SKILLS: Too Much Gun For Home Defense?

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Should you consider an AR-platform firearm for home defense, or are there better choices, and why? READ MORE

ar15 home defense
If you find yourself facing a deadly threat in your home, make sure you have enough gun and that you know how to use it.

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, Tom McHale

According to the media, no one could possibly need something like a “weapon of war” as a home defense firearm. Then again, it was television and movie people who came up with that whole idea of shooting the gun out of the bad guy’s hand.

If you’re reading this, you already know that an AR does not differ from any other type of firearm. It has different pros and cons and is suitable for some jobs more than others. In my view, one area where it shines is in the role of home defense firearm. More specifically, it’s the AR pistol that presents an option worthy of serious consideration.

ar15 home defense

Before we get into specifics, we ought to invest a hot second talking about why an AR makes a good home defense option. Contrary to popular assumption, a standard .223/5.56mm projectile isn’t a penetration beast. In fact, a standard 55-grain FMJ bullet will penetrate fewer walls or pieces of furniture than most any pistol round. The combination of a small and light projectile and high velocity creates a ballistic sweet spot where bullets quickly begin to fragment and tumble. But be prepared; it will be loud.

With that said, let’s consider a few AR pistol attributes that support a home defense role for it.

Ease of Use
The most important factor is ease of use, and I’m not talking about the controls. Of course, any gun requires training to use effectively in a high-stress situation, and an AR-type arguably has more controls to understand and master than a smaller handgun. I’m talking about ease of hitting a target while under stress.

However, longer guns in general are far more forgiving to fire than small handguns thanks to their weight and sight radius. A slight offset from perfect sight alignment just doesn’t matter that much when shooting a longer gun at defensive distances. A slight sight misalignment with a smaller handgun can cause a complete miss and it happens all the time. Note the shockingly low percentage of hits versus shots fired in police shooting statistics. It’s not because they’re all bad shooters. It’s a result of trying to master handgun technique under extreme stress.

A heavier gun, like an AR pistol, is also easier to shoot accurately thanks to its weight to trigger force ratio. A handgun with a 5.5-pound trigger that weighs 2 pounds wants to move during an aggressive, adrenaline-induced trigger press. Thanks to inertia, a 6-pound AR pistol with a 5.5-pound trigger will move a lot less under identical circumstances.

Size and Balance
An AR rifle makes a great home defense weapon. The only real downside is its weight, length and challenge of operating with one hand. The AR pistol, on the other hand, brings the same benefits to a smaller and more maneuverable package. As an example, the Springfield Armory SAINT Edge rifle is 35.75? long fully extended and 32.5? with the stock collapsed. The SAINT Edge Pistol shown here can operate with an overall length of just 24.6? with wrist brace collapsed and 28.5? opened up. Those are just numbers, and they don’t sound like much, but the handling difference in the real world is significant.

Capacity
With standard capacity of 30 rounds, that’s a lot more than even a large handgun like the XD-M OSP. No one who ever survived a self-defense encounter ever complained about having rounds left over in the magazine, right?

ar15 home defense
No one has ever complained about having too much ammo, and a 30-round magazine like this can be very comforting when you need it.

Authority
I hate terms like “stopping” or “knockdown” power. They’re terribly misleading and lead to a false sense of security. However, according to both math and street science, most any rifle round puts the performance of most any pistol round to shame in violent encounters. If your life depends on stopping one or more aggressors quickly, a rifle caliber round improves your odds of success dramatically. Yes, projectiles fired from an AR pistol do leave the muzzle at a lower velocity than those fired from full-length rifles, but if we’re comparing an AR pistol to a handgun-caliber pistol, there’s still a significant energy difference.

ar15 home defense
Short and handy yet powerful, an AR pistol can be a very capable home defender.

Accessories
We have all sorts of reliable options for lights and lasers on traditional handguns, so an AR pistol doesn’t technically bring any additional capability to the table there. What it does offer is more flexibility in terms of how they’re mounted and used. Most, like the SAINT Edge pistol shown here, have rails or attachment mounting points all along the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.

Additionally, an AR pistol is perfect for optics use. With an “always on” red dot, you’ve got a great sighting option for any light conditions. Dark, daylight, or anywhere in between.

ar15 home defense
Firearms like the SAINT Edge Pistol make mounting accessories like this Streamlight TLR-1 in a variety of locations quite easy.

The Bottom Line
Don’t write off the AR, especially an AR pistol, as nonviable for home defense simply because of the hearsay that gets passed along at gun store counters. They can be a great choice for this role, and offer you a lot of advantages.

Learn more about the Saint HERE

Tom McHale is a perpetual student of all things gun and shooting related. He’s particularly passionate about self and home defense and the rights of all to protect themselves and their loved ones. As part of his ongoing learning, Tom has completed dozens of training programs and is a certified National Rifle Association instructor for pistol and shotgun. Tom is a professional writer by trade these days and has published seven books on guns, shooting, reloading, concealed carry, and holsters. In between book projects, Tom has published somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,700 articles for about a dozen gun and shooting publications. If he’s not writing, you can probably find him on the range.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory.

 

Confiscation or “Mandatory Buyback”?

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If it looks like a duck… READ MORE

gun confiscation

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

It is interesting to watch certain Democrats struggle when trying to convince law-abiding gun owners how “reasonable” it is for the government to take away your firearms. Do the anti-gun groups and candidates pushing confiscation honestly believe you’ll be fooled?

The Democrat plan to confiscate your firearms isn’t in question. In fact, the plan was laid bare by Robert Francis O’Rourke when, during the third Democrat Presidential Debates, he proclaimed, “Hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK47….” Prior to this broadcast, most Democrats were more subtle, promoting what they euphemistically called a “mandatory buy-back” program for most semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns (so-called “assault weapons”). In the hope of capturing voters, they opted to soothe instead of share, and continually shied away from admitting the true goal: confiscation.

But as the saying goes, if it looks like a duck…

Leading up to the fourth Democrat debate, the effort to disguise confiscation as something else continued. Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, complained in an interview with Snapchat’s Good Luck America about the Democrats’ “fight over confiscation,” which was distracting from other, more palatable infringements on your Second Amendment rights. Buttigieg’s comment seemed to be a continuation of his spat with O’Rourke earlier this month in Las Vegas.

After the Good Luck America interview was released, another Democrat presidential “hopeful,” New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, decided he needed to chastise Buttigieg for simply telling the truth. Booker tweeted, “Calling buyback programs ‘confiscation’ is doing the NRA’s work for them, @PeteButtigieg — and they don’t need our help.” Interestingly, Booker didn’t challenge the idea that “mandatory buyback” schemes, which he proudly supports, and confiscation are really the same thing. His complaint was over the accepted terminology for confiscation, not the confiscation itself.

Of course, part of NRA’s “work” is exposing the lies of the anti-gun movement, and bringing the truth to light. We welcome any “help” in that arena, even if it comes from hyperbolic Democrats who fundamentally misunderstand firearms. Buttigieg may be wrong about promoting other anti-gun policies, but at least he is honest about another Democrat’s desire for confiscation.

To be clear, though, he hasn’t said that he is entirely opposed to confiscation. He’s merely said he is opposed to talking about it right now.

And that kind of makes sense, politically. The four Democrat candidates that are leading in the polls–Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Buttigieg–have all referred to supporting a “voluntary buyback” scheme, rather than confiscation. Booker, O’Rourke, and California Senator Kamala Harris have all called for confiscation, and are all struggling in the low- to mid-single digits.

This week, during the fourth debate, banning AR-15s and other “assault weapons” was again brought up. And the sparks flew between Bittigieg and O’Rourke.

Moderator Anderson Cooper asked O’Rourke how his “mandatory buyback” would work if, as O’Rourke has claimed, police would not be going door-to-door to confiscate firearms. After insulting every single lawful owner of an AR-15 by claiming their firearm is a “potential instrument of terror,” “Beto” then stated he expects everyone to simply follow the law.

And that may very well be the case, for those who wish to remain law-abiding. But those who have malice in mind will not. Those who have acquired the tools of their criminal trade illegally will not. And while NRA strongly encourages gun owners to obey gun laws and work to change those with which they disagree, there are many otherwise law-abiding citizens who, when faced with a law they feel is unjust or unconstitutional, will simply not comply.

Cooper pressed O’Rourke to explain how he intends to treat those who currently own AR-15s and similar firearms, and do not turn them in, if his ban were to become law. The candidate said, “If someone does not turn in an AR-15…then that weapon will be taken from them.”

…if it swims like a duck…

O’Rourke went beyond mere confiscation, though, and offered a chilling, Swalwell-like statement about “other consequences from law enforcement.”

Mayor Buttigieg was given an opportunity to speak on the subject, where he made clear that the confiscation plan is not off the table for him. He suggested that if O’Rourke could come up with a more developed scheme, “I think we can have a debate about it.” Harkening back to the anti-gun rally in Las Vegas earlier this month, when O’Rourke all but called Buttigieg a coward for not currently supporting confiscation, the South Bend Mayor slapped down the failed Texas Senate candidate when he stated, “I don’t need lessons from you on courage.”

Before the back-and-forth between Buttigieg and O’Rourke devolved into a full-blown slap-fight, Cooper allowed some of the other candidates on the stage to weigh in on banning semi-automatic firearms.

Senator Booker pretended to be concerned about how the candidates “talk to each other and about each other,” then began talking about his gun licensing scheme without talking about the confiscation plan he has already stated he supports.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar talked about a number of anti-gun proposals, did not say that she specifically opposes confiscation, but has stated in the past that she supports “voluntary buybacks,” rather than confiscation.

Senator Warren talked about treating semi-automatic firearms like AR-15s the same as fully-automatic firearms, invoking the registration and taxation scheme under the National Firearms Act (NFA). She also called for an end to the filibuster in the Senate to help ram through gun control legislation.

Senator Harris then grossly underestimated the number of so-called “assault weapons,” saying there are only five million, when most estimates put the number at over 15 million for just AR-15s. Perhaps she is trying to minimize the impact her anti-gun efforts will have on law-abiding Americans by lying about how many will be affected. She also repeated her audacious plan of using her executive authority as President to do what has already been done. While she didn’t actually say she supports confiscation on the debate stage this week, she has stated support for it in the past.

Former Vice President Biden stumbled through his statement next. He talked about the failed Clinton gun ban of 1994-2004 — trying to take sole credit for its passage — brought up registering AR-15s under the NFA–presumably to show he doesn’t support confiscation–and spoke of repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

The last candidate given an opportunity to speak about confiscation was former HUD Secretary Julián Castro. He stated he is opposed to confiscation because he does not want to see police going door-to-door to implement the policy, as he expressed concerns over “police violence.”

So, while some candidates sparred over what to call the confiscation scheme, others made clear their opposition to it…for now.

…and if it quacks like a duck…

While the Democrat debate ended Tuesday night, the debate over what to call gun confiscation continues. In fact, on MSNBC the following day, O’Rourke spoke to Joe Scarborough to make sure everyone understood his position; and his preferred terminology. While Scarborough correctly referred to the plan as confiscation, O’Rourke claimed it was not, and continually referred to a “buyback.”

Scarborough labored to get the candidate to admit confiscation is his goal, suggesting a hypothetical Texas rancher who simply does not feel a ban on AR-15s is just or constitutional. In response, O’Rourke said that, as with any law, “there have to be consequences,” and in Scarborough’s hypothetical scenario, “there would be a visit by law enforcement.”

Look, if you have to send law enforcement to someone’s house to remove their lawfully acquired property under threat of penalty, you can try to say that’s NOT confiscation…

…but it is probably a duck.

 

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

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Hypocrisy and hype are now the hallmarks of Dick’s Sporting Goods. READ MORE

dicks

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, wants you to know he’s committed to keeping AR-15s “off the street.” But he’s also committed (for the time being) to selling other types of firearms.

That’s the genius of Ed Stack. He’s perfectly capable of holding two contradictory opinions at the same time. He’ll take one sort of gun buyer’s money and then lecture another on the evils of firearms.

We call that being a hypocrite.

But for Ed Stack, it’s just being Dick’s.

Recently, Ed took to the airwaves to explain in an interview with CBS News how he made his decision upon finding out that the criminal responsible for the Parkland attack had previously purchased a shotgun from Dick’s. If you tried to follow the “reasoning” of the conversation (if not the words actually spoken), it went something like this:

Ed: We sold the bad guy a shotgun. And I said, “We’re done.’”

Reporter: But that wasn’t the gun he used.

Ed: But it could have been.

Reporter: So you were done with shotguns.

Ed: No, we were done with AR-15s.

Reporter: So you sold the bad guy an AR-15, too?

Ed: No, but we could have.

Reporter: So you’re not selling AR-15s or shotguns.

Ed: No, we’re just not selling AR-15s.

Reporter: But you said he could have used a shotgun.

Ed: That’s right.

Reporter: But you’re still selling shotguns.

Ed: That’s right. But we’re not selling AR-15s.

Ed went on to say that he figured at the time his voluntary gun control policies would cost the company about a “quarter of a billion dollars” in losses. He turned out to be right, or pretty close, he noted.

And he continued by explaining that after removing $5 million worth of perfectly good, perfectly lawful semi-automatic rifles from Dick’s inventory, he turned them into scrap metal.

Why?

Because, according to Ed Stack, “If we really think these things should be off the street, we need to destroy them.”

We don’t think Dick’s ever considered just leaving the guns out on the street.

But even if Ed believed that the federally-mandated background check process was an inadequate safeguard to keep the semi-automatic rifles “off of the street,” he had options other than destroying valuable company property at company expense.

He could have, for example, donated the guns to cash-strapped law enforcement agencies across the country. Then they could have been used to help round up real crime guns from real criminals on the street and elsewhere. Maybe Dick’s could have even qualified for a tax deduction.

Instead, for all Ed knows, the scrap metal might just be melted down and repurposed into new semi-automatic rifles for sale by a competitor who defers to the choices of its law-abiding customers, not to the choices of gun control advocates who don’t shop at firearm retailers.

Ed Stack told CBS News the future of gun sales at Dick’s is under “strategic review.” So far, he’s removed all firearms from more than 100 of the company’s 720 stores.

Meanwhile, many gun buyers and Second Amendment supporters have removed all of their business from all of the company’s stores. As Hot Air reports, “Three years ago the company’s stock was trading at 60 bucks per share. This week it’s hovering around 38 dollars.”

 

NRA & Gun Owners Win; Bloomberg / Everytown Lose

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Montana Supreme Court finds localities cannot go rogue and enact extreme gun control. READ MORE

montana legislature

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauds a decision last Thursday by the Montana state Supreme Court protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners in that state. In an NRA-backed case, the justices held, in a 5-0 decision, that the City of Missoula’s attempt to impose extreme gun control measures was a clear violation of state law.

“This is a huge victory for Montana gun owners and everyone who cherishes freedom in Big Sky Country,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The unanimous ruling from Montana’s Supreme Court confirms that politicians cannot usurp a constitutional framework by contemptuously enacting gun control at the local level.”

Montana, like more than 40 other states, has a preemption law restricting local governments from passing gun control measures that are more restrictive than state law. Preemption laws protect law-abiding gun owners from dealing with a confusing patchwork of laws that can make it nearly impossible to carry a firearm for home and self-defense.

The City of Missoula’s gun control ordinance would have criminalized virtually all private firearms transfers in the city, even between relatives, friends, and co-workers.

Earlier this month, in an NRA-backed case, a Washington court similarly ruled that the state preemption law prohibits local governments from regulating the storage of firearms.

The NRA has led the fight to enact state preemption laws across the country to ensure uniformity in state gun laws.

“These cases underscore the peoples’ need for judges who will faithfully interpret the law in defense of their freedom,” Ouimet concluded.

 

Ted Cruz: Corporate Gun Control Is ‘Social Signaling at the Country Club’

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to 145 companies pushing for more gun laws by suggesting corporate gun control is “social signaling at the country club.”

ted cruz

SOURCE: Breitbart, AWR Hawkins

On September 12, Breitbart News reported the GAP, Levi Strauss, Pinterest, Twitter, Yelp, and 140 other companies sent a letter to Congress asking for universal background checks and legislation allowing court orders to seize firearms.

The Hill reports that Cruz responded to the letter while attending a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Thursday. He said, “I don’t think it’s a positive thing to see big corporations shifting their focus from their customers and actually doing what they were created to do into trying to become political players on divisive social issues.”

Cruz observed that the corporate gun control push “is about social signaling at the country club.”

Without revealing the name of the financial institution, Cruz spoke about one bank that removed its name from a gun control push after learning more about what was really going on.

He said, “I will note with at least one of those banks that came out with one of those oh-so-brave corporate letters, when I sat down with their leadership and actually asked them about it, the people who wrote the letter didn’t know the first thing about the substance.”

Cruz said he asked the bank CEO to define/detail an “assault rifle,” and the CEO could not do it.

Cruz then referenced the September 12 letter signed by 145 companies and said, “I promise you the people signing this letter they don’t know any of the details of [the gun controls they are pushing] either.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range.

Veteran Criticizes Police Practices, Gets Guns and Firearm License Seized by Chief of Police

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Watch what you say about local officialdom in Tisbury, Mass., or you may find Police Chief Mark Saloio knocking at your door to revoke your Second Amendment rights.

gun confiscation

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

That’s the harsh lesson 84-year-old Stephen Nichols learned last month when he was overheard criticizing one of Saloio’s employees for leaving his post as a school resource officer to drink coffee at a local convenience store during work hours. Nichols would later explain he couldn’t imagine someone whose job it was to guard kids leaving them defenseless.

Nichols knows a thing or two about fidelity to duty. According to an article in MV Times, he served in the U.S. Army as a Morse Code Specialist during the Korean War era and as a police officer in Tisbury for decades. After his wife died a couple of years ago, Nichols took a job in Tisbury as a crossing guard to stay involved in the community and because, he said, “I love the kids.”

Ironically, it was Nichols’s concern for those kids that caused him to run afoul of Chief Saloio.

As Nichols explained to MV Times, a school resource officer believed to be responsible for the children’s safety would go “to Xtra Mart to get coffee when children came to school in the morning.” He mentioned this to a friend while conversing at a restaurant on Sept. 18. Nichols expressed his concern about this to a friend, worrying that somebody could “shoot up the school” while the officer was away from “his post.”

A waitress at the restaurant overheard the conversation and reported Nichols to the police two days later as potentially threatening the school. “[O]n the strength of that,” according to the MV Times, “Saloio and another officer relieved Nichols of his crossing guard duties while he was in the midst of performing them and subsequently drove to his home and took away his firearms license and guns.”

Nichols indicated the firearm and license seizures occurred without due process or the opportunity to contest the process. There was no paperwork involved in either case, Nichols told MV Times. “No he just told me to hand [the firearm license] over so I took it out of my wallet and handed it to him.” Nichols likewise reported there was no paperwork presented to justify the firearm seizures and no receipts provided for the property that was taken.

Nichols emphatically denied that he meant any threat to children at the school or that he would ever hurt a child. As he explained to MV Times:

When I was in the U.S. Army, and it wasn’t just me, it’s anybody who’s in the U.S. service, if you are on guard duty for eight hours, you didn’t leave that position. … And I’m just so accustomed to that, that when I see someone who’s supposed to be protecting kids … leave the school unguarded — if you’re on guard duty, you stay there.

The friend with whom Nichols shared his concerns, and the owner of the restaurant, both defended Nichols.

The restaurant owner told the MV Times he has known Nichols for decades and called the situation absolutely outrageous.” He acknowledged that one of his restaurant employees “overreacted” to what was said.

Nichols’s friend characterized the city’s reaction as “absurd.” “He loves kids,” the man said. “It’s almost like of all the people …” He added that no one else at the restaurant where Nichols is a regular customer believes him to be a threat.

MV Times said its reporting of the incident “generated social media activity never before seen on the Martha’s Vineyard Times webpages, including links on gun activist and law enforcement pages, and tens of thousands of Facebook hits.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, Nichols has now been reinstated to his crossing guard duties. He said Chief Saloio met with him on Columbus Day, and, without explanation, offered him his job back. Nichols accepted.

The fate of Nichols’s guns and firearm license, however, remain unclear. An attorney who represents Nichols told MV Times confirmed his intent to file an appeal to secure the return of what Chief Saloio seized. Meanwhile, Nichols was informed that his grandson, who manages a Worcester gun shop, is “going to be allowed to come down and take the weapons and sell them for me.” As it stands, Nichols has yet to receive his license or firearms back.

Nothing in the MV Times reporting indicates that Nichols was ever found to be a legitimate threat; Nichols is said to have held a Massachusetts firearm license without incident since 1958, and nothing was ever adjudicated against Nichols by a court of law prior to the seizures of his property. Because there was no proven justification for depriving Nichols of his legally owned firearms, commentators are citing the situation as a cautionary tale against “red flag” firearm seizure laws.

Incredibly, the situation may be more insidious than the commentators suspect.

Even the worst “red flag” laws contemplate the involvement of a disinterested judge or magistrate; someone who would hear some evidence, even at the lowest evidentiary standard, before issuing a confiscation order. But because lawful firearm possession in Massachusetts requires a license, some officials — like Chief Saloio — are growing comfortable with treating your fundamental Second Amendment rights as a privilege to be revoked at their discretion.

This is patently unconstitutional.

Rest assured: The NRA will continue to monitor developments in this case.

Photo Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Times/Rich Saltzberg

 

Fake News: Gun Range Video Used to Depict Turkish-Kurdish Clash!

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ABC News ‘slaughter in Syria’ footage appears to come from a Kentucky gun range

ABC does in again with some hard hitting coverage of the Turkish attack on Kurds in Syria, except not really. ABC did this. Let this sink in! Read on.

ABC aired supposedly shocking footage Monday and Sunday purporting to be from the forefront of the battle between the Syrian Kurds and the invading Turks. The only problem is, the footage appears to come from a nighttime machine gun demonstration at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky.

The images would indeed be stunning were they actually from northern Syria. It would be horrific if the images showed a Turkish assault on Kurdish civilians. But the images do not show that. The footage, which appears to be from 2017, shows American gun enthusiasts putting on a terrific pyrotechnic show for an American audience. In fact, the Machine Gun Shoot and Military Gun Show, which includes the very popular night shoot, is a biannual event at the Kentucky gun range. People love the show. They love it so much, in fact, that they often record it and post video of it to social media

“We’ve taken down video that aired on World News Tonight Sunday and Good Morning America this morning that appeared to be from the Syrian border immediately after questions were raised about its accuracy,” a network representative told the Washington Examiner. “ABC News regrets the error.”

Here’s the news report from ABC below:

And here’s another angle, but from a spectator at Knob Creek:

It pays to be leery of any news source, but with current information technology it’s impossible to not be fact-checked a million times in a matter of seconds. It must take a severely inflated sense of entitlement and narcissism to not check sources when publishing national news!

RELOADERS CORNER: Learning To Load Again, pt. 1

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Whether you’ve been loading for 50 years or 5 minutes, it’s a good idea to revist the basics from time to time. READ MORE

Glen Zediker

[I know that my readership for this column has a pretty broad range of experience, and, therefore, a broad topic-interest range, plus expectations on what I hope to communicate or relay. I’ve been asked both to go into more details about specialized processes and procedures and also to stick more with broader topics, and keep it simple. Can’t win on all topics each edition with everyone, so I do my best to mix it up. This one is leaning heavily toward simple, but, as always, I hope there’s something to absorb, or at least think about.]

A few issues back I wrote about how I had been teaching my son how to reload. After doing all this for so long (I started when I was 15) and likewise going fairly far “into it” over many years, the basics are pretty much ingrained in me. That doesn’t mean, in no way, that I don’t have to check myself or remind myself (which usually comes after the checks) to follow the procedures and the rules to the letter.

calipers

Short digression into the backstory on this project: Charlie wanted to reload for the very same reasons I got my start in this process. For his 18th birthday, he became the proud owner of a retro-replica “M16A1.” This was his choice, of all the choices he could have made, because it’s an “original.” Of course, his is a semi-auto with only two selector stops, but otherwise is straight from the late 1960s. He found out right quick like and in a hurry that it was a hungry gun, and, as an equally hungry shooter, the need for feed exceeded the factory ammo budget in short order.

Back to the project: So when I set out to teach Charlie how to produce his own ammunition, I sat back a while (a good long while, and longer than I imagined) and ran it all through my mind and realized that I knew so much about it that it was hard to know where to start. Now! That’s not some sort of brag, just the facts, and the same would be said for most of you reading this. I knew so much about it because there’s so much to know! Handloading is a multi-faceted task, made up of many (many) tasks, all and each important.

So where did I start? With a breakdown of the cartridge itself. Which components did what, when, and how. And, of course, the long list of “always, only, and never.” This article isn’t about a step by step on how to load, but in going over the separate points, point by point, some things stood out as more or less easy to communicate, and more or less easy for my son to grasp (related no doubt).
I know that my readership for this column has a pretty broad range of experience, and, therefore, a broad topic-interest range, plus expectations on what I hope to communicate or relay. I’ve been asked both to go into more details about specialized processes and procedures and also to stick more with broader topics, and keep it simple. Can’t win on all topics each edition with everyone, so I do my best to mix it up. This one is leaning heavily toward simple, but, as always, I hope there’s something to absorb, or at least think about.

Setting up the tooling to get started on our project, I had Charlie do it all himself. One of the very first points to pass heading up the learning curve was learning to measure.

Depending on someone’s background and specific experience, something like operating a measuring tool can range from old-hat to no-clue.

calipers
A caliper is an essential, absolute must-have tool for reloading. It doesn’t have to be the best to be entirely good enough. We need to measure to 0.001, so get one that does that. Make sure it’s steel so it will hold up.

Honestly, the only measuring tool you really need to handload is a dial caliper. You’ll use this to measure cartridge case overall length, over cartridge length, case neck outside diameter, and also to check the results of a few difference gages, like a cartridge case headspace gage.

That, therefore, was the first tool he learned how to operate.

Here’s a question I had to answer, and it’s a good question to be answered especially for those unfamiliar with measuring tools. That question is how “hard” to push on the tool to take a read. How to know that the reading is correct.

It’s full and flush contact, but not force. It’s as if the part being measured was making the same contact as if it were sitting on the benchtop: full, flush contact but no pressure. In measuring some of the things we measure, like bullets, and considering the increments of the reads, pressure against the tool can influence the read if the material surface is actually compressed. That’s from flex. I usually very gently wiggle the part being measured to feel if the contact with the tool is flush, that there’s no skew involved. There is, no doubt, some feel involved in measuring. I know some say that there should be pressure to get an accurate reading, and I would agree if we’re measuring materials that are harder than bullet jackets and brass cases. But again, it is decidedly possible to flex and actually displace soft materials if there’s too much pressure applied to snug down caliper jaws or mic heads. Get a feel for flush, the point just when the movement stops firmly and fully.

calipers
Measuring correctly and accurately involves feel, which comes from experience. Contact must be flush but not flexed!

Caliper Quality
More about the tool itself: My experience has been that there’s really no difference in the at-hand accuracy of more expensive measuring tools, especially a caliper.

calipers
Tips: Don’t store the caliper with the jaws fully closed. Keep it clean. Keep it cased. Make sure to zero the caliper (dial or digital) before every session.

Digital is great, but not at all necessary. Digital is not more accurate or precise, it’s just “easier.” As with a scale, it really depends on how much you plan on using it. If you’re going to measure everything, then digital is better because it’s faster to read — there’s no dial-mark interpretation involved. If you only want to check neck diameters and case lengths when you’re setting up your tools, then a dial-style is entirely adequate.

Get steel! Something that reads to 0.001 inches.

There are several industry-branded dial and digital calipers from Lyman, Hornady, RCBS, MEC, and more, available here at Midsouth. These range from $30-50 or so. They are all good, and they all are entirely adequate. If you want to spend up and get better, Mitutoyo and Starrett are the brands to know. Those easily double that cost.

These tools do wear. All will wear. Better tools wear less for a longer time. Conversations with folks who use calipers, along with other measuring tools, not only daily, but continuously during a day, has taught me to be confident in that statement.

Calipers can measure other things, but there are specialty tools that replace them for specific tasks. For instance, yes, it’s possible to measure case wall thickness with a caliper, but it’s not very precise.

calipers
Hopefully you’ll be able to use your caliper to measure groups like these. It’s really the only tool you need to get them.

Check out Midsouth tools HERE

The preceding is a specially-adapted excerpt from Glen’s book Top-Grade Ammo. Available HERE at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.

REVIEW: SIG P225A1 9mm

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Based on hand-fit and speed into action, this may be SIG’s best 9mm handgun. READ WHY

SIG P225A
SIG P225A1

Bob Campbell

Not long after the introduction of the SIG Sauer P 220 9mm, SIG began modifying the handgun for other duties. The pistol was chambered in .38 ACP Super and .45 ACP for the American market. It was also re-designed into the compact P225 for German police use. After years of carrying the ineffectual Walther PPK in .32 or .380 ACP, the German police were none too keen on packing the full size SIG P220 pistol. The compact P225 was a happy mix of excellent features including a smooth double action first shot trigger, good sights, excellent accuracy, and soon to be legendary reliability. This slim pistol was carried by plainclothes officers and a few uniformed officers here in the United States. While its niche was taken to an extent by the P 239 pistol, the P225 enjoyed a loyal following. The SIG P228, a high capacity version of the P225, was very popular and adopted by the military as the M11. The popularity of these handguns and the availability of West German police surplus P 225 pistols at a very fair price led SIG to phase out the P 225. A couple of years ago SIG reintroduced the P225 as the P225A. It is a very different handgun, perhaps a better handgun, and while not immensely popular is a sweet shooting and handling handgun.

SIG P225A
The grip frame and front strap checkering allow for excellent abrasion and adhesion when firing.

SIG watches trends and saw the popularity of the 9mm handgun and the vast market for concealed carry handguns. They felt that a revised P225 would be a good addition to the line. The new P225 is based upon the P229 and is arguably a single column magazine P 229. Since the P229 is among the best balanced and handling SIG pistols that is a good place to begin. The slide is machined stainless steel versus the stamped slide of the original P225. This slide was originally designed to handle the .357 SIG cartridge. Later P229 handguns were available in 9mm and .40 caliber. The new pistol is thicker in the slide than the original P225 but remains a compact handgun. This slide makes for what may be one of the strongest 9mm handguns on the planet. I feel that steady diet of +P or +P+ loads would not be daunting to this handgun. The old hooked trigger guard of the P225 is gone. The new trigger guard looks nice and is designed to allow the pistol to set lower in the hand, combating the typical double action pistol’s high bore axis. The pistol features G10 grip panels similar to the Legend series. The P225 A features the Short Reset Trigger. This is a shorter double action press and a faster reset. This trigger makes the pistol a much better shooter than the original. The grip is among the most ergonomic I have handled. This is a well designed and well thought out handgun. The P225A maintains the original frame mounted decocker, take down lever and slide lock. The test pistol’s DA pull breaks at a smooth 12 pounds. The single action trigger is a crisp 4.25 pounds. This is an excellent combination for all around personal defense use.

SIG P225A
The P225A magazine is slim and allows for a slim grip frame. SIG magazines are famously reliable and well made.

The double action and single action trigger system is a compromise that stresses simple readiness. Draw, press the trigger and fire. The slide cocks the hammer and subsequent shots are fired single action. The hammer is lowered by activating the frame mounted decock lever. While a striker fired handgun such as the Glock has only one trigger action to learn the SIG’s single action trigger offers excellent accuracy. The SIG demands time and effort- as well as ammunition- to master but once understood the SIG DA/SA guns respond well to those that practice. The long suit of the SIG is reliability. Government testing and extreme test programs worldwide have earned the SIG series the title of the world’s most reliable handgun. SIG’s accuracy is also worth the effort to understand as the pistol will respond well to a trained shooter. The P225A is also simple to field strip and maintain. The pistol is unloaded, the magazine is removed, and a takedown lever is rotated. The slide is removed forward off the frame and the barrel and recoil spring are pulled from the slide. My personal P225 A features self luminous iron sights. The tritium inserts have remained bright and useful for several years and provide an excellent sight picture.

SIG P225A
SIG’s night sights are a good addition.

The advantage of the P225A over other SIG handguns or any high capacity handgun is in hand fit and speed. This handgun feels right in the hand. The size is right; you can close your hand on the grip and be in control. Drawing from the Galco Stow and Go inside the waistband holster, the P225A is brilliantly fast on the draw and to a first shot hit. Those who practice will find a capable handgun. As for accuracy I have enjoyed working up handloads with this pistol, focusing primarily on the Hornady 124 grain XTP and Titegroup powder. At 1050 fps I have achieved accuracy on the order of a five shot group at 1.4 inch at 25 yards from the Bullshooters target rest. That is match grade in my opinion. I have achieved similar result with the Gorilla Ammunition 135 grain JHP and a 2.0 inch 25 yard group with the fast stepping Gorilla Ammunition 115 grain +P. Moving to +P+ rated loads the Double Tap 115 grain bonded core loading has given good results and remains controllable in this handgun.

SIG P225A
SIG’s take down is uncomplicated and makes for ease of maintenance. The SIG Sauer P225 A 1 features a handy de-cock lever for lowering the hammer and easy take down.

The P225A is among the finest handguns I have had the pleasure to use and fire. I own a good number of SIG pistols, each with a well defined mission. The P225A is easily my favorite to fire. It is a great handgun well worth its price.

SIG P225A
The P225A1 is a slim and fast handling 9mm. Firing offhand the P225A was comfortable to fire with all loads.

LEARN MORE HERE

SKILLS: Cold Weather Carry Tips

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Confident and effective concealed carry always demands planning and attention, and don’t forget the broad influence of environmental conditions. READ MORE

cold weather carry

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, Handguns Magazine

As a native Californian, I sometimes forget the whole world doesn’t walk around in T-shirts, shorts, and flip flops year-round.

Recent trips to northern Illinois and central Pennsylvania reminded me not everyone has it so easy when it comes to concealed carry. Clearing a baggy T-shirt to draw your handgun is a lot different than having to fish your handgun out from under layer after cold-blocking layer of garments. Add a pair of cozy gloves to the mix and getting to your gun in a hurry can be next to impossible. Even worse, if your gun snags on a garment during the draw stroke, it can be dropped with the muzzle pointing who knows where. If moving to a warmer climate isn’t in your plans, here are a few tips for cold-weather concealed carry.

Common Snags
Concealing a gun in cold weather is easy, but drawing it is surprisingly difficult. Obviously, the smaller the gun and the more layers of clothing covering the gun, the harder it will be to get to. On a damp, chilly morning at The Site in Mount Carroll, Illinois, I watched students struggle to draw from under a hodgepodge of garments. They might sweep their heavy unzipped jacket aside — only to fumble with a sweatshirt they try to lift over their holstered gun. This is way too much of a burden.

Whenever possible, wear clothing layers under your gun and a single garment (your coat) over it. Keep in mind your outer garment can present holstering issues. Heavy winter jackets, even those of the “tactical” ilk, have drawstrings that can inadvertently enter the holster after your gun is drawn. If one of these strings gets caught up in the trigger guard and snags the trigger as you holster, the result could be an unintended discharge. To remedy this, take a little extra time before holstering. Closed garments make it a little more difficult to holster, and the problem is exacerbated when your gun is worn behind the hip.

cold weather carry

Holstering Complications
Here’s where many shooters go wrong. While reaching across their body with their off-hand to move aside the concealing garment, they often inadvertently place a hand or arm in front of the muzzle. Safety concerns aside, reaching across your body while wearing a heavy winter coat can be difficult — especially when your gun is worn behind the hip. But with a closed garment you do need to use your off-hand to lift the garment and expose the mouth of the holster. To accomplish this, leave your gun pointed “downrange” and reach under the gun to lift the garment over the holster and pin it to your body.

Take a peek into the holster and, assuming it’s completely empty, holster your gun. If you’re using an open garment, you don’t have to deal with quite as much hassle. One holstering technique, taught by Gunsite’s Dave Hartman and others, is to orient the palm of your hand upward as you bring the gun to your body and hook the garment to sweep it aside and clear a path to your holster. Some instructors prefer to have you holster without looking at the holster, but since you shouldn’t even consider holstering if you have any doubt whether the fight’s over, I recommend taking a breath and a quick glance into the holster to verify there are no obstructions. Bulky clothing isn’t just problematic when drawing or shooting; it can actually induce a malfunction when firing a semi-automatic pistol.

Shooting From Retention
When shooting from a weapon retention position, with your gun held close to your torso, it’s possible for a garment to become entangled with the slide. If the slide can’t reciprocate, your pistol’s cycle of operations is disrupted. In other words, you’re holding a paper weight until you remedy the problem via the Tap, Rack, Assess protocol or something even more time-consuming. To keep the slide from snagging on their garments, many shooters are taught to cant their pistol outboard slightly. The top of the slide would be in approximately the two o’clock or three o’clock position to give the slide room to cycle.

cold weather carry

Alternatively, when shooting from retention, you could simply “flag” your thumb. With this technique your thumb is wedged between your gun and your torso to create just enough of a barrier for the slide to do its thing. Indexing your thumb to the same part of your body also promotes consistent orientation for enhanced close-quarter accuracy. Last but not least on the cold weather calamity list are gloves. Clearly, the thicker the gloves, the less dexterity you will have. This will affect your ability to grab and clear your concealing garment, grip your pistol, and manipulate the trigger. For these reasons, I would opt for the thinnest gloves you can get by with, and I would practice with them extensively. If not, your gloves will probably feel like mittens when you try to draw and shoot with them.

Originally appeared in Handguns Magazine.

Check out Handguns Magazine for more expert opinions and advice on concealed carry. The Handguns Magazine mission, as America’s only small-arms media property, is to emphasize the proper use and selection of handguns for self-defense and sport shooting.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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