Category Archives: Tactics & Training

The Gunfighters Gun

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The history of the gunfighters gun is fascinating and rings true today in handgun selection. READ MORE

gunfigher guns

Bob Campbell

“Gents, Please send me one of your Nickel plated .45 Caliber revolvers. It is for my own use and for that reason I would like to have a little Extra pains taken with it. I am willing to pay the Extra for Extra work. Make it very easy on the trigger and have the front Sight a little higher and thicker than the ordinary pistol of this Kind. Put on a gutta percha handle and send it as soon as possible. Have the barrel about the same length that the ejecting rod is.
Truly yours
W.B. [Bat] Masterson”

gunfigher guns
Ivory gripped and fast into action this .44-40 was someone’s dream gun in 1890.

A gun has a face, a soul and a history. Some handguns have been around the block. The Colt Single Action Army revolver built the block. The relationship to firearms isn’t attachment to an inanimate object but rather to the country and a respect for the men that used the firearm. Handguns are used in great wars and battles but most of the actions are close range and of a more personal nature. These battles are less important to the world but important to the men involved in them. The men that used the gun, the men that invented the gun and the craftsmen that made the gun are all important. I mean this in the best sense of the word — the Colt is made by Yankee craftsmen in Hartford Connecticut and has been for many years — over one hundred forty years for the Colt Single Action Army. This handgun was selected for the US Army partly due to General Stephen Benet’s insistence that the Army have the best tool for the job. Among the chores the Colt Single Action Army had to perform was dropping an Native American war pony at 100 yards. The new revolver met a higher standard of reliability, accuracy and power than ever before for a military handgun. The result was a handgun that served the Army well, was adopted by bad and good men in the West, and which rode with western lawmen until the 1950s. Frank Hamer carried his Old Lucky .45 in pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde, and Tom Threepersons favored his custom Colt SAA when walking the mean streets of border towns in the 1920s. Douglas McArthur killed 7 adversaries with his Colt in a number of wild battles in Mexico, while a young George S Patton killed at least two bandits. General Wainwright took his to the Philippines and General Patton wore an engraved SAA in Europe. A young Marine named Jeff Cooper saved his life with the Colt SAA on more than one occasion during World War Two.

gunfigher guns
The 5 ½ inch barrel revolver was common, and many liked this barrel length. But it wasn’t quite as handy as the 4 ¾ inch barrel revolver.

“If you want to kill a man use a revolver. If you want to make a lot of noise use an automatic.”
Gen . George S. Patton

gunfigher guns
The 4 ¾ inch barrel Colt SAA rode lighter than the long barrel guns and was fast on the draw. This is the Cheyenne holster from Old West Reproductions.

The use that the Colt was put to that is the most remembered — and perhaps this is fueled by the cinema — is its use by dead eyed gunfighters in the streets of the old west. They were used in fear, on the side of justice, for retribution, and for survival. Some wielded them with deadly efficiency. The Colt embodies the spirit of the west, and perhaps independence we love and hold dear. This was America’s gun and the piece is closely associated with American lawmen and gunfighters. (Although a young Brit that became Lawrence of Arabia also preferred the Colt Single Action Army.) The Colt was not the most advanced gun of the day. Hinged frame revolvers loaded more quickly and there were double action revolvers that could be fired more quickly. The Colt was rugged and worked, and that is what really counts in a fighting handgun. A warranty means little far from home or a gunshop. The handgun had to be reliable.

gunfigher guns
Grip like a plow handle? This Traditions reproduction revolver does resemble the old King’s plow in the grip!

The gunfighters gun was the Colt SAA preferred by Bat Masterson, Tom Threepersons, Frank Hamer and others. This was the Colt Single Action Army with 4 ¾ inch barrel. This is the finest balanced handgun in the world, in my opinion. The balance is neither handle heavy nor barrel heavy but simply ideal. The grip has been called a plow handled grip. The angle is nearly identical to the small plows used to till the ground. Most anyone was familiar with this grip in those days. I prefer to think that the grip was designed for excellent hand fit. After all flintlock pistols that came before were not too different in grip angle. When you wrap your hand around the grip of the Colt Single Action Army something says friend. The grip angle allowed a soft rocking in recoil. Even with heavy .45 Colt loadings the revolver was comfortable to fire. As the barrel rose in recoil the hammer was presented at the ideal angle for the shooting thumb to quickly reach and cock the hammer. This isn’t done in the modern manner by reaching from the back of the hammer but by laying the thumb over the hammer. The distinctive sound of the hammer being cocked says C-O-L-T to those with an ear — even if the gun is a modern clone. The .45 Colt revolver cartridge was the most powerful handgun cartridge of the day. Power wasn’t debatable among those that really needed a sidearm. They carried the most powerful revolver available. As for Bat Masterson’s custom front sight Tom Threepersons Gun, now in a museum, also sports a tall front sight. Perhaps these lawmen learned long ago what we know now — keeping your eye on the front sight is what matters in a gunfight. Speed is good, Masterson said, but accuracy is final.

gunfigher guns
The 5 ½ inch barrel revolver was common, and many liked this barrel length. But it wasn’t quite as handy as the 4 ¾ inch barrel revolver.

A Divine Angle and Heavenly Balance
Why was the 4 ¾ inch Colt the gunfighter’s gun? The 7 ½ inch barrel Colt was the Army’s choice. The long barrel made certain that the most velocity possible was gained. The long sight radius gave every advantage in firing at aboriginal warriors at long distances. Civilian demand for a shorter length led to the 5 ½ inch barrel revolver in 1875. Colt began offering the 4 ¾ inch barrel version in 1879. It had been a special order item in the past, but the 4 ¾ inch barrel revolver was now a standard offering. Most lawmen worked in town. Few wore ‘traildriver’ attire except when tracking or leading a posse, and this was something done primarily by US Marshals. The town police often wore a suit jacket over the firearm. This practice continued until the time of Tom Threepersons in the 1920s and Frank Hamer in the 1930s. When carrying the revolver under covering garments the 4 ¾ inch barrel revolver was much easier to carry and conceal. While face offs and fast draw contests are primarily the province of the cinema there were times when speed into action could be critical. The 4 ¾ inch barrel Colt cleared leather more quickly than the longer barrel versions. On the other hand the short barrel Sheriff’s or Shopkeeper Model Colt revolvers were not as well balanced or accurate and also eliminated the ejector rod assembly, making reloading difficult. Another big plus for Colt — the revolver was fully ambidextrous. Later swing out cylinder revolvers favored the right handed user. The Colt was sometimes said to favor the left hand handed shooter. With either hand, even switching to the left hand for right handed shooters during reloading, the revolver was ambidextrous. And don’t think the Colt was as slow to load as all that. By snagging a handful of cartridges and quickly ejecting the spent case and slipping another into place as you spun the cylinder the Colt could be reloaded relatively quickly.

gunfigher guns
Colt still offers a nickel plated Colt in 4 ¾ inch length.

The 4 ¾ inch barrel Gunfighter’s gun was brilliantly fast into action. At the usual ranges involved in saloon fights or across the gaming table the black powder loads then in use the adversary’s clothing was often set on fire. This resulted in quite a scene I am certain! The cloud of black powder smoke sometimes found its way under the skin of the protagonists and more than one old time gun fighter wore these flecks under his skin. Having been struck by a bullet on one occasion and on another having a bullet pass my ear so closely it compressed my ear drum I assure you these events are far more nerve wracking than the usual cinematic depiction. The short and well balanced 4 ¾ inch barrel Colt was the greatest gunfighters gun and remained so for many years. Then and now, the Colt was among the more expensive handguns. If just any handgun would do there were handguns available for half the price of the Colt. Today the better replicas — and some, such as the Cimarron, are very good — are not inexpensive. But the Colt was acquired from a burning desire to have the very best handgun on the belt to save your life. The Colt SAA Gunfighter’s gun is a legendary handgun that still delivers speed, accuracy and power. It is an American icon without equal.

gunfigher guns
Three .45s- a 1911, top, the Colt New Service, middle, and the SAA, bottom. The SAA still has its share of adherents.

A question remains — why did lawmen carry the Colt SAA revolver until well into the late 1940s in some cases? Others, such as Skeeter Skelton, carried the Colt on patrol with the US Border Patrol well after World War Two. The answer is simple — handling, weight and balance. The new breed of double action revolvers offered greater rapidity of fire but their accurate rate of fire wasn’t really different from the SAA. They were much faster to reload, that was true. But due to the more complicated mechanism the double action revolver was larger and heavier. Some, like the Colt New Service, were at least as durable as the SAA. The 4 ¾ inch barrel SAA was no more difficult to carry and conceal than a 4 inch barrel Smith and Wesson Military and Police .38 revolver. The SAA also offered a sweet trigger press and high practical accuracy. When the 1911 automatic came along some Texas Rangers and other lawmen adopted the 1911 because it too was relatively light and had that sweet trigger press. But many, like Frank Hamer, relied upon the SAA for daily carry and only occasionally carried the 1911.

gunfigher guns
Five beans under the wheel is the rule for safe carry with the Single Action Army.

The .45 Colt Cartridge
While the .44-40 WCF was also popular the majority of lawmen carried the .45 Colt cartridge revolver. The cartridge case held 40 grains of black powder under a 250 grain bullet. This load averaged about 900 fps in long barrel revolvers. The cartridge proved adequate at dropping an Indian Pony and drovers appreciated the ability to drop a crazed bronc or steer before it beat a man to death. While some argument may be made as to the superiority of the .44-40 as a rifle cartridge, the .45 Colt was the favorite gunfighter’s cartridge and the one that survived the longest.

Proper Ammunition Storage

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If you are hoarding or only keeping what you need on hand don’t let your investment rust away. READ MORE

ammo storage
Fiocchi’s 80 rounds in a can is possibly the best combination of 12 gauge buckshot and easy storage.

Heyward Williams

Storing ammunition is at least as important as properly storing your firearms. After all, the firearm is no better than a stick or a club without ammunition. While many of us like to have an adequate supply of ammunition for a SHTF situation this isn’t my primary motivation. I am more concerned with an adequate supply of ammunition for training and recreation than for possible use in a societal break down. I have had to curtail my personal training and firearms classes during shortages because I simply could not obtain enough ammunition. There was considerable price gouging at times and I no longer patronize those outlets. Finding twenty nine boxes of ammunition when you really need fifty is discouraging. (Fifty students, fifty rounds each, every class for months is a lot ammunition.) Conversely I walked into Academy Sports a few months ago and saw several pallets of Winchester 9mm ball for $6.99 per fifty cartridges. I estimated 20,000 rounds on the floor. The shortage, it appeared, was over. Now it is back. These things run in cycles — even if the current shortage is short lived, we may see another shortage, particularly around election time.

ammo storage
These boxes are arranged in order of caliber — .45 Colt, .45 ACP.

What are your needs?
I don’t hoard things for their own sake. I like to have a few months supply of the ammunition I really need on hand. When I taught handgun marksmanship and tactical movement students seemed never to bring enough ammunition and others brought gun and ammunition combinations that were not proofed and they malfunctioned. I have learned quite a bit about ammunition storage. As an example I have handloaded my handgun ammunition for more than forty years and cannot recall a misfire cartridge due to storage issues. Ammunition isn’t quite in the category with silver and gold but may be more precious and useful if you need it. It is expensive enough that you should respect the investment and take steps to store it properly. This is more important the greater the amount of ammunition you store. Some like to burn up their ammunition on the weekend and call on Monday and replace it. That’s fine, a minimal inventory works for some of us. I am not comfortable with that program. Buying in bulk and keeping ahead on the ammunition supply is important.

ammo storage
Some ammunition is stored in the original box, and others for more long term storage in the original bulk packing box.

I don’t know if we will face a societal upheaval and you will need that ammunition. I certainly hope not. But if you are in a bad situation the ammunition you have expended in training is the single greatest predictor of survival. My goal for ammunition storage is have a good supply for practice, hunting, and personal defense use as well as training family members. This demands the ammunition be stored properly. I store ammunition in the original box. Sometimes I simply put it on the shelf in the shipping box it arrived in. (Online is so easy!) Unless I am certain I am going to the range the next day or so I never open the boxes and pour the contents into a metal can. Sure, having those 500 9mms in an ammo can is cool enough but they are far more subject to damage from handling and the elements. Also, in the event that you trade one firearm and caliber for another, it isn’t usually possible to trade ammunition as well unless it is in the original box. For most of us, purchasing large quantities of ammunition — a case of five hundred to one thousand cartridges — and storing it properly is important.

ammo storage
Handloads should be plainly marked when in storage.

Ammunition Longevity
I have fired ammunition more than one hundred years old with good results. During my police career I saw ammunition improperly stored in cruiser trunks and in the basement of the PD that became corroded and useless in a few months. Storage is everything for shelf life. Ammunition manufactured since World War One or so was designed to last for centuries. Winchester was given a military contract in 1916 based on one bad primer in 100,000 — and the standard is higher today. I would never purchase older ammunition save as a lark or to feed some non critical use antique. I don’t trust surplus ammunition — there are too many storage and quality issues. Not to mention corrosive primers. Purchasing good quality ammunition means it will last much longer. Quality case mouth seal and primer seal is important for both storage and critical use. My handloads do not have this seal but as I mentioned I have not had misfires, because I store ammo properly. The keys are cool, dry and dark. Cool not cold. A closet in the home is ideal. Stack the original boxes on shelves, on the floor, or in a large MTM plastic box. Heat itself isn’t that destructive in normal ranges but it may cause humidity and condensation. We have all had our glasses or cameras fog up when moving from an air conditioned home to a hot back yard. You don’t want your ammunition supply to be subjected to these highs and lows. Moisture will attack gun powder. In my experience far more failures to fire are related to powder contamination than primer failure. (Don’t store solvents and cleaning compounds with ammunition!) In some instances the cartridge case may even become corroded. This is dangerous as they may lose some of their integrity. Just remember that moisture and humidity are the enemy. Normal fluctuations in household temperatures are okay. I would avoid extremes such as basement storage or storage in the attic. This is especially important with lead bullet loads. Many of them — and some jacketed loads — feature a lubricant on the bullet, in grease grooves. This grease will melt out of the grooves into the powder if the ammunition becomes too hot.

ammo storage
Don’t store ammunition in close proximity with chemicals or cleaning supplies.

Get in Order
Getting the ammunition in the proper order is important. I fire mostly 9mm and .45 ACP handguns. I also use the .223 and .308 rifle. The 12 gauge shotgun is my to go gun. We all need a .22 — then there is the .357 Magnum and the .45 Auto Rim and .45 Colt — so organization is important. Two thousand .45 ACP cartridges are on hand tonight and one hundred .45 Auto Rim, and that’s plenty. I keep handgun ammunition separated by training and service loads. Shotgun shells are more difficult to store and I do not have nearly as many. They are in one corner of the designated closet. My home is one hundred fifteen years old the ammunition storage was once a food larder. Works for me.

ammo storage
This MTM case guard carrier is a good option for smaller quantities of ammunition. MTM also offers much larger boxes that have much utility.

Other points — I keep firearms in a safe. While a couple may be loaded for various reasons I do not normally store ammunition in the safe. Some like to have an ammunition supply in loaded magazines. That’s okay if they are stored properly. Take these magazines, fire them in practice, and rotate the supply. If loaded down from 30 to 26 or 20 to 18 rounds quality AR 15 magazines will run forever. Pistol magazines from MecGar are much the same. Glock magazines loaded to full capacity never give trouble. If you need a stack of magazines loaded at the ready for emergency your zip code is probably written in Cyrillic or located abound Bosnia. These tips, points and cautions will work well for most of us and keep the ammunition supply fresh and uncontaminated.

ammo storage
The author doesn’t store loaded magazines unless a range trip is immediate.

The Glock M44 — Glock Imperfection?

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It isn’t perfect but the Glock M44 is a good addition to the Glock battery. READ WHY

G44
The Glock M44 is a great all around trainer and target practice handgun.

Heyward Williams

The Glock 44 rimfire was met with some derision by those wishing to own a single column magazine 10mm or perhaps the long awaited Glock carbine. I don’t know if Glock is seriously considering these firearms but they listen, they certainly do. They listened when American officers asked for self loading pistols to level the playing field. Chiefs, bean counters and administrators were grudging to give officers much needed hollow point bullets. The avoided leveling the playing field. (Anti gun and anti cop goes hand in hand.) The Illinois State Police paved the way with self loaders but the Democrats in charge limited them to FMJ ammo. A Republican governor finally made the change. In most jurisdictions administrators agreed to issue self loaders when a double action only was offered. The big American makes turned a deaf ear to American cops offering a warmed over Americanized P 38 for police service. They thereby abrogated the police market to the Europeans for the next four decades. Glock’s Model 17 9mm was the first Glock followed by many other Glock pistols including my favorite the Glock 19. Glock responded to police requests with the Glock M 22 .40 and the .45 GAP, an underrated caliber with many applications. That is all a thrice told story. The .22 rimfire Glock is today’s headline.

G44
The M19 and M44 frames are similar but not identical.

Glock has boldly moved out of the personal defense and service market. Many makers or aftermarket makers offer rimfire conversions for their handguns. Some work well, others not so well. I have used a .22 caliber handgun for marksmanship training, practice, and small game hunting for decades. They are just fun guns. You don’t have to have a reason to own one. Shooters that neglect to own a .22 handgun are missing out on an important tool. The cost of a handgun pales over the cost of an extensive training regimen. The .22 allows many thousands of rounds of rounds of ammunition to be fired for a pittance. The problem is the .22 is a hoary old design. The rimmed cartridge case and heel based bullet don’t make for the most reliable feeding not to mention powder designed for rifles. The resulting pressure curve makes for difficulty in convincing a pistol to feed properly. Most makers warranty their pistol with work only with high velocity loads. Since standard velocity loads are generally more expensive than bulk produced high velocity loads this isnt a demerit. CCI alone manufactures billions of .22 LR cartridges a year.
The Glock M44 is a Generation 4 type with finger groove frame. The pistol is designed to mock the popular Glock 19 9mm. The Glock 44 is well suited for rimfire practice for those that own Glock centerfire handguns. The pistol is equally well suited to beginning shooters and those that enjoy informal target shooting and small game hunting. A radical departure from the Glock 19 is a lightweight slide that is a hybrid mix of polymer with metal reinforcement. A steel slide would be too heavy to be actuated by rimfire recoil. While it may be tempting to fit aftermarket sights, perhaps the same XS sights found on your Glock 23 as an example, makers tell me they do not recommend steel sights be pressed into the polymer Glock hybrid slide. Downer there. Otherwise the takedown, magazine release and trigger action are straight up Glock.

G44
The internals of the Glock 44 and Glock 19 are similar. The Glock 44 has a longer ejector and different locking block.

You cannot place the Glock 44 slide on a Glock 19 frame. The locking block and other parts differ. The barrel is removeable. The barrel is what Glock calls a Marksman barrel. The chamber is fluted to aid feed reliability. A threaded barrel will be available within weeks Glock tells us. Spare magazines are about twenty eight dollars. The pistol is supplied with two magazines. And no loading tool. The easy load design doesn’t need a loading tool.

G44
An easy load magazine is a big plus for the Glock 44.

The overall length is 7.28 inches. Barrel length is 4.02 inches. Standard Glock type frame inserts are included. The Glock 44 features a rail for mounting combat lights. Unlike most .22 caliber rimfire handguns the Glock 44 may be dry fired without harming the firing pin. The difference most apparent in handling is weight. The Glock 44 weighs just over 14.5 ounces, nine ounces less than the Glock 19. The Glock 44 uses a single column ten shot magazine. Glock tells us that a high capacity magazine is difficult to convince to feed with the rimmed .22 Long Rifle cartridge. The magazine features a nicely located tab on the follower that makes loading easy. Depress the tab and load one round at a time to properly stack the ammo in the magazine, do not depress the tab and drop cartridges into the magazine. The proper sequence ensures feed reliability. The Safe Action trigger breaks at 5.8 pounds compression.

G44
The Glock 19, top, in 9mm, is a bit heavier than the similar Glock 44 .22, bottom.

I have fired the Glock 44 extensively with a lot of help from the grown grandchildren. The pistol is a fun gun. Personal defense drills may be ran quickly. It really isn’t much faster to fire a string than the Glock 19, at least accurately, as you have to be careful to center the sights and the whippy slide makes it a bit more difficult. No problem this is a .22. So- cross training with the 9mm is pretty realistic. As for hunting I will no longer have to hold the Colt Frontier .22 in one hand and a light in the other. I can use two hands and light up a racoon with the TruGlo combat light on the rail of the Glock 44. As for reliability well it isnt up to the usual Glock standard. Various institutional shoot outs have subjected the Glock 9mm to ten to forty thousand rounds of ammunition and found the piece very reliable. Occasionally a trigger return spring will break at thirty thousand rounds. Big deal. The Glock 44 has a drawback in mounting after market sights, but that’s ok. Just not perfect commonality with the service gun. The trigger action may be changed out with an aftermarket trigger group so that’s good. The slide and barrel differ in the locking block so you cannot put a Glock 44 slide on the Glock 19 and that’s good. Reliability is the big problem. It isnt as reliable as Glock claims. With several types of High Velocity loads it is almost but not quite one hundred per cent. Be careful how you stagger the cartridges in the magazine. Subsonic ammunition is supposed to work. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Once the piece is dirty sub sonics don’t work as well. The first sign is the slide doesn’t lock open on the last shot. The pistol is reliable with CCI Mini Mags, either RN, HP or segmented. These loads are one hundred per cent at least up to about four hundred rounds. Don’t laud my efforts too much, it was a lot of fun. Keep the Glock 44 .22 pistol clean and lubricated and it will go several hundred Mini Mags without a hiccup. That’s all we can ask. It is a neat .22, a Glock, it is less reliable than some .22s and more so than others.

 

OPINION: WASHINGTON SECRETS

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Gun sales up over 200% in some states, most ‘new to gun buying’ READ MORE

ar15s

Paul Bedard

Some of the top prepper advisers who rightly counseled people in the early days of the coronavirus crisis to hoard toilet paper and fuel are now urging the purchase of “defensive guns” as the national lockdown drags on through April.

Pew-Pew Tactical boss Eric Hung told us that firearms are still hot but that the focus has turned to “more oriented home-defense guns like pump action shotguns and cheaper handguns.” And with that, he added, ammunition and sights for those guns are surging.

What’s more, he said that makers of AR-style rifles are sold out. “AR-15s are selling briskly too with some manufacturers completely out of their inventory and only able to sell what they can make in a day,” he told us.

Hung, whose page is a one-stop educational, sales, and review website for weapons and prepping advice, said there has also been a surge in rookie gun buyers looking for self-defense items. “It seems a lot are beginner firearm owners as we see more searches to our intro articles and a 4x increase in our online beginner handgun video course,” said Hung, who has posted a Prepper 101 guide.

Justin Anderson, the marketing director for Hyatt Guns of Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the nation’s biggest, told us, “Most of the customers we’re seeing are new to gun buying. So, if there’s one bright spot during this crisis, it’s seeing people exercising their Second Amendment rights for the first time.”

The proof is in the surge of FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System, up 80% in March, and even higher in some states.

A new report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation shared with Secrets Tuesday showed that the checks jumped over 200% in Michigan and Alabama, which have eliminated ways to skirt the checks.

Joe Friday’s Gun

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This old .38 is a formidable handgun. READ MORE

joe friday
This is a useful revolver with value beyond the fascination with Dragnet.

Heyward Williams

Among the first police procedural dramas was Dragnet. Dragnet was down to earth and presented the facts well. As a child I enjoyed the series very much. Dragnet still has much to recommend. Professionalism and results are valued. Later many of the prima donnas and flawed characters in TV shows were less interesting. Few would have lasted a minute in any agency I worked for. Some of the shows were basically good trash versus bad trash and the good trash wins. Then we had the original Criminal Minds. While they compressed a six month investigation into an hour show the original was very good. Then the show devolved into ridiculous plots and became basically a show case for personalities. The tired old plot of cop gets framed or cop gets divorce and a lack of originality seems to dog many shows after the first season. Kind of a soap opera. The point of my dialogue is Dragnet was a very good show and it set the pace for some of the better dramas such as Law and Order. As long as there are criminals and cases there will be fertile ground for police dramas. If you can read a file and get the facts then you can write a dramatization of it. And it doesn’t take a show of force akin to an Israeli police action against terror to get the job done. Joe Friday, like all LAPD detectives of the day, carried a .38 Special revolver.

joe friday
A four inch barrel Military and Police .38, above, compared to the two inch barrel revolver.

I began my reading and research in the firearms world with well written books by C B Colby. His work whetted my interest in firearms and most were written in simple prose that a nine year old could understand. As I progressed to reading Gun Digest I learned a great deal about handguns. By age eleven I had a Crossman air pistol and had fired several of my grandfather’s revolvers. I knew that Joe Friday carried a Military and Police .38 Special with a two inch barrel. This was one of the first short barrel .38 Special revolvers, introduced just before Colt’s Detective Special. The Military and Police revolver is a K frame revolver. It is considerably larger than the J frame five shot revolver. The Military and Police revolver features a full size grip that makes control good for experienced shooters. The sights are excellent for a fixed sight revolver. The action is smooth. While the smaller frame Detective Special has much merit the Military and Police snub nose is a fast handling and effective revolver.

joe friday
The Smith’s fixed sights are precise when properly aligned and fast to pick up.

I had wanted one of these revolvers after seeing Joe Friday draw and use his on Dragnet. Very seldom was the big Smith used but when it was Friday fired a single shot and got the job done. The lumbering old 200 grain Super Police load was standard for the LAPD in those days. While Friday’s gun fired blanks the LAPD fired many Super Police loads in the line of duty. I have owned a good number of J frame revolvers, primarily for use as a backup, and somehow I hadn’t added a full size Military and Police .38 Special revolver with two inch barrel to my collection. I kept my eye open for an example and actually ran across one about three years ago at a fair price. This was the first and last time I entered this shop. (It is now out of business.) I saw an older Smith and Wesson two inch barrel Model Ten with the desirable diamond grips. The revolver had a bit of wear, just like I like. A nice looking lady of perhaps forty years age handed me the revolver and we were within a few dollars of making the deal. A crusty overweight sourpuss (the owner) came to stand beside his daughter. I held the gun up to the light looking it over and remarked, ‘Hey this is Joe Friday’s gun.’ Sourpuss said, ‘I don’t care who in the hell pawned it it’s mine now.’ Seldom have I met such a solid combination of ignorance, disdain for a customer, and a lack of personality. I smiled at his lovely daughter and said ‘Let me think about it.’ I never graced the place again.

joe friday
A snubby barrel makes for fast handling.
joe friday
The revolver came with a chip out of the stock at no extra charge.

A few weeks ago I saw another of the now hard to find revolvers. The piece was in one of my favorite shops and it was marked at a fair price. I managed to whittle a few dollars off the price and took the piece home, cracked grip, worn muzzle and all. I didn’t want a new in the box example at all and that wasn’t in the budget. The action is tight and a check of the serial number showed the revolver left the factory in 1972. The bluing was decent and the chip off the bottom of the grip didn’t affect firing. Who knows — perhaps someone had used the gun butt as a kosh and buffaloed some deserving SOB. The Smith and Wesson Military and Police is a trouble free revolver. You could by pass every new revolver in the gun case at a well stocked gun shop and pick up a new Military and Police revolver and have a handgun that will last you for many years with heavy use.

joe friday
Several Remington .38 Special loads gave good results in the Model Ten.

I took the revolver to the range and loaded up the classic 158 grain RNL in the Remington Wheelgunner line. The revolver lines up on target quickly. Accuracy is good. The K frame really soaks up recoil. At 10 yards it was no mean feat to put six rounds into the X ring firing double action. Of course we don’t carry RNL loads. The Remington lead semi wadcutter hollow point is soft enough to plump up to .60 even at 820 fps, the clocked velocity from the Smith’s short barrel. There was more recoil with this 158 grain load but the big Smith and Wesson remained controllable. After firing a number of double action pairs I appreciated Sgt. Friday’s choice. This is a good handling revolver. The two inch barrel allows good concealment even when worn on the belt as a relatively short covering garment will conceal this handgun. I even tried a few shots at a long 20 yards. Bracing against a barricade and firing five rounds single action all five went into less than two inches- with three in 1.5 inches. These were among the most accurate revolvers to leave Smith and Wesson. Since the initial outing I have also fired a number of handloads using heavy cast bullets from Matt’s Bullets. A hard cast 200 grain bullet at 800 fps thumps the steel plates hard. Not recommended for J frame revolvers.

Joe Friday carried his Smith in a crossdraw holster. My research indicates this was a Lewis holster, a well made scabbard long out of production. I have on hand a spring loaded G Man crossdraw from the 1940s or so. The Smith and Wesson fit well and the draw was excellent. The holster has become loose with the years and that wont do. A modern Wright Leather Works crossdraw is superior to most anything Joe Friday would have owned. The Smith and Wesson Military and Police is a good fit for this holster, originally intended for a Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum with 2.5 inch barrel. The Wright Leather Works holster holds the gun butt in the perfect position for a rapid presentation.

In the end I like this combination very much. I am certain I will be using the Smith and Wesson .38 when hiking or other low stress activity and probably carrying it concealed from time to time. I would rather have this vintage Smith and Wesson than perhaps half of the guns I see in shooting classes. And that’s the facts — just the facts.

38
Wright Leatherworks offers first class concealment leather.

What I Learned When I Took a Disabled Friend Shooting

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What challenges arise for disabled shooters? READ MORE

disabled shooting

Brian McCombie

My good friend Randy Schiferl wanted to buy his very first handgun, and he had questions for me. Lots of them–best models, worst, prices, calibers and on it went.

“Let’s go to the range,” I said. “I’ll bring a half dozen handguns and ammo and we’ll see what works best for you. Okay?”

“Just give me the day and a time,” said Randy.

A couple days later found me deciding which handguns I should bring to the range, when it hit me: Randy is disabled. I don’t usually think of Randy as disabled. A very good friend is how I think of him, as well as a committed family man and a very successful dairy farmer. You can count on Randy—a good many people know this firsthand.

But, yes, Randy has disabilities. I wondered how it might affect his ability to use the various pistols I brought along that afternoon to our local sportsmen’s club shooting range.

This happened to him just a few years ago. In October 2017, Randy was walking to his car when his legs suddenly gave out. The rest of his body went limp, too. He had to be helped into the car and carried into our local emergency room. Numerous tests and consultations later, the medical staff arrived at a diagnosis: Guillain-Barre syndrome.

According to the Mayo Clinic: “Guillain-Barre (gee-YAH-buh-RAY) syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body.”

Days later, an almost completely paralyzed Randy listened to his doctor’s prognosis. Randy found out he would never walk again; never feed or bathe himself; never leave a skilled nursing home; and that he should expect a lifetime of near-complete paralysis.

Randy, now 55, heard it all and accepted it. Accepted that his doctor was wrong, that is. Today, after a tremendous amount of work, faith and (he will deny this, but I believe it is true nonetheless) a large reserve of inner courage, Randy walks, works his dairy farm, drives and does much of what he once did.

“Will I ever be 100% back to where I was before all this?” he said to me recently. “Probably not. But I’m not spending the rest of my life in a bed, either!”

He rates himself as physically at about 75% pre-Guillain-Barre. He does physical therapy and works out regularly, has monthly infusions and gets a little stronger and more flexible every week.

But he does wear leg braces and he walks with the noticeable, rolling gait of someone with a physical disability. Plus, he frequently travels on business. He goes to strange places and it occurred to him that criminal types might see him as an easy target. So, to maintain his safety and independence, Randy knew it was time to get a concealed-carry permit.

“I’ve always been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” Randy told me during our day at the range. “With my current physical condition, I am thinking about my right to own and use a firearm in a different way now, I will admit. I guess I never felt vulnerable before, but,” and here he shrugged, “Guillain-Barre has changed my life and I have to adapt.”

Randy is not alone in his need to adapt to changing physical conditions. According to the NRA’s Adaptive Shooting Program, some 74 million Americans qualify as “disabled.”

“This population is growing,” the Adaptive Shooting Program website notes, “as the Baby Boomer generation ages and as injured soldiers return from overseas. As a group, they are generally under-represented in the shooting sports, personal protection and hunting communities. The NRA’s goal is to increase access and participation in shooting activities for people with disabilities through specialized techniques and technologies that are safe and unique to each individual.”

“The NRA is one of the nation’s oldest civil-rights organizations with a mission to protect and defend the Second Amendment for everyone regardless of age or ability,” said Dr. Joseph Logar, PT, DPT, National Manager for Adaptive Shooting Programs. “The Bill of Rights doesn’t have an age limit; there’s no eye chart on the back; there’s no height requirement or strength testing needed to exercise your rights.”

The Adaptive Shooting Program website provides an Americans with disabilities information page, a range-accessibility checklist, an accessibility subsidy program and an adaptive product database. But the program’s work goes beyond providing information.

“We recently donated around $7,000 worth of gear to Lonestar Para-Athletic Development Academy, a non-profit out of Texas, to establish a training center/program for veterans with disabilities,” said Logar. “We are involved in many other similar projects to help people to actually participate in the shooting sports, whether it’s hunting or recreational shooting or self-defense.”

At the range that day, Randy and I did a safety briefing first, and then I had him handle the unloaded pistols. We immediately discovered that a small “pocket” pistol wasn’t going to work for Randy, given the flexibility issues with his hands.

But he did great shooting and manipulating larger handguns, including a Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield and a Remington R1 Enhanced 1911. Once he got used to handling these two pistols, the bullseyes hits started coming–and kept coming.

“This is a lot of fun!” Randy said with a big smile, after he was done putting a magazine of .45 ACP rounds into the center of a target. “I think my next stop is the gun shop!”

NRA ADAPTIVE SHOOTING PROGRAM

Photo courtesy of Brian McCombie

Attention: First Time Gun Buyers

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NRA Launches Online Gun Safety Courses. READ MORE

nra online

Marion P Hammer, USF Executive Director

https://onlinetraining.nra.org/

NRAInstructors.org

eddieeagle.nra.org

NRA.yourlearningportal.com

In response to the growing number of first-time gun buyers during the coronavirus outbreak, the National Rifle Association’s Education & Training Division is pleased to announce the launch of four new online gun safety courses.

“These courses will provide an option for first-time gun owners who don’t have the ability to take an NRA certified instructor-led class at their local shooting range at this time,” said Joe DeBergalis, executive director of NRA General Operations. “While there is no replacement for in-person, instructor-led training, our new online classes do provide the basics of firearm safety training for those self-isolating at home.”

Those courses include:

Gun Safety Seminar

NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course — Distance Learning

NRA Basic Rifle Shooting Course — Distance Learning

NRA Basic Personal Protection In The Home Course — Distance Learning

Each course, lasting from one to eight hours, is available at NRAInstructors.org.

Though range time is part of some of the classes (Basics of Pistol Shooting — Distance Learning & Personal Protection in the Home — Distance Learning), there is still a wealth of knowledge available in every online section.

“The NRA recommends that all new gun owners seek professional training at the range, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start on learning the basics of firearm safety at home. New gun owners, old gun owners, it doesn’t really matter. Taking one of these classes moderated by a certified NRA instructor can only make you safer, and that’s our primary goal,” DeBergalis added.

The NRA also offers the award-winning gun accident prevention Eddie Eagle GunSafe program (eddieeagle.nra.org) nationwide and the NRA Hunters Education program (NRA.yourlearningportal.com) in selected states to help those safeguard their home and to be safe and responsible when they go afield.

https://onlinetraining.nra.org/

SKILLS: Handgun Stopping Power

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One Shot Stops, 9mm vs. .45, Magic Bullet. READ MORE

Bob Campbell

stopping power
The .45 ACP was developed to offer similar wound potential to the .45 Colt, lower. These are old school handguns perhaps but only a few months old. One is for concealed carry and the other accompanies the author on the trail.

In writing, I prefer my information to be valid and the research verifiable, and the experiments repeatable. I like to give the reader an opportunity to get a handle on things. Quite often the things that the critic points out harshly are the things that majority of the readers find valuable. I have found that the subject of handgun wound potential or stopping power isnt a puzzle at all but remains a puzzle to those that make it so. I realize that there is not natural law that gives a man a reward that matches his endeavor, so I hope that the reader finds something of value in this work. There has been more debate concerning handgun stopping power in the past 20 years than in the previous 100. A lot of gunplay took place in the old west, but period literature covers the tactics and personalities far more closely than the guns and calibers used. The .44 and .45 caliber revolvers in wide use on the frontier seemed to work with authority, and no one much questioned the efficacy of their ballistics. There are reports of the effect of the .44 on horses and the problems with the .36 at long range during the Civil War, but perhaps that is going back too far and reading too much into different technology.

Since the days when word-of-mouth was the only barometer of handgun effectiveness, we have made many advances in measuring handgun power. The standard was once pine boards to test handgun cartridges, penetration being the only criteria. Penetration is still the most important criteria. Ductseal and clay were widely used to test hollowpoints, both unrealistic media. Today we have carefully formulated ballistic gelatin, developed by trauma surgeons to replicate human tissue, as well as some highly significant scientific studies of gunshot effects.

stopping power
With plus P loads with a good balance of expansion and penetration the .38 Special and 9mm Luger are lifesavers. These handguns are the right size for good control.

The study of tactics and human behavior is more important than the weapon, caliber and loading used in combat. Marksmanship can be proven to be the most important component of handgun effectiveness. Wound ballistics is a science, with conclusions drawn from studying bullet tracks in both ballistic gelatin and corpses in the medical examiner’s morgue. Detractors of laboratory tests feel these tests cannot duplicate differences in point of impact, clothing, attitude, muscle structure and intoxication. But a ballistic scientist does not ask us to believe anything. He simply presents the results of his tests. The results are not only verifiable, they are repeatable, the real test of science.

Stopping power “studies,” on the other hand, ask us to believe in someone’s conclusion. Assuming such compilations are valid requires a considerable leap of faith. Reports are often sensationalized, even glamorized. Are such studies grounded in reality? Are they even useful? Can they be supported by scientific methods? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this — cartridges and loads are not as important as basic shooting skills. I don’t believe trick loads significantly alter the ability of a smallbore cartridge to inflict damage. I simply don’t accept many published reports because they are anecdotal and based on hearsay. Even if the shootings actually occurred — which is reasonable to ask — the methodology is flawed. In other cases, there are conclusions made that are so irrelevant to the reality of interpersonal combat that they are not even worth publishing.

A Skeptical Eye
When it comes to the various handgun “studies,” we must consider their validity. These “researchers” are not writing the King James version of stopping power. Yet the figures expressed are often quoted in the popular press as gospel. A criticism of some of the work might be the inability of others to inspect and review source material. To some, this reduces the validity of the study to zero. Certainly, such unsubstantiated work does not meet an investigative standard. As a longtime officer, I understand both sides of this debate. Confidentiality and respect for families must be considered. Cops who collect shooting histories may not have engaged in much gunplay, but have arrived just after quite a few gunfights ended. Cops from Area Six in Chicago, Fort Apache (the Bronx) in New York, or The Wall in California have a good idea of the type of damage different handgun calibers inflict. They are good investigators as well. They realize that three eyewitnesses testifying in good faith may perceive events three different ways.

Human perceptions differ. The road to a detective’s badge in many agencies is through the traffic division. Working wreck scenes is small-scale investigation, and separates the sleuths from the duffers in some cases. Applying normal investigative standards to stopping power studies often reveals bankrupt methodology or standards. These “studies” do not even meet the criteria demanded by some agencies in ascertaining who is at fault in a fender bender.

stopping power
The author prefers the balance of control and power in the .45 automatic. The Nighthawk, top, and Colt, below, are frequent companions.

Most police trainers have long abandoned the attempt to study stopping power and instead have concentrated on tactical movement and the actions of felons in combat. Tactics carry the day. By criticizing issue arms and equipment, we undermine an officer’s confidence in his gear, something he is usually unable to change. Sure, a DAO 9mm loaded with subsonic ammunition is not my first choice but a good man or woman behind the sights can make a difference. Tactics and marksmanship are a better answer than hotter loads in minor calibers.

One writer did the boys and girls in blue no favor when he stated in pat terms that load selection is more important than shot placement. His reasoning was that we can control load selection, but not marksmanship. Evidently he does not realize that shots that do not find critical areas are relatively ineffective. Any hunter knows better, and hunting lessons do indeed translate to self defense. A gut-shot man behaves just like a gut-shot deer — both are up and running for quite some time. A man and a deer are similar in size and may be about as hard to put down. The man knows he has been shot, the deer does not, and men are more susceptible to shock.

Most studies, or rather I call them published opinions, eliminate multiple bullet strikes from the data as they ‘confuse the issue.’ This simply makes small caliber bullets look much better than real world experience would indicate. Most handgun fights will be multiple strike incidents. One shot failures would be rare. After all, if the first shot fails, won’t you fire another? Besides, trained shooters often fire double or triple taps before a subject can fall. A problem with handgun histories is qualifying hits. I have on hand a report from police sources in which a coroner and a medical examiner, both reputable men, disagreed concerning the number of hits on a felon’s body. In a class I once attended, a medical examiner spoke in glowing terms of a certain new generation hollowpoint. He showed an impressive slide in which a bad guy — “Satan Lives” was tattooed on his chest — took a single hit which produced a long and wide wound track. Years later, the officer involved in the incident spoke at a seminar. He noted the man took the shot, stopped his attack, and remained mobile for some time, asking the officer to call an ambulance. The felon expired. The officer was certain the man could have continued the fight had he so wished. Two conflicting opinions on the same shooting. Some adversaries are “machinegunned” in shootings — five .38s, seven .45s, or 41 9mms. Excited, frightened men empty their guns under deadly stress. If the felon goes down in such a volley, it may have been a one-shot stop. The volley that leaves a felon standing is always a failure to stop. Dismissing multiple hits eliminates the majority of smallbore shootings.

stopping power
The .357 Magnum, above, pretty much eclipsed the excellent .38 Super, below. In appropriate sized handguns each is a viable personal defense handgun.

There are three components of wound potential that must be stressed — marksmanship, marksmanship and marksmanship. We are not very bright if we have time to arm ourselves with a long gun and fail to do so. In comparison to a 12 gauge shotgun or a .223 rifle, the “weak .38” and “strong .45” are more alike than they differ. A sobering thought.

Tactical Info
Shooting histories should be used for tactical information first and bullet performance information second. As for lab work, gelatin is homogenous and flesh and blood are heterogeneous. It is not the same, but gelatin is a good media for comparing bullet performance. What counts is point of impact and perhaps the adversary’s tox sheet. (Certain drugs are not called painkillers for nothing.) Even ordinary water is good for comparing bullet expansion and penetration. Whether or not we regard the studies as valid, one rule we may take away from learned research is that bullet selection is more important in the weaker calibers. One authority, Dr. Vincent J. Di Miao, has stated that perhaps half of all handgun bullets designed to expand actually fail to expand in the body. They strike a portion of the body that doesn’t stop the bullet or they strike bone and close up on the nose. The works of this respected medical examiner do not inspire confidence in smallbore hollowpoints. We are led to the conclusion that all handguns are weak instruments.

stopping power
A fast handling short barrel revolver is a reasonable choice for personal defense. That’s a five shot .45, left, and a six shot .38, right.

Some decades ago the Police Marksman’s Association published a study that I found among the more valid of the day. The calibers included were .38 Special, 9mm Luger, .357 Magnum and .45 ACP. The .40 S & W was yet to come, so, yes, this was some time ago. While the results of the study are valid, the study, which was conducted by a respected researcher and the records were available to interested researchers, also included hit probability. This simply reflected the number of hits per shots fired. This was a reflection on training than anything else but notably the .357 Magnum exhibited the highest hit probability. The .45 auto and .357 Magnum revolvers showed the highest hit probability of any service handguns. Hit probability is a side issue, but one which remains valid. You would imagine if the agency has a hit probability of fifty per cent with the 9mm, the shots that hit are probably not well centered. Some agencies, such as the Kentucky State Patrol, engaged in rigorous training with their Magnum revolvers.

What follows is a divergence from the scientific, but bear with me — life has to have some fun too — and all this about combat reminds us that life is what it is because men live it.

Fun With Math
One “study” shows a 9mm cartridge that has proven to be a 50 percent stopper. Hit probability in this agency has proven to be 50 percent — far higher than average at the time. What are the chances two felons will be stopped with two shots? Given that only one out of two rounds will hit Felon X and Felon Y, at least four shots will have to be fired to connect, and then only one opponent is likely to be stopped.

Here’s the math on that probability: .50 x .50 = .25. What you have is a one-in-four chance of stopping Felon X with one shot.

What about the .357 Magnum revolver, per PMA stats? It works out like this: .75 x .60 = .45. The conclusion, if we were peddling this “study” as a major work, would be this: The .357 Magnum is nearly twice as likely to produce a one-shot stop as a 9mm Luger. So there you have it. How much faith can we put in these studies? We can learn from the PMA study that firing less with more accuracy means a lot. That doesn’t mean we are slower to the first shot but we should fire with greater accuracy.

The Answer
What stops human adversaries during a deadly attack? A brain shot or a spine shot are the only two instant stoppers. Damage to blood bearing organs which causes rapid blood loss and a drop of pressure causes the body to shut down. Common sense is the best guide. Bigger bullets cause more damage. Bigger knives cut better. Bigger engines pull better. However, handgun bullets aren’t very big. We should practice with the largest caliber we are able to control. Accuracy can make up for power. The reverse may not be true.

SKILLS: Holsterless Handguns — Viable?

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A true packing pistol should be viable if simply shoved in the waistband… READ MORE

no holster carry
Carrying the piece crossdraw in the waistband works well for many shooters.

Bob Campbell

For years most of us have counseled concealed carry handgun carriers to choose a proper holster. A holster keeps the handgun stable and angled for the proper draw. Just the same, who am I to go against two hundred years or more of tradition? Wild Bill Hickock kept his revolvers in a tightly woven sash. Few early holsters were suitable for concealed carry. Even today many folks like pocket carry. I will leave that for another time. Many of us like to shove a handgun in the belt for a quick run to the store or for more casual carry. Among my friends that are retired cops the trend seems to be toward such carry. That’s fine as long as they know what they are doing. The handgun must be tightly sandwiched in between the belt and the body and reasonably secure, not likely to be dislodged. I am not recommending concealed carry with no holster, far from it, but I am also a realist and feel that this common practice should be discussed.

no holster carry
If there were ever a better packing revolver than the Colt SAA the author has never seen it.

Sam Colt designed pocket, belt and holster guns. Each was a different size, for different needs. They generally ran .31, .36 and .44 caliber. Today we have sub-compact, compact and service size pistols. Some are less suited for concealed carry than others. As an example, I usually carry a Commander .45. I may carry a Government Model .45. I have learned after much experimentation that rail guns can be tricky on the draw. The Springfield Operator seems the best of the bunch when coupled with the Galco N3 holster, and a sharp draw isn’t difficult. Sometimes this isn’t true with other designs. If you are going to carry the 1911 in the waistband then the casual outlook probably doesn’t include a rail for mounting a combat light. The rail may snag on clothing. It is important to practice the draw. It is obvious that carrying the pistol cocked and locked isn’t the best idea if the handgun isn’t carried in a holster. The 1911 may reasonably be carried hammer down in relative safety if the pistol features a firing pin block or extra strength firing pin spring as most all modern 1911s do.

no holster carry
A cocked and locked 1911 rail gun, upper, may not be the best choice for waistband carry. The P210 9mm, lower, is long but slim and rides well without a holster. It is also easy to cock the hammer quickly.
no holster carry
This rail may snag the undergarments — practice a few draws to be certain.

The problem is cocking the hammer on the draw. It isn’t that difficult with the modern Government Model with a spur hammer. Some practice needs to go into this draw and making the pistol ready. It is slower than cocked and locked carry. But it is faster than carrying with an empty chamber. If you are carrying a self loading handgun with an empty chamber you really need to be carrying a revolver! When it comes to other single action hammered self loaders we have a mixed bunch. I am not exactly a snowflake, but I find the hammer of the Browning High Power 9mm very difficult to cock on the draw. The hammer is powered by a very heavy spring. The High Power will certainly crack most any primer, which is the design intent, but that hammer renders the High Power much less desirable for holsterless carry. I have to use two hands to rack the High Power. The CZ 75 is another matter. This piece is snug against the body, nearly perfect for carrying in the waistband. While the CZ is a double action first shot pistol it is pretty easy to cock the hammer on the draw. I am very much enjoying the SIG P210A. This is a wonderfully accurate and very well made single action handgun. I find cocking the hammer on the draw quite easy. I don’t feel comfortable carrying any striker fired handgun thrust in the waistband. Neither should you. Some self loaders dont work well based on design. Among my favorite light handguns is the Bond Arms Bullpup 9. The Bullpup 9 is a great shooter and its double action only trigger makes it a safe enough pistol to pack without a holster. The problem is the super compact geometry. The piece just doesn’t fit and balance well in the waistband.

no holster carry
The Model 69 .44 Magnum, top, is a good waistband gun — the Ladysmith, center, is pretty good but the snub .38, bottom, may squirm too much.

For the most part revolvers do not work nearly as well in the waistband without a holster. The snubnose .38, among the most trusted defensive handguns, is too short and squirms in the waistband. A three inch barrel version is a bit better. I sometimes carry the Model 69 2.75 inch barrel Combat Magnum .44 in the front, to the right of the belt buckle, and it is okay for a casual walk. The absolute best balanced revolvers for casual in the waistband carry are the plow handled Single Action Army types. This is among the reasons so many lawmen kept the SAA long past its prime, it is simply well balanced and fast handling. A 4 ¾ inch barrel SAA is about as compact as most double action .357 revolvers and balances well if worn in the front and tucked into the waistband. If you are worried about the revolver slipping into the pants then open the loading gate (crossdraw in the waistband also works as well) as you draw close the loading gate.

no holster carry
Striker fired pistols such as the SIG, top, are not the best choice for carry without a holster. The DAO Bond Bullpup, lower, is a good handgun but the geometry demands a holster. Just not enough real estate to keep the piece steady in the belt.

I think that there are times when holsterless carry works well. It isn’t ideal but then all types of concealed carry are a compromise.

Alabama: We Need Your Help to Pass Lifetime Permits in Senate Judiciary!

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New Bill supports statewide, lifetime concealed carry permits. READ MORE

alabama permits

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Senate Bill 47, sponsored by Senator Randy Price, creates a new statewide, uniform system to provide lifetime permits for qualified applicants at a cost of $200. For state residents over 65, the fee drops to $150.

Don’t listen to the “fake news” being pushed by opponents of this bill. Most aspects of the current permitting process will not change. Individuals interested in obtaining a lifetime permit will apply at their local sheriff’s office for a background check and to fill out the appropriate paperwork.

We must make our voices heard loud and clear on this bill to get it passed. This is an important change to the existing permitting system that will give law-abiding gun owners the option of deciding which route is best suited for their individual self-defense needs. This choice should be yours!