Category Archives: Pistol

Review and Retrospect: The Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

One of the most iconic and unforgettable handguns, Dr. Dabbs spends some trigger time on Harry’s Hogleg. READ IT ALL

model 29
The Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum is as cool a handgun as has ever been crafted. Immortalized by Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character, the Model 29 exudes an archetypical American power vibe.

model 29

Will Dabbs MD

“I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?”

Words can be powerful. Nations go to war over words. People fall in love over the turn of a phrase. Words can be frivolous, powerful, dangerous, or inane. These particular words, likely penned by the legendary John Milius and spoken by Clint Eastwood in character as Dirty Harry Callahan, are some of the coolest ever captured on film. But for a remarkable turn of fate, they could have been uttered so much differently.

Dirty Harry defined Clint Eastwood’s career. Harry was originally supposed to be played by Frank Sinatra. The role was also offered to John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen, George C. Scott, and Paul Newman. They all passed on the project citing its excessive violence. It was on the strength of Newman’s recommendation that the producers offered the role to Eastwood.

If ever there was a firearm that should receive title billing in a movie it was the Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum used in Dirty Harry. The synergistic combination of Eastwood’s inimitable presence and the Model 29’s unparalleled power created an enduring cinematic icon. At a time when the Age of Aquarius threatened to castrate American virility, Dirty Harry gently reminded the world that we Americans were still the baddest boys on the block.

Origin Story
Elmer Keith was the father of the .44 Magnum. In the early 1950’s Elmer began experimenting with the .44 Special cartridge to produce something more powerful and therefore better suited for big game hunting. Once he devised the round he approached Smith and Wesson and Remington about producing a gun to fire it. The S&W Model 29 first drew breath on December 15, 1955, and was offered for retail sale a month later with an MSRP of $140. That’s about $1,280 today.

big revolve rounds
The .44 Magnum is a big round. Shown here from left to right are the 9mm Parabellum, .45ACP, .44 Magnum, and .500 S&W Magnum.

The S&W Model 29 evolved through ten different sub-variants between the mid-1950’s and the present. The gun has always been popular, but the 1971 release of Dirty Harry made it difficult for dealers to keep them stocked. While the pistol and cartridge have been subsequently eclipsed by such beasts as the .454 Casull and .500 S&W Magnum, in its day the .44 Magnum was indeed the most powerful production handgun in the world.

The Model 29 starts with a carbon steel frame and includes a fixed red ramp up front as well as an adjustable rear sight. The single action/double action trigger is wide and comfortable sporting the same slick greasy mechanicals for which Smith is justifiably revered. The 6.5-inch carbon steel barrel gives the gun an overall length of an even foot. The Model 29 has been produced in a variety of barrel lengths, but this one was Harry’s.

The cylinder, frame, and barrel are all beautifully blued, while the unpretentious walnut grips exude a timeless American power vibe. There is just something mystical about the synergy of all these graceful lines that causes an inevitable surge in serum testosterone. Just gazing upon it will make your heart race.

model 29 cylinder
The Model 29’s greasy smooth action makes reloads fast by revolver standards.

Range Report
Question my manhood if you must, but I do not find running the Model 29 .44 Magnum to be a particularly enjoyable experience. The Model 29 will push less energetic .44 Special rounds as well, and those are indeed fun. Full power .44 Magnum loads, however, peg my funmeter in fairly short order.

The greasy smooth double action/single action trigger should hang in the Louvre as the very physical manifestation of mechanical art. The gun’s particulars like the cylinder release, ejector, cylinder fit, and sights are the embodiment of ballistic perfection. Prodigious recoil notwithstanding, the gun shoots better than do I out to fifty meters or more.

The classic blued Model 29 with its Dirty Harry-esque 6.5-inch barrel is currently offered on the Smith and Wesson website with an MSRP of $1,169. Adjusted for inflation this is about what they cost back in 1956. You don’t typically buy one of these massive wheelguns to really shoot much. Most of us just stare lovingly at ours. Simply hefting the thing will reliably give you the tiniest little twitch to your eye and sprinkle a little gravel in your voice. In a pinch it will also likely blow a man’s head clean off.

model 29 accuracy
The Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum is capable of fine combat accuracy.

model 29 accuracymodel 29 specs

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

SKILLS: Cut Your Reaction Time (UHR)

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Trainer Steve Tarani shares his tips and tricks on increasing speed by decreasing time. KEEP READING

tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

The martial arts offer an age-old perspective on something critically important to your shooting performance — reaction time. Employing a punch, a round kick, an edged weapon or a firearm in self-defense means that you’re reacting to a rapid and dynamic escalation of force. Your objective is to stop or gain control of that escalation. The single most important factor in meeting that objective is time.

TICK TOCK
Both your dearest friend (when in ample supply), and adamant foe (when turned against you), time, in any self-defense situation with or without a firearm, is a double-edged sword.

“Reactionary Gap,” is a term applied to the amount of space at your disposal in response to a real-world active threat. The greater the reactionary gap, the more time you have. The smaller gap, the less time.

Physical violence that causes you to go to guns in defense of life or limb, usually means a minimal reactionary gap. Relying on precision shooting when fighting for your life at extreme close quarters, may not be your very best bet. However, having true reactive shooting skills in your tool kit will help make optimal usage of time.

REACTIVE SHOOTING SCHOOL
Founded (more than 40 years ago) by former FBI Special Agent and renowned professional competition shooter, Bill Rogers, this is a reactive shooting school that trains you to do just that — shoot reactively.

rogers school

If you’re a student of defensive handgun and you’ve never been, the Rogers Shooting School, located in Ellijay, GA, is a very worthwhile training investment. Reactive shooting is unlike any other, in that, just like the real world, you don’t have much time to react. The Rogers system demands alacrity in both effective gun handling and marksmanship.

According to Bill, we humans have an average “Unit of Human Reaction” (UHR) time measured to be approximately .25 seconds. It’s the measurable amount of time your computer (brain) needs to process stimulus response. Although the aggregate may be about a quarter of a second, this is a very subjective measurement and can vary from shooter to shooter.

One way to find your UHR is to use your shot timer. At your next practice session, face down range. Load up. No target required. Point your muzzle into the berm and take up as much slack in the trigger (if any / as possible) without sending the round down range.

shot timer

BEEP, BOOM
With the timer set to random (to provide more of an unknown variable — like the real world), have a buddy hold it to your ear. When you hear the beep, break the shot. Beep — boom, it’s that simple. The time registered between beep (stimulus — your sensory input followed by computer interpretation) and boom (response — signal from your brain box down the neural pathways leading to your trigger finger) is your approximate UHR. Run it several times to find your average.

Taking this average as your par time, you can use it to measure that initial critical step (interpretation and processing of life-threatening information) in making rapid and accurate round placement from concealment. Depending upon your skill level, running this drill repeatedly will better familiarize you with operating in fractions of a second and, in the long run, eventually lower your reaction time (UHR).

Reducing your UHR allows you to get to your gun faster because it lessens the amount of time required in decision making — which is a significant and contributing factor in the processing time from initial stimulus to response.

Given that the purpose of defensive shooting is to make combat-effective round placement in a timely manner when reacting to an active threat, time is not on your side. Reducing your UHR by even one tenth of a second shortens your overall time in placing a warranted first round on threat.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to using a shot timer at the range, look for and run other “drills” or training opportunities in your day where you may be able to work on reduction of your UHR. Such innocuous training as opening the microwave door during the countdown just as you see the one-second display, but prior to the beep, is a good drill.

Another training opportunity is when driving and sitting first in line at a red light. With your foot on the brake and your eyes on the traffic light — not on your cell phone — the split second you see the light change from red to green, move your foot off the brake pedal, faster than you normally would, but with good control to not stomp on that gas pedal. In fact, you want to make very light placement on that gas pedal. This action is similar to getting on your trigger quickly from the holster, in rapid control, but without disturbing muzzle alignment with the target.

Using these and similar reactionary gap training drills can help you to continually be cognizant of and work on reducing your reaction times. After a couple of months of running these, remeasure your presentation times. You may be pleasantly surprised with the performance benefits of cutting your UHR.

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

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.

SKILLS: 5 Tips To Avoid Printing With Your Concealed Carry

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Tips from the pros help prevent “standing out” in a crowd. READ MORE

printing

SOURCE: Team Springfield

The word “printing” has a whole different meaning for those with a concealed carry permit… Of course, it refers to “giving away” the fact you’re carrying because of an obvious gun outline or shape glaring away. This is one of the major mistakes you want to avoid and can land you in some pretty sticky situations if you fail to follow certain practices. Instead of taking a “let’s see what happens” approach, it’s best to spend time practicing specific forms and techniques.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A CONCEALED CARRY FIREARM?
There is somewhat of a debate among firearm owners and those with concealed carry permits. What constitutes a concealed carry firearm? For example, does it have to be a small, pocket-sized firearm? Or, can it be a larger model that is still hidden from view? While concealed firearms are generally considered to be “small,” the reality is that it just has to be hidden from sight. Regardless of whether you have a small or large firearm, hiding it from plain sight requires that you avoid printing.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING PRINTING
As said, “printing” refers to the visible outline of a firearm underneath an individual’s clothing. Regardless of the size of your firearm, printing is a very real possibility. To avoid this, it’s important to consider the following solutions:

ONE: Wear the right clothing. The number one cause of printing is a poor choice of clothing. While it’s fairly easy to conceal during the winter, it is more difficult during the hot summer months. Consider buying loose shirts and tucking in when possible.

TWO: Choose the right holster. Everyone’s body type differs, so it’s difficult to claim that one holster is better than another. For best results, try out multiple types — including over the shoulder, waist, and ankle holsters — to see what works best for you.

THREE: Pay attention to movement. The way you move is just as important as what you wear. When concealing in your waistband, try bending with your knees instead of your waist. When wearing an ankle holster, avoid situations in which you are required to stretch or reach.

FOUR: Ask for advice. Before leaving the house, ask a friend, spouse, or family member whether they can spot the outline of your firearm. If they know what they are looking for and can’t immediately find it, this usually indicates that it is concealed well.

FIVE: Consider size. While there are ways to conceal large firearms, some select a smaller size. No matter what size of firearm you decide is the best fit for you, be sure to use the correct holster and clothing to conceal it.

no printing
Better!

INDUSTRY NEWS: New Ruger Custom Shop

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Big news for Ruger fans! Now you can get an upgraded gun from Ruger. READ MORE

sr1911

SOURCE: Ruger

Ruger Custom Shop products offer a high level of refinement and attention to detail.  Custom Shop products have been designed by Ruger’s expert team of engineers with input from professionals in the field: competitive shooters, renowned hunters, and award-winning writers. This new line of firearms represents the finest example of quality and innovation in Ruger products built to the highest of standards. The Custom Shop will feature exclusive collectible, competition, hunting, and personal defense firearms.

“Our customers have been craving high-end performance variations of our popular models for a long time. We are thrilled to respond to the call and bring the Ruger Custom Shop to fruition. We are confident that these new products represent the very best in craftsmanship and performance.”
– Chris Killoy, Ruger President & CEO

The first two announced are the SR1911 and 10/22 Competition Rifle.

Designed in conjunction with professional shooting team captain and world champion competitive shooter, Doug Koenig, the SR1911 is a full-sized 9mm pistol built for competitive shooting in IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, Bianchi Cup, Pro Am Shooting, and Steel Challenge disciplines.

Features include a precision-machined Koenig Shooting Sports low-mass hammer and competition sear, combined with a custom flat-faced trigger shoe, precision-machined disconnector and hand-tuned sear spring, which all provide a match-grade break. The package also includes a hand-fitted slide and frame.

10-22

The 10/22® Competition Rifle features a custom receiver. It’s hard-coat anodized, CNC-machined, heat-treated, and stress-relieved 6061-T6511 aluminum, and includes an integral, optics-ready, 30 MOA picatinny rail. This new receiver is paired with a 4140, heat-treated and nitrided match CNC-machined bolt. The receiver also incorporates a second bedding lug to improve action stability, plus a rear cleaning port to provide access to the barrel from the rear of the receiver for easier cleaning. This new rifle also has a second barrel locator to provide a free-floating barrel.

The receiver is secured in a painted and textured laminated stock with a fully adjustable cheek rest.

Go check them out!

INDUSTRY NEWS: Taurus USA Closes Year with Rebate Offer

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Taurus USA is offering a $35 rebate on the purchase of a new Taurus Spectrum® .380 Auto pistol. READ MORE

taurus spectrum

SOURCE: Taurus USA

From now through December 31, 2018, retail purchasers of a qualifying Taurus Spectrum® are eligible to receive a $35 Taurus Visa® Prepaid Card. Participating consumers need only submit a completed rebate form along with the original product UPC(s), a copy of a dated cash register receipt, and/or a dated itemized sales invoice. All rebate submissions must be postmarked by January 31, 2019.

According to Taurus: “The new Taurus Spectrum® 380 Auto represents a significant leap forward in micro semi-auto handgun design and performance. The ergonomic soft-touch overmold panels incorporated into the grip and slide not only provide maximum firearm retention and positive operation under stressful conditions, the broad palette of color options allow buyers to add a custom flare to their handgun. The soft-touch proprietary polymers also aid in recoil management.”

The Spectrum utilizes a striker-fired, true double-action-only trigger system, which means there is no pre-cock or pre-load. Additional carry safety and security comes from an integrated striker block.

LEARN MORE HERE

Do You Have the Right to Stand Your Ground?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

How clear are “stand your ground” laws? Jason Hanson shares his thoughts. KEEP READING

crime scene

by Jason Hanson

On July 19, 2018, Markeis McGlockton was shot and killed outside a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida, after a confrontation with a legally armed citizen.

The man who shot him was identified as Michael Drejka, who McGlockton shoved to the ground for confronting McGlockton’s girlfriend over a parking space.

Initially, Drejka was not arrested because the Pinellas County sheriff stated that “stand your ground” law applies to this case since Drejka feared a further attack after being shoved to the ground.

After a review of the case by Florida State Attorney Bernie McCabe, Drejka, 48, was charged with manslaughter and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. His bail was set at $100,000.

A Matter of Seconds
You’ve probably seen the surveillance video of this incident all over the news. According to law enforcement, there were four–five seconds between Drejka hitting the ground and him firing the deadly shot.

In addition, detectives estimated the men were about 10 feet apart. Here’s the thing. McGlockton no doubt violently shoved Drejka to the ground. In the video, it appears McGlockton did not back away after shoving Drejka until he saw the gun.

This begs the following questions: Could McGlockton have seriously injured or killed Drejka if he continued attacking him? He could have. Even though Drejka was shoved to the ground, was McGlockton still a threat? Maybe. Was Drejka truly in fear for his life? He says so.

The thing is we could talk “what ifs” about this case all day, but the fact remains that one man is dead and another’s life is devastated over a parking spot and a shove to the ground.

While this case will play out for a long time to come, I want to share with you the basic elements of stand your ground laws and the “castle doctrine,” which relates to protecting yourself at home.

Protect Your Person
Remember, I’m not a lawyer and I’m only stating my thoughts regarding these types of laws. You should always consult with an attorney in your state regarding these laws.

One of the most well-known states with a stand your ground law is Florida because of the case mentioned above and similar cases such as the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Many states have laws similar to Florida’s, which basically states a person is justified in using deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves or others. It also states a person does not have a duty to retreat as long as they are in a place where they have the right to be.

So if we use this definition to examine the case above, both men were in a place they had the right to be. The question that remains is did Drejka reasonably believe that he had to use deadly force to prevent death or bodily harm to himself? Imagine if you were Drejka. He was forcefully shoved to the ground, he was probably afraid, his heart was pounding — what would you do?

On the other hand, could Drejka have simply stood up and walked away from McGlockton? Was McGlockton going to pursue him? Obviously, these are answers that will play out in court.

However, the key thing to remember is that you have to believe the person is still a threat to justify using deadly force.

Protect Your Property
In addition to “stand your ground,” another controversial law is the “castle doctrine”. Many states have some type of castle doctrine law, which says a person has the legal right to defend themselves with the use of deadly force against an intruder in their home or other property.

Under this legal theory, the homeowner is not required to retreat, but may stand their ground to defend themselves, their home or their property. Now, this law is more straightforward than stand your ground because it’s pretty reasonable that every person should be able to defend his or her family from an intruder in their home.

In other words, if someone is inside your home, they are committing a crime and you have every right to protect your family.

However, one of the times this law was disputed was in the 2014 case of a Montana man named Markus Kaarma, who shot a young man in his garage. Kaarma had been the victim of a home burglary, so he stayed up at night in case the burglars came back.

Prosecutors argued that Kaarma lured the young man into the garage by leaving it open and that Markus was staying up all night to enact revenge for the previous burglary. The young man who died was committing a crime when he entered the garage, but the jury decided the homeowner deliberately lured the young man there before he killed him.

The Bottom Line
These types of laws will always be contested and are easily affected by our political climate. But what it really comes down to is common sense: Is the person still a threat, and can they still kill you?

If someone kicks in your door at 3:00 a.m. and runs at you in your house, then by all means they’re a threat. But if someone tries to kick in your door at 3:00 a.m. and you yell that you’ve got a gun and they take off down the street… Don’t go chasing them and shoot them in the back because they’re no longer a threat.

WHAT YOU YOU THINK?

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.

5 TIPS TO UP YOUR SKILLS

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Team Springfield Armory’s Steve Tarani shares martial arts secrets to more effective training for defensive handgun use. READ MORE

steve tariani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

Back in my early Filipino Martial Arts training days (in edged and impact weapons), I would put in anywhere between 40 to 60 hours (sometimes more) of hard skills training every week.

During that time, one of my Masters, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite (founder of the LAMECO fighting system), would always remind his committed disciples, that at any level of training, “Repetition is the mother of all skills.”

We’ve all heard the adage “practice makes perfect” or more accurately “perfect practice makes perfect.” The back-story to this axiom is practice makes PERMANENT. If you practice something that is not correct thousands of times, you will burn it into your system exactly as you trained it — incorrectly.
Making permanent, can include the imprinting of training scars.

SCIENCE OF TRAINING
As with any effective self-defense training, at the higher skill levels, defensive shooting is as much a martial science as it is a martial art. Taking your skills to the next level requires raising your level of understanding, as well as your level of performance. The only way to up your skills is to put in the number of correct reps it takes for you to measure a desired change in performance.

Following are 5 tips from the masters that can help you get there more effectively.

TIP 1: SET AN ATTAINABLE GOAL
First off, you need to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. In other words, what is your objective? If your objective is to draw from concealment and make accurate and rapid round placement on a target, then you will need to establish a few performance parameters such as how many rounds, what target size and distance. Once you’ve decided upon the parameters, you can then determine your baseline performance.

TIP 2: FIND YOUR BASELINE
To establish your baseline, execute the drill at a comfortable speed with which you can guarantee the hit from your starting position. Run the drill multiple times — again guaranteeing each hit. After you can do it reliably without missing, then measure how long it takes you to execute this skill on demand.

Running a timer to determine how long it takes you to make that guaranteed hit gives you a measurable start point. Let’s say it takes you 4 seconds to guarantee a successful run. You can then set your goal to reduce that time to 3.5 seconds. You now have everything you need to set a training foundation upon which to build your next-level skills.

In that foundation you know exactly what your baseline is, what the training parameters are, and your desired result of guaranteeing a hit at 3.5 seconds on demand. All that remains is to crank out an unknown number of correct repetitions.

TIP 3: ISOLATE YOUR MOVEMENTS
One crucial tip that will help you tremendously in building your repository of correct repetitions, is to cut out any wasted movement. When I asked my martial arts masters and shooting instructors how they can move so quickly and with such accuracy, they replied in kind, “No unnecessary movement.” Doing only what you need to do to accomplish the task is all that is required. Any additional movements do not contribute in any way to your task and further add unwarranted time to the process.

Cutting out unnecessary movement is simply a matter of training. Isolate each individual movement in your presentation from concealment by running them a single step at a time:

Clear cover garment

Defeat any retention devices

Establish a positive grip


Draw from the holster


Align muzzle with your target


Make guaranteed round placement


Mindfully practice each one of these individual tasks standalone. Remain vigilant about eliminating any wasted movement. Forget about the timer — stick to the process.

TIP 4: ELIMINATE LAG TIME
The next step in your skill-building repetitive process is to reduce the lag time in between each of the isolated steps until the entire process is one fluid, purposeful motion. The master says, “Training without purpose is no training at all.”

Why you are doing what you’re doing is just as important as what and how you are doing it. It is said that the “why” is the mortar that holds the bedrock of your “what” and “how” together. Being mindful of why motivates you to run all the individual steps together with focus on reducing any wasted time in between those steps.

TIP 5: DETERMINE NUMBER OF REPS
What’s the exact number of reps needed to make a difference in your performance? According to the experts, repetitions vary from shooter to shooter. Some trainers say it takes a minimum of 3,000 reps while other say 7,000 and still others suggest over 10,000 repetitions.

How do you know how many reps it is for you?

After multiple training sessions, chipping away at less time between the steps, removal of any wasted movement and guaranteeing the hit on demand, you will have accumulated sufficient repetitions that may make each movement feel more comfortable, easier to execute and effortless.

When you start to feel yourself reach that comfort zone — ease of movement with very little effort — you may then want to re-measure your process time. These are personal indicators that the mother of all skills may have just moved you up a notch in your level of performance.

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

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.

SKILLS: The Perspective of BALANCE

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Choosing a gun for concealed carry is a very important decision. Here are some ideas on carefully considering all pros and cons to select the best for you. READ MORE

handgun choice

SOURCE: Team Springfield, by Jason Burton

Somewhere, some time ago I read or was told “Everything in moderation, nothing in excess.” The statement and its underlying sentiment has been something that has stuck with me for years, even if I didn’t always apply this principle in real life. The basic concept I get from that statement is balance.

Everything can and should have balance and recently I found myself once again contemplating the idea of balance as it relates to carry guns.

USER PREFERENCE
To state the obvious: I am a die-hard 1911 user. For the better part of the last 20 years I have used a full-size 1911 in a concealed carry role. To also say it has been my main shooting / range gun would be appropriate. I’ve willingly given up a high-capacity magazine in exchange for the exceptional ergonomics of the slim yet full-length grip. Regardless of events or weather or circumstances, the 1911 has remained my constant companion. If I had to choose one principal attribute that has made carrying and concealing this large gun as easy as it has been, it would be the relative slenderness of the pistol.

PRACTICE MAKES PONDERING
After a recent range session with the Springfield Armory® 9mm RO® Elite Compact, I once more was reflecting on pistol performance, ergonomics, and employment in a concealed-carry mode. I contemplated the idea of balance as it relates to carry guns and our individual responsibility of personal defense.

So in this increasingly high-capacity world, could a single-stack gun be the perfect embodiment of balance and moderation and do they actually make the most sense when used in a concealed carry role?

PROS AND CONS
Here is where we start down the road towards balance and we should be practical in acknowledging that every carry gun is a compilation of trade offs in one form or another. Whether it is caliber, capacity, size, weight, ergonomics, trigger type, or other attribute — like most things in life you may have to give something up (or at least part of something) in order to gain something else.

My personal choice of the 1911 is a good example. In exchange for carrying a gun that is powerful yet easily concealable (provided by the relative slimness of the single-stack design), I give up capacity when compared to other platforms. Same comparison can apply to the size and weight. I choose a full-size pistol due to the positive performance and shooting aspects in exchange for carrying a relatively heavy gun. We can continue with these comparisons, but you get the point.

BEING YOUR OWN FIRST RESPONDER
By now, I’m sure someone is reading this and thinking, “No way a full-size 1911 is a balanced or moderate choice,” and in fairness, the commitment to carry an all-steel, full-sized 1911 may not be for everyone. However, if you consider what one truly needs in a personal defense gun, you may find that a single-stack gun of some type fits the bill.

Before you can define your needs you should begin with the understanding that you will likely be required to be your own first responder. What you bring with you as your own first responder will help give you options. Since you can’t save anyone if you don’t save yourself first, your equipment can become an important factor. The aforementioned balance of “pros and cons” comes into play here.

EVALUATE YOUR REALITY AND YOUR NEEDS
So what is needed in a personal defense pistol? All else being equal (reliability, accuracy standards, etc.), the gun should fulfill some basic requirements:

The gun needs to be easy to conceal, not just easy to carry. By that I mean the gun can’t just be small and light, although those things may help. I fully understand the ideas of proper holster selection and dressing around the gun, but the point is that the overall bulk and size element of the pistol should help to make it easy to dress around. The same principle applies to spare magazines as well.

The gun needs to be ergonomic. The “grip” and how the gun interfaces with the shooter is of tremendous importance and should be especially considered when using the pistol as a reactionary self-defense tool. This can be a pretty wide field because so much depends on shooter’s hand size and potentially overall physical size. There is such a thing as a gun that is too big or too small. I have found that when a gun doesn’t physically fit a shooter, it typically becomes less shootable for them and much worse when it is fired under stress.

The gun needs to hold enough ammo to solve your problem. Capacity is important primarily because it gives a shooter the ability to manipulate the pistol less. However, care should be taken not to over emphasize capacity in lieu of other basic requirements. Something to keep in mind is that in many fights, the last shot fired is the one that wins the fight. If the gun works well and is easy to shoot in a reaction mode, the first shot and the last shot might be the same, negating any remaining capacity. Even still I would strongly advocate carrying a spare magazine, if for no other reason than the magazine in the gun could malfunction. Along those lines, being easy to carry and conceal said spare magazine might make one more apt to bring it with them.

BE WARY OF EXCESS
There are extremes that can be born out of all of these factors, so try not to get bogged down in excesses of one direction or the other. What I mean is this, while a derringer is slim, easily carried and concealed, its inherent capacity limitations and required manual of arms don’t make it a viable option for personal defense. Keeping the aforementioned factors in mind and remembering moderation, an ergonomic and concealable gun that has a minimum capacity of 7 rounds — while being readily reloadable — is probably a choice that one can stake their life on.

RO Elite

For me, single-stack guns of all types have always embodied an ideal balance of moderation. My recent test drive with the Springfield Armory® RO® Elite Compact 9mm reminded me once more of the practical benefits of a slim, compact gun that is easy to handle and shoot.

With the continued popularity of the 1911 platform in general, as well as newer offerings such as the XD-S®, and XD-E™, and 911 .380, it would appear that slim is in!

So when it comes time for an honest evaluation of what you need for personal defense, ask yourself if a slim or single-stack gun fits that role? You might be surprised by the answer.

3D Printed Guns Should Be Legal, But Are They Safe?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

There’s a lot being said about this new technology-trend, but let’s keep it simple. Safety first! Read more about what’s wrong with 3D printed guns HERE

3d gun

Jason Hanson

There is an ongoing debate in the news related to 3D printed guns. This argument started years ago — when Cody Wilson first shot his 3D printed gun in 2013. Once Wilson had developed the plans for his gun, he wanted to share them with the world. He planned to do this through his company called Defense Distributed.

His goal was to create a website where people could download and share blueprints for do-it-yourself gun manufacturing. Once the federal government caught wind of this, they immediately shut down the website based on export regulations to censor technical information. (Yes, that sounds like a load of crap to me too.)

Over the last few years, Defense Distributed and the U.S. State Department have battled back and forth over the legality of 3D printed guns. However, in July, the U.S. State Department settled a legal case and allowed Defense Distributed to go ahead and release the 3D printing plans online.

The problem is once this issue was settled, 19 states sued the State Department and Defense Distributed in an attempt to stop the release of the blueprints. At this time, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the publication of the blueprints.

What’s All the Fuss?

As the name implies, a 3D printed gun is a gun made mostly of plastic from a 3D printer. Now, the key word is “mostly” because the gun still requires a firing pin and a piece of metal. The purpose of the piece of metal is to ensure the gun complies with the U.S. Undetectable Firearms Act.

Essentially, it is a federal offense to “manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer or receive” a firearm capable of defeating airport metal detection. However, I realize most criminals probably don’t care about following the law.

Now, you may be wondering what the big deal is about 3D printed guns and why some people are so against them. Well, even though the gun requires a firing pin, you could technically hide the firing pin and the small piece of steel separately. Then you could carry the gun and walk right through security checkpoints.

And since these guns are homemade, they don’t have a serial number. They are basically “ghost guns.” Also, people wouldn’t have to go through a background check to get a 3D printed gun like they would if they were buying a regular firearm from a retail location. Anyone could simply print one in the privacy of their own home.

The reality is a 3D printed firearm is definitely not the easiest way to get a gun. Plus, the majority of criminal lowlifes aren’t going to have the means (or the patience) to 3D print a gun.

What I mean is if a responsible gun owner wanted to build a firearm, they could simply go the 80% receiver route (commonly offered for AR15-style firearms). In other words, simply buy a receiver that is about 80% of a working receiver. You only need to use a drill press or hand tool to finish the remaining 20%.

Finally, 3D printed guns aren’t dependable and can easily fail. The plastic simply isn’t strong enough to withstand the explosion caused by a firing cartridge.

In fact, many people have tried to develop plastic guns only to have them explode upon firing. So while I love guns and fully support 3D printed guns, they’re just not quality or sophisticated enough at this time.

I have no doubt they will be in the future. But right now, I wouldn’t trust one with my life if someone was kicking down my front door at 3 a.m.

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.

SKILLS: Dry-Fire Practice With Lasers

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Not everyone agrees on laser sights for handgun defensive use, but Kyle Schmidt thinks it’s a great training tool. READ WHY AND HOW

SOURCE: Team Springfield,  by Kyle Schmidtlaser sightAlthough some people seem to disagree on whether or not a laser on a pistol is a “good” aiming device for self-defense shooting. One thing about them is undeniable: lasers are a great training tool.

Occasionally, when I am training friends, clients, or co-workers how to shoot, I will attach a laser to their gun to help them better understand some basic shooting concepts.

Before using the laser though, I like to make a target that has multiple areas to aim at with some level of contrast so it is easier to identify exactly where the laser is aimed.

LASER TARGET TIME
I make a dry practice target out of 2 USPSA targets. I use USPSA targets because they are different colors on each side. USPSA targets have an upper head with an A and B-zone and a body with A, C, and D-Zones. You will need a razor or a pair of scissors. You will only cut one of the targets, the other will remain intact. For simplification, we will refer to the target that we are cutting as Target 1 and the target which will remain intact as Target 2.

TARGET 1 CUTS:
Cut out the A-zone of the head (upper target zone).
Cut the C-zone out of the target. The body A-zone is included in this cut. Be careful to leave the head attached (don’t cut off the head); You need to razor / cut under the perforations while trimming near the head.

Target 1 should now have two big holes in it; one where the A-zone head was and one where the body C and A-zones were.

Cut the body A-zone out of the C-zone piece you previously removed (Step 2). Keep the body A-zone, but discard the left over C-zone piece.

COMBINE TARGETS:

target 1

Stage Target 2 with the shoot side (tan side) facing up.
Stage Target 1 with the no-shoot side (white side) facing up.
Place what remains of Target 1 on top of Target 2.

This should make a white colored target in the D and B-zones, with the tan colored target in the C and head A-zones. Use small pieces of white tape to tape the top, bottom and sides of the two targets together.

This is your new Laser Target 1.

ALMOST DONE:

target 2

Flip the targets over so Target 2 (white side) is facing up. Place the tan colored side of the body A-zone (that you cut from Target 1, step 4) on top of Target 2 A-zone. If you have trouble lining up the A-zones, you can push a small push pin through the diagonal corners of the A-zone on Target 2. Use the push pin holes to align the corners of the body A-zone.

To finish the dry practice target off, I add a one-inch black square piece of tape to the center of the corresponding scoring zone. I like to measure the center of the C-zone’s height, as the perforated “A” is NOT the center of the A-zone.

This is your new Laser Target 2.

Now you should have one practice target that has 5 distinctly noticeable scoring zones; A-zone body, A-zone head, entire head, C-zone body, and the entire target. Additionally, you have a one-inch black piece of tape on each side of the target.

ATTACH AND ZERO LASER
Before you begin your laser dry practice, attach and zero the laser at the distance you plan to practice. This is critical for some of the drills we are going do with the laser. (Check out sights HERE.)

Here is how I zero the laser for dry practice:

Choose your distance and target.
Point / aim gun at specific spot on target.
Line up the fixed notch and post sights on target.
Adjust the dot (from the laser) so it is 1) centered (left and right) on the front sight and 2) the front sight covers half of the dot (up and down). Only the top half of the dot will be visible.

Because the laser is mounted so far below the fixed sights, the laser will need to be realigned with the sights if you want to try a drill at a different distance.

HOLDING / AIMING LASER DRILL
When I was writing this, I had just returned from Camp Perry where I was learning about shooting the sport of Bullseye. This is the ultimate challenge in fundamental pistol accuracy. It requires execution of some of the most fundamental techniques required for extreme accurate pistol shooting. If you are not familiar, all of the strings of fire are shot with your strong hand only, at 25 yards and 50 yards, on a target with the 10-ring measuring just under 2.5 inches. Bullseye, in short, is a very difficult shooting discipline.

One of the things I noticed as I am trying to shoot the 50-yard line strings is how much my gun is moving (or appears to be moving) compared to the center of the target. This is not only a problem in bullseye shooting, it is just greatly magnified due to the distances.

A shooter must know what their ability to “hold” on a target is, with varying degrees of difficulty. One of the best ways to test this is with a laser, and generally, it is easiest to see the laser in reduced lighting. Try this “holding” drill:
Get your Laser Target 1 — with the C-zone side visible.
Set the target up at the distance of your choice, let’s say 15 yards for this example.

With the laser turned off, use the iron sights to aim in the center of the C-zone. Make note of how stable the gun is while you are aiming in the middle. We are not pressing the trigger yet, only aiming the gun.

Now turn on the laser and shift your focus to the laser’s dot on the target. Make note of how stable the dot is on the target while you are aiming. It’s probably moving around more than you would think or like.

Try to keep the dot inside the C-zone — hopefully this is fairly easy. It should be readily apparent when the dot leaves the C-zone and enters the white background of the D-zone on the dry practice target.

When you can easily do this, flip the target over to use Laser Target 2, and repeat the drill.

First steady the dot in the body’s A-zone.

Once you are able to keep the dot in the A-zone of the body, move up to the head and see if you can “hold” the dot in the head reliably. This may not be as easy as it seems.

Once you have mastered the entire head, move to the head’s A-zone (on Laser Target 1).

Finally, test your hold on the 1-in. black square of tape.

target 3

You can continue to experiment at different distances to see how well you can hold in the different scoring zones.

WHY DOES HOLDING MATTER?
Quite simply, if you can’t “hold” or keep the gun aimed in a particular target zone, it is unlikely that your bullet will impact the desired scoring zone reliably.

You can use this dry practice tip to determine if you are improving your ability to keep the gun steadily aimed in the intended target area.

HERE is a great laser sight!