.

In my column, I point out that permit holders across the country have an astoundingly low rate of criminality — even lower than police officers. Permits have been revoked for firearms-related violations at rates of thousandths of one percentage point. Civilian permit holders are less likely than police officers to be convicted of a firearms violation. So, many academics’ worries about the potential for shoot-outs on campuses are overblown, if you just consider the data.

For instance, a Crime Prevention Research Center study shows that from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, the yearly rate of misdemeanors and felonies by full-time police officers was .102 percent. The annual rate for Texas’ concealed-carry permit holders in the year 2015, the year campus carry was signed into law in that state, was .0102 percent, or one-tenth the rate of LE violations.

Also, from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, the yearly rate for firearms violations was .017 percent. The annual rate for Texas’ concealed-carry permit holders in 2015 was .0024 percent.

In the column, I argue the purported danger in campus carry has not materialized, even though campus carry has been in effect in some states for 14 years—it became law in Colorado in 2003 and in Utah in 2004, and has become law in numerous other states since then, including Arkansas and Georgia this year. That’s enough time and enough data to have at least noticed a spike in campus criminality by concealed-carry license holders if it had happened.  —Texas & U.S. Law Shield Contributor Dr. John Lott, Jr.

John R. Lott Jr., Ph.D. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “The War on Guns” (Regnery, 2016).

 

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

The “purple paint law” became official in Texas on September 1, 1997. The law doesn’t appear to be common knowledge for every hunter in the Lone Star State, even though Texas hunting regulations describe it.
Can your employer restrict your ability to carry firearms at the workplace? Click to watch Emily Taylor, Independent Program Attorney with Walker & Byington, explain that in Texas, employers call the shots regarding workplace self-defense.
In this excerpt from a U.S. Law Shield News live report, watch Emily Taylor, independent program attorney with Walker & Byington, discuss the ground rules for carrying firearms into restaurants and bars. Click the video below to find out the significant differences between blue signs and red signs in Texas establishments, and how getting those colors crossed up could lead to some orange jumpsuit time.   If you would like to see these reports live on Facebook, click here to join the Texas Law Shield Facebook page and sign up for live notifications.

John Vlieger Reviews Hornady HAP 9mm

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By John Vlieger:

The HAP (Hornady Action Pistol) bullet is the renowned XTP jacketed hollow point without the grooves cut into the jacket, simplifying the manufacturing process. What you end up with is an accurate,  consistent, and economically priced jacketed bullet. Reloading data is available for this bullet from multiple manufacturers, there’s no coating to shave off or exposed lead to worry about, and it doesn’t break the bank when you want to buy in bulk. In the video below I put the HAP 9mm bullets up against a few steel targets, and give you some more info. The sound on the video is a little muffled, due to a windy day at the range.

I load and shoot over 20,000 rounds of ammunition a year, so when I’m shopping for loading components, the main things I look for are economy, ease of use, and consistency. The Hornady 115 grain HAP bullet meets all of those requirements and more for competition and target shooting. 115 grain bullets are an industry standard for 9mm and most guns should be able to run them right out of the box, so using it as a go to bullet weight makes a lot of sense.

Midsouth now exclusively has the Hornady 9mm HAP bullets at plated bullet prices. Click Here to head over, load your own, and put them to the test!

Priced for Plinkers, Built for Pros!

EVALUATION: Which is Better For CCW, 9mm or .380?

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For the ultimate in concealment and also comfort, a small-framed handgun is great, but consider caliber selection carefully. Here are a few thoughts on a common debate…

Jeff Johnston, NRA Family

9mm vs .380

So, you want a gun for concealed carry, but you can’t decide between the venerable 9mm and the handy .380 Auto. While I’m not going to solve the debate for everyone, I will provide you with some facts and insights to make your choice easier. Before we get started, however, there are some points you should know:

Water capacity is the standard measurement for case capacity comparison, because powder volumes vary.

Due to the laws of physics, any given cartridge will produce less perceived recoil if fired from a heavier gun, while a lighter gun will result in more.

Less recoil, in general, means more accurate shooting and faster followup shots. Gun writers call this “shootability,” although it’s definitely a very subjective term.

9mm Luger
The 9mm Luger (aka 9mmX19, 9mm Parabellum) is likely America’s most popular handgun cartridge because it offers a balance of power, shootability, reliability and concealability. Because of these traits, the cartridge has become so popular that it has gained another advantage: options. If you choose 9mm, you are immediately granted myriad options in loads, handgun models and accessories for your new gun.

A 9mmx19 cartridge features a bullet that is 9mm, or .355 inches in diameter. Bullet weights range from 80 to 147 grains with 115- and 124-grain bullets being the most popular. Its case is .380 inches in diameter, 19mm long and can hold a maximum of 10 grains of water. A typical 9mm Luger load contains about 6 grains of powder used to propel a 115-grain bullet to 1,000 feet per second (fps) out of a 2.75-inch barrel. (Velocities increase along with barrel length.) This produces approximately 255 ft.-lbs. energy while generating 5.36 ft.-lbs. of recoil energy from a pistol weighing 1 pound.

Walther CCP
9mms are available that are just about as small in size as .380s, like this Walther CCP, but keep in mind that the smaller and lighter the gun, the harder it’s going to kick.

.380 ACP
Firearms chambered in .380 Automatic Colt Pistol (aka, .380 Auto, 9mmx17, .380 Browning Court, 9mm Short, .380 Corto) are continuing to grow in popularity. That’s because the cartridge, with its very short case, can be made to function safely and efficiently in extremely small-framed guns. Because the pressures produced by the little cartridge aren’t excessive, the guns don’t require pounds of steel reinforcement, like, for instance a .44 Magnum. Yet the cartridge is more powerful than other small-framed guns such as .22 LR, .25 ACP and .32 S&W. Yet even in a lightweight gun such as the 10-ounce Ruger LCP, recoil is mild thanks to the .380’s modest ballistic data. Consider the following specifications:

The .380 Auto features the same diameter bullet as the 9mm and the same diameter case, yet it is shorter at 17mm in case length. It can hold a maximum of 5.3 grains of water. A typical load carries roughly 3 grains of powder that propels a 95-grain bullet at 845 fps to produce 151 ft.-lbs. of energy from a 2.75-inch barrel. It produces about 2.76 ft.-lbs. recoil energy from a 1-pound firearm.

So, when compared to the 9mm Luger, the .380 is smaller, lighter in recoil but not as powerful when it strikes a target. Now let’s take a look at the numbers in more detail.

WALTHER PPK
The venerable Walther PPK is a well-proven and very concealable .380 that still maintains great shootability.

Head to Head
While 255 ft.-lbs. of bullet energy from the muzzle of a 9mm Luger is not a lot in the firearm world — consider that an average .30-06 deer rifle produces around 2,500 ft.-lbs. energy — a 9mm’s energy is far greater than a .22lr’s piddly 105 ft.-lbs. and many other smaller calibers. It has about 68 percent more energy than the .380 Auto. The question then: Is this extra power worth the 9mm’s extra weight and recoil?

If all things are equal, more velocity means greater penetration. A 9mm Luger typically out-penetrates .380 Auto bullets, but not as much as you might think. That may be due to the fact that the 9mm’s extra energy causes its bullets to expand to a slightly greater diameter, and expansion retards penetration due to greater surface area. But if two bullets penetrate the same distance, the one that has greatest surface area is best because it produces more tissue damage. No doubt, due to its advantage in velocity and energy, the 9mm Luger is the clear winner in terminal performance.

But for the same reasons, the .380 wins in shootability, with one caveat. Because the .380 has 94 percent less recoil (if fired from an equal-weight gun), it’s easier to shoot. But, you must consider that 9mms are typically a few ounces heavier than guns chambered in .380, and so the extra weight reduces that 94-percent figure considerably. Also, the smaller the gun, the smaller its grip and the more recoil it has. So a .380’s advantage in shootability is somewhat negated when fired from the smallest guns available in that chambering. You should also remember that “shootability” isn’t everything, or we’d all carry peashooters. Carry caliber choice, until the laws of physics are altered, boils down to finding a tradeoff between shootability, gun size, and power that works for you. It’s important to remember that the bigger gun you get, the tougher it is to conceal, but the easier it is to shoot.

Some of the smallest and most concealable guns made –which still maintain the prerequisite features for serious carry consideration — are chambered in .380 Auto due to the cartridge’s diminutive size. Examples are the 8.3-ounce Kel-Tec P3AT, the 9.97-ounce Kahr P380, and the 8.8-ounce Diamondback DB380. (All these guns weigh just under a pound when fully loaded.) On average, 9mm versions of these guns weigh 4 to 5 ounces more. Five ounces doesn’t seem like much, but for most people it’s the difference between a true pocket gun that you can wear in your front jeans or shorts pocket without it pulling down your pants, and a 20-ounce (fully loaded) gun for which you probably need a belt and a holster. In terms of pure concealability, the .380 is the clear winner.

For options and choices, the 9mm wins again. More gun models at all price ranges, holsters, ammo and accessories can be found for it than perhaps any handgun (with the possible exception of the 1911). One notable option here is ammunition. The 9mm, because of its larger case capacity, can be downloaded to a .380’s velocity if needed, or uploaded to +P status where it can produce velocities of 1,200 fps and energies nearing 400 ft.-lbs. if called for.

Lastly, while there is no discernible difference in reliability between the cartridges themselves, bear in mind that, in general, lighter-weight guns are less reliable than heavier guns of equal quality. So, if you choose a .380 in a 10-ounce gun, while it shouldn’t jam often, it will likely experience more malfunctions over time than a full-sized handgun would. That’s just how it is.

Hornady .380 ammo.
With a round as small as .380 ACP choose the ammo wisely. The newer breed of specialty loads such as the Hornady Critical Defense series adds some security to a decision to choose a smaller handgun for defense. See Midsouth offerings HERE.

ATF Sued for Records Classifying AR-15 Ammunition as ‘Armor-Piercing’

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Judicial Watch, the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) seeking records of communications inside the agency when it was considering reclassifying certain types of AR-15 ammunition as armor-piercing—and effectively banning it from civilian use.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-00600)).

Members who want to understand the precise statutory definition of ‘armor-piercing ammunition’ can find it in 18 U.S.C §921(a)(17).

In March 2015, more than 200 members of Congress wrote to former ATF director Todd Jones expressing their “serious concern” that the proposal might violate the Second Amendment by restricting ammunition that had been primarily used for “sporting purposes.”  The letter asserted the ATF’s move “does not comport with the letter or spirit of the law and will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law-abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes.”

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the agency failed to respond to a March 9, 2015, FOIA request seeking information on the ammo ban effort:

  • All records of communications, including emails, to or from employees or officials of the ATF related to the decision to revise the ATF 2014 Regulation Guide to no longer exempt 5.56 mm. SS109 and M855 (i.e., “green tip” AR-15) ammunition from the definition of “armor-piercing” ammunition.

“This is yet another example of how Obama’s wanton use of the ‘pen and the phone’ attempted to undermine the constitutional rights of all Americans, as opposed to upholding the rule of law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama ATF simply ignored our request on their ammo ban. Let’s hope the Trump administration finally brings transparency to this out-of-control agency.”

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations, in state or out of state. Click to watch Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington explain various park rules controlling where you can — and definitely cannot — take your gun. And please take the poll at the bottom to tell us if you take firearms with you on vacation. All poll responses are completely confidential.

SKILLS: The Myth of the “Perfect Stance”

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Adapting to any situation is a very important ability in handgun shooting, competition or defense. Here’s a few ideas on how to hit the target — no matter what!

Team Springfield

Rob Leatham stance.

We all strive for perfection — but sometimes perfection is not possible. When it comes to shooting stance, a scenario will often force you to use an “imperfect” stance. So how do you train so you can still make your hits?

FINDING THE BALANCE POINT
Expecting to obtain the perfect “training” shooting stance is all well and good. But it’s not realistic. When it comes to real-life fast-shooting or competition scenarios, your stance has to be about getting acceptable hits on target as quickly as possible. It’s always a speed versus accuracy equation. You sometimes have to make “less than optimal” work in order to win.

The fact of the matter is that driving your torso forward while you’re shooting (to accommodate for recoil) helps resist pushing your frame back, keeping you in control and on target.

Don’t let your balance move to your heels. Trying to be comfortable and statically balanced is wrong. You have to absorb and resist the forces of recoil — and that is hard to do standing straight up.

“PERFECT” IS JUST AN ILLUSION
Achieving the perfect shooting stance isn’t a reliable goal. In fact, there are drills you can try that prove that, even in a non-ideal shooting scenario, your body will know what to do to achieve a stance that still maintains accuracy.

Place a target at desired distance.

Put a short obstacle in your shooting area, such as a chair.

Begin moving around the obstacle.

Shoot at the target while continually moving around the obstacle.

Keep moving until the mag is empty.

The beauty of it is, your body compensates for the movement and learns how to move and find balance. So quit trying for perfection in your stance — your body will instinctively know what to do.

Check out the video HERE

Here’s the Basic Gear You’ll Need for USPSA & IDPA

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By Justin Smith

Action shooting sports like USPSA, IDPA, and 3-Gun can seem intimidating, and a lot of interested shooters will never get around to participating in a match.

In this video, I discuss action shooting equipment basics: the bare essentials required to get through a match. And I promise…it’s not going to make your head spin, and it’s not going to break the bank.

Not only do folks express concern over “not being good enough yet,” but the equipment aspect of the game can also drive people away. Understandable. If you catch a 3-Gun competition on TV or watch a Steel Challenge shoot at your local range, you’ll often see a wide variety of fancy race guns, speed holsters, shirts covered in company logos, specialty athletic shoes, and a whole lot more. But here’s the crazy thing. You don’t need special equipment. You don’t need a $3,000 “space gun” attached to your belt, and you don’t need Solomon Trail Runners on your feet. All you need is some basic gear (which you’ve probably got already), respect for firearms safety, and a good attitude. That’s it. That’s all it takes.

“Run what ya brung” is a popular saying in action shooting, and some of the best shooters in the world still compete with relatively basic stuff. By all means, once (not if) you get hooked on the game, go out and upgrade. Until then…keep it simple.

-Justin Smith

Look for a more in-depth look at competitive shooting gear in our next issue! You can find more of Justin’s videos HERE!

TEST: EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer Pistol

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If you’re looking for a lightweight full-size 1911, and one with premium features and performance, check out this one…

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer

Courtesy American Rifleman Staff

John Browning’s M1911 pistol has been with us for more than 105 years now, and it is still a viable gun for personal defense, military use and competition. Manufactured by numerous companies, the M1911 pistol’s longevity is a tribute to its sound design. The Italian firm of Tanfoglio has combined the century-old mechanism with modern polymer manufacturing to produce a new take on the classic single-stack M1911. Imported by European American Armory, the polymer-frame Witness Elite 1911 Polymer .45 ACP pistol weighs 25 percent less than a comparable steel-frame M1911, without sacrificing accuracy or controllability.

The keys to the Witness Elite’s frame are the two steel inserts that handle the firing stresses, incorporate the gun’s frame rails and locate critical pins. A simple roll pin is used to retain the forward insert within the synthetic frame. It combines the feed ramp and the bottom barrel lug recess, as well as the hole for the slide stop pin, which captures the barrel’s link. The inserts also have slide rails machined into them to ensure there is no metal-to-plastic contact. To facilitate feeding, the feed ramp has been polished.

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer exlpoded view

The rear insert slides into the back of the polymer frame and is retained by the two upper “stock screws.” It has an integral ejector machined into it. The rear insert also contains the holes that locate the sear and hammer pins. In this way, there is no possibility of the holes becoming elongated or cracking, as would be possible if they were part of the polymer frame. Tanfoglio also laser engraves the gun’s serial number onto the rear block insert. There’s a steel plate inserted along the dustcover’s Picatinny rail section with the same serial number.

Tanfoglio uses standard mil-spec dimensions for the rail, so it will accommodate any number of tactical lights and lasers. Faux stock panels are molded into the frame and are checkered to provide the shooter with a secure grip. The gun’s frontstrap has been left untextured. Tanfoglio solved one of the original weak points of the M1911 by molding an integral plunger tube into the frame, eliminating any chance of the part loosening and disabling the thumb safety.

In addition to the frame, Tanfoglio also makes a number of other parts on the gun from polymer. The arched mainspring housing is polymer, as is the magazine release, recoil spring cap and guide and trigger stirrup.

Tanfoglio outfits the polymer Witness with a steel beavertail grip safety and a standard manual thumb safety, which engages and disengages crisply. A number of our evaluators opined that they would prefer the pistol have an extended thumb safety for more sure manipulation and a shelf on which to rest while firing. Fortunately, most M1911 aftermarket parts, including the thumb safety, will work with the Witness Elite 1911 Polymer pistol — though the safety may require some fitting to its sear.

The EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer weighs 25 percent less than a comparable steel-frame M1911. However, the pistol’s components, disassembly and manual of arms all maintain the M1911 tradition, despite the gun’s modern construction.

There’s really nothing different about the pistol’s top end that would differentiate it from a standard M1911’s slide and barrel. In fact, the slide assembly could easily be used on a steel- or aluminum-frame gun without any modifications. Tanfoglio uses a stainless steel, match-grade barrel. It is throated and polished to feed most bullet profiles. The slide itself is machined from a nickel-steel alloy and is finished with a utilitarian, flat, black-oxide treatment. Its ejection port is lowered and flared for positive and unimpeded ejection, and an original-style internal extractor is used. Both sights are dovetailed into the slide and are drift-adjustable for windage. Together they present a bold sight picture.

To test the gun’s accuracy, we set our targets out at 25 yds. and fired all groups from a seated rest utilizing a Millett Benchmaster for support. Five groups were fired with each ammunition, with the results tabulated nearby. The Witness Elite 1911 Polymer exhibited excellent accuracy, with all loads tested averaging near 1.5-inch groups at 25 yds. The clean sight picture of the gun, combined with its crisp, 4-lb. trigger pull, made shooting the Witness Elite a pleasure. Black Hill’s 230-gr. FMJ load produced the best accuracy, averaging under an inch for all five groups and yielding the single best five-shot group, which measured just 0.82 inches.

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer performance

In field shooting, there was no discernible difference in time between shots while performing controlled pairs with the polymer Witness and a steel-frame M1911. Recoil seemed just a tad snappier than the steel-frame gun, but was very manageable. Our sample gun provided excellent reliability with no stoppages or failures of any sort during our 400-round evaluation.

The Witness Elite 1911 Polymer pistol fieldstrips in the same manner as any other M1911. Tanfoglio does not recommend removing the steel inserts from the frame for routine cleaning. There is nothing to be gained with their removal, and the pistol can be thoroughly cleaned with them in place.

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer
European American Armory, importers of the Italian-made Tangfolio Witness line of pistols, has produced the 1911 P, a polymer-frame design that allows for reduced weight while retaining the interchangeability of M1911 parts.

Tanfoglio has done an exemplary job of taking an established design and modernizing the manufacturing process to create a lightweight version of a proven pistol, without changing its operating characteristics. At a suggested retail price of $580, the EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer pistol should appeal to those in search of a lightweight M1911 for sport or defense.

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer specifications

See manufacturer-provided information HERE