May 20, 2003

Assault Weapons Will Be Legal Next Year, and I'm Stoked

"A politician normally prospers under democracy in proportion ... as he excels in the invention of imaginary perils and imaginary defenses against them." --H. L. Mencken, 1918

AR-15The sunset of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban is getting me excited. I'll be able to buy an assault rifle of my very own!

I'm libertarian on social issues, which makes me liberal on many social issues, but gun control is one area where I've never agreed with liberals. Depending entirely on the police for protection from crime has always struck me as being a poor plan, and the crime-deterring effects of gun control have always been questionable. If a criminal is willing to break one law (against robbery, homicide, etc.) there's no reason he won't break a gun law.

The Assault Weapons Law was a trendy law, designed to make it appear that Congress was doing something about a series of high profile but non-representative crimes that were in the news in the early nineties. This was similar to attempted bans in the early eighties on "cop-killer" Teflon-coated bullets that had never actually killed any cops.

Even with Democrats controlling the House the assault weapons bill barely passed on a 216-214 vote. When the Republicans regained seats in '96, Bill Clinton blamed it in large part on political fallout from the ban.

KalishnokovsThe law outlawed "scary weapons" that met a bureaucratic set of guidelines on largely cosmetic factors, such as pistol grips, flash suppressors, and folding stocks. There was no correlation between the guidelines and reality. Specifically, the ban used a point system that prohibited any weapon with more than two of 1) detachable magazine 2) pistol grip 3) threaded barrel/flash hider 4) collapsible stock 5) bayonet lug 6) grenade launcher. Since most guns of military heritage have a detachable magazine and a pistol grip, they already had two points that couldn't be avoided. It was if - instead of making it an offense to break the speed limit - Congress made it an offense to own a car that had more than two of 1) a steering wheel 2) a transmission 3) a spoiler 4) mag wheels 5) a hood scoop 6) a chrome-tipped exhaust.

The one practical effect of the ban was to outlaw magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds. Many high capacity magazines were already in circulation, and the ban did nothing to remove them from the streets. Having to constantly reload is one of the annoyances of sport shooting. Being able to buy a big clip is getting me pumped up about my birthday in October, 2004. I can finally get an AR-15 or Uzi with a legit clip.

Anything that could properly be called an assault rifle has selective fire: it can be fired one shot at a time, or in multi-shot bursts (either fully automatic or in fixed bursts). Oddly enough, the assault weapons ban only affected semi-automatic weapons, which fire one shot per pull of the trigger.

UziWithout a renewal, the ban will expire on September 14, 2004. With Republican control of Congress and no Congressional elections between now and then, the ban's demise is almost certain. Still, it never hurts to sign the petition to let it expire.

UPDATE The NRA has released a video response (requires RealPlayer) to CNN's misleading segment on the ban. CNN asks a gun expert to demonstrate the difference between a currently-legal rifle and a similar rifle that will be legal after the ban expires. There should be no difference, since the guns fire the same ammunition. But in demonstrating the guns' firepower, the gun expert fires the banned gun at cinder blocks, smashing them. He then fires the legal gun at a different target, while the camera rolls on the cinder blocks, which of course aren't damaged because they weren't being shot at!

The second half of the CNN segment shows the banned gun firing in fully automatic mode (like a machine gun). The ban has no effect on fully automatic weapons, so in fact that gun's status won't change at all, and it shouldn't have been used for comparison . The inclusion of a fully automatic rifle is either an intentional red herring, or symptomatic of the ignorance of the reporter and his supposed gun expert. Either way, it doesn't reflect well on CNN.

MORE UPDATES Clayton Cramer has phone numbers for contacting Congress. Cramer has another post discussing the cynical politics on both sides of the aisle: Democrats who know that most Americans don't want gun control but need to give lip service to their anti-gun constituency, Republicans whose constituency is mostly pro-gun but who don't want to turn off urban voters, and a president who is saying he'll sign the bill if it comes across his desk but who tells his fellow Republicans to make sure it doesn't cross his desk.

Which One Should I Buy?

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June 10, 2003

Gun-Fearing Wussies in California

Under the headline STOP SCARY GUNS Pathetic Earthlings writes:

When I commit a crime, I like to use ten thousand dollar rifles and four dollar bullets. Fortunately, California has put a stop to me.

BMG 991 rifleThe next time you see a shady character at the bus station, watch out! He might be packing a BMG .50 calibre rifle. You know how crackheads are: they're all the time carrying $3,000 guns that are four feet, two inches long and weigh 25 pounds. These guns are perfect for today's new breed of high-tech, steroid-ingesting supercriminals. (I kid.)

And now to Fisk the San Fran Chron article above.

The Assembly approved a bill Wednesday that would add a high-powered rifle to the state's list of dangerous weapons.

The Assembly could save a lot of time by writing "All weapons are by definition dangerous. Duh."

The .50-caliber BMG rifle is currently classified as a long gun, just as a hunting rifle, but is far more powerful, said Assemblyman Paul Koretz. "This rifle can accurately hit targets more than one mile away," he said.

Brrring. Brrring. Hello?

"I'm a mile away pointing a gun at you. Give me your wallet."

The gun was built for military, not civilian use, Koretz said, and was among the weapons that the Branch Davidians possessed during the 1993 standoff near Waco, Texas.

The Branch Davidians probably had spoons and Pokemon cards, too.

Under the bill, a criminal using the weapon would face up to 12 years in prison.

Why does the weapon used matter? Does bigger caliber mean a bigger crime?

People who already own the gun would be allowed to keep them, but would have to register with the state Department of Justice. "It requires a permit for people to buy them in the future," Koretz said. "If terrorists want to buy them, hopefully we can catch them and prevent that."

Oh, so you mean terrorists as well as criminals are using these guns?

Opponents of the bill said the gun hasn't been used in any crimes in California and is mainly used by competitive target shooters. They said the bill was an attempt to whittle away Second Amendment rights.

So to answer my question: nope, nobody's using these guns for crime or terrorism. This is another case of politicians wasting meeting time and government resources protecting the public from imaginary dangers. The article gives the last word to a member of the Assembly who has some sense.

"There's really no difference between this weapon and any other rifle out there," said Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico. "We're proposing to regulate them because they're scary looking."

I'll trot out my H.L. Mencken quote again: "A politician normally prospers under democracy in proportion ... as he excels in the invention of imaginary perils and imaginary defenses against them."

The bill was approved on a 42-26 vote, sending it to the Senate.

The attempted ban on .50 caliber weapons is another example of what Kim Dutoit calls gun-fearing wussies trying to outlaw weapons because they look or sound scary, not because criminals are using them. Other examples are so-called assault weapons and teflon-coated "cop killer bullets" (that had never killed any cops).

Speaking of Dutoit, he has a great example of the emotional reaction people have to scary-looking guns. From his review of the Ruger 10/22, one of the most popular .22 rifles in the U.S.:

Oh, one last thing [says Dutoit]: if you want to be mischievous, you can substitute a MuzzleLite stock for either of the above rifles, and make your harmless lil' ol' .22 rifle look like something from Sarah Brady's worst nightmares:

The best part, of course, is that the rifle is no different from its original function, it just looks more scary.
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July 04, 2003

Happy Independence Day

Melissa and I are going to Marty's bonfire tonight. We're going early and taking a couple of guns with us to celebrate the way our founding fathers would want us to: by firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition from our constitutionally-protected arms.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

UPDATE: The new pistol worked out great. I put about 50 rounds through it, and it got another 30 or so rounds from other folks.

The old rifle that I finally managed to track down a replacement tubular magazine for needs work. It had trouble reliably feeding rounds. It's off to the gunsmith for the old Winchester. Financially, I'd be better off selling it. Sentimentally, it was my first gun and I'd like to keep it.

Marty's brother Philip loaned me a Marlin Model 25 .22 magnum bolt-action rifle, which is accurate enough to drive nails with. I had never shot the gun before, and I managed to hit two inch metal swivel targets at 40-50 feet, 4 out of 5 shots, with iron sights. It's a great rifle. I offered to buy it if he ever gets tired of it, but he was too smart to take the money. See Kim Dutoit's recommendations for great .22s under $500.

The metal "shooting gallery" target was lots of fun. You shoot four metal targets which swivel up onto a bar. Shooting the fifth target above moves the bar and resets the targets. Cost for the rimfire version was about $35 at Wal-Mart. A local gunstore has a centerfire handgun version for $90.

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July 09, 2003

.410 Handguns and Some Excellent Gun Links

I mentioned the Thunder Five .410 bore shotgun revolver a few weeks ago. It's apparently no longer made, but I found two more .410 handguns.

The American Derringer Model 4 is available in .45 and .410 shotgun. It's so small and light I'd be seriously concerned about damaging my wrist. Pass.

Magnum Research BFR revolverIn a completely different category is the Magnum Research BFR revolver. With a big frame, long barrel, and optional ported muzzle, it wouldn't be any harder to control the .410 than it would be to shoot a .454 Casull or a .45-70, which the big revolvers are also chambered in. In fact, the .410 would be the easiest of the three.

Another option would be a to buy a .44 Magnum and load it up with snake shot. Same effect, plus you get the option of bullets for long-range precision, and .44 Special loads for target practice. There are plenty of offerings, from the original Smith & Wesson "Dirty Harry" Model 29 or the newer S&W Mountain Gun to the Ruger Super Blackhawk, Ruger Vaquero, and Taurus Titanium Tracker, to mention a few.

Gun Links

Kim Dutoit's Gratuitous Gun Pics
Chuck Hawks
Gallery of Guns reviews section
Alphecca's Weekly Report on Gun Bias in the Media
Smith and Wesson Discussion Forum
The Gun Zone: Rules of Gunfighting

The first rule of gunfighting? Bring a gun.

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July 10, 2003

My New Pistol, and Places to Shoot in Knoxville

I found a list of shooting ranges local to Knoxville: Guncraft Sports off of Lovell Road, and John Sevier Hunter Education Center.

Guncraft is just minutes from where I work, so it was the natural choice. I went for the first time tonight and signed up for a three month membership, which includes free, unlimited range time, a 20% discount on classes, and a 50% discount on gun rentals.

Guncraft Sports rents a wide variety of pistols ($7.50 for the first, $3.75 for each additional gun) and automatic weapons ($20 for your choice of an Uzi, H&K MP-5, or a pseudo-M16 firing 9 mm shells) for use on the firing range. If you rent their guns, you have to buy their ammunition. If you bring your own gun you can bring your own ammo.

They also offer classes, including the mandatory course for Tennessee's shall-issue concealed handgun carry permits ($85, $75 in advance, second and fourth Saturday of the month). Tuesday is Ladies Night: ladies shoot free, and men shoot for half price if there's a lady in their firing lane. (Ladies Night for a gun range is funny. It's OK to laugh.)

I got to shoot Starke's Glock 21, which is Glock's full size .45. I love the light weight and the three dot sights. Recoil is very controllable. Glocks are simple, too. You've got a trigger, a slide release, and a magazine release, and that's it. To be the full size model in the largest caliber it isn't big or heavy or hard to control. I'll have to try the compact and sub-compact models.

North American Arms Black WidowStarke got to shoot my new pistol, the North American Arms Black Widow. I bought it based on recommendations from Chuck Hawks and Kim du Toit, and I'm not disappointed.

It's a tiny .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire) revolver in stainless steel that weighs just under 9 ounces. I bought the conversion model that includes an extra cylinder for firing .22 LR ammunition, which is dirt cheap and available everywhere. Being a revolver, it can also shoot snakeshot. Barrel length is two inches. The picture to the right is about 75% actual size. It may be the smallest gun that's actually useful.

Using a combination of silhouettes and Shoot-N-C targets, the gun shot extremely well with CCI magnum hollowpoints. Despite its small size, it has excellent Pachmyr grips and good, drift-adjustable, dovetail sights. I tried the adjustable target sights in the store, and they have a great sight picture. It's arguable whether they are appropriate for a gun of this type. One of the things that sold me on the gun is that it points well: extend your arm and you're on target.

Two improvements I plan on making: First, I'd like to paint the front sight red or orange for better visibility in low-light conditions. Second, I need to make the drift-adjustable rear sight drift less. It gets nudged too easily. I was having occasional problems seating the cylinder, but I realized why late in the session. Sometimes I didn't push the shells in all the way and a shell rim was sticking out of the cylinder. I eliminate that problem now by running my thumb over the shells before loading the cylinder.

PS Melissa told her dad I was going to the range tonight, and he said he didn't have me figured for a gun guy. I'm a little left of center on some things (somewhat less so than I used to be), but I've always loved guns. I became a lifetime member of the NRA around age 14. My friend Jay is the same way: liberal, votes Democrat mostly, but loves guns. It's the East Tennessee in us.

PPS Since 1964 every Democratic president has come from south of the Mason Dixon line.

PPPS Democrats need to get off the Gun Prohibition bandwagon, and Republicans need to get off the Abortion Prohibition bandwagon and Gay Marriage Prohibition bandwagon, and they both need to get off the Drug Prohibition bandwagon. Americans don't like having their rights restricted by the government, and they don't like the side effects of bureaucracy. Of course, sometimes Americans like having other people's rights restricted, but never their own. You have to show people how restricting other people's rights ultimately infringes on their own.

PPPPS Have you noticed how your cell phone is handy, but other people talking on their cell phones are annoying? Same deal. Don't think about controlling other people's freedoms. Think about maintaining your own freedoms. Infringing on someone's behavior should only be done if their behavior endanger's others. Several studies strongly suggest that talking on a cell phone while driving might be an example of a behavior that needs to be regulated.

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July 23, 2003

Melissa Learns to Shoot, and a Pair of .22 Target Pistols

Melissa has never shot a gun before, so I offered to take her to the local pistol range, Guncraft Sports, which I've blogged about before.

GunCraft requires that all shooters take a short, 15 minute orientation session before using the range for the first time. The range attendant was very helpful. Once he found out that Melissa had never shot a gun before, he spent some extra time with her, going over basic gun safety and the basic operation of the gun controls for the guns we were renting: safety, magazine release, and slide release. Kudos to the staff at GunCraft. The person who did the orientation for my first visit was likewise patient, professional, and safety-conscious.

I had Melissa practice handling and firing the gun before loading it. Then we worked on firing live ammo. Her grip was awkward at first, and a little scary. It's a bit frightening to watch someone handle a loaded gun for the first time. I showed her how to wrap her fingers around the thumb grooves on the grip, and she did much better. Once she understood how sights are supposed to line up, she did great, hitting 9 out of 10 times. That's really impressive when you consider that she forgot to bring her glasses (she's slightly myopic).

Initially, I loaded and unloaded the magazine for her, and worked the slide to chamber the first round. By the third box of ammo she could do it herself, and only needed help when a gun jammed. (I kept an eye on things just to be sure. She tried to load a magazine with the bullets facing the wrong way, which was kind of cute.) She also caught on to using the target trolley and taping over holes in the target so she could count the hits for the next magazine load.

Browning Buck Mark vs. Ruger Mark II 22/45

Browning BuckmarkThis was Melissa's first time shooting, so .22 target pistols were the natural choice. They're lightweight, have very little recoil, and the ammunition is inexpensive. We chose two guns from the rental counter at Guncraft: the Browning Buck Mark and the Ruger Mark II 22/45. Melissa was excited about the Browning .22 because one had played a role in an episode of NBC's Law and Order.

Both guns have adjustable target sights that are big and blocky, with a clear sight picture. Both feature 10 round magazines that are easy to load thanks to thumb-friendly follower buttons we could use to compress the magazine springs. The sights are mounted to the frame, so they don't move back with the slide.

The grips on the Buck Mark have thumb grooves that mated perfectly with my hand. Balance is excellent. The 22/45's integrated slab grips didn't inspire the same confidence. With the Buck Mark's backstrap design I could comfortably wrap my thumbs around the handle for a secure, two-handed grip.

 Browning Buck MarkRuger 22/45
Weight32 oz35 oz
The Buck Mark we shot had a blued steel barrel. Our 22/45 had a stainless steel barrel, but you can get yours in blued steel to match the receiver color. Like all 22/45s, the receiver is made from fiberglass-reinforced polymers rather than steel. Being made of stainless and polymer, this model Ruger is largely impervious to corrosion.

Both guns weighed about the same, though the Browning balanced much better. The Ruger seemed muzzle-heavy, which resulted in the front sight wandering around. After two boxes of shells Melissa developed a preference for the Browning, and shot it the rest of the evening.

The Buck Mark's controls were much easier and more definite to operate. (I could only find right side pictures of the Buck Mark, which unfortunately don't show the controls.) The 22/45's slide release was a little finicky for me, and very finicky for Melissa. One design nitpick: all of the Ruger's controls look like buttons, but in reality only one of them (the magazine release) can be pressed inward. The other two are switches that must be thumbed up and down. Not only is the design confusing, it's poor ergonomically. Controls that are moved by sweeping motions need broad, flat surfaces, not conical buttons.

The biggest difference was in the trigger. The Ruger trigger was just OK. The Browning trigger was a delight. It required just a short, light press, which is what you want in a target pistol. I could easily touch off a round using the pad of the first digit of my index finger.

Comparing two similar pistols side-by-side is enlightening. It reminds me of wine tastings, where you compare, for instance, two Australian Chardonnays. Even though they're similar, the differences stand out in sharp relief.

Of the two, the Browning was our favorite by far. At just $309 for this mid-line model, it's a steal. Both guns are available in higher-trim versions. Another pistol in this same price range is the SIG Hammerli Trailside, which has been the subject of rave reviews.

Melissa had lots of fun, and I think she's trying to talk Allison into going with us one night. Next time we may shoot a larger caliber, like a .380 or 9 MM.

A night out at the pistol range was relatively cheap. We didn't pay any range fees because I'm a member and Melissa is a lady (and Tuesday is Ladies Night). Rental fees for two pistols plus 200 rounds of ammo totalled just sixteen dollars. That's cheaper than two movie tickets and a trip to the concession stand.

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August 05, 2003

Carry Permits and Self Defense

"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
- George Orwell

Robert De NiroNEW YORK POST: Which celebrities pack heat in New York? SayUncle and AlphaPatriot beat me to the press with this one, so I'll have to sex mine up. Whose pistol is hot - Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Howard Stern, Don Imus, Donald Trump, and Tommy Mottola. They all have permits. Whose pistol is not - William F. Buckley, Chazz Palminteri, Paul Sorvino, Joan Rivers and Steven Seagal. Their requests for permits were rejected.

And as is typical when carry permits are issued at the discretion of authorities, there's an element of corruption and favoritism: "As The Post first reported, ex-NYPD license head Bernard Petrofsky was accused by police brass of rubber-stamping permits for Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry in exchange for concert tickets and backstage passes." Corruption and cronyism are why many states are going to shall-issue permits, which mean that authorities have to issue permits to all qualifying citizens. You know, just like they issue driver's licenses to everyone who qualifies.

Clayton Cramer's article in the current issue of Shotgun News covers Alaska's new Vermont-style carry laws, and nuances of carry laws and reciprocity between states. (Yep, it's the Clayton Cramer who blogs.) Shotgun News has a web site, but the article doesn't appear to be online. is another good resource.

MAD OGRE: Guns of the Matrix. A rundown of all of the guns used in both movies.

DONALD SENSING: Thoughts on the Second Amendment and the fundamental dividing line of civilization.

Do not count on the police to maintain domestic tranquility in the final analysis. Their role is certainly important in enforcement, but they are reactive. They do not generally stop criminals; they apprehend them. But no criminal actually believes he will be caught, else he would not commit the crime.

Furthermore, there is no moral difference between the homeowner who protects his life or property with a gun and one who does not but summons a police officer. If the police arrive on time (problematic), they use violence or its threat to protect the law-abiding. The unarmed homeowner has merely "contracted out" his wielding of deadly force or the threat of it. (In my view, for an able-bodied man or woman to do that is morally cowardly.)

This is very similar to something that Kim du Toit's wife wrote:

I expected other people to protect me. I expected my husband to do it when he was home and I expected a cop to be there to rescue me if something happened to my husband. Yet I was perfectly happy for a criminal to be shot, by someone else, if he threatened me or my kids. Shame on me.

It was the realization of that hypocrisy that finally pushed me over the edge. I should not expect others to do for me what I am not willing to do for myself. I was the one whose morals were all screwed-up. How dare I think that someone else should risk his or her life for me (be it my husband or a police officer) if I wasn't willing to lift a finger for anyone else or even myself?

It was after this realization that the real meaning of the Second Amendment became crystal clear. Not only did I have the right to defend my country and myself, I had the RESPONSIBILITY to do so.

HERITAGE FUND: Stop lawsuits against the gun industry.

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Range Report: Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Magnum

Smith & Wesson .357 MagnumIf I could only have one handgun to last a lifetime, it would be a .357 revolver with a four inch barrel, adjustable sights, in stainless steel. Lo and behold, that's the gun I shot tonight in the form of Smith & Wesson's 686.

Why would I prefer a revolver as my one and only gun? Simplicity, for one. With even minimal maintenance, such a gun will last a lifetime. Revolvers are easy to clean, and there are relatively few parts. Unlike an automatic, a revolver has only a few springs, and none of the springs are compressed when the gun is stored, so they last a long time.

Revolvers are also much less picky than automatics about the ammo they shoot. A .357 can shoot light-kicking .38 Specials, higher-velocity .38 +P rounds, and full-on .357 Magnums, depending on how you want to balance recoil and velocity. They also shoot a wide variety of projectiles - snakeshot, hollowpoints, Glaser safety slugs, ball ammo, or flat, target-punching wadcutters.

The 686 uses S&W's L frame (their "large" medium frame), which is sturdy enough to cycle tens of thousands of rounds of .357 and soak up the recoil, though .38 Special loads will be more comfortable for the shooter. With a four inch barrel it balances and points well. Besides which, it just feels good. "Comfortable heft" isn't a cliche with this gun.

The S&W lockwork is smooth and predictable. Once I got used to the two-staged trigger, I could squeeze through the first stage to rotate the cylinder and cock the hammer, then squeeze gently through the short, final stage to drop the hammer. Shooting one handed with my offhand in my back pocket also produced high-scoring targets. Sight picture is excellent. For best accuracy, you can always cock the hammer and shoot single action.

Minor nitpick: the S&W stock rubber grips felt great, but about half the time the top of the grip blocked one of the empty hulls from ejecting just right. I'd probably replace them with slimmer boot grips.

Smith & Wesson 386Smith & Wesson has a wide variety of .357s in different metals, barrel lengths, sights, and capacity (from five rounds to eight). At the lower end of the weight scale is the 340 at 12 ounces and five shots with a shrouded hammer. The weight savings are due to the smaller J frame and the use of Scandium and titanium instead of steel. I'll test one of the S&W titanium Airlites soon.

One of the most radical S&W .357s is the 386PD, a K frame, Scandium/Titanium model with light-gathering sights that fires seven rounds and weighs just 18.5 ounces. There's also the Performance Center 627, which holds eight rounds. It's an all-steel N frame with a five inch barrel. Weight is 44 ounces.

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August 06, 2003

Armed Pilots and Air Marshals

MASSAD AYOOB: In a little-known incident from the 1970s, an armed 737 pilot named Glenn Hieronymus stopped a skyjacking to Russia.

MSNBC: U.S. decided to withdraw air marshals, but reversed policy with 24 hours. The decision to withdraw air marshals was motivated over budget constraints.

GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE MAGAZINE: Plan to arm pilots delayed by bureaucracy, political interests. The contract was narrowly drawn to favor Smith & Wesson pistols. Found via Kim du Toit.

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August 13, 2003

Range Report: Two .40 calibers - SIG P229 and Glock 23

This week it's Switzerland vs. Austria in the battle of the forties.

It's a fair matchup. Besides being chambered in the same caliber, both guns are compact versions of larger service weapons - the SIG P226 and Glock 22. Both have blocky, drift-adjustable sights that will take plenty of abuse. Each is resistant to corrosion, but for different reasons. Glocks have a polymer frame, with a Tenifer finish coating the remaining steel parts. The SIG I shot was stainless steel.

SIG P229SIG P229
The SIG is a double-action pistol. It can shoot from a cocked hammer position (single-action) or uncocked hammer position (double action). The first shot from an uncocked hammer has a long, heavy trigger pull. The recoil from the first round drives back the slide, cocking the pistol for a shorter, lighter pull for the second shot.

Transitioning between two trigger pulls is one of the challenges of double action automatic pistols, and requires some training time. Once I got used to it, I could put double taps a few inches apart at seven yards. When shooting single-action only, fuhgedaboutit - this pistol is phenomenally accurate, producing tight clusters and ragged holes. Bullseyes cry when the SIG's nearby.

One advantage of the long pull on the first shot is that you're less likely to accidentally fire a round while drawing the gun or reacting to a noise in the middle of the night. That's also why double actions are popular with police departments. In the event of a shooting, your opponent's lawyers will call a light single action pull a "hair trigger."

Racking the slide chambers the first round and cocks the hammer. When it's time to store the SIG (loaded or unloaded), you need to decock the hammer, since the SIG, like many double actions and almost all revolvers, doesn't have a safety. (Neither do Glocks.)

The P229 I shot held 10 rounds of .40 S&W. Pre-ban 12 round magazines are also available, though the prices will remain high until the ban expires in November, 2004. (The ban has a clause that allows law enforcement agencies to get clips larger than 10 rounds.) Because the magazine had been limited to less than its intended capacity, it was easier to load than is typical for large-caliber pistols. Even with a beefy magazine, the SIG's grip feels great, filling the hand without overwhelming it.

P229s in .40 caliber can also shoot .357 SIG, which is a .40 S&W case necked down to 9mm (.355 inch) diameter bullets. I didn't have the chance to try it, but apparently you just change out the barrel to switch between the two calibers. SIG also makes a 9 mm version that holds 10 or 13 rounds in the magazine.

Glock 23Glock 23
Glocks have a unique "safe action" mechanism that isn't exactly single or double action, though it's officially classified as double action by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. (Alcohol, tobacco and firearms? Hey, there's an idea for a fun combination! OK, maybe not.)

When you rack the slide on a Glock, it partially compresses the spring that controls the striker. If the striker were to accidentally release without the trigger being pulled, there isn't enough spring tension to fire a cartridge. Pulling the trigger back compresses the spring the additional distance needed so that it has enough force to ignite the primer.

The result is a trigger pull that's light, or at least can be. Typical trigger pulls are about five pounds, though many police departments use much heavier triggers because of liability concerns. For all you you need to know about Glock triggers, see this Chuck Hawks article.

The Glock's other claim to fame is its polymer frame that drastically reduces weight. Like all Glocks, this one has a tactical rail in front of the trigger guard for attaching lighting systems, laser sights, and other goodies.

The Glock's advantage is its light weight thanks to the polymer frame. The SIG's big advantage is its incredible accuracy. If I had to carry one I might choose the Glock for its light weight and slimmer profile. For accuracy and the sheer pleasure of shooting, though, I'd choose the SIG.

 Glock 23SIG P229
Capacity10, 13, 1510, 12
Weight empty21.2 oz.28.1 oz
Sight Radius6.0"5.7"

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August 29, 2003

Are You a Gun Nut?

Here's a typical scenario. Someone mentions they have X number of guns, where X is greater than 1. Someone who doesn't like guns says "Geez, why so many?" The implication being that the other guy is a gun-wielding maniac.

Now you could try to explain that each gun has its uses, but why bother? Face facts, pal, you're a gun-wielding maniac. Fortunately you're not alone.

A Field Guide to the Maniacs
A person who has more than one gun: gun-wielding maniac.

A person who has more than one knife in the kitchen: knife-wielding maniac.

A person who has more than one screwdriver in the toolbox: screwdriver-wielding maniac.

A person who has more than one towel in the bathroom: towel-wielding maniac.

A person who has more than one pen in the drawer: pen-wielding maniac.

A person who has more than one coat in the closet: coat-wielding maniac.

How many guns do I have? Too many to count, but only because I'm really lazy when it comes to counting.

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Range Report: Para-Ordnance LDA .45

I dropped by the range after work to shoot some leftover .45 ammo. Which gun to shoot?

Para-Ordnance LDAI didn't realize the rental counter had a Para-Ordnance LDA model. At a glance, it looks like most 1911-style autos, but there's a difference. The 1911 design was single-action only. The LDA ("Light Double Action") is double-action only (DAO). After each shot, the hammer returns to the de-cocked position, like a revolver.

The "Light" part of the name is no joke. Figures I've seen quoted in the press indicate a six pound trigger pull, and that seemed about right for the example I shot. Six pounds isn't a hair trigger or even a target trigger, but that's the point - with a medium trigger weight, accidental discharges are less likely. The trend in law-enforcement is towards double-action or double-action only designs to reduce liability.

At six pounds, the LDA's trigger is still lighter than most revolvers, which makes sense. A double-action revolver's trigger has to turn the cylinder and cock the hammer. With an autoloader, the trigger just has to cock the hammer. (Don't ask me why the LDA's trigger is lighter than most regular double-action pistol triggers. That I can't explain.) The trigger action is smooth, with a definite two-stage pull.

This was the full-sized model with a five inch barrel and double-stack magazine. Larger models (like the one pictured here) are available in high-capacity versions with as many as 14 rounds of .45 caliber. Para offers smaller models with shorter barrels and grips, and single-stack magazines that allow a thinner profile. The smallest versions also have flush, de-horned hammers for snag-free concealed carry.

So how does it shoot? Not bad. Not quite as accurately as the last 1911-style .45 I shot, a Kimber. That could be because of the DAO design, the double-stack magazine, or the fact that the Kimber was brand new and this rental model had been fired quite a bit.

Of the three possible factors, I'm leaning towards the double-stack magazine being the main culprit. Jeff Cooper is convinced that a single-stack design is the only reasonable approach for .45 caliber that products satisfactory results. I've noticed that I shoot guns with large magazines and consequently large handles less well. That may be one reason I've never taken to Glocks. I'd like to try one of the single-stack LDAs to test the theory.

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September 03, 2003

Fatal Shooting Reported at Guncraft Sports (Updated)

There's a report of a fatal shooting at the Guncraft Sports pistol range in Knoxville:

September 03, 2003 12:55 PM - FATAL SHOOTING AT GUN RANGE: Knox County deputies confirm that a person has been shot to death at Guncraft Sports on Dutchtown Road in west Knox County. Crime scene investigators and detectives were called to the scene around 10:30. There's no word yet on whether the shooting was accidental or deliberately self-inflicted.

Guncraft is the range where I shoot, and is about half a mile from where I work.

A FEW MINUTES LATER: I drove down to Guncraft at 1:19. There were five Sheriff's department vehicles and a video cameraman on the scene.

UPDATE: The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that it was an apparent suicide:

A woman rented a handgun Wednesday at a West Knox County firing range and apparently fatally shot herself in the head, authorities said.

Knox County Sheriff's Office Capt. Larry Hunter said authorities were alerted at 10:48 a.m. that a woman was shot at Guncraft Sports Inc., 10737 Dutchtown Road.

Hunter said the woman, who had been in the gun store in the past, rented a pistol and proceeded to the indoor firing range. As at least two other people shot weapons on the range, the woman apparently shot herself in the head.

Hunter said detectives intended to review a videotape of the range shooters to ascertain if the woman shot herself. The Sheriff's Office did not release the woman's identity, but the Toyota Tercel she drove to the firing range bore a Knox County license plate.

Bob Wiest, co-owner of Guncraft Sports, said he had never had a customer commit suicide in the 56 years the business has operated.

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September 12, 2003

Gun Review Roundup

Kim du Toit reviews the Ruger Blackhawk in .30 carbine.

GunBlast reviews the new Stevens side-by-side 12 gauge, Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum, Kimber A-22, and the Kel-Tec P3AT, the world's lightest .380. I have a pump 12 gauge, but I'm hankering for a side-by-side, too. Either an English sports model with hidden hammers, or a lupara with exposed hammers. As Jeff Cooper notes, a model with exposed hammers can be left loaded with all of the springs at rest, like a revolver.

Chuck Hawks has a bunch of new articles, including reviews of the Ruger Old Army cap and ball revolver, the new S&W .500 Magnum cartridge, Remington 673 Guide Rifle, and Uberti New Model Army 1858 cap and ball revolver. Those are just the new reviews. Browse through the firearms section of his site and look for the "new" icon to find all of the articles he's uploaded recently. Chuck and his contributors have been whittling their pencils to stubs.

Guns & Ammo reviews the Kahr PM9, CZ P-01, three Para-Ordnance LDA models, Benelli shotguns, and Ithaca's new slug gun that's probably more accurate than any slug gun before it.

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Quick Gun Links

There's a gun show tomorrow (Saturday) at the Knoxville Expo Center on Clinton Highway. I'm going with my friend Jay. If any other Knoxville folks wanted to go but didn't have anyone to go with, email me.

A group of gun-loving bloggers have put together the Shooter's Carnivals as a central point for their gun articles. SayUncle found this library of targets in PDF format.

Jeff Cooper's latest commentaries are up for September.

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September 14, 2003

Notes from the Smokey Mtn Gun Show

Commando carbine, made in Knoxville, TennesseeJay and I went to the Smokey Mountain Gun Show yesterday at the Knoxville Expo Center. Here's a summary of what we saw. If you have a 9 mm or .40 caliber pistol, be sure to read about the Kel-Tech Sub 2000 carbine, my pick of the show. You'll also be interested if you need a light system for your shotgun, or have an interest in French pinfire guns of the 1800s.

We found a piece of local history at the show. In the picture at right Jay is holding the Commando, a .45 caliber Tommy Gun look-alike once manufactured in Knoxville, Tennessee. We also found a single shot shotgun marked "Volunteer Arms" with a hang tag saying "paint it orange and white." I had never heard of the company, but according to this page they were headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, so the Volunteer name is apparently a fluke. Too bad. It could have been the official boarding weapon of the Vol Navy.

I didn't buy any guns, but I picked up a bore light, range bag, and rifle bag. I also snagged some ammunition, including some short, light-recoil 12 gauge shells that looked interesting.

The best thing I bought was an Advanced Technology light clamp and a TacStar light switch for my Mossberg shotgun. The clamp holds a standard Mini-Mag or other 1" flashlight below the tubular magazine. The switch replaces the Mini-Mag's tail cap, and has a curly cord running to a pressure switch that I mounted on the shotgun's fore-end stock. Tapping the switch turns the Mini-Mag on and off. It's a complete tactical light for about $40, as opposed to $300 or more for a SureFire or similar lighting system. (Later: I've decided the switch is flaky, so I'll use the light's own on/off switch instead.)

Continue reading "Notes from the Smokey Mtn Gun Show" »

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September 16, 2003

Range Report: SIG P232 .380

SIG P232 pistolI'm not a big fan of .380s, or double actions, but the little SIG was one of the few guns at the range that I hadn't shot, so I tried it reluctantly. I was pleasantly surprised.

The P232 has one of the best double action mechanisms I've ever used. When decocked, the hammer is still partially cocked, which makes the first shot lighter and shorter than most DAs.

 SIG P232
Weight Empty16.2 oz.
Sight Radius4.7"
OriginW. Germany
After the first shot, double action autoloaders cock the hammer, making for a trigger pull that's lighter, but not necessarily shorter. Often, the second trigger pull is just as long, but the first stage of travel is extemely light because the trigger has no resistance. With the P232, the trigger doesn't return to the fully forward position after the first shot, so there's no takeup in the single-action trigger pull.

These two features make the 232 very easy to fire quickly and accurately. The sights are big enough to get a good sight picture, and feature a red front blade. The grip was just big enough to get a good purchase, and had rubber stocks that provided a secure grip that easily tamed the modest recoil.

The magazine release is on the bottom of the handle, which makes it a two-handed affair that's a little slow to operate. The gun I shot was stainless steel for ease of maintenance. Other finish options are blued, two-toned, and Nitrox.

If you're in the market for a .380, the SIG P232 would be an excellent choice. If you can handle the recoil of the more-powerful 9 mm, the Kel-Tec P11 and Glock 26 are about the same size. I'll post reviews of both guns in the next week.

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September 23, 2003

Tennessee Handgun Carry Permits, Part I

Last Saturday I took the required class to get a handgun carry permit in Tennessee. I took the class at Guncraft Sports in Knoxville. Cost was $75 for the one-day class, including the written test and shooting qualification.

Some other stores offer the class a little cheaper, but I gladly paid a small premium for Guncraft. Their staff has continually impressed me with their knowledge, professionalism, and commitment to safety. Starke has taken the class from another range and from Guncraft, and felt that Guncraft's was the more professional and informative. I was impressed with the instruction, and I'll post more about that later in part II.

The written test is about as hard as a driver's license test. The qualification was 12 rounds at 3 yards, 12 rounds at 7 yards, and 24 rounds at 25 yards. You need a score of 70% or higher to pass. You don't have to shoot with the gun you plan to carry, so you can shoot with a .22 target pistol if you prefer. Guncraft rents guns for $7.50 an hour, and they sell ammo.

If you don't own a gun, I'd recommend renting a gun. You'll learn a lot during the class, and will be better prepared to buy a gun afterwords. If anyone reading this isn't comfortable shooting and would like some practice before the class, email me. I'll take you to the range, pay your fees, and teach you to shoot. No joke. Just email me and I'd be glad to help.

As part of the class, we watched a video from the state of Tennessee that explained the laws concerning carry permits and the use of deadly force. Here are some notes from the video and some of my reading outside of class. Parts of this apply to Tennessee only. For other states, consult your local laws.

Deadly force and criminal law

  • You can use deadly force to prevent death or serious injury to yourself or a third party. Beware of blundering into a scene and making a split-second decision as to who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. You could shoot the guy with the gun, only to find out he's an undercover cop, or another armed citizen like yourself.
  • In Tennessee, if a person illegally enters your home, you have broad rights to use deadly force, even without the threat of death or serious injury. You do not have to retreat, though retreating to a bedroom or other room may be helpful in the event of a civil trial. It may also be helpful for your psyche - shooting another person is not something to take lightly - but if you feel threatened you have to protect yourself and your family.
  • You cannot use deadly force to protect property. If they're stealing a hubcap they're not a threat to life or limb.
  • You cannot use deadly force to make a citizen's arrest, or to stop a fleeing criminal. If they're fleeing they're not a threat to life or limb.
  • You're responsible for all of the shots you fire, including misses that hit innocent bystanders. Use aimed fire. "Spray and pray" is a bad idea.

Deadly force and civil law

  • Even if criminal charges aren't pressed against you, the person you shoot can file a suit in civil court, as can their estate.
  • Even if the person you shoot is convicted of a crime for assaulting you, they can file a civil suit against you. The other guy can literally sue you from his jail cell. What else has he got to do?
  • "Guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt" is the standard for criminal trials. For civil trials, the plaintiff only has to prove a preponderance of evidence. In other words, the creep in jail who's suing you got the benefit of the doubt, not you.
  • In civil court, the state does not provide for your defense. Unlike the creep who was convicted and is now suing you from jail, you have to pay for your own attorney. (Tort reform is sounding better and better, isn't it?)
  • If you shoot someone in your home, your homeowner's insurance will not pay for your defense. Consider Pre-paid Legal, or an umbrella liability policy. Or forget spending money on a gun and get a life insurance policy: if the creep kills you, the insurance company will pay out to your beneficiaries.
  • Cheer up, in spite of all of the above. Even if you get taken to court, you're still alive. It's better to be tried by twelve than carried by six. Want to take control of your life? Put money in your savings account so you can mount a legal defense against the creep or his estate. You invested in a gun and an alarm. Invest in a legal warchest. If you don't use it, it will come in handy for your kids' education or your retirement.

Think about how a jury would see things

  • The next time you're buying home defense ammo and you have a choice between "Marksman" and "Predator" brand, think how "Predator" brand ammo sounds to a jury member who has never shot a gun in his or her life.
  • Keep your defensive weapons close to stock, and never disable safeties. For example, you may know that pinning the grip safety shut on a 1911-style auto will reduce trigger pull by a pound or two. That's all well and good, but the opposing counsel will use that modification against you. "The defendant purposefully disabled one of his gun's safety devices because a hair trigger is more important to him than the safety of human life."
  • If you use hollowpoints, a common strategy for opposing counsel is to accuse you of using "dum dum rounds." He may even mention that expanding bullets are outlawed under the Geneva Convention. This is nonsense, and it's apparently pretty easy to beat: just remember to have someone from local law enforcement testify that they use hollowpoints because they're more effective at incapacitating an assailant, and because hollowpoints are less likely to over-penetrate and strike an innocent bystander.
  • Also consider using Glaser Safety Slugs, which are highly effective incapacitators that are designed to prevent over-penetration. The fact that they have a jury-friendly name is a bonus. You could also take Kim du Toit's advice and use the same ammo that your local police department uses.
  • On the other hand, forget about the myth of "shooting to wound." Shooting is shooting and reflects the use of potentially deadly force, and may result in death despite your best intentions. Shooting someone in the leg to wound them could open their femoral artery, which will cause death by blood loss in minutes.
  • While you don't shoot to wound, you don't shoot to kill, either. Shooting the other guy to stop him may result in his death, but incapacitation, not death, is the goal. Another way to think of it: you don't shoot to kill, you shoot to live. If you don't incapacitate him, he'll kill you.

Where you can't carry a gun

Even with a carry permit, there are lots of places where a gun is off-limits, from the obvious to the not-so-obvious (some laws apply only to Tennessee):

  • Airports
  • Most court facilities
  • Federal parks
  • Public facilities, including city parks and greenways.
  • School grounds, including public schools, private schools, and colleges.
  • There's an exception when dropping off students, as long as the gun stays in the car and isn't handled.
  • Any private property where a notice is posted. In Knoxville, that includes all of West Town Mall.
  • Anywhere alcohol is served. In addition, you can't carry while you're drinking. In Tennessee, there's no threshold or blood alcohol level. No drinking whatsoever is allowed while carrying.
  • Violating any of these laws can result in criminal proceedings and/or the loss of your permit.
  • With all of those restrictions, most of us will keep our guns in the car or nightstand most of the time, and only occasionally carry them. Carrying pepper spray is still a good idea for all of the places where guns aren't allowed. Even when carrying a gun, pepper spray is a good idea, as it's sometimes a more appropriate response to lower levels of conflict.

When you carry a gun, you can't get in fistfights

If you carry a gun, you have to walk away from fights whenever you can, even if it means swallowing your pride. Let's say someone is yelling at you and calling you and yours names. What do you do?

  • If you pull a gun and shoot him for calling you names, you're a murderer, plain and simple. You can only use deadly force when faced with the loss of life or limb.
  • If you punch the guy, things can get out of control. If he starts winning the fight and gets on top of you, do you shoot him? If he pulls a knife, do you shoot him? In either case, you're the one who started the fight by punching him, so you could be guilty of murder.
  • If you draw your gun and try to intimidate him, he may not back down, and you're forced to either back down or shoot an unarmed man.
  • Maybe he isn't unarmed, and drawing your gun will provoke a gunfight.
  • If you get in a fistfight and try to draw your gun in the clench, he could take your gun and kill you. Now he's a murderer and you're dead.
  • The best strategy is to keep your cool and move away. Being called a name never killed anyone. If he follows you and assaults you, you may need to draw your weapon. If so, you're in a better legal position, since you tried to retreat and he initiated the fight.
  • If you're in a tight spot - you can't get away, but there isn't yet sufficient reason to use deadly force - saying "back off, I have a gun" isn't the worst thing you can do. Say it while your hand is on your gun in case he draws his, but keep your finger off of the trigger until you're forced to shoot.

What about carrying your gun out in the open?

Unlike some other states, Tennessee carry permits are permits to carry, not concealed carry permits. However, there are lots of reasons why open carry is generally a bad idea.

  • With open carry, you lose the advantage of surprise. The attacker gets to choose the time, place, and victim. By carrying open, you've revealed your secret weapon.
  • Say you're present in a bad scene, like a bank robbery or hostage situation, such as the recent case at Dyersburg State Community College. The bad guy has 11 hostages and one of them has a gun strapped to his hip. Put yourself in his shoes. Who would you shoot first? (Note that - since it was a college campus - the students and teacher in that class had been legally disarmed by the state. Criminals, crazies, and terrorists will continue to attack where there are victims who are least likely to fight back.)
  • While it seems crazy to attack someone with a gun, the instructor mentioned a motive: maybe the bad guy needs a(nother) gun. Since you decided to carry in the open, the bad guy can see what a nice pistol you have, and since it's your gun it can't be traced back to him.
  • Carrying a gun openly will make lots of people nervous, including friends and family members. It will also attract unwanted attention from police and security guards everywhere you go.
  • If people start carrying in the open, more businesses will post notices that guns are off limits, and there will be fewer and fewer places to carry. Open carry is a losing strategy for our side.

The emphasis in the class was that having a gun is a grave responsibility, and isn't to be taken lightly. We discussed 9/11, and the fact that the fourth plane didn't reach its target because of the actions of ordinary citizens, the very people who comprise the militia mentioned in the second amendment of the Constitution.

What's next?

Now that I've passed the class, I have to go to the DMV and fill out an application. I'll pay $115 (cash, no checks) and the state will run a background check. Applicants must be 21 or older, can't have any felony or DUI convictions, can't be under a restraining order, and can't have been committed for drug or alcohol treatment. It will take about six weeks to get the permit.

For more information - great information on carry permits by state, plus handgun information.
Massad Ayoob - Police officer, firearms instructor, lethal force instructor, gun writer, and expert trial witness in shootings. Read the Ayoob Files for post-mortems on gunfights to see what happened during the shooting, and what happened afterwards at the trial.

LATER: Guncraft Sports is now Coal Creek Armory. I haven't had a need to take their CCW class, but the staff is even better than before, in my opinion.

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September 25, 2003

Knoxville Gun Show and Quick Gun Links

3250.jpgI am so gonna buy one of these. Well, unless it's a parody or something.

There's a gun show this weekend in Knoxville. The Mike Holloway Gun Show in the Smokies is Saturday and Sunday at the Jakobs Building at Chilhowee Park. If my schedule works out I'm going with SayUncle. Here are my notes from the last show.

Jeff at Alphecca has the Weekly Gun Bias Report with some good linkage, and a picture of pistol-packing J. Lo and Ben. Well, unless it's a parody or something.

Jeff Quinn at GunBlast has a review of the Kimber Pro DCP II .45 auto.

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September 26, 2003

Open Carry in Ohio?

Claytom Cramer has a solution to the recent court ruling supporting the ban on concealed carry in Ohio - carry guns openly:

I have been told (although I have no authoritative source for this claim) that part of what drove West Virginia to pass a non-discretionary permit law a bit more than a decade ago was people starting to carry openly, because there was no way to get a permit--and the West Virginia Supreme Court had decided that the restrictive licensing law that West Virginia had was defective.
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September 28, 2003

Back from the Gun Show

Went to the gun show today with SayUncle. There was a light turnout at the show, but we had a good time. (Later: here are SayUncle's notes on our encounter with someone who was probably an undercover BATF agent.)

One interesting thing we found was a specimen of a Thunder Five, the 5-shot .410 revolver once made in Piney Flats, Tennessee. Asking price was $499, and it looked like new.

We also ran across a four-shot .357 magnum that I remember from the '80s. It was a sort of pepperbox design, with four, non-rotating barrels. I've forgotten the name, though I think it began with "Cor" something.

I really liked the Mossberg .410 pump shotgun we found. I have a soft spot for Mossbergs anyway, and this was a handy little gun with a forward pistol grip. If I had any use for a .410 shotgun I'd have bought it.

I'm narrowing down the short list for my next handgun. It'll be a .357 or .38, a Smith &Wesson, with a short barrel. I've shot the 342 (5-shot, small-framed, titanium, 1.8" barrel). I looked at a 386 today. It's a 7-shot, medium-frame, titanium model with a 2.5" barrel. A little bigger, but with much better sights and two extra rounds. It's also an incredible $700 with tax. That will involve the ceremony I like to call the Unclenching of the Very Tight Fist.

I really like the Hi-Viz sights in the Express sight layout. The light-gathering sight system really works. The green sights worked best for me.

As far as purchases, the only thing I bought was some beef jerky. But, hey, it was Crocket Creek, which just happens to be the world's best beef jerky, made in Maryville, Tennessee. Their factory is on 411 south of Maryville, and they have a store that's open to the public.

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October 08, 2003

I've Been Suspended from Google Adwords

Google Adwords suspended my account. I was bidding on the keyword "e-commerce" and related terms. Why did they suspend me? Because I talk about firearms on my blog.

Bear in mind, Google allows people to buy AdWords for many questionable products, but they won't allow me to discuss legal gun ownership. Google needs to produce a legal reason why they can't sell advertising to gun-related sites. Otherwise a lot of people will assume their motives are political. Meanwhile I'll move my advertising to Overture.

Here's the email I received:

Continue reading "I've Been Suspended from Google Adwords" »

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October 09, 2003

Bowen Classic Arms in Louisville, TN

I have an interest in guns, and a special interest in guns manufactured here in Tennessee. By a mysterious succession of links I ran across Bowen Classic Arms. It's not just a Tennessee company, it's a Louisville, Tennessee company, located in my own zip code. They re-manufacture classic revolvers and rifles, from Colts to Rugers and Smith &Wessons.

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October 10, 2003

Unfair Fights are the Way to Go

Clayton Cramer quotes this email from Professor John J. Donohue III, who is anti-gun:

You can always grab a baseball bat or use your fists to defend yourself and the vast majority of the time that Lott or Kleck thinks a gun was used defensively, the bat or fists would have done just fine. I don't know what the net effect of guns is, but neither do you.

Cramer notes the obvious exceptions to "always." Maybe you're outnumbered, maybe the criminal is carrying a concealed weapon, or maybe they're simply physically stronger than you are. There's a reason guns are considered the great equalizers.

Beyond that, though, is a simpler argument. Why shouldn't a respectable citizen have every advantage against a criminal? Reading between the lines of some of the anti-gun arguments, there seems to be a naive belief in the concept of a fair fight. If I'm being attacked, the last thing I want is a fair fight. I want a fight that's completely unfair, in my favor.

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October 17, 2003

Range Report: Silenced Walther P22 (.22)

Walther P22 pistolI recently had my first chance to shoot a Walther P22, and with it my first chance to use a silencer.

With the silencer in place, I heard something I had never heard before: the bullet plinking off the metal backstop of the indoor range. Normally the report of the gun drowns out that sound. With the silencer, the plinking sound drowns out any report. (LATER: here's an MPEG movie with sound of a silenced P22. Why didn't I think of that?)

I also discovered something cool to do with a silencer. Open the slide and blow air down the barrel. A tongue of smoke will chimney out the barrel and linger by the muzzle.

Some people will ask, aren't silencers illegal? Silencers are legal, but to buy one you'll need to pay a $200 transfer fee to the BATF, fill out lots of paperwork, and have a squeaky clean record.

A silencer would be handy if you live in an area where shooting is legal, but the noise bothers your neighbors.

The Walther P22
The P22 is clearly not intended to be a target piece. The designer's choices - double-action trigger, three-dot sights, compact size - all point to a defensive weapon.

Walther P22
Weight Empty16.9 oz
OriginW. Germany
Come to think of it, one of the women in my CCW class had a brand-new P22. Personally, I'd question using a P22 for defensive use. Automatics in this size are available in calibers - like .32 and .380 - that are much more effective than the .22, but still have manageable recoil for even small shooters (the woman in my class with the P22 was about 4'10"). And anyway, a revolver is a better bet for someone who will rarely practice with a gun or spend time maintaining it.

The P22's handle is very short. By wrapping my little finger underneath it, I got a decent but not great grip. Magazines with grip extensions are available, but aren't much more comfortable.

Out of 100 rounds, I had one misfire, half a dozen jams, and three or four failures of the slide to lock open after the last round fired. In one case, the slide catch released unexpectedly. In another, the cartridge caught on the magazine and wound up sticking straight up out of the action. Clearing it involved locking open the slide and prying the cartridge rim out of the magazine. Those problems may have been unique to this sample, but they didn't inspire any confidence in the gun.

The P22's safety and magazine release are ambidextrious. The magazine release is part of the trigger guard. It's similar to the H&K USP pistol. I can't comfortably operate the magazine release on either gun, using either my thumb or index finger.

All in all, I just can't see much purpose for the P22. It isn't a target gun. Because of the caliber and poor reliability, there are better choices for a defensive gun. Any good brand of .38 revolver will be simpler and more reliable. For a small defensive automatic, a SIG P232 is a better choice. For a target .22, I'd prefer the Browning Buckmark.

UPDATE February 19, 2006

I've shot three newer P22s since this one, and none of them have had these problems. It looks like Walther has solved the teething problems these early pistols had. One of them had a problem with randomly dropping the magazine while firing, but Smith &Wesson (the importer) took care of the problem at no charge. If you liked the P22 but were reluctant to buy one because of reliability problems, it looks like it's safe to buy one now.

Read more Range Reports for other guns

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Full Auto Glock

John of Argghhh! has a MPEG Movie of Full Auto Glock Pistol

Hat tip to AlphaPatriot.

UPDATE: Here's the same video via YouTube's bandwidth.

And here's a cooler video with a full auto Glock equipped with a shoulder stock and (at the end of the video) a double snail magazine.

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October 18, 2003

That's Not A Knife... This is a Knife

Robber trieds sticking up a clerk with a fake gun, clerk realizes it's fake and pulls his real gun. I saw it on SayUncle and InstaPundit first, but One Hand Clapping has the writeup that came to my mind, too.

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October 27, 2003

Range Report: Glock 26 and Kel-Tec P11 (9 mm)

With more states switching to "shall issue" carry permits, more citizens are carrying concealed weapons. Consequently there are more small guns on the market, and in larger calibers. This week I look at two baby 9 mms. I was curious to see how well such small guns soaked up recoil. I found that recoil was manageable for both guns. Experienced shooters shouldn't have any problems.

keltecp11.jpgKel-Tec P11
The P11 has three things going for it: size, weight, and price. Cost is around $250, which is amazing for a 9 mm. Granted, it doesn't look expensive, either, but it's a lot of gun for the money.

The P11 was clearly designed for concealed duty. A few years ago, a gun this small would have been chambered in .32 or .380, but the P11 shoots the more powerful 9 mm. Thanks to a polymer frame, it weighs just 14 ounces, which is lighter than all but the titanium models of Smith &Wesson's venerable J-Frame .38s, long the standard in hideout guns. Even with a full magazine the weight is just 20 ounces.

The P11 uses a double-action only trigger: each shot requires a long, heavy trigger pull. A DAO trigger is safer, since the long, heavy pull makes you very aware of your trigger pull. This could be a good feature if you're pocket carrying (it means you're less likely to give yourself a 9 mm vasectomy). Small as these guns are, though, a holster of some kind is desirable.

The trigger pull, for my tastes, is just too long. The anticipation of waiting for the trigger to finally fall is ruinous to accuracy. For best accuracy, you're not supposed to know exactly when the gun is going to go off, but the trigger pull shouldn't be so long that you have to wonder if it's ever going to go off.

g26.jpgGlock 26
The Glock 26 has the standard Glock trigger, which is pretty good. Like the Kel-Tec, the trigger pull is the same weight and length from shot to shot. Unlike the Kel-Tec, the trigger weight and length are very reasonable.

The 26 is built on Glock's subcompact frame. If you have a larger Glock in 9 mm the 26 will accept the same magazines. The unit I shot was equipped with a Pearse magazine grip extension, which made the handle long enough to be comfortable. One Glock isn't very different from the rest, so I won't repeat myself. If you're interested you can read my last Glock review.

The Kel-Tec is a decent gun for the money, and has a good reputation for reliability. If you can train yourself to overcome the long trigger, it's a bargain. It's especially good if you need a gun that small and light. However, if I'm ever shopping for a baby 9 for holster use and have the extra 250 bucks, I'd gladly spend it on the Glock 26. The difference in construction quality and trigger make it worthwhile. My friend who shot both guns with me agreed: with money no object, the Glock 26 is the better gun.

Followup Notes
This weekend I went with SayUncle to christen his new Glock 30. The Glock 30 is the .45 caliber version of the 26, and is similarly impressive. The other week I reviewed the Walther P22 and mentioned that a woman in my CCW class had one. I questioned how good of a choice that was for a defensive weapon. Apparently she did, too, because when SayUncle and I saw her at the range this weekend she had traded in the P22 for a Glock 26 and loved it.

Glock 26Kel-Tec P11
Barrel3.46 in.3.1 in.
Length6.29 in.4.6 in.
Height4.17 in.4.3 in.
Width1.18 in.1 in.
Weight Empty19.75 oz14 oz
Street Price$500$250

Read more Range Reports for other guns

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November 04, 2003

Alphecca's Weekly Report

Jeff has the Weekly Check on Gun Bias posted. I don't link to these every week, but this one's a doozy. He's all over Dustin Hoffman and Ellen Goodman for wanting to be on the NRA's enemies list, the Symantec Internet filter that blocks pro-gun sites, and lots more.

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November 06, 2003

Burma Shave

These pro-gun signs in Champaign County, Illinois are getting some attention. I saw signs like these when I drove up to visit Melissa in Chicage two years ago, though Melissa recalls that it was I-74 instead of I-80. The ones getting play in the press are:

Dialed 911
And I'm on hold
Sure wish I had
That gun I sold.

Some of them are more corny than pithy. If you've got better ideas, there's a contact email on the Web site.

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November 11, 2003

Range Report: Ruger P95C (9 mm)

rugerkp95d.gifIn a recent review of the Ruger P90, Massad Ayoob mentioned something astonishing. Clay Harvey studied .45s and wrote a book, Everything You Really Need to Know About Choosing a .45 Automatic for Self-Defense. After shooting a large number of guns and looking at repair rates, he declared the P90 his "first choice for an all-purpose defensive pistol."

The P90 series is available in 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45 calibers. I shot a 9 mm P95.

The ambidextrious magazine release is the best I've ever used. I could easily reach it with my thumb or index finger. With conventional designs your finger pushes the button inwards. With the P95 your finger rocks the button forward, which I found more natural. If equipped with an ambi slide release, I think I could reach it from either side, too.

Ruger P95
Weight Empty27 oz.
Some of the Rugers use an alloy receiver. The receiver on the P95 and P97 models is made from a polymer. It's reminiscent of the Ruger 10/22. The handle is slightly blocky, but comfortable, with molded-in grips. The P95 and P97 versions are about $50 cheaper and five ounces lighter than the alloy receiver models.

The white dot sights are pretty good. Bigger or brighter dots would have helped.

All of the Ruger centerfire service pistols are double action. You have your choice of a manual safety, a decocker, or a double action only (DAO) trigger pull. (The picture accompanying this article shows the DAO model.) The double action trigger pull is somewhat long and heavy, but better than most DA triggers.

At $350 real world price for a centerfire autoloader, it would be hard to beat the Rugers, particularly with their reputation for reliability.

Read more Range Reports for other guns

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November 14, 2003

US and UK Murder Rates

There's been a lot of debate about the affects of the UK's gun control laws, with much comparing of murder rates between the two countries. That comparison may be apples and oranges. Hat tip to the Smith &Wesson Forum.

The murder rates of the U.S. and U.K. are also affected by differences in the way each counts homicides. The FBI asks police to list every homicide as murder, even if the case isn’t subsequently prosecuted or proceeds on a lesser charge, making the U.S. numbers as high as possible. By contrast, the English police "massage down" the homicide statistics, tracking each case through the courts and removing it if it is reduced to a lesser charge or determined to be an accident or self-defense, making the English numbers as low as possible.
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November 19, 2003

National Ammo Day

Today is National Ammo Day, and this week is National Ammo Week. Buy ammo to show support for the firearms industry in the U.S. I plan on picking some up at the gun show this weekend.

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November 21, 2003

Technology vs. Culture

Clayton Cramer links to this St. Louis Today editorial. It ostensibly argues that the proposed Missouri concealed carry law is unnecessary: "In St. Louis, the people most likely to want concealed weapons really don't need them. Just look at the numbers." The statistics the editorialist uses to back up that assertion are fascinating:

Here are some amazing true facts, courtesy of the St. Louis Police Department:

Between Jan. 1, 2001 and last July 11, the city recorded 300
homicides - a little more than 10 per month. Of the 300 victims, 234 (or 78
percent) had a felony criminal history. Of the suspects arrested in these
killings, 88 percent had felony criminal histories. That percentage would be
even higher if people suspected of multiple killings had been counted more than

Seventy-three percent of the 300 victims had a history of using illegal drugs
or a criminal history involving illegal drugs. Sixty-five percent of the
suspects had a drug history. Sixty-eight percent of the victims had illegal
drugs or alcohol in their systems at the time of autopsy.

Of the 300 victims, 265 were black and 258 were male. Fifty-six percent were
between the ages of 17 and 30.

Thus, if you are a middle-age white male - those considered most likely to
apply for a concealed-carry license - and you don't drink or do drugs or hang
around with people who do, your chances of being a victim of homicide in St.
Louis are almost zero.

Like a lot of people in big cities, he extrapolates the urban situation he's familiar with to the entire state. Missouri is a big place. I imagine there are hamlets with one or even zero full-time law-enforcement officers, and no inner-city to speak of. Yet they still have crime.

The statistics he uses are fascinating for other reasons. For one, he effectively argues the point that there's no reason not to have a concealed carry ban law. Most of the people who take advantage of it (like me) are statistically unlikely to use a gun for illegal purposes. He's also effectively shown that the presence of a gun doesn't spontaneously cause crime. So where's the harm in having legal guns or carry permits?

He also reveals the truth about shooting statistics. (I'll go out on a limb and say that the majority of the murderers used firearms for their weapons, as opposed to less-efficient clubs and knives. I'll go further out on that limb and say that the criminials used internal combusion engines for their transportation, as opposed to less-efficient horses.) Most of the violence is criminal-on-criminal, or drug-related. It makes sense to let law-abiding types keep their guns and legally carry them.

Most of the violence is also black-on-black. Steven den Beste wrote about reasons why young, inner-city black males might be more prone to violent crime. You can argue the "root causes" of that fact (most likely that it's whitey's fault), but the fact remains that a lot of the crime in the U.S. is by and against young, inner-city black males, is cultural, and has nothing to do with legal gun ownership. Banning "Saturday night specials," "sniper rifles," and "assault weapons" won't change the cultural problems that lead to the use of guns for illegal purposes. I don't claim to know what the solution is, but gun control ain't it.

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November 25, 2003

Gun-grabbing Idiocy in Jersey

I've been wanting an assault rifle. Well, it turns out that I already had one and didn't know it. According to New Jersey, my Winchester 170 with a 17-round tube magazine is an assault rifle. Of course, if I take it to Jersey I could be arrested and face five years in jail, like this guy. For a .22!

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Range Report: Ruger Mark II (.22)

Ruger Mark IIThe Ruger Standard Model was designed by Bill Ruger himself and introduced in 1949. The company improved the design and introduced the Mark II in 1981. It's now the world's best-selling .22 pistol.

The Mark II's single best feature is its slim handle. It's small enough to fit any adult hands, and most kids' hands, too. Ruger offers the Mark II in blued or stainless steel, with barrel lengths from four to 10 inches. Prices start around $250.

Ruger Mark II
Weight Empty~40 oz.
Barrel4 to 10 inches
The grip angle is steep, similar to a Luger. Ruger also offers the 22/45, a .22 target pistol with the grip angle and control placement of a 1911-style .45. I prefer the Mark II's slimmer grip and more ergonomic controls. I'm told that the Mark II is also much easier to disassemble.

As with the 22/45, I shot the Mark II against the Browning Buckmark Camper. The Buckmark was once again more accurate for me thanks to its great trigger and balance. I did prefer the slightly finer sights on the Ruger out at 25 yards.

Even though the Buckmark is a better gun out of the box for the average shooter, the Ruger wins in the area of customization and after-market accessories. There are no end of replacement barrels, triggers, stocks, sights, and magazines, and you'll find more custom gunsmiths specializing in the Mark II. The Ruger also wins if you or yours have small hands.

Read more Range Reports

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November 29, 2003

Gun Show Notes (Buckmark, Johnson, M1, CMP)

I hadn't planned on going to the gun show today, but around 2:00 I got bored, and figured I'd shop for a .357. I couldn't decide on a revolver, but one of these followed me home:

Browning Buckmark Camper

That's the Browning Buckmark Camper. The one that followed me home has a green Tru-Glo light-gathering front sight. I knew I was going to buy a Buckmark eventually, and the price was great ($259). There were more deals today than at the past three shows. I also picked up a lightly-used red dot sight for $12 for my Winchester .22 rifle.

The dealer also had the camo model in various configurations. I'm not really a camo kind of guy, but he pointed out that the camo versions have a slightly improved slide: they have "wings" on the back that make it easier to grasp. If you are a camo kind of guy, that's another reason to go that route.

I saw one rifle that I had read about, but had never seen in the flesh: the U.S. Johnson 1941, which saw limited use in World War II. The Johnson is built around an internal, rotary magazine, hence the pot-bellied stock.

Johnson rifle of 1941

Most people have never heard of Johnson's rifle or his light machine gun. Melvin Johnson could have been as well-known as Garand or Thompson, but for the contingencies of history:

The rifle was undoubtedly quite a good design, but the US Army had, in 1936, committed themselves to the Garand, and since the Johnson design offered no advantages, it was turned down. It was, however, purchased by the Dutch government in 1941 for use by the Netherlands East Indies army and some 50,000 were made; the loss of the Indies to the Japanese prevented completion of delivery, and the US Marines took the remaining rifles since they were having difficulty obtaining their share of Garand production at the time.
- Ian V. Hogg, The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World's Firearms

m1poster.gifThe one pictured will set you back $6,250 on The sample at the show was a bargain at $2,500. Johnsons shoot the .30-06, so in theory you could shoot them if they weren't so collectable. People who want a US military .30-06 to shoot buy the surplus M1 Garand, which is available for as little as $300 through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, though the $300 jobs are pretty clapped out, and any of the CMP guns may need some gunsmithing or even a new barrel to perform well. Surplus parts, clips, and accessories are available in abundance.

The CMP is another historical oddity. It was created in 1916 to train young men to fight the Keyser in the trenches of Europe. It survives to this day, though Congress transferred management of the program from the U.S. Army to a non-profit 501-(c)(3) corporation in 1996.

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November 30, 2003

December 09, 2003

Secrets Revealed: Democrats Touching Evil Guns

Al Gore pointing a gun at Regis PhilbinThis is why Democrats don't trust people around guns: it's a reflection of their own unsafe gun handling skills. You can actually see the gun's shadow on Regis's face as Gore prepares to bust a cap in him.

Don't miss the pic of Al Gore looking down the barrel of his M-16 in 'Nam.

UPDATE: The link above went away, but I found another copy of the M-16 pict here.


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December 17, 2003

Anti-Glock Article in the Detroit News

Via SayUncle comes this anti-Glock article from the Detroit News.

The article recounts stories of accidental shootings involving Glock pistols, which are extremely popular with U.S. police. Whether the stories are the result of operator error or machine error is open to debate, but the accompanying graphic includes this line "The Glock has no safety features that prevent it from firing if the trigger is accidentally pulled."

As Uncle says, you don't generally accidentally pull the trigger. Guns are designed to fire when the trigger is pulled, just as a car is designed to go forward when you press the gas while the car is in gear.

Back to that graphic for a second. It's true that the Glock doesn't have a manual safety. Revolvers - which all police departments used for decades before switching to auto pistols, including Glocks - don't have manual safeties, either. In fact, revolvers lack all of the safeties listed in the article's accompanying graphic, except one: a long, heavy trigger pull.

That difference probably explains most of the Glock accidental shootings in the article. Most double action revolvers have much heavier trigger pulls (roughly 12 pounds or more from the factory) than most Glocks (typically five pounds or so). Five pounds isn't a hair trigger or even a target trigger, but it's pretty light for a service weapon when your adrenaline is pumping and your natural reflex when grasping something in your hand is to squeeze your fingers.

There are some legitimate concerns about having such a light trigger on a gun with no safety. That's why a lot of police departments use heavier trigger sears (like the 8 pound New York trigger, or the even heavier 12 pound New York Plus trigger).

Continue reading "Anti-Glock Article in the Detroit News" »

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December 19, 2003

Israel Phasing out the Uzi

Israel is no longer training troops on the Uzi. IMI will still produce the gun for foreign sale. Via Pathetic Earthlings.

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December 20, 2003

Gun Porn: Smith &Wesson N Frame Snubbies

I'm starting to get an itch for a large-frame, snub-nosed revolver. I'm thinking about an L frame*, seven-shot Smith &Wesson 686P .357 magnum, but these N frame, snub-nose S&Ws sure are nice.

The one below is an eight-shot S&W Performance Center 627 with Spegel grips. This example from SmithNut has two cylinders, one unfluted and one fluted. If you want one of these you'll have to look on the used market. S&W still makes an eight-shot Performance Center 627, but it's only offered with a 5" barrel.

Smith &Wesson 627

* In increasing order of size, Smith &Wesson has the J, K, L, N and X frames. The smaller I frame isn't made any more. The J frame is mostly used for snub-nosed backup guns. The K is medium, the L is slightly bigger, and the N used to be the biggest and baddest. Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum was an N frame.

The X frame is the new oversized frame S&W developed to shoot the .500 S&W magnum cartridge. Popular Mechanics and Shooting Times also have good S&W 500 articles. Read the PM article for technical details, and the others for a practical perspective.

P.S. Smith &Wesson recently re-designed their Web site. It now shows suggested retail prices, and you can link directly to individual guns. That's the good news. The bad news is they switched from Cold Fusion to PHP and changed their file extensions, so all of my old S&W links are fubared.

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December 30, 2003

Smith &Wesson Cam

The Smith &Wesson Cam. See what that rascally gun is up to.

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January 02, 2004

Quick Gun Links

berettaneo.jpgGuns and Ammo reviews the Beretta Neo .22 pistol. I haven't shot this one, so I'd be interested in anyone's opinion of it. Chris at Guncraft likes his.

GunBlast looks at the Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum and the Glock 37 in .45 GAP.

Kim du Toit changes his stance on guns. Har har.

Donald Sensing has opened a hornet's nest by criticizing the military's Beretta 92 pistol and 9 mm ammo. As the blogfather notes, there's nothing wrong with 9 mm if you can use the right bullets. The Geneva Convention prohibits hollowpoints, so the military is limited to ball ammo.

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Buying a First Gun, Getting Started Shooting

Rich Hailey is asking for advice on buying his first guns, namely a self-defense handgun, home defense shotgun, and a hunting rifle. Several of us are coming up with answers. Here's mine.

I like Jeff Cooper's advice that most people only need two rifles: a .22 and one medium-bore centerfile rifle. He named the .308 and .30-06, but lighter rounds like the .30-30 and .270 would also work for most North American game short of grizzlies.

A .22 rifle is the best first gun, period. It's easy to learn with, there's no recoil to speak of, and the ammo's cheap so you can afford to shoot a lot. Cost is $200 or less for the rifle. Cost for ammo is $6 per 50 for the good stuff like CCI, or $9 per 500 for cheap stuff by the carton at Wal-Mart. With the money you save buying the .22 first you'll be able to afford some basic accessories (below) and a training class. Shooting can get expensive. We all have to pace ourselves.

Semi-autos like the Marlin 60 and Ruger 10/22 are good guns, but a bolt action gun will encourage better marksmanship. It's a little safer, since an open bolt will show whether the gun is loaded. A bolt action rifle has fewer parts, so it will have fewer mechanical problems in the long run. (All of the guns I'll recommend are simple, trouble-free, and based on time-tested designs.) Bolties are also easier to clean: pop out the bolt and you have easy access to clean the barrel from end to end.

Both have their appeal. It's fun to shoot a lot of ammo with a semi-auto. At the same time I find it satisfying and even relaxing to work a bolt action.

For a shotgun, a 20 or 12 gauge pump is perfect. The pump action means you can leave the chamber empty, then load it with a flick of the wrist. Automatics are more expensive and more work to maintain. Double-barrelled shotguns are more expensive than pump action shotguns, believe it or not. You probably aready know this, but 12 gauge is bigger than 20 gauge.

The Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 are good, inexpensive pump shotguns. Those two brands also have the widest selection of after-market accessories. Cost is $300 or less. You can swap short and long barrels for defense or hunting.


TYPE: Short answer: get a revolver.

Why a revolver for a first defensive handgun? They're simple. Point and shoot. Each trigger pull is the same length and weight from first to last. There's no safety to fumble with, and you won't accidentally eject the magazine when you go for the gun. It's also easier to tell if a revolver is loaded, and they can be cleaned without disassembly. Unlike an automatic, a revolver will shoot any kind of ammo, and is almost immune to jamming. If it misfires, just pull the trigger again to fire the next chamber.

Shoot it double-action only (without thumb-cocking). Cocking the gun looks bad in court, and can lead to accidental discharges. If you cock the gun and don't shoot, you'll be left holding a cocked, loaded gun you'll have to carefully de-cock.

CALIBER: Short answer: any caliber bigger than .25, and preferably bigger than .32, will do.

If you're getting a revolver, a .38 special or .357 magnum will do fine. For autos, 9 mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP are good, and .380 isn't bad. Any of those will work when loaded with good defensive ammo (hollowpoints, Glaser Safety Slugs, etc.). The caliber choice depends a lot on:

WEIGHT AND SIZE: Short answer: small and light is good.

If you're going to carry it, it needs to be small and light, or you probably won't carry it. Small is also good for the nightstand, glove box, tacklebox, etc.

For more thoughts on first guns and first handguns, see Kim du Toit and Chuck Hawks. Both writers have tons of good material on their Web sites.


If you don't wear plastic-lensed glasses, you'll need protective shooting glasses ($20+). Protect your hearing with disposable foam ear plugs ($2 a dozen) or ear muffs ($30+). When shopping for ear protection, look for the NR (Noise Reduction) rating. An NR rating of 22 is typical, and 30 is excellent.

Each gun needs a case or holster. For long guns without a scope, you can use a soft case (10+). For scoped guns you'll need a hardshell case ($15+).

Pretty much every new gun nowadays comes from the factory with trigger locks or other safety locks included in the price. These aren't the end-all be-all of firearms safety, but they're one option. For handguns, you can buy a small lockbox such as a cashbox or personal safe.

Finally, you'll need a cleaning kit (about $30). I have an Outers kit with a variety of brass rods, patch-holder tips, and brass brushes. I'm thinking about getting an Otis cleaning kit, which uses flexible, coated cables and disposable cleaning patches to avoid scratching gun parts.


Rich was in the military, but a good gun safety class or defensive handgun class would he helpful. The class I took at Guncraft in Knoxville to get a Tennessee handgun carry permit was excellent, and I'd recommend the staff there. Beyond safety, they covered criminal law and civil liability concerning the use of defensive firearms. I plan on taking another class with them this winter.

You'll probably want to do some reading. As mentioned, Kim du Toit and Chuck Hawks are excellent. Among other gun writers, I'd suggest Massad Ayoob for non-military defensive gun use. The Ayoob Files in American Handgunner are post-mortems on both civilian and police shootings, both during the gunfight and subsequent legal action, if any. For most everything else, read Jeff Cooper's notes and books.

And Rich, let's go shooting sometime.

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January 14, 2004

More on Rich's Quest for His First Gun

The other week Rich Hailey aasked for advice on buying a gun. Here's my answer, along with Wince and Nod's, SayUncle's, James Rummel's, and Miniluv's.

This week Rich is explaining why he wants a gun. He also recounts his first trip to the range with SayUncle.

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Interesting BATF Statistics

SC05.jpgWhile doing some research at the BATF Web site I ran across the Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report for 2001 (PDF). Lots of hard statistics on pistol vs. revolver sales, handgun sales by caliber, and gun sales by manufacturer. Note that only domestically-produced guns are included. Imported brands like Glock don't appear in the report's figures.

Some Sales Statistics for 2001

  • Pistols outsold revolvers 2 to 1.
  • The most popular pistol caliber was 9 mm. The most popular revolver caliber was .357. (There was a surprising number of .44 Magnums sold - 39,515, or about half as many .44s as .22s. I had no idea .44 Magnums were so popular.)
  • Ruger was first in pistol sales at 112,847. Bryco Arms was second at 66,874.
  • Ruger was first in revolver sales at 150,844. Smith &Wesson was second at 92,325.
  • Marlin was first in rifle sales at 258,383. Ruger was a close second at 242,166. (Makes sense. The two most popular .22 rifles are the Marlin 60 and Ruger 10/22.)
  • Remington made 276,116 shotguns. Mossberg made 168,733.
  • There were 3,010,780 guns manufactured and sold in the U.S. Another 190,966 were manufactured and exported.

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January 16, 2004

Shooting a Revolver Left-Handed

I had never given this any thought, but today I realized that most revolvers are designed for right-handed shooters. I'm thinking particularly about the cylinder release latch.

Any lefty shooters out there? Is it hard to reload left-handed, or have you developed a technique?

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January 21, 2004

Gun Links


Jeff has the weekly check on the bias along with a nice pic of a Ruger Vaquero with bird's head grips.

Last year people were shocked that Smith &Wesson would make a 1911 pistol. Now it's been announced that SIG will make a 1911.

GunBlast reviews the Browning Buckmark rifle, and has special features on two classic Smith &Wesson revolvers, the Military and Police and the K-22. Now they need a write-up on the big Smith &Wesson M29 that Harry's holding in that picture to the right.

If you haven't read the article by the LA Times writer who shot a gun for the first time and became a convert, give it a read. Use username/password laexaminer/laexaminer.

Most U.S. pilots still aren't armed thanks to foot-dragging and obstacles erected by the Transportation Safety Administration. Via Kim du Toit.

Shall-issue Concealed Carry Laws Gaining Ground
Shall-issue means that any qualified, law-abiding applicant can get a concealed carry permit without discretion, just as driver's licenses are issued to all qualified, law-abiding applicants. According to, 35 states now have shall-issue permits. Here are my notes from taking a class for Tennessee's handgun carry permit.

Ohio now has shall-issue carry permits. Ohioans for Concealed Carry has a great Web site with more information.

Kansas Missouri got shall-issue concealed carry signed into law, but now faces court challenges.

Wisconsin's legislature approved a shall-issue concealed carry bill that was vetoed by the governor. A veto override vote is scheduled for today. UPDATE: see Triticale's note in comments for the latest news.

Meanwhile, Michael Williams is still trying to get his CCW in a state that doesn't have shall-issue permits. Of six people who applied in his jurisdiction, three received them: the mayor and two council members. That's why shall-issue permits are such a good idea. They eliminate cronyism and corruption in the permitting process.

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January 23, 2004

Guncraft Sports New Rates

I let my membership at Guncraft Sports here in Knoxville expire right before the holidays. I went back tonight, and found out they've lowered their rates. It's now $139 a year (was $179), which includes unlimited range time, and discounts on gun rentals and classes. (Their Web site still shows the old rates.)

They also have better pricing on rentals. It used to be $5 for the first gun, and $2.50 for each additional gun, with slightly higher rates for non-members. Now it's $5 for as many guns as you want to try. Good stuff.

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Wisconsin Override Veto

Wisconsin passed a shall-issue concealed carry law which the governor vetoed. The Senate overrode the veto yesterday.

Now the Assembly has to vote for an override, which requires a two-thirds majority, and the vote is going to be close. Check Boots and Sabers for the latest developments. His post here has a list of assemblymen whose votes are crucial.

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January 27, 2004

Weekly Gun Links #2

Here's the start of a new tradition. A collection of gun-related links every week.

xm8c.jpgMurdoc Online has the scuttlebutt on the XM8 Assault Rifle, which could be the next U.S. infantry rifle. Via Hell in a Handbasket.

John of Argghhh!!! looks at the WWII-era Japanese Type 94 pistol.

The Kel-Tec Owners Group is a great resource for Kel-Tec pistols and rifles.

Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Doug Pike of the Houston Chronicle gives some perspective to a recent report that says a small number of gun stores sell a large proportion of guns used in crimes. Via Clayton Cramer.

Jeff at Alphecca has the weekly check on anti-gun bias.

John Stossel of 20/20 addressed 10 modern myths last week, including myths surrounding guns. Stossel notes that accidental gun deaths are low, the CDC can't show that gun control reduces crime, and more states having concealed carry laws has not lead to more violence as some Paulines had warned.

Kevin at Smallest Minority notes that John Malvo originally intended to use a hunting-style Remington 700 rifle in .308 instead of an assault-rifle style Bushmaster in .223. Link. While the Bushmaster looks "meaner" and holds more rounds, it's actually not as effective as a .308 rifle. What was the point of the Assault Weapons Ban again? Oh yeah. To outlaw scary-looking guns.

The February issue of Gun Tests is up (requires a subscription). For cowboy action fans there's a review of single-action revolvers from Ruger and Navy Arms in .32 H&R Magnum and .32-20.

Letters to the Editor from Gun Owners

Responding to the recent case of a woman being attacked by a cougar, the LA Times published a letter from Alaskan Karl Francis advocating a simple solution: carry a big gun. Via InstaPundit.

Hale DeMar of Wilmette, Illinois shot and wounded an intruder who broke into his house twice in 24 hours. Though the shooting was justifiable, police arrested him for failing to have a current Illinois Firearms Owner Identification Card. The Chicago Tribune published DeMar's letter to the editor following the shooting. (Use laexaminer/laexaminer to login). Via The Spoons Experience.

Read novelist Chip Elliott's 1981 letter to the editor in Esquire magazine. It's absolutely the best account I've ever read of someone making the conversion from being anti-gun to pro-gun after a personal encounter with crime.

Your Weekly Gun Pic

This week's picture by Mike S comes from this thread on Single Six customization at Rimfire Central. It's a scoped Ruger Single Six in stainless steel with custom grips, replacement cylinder pin, and hammer extension.

Ruger Single Six

Last Week's Gun Links

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February 03, 2004

Weekly Gun Links #3

Welcome to the new tradition. Things are going so well that I nearly have enough material for next week's links.

Jeff Cooper's January commentaries are online.

Knoxville bloggers are invited to the first-ever Rocky Top Brigade Pistol Night February 10th.

Kevin of The Smallest Minority has written his first article for the Shooter's Carnival. His shooting background resembles mine, which was a Daisy BB gun in second grade, my own .22 in fifth grade, and my own 12 gauge in 7th grade.

I agree with him 100% about .357 recoil not being that bad, and about most security guards being lousy shots. There was a young security guard in my CCW class shooting a Glock. For a guy who wore a gun on his hip for a living he was a piker. The two best shots in the class were a middle-aged guy shooting a Colt Python .357 and - all modesty aside - me shooting a Kimber Ultra Carry .45.

Gun Rights

Kevin at The Smallest Minority fisks a hyperventilating story in The Daily Mirror.

Owen of Boots and Sabers fisks an anti-CCW editorial in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Owen also has more info on the Wisconsin CCW override vote, scheduled for today. Did I mention I've blogrolled these guys? LATER: the veto override failed by one vote to reach the required two-thirds majority. The anti-gunners won, but the good news is that the pro-gunners were in the majority. Some of the "no" voters will be up for re-election soon.

SayUncle looks at the Democratic presidential candidate's positions on gun control. Some make pro-gun noises and some make gun control noises, but mostly they're all for the Scary-Looking Guns Ban and closing the non-existent gun show loophole. Obviously they all got the memo that most people don't like gun control.

SayUncle also links to encouraging news about attitudes towards gun control. We're winning.

Reviews of affordable guns

Kim du Toit likes the Makarov pistol, a military surplus piece that can be had for less than $200.

For hunters, GunBlast has the skinny on the Savage bolt-action package gun. With the rifle, scope and sling it sells for less than $400.

The print version of Gun Tests reviews the HiPoint JHP .45 ($159) and the Cobra Enterprises Patriot .45 ($316). Gun Tests gave both guns a "Don't Buy" rating because of their malfunctions.

If you're looking for a reliable defense pistol with a name brand, there are a couple of good choices. The Smith &Wesson 642 .38 revolver can be had for less than $400 brand new. So can the Ruger SP101 .357 magnum revolver and the Ruger P9x series automatics in 9 mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. All of those are very good, very reliable guns from American companies that will still be around in 20 or 50 years.

This week's discussion board

Speaking of Ruger, check out the Ruger Forum.

Your weekly animated gun candy

Who would have thought that you could find a link to QuickTime movies of guns and stuff getting shot at BoingBoing. The clip below is a Desert Eagle .44 Magnum in slow-mo. Follow the link to see evil beer cans and marauding melons getting what's coming to them.

Last Week's Gun Links

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February 10, 2004

Tuesday Gun Links #4

The new tradition continues. I have more good stuff lined up for next week.

Just a reminder to local Knoxville bloggers that the first-ever Rocky Top Brigade Pistol Night is tonight.

Gun Blogging

Donald Sensing of One Hand Clapping
cellgun.jpgYou've probably heard about the terrorists' four-shot .22 pistols that look like cell phones. They're real. Donald has a friend in law-enforcement who had access to one of these phones, so he made a video of the phone being fired. Link.

Donald shoots trap, and is excited about Winchester's new Select Energy Trap.

In the wake of the death of Carlie Brucia, Donald offers parents some advice on what to tell teenage girls.

James Rumel of Hell in a Handbasket
James notes his 500th student that he's taught to shoot. I'd love it if he posted some tips for showing new people the ropes. I just took on my first student - a co-ed from the local university who had been broken in on three times, and who decided she needed to be able to defend herself. I helped her, but I saw some weaknesses in my teaching approach that I need to improve on.

Rich Hailey of Shots Across the Bow
Rich recently decided to buy a gun. You can read about the reasons for his decision, his first shooting foray since the military, and his first gun purchase at the Shooter's Carnival. Rich mentions the Sevier Indoor Range, which I've been wanting to visit. That could be the site of a future Rocky Top Brigade Pistol Night. There's also Farnsworth's Firearms in Vonore.

John Donovan of Argghhh!!!
What do you get when you combine computer geekdom with gun geekdom? Answer: John's PowerPoint presentation on the U.S. military's proposed XM29 Weapon System. Good stuff.

Clayton Cramer
Clayton reviews a case of a feral dog attack to argue for personal carry and high-cap magazines.

Clayton also maintains the Civilian Gun Defense Blog. I don't cover cases of self-defense nearly as much as I should, in part because there are so many cases that I just can't keep up. But the fact is that ordinary citizens use guns for self-defense all the time, and it's one of the best arguments for an armed populace.

Choice Quotes

Speed is fine, but accuracy is final.
- Bill Jordan

Only accurate rifles are interesting.
- Townsend Whelen

Don't worry. The nice policeman will save you

One argument of the Gun-Fearing Wussies is that we should trust our protection to the cops. You and I are dumb slobs, but cops are professionals. Even when they lose their guns in elementary schools. And of course professionals would never leave their guns on the side of the road.

Of course, those were local cops. I'll bet an FBI agent would never, say, have their gun, car, and credentials stolen.

OK, maybe they would. But surely Air Marshals wouldn't. After all, they're the creme de la creme. Or maybe not:

The TSA has proven inept in the air as well as on the ground. It was determined to expand the number of air marshals quickly from a few hundred to more than 6,000. When most of the applicants failed the marksmanship test, the agency solved that problem by dropping the marksmanship test for new applicants. (The ability to shoot accurately in a plane cabin is widely considered a crucial part of a marshal’s job.) Some would-be marshals were hired even after they repeatedly shot flight attendants in mock hijack response exercises.

USA Today’s Blake Morrison noted a report that "one marshal was suspended after he left his gun in a lavatory aboard a United Airlines flight from Washington to Las Vegas in December. A passenger discovered the weapon." Another air marshal left his pistol on a Northwest flight from Detroit to Indianapolis; a cleaning crew discovered the weapon.

Post-9/11, airline pilots were going to be armed to protect passengers against terrorist hijackers. Now reports say the Transportation Safety Administration is rejecting many pilots who want to protect their passengers:

One pilot, a retired Air Force colonel and fighter wing commander responsible for multimillion-dollar jet fighters, said he was allowed to carry his pistol aboard military aircraft.

"The USAF considered me psychologically sound enough to be directly responsible for nuclear weapons," the pilot wrote. "Yet a TSA psychologist has determined I am unreliable to carry a weapon in my own airliner."

This Week's Flame War

bangin.gifThe Texas Defensive Shooting Academy invited Glock and 1911 owners to a 1,000 round Glock vs. 1911 shootoff. Huh. I wonder if that produced any strong opinions?

Your Weekly Gun Bunny

Here's the Smith &Wesson Forum's January Playmate of the Month:


Last Week's Gun Links

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February 17, 2004

Tuesday Gun Links #5

DSC02427.jpgThe Gunblast boys are covering the 2004 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, with tons of pictures of what's new this year : Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 . Here's a sample: the CornerShot system, S&W .500 Magnum short barrel, and the carbine versions of the Walther P22 and Beretta NEOS.

On a related note, here are the new additions to the Smith &Wesson 2004 lineup. Scroll down a bit for links to the PDF datasheets. I bought the 642 with Crimson Trace Laser Grips. More about that later.

Chuck Hawks has set up a subscription service for his excellent Web site. He explains why he went to a subscription model here. A lot of the content is still free, and for new visitors who need a little information there's a one-month subscription for $4.95. I bought a one-year subscription because I've gotten my money's worth already from reading his site in the past.

Calif_Adriana_HK_546_sml.jpgShow you really care: give your gal a gun next Valentine's Day.

Kim du Toit has an interesting challenge: pick the best rifle for the scenario he lays out.

John of Argghhh!!! has this report (PDF file) showing the latest military research on infantry load carrying. In some cases infantry are carrying 75% of their body weight in equipment. Some of the recommendations for load-lightening mirror those used by backpackers, particularly the use of high tech materials and multi-purpose items.

Right to Keep and Bear Arms

The Senate is considering a bill to prevent unwarranted lawsuits against gun manufacturers. SayUncle reports that Diane Feinstein has attached a rider that would keep the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban from sunsetting.

For the first time, seniors 65 and older are now more likely to own a gun than any other age group, according to this Fox News story. Via Donald Sensing. The question is whether that demographic trend represents increased gun ownership among seniors, or decreasing gun ownership among other age groups.

We've Got Video

PPsh burp gun. Via Glock Talk

Smith and Wesson .500 Magnum

Picture of the Week

In honor of the snow we got this weekend, here's a picture of a biathlon shooter with a tricked-out rifle. The biathlon looks fun. I've got the shooting part down, but my skiing is nicht so gut. Then again, neither is my German.


Last week's gun links

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February 24, 2004

Tuesday Gun Links #6

Administrative note: Next week the gun links will move to Thursdays to make room for a new feature: the Tuesday E-Commerce Report. (Besides being a gun nut by night, I'm an e-commerce manager by day.) The business stuff needs to run earlier in the week, hence the swap. The Gun Links will continue, just on a different day. Now on with the gun nuttery.

Continue reading "Tuesday Gun Links #6" »

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February 27, 2004

Gun Bill Before Congress

Lots happening on Capitol Hill this week with the Assault Weapons Ban and the bill to provide some immunity to gun manufacturers.

SayUncle, GeekWitha45, and Publicola are all over it.

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S&W Chairman Steps Down Due to Armed Robbery Conviction in Youth

Link. James Minder spent 15 years in prison in the 1950s and '60s for armed robbery and prison escape.

I originally read about Minder's conviction weeks ago on the Smith &Wesson Forum. Odd that a guy who can't legally own guns would be chairman for a gun manufacturer.

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Quizilla Result: Which Gun Are You?

What Gun Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

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February 28, 2004

Tennessee's Senators Oppose Assault Weapons Ban

That's the headline in the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander are both opposed to renewing the 1994 ban on scary-looking semi-automatic rifles. I called Alexander's office on Wednesday and said "I'm an NRA member. I am against the Assault Weapons Ban and for the gunmaker immunity bill." The assistant (Austin) took my name, address and phone number, and thanked me for calling.

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March 04, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #7

locked.jpgThe big news this week was in Washington, and bloggers were all over it, especially Geek With a .45, Publicola, and SayUncle.

Jeff has the weekly check on anti-gun bias, with special coverage of the action on Capitol Hill.

TriggerFinger wraps up the sequence of events in the Senate on Monday. Hat tip to SayUncle.

Wendy McElroy examines the claims of the "Million Mom March" and finds that their claims are as exaggerated as their name.

Dave Kopel reviews the history of the dim-witted controversy over "cop killer" bullets that hadn't killed any cops.

Flashbunny is an addictive site for gun lovers. Via Rebel Yell.

Kim du Toit notes that the legendary Dodge City of the Old West was safer than many cities today. The Ludwig von Mises Institute report is here, and makes for fascinating reading. Hollywood and history tell two different stories.

Smallest Minority fisks an account of a parent concerned about her sons playing with toy guns.


Interesting tip for making a pistol slide easier to rack: "Assume you shoot with your right hand (reverse if not so). Hold the gun pointing down, finger off trigger, with your right hand. Grasp the slide with your left hand. Extend both arms out (downward), and lock your elbows with your hands side-by-side. Now pivot your shoulders so that you drop your right shoulder pushing the gun down while simultaneously raising your left shoulder pulling the slide up. When the slide is all the way back, let it go. You get a lot of mechanical advantage this way, and you need very little arm strength to make it work."

Also from the S&W Forum: modified Mexican carry for snubnose revolvers.

Great tips on cold bluing from Smith &Wesson Forum. Brownell's Oxpho Blue seems to be the favorite, and preparation seems to be the key.

If you have any interest in Smith &Wessons, the Smith &Wesson Forum is indispendable. Nice bunch of guys, too.

Russian Military Rifles

The Commissar is spreading propaganda about the superiority of Mother Russia's AK-47.

I was in a local gun shop yesterday that had a stack of surplus Mosin-Nagant, bolt-action, 7.62 x 54 mm rifles with bayonets and accessories for $98. I'm sorely tempted to get one, even though the price is a little high. Any advice?

Here's a page devoted to the rifle. Aztec Guns sells the rifles for as little as $49 plus shipping and transfer fees.

Legendary Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev - the subject of the Jude Law/Ed Harris movie, Enemy at the Gates - used a Mosin-Nagant. According to the nitpickers, posters for the movie showed the rifle in a mirror image that put the bolt on the left side. There were many errors in the film itself, but I didn't notice them and liked the movie, anyway.

Site of the Week -

SurplusRifle is an amazing resource for military collectors and shooters. They have information on dozens of rifles, including history, disassembly, maintenance, sighting, and more. The downloads section offers movies and PDFs on the same topics, as well as refinishing and rebluing.

Picture of the Week

Speaking of the Mosin-Nagant, here are a few of the variants. The picture comes from


Last Week's Gun Links

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March 10, 2004

Accidental Shooting in Masonic Ceremony

One man is dead after he was shot during a Masonic initiation ceremony involving a real gun that was supposed to be loaded. Link.

Needless to say, this was an example of dumb gun handling. Guns aren't toys or props, and you always treat them as if they're loaded.

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March 11, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #8

E-Gunparts has gun schematics for most popular guns. Printed schematics are 99¢ with an order, or you can download medium-resolution versions for free.

Interesting discussion (with pictures) of which lubricant is best? I just bought a bottle of Corrossion-X to see if it can take the rust off of some guns I neglected as a teenager. Eezox looks pretty amazing from the picture.

John of Argghhh!!! has pictures of the Barrett 25 mm payload rifle and the army's new smart truck.

Guns and the Media

Lee Harris wants a new reality show: put 10 men with guns and 10 men without guns on an island. Via Donald Sensing.

SayUncle fisks Paul Vitello's Newsday editorial on the Assault Weapons Ban.

Jeff at Alphecca has the weekly check on the bias with a wrapup of the Senate vote.

Guns in the Movies has a summary of guns of the Indiana Jones movies (more here), along with the scoop on Indiana Jones's Smith &Wessons.

Chris Range researched a prop gun for one of his favorite movies. Can you guess the movie? Post your answer in comments.

No hyperlink, but while watching the movie Monster I noticed Charlize Theron was using a Smith &Wesson 686-6 .357 Magnum. You can tell because of the newer cylinder release (introduced with the 686-5 in 1998) and the internal lock introduced with the dash 6. Little nitpick: Aileen Wuornos began her killing spree in 1989 before that version of the 686 was available. Bigger nitpick: Wuornos used a .22, not a .357. Glad to know that no detail was overlooked in the movie. has an entry on Wuornos.

Saving the best for last, there's MadOgre's Guns of the Matrix, Guns of Ronin, and (one of my favorites) Guns of HEAT.

I may combine my interest in guns and my interest in The Usual Suspects and do Guns of the Usual Suspects. Sounds like a good excuse to watch the movie for the 20th time.

New to the Blogroll

Geek With a 45 and Publicola cover gun-related topics, and were must-visit sites during the recent Senate vote.

MadOgre posts about guns on a daily basis.

Joel Rosenberg's blog covers concealed carry permit issues.

The Massad Ayoob Reader

Ayoob runs down the history of the Browning Hi-Power, and debunks the notion that it was Browning's last pistol design.

Ayoob has some considered advice on defensive ammunition selection for .45 ACP, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, .357 S&W, 9 mm, and .38 Special.

The Ayoob Files for March-April: "F--- You and Your High-powered Rifle. The Gary Fadden Incident." Fadden and Ayoob both recommend against using fully automatic weapons for self-defense. Read the story for details.

The Lazy Man's Guide to Gun Cleaning.

This Week's Gun Pic

The FN P90 submachinegun is the companion piece to the FN Five-SeveN pistol. Both are chambered in 5.7 mm. The P90 uses a double stack, 50 round magazine that runs the length of the gun. Before a round is chambered it's rotated 90 degrees through the circular part of the magazine. Total length of the bullpup design with a 10.4 inch barrel is just 19.7 inches.


Last Week's Gun Links

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Dumb WBIR Story


According to police reports, a military-style assault rifle may have been used in a shooting Tuesday night in the Walter P. Taylor Homes residential development.

Police say two people were shot in the courtyard area of Walter P. Taylor Homes just after 10 pm. Multiple rounds were fired.

Two victims were transported to a local hospital for treatment. Three suspects are wanted for questioning.

Check back with WBIR and for updates as this story develops.

So they don't have the names of the victims or their status, and they don't have a description of the criminals so that people can be on the lookout, but they think it may have been a military-style assault weapon, so that's what they lead with. The fact that three people are wanted as suspects is reserved for the third paragraph, on the theory I guess that the gun is more responsible than the person who pulled the trigger.

This is as dumb as stories blaming SUVs for hitting pedestrians - a way to take a routine story with no details and sex it up by bringing in a hot button issue.

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March 18, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #9

Jeff Cooper's Commentaries for March, 2004 are up. They're posted somewhat irregularly, but you can use ChangeDetection to get an email alert when the main page gets updated.

Here's a great rec.guns discussion of using a gun to shoot off locks. Summary: sometimes the gun wins and sometimes the lock wins.

Mike explains how to work an AK-47 type rifle. Geek With a .45 explains how to work everything else. Via SayUncle.

Jeff at Alphecca has the weekly check on anti-gun bias.

SayUncle points to another case of negligent discharge by a police officer.

MadOgre blogs a recent shooting meetup. Many Rugers were involved.

Are You Liberal, Conservative, or Southern? A quiz.

This page searches Guns Magazine and The American Handgunner articles going back to 1982. The articles are available for download in PDF format for $4.

Girls Girls Girls! Guns Guns Guns!

vip451.jpgLast week's feature on guns in the movies was a big hit, so there's more coming in April. In the meantime I just learned of a picture archive of actresses with guns via James at Hell in a Handbasket.

A Woman's Primer on Defensive Firearms Use by Sunni Maravillosa is a useful resource for women who are getting started with firearms.

So is Miss Fitz Buys a Gun from Backwoods Home magazine. Not only does Miss Fitz know her guns, she also has a funny sendup of gun talk BS:

Naturally, there's only one handgun anybody in his right mind would ever get and that's a Super-Wacken-Wacher Polymer-Resinated Triple-Action quasi-auto in the Southern Italian .486 cal. XY6 model, of course, not the completely inferior .392 Gnorf Magnum, but only if you add the custom No-Bump compensator, a trigger job by Bruce of Biloxi, and gold plated Trid-i-Glo sights, and load it with the Hydro-Blart self-fragilating 386.8-grain Teflon-jacketed bullets imported from Uzbekizmania, and hand-load your rounds with diamond-studded smokeless powder from the caves of Eastern Elphemia on a $3,000 Killersmorph reloading press, which'll give you a muzzle velocity of ...

Choice Quotes

The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good.
- George Washington

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
- J.R.R.Tolkien, The Two Towers

An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.
- Jeff Cooper

Concealed Carry

Clayton Cramer notes that a St. Louis man repelled three robbers, marking the first defensive use of a concealed firearm under Missouri's new CCW law. The man was using a .22. Luckily the robbers were using a BB gun. Score one for superior firepower, I guess.

Equal Rights for CCW Home Page is trying to make the concealed carry permit process fair by getting California to go to shall-issue permits.

Joel Rosenberg has a discussion of ethical, legal, and etiquette questions when it comes to carrying concealed in a private home other than your own. He also has suggestions for affordable defensive handguns.

Technique and Pick of the Week

Jeff Cooper's fourth rule of gun safety is "know what you're shooting and what's behind it." You can't do that in the dark without a flashlight.

Strategos International's The Strategies of Low Light Engagements (PDF download) shows the various techniques for pistol-and-flashlight carry, copiously illustrated, with frank discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each technique. And because of the power of the Internet and their generosity, it's free.

Picture of the Week

The oddball contraption below is a Pachmyr pocket holster attached to a Smith &Wesson Model 60. The holster was designed to keep the gun from printing in a pocket, to shroud the hammer, and to carry extra ammo. Unlike a normal holster, this one attached to the gun by replacing the right grip panel. They're no longer made, but they're an interesting item for S&W collectors. Discovered here.


Last Week's Gun Links

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March 25, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #10

John of Argghhh!!! found a police chief who was against concealed carry, but has now changed his mind after a woman used a gun to defend herself against two assailants.

SayUncle re-posted his great, illustrated post on the Assault Weapons Ban. He managed to
change one person's mind about the wisdom of renewing the ban.

Publicola posts an overview of the M1 Garand, and explains the differences between the 7.62 NATO and .308 Winchester.

Kevin from the Smallest Minority reviews the Makarov pistol.

You've probably hard about the UK man who used a sword to kill an armed intruder and was subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison. One of Kevin's readers notes that there may be more to the story. The sword man was apparently a drug dealer, and the whole incident may have been a drug deal gone bad.

Oddball Revolvers

Thunder5.jpgI have a ton of these saved up. This week it's the Thunder Five, a five-shot revolver that fires .410 shotshells or slugs, or .45 Long Colt. Originally made in Piney Flats, Tennessee, the rights have been resold a couple of times. The current manufacturer's site is

Not strange enough for you? Okay, here's the Fox Defender in 20 gauge. It's marketed to police for firing less-lethal beanbag rounds and seems to be based on the Thunder Five design. That's the carbine version below. The handles on both guns sport Smith &Wesson K/L frame grips. I shot a S&W 686 tonight that used the same grips as the ones on the carbine in the picture.


Update on the Smith &Wesson 642

I mentioned my new 642 a while back. I plan on giving a review once it's broken in, but here's the status on the break-in process.

After the first 50 rounds I removed the sideplate, cleaned the lockwork with Hoppes No. 9, and oiled the internals. Since then I've shot another 300 rounds through the 642, and dry-fired it about 1000 times using snap caps. The trigger pull is starting to smooth out nicely. After a few hundred more rounds I'll decide whether or not it needs a trigger job.

I took it to the range tonight and fed it a new load: Remington 158 grain lead SWCHP +P (FBI load). The 642 shoots to point of aim at 7 yards with this load, which is great news. The FBI load is one of the most effective rounds for a snubnose .38.

More on Trigger Jobs

For information about Smith &Wesson trigger jobs see here, here, and here.

Use the information below at your own risk. If in doubt, hire a gunsmith.

The $0.25 Glock Trigger Job.

The Poor Boy's Revolver Trigger Job from This is pretty popular on the Smith &Wesson Forum and some of the other forums I read.

Picture of the Week

To balance out the 20 gauge revolver above, here's a mouse gun. You probably always wondered what they looked like.


Last Week's Gun Links


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April 01, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #11

pya-l.jpgThe Grach is apparently the new Russian service pistol.

Jeff at Alphecca has the weekly check on anti-gun bias. A county in California is trying to ban .50 caliber guns. It's yet another case of Gun-fearing Wussies in California.

James at Hell in a Handbasket recounts his recent experience going through NRA firearms instructor class here, here, and here.

Attention, CNN: SayUncle is waiting for you to contradict yourselves later.

Do you believe in abstinence-only sex education? How about abstinence-only gun education?

A Michigan court of appeals has ruled that people living in a public housing project don't have a right to keep and bear arms. Eugene Volokh dissects the court's decision.

StraightWhiteGuy has 10 Reasons a Gun is Better Than a Woman.

First it was shooting off locks, now it's a discussion of shooting guns underwater.

MadOgre invents a new term: "Yes, Virginia is safer than Maryland and Maryland is safer than DC. Why is it Safer than DC? Because DC doesn’t allow any guns at all. It’s like a “Criminal Wildlife Preserve” where they are free to roam and act like beasts with no fear of hunters."

Quotes from the Founders

You can find these quotes and more here.

The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun...Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own self defense.
- Patrick Henry

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
- Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution (1776) Jefferson Papers 344 (J. Boyd, ed.1950)

To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always posses arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
- Richard Henry Lee

The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.
- Samuel Adams, during Massachusetts' U.S. Constitution ratification convention, (1788)

I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people... To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.
- George Mason, during Virginia's ratification convention (1788)

The John Ross Reader

I just discovered John Ross and his Ross in Range feature. He's a financial advisor by day, an amateur pilot, and the author of Unintended Consequences. He's also a gun enthusiast (and specifically an S&W revolver fan) who writes like Mickey Spillane.

A history of changing Missouri's concealed carry laws.

Smith &Wesson: The Betrayal and Redemption of an American Icon

How Smith &Wesson Could Double Their Market Share With a $25,000 Tooling Investment

Abortion, Mole Removal, Helmet Laws, and Waiting Periods

Airplane fans should read his account of the Pitts Special.

Picture of the Week

From The High Road.


Last Week's Gun Links

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April 08, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #12

pudsw.jpgPud is into guns. Who knew? And he's an S&W revolver fan. A man of impeccable taste, to be sure. Pud is the genius behind Fucked Company, MoBog, MarketBanker, InternalMemos, Bizient, and JungleScan.

I've mentioned before how slowly the Transportation Safety Administration is implementing the program to arm U.S. airlines pilots. How slow is it? So slow that arch anti-gunner Barbara Boxer is complaining.

I'm not sure how reliable the source is, but this UK story discusses a U.S. stun weapon based on a baby's scream.

Spoons points to some great wallpaper for Springfield Armory fans.

Jeff at Alphecca has the weekly check on anti-gun bias at his spiffy new MovableType blog.

Civilian Gun Use

Clayton Cramer notes the first defensive use of a gun by a CCW holder in Minnesota since the new law went into effect.

Joel Rosenberg notes a bar's change of heart concerning concealed carry.

Pete at the Civilian Gun Defense Blog notes the case of an Indianapolis homeowner who shot a man who broke a window to gain entry to his house. (The link is Bloggered, so you'll have to scroll down or search for "Indianapolis.") The homeowner "aimed low" and shot the man in the thigh. The invader later died. [The homeowner had good, but misguided, intentions. If someone is a threat, you shoot to stop them, which means a center mass (torso) shot. There is no wounding. Shooting someone in the thigh is likely to strike their femoral artery, which can result in fatal blood less in just a few minutes. - LJ]

Polls on Gun Control

This is a good site for surveys on gun control and right to bear arms issues. Some of the news is good, and some of it isn't so good, but it's a sobering look at what Americans think about guns.

  • 43% of respondents owned guns
  • Slightly over half of respondents consistently say that gun laws should be made more strict.
  • 78% thought the Assault Weapons Ban should be kept in place. (The "assault" part of the name makes this one a loser for our side among people who don't know what actually gets banned, in my opinion.)
  • Slightly over half of respondents favor ballistic fingerprinting.
  • 62% are against a ban on the possession of handguns.
  • 73% favor registration of guns
  • 51% blame gun manufacturers "not at all" for crimes committed with guns in this country.
  • 90% favor a law requiring background checks on people purchasing firearms at gun shows. (For those who don't know: there is no "gun show loophole." Licensed gun dealers must use the same procedure at a gun show that they use in their stores, namely, Federal background checks and fingerprints.
  • 73% of respondents think that the second amendment protects the individual's right to own arms, which is very good news. We've gotten the word out on this subject, and we've won. We need to work on the ballistic fingerprinting, registration, and gun show fronts.

Giving the NRA Some Love

I've only linked to the NRA's site once, and most bloggers seem to ignore them about as much, which is a shame, so I'm doing penance. The NRA has a great Web site and they publish a half dozen great magazines every month. Your $35 a year subscription includes your choice of one of those magazines. I get the American Rifleman.

The print edition of this month's American Rifleman has a feature on small arms seized by U.S. forces in Iraq. Two items were especially interesting. Saddam was often seen with a Browning Hi-Power pistol, so it became the sidearm of choice for many Iraqi social climbers. Also, the Iraqi service pistol, the Tariq, was based on a licensed copy of the Beretta. So despite all of the laws Saddam was willing to flout, he went to the trouble of legally licensing a pistol design. Odd.

Wiley Clapp examines the output of Bowen Classic Arms, whose home is in my zip code of Louisville, Tennessee.

The NRA's Armed Citizen tracks justifiable shootings by, um, armed citizens.

A Cautionary Tale of Statistics

Posted to a thread on rec.guns:

From: William Vojak (
Subject: Re: 10/22 defense
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Date: 2004-03-30 05:01:53 PST

# John Rogers wrote:
# #I was looking through some old posts, and I see there is much debate
# #over the use of a 10/22 as a defensive round in the home.

Well we have all heard that:

a) More people have been killed by a .22LR than any other round, and
b) In most gun fight, only 2-3 rounds are fired.

So a+b means we only need 3 round, .22LR firearms for defense.

Bill Vojak

This was followed by a poster who said "I sense you are making a jokingly point," which I'm hopingly he wasly.

This Week's Gun Pic

I just won this auction for this custom Smith &Wesson 686 and a custom Prezine holster:


Last Week's Gun Links

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April 15, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #13

Happy Buy a Gun day, everybody. Just a quick note: if you usually zone out after the Gun Pic of the Week, be sure to keep scrolling. There's a fascinating bonus section about French gun laws by Matt, an American reader living in France.

GeekWithA45 has the latest on the delays in arming pilots. Two members of Congress have proposed a bill that would accelerate the process.

Jeff at Alphecca has the weekly check on anti-gun bias.

Happy Buy a Gun Day

sharonstone2.jpgToday is Buy a Gun Day. That means National Ammo Day is just six months away.

Publicola has some suggestions for Buy a Gun Day.

A while back I responded to a query from another blogger about a first rifle, shotgun, and defensive handgun.

If you like U.S. military guns, but would rather roll your own, SayUncle tells you how to build an AR-15.

U.S. Military Weapons

U.S. troops in Iraq are apparently finding an insufficient supply of good magazines for the Beretta 92 service pistol. Via TheGeekWithA45 and Kim du Toit.

Jeff and Boge Quinn of Gunblast traveled to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to try out the Barrett M468 and the Remington 6.8mm SPC cartridge, which has been proposed as a replacement for the 5.56mm NATO round.

John of Argghhh!!! has the third installment of his history of ammunition, and it's the best one yet, bringing us up to the era of the percussion cap and paper cartridge. And yeah, there's an emphasis on historical U.S. rifles.

PS I almost never mention blackpowder guns because I have zero experience with them. I hope to remedy that one day, but in the meantime I'd welcome anyone who wants to write up some blackpowder/muzzleloader links and news.

Choice Quotes

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
- Helen Keller

This is the law: The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.
- John Steinbeck

Next Week: Guns in Movies and Television

This Week's Gun Pic

If you skipped Jeff Quinn's report on the Barrett M468 story above, don't. Here's a photo to whet your appetite. Note the similarities between the M468 and the current M16/M4 rifle.



Last Week's Gun Links

French Gun Laws

An email from Matt (last name withheld at his request), an American living in France.

I live in France (long story) and the laws here about buying a firearm are particular.

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April 22, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #14

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April 29, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #15

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May 01, 2004

Kim du Toit Gun Survey

Kim du Toit has a new survey: if you could only own one handgun and one rifle for the rest of your life, what would they be? This is a tough one. Here are the conditions:

(Parameters: Assume that both concealed- and open carry are legal where you live. Also, disregard all thoughts of "the gummint" saying you can only own one -- for whatever reason, poverty, spousal insistence, whatever, you can only own one handgun. Pick one that works for where you live, of course: if you live in the city, you may not want a Ruger .44 Blackhawk, but if you live in the country, that may be the perfect gun for you. Also, this could be a gun you don't currently own. Assume that ammo and spare parts would always be available.)

Same rules for the rifle (no shotguns allowed).

My choice of a handgun

I'd pick a .357 magnum revolver for the handgun. I like revolvers for their reliability, simplicity, and ability to shoot a variety of ammo. As I get older, I'll probably prefer milder loads. With a .357 I could shoot full-power magnum loads, or I could shoot milder .38 Special +P, or the even milder .38 Special. The light loads are also good for target shooting, and for teaching new shooters, which would help offset the lack of a .22. (If I could only have two guns, I'd really miss my .22s.)

sandw60.jpgAs for specific models, I've said that a 4 inch Smith &Wesson Model 686 would be a gun I'd choose to last a lifetime. I bought a tricked-out 6 inch 686 because it was a bargain. Now that I have a carry permit, I'd go for something between the 686 and my 642. A 2.5 inch, 7-shot S&W Model 686P is an improvement (35 oz. instead of 40 oz. for the 4 inch). I might go even lighter and choose the 3 inch, 5-shot S&W Model 60 (24 oz), both in .357 Magnum and stainless steel.

And the rifle?

I'm still thinking about that one. I may email Kim and see if he considers a Thompson/Center Contender with interchangeable barrels kosher. (LATER: Kim put the kibosh on that idea.) Some other possible choices: a .30-06 M1 Garand, a .308 bolt action, or my Winchester .30-30 lever action. And if I'm simplifying anyway, I might go for a lever action in .357 Magnum so I'd only have to stock one kind of ammo.

The ammo for all of those centerfires gets expensive. I only need a rifle for target shooting and possibly deer hunting. Heck, if I can borrow a friend's rifle for the deer hunt I'd get a .22 rifle for myself. Fun and cheap to shoot.

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May 06, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #16

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May 07, 2004

Shootout in Nashville

A Smith &Wesson Forum member went to his business last night when the police called to tell him the alarm was going off. When he showed up, two armed men shot at him through a plate glass window, then leapt out of the window, leading to a running gun battle that left one of the men with three gunshot wounds. The owner, thankfully, wasn't hurt. Here's his story.

LATER: the link quit working, and the story has disappeared from the forum.

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May 12, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #17

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May 22, 2004

Triticale's New Gun Survey

Kim du Toit posted the results of his gun survey. Namely, if you had to choose only one car, handgun, and rifle to use for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Now Triticale has a variation: if you could choose one car, handgun and rifle (in addition to what you already own) to have for just this summer, what would they be?

My picks:

Handgun: nicely-balanced Colt Single-Action Army (Peacemaker) and holster to practice gun twirling and trick shooting.
Rifle: Barrett .50
Car: Oscar-Meyer Weiner Mobile

Most people are picking sports cars, but I could buy or rent all kinds of sports cars over the course of my life. Besides, there are lots of Ferraris in the world, but there's only one Weiner Mobile.

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May 27, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #18

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June 03, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #19

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June 10, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #20

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June 17, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #21

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June 24, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #22

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June 25, 2004

Quickie Range Report: Three .45s

sig_p220_sm.jpgStopped off at the pistol range after work. Ran 50 rounds each through three rental .45s: a Para Ordnance LDA Carry (short-barreled 1911), a Glock 30, and a SIG P220.

All of the guns were plenty accurate, though the Para had a couple of weird groups that I couldn't explain. Could be me, I guess, but in one five-shot group every shot went to the left. Previous and subsequent groups were mostly dead-on.

Of the three, the Glock was the only one that didn't jam over the course of 50 rounds. The SIG had one minor failure to feed. The Para jammed a couple of times, and had trouble going into battery another couple times. To be fair, this is the first SIG jam I've ever seen. Then again, I've shot lots more Glocks than SIGs, and I've yet to see a Glock jam. And yeah, these were rental guns of unknown age, the sample size was one each, YMMV, etc.

The Glock, besides being the most reliable, had the highest magazine capacity of the three, and was the cheapest of the three. Now you know why Glocks are everywhere. Incidentally, the Glock 30 may be my favorite of that brand. It uses a heavier barrel than some of its stable mates, and it's unusually accurate for such a small, short-barreled gun.

Index of all range reports

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July 01, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #23

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July 02, 2004

Quickie Range Report: Two 9 MMs

After work today I shot a couple of inexpensive 9 MMs. I fed each gun 25 rounds of Atlanta Arms reloads and Sellier &Bellot factory loads, both in full metal jacket.

First up was the Hi-Point, a semi-automatic that sells for a bit over $100, which is an amazing price point.

The magazine is a bit odd. To load a round, you have to use one hand to depress the magazine the full height of one round, then use your other hand to push in the next round. It's odd, but it works when you get used to it.

The sights are high-visibility red dots, and offered a good sight picture. The trigger was rough but serviceable. The manual safety doubles as a manual magazine catch. The slide locks open after the last shot, but it doesn't have a slide release: to release the slide you jack it back and release.

Reliability wasn't so hot. In 50 rounds the gun had two stove-pipe jams and two double feeds. This ain't the gun I'd want to bet my life on.

Ruger P95CFor two hundred dollars more you can get the Ruger P95C. I've shot the range's copy before and liked it. The magazine release and decocker are ambdextrious. The one thing I would do if I owned this gun would be to buy replacement sights. The factory sights are so small that I had trouble focusing on the front sight.

The gun never jammed, but in 25 rounds of Sellier and Bellot it mis-fired eight times. The Hi-Point never hicupped with this same batch of ammo, so obviously the ammo wasn't bad. The Ruger apparently had a light hammer strike that couldn't ignite the hard primers of the S&B.

Of the two guns, I'd spend a couple hundred more bucks and buy the Ruger. Just try your ammo to make sure it ignites reliably. In between their prices I'd buy the $250 Kel-Tec P11. And if I could rub enough pennies together I'd buy a Smith &Wesson revolver or a Glock. Guns that go bang every time are good.

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Google's Bias Against Guns

Joel Cosby of emails to say that he's been blocked by Google AdWords.

As I've mentioned before, I can't buy Google AdWords for terms like "e-commerce" because I talk about guns on my blog. Yet you can buy Google AdWords for pornography. Right. No political judgements there.

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July 08, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #24

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July 09, 2004

Quickie Range Report: a Pair of Smith &Wesson .22s

107410_item.jpgFirst up, the 10-shot 22A semi-automatic. The 22A has an unusual magazine release that's located in the middle of the front grip strap. Once I found it, it worked well, and is ambidextrious and easy to reach. I thought it would be easy to accidentally hit it, but even when I tried shifting my grip I couldn't get it to release without deliberately aiming my fingertip straight down on the recessed button.

The 22A has a built-in scope rail. In 50 rounds of Winchester Super-X I had two failures to feed, in which the bolt failed to strip a round from the magazine. Accuracy was very good, with consistent groups. If that feeding problem isn't endemic, this would be a good gun, though personally I wouldn't trade my Browning Buckmark for it. The Buckmark has a better trigger, and better grips.

160222_item.jpgThe eight-shot 317 revolver is part of S&W's Airweight line of aluminum alloy-framed guns. Most Airweights, like my 642, use alloy for the frame, and stainless steel for the cylinder and barrel. The 317 goes a step further and uses aluminum for the cylinder and barrel shroud; only the barrel liner is made from stainless steel. The result is a gun that weighs just 10.5 ounces.

That light weight is good for carrying purposes, but doesn't help accuracy. Neither does the short barrel, short sight radius, and tiny J-frame sights. The accuracy is fine for defensive purposes across the room, but not very impressive at the range. If you want more accuracy, Smith &Wesson sells the 317 in a 3 inch version with adjustable sights. GunBlast has a review of that gun.

A fair question would be, "just what is this gun for?" It's basically a concealabledefensive gun for the recoil-shy. There's a market for that, but I'd recommend the .38 caliber 642 instead. A recoil-sensitive shooter can load the 642 with light .38 loads that have moderate kick, but are still more effective than any .22. Recoil is mostly mental, anyway. It can be overcome with practice and the right attitude, which mostly consists of willfully ignoring recoil.

Despite minute-of-barn accuracy, the little 317 was a blast to shoot. As is typical for a revolver, it was faster to reload than the semi-automatic's magazine. HKS also makes a speedloader for it if you're so inclined. Also typical for a revolver the gun functioned flawlessly. I'd love to have a .22 revolver for fun, but because of its poor accuracy, this won't be the one. I'm holding out for one of the discontinued S&Ws, like the J-frame 63 or the K-frame K22.

Index of all range reports

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July 15, 2004

July 22, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #26

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August 01, 2004

Range Report: Kel-Tec P3AT and Bersa Thunder (.380)

This week it's a couple of inexpensive .380 automatics. Both guns typically sell for between $200 and $250.

Bersa Thunder

thun380lt_mat_lg.jpgThe Bersa is a Walther PPK lookalike, and is a good-looking gun for the money. I knew I was going to like it as soon as I racked the slide to check the chamber. The mechanical fit and polish is very good. The safety, magazine release and slide release all work well and feel great.

Sites are a three dot arrangement, a little small but about right for a gun this size. The trigger has a double action pull for the first shot, and single action for subsequent shots. The DA/SA transition was better than average. Like the SIG P232 the trigger doesn't return all the way after the first shot, so there's no excess slack in the single action trigger pull. Accuracy was very good, and the gun was comfortable to shoot.

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August 05, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #27

Administrative note: with the baby less than two months away, I'm going to spend less time blogging. The regular Tuesday E-commerce Report and Thursday Gun Links will become irregular for the rest of the year.


Gunner at No Quarters has the skinny on sweepstakes to win a
Barrett .50 Rifle, Remington 870, or Winchester Super Shadow (shown above).

Olympic Arms makes the case for .223 as a police round, noting its low penetration in domestic settings.

Last week I reviewed the Kel-Tec P3AT and Bersa Thunder, both in .380. If you like the Bersa you'll want to visit this Bersa Thunder page.

A woman turned in 1,300 guns as part of a Brazilian gun buyback program. The guns belonged to her deceased father. Via Interested Participant.

Der Commissar wonders why the U.S. is buying AK-47s to equip Iraqi national security forces, rather than re-issuing the thousands of guns U.S. forces seized.

Right to Keep and Bear Arms

SayUncle has lots of gun rights news. Click and scroll. The two stories about a local TV station segment on the "gun show loophole" are especially good.

Jeff Soyer has the weekly check on the bias.

Bush signed the Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act, which allows off-duty and retired policemen to carry concealed in other states. As I've said before, I don't think off-duty and retired cops should have special privileges that the rest of us don't. This also seems to be an abridgement of states rights.

Cartoon: if Microsoft made smart guns.

Election Year Politics

Missouri governor Bob Holden - who vetoed a law providing non-discretionary concealed carry permits - has lost the Democratic primary. It's possible that veto helped cost him the primary, though it's muddied by the fact that the primary winner is also against concealed carry laws. We'll have to wait for the election to see what the voters want.

The NRA excerpts Bill Clinton's My Life to show what gun control has cost the Democratic Party.

Perhaps because of that experience, the Kerry campaign is split on gun control. Via InstaPundit.

Security moms may be the soccer moms of the 2004 elections.

Hunting Deer with a Double Barreled Shotgun?

This bit from John Kerry's campaign tour is getting a lot of attention in gun circles: [John Kerry] was in Wisconsin the other day, pretending to be a regular guy, and was asked what kind of hunting he preferred. "I’d have to say deer," said the senator. "I go out with my trusty 12-gauge double-barrel, crawl around on my stomach… That's hunting."

It's certainly true that shotguns are used to hunt deer, using slugs rather than shot. But slug guns tend to be single-barreled pumps and semi-autos with short barrels and rifle sights. Double barreled guns typically have a small bead front sight and no rear sight, which makes hitting anything at a distance with a slug difficult. Jeff and his readers discussed this last week.

The story, particularly the crawling around on his stomach bit, seems implausible, but some people have come forward to say that they have hunted deer with a double barrel. Here's one such story:

I shot my two first deer with a Fox Sterlingworth, 20 ga. double, using slugs in upstate NY. Worked fine. It was the only gun I had so it's what got used. We never did test it to see where it would shoot, on those deer it shot pretty much where it was pointed. Both were shot at less than 25 yards, which might have helped. It was my great-grandfathers gun and when he died it came to my father, who gave it to me. I still have it but don't use it.

So, suspicious as the idea of hunting deer with a double barrel shotgun sounds, it's not implausible.

This Week's Gun Pic: Rosco Benelli Magazine Extension

Rosco of Italy makes a rotary tubular magazine extension for Benelli shotguns. After shooting all the rounds in one tube, you manually rotate to the next tube. The tubes are color-coded if you want to use different loads in each magazine. The picture doesn't really do it justice, so you'll probably want to watch the video of it being fired.


Last Week's Gun Links

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August 12, 2004

Thursday Gun Links #28

Now that I'm slacking off on the weekly gun links due to the upcoming bambino
Freedom Sight is launching The Weekly Fusillade, a weekly roundup of gun links. He has a form for automatic submission, which is a smart idea. Via Publicola.

Speaking of slacking, I'm still posting this week because I have a backlog of material, but I've promised myself I'll skip next week. After that, I have some reviews and some excellent lever gun links.

People are asking questions about the death of Ohio CCW holder Bill Singleton after the Cleveland Plain Dealer vindictively published Singleton on a list of CCW holders. Via Publicola (scroll down to August 5th).

Posse Incitatus has a Ruger Bisley review. Via Jeff Soyer.

The Heckler &Koch G11 and caseless ammunition Via SayUncle. I had no idea it came so close to adoption, or that caseless ammo development was pursued commercially so recently.

.308 Kaboom caused by reloading mistake.

New Reviews from GunBlast


Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe. That, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary.
- Lee Harris, Civilization and Its Enemies

The .357 Magnum Cartridge

"No automatic cartridge is as powerful as the .357 Magnum........Years ago I stated that if I could have only one gun, it would be a Model 27 S&W."
- Elmer Keith

Ala Dan at The High Road asks about hot .357 factory loads.

Comparison of .357 ammo.

You know how .357s have a lot of muzzle blast and flash when fired from a revolver? With a rifle that powder gets burned inside the barrel, converting what would be muzzle blast into as much as 50% more muzzle velocity, bringing the .357 up to rifle cartridge speed:

From a 4 inch S&W revolver:
Item 19C/20-158gr. Gold Dot = 1485 fps
Item 19D/20-125gr. Gold Dot = 1603 fps

From an 18.5 inch Marlin rifle:
Item 19C/20-158gr. Gold Dot = 2153 fps
Item 19D/20-125gr. Gold Dot = 2298 fps

Jim Taylor's .357 magnums I have known. Includes data on the .357 as a rifle load.

Your Weekly Flame War

.357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, or .30-30 for Deer?

Gun Pic of the Week: the Gun that Killed Mussolini

More below...


Director of Albania's National Historical Museum Moikom Zeqo shows the French automatic rifle, used by Italian guerillas to execute former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini on April 28, 1945, at the museum in Tirana, Wednesday, Aug. 4 2004. The 1938, 7.65 calibre rifle was gifted in 1957 to the former communist regime in Albania, by Valter Audisio, one of the eight Italian partisans charged with executing the fascist dictator Il Duce. This is the first time the weapon has been seen in public since the fall of communism in Albania.

As you can make out from the picture, the MAS submachine gun has a "bent" appearance. In Illustrated Firearms of the World, Ian Hogg writes: "This also has an odd look about it, because the axis of the barrel and of the body and stock are divergent by several degrees, giving the weapon a peculiarly "bent" look. The reason for this was that for the sake of compactness of the body, the bolt had to recoil inside a tube let into the buttstock; and since the butt had to 'drop' to give a natural aiming stance, the receiver had to be re-aligned. As a result, the face of the bolt is cut obliquely so that although it approaches the breech at an angle it closes evenly on the cartridge."

Last Week's Gun Links

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August 26, 2004

The All Kerry Channel

If you came looking for the Thursday gun links, sorry. This week has been all John Kerry all the time.

Not that I'm anything like this. Why, just last night I sat down to relax in front of the TV and watch Three's Company and completely forget about swift boats, fitness reports, and purple hearts. But then it turned out that Chrissie didn't have anything useful to say about the Bay Hap River incident, and the Ropers were taking Kerry's side and just mindlessly quoting Tour of Duty as if it wasn't a hagiography. Larry did have some sweet dope on Rassman, though. Turns out Larry sold him a '71 AMC Gremlin. Loser!

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September 12, 2004

Possible Problem with Ruger MK III

There's a report of a problem that can lead to unintentional discharges on the new Ruger Mark III pistol. One of the changes on the Mark III was the addition of a safety device called a loaded chamber indicator, which is required in California. The presence of a cartridge in the chamber causes the indicator to protrude.

A member at reported he could cause an accidental discharge 3 out of 5 times in a test environment by striking the cocking indicator. He contacted Ruger and is sending his gun in for testing.

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September 13, 2004

Assault Weapons Ban Sunset

home_assaultrifle.jpgThe 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expired today. The main change is that we can buy new magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. In addition, some guns that were formerly banned by name will be sold again, and some mostly cosmetic features like flash hiders will be available. The bigger bonus for gun owners, is that an anti-gun law sunsetted, and the anti-gunners wound up admitting that the ban was pointless to begin with.

I was stoked last year, anticipating the sunset. Now I've got a baby coming that will keep me busy, the weather's cooling off soon, and I don't expect to get to the outdoor range much the rest of the year. Too, I expect a few more options and a bit better pricing once the rush is over. Barring a wild hair I'll probably wait until next year and get a post-ban, flat-top AR with an eeeeeevil flash hider and telescoping stock. Starke was telling me good things about Rock River Arms today at lunch.

Alphecca's AWB sunset edition of the weekly check on the bias.

SayUncle (who has been all over the AWB for months) has a link roundup.

Jay Caruso has a game of spot the banned gun. Yes, the ban really was this arbitrary.

UPDATE: I realized I should have covered the basics more thoroughly. I assume that most of my readers already know that the AWB has nothing to do with fully-automatic weapons (AKA "machine guns"). Those guns are already regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act, and will continue to be regulated despite the sunset of the AWB. Just in case, I'll make a note of it.

Also, to appreciate the true purpose of the ban, here's a telling quote from Charles Krauthammer, a Washington Post columnist. I've blogrolled him and agree with most of his columns, but Krauthammer is anti-gun and has written a book on the subject. "In fact, the assault weapons ban will have no significant effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea . . . . Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation."

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September 20, 2004

AWB Sunset Hasn't Affected Sales Much

This Scripps article says the sunset of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban hasn't had many good effects for gun manufacturers and dealers. Manufacturers still have to produce two sets of guns: one for most states, and one for the states that have state-level laws prohibiting certain features.

Prices are still high on some pre-ban guns and high-capacity magazines.

I went shooting at Guncraft Sports last Friday, and asked them if they were seeing more sales. They had seen some interest, but most people wanted high normal capacity post-ban magazines, which they couldn't get yet. It's just been one week since the ban expired. I expect it will take a few quarters for production to ramp up and prices to settle down.

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October 13, 2004

Re-write U.S. Gun Laws

On one of the gun boards I read there was a recent thread that I keep thinking about. Basically, the guy had seen a lot of people carping about bad gun laws. OK, he said, which gun laws would you want on the books?

That's a heck of a question. A couple of people answered "The Second Amendment is the only gun law we need," but that's obviously not sufficient. Imagine a convincted murderer has finished his sentence and has just stepped out of the prison gates. Should he be able to walk across the street to the 7-11 and buy a silenced, fully automatic submachine gun without so much as showing ID?

So, what gun laws do you think are a good idea?

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October 23, 2004

Tactical Shotgun Pics

Shotgun pics from The High Road and I have a non-tactical Mossberg 500 with a blued receiver and wooden stock. My only concessions to tacticality-ful-ness are an ammo butt cuff and forward flashlight mount. Which reminds me, I need to replace the Mini-Mag flashlight with a SureFire, which is roughly the equivalent of replacing a birthday candle with a star going supernova. Oh, and I wouldn't mind having an ammo sling (see the bottom gun in the second picture). I need one of those for killing zombies.

UPDATE: Several people have asked about the shotgun in the first picture. It's a customized FN Tactical Police Shotgun. The fourth picture down is closer to the stock version, but has a side saddle shell carrier and holosight. They sell for around $650. All of FN's shotgun are listed here.


Continue reading "Tactical Shotgun Pics" »

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October 28, 2004

Saudi Security Service Training

From Farnum's Quips, a mailiing list for military and police, and students of firearms instructor John Farnum.

Saudi "Security Service" education, from a friend who is involved in contract training.

"Saudi 'Security Service' personnel all carry a S&W M10 revolver in 38Spl. On duty, it is carried unloaded. Speed loaders are forbidden (must watch out for that Western moral corruption). Madness, I know, but that is a direct order from the Saudi Ministry of Interior.

They also teach their personnel to fire warning shots (many of them), and, for the ultimate in lunacy, they shoot at the legs rather than center of visible mass. The forgoing is largely irrelevant anyway, because the men are all told that if they ever fire a shot from their revolver for any reason, they will go to prison. They are just 'beans,' and they know it. The Saudi government considers them utterly expendable.

Our 'training' course here in Virginia is seven days long. With religious breaks, it comes out to two days of actual training. Each student shoots a total of twenty-five actual rounds of ammunition. Upon graduation, none of them could fight their way out of a Riyadh whorehouse!"

Comment: This is yet another example of incompetence, elevated to an art form, complements of our Saudi "allies." Anyone who thinks the Saudis would or could put of a credible fight is dreaming.

This echoes the training problems Norville de Atkine recounted in his article, Why Arabs Lose Wars. Namely, a highly hierarchical command structure, a complete disregard for the welfare of the troops, and a culture that puts personal status above actual accomplishments.

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November 05, 2004

New Blog: TFS Magnum

357 Magnum, a new blog by a gun-loving, right-of-center lesbian. Found via AlphaPatriot.

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November 16, 2004


The Illinois Senate has overridden the governor's veto of a bill that protects homeowners against intruders. According to this article, the House is expected pass the bill.

SB 2165 says that an individual who uses a firearm while defending his home will be allowed an affirmative defense to a charge he unlawfully possessed the firearm. The legislation was initiated after a Wilmette resident faced local city officials who charged him with using a handgun -- banned in Wilmette -- to defend his family when a burglar entered his home last year.

Petka also shepherded through the General Assembly legislation that would disallow any felon from suing a property owner if the invader suffered injuries as a result of the victim defending himself or his property with a weapon.

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November 23, 2004

Jeff Cooper and Soyer

Jeff Cooper's November commentaries are up, and so is this week's edition of Jeff Soyer's check on the bias.

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December 16, 2004

The Cube Needs Gun Advice

Cubicle over at Sandcastles and Cubicles is asking for advice on purchasing his (her?) first handgun. Here's the non-gunny part of what I posted in comments. The gunny advice is here.

Whichever gun you choose, take a class in gun handling and shooting. You're pretty much guaranteed to learn something.

If you're buying a gun for defensive use, make sure you know what the legal standard of self-defense is so you don't wind up getting dragged through the legal system, or worse, the penal system. Most people have wrong ideas, and haven't thought it through as much as they should. My ideas have evolved quite a bit after doing some reading.

Massad Ayood writes about self-defense and the law quite a bit, and has testified at a lot of trials as an expert witness. Another good source is Mark Young. As a starter, read this page and this page on the difference between self-defense and fighting.

Someone else I like is John Farnam. I'm considering his class in Atlanta this February. He's a very no-nonsense kind of guy who emphasizes that the best way to win survive a gunfight is to arrange to be somewhere else.

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The Cube Needs Gun Advice, Pt 2

Cubicle over at Sandcastles and Cubicles is asking for advice on purchasing his (her?) first handgun. Here's the gunny part of what I posted in comments. The non-gunny part is here.

Cube writes: "Another feature that i will not compromise on is that it must be double action\single action (DA\SA). I consider the double action trigger an extra safety feature."

DA/SA guns are safe in that the first shot has a long, heavy trigger pull. After that, they have a short, light trigger pull which isn't as safe. If you're ever in a shooting situation you may find yourself pumped up on adrenaline, and after your first shot your gun will have a hair trigger. There have been a number of officer-involved shootings from exactly that situation, in which a cop shot a handcuffed suspect he was covering.

I don't like DA/SAs because the transition between the first shot and second shot's trigger pull is too disconcerting. You'll have to spend a lot of time overcoming it.

Worse, people with DA/SA guns rarely practice with the guns the way the guns will actually be used. In a real-world situation, you'll keep the gun stored with the hammer down (decocked). The first shot will be DA, and the recoil will cock the hammer so the second shot is SA.

Most people will take that gun to the range, slap in a magazine, rack the slide, and spend the rest of the day shooting SA only. They never decock the gun and practice shooting DA, or practice the DA/SA transition.

The ideal is a gun with the same trigger pull for each shot, preferably with a pull weight that's heavy enough to be safe, but light enough to provide decent accuracy. The Glock safe action trigger manages that by partially cocking the hammer (striker, actually) when the slide goes back. The Para-Ordnance LDA and SIG DAK use a similar system.

The regular Glock trigger has about a five pound trigger pull, which is a bit light for safety's sake on a self-defense gun. For $60 or so you can have a gunsmith install a New York trigger that will increase that to eight pounds. That's about the same as a well-tuned revolver trigger, which is perfectly safe while still allowing good practical accuracy.

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December 30, 2004

The Revolver

The Revolver.
Not as clumsy or as random as a semi-auto.
An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.
- ducktapehero on The High Road

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December 31, 2004

Where to Aim at a Bad Guy

Where do I shoot them? I shoot their trigger fingers, and then retrieve their fallen guns with my bull whip.
- arp415 on The Firing Line

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January 02, 2005

Wile E. Coyote School of Gunsmithing Diplomas

I need to send one of these to SayUncle.


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January 05, 2005

Interviews With Gunfight Survivors

Dave Spaulding interviewed more than 200 people who had been in gunfights and sums up their experiences. Excerpts below.

Continue reading "Interviews With Gunfight Survivors" »

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Dude! Free Guns!

Gunner at No Quarters has his monthly roundup of gun sweepstakes. There are some especially nice ones in there for January.

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January 06, 2005

"So There I Was"

Tales of the gunshop commando. Smallest Minority linked to the first of these, but now the final edition is out.

So there I was....what really happens to tactical "tools" in a fight (part 1):

As I was leaving my house I stuffed my Glock 10mm "man gun" mexican style in my pants. My backup is a fully customized 1911 with all the IPSC add on options in my $500.00 leather pancake holster custom made by Belgian Monks who have devoted their lives to silence and holster making. These are the ones used by SEAL Team 6, which I used to be a part of but all records of my activities were destroyed in a fire "accident".

So There I Was...(Part 3) Real world tactics used in corrections:

I reached for the taser, but since my hands were numbed from the baton, and my vision was obscured from the result of the tear gas, I accidentally discharged the taser down the front of my pants. The urine left over from the capture shield incident conducted the electricity and grounded, causing me to let out a tactical shriek, which shattered windows for the entire cell block causing a hazardous situation to the escaping inmate due to broken glass. This had worked to my advantage.

So There I Was...(Part 4) Final Installment, a cop retires:

I threw my Rascal into hard reverse; it struck a potted plant that had been strategically placed alongside the wall to interfere with my escape, sending me head over heals backwards. I was ready for such an event and wore my leak proof Depends, the “tactical black” ones advertised in Guns &Ammo. Certain that I had no up-flowing leakage; I sprang to my feet, easily within 2 minutes or less. ... The cops promptly shot a taser at me; I blocked it with my right nipple.
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January 11, 2005

What Guns Are You Buying This Year?

So, what guns are you buying in the new year?

I'll probably get my first Glock in 2005. I'll also get something inexpensive in 30 Russian - either a surplus SKS or a new SAIGA. Suggestions welcome, BTW. I like the SAIGA because it's new, but I'm leaning towards the SKS because it has character and history.

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January 13, 2005

Gun Links #29

This is the first new Gun Links since August, when I announced I was quitting through at least the end of 2004 because of the impending bambino. I'll be posting gun links every now and again but I won't promise any regularity -LJ

For F-Stop and other fans of director Michael Mann: a discussion of the gunplay in HEAT and Collateral, and who trained the actors in gunhandling.

James Rummel wears nylons. He thinks more gunowners should. I agree, since I often wear nylons, too.

Jeff Soyer has the latest check on the gun bias with an emphasis on the 60 Minutes piece on .50 caliber rifles.

Are bullets sterile after being fired from a gun? Answer: published studies say no.

Steve's Pages

wp-federal-coltgovernment-5-985.jpgI found this in the comments at John of Argghhh!!!'s. Steve has lots of information on reloading and plenty of general firearms and gun company information. (I had to use Internet Explorer to get the links to work on that second page.)

The terminal ballistics page is fascinating. Carmon Crapson tested a large number of loads for 20 calibers/chamberings by firing them into water and recording penetration and expansion. He also photographed the resulting bullet. Some of the .45s are nearly an inch in diameter when expanded. This isn't definitive - most people now use ballistic gelatin for this sort of testing, and even that isn't definitive - but it's still mighty interesting.

UPDATE: Sheepdog reminds me that it was his comment at Argghhh!!!!'s that linked to Steve's Pages. He also points to's tests in ballistic gelatin.

More Gun Links

  • SayUncle - "So, how many times do you think John Kerry’s been hunting since November?"
  • Jeff Cooper - December Commentaries. If you missed the November Commentaries, they're here.
  • John Farnam - New material from the Quips mailing list, including material added at the end of '04.
  • The High Road - Bic pens can defeat the locks on some gun safes, just as they can defeat some Kryptonite locks.
  • Smith &Wesson Forum - "Questions for dads: what guns do you get out and clean when your daughter's boyfriend comes over?"
  • NoQuarters - The A-Team exception to the Assault Weapons Ban.
  • Yours truly - What guns are you buying this year?

Gun Pic of the Week: Franchi SPAS 12 Shotgun

I thought these were really cool-looking, but Kim Du Toit's review (and the comment left by one of his readers) cooled my ardor quite a lot, as did the fact that they weigh 12 pounds. If you're interested in them, check out You might also like this picture-filled post of tactical shotguns.

Previous Gun Links

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January 20, 2005

Gun Links #30

AK-Pattern Rifles

Dharkbayne.jpgEAA is no longer importing Baikals or Saigas. The (non-AK Baikal guns will be imported by Remington under the Spartan by Remington brand, and EAA suggests the prices will be higher. There's apparently no distributor for the AK-based Saigas at the moment.

SayUncle passes along this link to a deal on a WASR (Romanian AK) with accessories from AIM Surplus. I was curious how they managed to import AKs using 30 round mags. (The Saigas use proprietary 10 round mags, and don't accept standard AK mags.)

Apparently the guns don't accept AK mags when imported, but are modified after the fact. Instructions for converting WASR to accept AK magazines. Rec.guns threads here and here. My one comment on seeing WASRs in person at a local gunstore: if that's the best wood they could scrounge for the stocks, it'll be a cold day in hell before you can convince me that Marxism is better for the environment than democratic capitalism.

For more info on AK rifles, see The AK Files and

I'll give you three guesses about that funny-looking gun to the right. It's:
A) A surplus rifle from Bakwardistan.
B) An AK made to be California-legal
C) An entry in SomethingAwful's Worst Weapons in History Photoshop contest, which is high-larious.

Right to Keep and Bear Arms

"You living in CA is a big problem. Basically, if you think a gun would be fun, you're not allowed to have it."
- Third_Rail on The High Road

SayUncle is trying to decide whether the winds are shifting towards gun owners or gun controllers. Based on the expiration of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and the increasing number of states with shall-issue carry permits, my take is that things are very definitely going in favor of gun owners. And at this point, there are no forceful advocates of gun control outside of California, Massachusetts, and New York, the un-free state projects.

Smallest Minority explains (with pictures!) why ballistic fingerprinting doesn't work.

Neal Knox, past vice-president of the NRA and a champion of the second amendment has passed away after a battle with cancer.

Jeff Soyer has the latest check on the bias.

LATE-BREAKING NEWS: Michael Moore's bodyguard has been arrested for carrying a gun in New York. "If guns are outlawed, only rich celebrities' bodyguards will have guns." Confederate Yankee has more on anti-gun politicians and celebrities who hire armed guards

Revolvers: New Smith &Wessons

xframes.jpgZeroForum has pictures of the 2005 Smith &Wessons.

The K frame .357 Smiths are all gone. The few remaining models (the 65 and 66) are going to be built on the slightly beefier L frame, using a semi-lug barrel instead of the full-lug typical of L frames. And names? L frames usually begin with a "6" which would mean the new models would be the 665 and 666. Wicked! Then again the 66 is a stainless 19, so S&W might go with the 619 moniker.

The 5" J frame model 60 is interesting, even if the long-lug barrel is slightly funky. Lots of people are excited about it as a lightweight, accurate hiking gun. Tamara tells me some people with small hands will like it because the J frame has the smallest grip size of any S&W, and this gives them an option in a long-barreled gun.

Tamara showed me something about the 2005 Smiths the other day. The shape of the area around the hammer has changed. It's less dished out, and shows less of the hammer. I can't say I like the look of it. S&W keeps coming out with new models that are interesting and sometimes functionally superior to anything that's come before, but for aesthetics the older models are generally the way to go. One nice thing about Smiths is that you can choose the guns you like from different eras.

There's more at the link. And for Ruger fans, next week I'll have lots of love for Ruger revolvers old and new.

Gun Pic of the Week: Smith &Wesson Model 63


Previous Gun Links

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January 27, 2005

Gun Links #31

It's been a busy week, so it's going to be a short set of links this time around.

Zendo Deb notes that the gun-free utopia of England has highest crime rate among top 20 nations.

Smith &Wesson Forum thread on Oswald's .38. As a JFK buff, I knew that Oswald killed officer Tippet with an S&W revolver that had been re-bored from .38 S&W to .38 Special, and that consequently the FBI couldn't do ballistics on the gun. This thread explains why, and some commenters note that they owned or fired similarly re-bored S&W revolvers during that era. I had no idea the conversion was so common.

Jeff Soyer has the weekly check on the bias.

Discussion of shooting while pregnant. Melissa and I decided she definitely shouldn't shoot while pregnant (which was no great loss, since she had only been shooting once before that). Risk factors include the noise and lead exposure. Many ranges caution against it.

Keeping the Eternal Flame Wars

Which is better to train with, a 22 Revolver or 22 Semiauto?

9 mm vs. .45 sidearms

Roughest, toughest, most durable rifle ever built? Interesting discussion of the failings of early cartridge rifles and cartridge designs.

AR or AK? SayUncle commentor Rick DeMent notes, "Now you see I thought you were trying to decide between Arizona and Arkansas for a vacation."

How Guns Work and Gun Pic of the Week

Wadcutter is explaining semi-automatic operating systems. I'm planning an update of my blogroll, and Wadcutter is definitely going on the blogroll.

For a fantastic Flash animation of the inner workings of a 1911, see this STI page. Hint: use the grid in the lower left to selectively make parts of the gun invisible or transparent. Via Kim du Toit.

Finally, I like this nifty animated GIF from of a semi-automatic pistol cycling.


Previous Gun Links

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January 28, 2005

Which Four Guns in New York?

From a threadon The High Road, Which four guns?

Ok, here's the situation. I've relinquished my New Jersey residency to claim residency in NYC. For now my guns stay in NJ at my father's. I also get to keep the firearm's permit in NJ so I can still shoot there but I can't buy anymore guns without that state's driver license

Here's where the fun begins: I'm applying for the gun permit in NYC (which costs an outrageous amount of money and 6 months time) which allows me only 4, FOUR, guns total, unless I wish to fork over even more money and lots of time and try to convince the chief why I need more than four guns.

So which four guns???

  • They need to be multi use
  • No magnums at the NYC range and upto 44mag in the NJ range
  • nothing over 10 rounds
  • conversions are fine (.22lr kit for 1911, etc.)
  • I'm thinking of hunting or not: need the possibility, if I change my mind
  • NY State, I believe allows semi-auto rifle hunting
  • do believe in the right to protect myself

Additional info:

  • he's applying for a Florida CCW, so he will be able to carry in a number of states, but not in NYC unless he gets extraordinarily lucky
  • he really likes his Browning Hi-Power and his 1911s
  • he also owns a Glock 17, S&W 340pd, and Ruger gp100

My picks would be:

  • S&W 340PD - snubnose revolvers are amazingly handy for CCW. Because magnums aren't allowed at his range, he'd have to practice with .38s, but that's what most people do with these ultralight guns anyway.
  • A 1911. Under NY law, he can add a .22 conversion kit for it and he'll get a .22 without counting against his four gun limit.
  • A gun for hunting. I'm leaving this open since he's not sure if or what he wants to hunt, and where he hunts in NY will affect what kind of gun he can use (see below).
  • Finally, it's a tossup between a shotgun and a .22 rifle. The shotgun could work into his hunting plans, and he might have a chance to shoot skeet. The .22 is just a lot of fun, and he could shoot it at the indoor range.

More info about NY laws below, posted by members at The High Road.

Continue reading "Which Four Guns in New York?" »

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February 03, 2005

Gun Links #32 - SKS Edition

It's another link-eriffic week, with some new faces and a section for SKS fans.

  • GlockTalk - Which corrosion fighter is best? See the test results.
  • Jeff Soyer - Weekly check on the bias.
  • Gunblast - Review of the Baby Desert Eagle.
  • Jeff Cooper - January Commentaries are up.
  • Ruger (.pdf catalog) - Lots of new guns for 2005, including an slightly improved Mini-14 with new sights and recoil pad.
  • National Review - "High Caliber Advocacy: How the NRA won the fight over gun rights." A little premature, maybe, but I think gun control advocates are fighting a losing battle. UPDATE: Countertop points to evidence that gun control's cause will be severely hurt if Howard Dean becomes chair on the Democratic National Convention.
  • Long Mountain - Guns used in the movies, with serial numbers, even. Via James Rummel. The Blade 2 guns are extremely cool. The Beretta with the sword and the cord-wrapped grips is especially imaginative, and fits in with the aesthetic of the Blade movies. They also have pictures of a Winchester 10 gauge lever action from Judge Roy Bean. I never knew leverguns were made in a gauge that big. Today you only see .410 bore.

Site of the Week: Varmint Al's page

sight1.jpgAl's site is dedicated to varmint hunting, and there is a lot of information about that, from reloading information to shooting and calling tips. His bi-fur-pod (a versatile set of shooting sticks) is mighty interesting.

There's lots more besides the gun stuff, though. The best page on the site is his tribute to his dad. Al recounts all of the things they built in his dad's various farming and metal-working endeavors, and has pictures of the machinery and their creations. Those guys would have cleaned up on Junkyard Wars.

New to the Blogroll

Here are those new faces. All of these folks blog about guns, either occasionally or pretty much full time.

Want more? Cowboy Blob is putting together a list of pro-2A blogs.

SKS Links and Gun Pic of the Week

  • - Reviews, history, and more. This site has a ton of info, and after a long hiatus it's being updated once again.
  • SKS Boards - Best SKS discussion board on the Web.
  • SKSBoards SKS FAQ - Must-read for SKS tinkerers. Explains the various Federal laws regarding modification of stocks, muzzle, magazines, etc.
  • - Excellent resource for SKS and other rifles. Among other things, they have video guides showing cleaning and assembly/reassembly. The message board isn't quite as good as SKSBoards for SKS info, but it's pretty darned good, and covers many other rifles.
  • The OG - Information about slamfires in SKSes. When the bolt goes forward, the inertia sometimes keeps the firing pin going and the primer gets dented, and occasionally this leads to a slam-fire, which may manifest itself as a double-fire or full-auto fire. Rare, and supposedly preventable by disassembling the bolt and cleaning out all of the cosmoline before shooting the gun for the first time, but important to know. If your SKS is denting primers, Murray Guns sells a spring-loaded firing pin. It's also worth noting that mil-spec ammo uses harder primers than sporting ammo, and is less likely to slamfire.

If you want an intro to the SKS, Head's article, What's this 'SKS' I keep hearing about? is just what you're looking for. Head also has the best original photographs of any gun blogger out there.


Previous Gun Links

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February 07, 2005

Overlawyered on Bloomberg's Proposed Gun Laws

Walter Olson of Overlawyered emails that he has an editorial in The New York Times:

In January, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed a bill passed by the City Council making gun makers and dealers liable for crimes perpetrated with their products unless they adopt a "code of conduct" that, among other things, would limit the number of handguns they can sell to one person and require background checks on prospective buyers at gun shows. The strange thing about this new law is that it applies not only to sales within New York City, but also to sales in other states and cities.

Besides extending NYC laws to the rest of the country, the proposed law demands that gun manufacturers be responsible for whom their guns are ultimately sold to. Large manufacturers sell to distributors, who sell to dealers, who sell to individuals. Now NYC wants to make manufacturers responsible for gun dealers' decisions.

When California decided to stop allowing sales of .50 caliber rifles, Barrett decided to stop selling .50 caliber rifles to California law enforcement. Should Bloomberg's bill pass Glock should do the same to NYC, which uses Glocks for law enforement. Failing that, if this bill passes Glock should stop selling guns to NYPD until they get indemnity against incidents like the Amadou Diallo shooting by New York police. Until NYC makes up its mind about who is responsible when things go badly, there's no need for NYC to put the blame on everyone but themselves.

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February 10, 2005

Gun Links #33

Late addition: I'm selling a new in box S&W 332 TiSc snubnose .32 revolver on GunBroker. Check it out.

  • 4bbl5.jpgThe High Road - Pictures of side by side and over/under shotguns, and one homemade gun that's both. (That's it to the right.) There's also a commercial four barrel shotgun, the Famars Rombo.
  • No Quarters - Gun sweepstakes for February.
  • Publicola - A detailed and lavishly-illustrated look at re-stocking an M1 Garand.
  • Jeff Soyer - Weekly check on the bias, with a profile of gun rights advocate Reginald Jones.
  • SayUncle - Review of the Seegars case challenging the D.C. gun ban.
  • Sandcastles and Cubicles - Ronald McDonald machine gun charity shoot in Memphis.
  • InstaPundit - Good and bad news on the progress in arming airline pilots.

New for 2005

  • Marlin - New O/U and SxS shotguns and .17 caliber rifles, and the 1894 in .32-20.
  • Mossberg - Mossberg is now in the bolt action rifle business.
  • Remington - A little bit of everything, from rifles and shotguns to ammo and accessories.
  • Smith &Wesson - New 1911s, DA pistols, X frame revolvers, a Jerry Miculek special, and more guns factory-equipped with Crimson Trace Laser Grips. GunBlast reviews the new S&W Model 60 5" barrel kit gun. S&W is doing great these days!
  • Beretta - New Storm pistol and more. Not listed but apparently shipping: the .45 ACP version of the Storm carbine. There's one for sale at Gunbroker tonight.

Gun Pic of the Week: Zeleska 600 Nitro Express Revolver - True or Not?

Via Freedome Sight, Airborne Combat Engineer has the specs on this bruiser. I'd like to get confirmation that this thing really exists. As ACE points out, there was a picture of a .50 BMG revolver picture floating around that turned out to be bogus. This seems more legitimate, but after I got burned on the German prostitution story, I'm more skeptical than usual.


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February 12, 2005

This is My SKS. There are Many Like It, But This One is Mine.


Went to the gun show early this morning and picked up this SKS. It's an excellent grade Yugoslavian 59/66. It must have been imported by a local company, because the markings under the barrel are "TG KNOX TN SKS 59/66 7.62X39 YUGOSLAVIA." (LATER: this importer apparently supplies a lot of dealers. Guns with similar markings are being sold by Southern Ohio Guns, among others.)

The Yugo 59/66s are currently the cheap SKSes because they're in the greatest supply. The Russian and Romanian models are long gone. Lots of people won't buy the Norincos because they're Chinese, and China is the only SKS-producing country that's still Communist. The Chinese guns are also the only ones being produced new for export; all the others are milsurp. Furthermore, the Bush, Jr. administration prohibits Norinco imports because they discovered the company was selling missile components to Iran. I'd never buy a post-2003 Norinco.

sks-grenadesights.jpgEvil features? It's got a bayonet and grenade launcher, with gas shut-off valve and grenade sights (shown in the photo at the right). Do I need a grenade launcher? Well, yeah. If I want to piss off Ted Kennedy and Diane Feinstein I do. When Jerry Falwell or Pat Roberson says a movie is bad, you want to see it. When Ted Kennedy, Diane Feinstein, and Chuck Schumer say a gun feature is bad, you look for it. Besides which, this gun was issued with a bayonet and grenade launcher. Lopping them off degrades the historical value of the piece. Anyway, you can't buy rifle grenades, so the grenade launcher isn't a menace to society.

The dealer I bought this from had two crates of SKSes. How do you choose? The first thing I knew to look for was matching serial numbers. Most of the guns had matching serial numbers on the bolt, receiver, magazine, trigger guard, and buttstock, but a few didn't and I ruled them out. Then I looked at stock quality, metal wear, and bluing. Honestly, most of them looked pretty darned good. Between the two best units one had a receiver that was nicely blued, while the other receiver was a little more brownish and didn't match the metal on the rest of the gun. I used a light to check the bore of the darker one, and the bore was perfect, so that's the one I bought.

The stock has just a few minor dings, and almost no wear in the blueing, which is amazingly rich and dark. The stock is walnut-stained with a good grain pattern. Judging from the almost non-existent wear, it's probably an unissued rifle. For $125 you can't beat it. One feature of the 59/66s you don't see on all SKSes is the flip-up front sight. It has a standard black front post, but if you can't see that there's a flip-up yellow-dot front sight.

This one wasn't loaded up with cosmoline. I used a nylon scrubbie and Oops! solvent to clean the stock. (Other popular options include 0000 steel wool and either mineral spirits, brake cleaner, a citrus-based cleaner, or E-Z Off oven cleaner.) The pictures here are pre-cleanup. I'll take the stock off the receiver and bake the whole thing in the oven at 130 degrees to melt off the remaining Cosmoline. After that I'll disassemble the bolt and clean it, and it'll be good to go. I may re-finish the stock in Tung oil to spiff it up. More SKS info here.

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February 17, 2005

What I'm Doing Instead of Gun Links

Blogging about fake lesbians. Watching the uncut version of Dawn of the Dead that Bugly loaned me. If you only visit on Thursdays for the weekly gun links (which aren't weekly! and aren't always on Thursdays!), you probably missed the new SKS, so you can check that out.

Until next week.

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February 20, 2005

Newsflash: Did CNN Break Federal Firearms Laws?

Jed at Freedomsight is calling attention to a CNN report that may show a CNN reporter breaking Federal gun laws.

The reporter purchased a gun through an online auction site. I've purchased a gun through an online auction myself. In keeping with the law, I had the gun shipped to a local FFL (Federal Firearms License) holder, who performed a criminal background check on me before transferring the gun to my possession. Details here. There's nothing illegal about the way I did it, since the same FFL could have sold me a similar gun, and would have performed the same background check.

What the reporter did next is probably illegal, however. He did not have the gun shipped to an FFL. The gun's owner was in Houston, so the reporter flew to Texas to take possession of the gun in a private party transfer, which may have violated sections of the 1968 Gun Control Act by enganging in interstate arms sales without a license. It also appears that CNN had a Texas resident buy the gun for them, which would constitute an illegal "straw" purchase, in which the purported purchases is in fact immediately transferring possession to the actual purchaser.

I haven't seen the CNN segment, but from the reports it sounds like CNN intended to show that they could legally buy the a .50 rifle from an online auction without a background check. Instead, they appear to have videotaped themselves breaking several gun laws.

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February 24, 2005

Gun Links #34

  • Geek With a .45 - Going shooting with Kim du Toit. There's an idea for a good reality show. Man I miss Conquest.
  • Alphecca - A new bill introduced in California would require every gun to stamp its make, model, and serial number onto spent casings. Did these Mensa members actually ask an engineer what it would take to do that? It's not trivial.
  • Hell in a Handbasket - History and revival of the Teleshot silent shotgun cartridge.
  • SayUncle - Media coverage of the NY Mall Shooting.
  • Ten Ring - Lead and shooting ranges.
  • Jeff Cooper - February commentaries.
  • Triggerfinger - Updates on the CNN issue. Recap and a link to a few posts here.
  • FreedomSight - If the CNN reporter travelled to Texas to buy a gun, then took it back to Georgia, he broke the law. Now CNN is trying to claim they didn't really take the gun back to Georgia, but that's certainly the way they made it look in the report.
  • New York Times - Who is The Thug, made famous on the New York Police Department targets? Via Countertop.
  • Colby Cosh - Fascinating article about U.S. military progress in front-line medical treatment of wounded. "And, as a result of all this, the wounded-to-killed ratio for American forces in the Second Gulf War (and the Afghanistan conflict) hasn't been three or four to one. It's more like ten to one. To put it another way, the United States has arguably made more progress in saving the lives of wounded soldiers since 1991 than the human species did in all history before that date. The new techniques are spreading fast: Israel, the U.K., and Canada are getting on board, and more will follow."

SKS Range Report

Last weekend I went shooting with SayUncle and tried out the SKS, a Yugoslavian 59/66 I wrote about here. In 200 rounds of Wolf ammo it worked flawlessly. There were no misfires or jams, and the bolt locked back every time after the last shot was fired. This is an amazing gun for $125.

We were plinking, so I don't have any formal acuracy results. The little bit of paper target shooting we did showed that it was on the paper and in need of a slight windage adjustment. I found the instructions for the adjustment at Basically, you move the front sight horizontally in its channel using a small tool that looks like a "C" clamp.

The SKS was also good at bump-firing, which is rapid fire using the gun's recoil. Holding the gun at hip level, push forward with your off hand. With your strong hand, push back on the trigger. When the gun recoils, it recoils far enough to reset the trigger, then your forward push pushes the trigger back into your trigger finger. The effect is similar to full-auto, in that it's fast, and not very accurate, but it's a lot of fun.

I've got four coats of Tung oil on my stock now. With the humid winter weather we've been having I have to wait a full day between coats. It's looking pretty good, but I was humbled when I saw this before-and-after picture of someone else's 59/66. Click for a larger version.


Mine looks a little better than the before picture, and looks fairly good, but the after picture is amazing. This post on the explains how he refinished his stock. If I ever get bored, I may refinish my rifle to that level.

I also found a curious historical note at The SKS is a Soviet design and shoots Soviet rifle ammo, but the Yugo 59/66 grenade launcher shoots NATO-spec grenades. Odd.

Dave McCracken on the Ultimate Shotgun

First, build the ultimate shotgunner. Get an 870 or other good pumpgun. Get the stock fitted and the trigger clean and 4 lbs or less. Now, buy as much ammo as you can afford and shoot it up. Do so until the weapon feels like a body part, not a tool.

Shoot clays, steel plates, landfill rats, quarry pigeons, and so on until almost everything you shoot at is destroyed PDQ. BA/UU/R.

At that point, you're a shotgunner. You can pick up most any shotgun and be deadly with it. And, youve got INFORMED opinions on what addons and mods will help you complete your mission and what are just bling. Anyone can have an opinion, but INFORMED opinions based on real world experience are the only ones worth considering. " A checkbook is a poor substitute for expertise"....

Found here. More here.

Lee-Enfields and the Gun Pic of the Week

I've been waiting for an excuse to use these links. First, the links. Any Lee-Enfield owners or adminers should visit
and the Lee Enfield Rifle Association, which has an excellent link page.

Now, the excuse. Oleg Volk photographed the Lee-Enfield for his latest gun rights posters. The first one is the Gun Pic of the Week.


Previous Gun Links

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March 04, 2005


By the power of John Browning and metal guns, I pronounce thee UNCLEAN, for thy hands paid money for a plastic gun. Get thee out of my sight, sinner!
- Little Loudmouth on THR

"Glock is a cheap hooker. 1911 is a professional escort. Both will get the job done, but one just makes the process so much more enjoyable. "
- p01ic3m4n on GlockTalk

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March 06, 2005

Joseph Stalin

"Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?"
 -- Joseph Stalin

That's about the most Orwellian thing I've ever read.

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March 10, 2005

Gun Links #35 - Military Surplus Edition

  • FreedomSight - "Outgunned: True Stories of Citizens Who Stood Up to Outlaws and Won"
  • James Rummel - Nature red in tooth and claw, or why carry a gun in the woods.
  • Big D and Bubba - French color photos from World War I. Via Hell in a Handbasket.
  • Jeff Soyer - Weekly check on the bias, focusing on the problem with gun registries and the recent flap over a few dozen of the 50,000 people on terrorist watch lists buying guns.

Military Surplus


  • SurplusRifle - Building a scout rifle out of an M44 Mosin-Nagant rifle.
  • Head's Bunker - You've probably read the blog, but have you read his reviews page? Almost all of the guns are milsurp, with a heavy accent on Communist bloc guns. He has a new series showing how to build an AKM. Part 1. Part 2.
  • techsight100.jpgSurplusRifle - Review of the Tech Sights receiver-mounted aperture sight for the SKS. For $45, this looks like a deal. Permanent modification of the rifle might be required if you can't remove the receiver locking pin. You can follow the instructions in the review to see if your pin will come out.
  • The Ten Ring - The Mosin-Nagant revolver.
  • The High Road - Swiss K31 range report.
  • The High Road - Swiss K31 Scout rifle project.
  • The High Road - Which milsurp rifle?
  • SayUncle - Range report on the Romanian WASR-10 AK.
  • Heartless Libertarian - Another WASR-10 for Buy a Gun Day.
  • Kim du Toit - Mosin-Nagant M44 Range Report

Yesterday's News Today

I didn't post last week, so I got behind on the shooting in Texas, but here are a couple of great links.

  • SayUncle - David Hernandez Arroyo shot several people at a courthouse in Texas. A Texan named Mark Wilson was present and heard the shots. Wilson, who has a concealed carry permit, drew his gun and attacked Arroyo. Arroyo was wearing armor and killed Wilson, but Wilson's sacrifice saved at least one person's life.
  • Geekwitha45 - Pictures of the Wilson memorial service and Tyler, Texas.

Gun Pic of the Week

This is Head's Chinese Dragunov. Another outstanding picture from Head's Bunker.


Previous Gun Links

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March 21, 2005

Chris Rhines

"I don't intend to take Silver in the Bullet-Swapping Olympics for lack of ammo."
 -- Chris Rhines

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March 23, 2005

The Solution to School Shootings: Let Teachers Carry Guns

I noticed in news reports of the Red Lake shooting that the school had a guard, but he was unarmed. The guard was one of the first victims. Had he been armed, it's possible he could have saved himself and everyone else. If he failed, an armed teacher could have stopped Jeff Weise's rampage if teachers were allowed to carry.

In time of war: The Israeli answer to terrorism, Massad Ayoob notes that Israel dealt with terrorist attacks on schools by arming the teachers and volunteer parents:

Israel began the program of armed citizen guards in the schools after the Maalot massacre in the 1970s, when a large number of children were slain in a terrorist incident. The volunteer parents work in plain clothes, armed with concealed semi-automatic pistols, and are trained by Israel’s home guard. It is significant that in the more than a quarter century between Maalot and the incident mentioned above when the citizen guards shot down the terrorist in the school in 2002, not a single child was murdered in an Israeli school! [...]

Of course, the politically correct hand-wringers want nothing to do with this. Sadly, being helpless themselves, sheep tend to instinctively fear anything with canine teeth. Many of them cannot distinguish between the wolf and the sheepdog, and thus fear them both equally.

School shootings will continue as long as the government sets up victim disarmament zones where killers have easy prey. No one ever has these rampages at a gun show or an NRA convention.

UPDATE: Publicola was thinking the same thing.

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March 24, 2005

Remington Industrial Guns

kilnuse.jpgDidn't know these existed.

The MasterBlaster is perfect for knocking out or knocking down material rings in rotary kilns processing cement, lime, phosphate, zinc, manganese, and many other metallic and nonmetallic products. Since there is no need to stop production and wait for "cool-down", you can break up rings and balls before they interfere with production flow.

So you can use it to shoot clinker balls and vampire zombies. Cooool. Here's the 8 gauge ammo, which is also available in a handy 12 gauge shell for grandpa's old scattergun.

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March 31, 2005

Gun Links #36 - Guns in the Movies Edition

Welcome to a special edition of Gun Links devoted to guns in the movies. But first, a few recent news items.

  • Kallini fisks an anti-gun article in The Nation that tries to use recent shootings as a rationale for more gun restrictions. Kallini shows that in each case, more restriction would be either ineffective or counter-productive.
  • In one of those recent events - the Red Lake school killing spree - no one including the school guard was armed. Joel Rosenberg points to a 1997 incident when Pearl High School vice principal Joel Myrick stopped a killing spree at his school by retrieving a gun from his car.
  • Thibodeaux has a history of David "Carbine" Williams, a firearms inventor best known for the short-stroke gas system used in the M1 Carbine. Neat stuff.
  • Jeff Cooper commentaries for March are up.
  • For other gun roundups, see Jeff Soyer's Weekly Check on the Bias and Resistance is Futile's Carnival of Cordite.

Guns in the Movies


"Good, bad. I'm the one with the gun."
 -- Ash, Army of Darkness

MadOgre has a new feature, Guns of Way of the Gun. It's a followup to Guns of the Matrix, Guns of Heat, Guns of Ronin, and Guns of Equilibrium.

From rec.guns: "What movies have we seen actors with jammed autos pretend that they
aren't jammed and then the guns are unjammed in the next scene?"

Revolvers making a comeback in the movies. Interesting quote from someone in showbiz:

Just wrapped work on an Indie movie here in Seattle... the last two movies I've worked on now have requested a pair of revolvers as the hero's weapon of choice.

There definitely is a stylistic element to it, but another note- revolvers are much easier to do for films. The purpose-built blank guns (like you can buy on ebay) jam all the time, but with a revolver that's less an issue... plus you can put blanks in a real revolver (if you observe the appropriate safety on set) without it jamming, and without having to fiddle with restrictors or other gunsmithing.

Or maybe, as another commentor notes, "Besides, nobody has to reload except at important plot points anyway, so what's the point in having a large magazine capacity?" Ha!

riotgun1.jpgShotguns in the movies. The shotgun to the right is Sean Connery's from Outland. Pump shotguns are always popular in movies, probably in large part due to the blank issue mentioned above, but also because they make noise. Pick them up. Rup-chik-chik! Pump a round. Rawk-chunk! Glare menancingly at the other guy while holding them. Wack-click-chuck!

Guns of Total Recall. I still can't believe that sci-fi looking weapon was a real, production gun.

Gunplay in Collateral.

Numerous movies tell the story of story of Tombstone, Arizona and the gunfight at the OK Corral. This page covers historical discrepancies in My Darling Clementine. Movie and Old West fans will appreciate this account of Doc Holliday's dramatic life and his eventual move to Tombstone with the Earp brothers. Having read it, I'm looking forward to watching Wyatt Earp and re-watching Tombstone.

Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven

If you're a fan of Unforgiven, you'll remember the story Little Bill (Gene Hackman) tells W.W. Beauchamp of the shootout between Two Gun Corcoran and English Bob in the Blue Bottle Saloon. "Well, now the Duck of Death is good as dead 'cause this time Corky does right an' aims real good, no hurry... Bam! That Walker Colt blew up in his hand... which was a failing common to that model."

According to David Markowitz's history of Colt percussion revolvers, Little Bill was right. "The Walker had several flaws which needed to be fixed. Most seriously, there were metallurgical problems which led to a number of the guns exploding when they were fired. This contributed to the very low survival rate of this model, of which only about 1000 were made." More here.

According to the script, Clint Eastwood's character (originally to be nicknamed "Three Fingered Jack") used a Starr .44 revolver and a Remington 10 gauge shotgun.

Incidentally, if you're a fan of a particular movie, find the script. It's hugely enjoyable. You'll find discrepancies between the script and the movie, script directions for setting and plot points, and interesting details. In David Webb Peoples' Unforgiven script, his instructions have Little Bill ejecting five rounds out of the revolver he gave English Bob, not six. That shows Peoples knows his guns. Revolvers of that era lacked a safety block between the hammer and cartridge. A blow to the hammer would set off a round. The only safe way to carry them was with five chambers loaded and the hammer down on an empty chamber.

Pirates of the Carribean, Sort of

This is an interesting account of a boat that successfully repelled two pirate boats off of Yemen using a 12 gauge shotgun, and using the boat itself as a ram. That story lead to interesting accounts of travelling with guns in international waters, and shooting from a boat at sea.

We used old empty 20 lb freon tanks for targets 15 miles out from the coast. The general consensus was, due to boat/target wave movement, hitting anything over 75 yards away was pretty much a matter of luck.

A lot of near misses. You'll hit say, a 24 ft boat, but point targets such as the bad guy's head are a matter of wishing. Shotguns/Ar15's work a lot better than heavier M1A's or Garands, 50 yards and in is best. Keep in mind they have to slow to board, and the pilot is way too busy to do any shooting

From a discussion of the same events at The High Road.

/1/ Legally, a shotgun is easiest to declare as you visit countries around the world. Declaring an AR-15 is like declaring C-4 or heroin in many places. Many countries ban military calibers, PERIOD. No 9mm, .45ACP, 5.56, 7.62X39, 7.62NATO etc. Besides a "legally safe" shotgun, obsolete milsurps are a good bet. An Enfield in .303 (obsolete caliber) could be called your "shark gun."

/2/ Accuracy on land is not like accuracy at sea. An M1A is no more likely to get aimed hits at long range than a Mini-14. You adjust by your splashes. Shooting from a boat is like shooting from the roof of an SUV, as it lurches over bumpy fields. ALL shooting is "off hand." You cannot "rest" a rifle, since the boat is moving in all directions at once, pitching, rolling and yawing.

Now I understand why shotguns are so popular on boats, and why Jeff Cooper thinks a submachine gun is a good anti-boarding weapon.

The Weekly Piracy Report keeps tracks of piracy and piracy attempts. Things apparently cooled off in the Pacific after the tsunami, but as pleasure boaters returned so have the pirates.

Gun Pic of the Week

This is the Smith &Wesson Performance Center 627, an eight-shot .357 magnum best known as the gun from Clint Eastwood's Blood Work. S&W still offers the gun, but only with a five inch barrel rather than the 2.65 inch barrel. Both models have ".357 Mag 8 x" stamped on the barrel.


Previous Gun Links

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April 02, 2005

Gun Shop Going Out of Business in White Pine/Morristown, TN

I drove to White Pine today to check out a gun store that's going out of business. He sold the land and building and has to be out by the end of the month, so everything is going at cost. I bought a Lee-Enfield for a third off the original price. Here's a sample of what was in stock.

  • Glocks were going for $459.
  • Saiga 12 gauge $300. He also had a .410.
  • He had some nice reactive metal targets. Too bad I just bought one.
  • Lots of shotguns in all action types, maybe a half dozen bolt action rifles.
  • His Ruger P-series auto pistols had good prices even before being marked down.
  • Couple of SKSes. One was a Yugo.
  • Half dozen each of S&W and Rossi revolvers.
  • Lots of Uberti single-action revolvers.
  • He has some paintball equipment and lots of Spyderco knives.

He's in White Pine, which is just outside Morristown. The shop is half a mile off I-81 at exit 8.

Keller's Blades &Barrels
1724 State Street
White Pine, TN 37890

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April 05, 2005

Smith &Wesson's New .44 Magnums

The first gun chambered for the .44 magnum S&W cartridge was the S&W Model 29, the gun made famous in the Dirty Harry movies. The blued steel 69 was later replaced by the stainless steel 629. S&W has manufactured many variations of the basic guns, from the Mountain Gun with a 4" tapered barrel to the long-barreled Hunter models.

sw29-trail-boss.jpgThis year S&W re-introduced the Trail Boss, a 3" barrel 629 with a lanyard loop and a ported barrel to reduce recoil. There's the standard version, the unfluted cylinder version (shown to the right), and the deluxe version with wood grips and custom carrying case. The wood grips are OK, but I'd prefer the finger groove wood grips from the Lew Horton Special 29.

If you like blued guns, you can once again buy a blued 29. This is a new variation that's decked out with Weaver scope, interchangeable front sights, unfluted cylinder, chamfered chambers, and black wood grips. It might take a while for that barrel profile to grow on me, but I like the rest of it.


PS S&W needs to clean up some of their pictures. I borrowed the pictures above from their site, opened them in Photoshop, and did what I always do to my own photos (adjust levels and contrast and run the Unsharp Mask filter). They look noticeably better than the same pictures on S&W's site.

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April 07, 2005

April 15 is Buy a Gun Day III

Aaron has the details and link buttons.

I bought the SKS a few months ago so I wasn't planning on buying anything else, but something followed me home last weekend. I'll post something about it closer to BAG Day. Uncle is trying to make up his mind about what he wants to buy. UPDATE: Zendo Deb has a roundup of bloggers and their choices.

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April 08, 2005

Local Policeman Shoots Self While Cleaning a Rifle

Yesterday Loudon County policeman Tony Arden accidentally shot himself in the chest with a .223 rifle. He's in stable condition after surgery. Via the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

I'm seeing different accounts of who the weapon belonged to. The Sentinel reports it was a gun the department had recently acquired. WBIR quotes Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider who says it was the officer's personal weapon which he brought in to work.

Arden was cleaning the gun when it "went off," to use the popular euphemism for a negligent discharge. This is as good a time as any to remember that it's best to clean a gun barrel from the breech (rear) end. Breech-first cleaning pushes barrel gunk out of the front of the barrel instead of back into the action, avoids damage to the muzzle crown, and ensures the chamber is empty.

If the gun is designed so that it can't be cleaned from the breech with a cleaning rod, use a flexible system like an Otis kit or a Hoppes BoreSnake. Many people are moving to flexible, pull-through cleaning systems because they're less likely to damage the muzzle crown, rifling, or chamber.

This is also as good a time as any to repeat an old saying. The two scariest things you'll ever hear when pulling a trigger is a bang when you expect a click and a click when you expect a bang.

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April 11, 2005

April 12, 2005

Darwin Award Winner: Guy Who Tried to Rob Gunstore

Snopes has the skinny on the Darwin Award winner who robbed a gun store. The version that's floating around is somewhat exaggerated, but how stupid do you have to be to commit armed robbery in a gunstore? Where I shoot, all of the employees open carry guns on their belts, and you can bet a lot of the customers are strapped. And if the customers in the retail area aren't packing, the customers on the indoor firing range sure are.

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April 14, 2005

Gun Links #37 - Lee-Enfield Edition

Buy a Gun Day is tomorrow. Just in time, Publicola ofers some rock-solid advice for the guns every shooter should have.

Nigel, the .303 British Lee-Enfield No. 1


This is my Buy a Gun Day purchase. It's a Lee-Enfield No.1 rifle in .303 British, also known as a Short Magazine, Lee-Enfield (SMLE or "smelly"). Looking at pictures around the net, it appears to be a Mark III, which was a World War I wartime variation that made the gun easier to manufacture. Stampings on the wrist socket indicate the Lithgow arsenal in Australia in October, 1942. Whether that's a manufacturing date or a re-arsenaling date, I'm not positive, though I'm guessing it's the latter.

The Lee-Enfield is supposedly the fastest-firing bolt action every used by a military, with a sustained rate of fire of up to 40 rounds per minute. It loads from a 10 shot removable magazine. The magazine can be reloaded with single cartridges or by using a five round stripper clip (which the British called a charger).

The gun was $149, but since the store was going out of business I got it for $100 even. Not bad. The ammo isn't terribly expensive as centerfire rifle ammo goes. CheaperThanDirt has UMC ammo at $11.72 per 20 rounds. The cheap Sellier and Ballot stuff is $7.99. That's higher than 5.56mm and 7.62 x 39mm, but it's on par with .30-30 and other sporting ammo.

What next?

Seeing as how the gun could be nearly 100 years old and I'm not sure that it's seen a gunsmith since 1942, it's going to a gunsmith for a checkup. If nothing else I want the headspace checked. Then I'll snag some ammo and take it shooting. I also need to get a book that covers the history of the Lee-Enfield, variations, and proofmarks. The gun is heavily proofmarked, and those marks will help unravel the gun's history.

I've seen beautifully-restored Lee-Enfields. Those old wooden stocks can be refinished to gorgeous condition. Even though my rifle's stock is grungy I'm not in a hurry to refinish it, but it's a possibility for the future once I learn more about the gun.

Other Lee-Enfield options

If you want a Lee-Enfield in a different caliber, you've got a couple of choices. One is the Ishapore, a genuine Lee-Enfield in 7.62 NATO (.308), made at the arsenal in Ishapore, India. India's use of the Lee-Enfield was a vestige of the British colony there. When an independent India modernized its army they chose automatic rifles in 7.62 NATO, but they couldn't afford to issue them to all of their troops. Rather than having two different rifle calibers they created a Lee-Enfield in 7.62 NATO. Ishapores on start at about $250.

Over the years various companies have offered modified Lee-Enfields, typically with a shorter barrel. Here's one converted to shoot 7.62 x 39mm Russian with AK-47 mags. Some are good and some aren't, apparently. Check the SMLE discussions at


Your other option for a Lee-Enfield action is the new No.4 Mark 10 from Australian International Arms. There are rifle and carbine versions. You can get them chambered for 7.62mm NATO with M14 magazines, or in 7.62 x 39mm Russian with AK-47 magazines. That's the carbine with AK-47 magazine above. Roger Marsh has a review at

There are also some options to re-chamber an existing Lee-Enfield in everything from .45 ACP to .45-70.

Gun Pic of the Week

Here's hoping that when you make your Buy a Gun Day purchase you get to bring it home in one of these fine shopping bags.


Previous Gun Links

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April 16, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #9

It's up at Gullyborg. This week features lots of blogger's Buy a Gun Day purchases. I'll be hosting one week in May, probably the 20th.

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May 05, 2005

Gunsmith Hilton Yam's Custom 1911 Pistols


(I'm cross-posting this to the guns and e-commerce categories because this is such a good example of an effective Web site for selling services.)

So somewhere down on my wish list of guns is a 1911 (a Colt .45 autoloading pistol or clone thereof). Gunsmith Hilton Yam customizes 1911s, and he'll even build one from scratch if that's what you want.

Marketing services via the Web is much, much harder than marketing products. In most cases you're selling something that's not entirely tangible, that isn't commoditized, and that can't be compared on a one to one basis with someone else's offering. Without being a pushy salesman type, Yam is incredibly effective at promoting his services by demonstrating his own expertise and craftsmanship.

What I really like is the way he demonstrates his knowledge of the 1911 platform by sharing that knowledge. After reading his articles I knew more about 1911s, but I also know more about the work that goes in to customizing them, and what his likes and dislikes are. For instance, Yam is a traditionalist. He only builds all-steel, full-sized guns, and he doesn't do competition gun features like compensators. To secure the grips he prefers flathead screws to torx and other fancy fasteners, because a Leatherman has a flathead screwdriver but not a torx tool.

Finishes? Like Henry Ford, he'll give you any color you want as long as it's black (specifically, Parkerized matte black). Even with those limitations he has a waiting list, and he's too busy to do basic gunsmithing tasks - he does full customization projects only.

For Yam's line of work, that kind of clear communication is a much better sales technique than overly-slick Web pages and pushy! sales! lingo! He already has more work than he can handle. One of the goals he accomplishes with his site is to fend off people who want the kind of gun he isn't interested in building.

High points of his site are recommended first 1911s, recommended base guns for customization, best components and customizations, and finishes.

His picture gallery has some outstanding photos of his work.

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May 12, 2005

The Vatican's Swiss Guard

So there's a new Pope. Question is, what kind of guns does the Swiss Guard use?

This article tells the story of their darkest day, when one of their own murdered three people.

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May 14, 2005

Improbable Gun Suicides and Accidents

Stuff happens, I guess, but some of these things are a wee fishy.

From the May 2 Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. A man shot himself twice in the chest and three times in the head with a .22. Discovering that his wounds weren't fatal, he got in his van, drove to the Clark Bridge, and jumped into the Mississippi River, where he drowned. The death is being treated as a suicide. Via The High Road.

From the Cedartown (GA) Standard. On May 6 a man accidentally shot himself three times while cleaning his gun. Via SayUncle. What makes this story really suspect is that the guy couldn't tell police what address he was at when the accident occurred. So what, he was just out and about and decided to clean his gun?

Back when I was reading about JFK assassination theories I ran across a story about a guy in Texas who was supposedly related to the assassination somehow, though those stories tended to get pretty woolly. Anyway, he was shot 17 times with a bolt action .22 rifle. His death was ruled a suicide. Disclaimer: I don't have a primary or even seconday reference for this story, which may very well be apocryphal, i.e., bullshit.

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May 17, 2005

AA12 Full Auto Shotgun

Videos here. Recoil is amazingly tame. Fires from an 8 round box magazine or 20 round rotary magazine. StrategyPage says they're being tested in Iraq.

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May 18, 2005

Mark Steyn on the Million Mom March

I knew the anti-gun million mom march was a sham, but I had no idea it was this much of a sham.

As to their maternal status, Wednesday's Washington Post put it this way: "The Million Mom March was conceived last August in a suburban New Jersey mother's living room." Donna Dees-Thomases "called a few friends, and they called a few friends, and within a week they had an idea." Ah, citizen activism, you can't beat it. According to ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, she's "a typical mom." According to Diane Sawyer, Ms. Dees-Thomases has "never really organized anything larger than a car pool." According to NBC's Lisa Myers, she's "a suburban mom, too busy with her two daughters and a part-time job to pay much attention to politics."

Car pool, 'burbs, daughters, Jersey: you get the idea. In fact, Ms. Dees-Thomases used to pay quite a bit of attention to politics: she was a staffer to two Louisiana Democrat senators, Russell Long and Bennett Johnston. Perhaps she snoozed her way through those jobs, spending most of her time on the phone organizing car pools for fellow soccer moms. But she's been paying enough attention to politics in recent months to be a contributor to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign. Still, maybe she was just helping out a family member: Her sister-in-law, Susan Thomases, is Hillary's closest political advisor.

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May 19, 2005

Carival of Cordite Reminder

I'll be hosting the Carnival of Cordite this Friday. Send your submissions to this address.

Countertop will be hosting on the 20th, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. If things go as planned, he and I and SayUncle will go shooting together that weekend.

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May 20, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #14

Welcome to the 14th edition of the Carnival of Cordite.

Peter White at the Revolutionary War Veterans Association blog has the schedule for the Memorial Day Extravaganza in Ramseur, North Carolina.

Yosemite Sam at The Ten Ring looks at anti-gun bias in the media, and in particular the anti-NRA stance at the Houston Chronicle.

SayUncle speculates on what the military might use for a semi-auto sniper rifle. He also expands on what he's dubbed Ravenwood's Law: "As a discussion about guns grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Dodge City or the Wild West approaches one."

Analog Kid tried to upgrade his SKS to 20 round magazines and had a bad time. That's consistent with what I've heard about after-market SKS mags. The best advice I ever got about the SKS was to appreciate it for what it is rather than spending a lot of time and money trying to turn it into something else.

The Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog tracks the under-reported stories of the defensive use of guns. Cabinboy sends in this story of an Oklahoma City woman who shot a home intruder who asked to use the phone and then tried to force his way in. The intruder is a two-time ex-convict.

Gunner notes that if Carolyn McCarthy's bill - allowing the right to keep and bear arms to be taken away for foreign convictions exceeding one year in prison - had gone through, you could lose your right to own a gun if you gossiped in Colombia, which carries a maximum sentence of four years.

usp45compact.jpgLike the .45? Like the 1911? So does Anarchangel. This week he offers his thoughts on which of the competitors is the second best .45 auto. He also talks about his ideal 1911.

Jeff Soyer's Weekly Check on the Bias focuses on Condi Rice's recent statements of support for gun rights.

Kim du Toit has his report from Boomershoot 2005.

John Ross's sage thoughts on concealed carry. "My definition of the difference between preparation and paranoia is the degree of disruption of your life in comparison to the likelihood of the threat."

Head, always the go-to guy for information about Communist bloc firearms, wrote a feature-length post on the Romanian PSL.

James Rummel keeps his eyes open for guns when he's in front of the tube. Check his posts on Guns of Battlestar Galactica (the new series on the Sci-Fi channel) and TV Guns.

Barry at Model 29 is bloging about efforts to repeal the Wahsington, DC gun ban.

My gun blogging has been pretty minimal these past few weeks what with the trip to BlogNashville and this week's Star Wars blogging. Browse the Guns category for past articles and Gun Links.


Anthroblology is blogging .50 machine guns on bombers.

Mr. Completely is sponsoring a different kind of postal match.

Discussion of the Week

Here's a tradition I'd like to start with the Carnival of Cordite. I'd like to ask the host to start a discussion about guns or gun rights in comments.

Here's this week's topic. You've probably heard the expression "the only thing better than a boat is a friend with a boat." Which gun would you like to be able to shoot that you probably wouldn't buy for yourself? It might be a gun that's very expensive, or it might be a gun that you just don't have any practical use for. To go back to the boat analogy, if your best friend asked you to go shoot his new gun, what would you most hope that gun would be?

To make things a little more interesting, leave off Class III weapons like fully automatic firearms and silencers. My pick is in comments.

Gun Pic of the Week

From Head's Romanian PSL post. According to Head, even though it looks a lot like a Dragunov, it's actually a different design and is internally closer to the PRK version of the AK.


Last Week's Carnival of Cordite

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May 22, 2005

For Mosin Nagant Fans


I'm planning to get a Mosin Nagant Russian surplus rifle at the next gun show. I shot one a few months ago and thought it was pretty good. For $60, it's hard to beat, and the ammo is cheap, too.

Checking around the 'net, is the best information site I've found by far. The FAQ is great. is also good. SurplusRifle has resources for the 91/30 and the carbines, including their handy disassembly guides.

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May 26, 2005

Gun Links #38

This week's Gun Links is a little different because it's in two halves. I'm guest-blogging at the Knoxville News-Sentinel blog this week. The first half of the Gun Links is over there, and the topic is Gun Advice for Writers and Reporters. By posting it there I'll get it in front of the people who need to read it the most.

The second part of Gun Links is below. Enjoy.

Site of the Week: SKS Owners for Kerry


Now here's something different. A gunalicious Web site by a liberal. Some people reading this will hate the very idea, but suck it up. Think of all the right-wing gun sites liberal gun owners have to wade through to get good information about firearms, while at the same time they have to take crap from their liberal friends for liking guns. From William Sanders' introduction:

I thought maybe it would be nice if there were at least one site, however small and skimpy, where enlightened people with an interest in firearms could read about them without being insulted; a place where "liberal" would not be used as a dirty word. And, at the same time, where firearms owners wouldn't have to put up with being called "gun nuts" and being portrayed as racist bullies insecure about the length of their dicks.

His pro-gun quote page has many of the quotes second amendment fans will be familiar with - Thomas Jefferson, Jeff Cooper, and even the Dalai Lama quote that's so popular. On the other hand, he was two that I've never seen before, and that would be unlikely to turn up on a conservative's site:

"In a prosperous democracy that is also a society of winners and losers, any man without an equalizer or at least the illusion of one is by definition underprivileged."
- Hunter Thompson

"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws and cops will have guns. I intend to be one of the outlaws."
- Ed Abbey

Can I get that on a t-shirt?

Web sites by curmudgeonly conservative gun nuts are a dime a dozen. It's really something to see a curmudgeonly liberal who's into guns. Here's his description of his salvaged SKS:

The final result is a brutal, butt-ugly junkyard dog of a gun, utterly lacking in historic significance or esthetic appeal. It was never an "assault rifle" and it is even less one now; I'm not sure what you'd call it - "Supplemental Orifice Distribution System" perhaps, or "Hand Held Gene Pool Chlorinator." Naturally I love it. It's old, mean, beat-up, and ugly. Like me.

His pages are good, too. I've read a lot of information about the SKS, and his SKS page is by far the best. He has good information about other popular milsurps, notably the Nagant revolver, Swiss K-31, Czech vz52, and Mosin-Nagant 38. Check it out.

Gun Pic of the Week

From SKS Owners for Kerry. This is the cleanest picture I've ever seen of a Yugo SKS 59/66. Click for a larger version.


Previous Gun Links

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Gun Advice for Writers and Reporters

denironypost.jpgIf you know much about computers, you probably grimaced during Independence Day. Will Smith's character uploads a virus from his PowerBook to the alien computers, shutting them down and saving Earth. Computer viruses are platform-specific, and there's no way a human computer virus would be able to infect alien computers. Kind of took you out of the story, didn't it?

The same thing happens to gun enthusiasts all the time when we read the newspaper, turn in for the night with a crime novel, or watch the latest action movie. And we do notice. Like computers, guns are a technical subject with lots of arcane details, and it's easy to get things wrong.

The classic mistake is the crime writer who has a character switching off the safety on his revolver. Only four revolvers in history had manual safeties, and those models are extremely uncommon outside of movies and crime novels. One of those guns, the Webley-Fosbery, was made famous in The Maltese Falcon when Bogey dryly says of the gun that killed his partner, "Webley-Fosbery automatic-revolver. Thirty-eight, eight shot. They don't make them anymore." A number of semi-automatic pistols, notably Glocks, don't have manual safeties, either.

News stories that mention the SKS often refer to it as an assault rifle. That sounds scarier - it's got the word "assault" in it, after all - but the SKS isn't an assault rifle, either by standard military terminology (it lacks fully-automatic fire and has insufficient magazine capacity) or the brain dead standards of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (it doesn't have a removable magazine or a pistol grip). It's simply a semi-automatic carbine. Also, contrary to common legend, the SKS isn't a cheap knock-off of the AK-47, having been first produced two years earlier, and being of a completely different design.

Other mistakes are more subtle. For instance, you've seen movies where the gun is shot empty, and the doomed character holding it desperately pulls the trigger over and over - "click! click! click!". If you're going to use that dramatic device in your script you have to be careful. That scene will work for double action trigger mechanisms which cock and then drop the hammer when the trigger is pulled, but many guns have trigger actions that can't cock the hammer on their own. That includes the Colt .45 auto, the Browning Hi-Power, the ubiquitous Glock, and practically any rifle or shotgun. Once those guns are empty pulling the trigger will produce one "click" and no more.

If your action thriller script gets optioned, ask the director to film an actual silenced gun being fired with no audio effects. Instead of making a high-pitched "tooweet" sound, a silencer will silence a pistol caliber shot completely. A silenced pistol makes no sound at all except for the mechanical noise of the hammer falling and the action cycling. There's a silencer scene in The Bourne Identity that films this exactly right, and most of the audience probably thinks it's a mistake because they're so used to the phony Hollywood "tooweet" sound.

If any reporters want to go shooting let me know. I'll provide the firearms and ammunition. My treat. Here are some additional resources for writers who want to know more about guns.

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May 27, 2005

The Hollywood Special

"For decades I have had on order at a local gun shop a Hollywood Special; it's a snub-nosed 38 caliber revolver that will fire 300 times without reloading, and the ammunition it uses will, from 200 yards away, traverse a packed furniture warehouse, go up a flight of stairs and strike only the bad guy, and then just in the left arm every time it's fired. I told the shop owner I'd pay whatever price he asked for one. I'm still waiting. If anyone knows where I can buy one, please let me know. I'll pay anything."
 -- Anonymous

That comment was in response to yesterday's article, Gun Advice for Writers and Reporters.

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May 29, 2005

Carnival of Cordite

Countertop has the latest Carnival of Cordite, a roundup of gun bloggers, and it's a doozy.

Ricky is organizing a Northeastern blogger shoot that sounds like fun.

[This post has been corrected. See comments.]

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June 03, 2005

The International Right to Arms

Insty linked to an older piece he wrote advocating for an international right to arms. The best reason for a people to own guns is to prevent their own government from slaughtering them, as frequently happened in the last century, most famously in Germany, Russia, China, and Cambodia, and in recent decades in Iraq, Darfur, and Rwanda.

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June 04, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #16 is up

Gullyborg has this week's Carnival of Cordite, a weekly roundup of gun bloggers.

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June 06, 2005

Date Your Yugoslavian SKS

I don't mean go out on a date with your rifle. That would be wrong. Though if you try it, be sure to take pictures and let us know how it went.

Go here to look up your Yugo SKS serial number to determine date of manufacture. Lots of other interesting info there, much of it gleaned from logbooks sold with the guns.

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June 08, 2005

I've Got Garand Fever


So I think it's time to get an M1 Garand. It was one of the reasons I wanted to join the Oak Ridge Sportsman's Association - they're an affiliated club, and membership in same is a pre-requisite for buying an M1 through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. With the Garand I'd be set to compete in high power rifle at the Oak Ridge meets.

Then Countertop got a Garand. Then Publicola stopped by last night on his way through Knoxville and showed me his Greek Garand. The first thing I said was "Oh, you must have re-Parkerized it." But he hadn't! The finish was in that condition when he got it, and it was amazing. The laminated stock was beautiful, too. (And Pub is a nice guy, to boot.)

Pub told me that the quickest way to qualify to buy from the CMP is to join the Garand Collector's Association, so that's another option, depending on how anxious I get.

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June 09, 2005

Airspace in 7.62x39mm Bullets

This High Road thread discusses 7.62x39 vs. 5.45x49mm Russian ammo, and it includes this standard bit of gun lore:

The standard load for the 5.45 has a hollow air space in the tip. This makes the bullet form a "banana" shape and quickly tumble, causing large wound channels while retaining weight. The afghans called the 5.45 "the poison bullet" for this reason. I'm not sure if the commercial Wolf stuff has the airspace, but the military stuff is apparently quite good at stopping attackers.

Which is fine, except that most 7.63x39mm includes the same air space:


from left to right, the current 7.62x39 rounds: Ulyanovsk EM1 match (my fav round, accurate and yaws quickly) Klimovsk FMJ, Klimovsk "Silver Bear" FMJ (Identical), WOLF FMJ (note gigantic air gap), Barnaul FMJ, Uly FMJ, Early Klimovsk FMJ, Rare early brass cased TCW fmj.
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June 14, 2005

Employee's Right to Self-defense Affirmed

The West Virginia Supreme Court found that an individual's right to self-defense trumps the employer's policy of not resisting a robbery, in a case involving a 7-11 employee. David Kopel has the details over at the Volokh Conspiracy.

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Group Gun Buys at The High Road

Two chances to get good deals via The High Road.


Robinson Armaments VEPR AKs - the nicest Kalishnakov rifles around. All calibers available. Prices start at $460, which is at least $100 below the normal price. Deadline to order is the 16th.

Walther P22 - Coal Creek has a group buy on nickeled P22s at $325 each. There are a few left.

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June 18, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #18

Mr. Completely has it. Lots of gunny goodness.

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June 22, 2005

Gun Bloggers Community

SayUncle has set up a Gun Blogger's Community over at the revamped Truth Laid Bear.

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June 24, 2005

Range Report: Armalite AR-7 Rifle (.22)

After work I stopped by the pistol range tonight to shoot the revolvers. I started talking to some nice young guys there who were just getting started in shooting. I let them shoot the long-barreled .357 and the snubby .38 equipped with Crimson Trace LaserGrips.

ar7.jpgIn turn, they let me shoot their AR-7 .22 rifle. Eugene Stoner designed it for the Air Force as a survival rifle for downed pilots. The barrel unscrews from the action, the action detaches from the stock, and all of the parts then fit into the plastic stock. The rifle is light enough at two and a half pounds to float whether assembled or disassembled. The magazine holds eight rounds.

I don't think I've ever shot the AR-7 rifle, but when I was a little kid in the '70s my older brother had the pistol version, the Explorer. With its magazine in front of the trigger guard it looked vaguely like a broomhandle Mauser (or Han Solo's blaster, in my mind at the time). The Explorer's trick feature was that it held an extra magazine in the handle.

The AR-7 has a crude peep sight. Stock fit was odd, and despite being short felt too big when I had to hunch over it to look through the sight. True to its reputation, this one jammed twice in the course of shooting one magazine. Accuracy at the short range we were shooting at was just OK, and pretty poor really by the high standards of .22 rifles.

Armalite was the original manufacturer or AR-7s. Century Arms later took over production, and now Henry Repeating Arms makes them.

If for some reason I ever needed a takedown .22 rifle I'd probably try the Marlin Papoose 70PSS, which has a good reputation. It doesn't float by itself, but it will float when stored in the padded nylon case, if you're an Alaskan bush pilot or canoeist or some such and flotation is part of your requirements. Every Marlin .22 I've ever shot has been accurate and reliable.

Beyond the Transformers gadget factor, these kind of rifles don't appeal to me at all. I can't imagine a time when I'd want a sometimes-assembled, sometimes-disassembled rifle rather than a holstered handgun that's always ready to go. A good Ruger or Browning .22 pistol is more accurate, reliable, and handy than the AR-7, and a centerfire handgun is much more powerful.


Another gun to consider for wilderness or survival use would be a Remington Nylon 66. The Nylons don't have removable barrels, but because of the polymer receivers and stocks they're extremely lightweight at four pounds. They have a good reputation for accuracy and reliability. The Nylon 66 is the rifle Chris McCandless carried into the Alaska wilderness, as told in Jon Krakauer's book, Into the Wild. He used it for small game, but also managed to kill a moose with it.

The Nylon 66 was discontinued in 1989, but there are lots of them out there. A revival of interest in them has driven up prices, but if you find one for less than $200 grab it. it's easily worth it for shooting and collecting value.

See also:
- Maxwell Smart's AR-7

Read more gun reviews
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Carnival of Cordite #19

The Carnival of Cordite, a roundup of this week's gun blogging, is up at Revolutionary War Veterans Association Weblog.

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June 30, 2005

Range Report: Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No. 1 Mk III


I went shooting Sunday with Rich Hailey, SayUncle, and one of Uncle's friends at the John Sevier Hunter Education Center. This was the first chance I had to shoot the SMLE, let alone on a benchrest.

The Lee-Enfield was the British battle rifle of World Wars I and II. This particular rifle - that I nicknamed Nigel - was made during wartime in 1942 at the arsenal in Lithgow, Australia. The place of origin and the black anti-corrosion paint on the bolt handle suggests that this rifle was used in jungle campaigns in the Pacific theater.

The iron sights are very fine (small), in the tradition of turn of the century designs. At 50 yards the front sight blade was slightly narrower than the three inch bullseye on the target. Setting the rear sight elevation to point blank range put the bullets on the target in a tight group.

The two-stage trigger has a short take-up, followed by a smooth though not especially light pull. I later measured the trigger pull at home on a Lyman digital trigger gauge and it averaged 6 pounds, 12 ounces. The trigger shape is excellent, with a small hook at the end for fine control. The full length wood stock and long barrel put the weight out front where it's easy to keep the barrel aligned, at least from a benchrest. We'll see how well I do shooting offhand some other time.

The bolt action mechanism is a dream. It's smooth and light, with a natural feel to the reloading motion. The Lee-Enfield has the reputation of being the fastest military bolt action ever issued, and I can believe it. The fact that this is a 63 year old rifle, made in the rush of war, and used in the jungle makes the excellence of the bolt even more amazing.

Recoil was surprisingly soft. I had been firing the Yugoslavian SKS just prior. The 7.62x39 mm Russian cartridge generates about 1500 foot pounds of energy. The Winchester .303 British ammo I was shooting from the SMLE breaks 2400 foot pounds. The heavy SMLE was very pleasant to shoot, with no discomfort, and was more pleasant overall than the SKS, which bucks a bit.

All in all, this is a fantastic shooter and a very charismatic piece. Lee-Enfields generally run less than $200, and this one was half that at a gun store that was going out of business. The SKS and the Lee-Enfield have convinced me of the value of military surplus, and I'm looking forward to the next rifle.

Bonus: the Lee-Enfield Pull-through

smle-pullthrough.gifLike other military rifles of its era, the SMLE has a trapdoor in the stock for storing a cleaning kit. The Smelly SMLE Shooters page has a new feature explaining how to pack the pull-through cleaning cord, of which the Hoppes Boresnake is a modern, storebought version. "Lewis 'Vulture' Maynard of Mooloolaba Queensland has taken step by step pictures and explained just how to do the trick. Lewis learned from his grandfather, who was an Australian soldier."


Other Gun Reviews

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July 01, 2005

July 02, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #20

Carnival of Cordite, a collection of gunny goodness, is up at Resistance is Futile.

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July 08, 2005

Shooting .22 Pistols Next Weekend in Knoxville

I'm making good on my promise to get involved in local shooting events. There's a .22-only steel target competition Sunday, July 17 at the John Sevier Hunter Education Center in north Knoville. That works for me, since I have a .22 target pistol and holster I can use without running out and buying a new gun for competition. From the Volunteer Rifle and Pistol Club newsletter:

Special .22 LR Only Pistol Match: July 17 at 2pm. All steel targets. Bring your revolver or automatic, 100+ rounds, strong side holster, extra magazines. See website or contact James Wagner for details, 789-3178.

Fees will total around $15 or so. There's a practice session this Sunday at 1:30, but I have a scheduling conflict so I won't be able to make the practice session unless something changes. If you're interested in going to the competition on the 17th and would like someone to go with let me know.

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Carnival of Cordite #21

The Carnival of Cordite, a collection of gunnuttery, is up at Resistance is Futile.

One of the blogs I've discovered through the Carnival is Mr. Completely, who frequently blogs about .22 pistol competition. His post in this week's carnival is about Ruger .22 pistols. He has posts about other .22s he's tried linked off of his front page. Good stuff. I've added him to my blogroll.

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July 11, 2005

Cool site, though the results could be presented in a more friendly way. List of states where silencers are legal. Also flash suppressor tests.

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Sunday Afternoon Shooting


Yesterday Uncle and I took some folks shooting at Coal Creek Armory (motto: "Automatics for the People"). The people in this case were from the Knoxville News-Sentinel - reporter/blogger Michael Silence, Lara Edge, and Lara's husband, Bob Benz. As we were going in to the range, we ran into Glenn Reynolds as he was going out.

A good time was had by all. We went through five guns - a silenced Ruger 10/22 (.22) we rented from Coal Creek, a Smith &Wesson 642 (.38) with laser grips, Smith &Wesson 686 (.357), SIG P229 (9 mm), and a Glock 30 (.45), along with just under five hundred rounds of ammo. Everyone did great, even with the biggest guns. Michael and I think Bob had been shooting before, but this was a first for Lara, who wants to go back to shoot again.

Bob Benz (who blogs) has his notes and pictures up. The picture above is one I borrowed from him. Coal Creek has a "no cameras" policy, but I talked to the owner beforehand and got it OK'ed. Trevor said that the policy is in place to protect the privacy of other shooters, who may not want their pictures taken while shooting guns. Obviously that wasn't a problem for Lara, who was having lots of fun.

LATER: Uncle and Michael have posts.

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July 15, 2005

Meriwether Lewis's Repeating Air Gun

In the It's-News-To-Me-Dept., Lewis and Clark had a repeating air rifle on their expedition. I didn't even know that air guns existed back then, much less repeaters. Beeman's - the air gun company - has an extensive page about Lewis's air rifle and others of that era. Found via The High Road.

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July 22, 2005

Clayton Cramer, Ward Churchhill, and Michael Bellesiles

Clayton Cramer notes an interview with Ward Churchhill in which the beleaguered Churchhill defends Michael Bellesiles. Bellesiles wrote Arming America, which purported to show that gun ownership in America wasn't nearly as common as often believed.

Churchhill's honesty and knowledge, or lack of both, are about what you'd expect. Churchhill tries to paint Bellesiles' downfall as a smear campaign from the NRA, based on a single misunderstanding. Cramer correctly notes that it was mostly himself and James Lindgren who did the initial research that showed Bellesiles sources were either non-existent or said just the opposite of what Bellesiles claimed. That in turn led to an academic investigation that found massive fraud. As a result, the committee revoked Bellesiles' Bancroft Prize, something that's never happened before or since.

For a primer on Cramer's publications, and links to his Bellesiles work, see this old Gun Links post of mine.

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Deal on S&W 637s and 642s

637s and 642s for $295 plus $15 shipping. The usual price is $350 or up.

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July 25, 2005

When Handguns are Better Than Long Guns, Part 1

From a discussion on The High Road of guns for the Alaskan wilderness. Posted by cookekdjr.

I'd take the 45-70. I'd also take a handgun (Sorry to open up a whole 'nother can of worms). I've done quite a bit of research on bear attacks in Alaska.
It appears that there are a number of traits common in the successful repulsion of surprise bear attacks with a firearm:

1. The person had a gun. Seriously, the most important factor in surviving the attack was that the person had a gun they could reach instantly, i.e., in a holster, not propped up against a nearby tree, in the truck, in the cabin, etc.

2. The person had a handgun. Some of the attacks were repelled by one buddy with a handgun when the other buddy could not raise his longgun fast enough. This occurs more often than you would think.

3. Smaller calibers are effective. This is the one that shocked me. Although some of the successful folks used .44 mags or .45 LC's, a number of them used 9mm's and .40 cals (and some were using ball ammo). In one account in particular, two buddies were fishing. A brown bear charged one buddy so fast, he couldn't raise his shotgun to fire, so he threw it at the bear and dove into the water. His companion shot the bear with a 9mm pistol (ball ammo), and one of the shots broke the bear's shoulder. Once the bear was disabled, other fishermen joined in with their handguns and killed the bear.

4. The handgun appears to be effective because it is always there. The hunter/fisherman draws and shoots in an instant. The handgun might not kill the bear, but it often disables the bear sufficiently for the hunter/his companion to procure another handgun/long gun and then the bear is killed. Some locals have said "use the handgun to fight your way back to your rifle".

5. One last surprise. Urban legends aside, I found no documented evidence where an outdoorsman was able to shoot the bear (regardless of caliber) but was unable to repel the attack. There were some close calls, but nobody who got off a shot died. Not saying it hasn't happened, just saying I haven't seen it.

6. Final recommendation. If it were me, I'd bring something like a Glock/XD etc that is light enough to carry with me everywhere I go. I'd load something hot and non-hollow point.

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July 26, 2005

What's on My Nightstand?

Jeff James started a new meme and Countertop tagged me with it: what's on my nightstand?

Well, there's a clock radio, pivot lamp, cell phone and charger, and a box of Kleenex.

There's no gun. It wouldn't be a good idea with a toddler in the house. Even before we had Katie I didn't keep a gun on or in the nightstand. Don't know why. It just never seemed like the best place for it.

I keep a 5 D cell Maglite on the bookshelf next to the nightstand. It's illumination, or I could use it to fight my way to the gun (the thing's like a lead pipe). I use it to check out mystery noises in the night, or when the power goes out. Because it's huge it doesn't get misplaced like our other flashlights.

I'm a big believer in illumination. I installed five motion-sensitive lights outside, plus motion-sensitive lights or switches in the bathroom, kitchen, and utility room. I keep flashlights or headlamps in my car and all of my backpacks.

I don't always carry a gun, but I always carry a flashlight in my pocket. I think a light is more likely to save my life than a gun.

I've tried all kinds, from Mini-Mags to Mini-Mag Solitaires to LED lights. My favorite is the one I've used for the past six months - a SureFire E2D. It's a palm-sized light, a little smaller than the Mini-Mag, but brighter than the 5 D cell Maglite. If the Maglite is a Model T, this is a Formula 1 car. It's searchlight bright, and the light is very clean, with absolutely no dark rings. Here's the review from


The downside is battery life and price. It only burns for 75 minutes, even with the lithium batteries. That's fine for the way I use it, and there's a long-burn LED light on my keychain. (There's a SureFire Aviator, which has both incandescent and LED bulbs so you can choose between bright light and long burn times at the flick of a switch. Or you can install an extended runtime lamp that cuts the lumens to 25 but boosts the run time to 2.5 hours.) The price at my local shop was $89, which is a might steep if you're not a flashlight nut. The G2s are cheaper at $35. I like the push-button end-switch on the E2E better, but the G2s are just as bright.

I'm supposed to tag five bloggers with the meme. Here are my picks (did I mention I can't count?):

Andi (answer posted here)
Clayton Cramer
John of Argghhh!!! (answer posted here)
Mr. Completely (answer posted here)
Preston Taylor Holmes (answer posted here)
Sayuncle (answer posted here)
Wadcutter (answer posted here)

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July 27, 2005

When Handguns are Better Than Long Guns, Part 2

This started with this post on A novice shooter is videotaped trying her hand at three home defense solutions: a .357 revolver with CrimsonTrace laser grips, an AR-15 rifle with an AimPoint red dot scope, and a stock 12 gauge Remington 870 pump shotgun. Result? She does best with the rifle, then the handgun, then the shotgun.

OK, but we already know that rifles are easier to shoot than handguns. They're also generally more powerful and have more capacity. Better in most ways, really.

But like John Farnam says, we don't use handguns because they're the most effective weapon, we use them because they're convenient and always available. If you know you're going to be in a fight, you want a rifle. But if you know there's going to be a fight - and you're not in the police or military - Farnam has more good advice: the best way to win a fight is to make arrangements to be somewhere else when it happens.

A handgun is easier to hide in the house, easier to secure against visitors and children, and easier to hide behind your back when you answer an unexpected knock at the door late at night. A handgun also leaves one hand free to talk to 911 on the phone, hold a flashlight, or open doors. You have to ignore all of those advantages to think a rifle is better than handgun for home defense.

Part 1

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August 03, 2005

Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing Anti-gun Group

Or is that a sheep in wolf's clothing in this case? Triggerfinger and Countertop have the story on the American Hunters and Shooters Association, a front group for anti-gunners.

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August 05, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #25

Your weekly gun nuttery, hosted this time around by Gullyborg.

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August 08, 2005

Victorinox Trying to Survive into 21st Century

This Guardian article discusses the trouble Swiss army knife maker Victorinox faces. Sales dropped 40% during the passenger screenings that followed 9/11, and the firm faces cheap Chinese knockoffs and counterfeits. Wegner - the only other firm authorized to make "Swiss army knives", went out of business, and Victorinox bought their assets. Frankly, it's hard to evaluate the true extent of the problem from this article, but I suspect Victorinox will survive as an iconic brand with a great product.

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August 11, 2005

TN Hwy Patrolman Gets Glock Leg

A Tennessee Highway Patrolman accidentally shot himself in the leg when he re-holstered his gun following a foot chase. He's in stable condition. Found in the MAD Times.

The THP issues Glocks, so I'm 99% that's what he was carrying. I've said before that the Glock factory trigger is too light for a gun with no thumb safety. Shooting instructor and military and police veteran John Farnam says the same thing in a recent post in reaction to another officer who gave himself Glock leg.

The installation of a NY Trigger will increase the trigger pull weight on most Glocks from five to eight pounds. Equally important, the weight of trigger take-up is increased from a nominal two pounds to six pounds. In practical use, most shooters barely notice the difference. I've timed myself and many students drawing and firing with and without the NY Trigger, and I've consistently discovered the difference in time to be statistically unmeasurable.

What the NY Trigger does is make the operator aware that his finger is in contact with the trigger. I have NY Triggers on all my Glocks and highly recommend them for any Glock used for serious purposes, particularly those carried in holsters.

Of course, I can't be sure the installation of a NY Trigger would have made any difference in the foregoing incident. However, in my informal tracking, departments with NY triggers installed on their Glocks consistently experience fewer accidents than do those with standard triggers. If you own and carry any Glock pistol for serious purposes, it is my recommendation that you install a NY Trigger without delay!

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August 16, 2005

Go Read James Rummel

James has been instructing people in the use of firearms for over a decade. In a discussion of my earlier post on Glock Leg, he explains why he doesn't recommend Glocks for new shooters.

James has a very noble policy on linking and comments. If he just links to someone he closes his comments so that all the comments go to their site. I had never thought of that, but that's a very noble thing to do. I'm going to try to observe that policy on my own blog, starting with this post.

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August 18, 2005

National Academy of Engineering Dismisses "Smart Guns"

Go read Geek with a .45 for the scoop.

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August 19, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #27

Gullyborg has this week's roundup of gun nuttery.

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August 26, 2005

"Hey, Y'all! Watch This!"

How to crack your nuts with a shotgun. Via Ace.

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August 27, 2005

Carnival of Cordite, Weekly Check on the Bias

Jeff Soyer has the latest check on the bias.

The latest roundup of gun nuttery is up at Resistance is Futile.

And Uncle has a review of the Walther P22 that went much better than the experience I had a few years ago with an early production unit. Between Uncle's, Rich's, and one I shot in Walland, it appears the kinks have been worked out.

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September 01, 2005

Gunblast Reviews S&W 619 and 620 Revolvers

The 619 and 620 are the seven-shot, L frame replacements for the six-shot, K frame 65 and 66. Here's what I found amazing:

The trigger pulls on these two new Smiths are excellent. The single action pulls on both the Models 619 and 620 were very crisp and clean, measuring three pounds and six ounces and three pounds and nine ounces, respectively. The double action pulls were butter-smooth, with the Model 619 measuring nine and one-quarter pounds, and the 620 measuring just over ten pounds, but with both feeling lighter due to their smoothness.

Those are fantastic double action trigger pulls to be from the factory. My 686 has been worked over by a gunsmith and the DA pull is just a few ounces lighter than that 619. The new guns are also drilled and tapped for scope mounts. Sweet. Too, I like the semi-lug barrel profile of the 620 over the full-lug 686.

S&W is on fire lately. Their 1911s already have a great reputation after just a few years of production.

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September 02, 2005

Tamara Has a Blog

tam_s.jpgI went to Coal Creek Armory tonight after work to shoot. When I was swapping guns at the rental counter Tamara asked for my name. I don't know Tamara on a first name basis, but I knew of her from gun boards like Smith &Wesson Forum and The High Road where she's a frequent and thoughtful poster. (If Tamara and I have different opinions on guns, there's an excellent chance she's right and I'm wrong.)

I told her my name and she said, "Oh, so you're Les Jones." Since I knew her from those boards I just automatically assumed she knew me from the same. Then she mentioned she had a blog, View from the Porch, at I told her I had a blog, but she already knew that. She had searched for "coal creek armory," found my blog, and decided that since so many people had blogs she'd start one, too.

From Tamara's blog I found out that Markos Kloos - another Knoxville gun nut, S&W nut, and gun board poster - has a blog. I've added them both to the blogroll.

Oh, and Tamara points to a Coal Creek Armory Internet Shoot Day on Saturday, September 3.

So tonight I shot a Para-Ordnance P14 LDA (a 14 round .45 1911 with a Glock-like trigger) similar to this and a Beretta 92F 9 mm. Tamara asked me what I thought of the Para. I told her the grip was a little too beefy, so I'll stick with single-stack 1911s. Turns out she agrees. The Beretta is a pretty nice gun. Sights and (SA) trigger are excellent, though I don't like DA/SA autos so I'd never buy one. It's probably been eclipsed by the Glock and SIG, but it wasn't a bad gun in its day.

LATER: I went to Coal Creek Armory today and bought the H&R shotgun she mentioned here.

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September 13, 2005

10 Gun Questions for Sean Penn

penn-shotgun.jpgIt turns out that brown water navy stud Sean Penn is a gun guy. Maybe a hard-core he-butch man like Penn can get large and in charge and settle some long-standing debates for us clueless gunnies.

And while we're at it:

UPDATE: Submitted to the Beltway Traffic Jam. Also, SayUncle has more questions for Penn:

2 - So, you’re like a convicted, violent criminal, right? You know you’re not even supposed to, like, own a gun; but you do? And you carry one. Oh, you’re rich and above the law. I got ya.

UPDATE 2: Kitty has a scan of the original NY Post article.

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September 16, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #30

Gullyborg has the latest roundup of gun nuttery.

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September 19, 2005

Wolf to Produce .303 British?

Anything to this rumor that Wolf will produce .303 British? I checked their Web site and couldn't find anything. I love my Lee-Enfield but man is it pricy to shoot.

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September 20, 2005

CMP Price Increases on M1 Garands

m1poster.gifThe Civilian Marksmanship Program has increased M1 Garand prices. The increases aren't egregious - about $20 to $30. It's not enough to keep me from getting a Garand, but it is a reminder that these things won't be available forever at this price. I've heard rumors that the supply of Greek Garands is getting low.

If you like old guns, get them while the getting's good. The difference between old guns and new ones is that they don't make old ones anymore. There's some possibly justified paranoia in the gun community that if the wrong person becomes president in 2008 that the CMP's U.S. milsurp pieces could be melted down. I halfway expect a rush on these leading up to the 2008 elections. If you want one, this is your chance. My order's going in after this next paycheck.

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September 21, 2005

Latest Jeff Cooper

September's Cooper Commentaries are up.

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September 22, 2005

.32 ACP Rimlock

I never had any interest in .32 ACP guns, but if I did this would cure me of it. Besides being generally anemic, the .32 ACP is a semi-rimmed case and is subject to rimlock.

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September 24, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #31

Gullyborg has the weekly roundup of gun nuttery.

And Jeff Soyer has the weekly check on the bias, with an emphasis on the newly-released report that Scotland is the most violent country in the developed world.

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September 30, 2005

Weekly Gun Nuttery

Gullyborg has this week's Carnival of the Cordite. James Rummel's Gyrojet article is very cool. It's amazing that there was a production rocket-powered handgun.

Jeff has the weekly check on the bias.

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October 06, 2005

Wolf Adds .303, .30-30, 6.5 &7.5mm Swiss, Others

Announcement here, prices from an online retailer here (but note that it's not shipping yet). Except for .300 Win Mag everything is less than $10 for a box of 20 for new, reloadable ammunition. Good news.

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October 08, 2005

Weekly Gunnuttery

Gullyborg has the Carnival of the Cordite and Jeff has the weekly check on the bias.

Alston has built a lot of ARs over the years and has a fine article about what he considers his ultimate AR (pics here). I like it. Lots of substance without a lot of glitz.

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October 22, 2005

Weekly Gun Nuttery

The Carnival of Cordite is up, with coverage of the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which among other things protects gunmakers from liability when their wares are used by criminals. In the last few decades anti-gun forces have used civil suits to undermine U.S. gunmakers, trying to make them responsible for criminal acts committed with their legal products. That made about as much sense as suing Ford for making getaway cars, or suing the Louisville Slugger company when someone gets hit with a baseball bat. Good on Congress for ending that foolishness.

Uncle notes that the act specifically recognizes the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right, not as the right of a group or national guard.

You can get the weekly check on the bias at Jeff Soyer's, whose blog just turned three today. Congrats, Jeff.

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October 25, 2005

CMP: Only 1000 1903a3 Springfields Left

VIa The High Road, an email from the Civilian Marksmanship Program:

"M1903A3 REMINGTON GETTING LOW. The CMP is down to the last 1,000 M1903A3 Remington rifles. At past rate of sales, we expect that these will not last more than a few months."

Now that the word out, they may go faster. Once they're gone, prices on the secondary market will go up. If you want a 1903a3, now's the time. There are still "several thousand" of the non-A3 1903s left, but they're apparently of lower quality. If you want a shooter rather than a collectable, you'll want the A3 because of the better sights.

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October 27, 2005

James Thurber

"He who goes unarmed in paradise had better be sure that is where he is."
 -- James Thurber, found in the latest Cooper's Commentaries

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October 28, 2005

Buying and Selling Guns

Gun Gun used to say he'd never sell his guns, but he had to that recently:

But my recent financial circumstances changed all that, and my beloved guns became just a commodity. When we needed the money to pay bills until we could start earning again, I thought about taking all of them to Collector’s, and selling them as a complete “set”, if you will. Ultimately, of course, I decided not to do that, but rather sell them to all my friends and Readers.

I’ve fired an enormous number of guns in my life, and owned a pretty fair number too. Now, when I look at another gun, I get a feeling of “been there, done that” instead of “oh wow!”, which I’d always felt in the past.

There had been a hint of that earlier, when I thought what guns I would acquire once my circumstances returned to normal and I could buy guns again. I finally came to realize that my passion has changed to dispassion, and I probably won’t buy many guns, or at least that many, ever again.

We'll see. Somehow I don't think he's seen the last of his gun buying. He probably won't replace all of the ones he sold, because part of the fun is seeking something out and trying something new, but I have the feeling he'll get the fever again once his finances recover.

Chris Byrne and Tamara have thoughts on the subject of selling guns. Tamara's advice:

I'll be told constantly by folks on the various gun boards how horrible it is to sell a gun, and how they've never sold one of theirs; I try to politely refrain from explaining the differences in viewpoint of someone who owns ten guns, and someone who may have owned half a thousand, but really has no idea what her total is.

They're just guns, folks; easy come, easy go. Unless you're talking about an heirloom, historical artifact, or rare out-of-production piece, they're easy to replace. And even those are easier to replace than a kidney, or the roof over your kid's heads. Don't lose perspective.

That's the way I feel. Last year I bought an early model, pinned and recessed S&W Model 63 that was just lovely. Thing is, it was a less accurate .22 than my Browning Buckmark, and I couldn't think of a thing I'd use it for other than taking it out of the safe now and then to admire, so I sold it, but it was fun to have for a while.

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Weekly Gun Nuttery

Jeff has the Weekly Check on the Bias and Gullyborg has this week's Carnival of Cordite.

This is just wrong.

Mr. Completely has a new postal match I plan on shooting next week. has a good article on the Savage Enfield No. 4 Mark I* rifle made by the U.S. for Great Britain as part of the Lend Lease program. Here's an excellent example of a lovingly-restored No. 4 that was for sale for less than an hour before someone bought it. I'd love to sell my No. 1 and get a No. 4 or No. 5. Give me a choice and I'll take aperture sights over open sights every time.

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October 29, 2005

Alex Kozinski for SCOTUS

I haven't covered the last two SCOTUS nominees because, like James Rummel, I'm not particularly qualifiied or interested. On the other hand, if Alex Kozinski is nominated I'll be rooting for. Read what he has to say about the second amendment.

LATER: David Hardy suggests emailing with "please nominate Judge Kozinski" in the subject line. Done.

LATER STILL: It's Alito.

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November 03, 2005

Gun Clearing Procedures

A reminder of why you should stick your finger into the breech to do a tactile check when clearing an autoloader:

"After a day at the range, I took my G32 out of its holster in order to unload it, so it could be cleaned. My backup pistol, of course, remained i n its holster and fully loaded.

Holding the G32 in my master grip, I turned the gun ejection port down and pulled the magazine out of the gun. I then racked the slide backwards and let it go, then locked it to the rear.

A single, live round dropped out from the magazine well. I guessed it was the one from the chamber. I was wrong! Adhering to procedure, I then checked the magazine well, bolt face, and chamber with my little finger. It was the n that I felt another live round, this one still in the chamber!

Apparently as I pulled the magazine out, the top round came loose and fell out into the magazine well. As I subsequently racked the slide back, the extractor evidently failed to pull out the round that was actually chambere d. Fortunately, there is sufficient redundancy built into our unloading proced ure, including tactile verification, that, even with this unrepresentative sequence of events, I still didn't endure the embarrassment of firing a round into my Safe Direction Bag while inside my condo!

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November 05, 2005

Weekly Gun Nuttery - the Martini-Henry Rifle

fvonmartini.jpgHere's a well-done site devoted to the Martini-Henry rifle, as well as the Martini-Enfield (a Martini-Henry re-barrelled by the British to fire .303). If you've ever seen the movie Zulu you've seen a depiction of the battle of Rorke's Drift, where 150 British soldiers with Martini-Henry rifles held out against 4000 Zulu.

The cartridge page shows the variations produced over the years, including an incendiary round for use against Zeppelins. Also interesting is that site's page on Khyber Pass Martinis - Martini copies that were hand-made on small forges in the Khyber Pass region of Afghanistan's Hindu Kush between the 1890s and 1940s.

The gun's Swiss inventor, Friedrich von Martini apparently had nothing to do with the gin and vermouth drink, but he was a car designer. (As a side note, when I visited Wikipedia to learn more about Mr. Martini, their featured article was the Kammerlader, "the first Norwegian breech loading rifle," which is an odd weapon.)

Other links

Tamara has an excellent post about the Swiss Gew. 1869 Vetterli, an unusual gun that represents a sort of transition from lever action to bolt action.

Gullyborg has the Carnival of Cordite. Work kept Jeff from doing a weekly check on the bias, but he notes that SF cops are against the proposed SF gun ban. San Francisco votes on the measure this Tuesday at the polls. It's no secret Frisco is one of the most liberal cities in the country, but in general gun control has been losing ground in the post-9/11 world. It'll be interesting to see how San Francisans vote.

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November 08, 2005

San Francisco Votes on Handgun Control Referendum Today

San Francisco goes to the polls today. Among the ballet initiatives is Proposition H. If enacted, it would ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns in the city. Current handgun owners would have to dispose of their guns by March 1, 2006.

As the NY Times story above notes, it's doubtful the law would stand even if the proposition passes. A similar 1982 law 1982 enacted under then-mayor Dianne Feinstein was struck down by California courts as an abridgement of state law.

Gun control seems to be losing ground in the U.S. and elsewhere. Wherever it's tried it generally leads to more violent crime and public outrage, as has been the case in England. In a post-9/11, post-Katrina world, people are less willing to believe that the police will be willing and able to protect them.

Gun control is traditionally a liberal issue, and San Francisco is the sanctum sanctorum of left liberalism. If gun control can't win there, it can't win anywhere. A July poll found 74 perfect of respondents in favor of Proposition H. However, a recent gun control referendum in Brazil seemed likely to win until last-minute campaigning against it, which resulted in the measure being defeated by a 2-1 margin at the polls. San Francisco police recently came out against the ban, which should change some people's votes.

- San Francisco Issues Spark Scant Interest
- San Francisco Voters Consider Tough Handgun Ban

Where to watch for updates today
- Alphecca
- David Codrea
- Volokh Conspiracy and Dave Kopel

UPDATE: Jeff mentions Proposition H in today's Weekly Check on the Bias. He also points to the San Francisco Chronicle voter guide, which recommends voting against H:

Handgun ban. NO

This measure would prohibit city residents from owning handguns. The need to curtail the proliferation of handguns on the streets is a debate worth having, but at the state level. State law is pretty clear that such regulation is the Legislature's domain. Passage of H is unlikely to produce anything more than litigation. But even if it were to prevail in court, this one-city ban would be so impractical and widely defied that it would be meaningless.

And a one-state ban would be better how?

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November 09, 2005

San Francisco Handgun Ban Passes 58 to 42%

Proposition H passes. It will probably be struck down like the 1982 ban. If not, San Francisco can look forward to being the same sort of gun-free paradise as Chicago and Washington, D.C. (which is currently the murder capital of the United States).

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November 12, 2005

Weekly Gun Nuttery

Gullyborg has a Veteran's Day edition of the Carnival of Cordite.

Alphecca has the weekly check on the bias and lots more. If you're interested in second amendment issues Jeff is your man.

e-Postal Match #4

Targets-05-11-12-thumb.JPGI shot Mr. Completely's e-postal match last night after work and scored a 65. I wound up hitting several of the circles more than once. The rules say only the first hit counts, so the extra hits were wasted shots. You can only shoot the match once per gun, so I'm going to go back with my .357 to try a new strategy. Rules and targets at Mr. Completely's. The deadline for turning in your targets is November 21.

LATER: Mr. Completely has loosened up the rules. You can now shoot the target multiple times with the same gun, but you can only submit one target for that gun.

jwz on the San Fran H-gun Ban

(If you've never read jwz, you ought to browse his site. Preferably while not at work.) jwz has criticism for a certain kind of gun nut, but concludes:

But after watching the Libertarian hootenanny that New Orleans turned into, I actually started considering whether owning one might not be such a bad idea, living as I am in a place that's prone to both earthquakes and zombie attacks.

Then, of course, the morons who live in this town went and voted to outlaw handguns. It's ineffective, unenforcable, and probably Unconstitutional, but wow, it sure is irritating.

And look! He has a poll.

Who's more annoying:

- Gun nuts. 228 (45.7%)
- Anti-gun nuts. 271 (54.3%)

The Second Amendment guarantees your right to:

- duck hunting. 71 (14.2%)
- violently overthrow the U.S. Government. 348 (69.6%)
- love a man in uniform. 81 (16.2%)

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November 15, 2005

Gun Safety and the Magic Bullet

There's currently a High Road discussion of ricochets. It reminds me that I really ought to wear actual safety glasses and not just my polycarbonate prescription glasses when shooting, esp. at unconventional targets. Anyway, this vignette stood out:

I have an ex girlfriend that was shooting a refrigorator with an AR and took a ricochet to the arm. It hit her above the wrist, broke her ulna, and came out below the elbow and hit her father in the thigh. Her uncle who was shooting took a piece of the jacket through his earlobe.

One shot, three hits. That's one magic bullet. Makes the Warren Commission's single bullet theory a little more believable, doesn't it?

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November 17, 2005

A Sort of Obvious Second Amendment Point I Just Thought Of

Some people want to believe that the militia referred to in the second amendment is the equivalent of today's National Guard. Ergo, you shouldn't be allowed to have guns unless you sign up for the National Guard.

That doesn't make any sense. The National Guard is a branch of the government. Why would the government need to guarantee its right to have guns?

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November 19, 2005

Weekly Gun Nuttery

Targets-05-11-19-0001-1.JPGI shot the postal match last night with my Smith &Wesson 686 and brought my score up to a 90 from last week's 65. The postal match ends Monday, November 21.

For your weekly roundups, Jeff has the latest check on the bias,
Gullyborg has the Carnival of Cordite, and Alston has the (all new!) Everything you needed to know about guns this week.

James Rummel, who does a lot of work with the Pink Pistols, wonders why so many gays are anti-gun. Jeff - a self-described "gay gun nut from Vermont" - thinks his conclusion is right, namely, that gays mostly identify as liberal Democrats and have swallowed their platform whole. My possibly related thoughts on Democrats and blacks, women, and teachers here.

Lots of Smith &Wesson blogging this week. Xavier posts on the retro Model 24 22. Meanwhile, Tamara isn't happy with S&W using a classic name on their new plastic gun.

Xavier posted an email from one of his readers on a mistake he made that will cost him some function in his hand. Now in addition to Glock leg we see Glock arm: shooting your offhand when disassembing a Glock (which requires pulling the trigger holding the slide with one hand and puling the trigger with another).

There are some great things about Glock pistols from a technical point of view, but from a human factors perspective they've got problems. If you're aware of the problems they're manageable, but Glocks aren't the gun I'd recommend to a new shooter.

Today is National Ammo Day and the end of National Ammo Week.

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November 22, 2005

More on the Mall Shooting in Washington State

One of the policemen on the scene describes police response over on John Farnam's Quips.

PS Does anyone know how to subscribe the quips mailing list? I've been reading it on the Web, but I'd rather subscribe.

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November 28, 2005

Govt. Seeks up to 645,000 .45 Caliber "Joint Combat Pistols"

SOCOM, the U.S. military's joint operations counter-terrorism command, is seeking submissions for a new "joint combat pistol." It's an ID/IQ (Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity) contract, but total quantities could be up to 645,000 units. Government proposal documents here. Via The High Road. A summary of the specs:

  • .45 ACP [9 mm (.355) is the NATO standard, but it's always been criticized for being ineffective in military hardball configuration]
  • SOCOM is examining models with and without an external manual safety
  • Mean Rounds Between Stoppage (MRBS) of 2000 rounds (T) and 5000 rounds
  • Mean Rounds Between Failure (MRBF) of 5000 rounds (T) and 10,000 rounds
  • 8 round or more magazine capacity
  • 10 to 15 round magazine capacity in high-capacity configuration
  • Lanyard attachment
  • MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail for lights and laser sights
  • Length less than 9.65 inches
  • Width less than 1.53 inches [that's mighty exact - they're clearly speccing this to allow a certain manufacturer to make the specs]
  • "The JCP shall function in double action/single action (DA/SA) or double-action only (DAO) including Striker-Fired Action (SFA) (T)" [Translation: DA/SAs, DAOs and striker-fired guns like the Glock, Springfield XD, and SIG DAK are fine, but single-actions like the 1911 are out]
  • DA/SA guns must have a decocker
  • Magazines must be drop free, i.e., you shouldn't have to drag them out of the gun
  • "The JCP shall be operable for a range of operators from the 5th to 95th percentile per section 3.6.3. To aid in this, the JCP should incorporate a modular grip adjustment system to provide enhanced ergonomics (O)." [Can Glock meet that standard? They have fairly thick grips in double-stack .45. On the other hand the modular grip adjustment sounds just like the Walther/S&W P99 and the new S&W Military and Police.]
  • Drop safe [won't accidentally fire if dropped onto a hard surface]
  • Suppressor attachment available

There's one eye-opener in the spec:

3.7.6. Weapon Shot Counter. The JCP should have a weapon shot counter to record shots fired (O). The shot counter, if provided, shall have a data collection device that connects the shot counter to a computer. The shot counter, if provided, shall have a Microsoft compatible software program that works in conjunction with the shot counter and the data collection device to allow the weapon data to be downloaded and stored on a computer. The shot counter, if provided, shall not interfere with any operations of the JCP.

The shot counter - which is a "should" rather than a "shall" - is vaguely specced: does it simply count the number of shots fired (like an odomoter) or does it also record the date and time the shots were fired (which is what Tasers do - that's why you see news stories that mention how many times the Taser was used on a specific occasion). Is anyone aware of any field-tested guns that would meet this specification? I'm not.

Full specs from the original Microsoft Word documents below.

Continue reading "Govt. Seeks up to 645,000 .45 Caliber "Joint Combat Pistols"" »

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November 30, 2005

A Bizarre Home Invasion

Clayton Cramer, who blogs about civilian use of guns for self-defense, blogs about a neighbor who had an unexpected visitor in the middle of the night.

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December 02, 2005

Tamara on the Joint Combat Pistol

Tamara offers her thoughts on the Joint Combat Pistol and who the likely winners are. She also explains why you should root for the Para Ordnance LDA.

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December 03, 2005

AP and Barrett Rifles

SayUncle has a look at the disappointing experience Barrett Rifles had with the AP. The AP approached Barrett about doing a business piece on the company. The resulting article was riddled with inaccuracies and spent half of its word count spreading anti-.50 caliber propaganda.

When I was at UT I was the science editor for the daily student paper. One day we ran a wire story about a survey that asked people to name the least trustworthy professions. Along with used car salesmen and lawyers, journalists made the list. I was shocked, but the other people in the newsroom weren't surprised at all. Unlike me, they were journalism majors, and they had seen surveys like that before. (And you still see them today.) People often don't trust journalists, and it's because of unfortunate incidents like this.

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December 11, 2005

Weekly Gun Nuttery

Gullyborg has this week's Carnival of Cordite.

Jeff is getting slammed at work, so no weekly check on the bias.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is out of 1903a3s Springfields I had mentioned a month or two ago that they were getting low. I also noticed that the Greek Garands are now backordered.

Guns of Miller's Crossing. It's an excellent Coen brothers movie starring Gabrielle Byrne. If you haven't seen it and you like gangster movies it's a must.

Sorta, kinda gun related: I've added SouthParkPundit to the blogroll.

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December 16, 2005

What's Scary is, I Once Thought of Posting This as a Joke Myself

DE_MattBlack.jpgWhich gun would be better for CCW? A berreta tomcat in .25 ACP or a desert eagle in .50 AE? Hey, we've had every other caliber argument, why not this one?

If you don't get the joke, this is a Beretta Tomcat. It weighs less than a pound. It's the kind of gun Mata Hari would slip in her garter belt.

This is a Desert Eagle. It weighs four and a half pounds. If they still made Dirty Harry movies, this is what he'd shoot. It's what Agent Smith used in The Matrix.

It's also what Bullet Tooth Tony used in Snatch (dirty word alert!):

Continue reading "What's Scary is, I Once Thought of Posting This as a Joke Myself" »

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December 20, 2005

Kim and Connie du Toit Explain All

The events of the last few months explained. They were deep in debt after their last business failed, a promising job fell through once the company discovered Kim's site. He's given up his previous career and is starting a non-profit to encourage the shooting sports. Best of luck to the whole family.

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NAA .32 Mini-Revolver Officially in the Works

There's been a long-standing rumor in the gun world that North American Arms was developing a .32 version of the .22 Mini, one of the world's smallest revolvers. Now North American Arms has officially announced that a .32 mini-revolver based on a new design is in development.

It is a single-action configuration, like the minis, but will sport a full trigger guard.

It is a break-top design.

With a barrel of 1 5/8", overall length is approx. 5 1/4"; different barrel lengths will doubtless be available. As a point of reference, this is approx. the same length as a 22WMR mini (with the same size barrel).

Overall height is approx. 3 5/8" allowing for at least a three finger grip. As a point of reference, this is approx. Âľ" higher than a 22WMR mini.

The width of the piece is slightly greater than 1 1/8". This dimension is driven entirely by the geometry of a 5-shot configuration and the material properties of 17-4ph stainless steel. Otherwise, the frame width is approx. ½", which will be increased by the girth of the grips, likely to the 1 1/8" dimension (above).

At this point, we're unable to determine the weight of the piece. Both the designer and those few who have monitored its progress describe it as "very innovative"; as such, we may find opportunities to use exotic (titanium) materials to reduce the weight of certain components.

Release may come as early as summer of ought six. They're withholding pictures and even sketches until the design is complete.

I bought a NAA .22 Magnum Black Widow a few years ago, thinking it would be so small that I could carry it when another gun would be too big. What I found is that with my usual carry method a snub-nosed .38 will go just about anywhere the Black Widow will. Since the .38 is more powerful, more accurate, and easier to shoot I seldom use the NAA. I still like it enough to keep it, but if I ever get a tempting trade offer it's gone.

A .32 mini would be just slightly more concealable than a .38, but would suffer from being single action only, less powerful, and with fewer choices for ammunition. I'd guess most people who want a very small gun for CCW would be better off with a .38 or a .380.

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December 22, 2005


That rifle is dog turd ugly. It's hideous. Compared to a sack full of cat rectums, it loses by virtue of ugliness. I want one.
 -- Berettashotgun

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January 06, 2006

S&W Revolver Question (Paging Dr. Strangegun!)

So I've known for a long time that there were revolvers that fired rimless automatic pistol cartridges, such as 9 mm, .40 S&W, 10 mm, and .45 ACP. I used to think they were sort of oddball novelties, but I've seen so many glowing reports about the latter three that I'm seriously considering a .45 ACP revolver.

Anyhoo. I've got a hypothetical question about Smith &Wesson's L frame. It's just a shade bigger than S&W's medium K frame, and smaller than their N frame. Here's the way I think of it: the K frame holds six rounds of .357 Magnum, the L can hold seven rounds (e.g., in the 686+), and the N frame holds eight (in some S&W Performance Center versions of the 627).

The L frame can also hold five rounds of .44, as in the 296. That's 5 times .429 equals 2.145. And with the 686+ it's 7 times .357 equals 2.499. (And I know those figures are sorta sketchy, which is why I'm letting other people do the heavy lifting on this question.)

So, my question is, couldn't the L frame hold six rounds of .40 or 10 mm? That's 6 times .40 equals 2.4. It seems feasible, at least. I realize that any gun with six rounds is at a disadvantage because the bolt stop notch* will be aligned with the bottom cartridge and creates the weakest point in the system.

Any ideas? Someone put out the Dr. Strangegun Signal.

*The bolt stop is the mechanism that stops the cylinder from rotating so that the top chamber lines up with the barrel. The bolt stop moves into the bolt stop notch in the cylinder. In most (all?) revolvers, the cylinder is designed so that the notch will be at the 6 o'clock position when it engages the bolt stop. In revolvers with an even number of chambers, when the top chamber is aligned with the barrel there will be a chamber directly across from it at the 6 o'clock position of the cylinder. The metal between the bolt stop notch and the chamber is therefore the thinnest point in the cylinder wall. In revolvers with an odd number of chambers, the chambers are offset from the bolt stop notch, and are therefore slightly less compromised.

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January 08, 2006

MTV's "I'm a Gun Owner"

SayUncle has been following the MTV special "I'm a Gun Owner." The show featured four people - two criminals, one crime victim, and one legitimate gun owner. That alone put things badly out of balance - most criminals don't think of themselves as gun owners, for starters, and most of this country's 80 million gun owners are law-abiding citizens.

Now Uncle has a letter from the mother of the girl featured as the gun owner. It dismisses many of the false implications MTV made in their editing.

1) My daughter is 23 years old. The filming for the MTV show was done in July through October of 2004 – at the time she was 22 years old. I do not have any idea why the episode took over a year to get on the air. We were initially given an air date of October 2004, yet despite that, it didn’t make its way to the show until December 2005. None-the-less, she was certainly of legal age even a year and a half ago to obtain a CHP (which she has, legally, despite the fact that although they filmed her receiving it – this was not shown on the air)

2) As for the segment which showed her putting the gun into her purse and then immediately showed her in the bar, there was a great deal of footage left out between the two segments – the most significant being that which showed her putting the gun into her glove compartment and explaining to the film crew that you could not legally carry a gun into a bar. As for her drinking – at no time was my daughter armed while consuming alcoholic beverages. Once again, what couldn’t of course be shown, as it was not in keeping with the message of the film, was the fact that she was not alone the night the gun was put into the glove compartment, nor was she in possession of the firearm at any time after the point she walked into the bar.

There's a show (on VH1, I think) called something like "Behind Reality TV." It's mostly lame, but one interesting part showed scenes from VH1's "The Surreal Life." Things weren't spicy enough for the producers, so they sexed things up by faking scenes. When Erik Estrada flashes open his bathrobe, they block out his genital area. When you see the unedited footage he's actually wearing underwear. They just wanted to imply he was showing the camera his pet squirrel.

On another episode, Ron Jeremy takes off his swim trunks and slips into the hottub with some topless women. You'd think that would be sexy enough, but no. The next thing you see is Tammy Faye Baker looking in his direction. In reality she had already gone to bed before Jeremy went all in and the producers merely edited footage to suggest Tammy Faye was eyeing the Hedgehog's junk.

MTV's "I'm a Gun Owner" seems to have been a reality TV show posing as a documentary.

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Science Fact of the Day: What's the Square Root of 69?

Eight something.

P.S. The Carnival of Cordite 42 is up.

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January 10, 2006

Word of the Day: Deodand

From Wikipedia:

Deodand is a term used to describe an object or instrument that had caused a person's death. In medieval Europe it became forfeit to the crown or the church. The word comes from the Latin Deo dandum which means to be given to God.

The practice of deodand was abolished in 1846 in England, some U.S. State constitutions ban deodands, frequently in the same article that bans corruption of blood.

This ancient word has gotten some interest because of this NY Times story about a Maine law that requires guns used in homicides to be destroyed once they're no longer required for evidence.

Given the tight budgets at most police departments I think they should be able to sell their retired guns and guns confiscated in crimes. I think that because I don't believe that guns are possessed or cause their owers to commit crimes. Like Ted Nugent says, if guns cause crime all of mine are defective.

However, I actually agree with the Maine law, and not because of some Medieval superstition about a weapon possessed of evil. If one of my family members was killed with a criminal's weapon, I wouldn't want it going back into circulation. So destroy the murder weapons out of respect for the family, but sell other guns to law-abiding citizens. The loss in income to police is tiny, and you've given a measure of respect for the deceased and their family.

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January 13, 2006

For Backwoods Survival in the Lower 48 Concentrate on the 10 Essentials Instead of Guns

So every so often someone pops up on The High Road asking about survival guns. Here's a recent thread:

OK guys, on a remote backpacking trip in the mountains what is your sidearm of choice? I personally have no sidearm for backpacking and I want one. My Walther P22 or maybe my Sig 229 (in .40 or .357) are the only packable pistols I have. I have considered taking a custom lightweight Ruger 10/22, but I would still have bear issues. Anyhow I'll stick to pistols.

And here's a comment that is typical of the mistaken mindset of people considering the question:

For hypothetical purpose lets say its a 4 day hike in 60 miles from your car. Two week trip total. And you went solo.

Here's a fact worth remembering: in the lower 48 states the most remote spot is only about 20 miles from the nearest road. That's west of the Mississippi. East of the Mississippi the most remote spot is in Florida's mangrove swamps 17 miles from a road. Most places are much closer to a road than that. Granted, those are as-the-crow-flies-distances, but being 60 miles from a road is pretty darned unrealistic.

It doesn't take more than a day or two to walk out of most wooded areas in the lower 48 if you have a map and compass, so you don't need a two week supply of ammo. Excepting bears and mountain lions, your main use for a gun would be defense against human predators, not hunting. Time spent stalking, killing, gutting, and cooking an animal is time that's better spent beating feet out of the lonesome pines. However, one good use of a gun, particularly if you're injured, is as a noisemaker to attract rescuers (using three spaced shots as a distress call), so some extra ammunition is a good idea if you're carrying anyway.

In the last twenty years I've backpacked a fair bit - including in the snow and solo - and worked as a field biologist in the Sonoran desert and the Smoky Mountains, and read a fair bit and followed news of lost hikers. Bears and snakes are what people worry about, but in reality the big killers in the backcountry are hypothermia (rapid, uncontrolled loss of body heat), drowning, falling from a height (especially in the dark), getting hit by lightning, and getting stung by swarms of bees or wasps. If you're sleeping out in the woods some things that are more important than a gun are a map and compass to get you to the nearest road, rain gear and warm clothing to stave off hypothermia, a flashlight and batteries to get you through the night, water and water treatment to keep you from getting dehydrated and stupid*, and a first aid kit and a cool head to get you through the rest.

So instead of spending five hundred bucks on a new survival gun, use whatever you normally use and buy some much less expensive equipment that will make a much bigger difference. Flashlight or headlamp and spare batteries. Waterproof/breathable raingear (Gore-Tex and similar, now that W.L. Gore's patent has expired). Synthetic warmwear including a hat and gloves. Twenty dollar first aid kit. Ten dollar compass. Five dollar space blanket. Five dollar bottle of PotableAqua iodine water treatment tablets. And hey, treat yourself to the four dollar bottle of PotableAqua Vitamin C tablets to remove the iodine color and taste. They really work.* Add in a space blanket, a Storm brand whistle, and one of those AOL CDs to use as a signal mirror. In cool weather avoid cotton clothing, which absorbs moisture from rain and perspiration and robs you of body heat. Cotton kills.

Then add in the water bottles, food, pocket knife, map, sunglasses, and lighter you probably already have to round out the mountaineer's 10 essentials and you're all set. Packing a dozen pieces of survival gear is less exciting than strapping on a Smith &Wesson, but it's also more likely to save your life.

* If you don't have water treatment don't worry about it - go ahead and drink untreated water as long as it's not obviously contaminated. If by chance you get Giardia or some other bug the symptoms won't show up for a couple of days, and by then you'll be out of the woods. Better that than to be impaired and dangerously stupid from dehydration and never make it to safety. Been there, done that during a day of mountain biking in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. If you're disoriented, nauseous, and incredibly tired you're probably dehydrated. Find water and force yourself to drink even though you may feel like it will make you vomit.

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January 17, 2006

Homer's Range Report for His New Smith &Wesson 625

The other week I mentioned I was interested in a revolver chambered for .45 ACP. Homer joined in the discussion and wound up buying one at a gunshow that very weekend. He emailed his range report for his five inch Smith and Wesson 625 and gave me permission to post it here. - LJ

sw-625-5inch.jpgSaid I’d send my impressions of the new 625, so here they are (I’m the “Homer” commenter). Finally got to shoot it yesterday, and I think I’m in love. Started with UMC 185 grain FMJ, and had to keep cranking the rear sight up to get them to print at point of aim at 30 yards; original holes were too low. 30 yards is an odd distance, but I tend to sight in at longer distances because that extends the point blank range, and I’m used to longer distances with handguns (when I lived in Virginia nearly all my hunting was done with handguns – a 629 for deer, a Model 17 for squirrel, and a Python for woodchuck, at least until I ran out of stupid ones and had to switch to the 220 Swift; but that was back when I had eyes that worked at distances greater than across the table…..). That, plus, I shoot IPSC at my club, and usually put together one of the stages. I like to add one long precision shot in the stage to slow the racegunners down and make everyone use the sights. IPSC rules limit maximum distance to 35 yards, so one of my favorites is an 8 inch steel plate 2 feet in front of a no-shoot at 25-35 yards. Yeah, everyone hates it, but you see that sort of thing at regional and national matches, and if you’re practicing for Real Life one never knows when one might have to make a precision shot. Never too soon to start loving your front sight.

Anyway, switched to 230 gr Winchester white box, and had to crank the sight back down. I know that lighter, hence faster, bullets print lower because they exit lower in the muzzle lift arc, but I was surprised at the difference between 185 and 230 – about 6 inches at 30 yards. I had only one box of 185 and a half-box of 230 with me, so I ran out of boom food before I could do any useful comparisons. Next time, I’ll alternate between the two weights and compare.

The action on this thing is the best I’ve ever seen out of the box. I cycled several 625s before selecting this one, and they all felt about the same. I let one of the other RSOs (I’m an RSO at my club) who was there yesterday try a couple of cylinders-full, and the first thing he asked was “how much did the S&W custom shop charge for the action work.” He was incredulous that it was off-the-shelf. I think I’ll look into a spring kit for it to lower the DA pull a couple of pounds, but it is that smooth. The only thing I’ve seen smoother is my Python, and that was the result of Colt’s factory hand fitting and $150 of action work back in the 80s so I could use it in PPC. The 625 is that good. Smooth DA, glass-rod letoff. I’m glad I got the 5 inch rather than the 4 inch. Haven’t shot the 4, but my 5 has, to me, just the right balance. FYI. Galco makes N-frame, 5-inch hip holsters. I’ve got one on the way from Arizona Gunrunners.

Continue reading "Homer's Range Report for His New Smith &Wesson 625" »

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Reno Gunblogger/Milblogger Rendesvouz

Mr. Completely is organizing a get-together in Reno this November for gunbloggers and milbloggers. I don't know if I'll be able to go, but it sounds like fun.

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January 18, 2006

Winchester to Close Its Factory if it Can't Find Buyer

From The Boston Globe via The High Road:

U.S. Repeating Arms Co. Inc. said Tuesday it will close its Winchester firearm factory, threatening the future of a rifle that was once called "The Gun that Won the West."

"It's part of who we are as a nation just like it's part of who we are as a city," Mayor John DeStefano said.

The announcement touched off a lobbying effort by city officials and union leaders who hoped to find a buyer for the plant before it closes March 31. If no buyer comes forward, it could spell the end for nearly all commercially produced Winchesters, said Everett Corey, a representative of the International Association of Machinists District 26.

That's terrible news for a great old American gun company. Besides their cowboy-era guns Winchester was a major producer of M1 Carbines and M1 Garands during the second World War. I still have both of my dad's Winchesters and don't plan on ever selling them. Here's hoping someone steps forward and buys them.

LATER: More news and an official announcement

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January 19, 2006

Don't Look, Tamara

From Smith &Wesson investor relations via The High Road. S&W is going to begin making AR-15s. That's actually good news. S&W entered the 1911 market a few years ago and already has a great reputation for quality and value.

The bad news for Tam? They're re-using their storied Military and Police brand again by calling the rifles M&P15.

Smith &Wesson Enters Long-Gun Market with M&P15 Rifles Company Expands Military &Police Series With Rifles Designed for Law Enforcement, Military, and Sporting Shooters SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Jan 18, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Smith &Wesson Holding Corporation (Amex: SWB), parent company of Smith &Wesson Corp., the legendary, 154-year old, global provider of products and services for safety, security, protection and sport, announced its initial entry into the market for tactical rifles and will begin shipments in early February of the Smith &Wesson M&P15 Rifle and the Smith &Wesson M&P15T Rifle. These tactical rifles are additions to the Company's Military &Police (M&P) series of firearms specifically engineered to meet the needs of global military and police personnel, as well as sporting shooters.

LATER: Xavier isn't happy about the M&P moniker, either.

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More on the Winchester Shutdown

More from The High Road, including a letter from the companies involved:

U.S. Repeating Arms Company, maker of Winchester brand rifles and shotguns will close its New Haven, Connecticut manufacturing facility. Many efforts were made to improve profitability at the manufacturing facility in New Haven, and the decision was made after exhausting all available options.

Effective March 31, 2006 the New Haven manufacturing facility will stop manufacturing the Winchester Model 70, Model 94 and Model 1300.

Winchester Firearms will continue to sell and grow its current line of Select Over &Under shotguns, the new Super X3 autoloading shotgun, the new Super X autoloading rifle and Limited Edition rifles. The company also plans to introduce new models in the future. There will be no change in Customer Service.

FN/Browning will continue warranty and repair service.

See also:
- Winchester to Close Its Factory if it Can't Find Buyer

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January 20, 2006

Weekly Gun Links

"What caliber should my first defensive handgun be?" It's one of the most common questions around, and Chris Byrne gives an excellent, comprehensive answer that looks at all of the considerations.

Cutter looks at gun choice as a religion. Turns out I'm Jewish.

Alphecca has the weekly check on the bias.

Countertop is putting together the Gunnies - a gun-blogging awards program. Nominations are closed, but it should be interesting. There are lots of good gunbloggers out there. I like SayUncle for his mix of gun porn and right to bear arms news. For new gunbloggers, Tamara and Xavier are both great for different reasons - Tamara for her wit and outstanding writing, and Xavier for his in-depth articles and pawnshop finds. And they're both Smith &Wesson fans, which is a major plus in my book.

Reloading - I'm Finally Tempted

Countertop is also blogging about his early attempts at reloading.

Denise at The Ten Ring recalls her early adventures in homebrewing ammo, including a cautionary tale of a squib round. (A squib is an underpowered round which, in the worst case scenario, plugs up the barrel. If you shoot the gun again there's nowhere for the next bullet or the gas behind it, and the gun can blow up).

I love revolvers, but they're more vulnerable to squib problems precisely because they're the only type of gun where a misfire or squib doesn't stop you from immediately pulling the trigger and firing again. If I was going to reload, I wouldn't start by reloading for a double action revolver.

Luckily, after Denise fired one squib the next round was also a squib rather than a full-powered round. Rather than having to replace a gun or sustain an injury she just had to replace a barrel. Otherwise her gun could have wound up like this destroyed Colt Anaconda.

The other major danger with reloading is putting a double powder charge into the case and exceeding the gun's safe operating limits. To avoid that problem most beginners stick to gunpowders so bulky that the case can't hold a double charge. You'll notice the mistake right away because powder is spilling out all over the place. Advanced reloaders who use less bulky powders weigh each round to make sure it's not overcharged. Also, the more-expensive progressive reloading presses help prevent the problem in the first place.

I mostly shoot popular calibers where handloading wouldn't help save much money. I could save a little reloading for my .30-30 Winchester and .303 British, but I figured I'd have to shoot a lot to make back the original investment on the reloading equipment. Then Denise linked to the Lee Loader. And - synchronicity, dude - tonight the Cabela's reloading catalog came in the mail. On page 20 they sell the Lee Loader for just $13.99.

That's four bucks less than I paid for the last box of .303 British I bought. To clarify: that's four bucks less than I paid for a 20 round box of .303 British. I've already got some brass saved up, so if I buy a Lee Loader, some powder, primers, and bullets, I'm in the reloading biz. Amazing. I may or not save much money, but it would be fun for a lark. If I decide to reload, should I step up to something slightly more advanced? I don't want to get too deep into this, but I noticed the Lee Anniversary Reloading Kit is only $69.99 from Cabela's.

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Carnival of Cordite 44

It's up here. Next week is number 45, and will be .45-themed. Gullyborg is bogarting a .45-themed post I sent him this week for next week. (He's got another post of mine up this week, all the same.)

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January 25, 2006

The "Dime Test" for Smith &Wesson Revolver Firing Pin Reach

Test for S&W firing pin light strikes.

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January 27, 2006

Carnival of Cordite .45

Carnival of Cordite number .45 is up. It's a heck of a good issue, too.

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February 03, 2006

Picture of NAA's Mini .32 Prototype


From NAA. The prototype weighs 16 ounces, which is about seven ounces lighter than a J frame S&W in stainless, but an ounce heavier than an aluminum-framed J. Kinda homely now, but I'd expect it to get more sleek as it gets closer to completion. The original specs called for a single action top break, thought it's hard to tell from the picture if that's what this is.

Like I said before, this gun is interesting, but doesn't appeal to me in a world where there are double action J frames.

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Carnival of Cordite

Number 46 is up.

BTW, if you're in the market for a CZ Rami in 9 mm, this seems like an awesome deal. $400 for the gun, four magazines, and two H&D leather holsters. If it was a .40 or some .45 caliber CZ I'd snag it myself.

And here's a CZ-75 in 9 mm with seven magazines for $400.

CZs are great guns at an amazing price.

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February 06, 2006

Speer Snubnose Revolver Ammo

Technical specs and expansion tests for Speer's ammo that was designed for short-barreled revolvers. It was originally formulated for .38 Special, but they're introducing the ammo for other calibers under the SB (for Short Barrel) name. I've been carrying the FBI load (158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow point), but I'm about ready to switch.

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February 10, 2006

Glock Butt

Alphecca has the story of a Louisiana cop whose jacket drawstring got inside the triggerguard of his Glock. The result was an accidental discharge into his butt. A pistol with a five pound trigger pull and no thumb or grip safety or external hammer makes me nervous. Having to pull the trigger to disassemble it is also a bad idea (see the Glock Arm link below). If I ever buy a Glock for serious purposes I'm putting in a heavier trigger.

See also:
- TN Hwy Patrolman Gets Glock Leg
- Anti-Glock Article in the Detroit News
- Glock Arm (Xavier Thoughts)

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New 0.88" Slim Kel-Tec 9 mm

The PF-9 is expected in May, and will probably sell for not much more than the P3At. Unloaded weight is 12.7 ounces.

The PF-9 is a semi-automatic, locked breech pistol, chambered for the 9 mm Luger cartridge. It has been developed from our highly successful P-11 and P-3AT pistols with maximum concealability in mind. The PF-9 has a single stack magazine holding 7 rounds. It is the lightest and flattest 9 mm ever made. Firing mechanism is Double-Action Only with an automatic hammer block safety. The PF-9 will be available in blued, parkerized, and hard chrome finishes. Grips will be in black, grey, and olive drab.

The PF-9 accessory rail will accept the latest compact weapon lights and lasers.

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February 20, 2006

Converting Shotgun Gauge to Caliber Equivalents

From this thread on pros and cons of various shotgun gauges.

10 gauge 0.775"
12 gauge 0.729"
16 gauge 0.662"
20 gauge 0.615"
28 gauge 0.550"
410 bore 0.410"

In shotguns, gauge is equivalent to the number of lead balls of the given diameter necessary to equal one pound. So the bigger the shotgun barrel, the smaller the gauge.

.410 isn't a gauge, it's a caliber. So people typically (and correctly) say, e.g., 12 gauge and .410 bore. More from Chuck Hawks:

If the .410 had been named in the traditional fashion, by the number of lead balls .41 inch in diameter needed to make one pound, it would be about a 67-68 gauge. Many years ago it was also called the 36 gauge, and I have seen a picture of an old box of Remington shells marked "(36 GA.) .410-2 1/2 IN. (12 MM)." However, the "36 Gauge" designation was very inaccurate, as a true 36 gauge gun would actually have a .506 inch bore diameter.
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Getcher Fresh, Hot Jeff Cooper

Right here.

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February 25, 2006

Carnival of Cordite is Up

Right here.

For great gunblogging this week, visit Xavier. He's been on a streak.

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February 28, 2006

Guns of "The Shield"

James Rummel and Brian Lane are trying to ID guns used in the FX show "The Shield." Brian has a collection of screen captures.

Det. Wyms has a short-barreled, full-sized revolver. Judging from that one, distant picture it might be a Smith &Wesson Model 19 with a 2.5" barrel.

I don't have an episode handy to check, but I recall Vick Mackey's backup revolver being a Smith &Wesson 640 Centennial, though it could be the Model 60 Chief's Special. The only difference is the exposed hammer on the 60 versus the fully concealed hammer on the 640. I can't tell from the picture.

It isn't clear from this picture, but Lem's shotgun is a Mossberg. I just watched the Wesley Snipes vampire flick Blade again and realized that the actor who plays Lem, Kenneth Johnson, plays club kid Heatseeking Dennis, who is lured into a nightclub by a female vampire.

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March 14, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #51

It's up at Countertop's.

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March 17, 2006

Springfield 1903 Trivia Challenge

I stopped by Coal Creek Armory tonight to drop off a present for Tamara to go with her Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh.

While I was there I saw the 1903A3 Remington Springfield rifle she traded towards the purchase of the mystery gun. (Tam showed me the mystery gun, but I won't spoil her surprise. LATER: Mystery revealed.) Nice rifle. If Tam had come to me first I probably would have bought it.

M1903A3 Springfield.jpg

So here's the trivia challenge. The 1903 Springfield and its later variants shoot the .30-06 cartridge. The .30-06 ("thirty aught six") is the U.S. .30 caliber cartridge of 1906. The 1903 was adopted in (wait for it) 1903. How is it that a rifle adopted in aught three fires a round from aught six? It's like a freakin' Harry Turtledove novel or something.

No Googling allowed, and don't answer if your name is Tam (who knew the answer on the spot).

Update: The Answer and Lots of Springfield Trivia

Continue reading "Springfield 1903 Trivia Challenge" »

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March 25, 2006

Carnival of Cordite

Gullyborg has the Carnival of Cordite 52 plus a one year best of retrospective.

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March 28, 2006

Scariest "Idiots with Guns" Post Yet

Xavier's latest shows a guy with a loaded Glock aimed at the camera, finger on trigger. Glocks don't have thumb safeties, and from the factory the trigger weight is only about five pounds. Hope that guy doesn't flinch when the camera flash fires.

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April 13, 2006

Buy a Gun Day Purchase - Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine

(Home sick today with the flu. LATER: And I'll blame the flu and fever on all of the typos and grammos in the original article. Fixed and expanded.)

Buy a Gun Day is Saturday, April 15. That was all the excuse I needed when I saw a stack of surplus Lee-Enfields at Coal Creek Armory last week. I picked up this nice little 1944 wartime production Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine.


The British No. 5 Jungle Carbine was a shorter, lighter version of the No. 4 infantry rifle. In order to reduce weight the barrel was shortened, the bayonet mount was simplified, lightening cuts were made in the receiver, and the forward stock was redesigned and shortened to cover less of the barrel.

This one apparently had an interesting history, judging from the Arabic writing on the left side of the stock. Tam says that batch of Enfields came from Pakistan. If anyone knows about British history of that era, I'd appreciate any pointers.

1944. It's a piece of history. That shoots bullets!

Condition-wise, this rifle is excellent. The bluing is outstanding, and the stock rates at least good, with only one well-executed repair to the heel. Most of the metal scratches are confined to the box magazine. By way of comparison, my 1942 Lithgow No. 1 Mk III has almost no finish left on the now-white metal, and numerous stock dings and repairs.

My No. 1 apparently saw a lot of use judging from its condition and the numerous armorer's marks, including the letters FTR (for Factory Thorough Repair, in which the gun was extensively re-worked and worn-out or known defective parts replaced). This No. 5's marks seem to be the ones it originally left the factory with, which may reflect its history as a captured weapon. The one piece which may not be original is the cover over the safety (visible on the far right of the second photo) which has a purple-brownish finish that contrasts with the blue-black finish of the rest of the rifle.

Both of my Lee-Enfields have amazingly smooth bolts that can be flicked back and forth with one finger. Most bolt-action rifles use the Mauser design, with the locking lugs at the front of the bolt. Lee-Enfields have rear-mounted lugs. It seems to make for a faster action. The Lee-Enfield has the reputation of being the fastest bolt action military rifle. The tradeoff is that with the boltface at the front and the locking lugs at the rear the action isn't quite as strong as the Mauser action. It can allow bolt flexing that affects headspace.

Speaking of which, a major difference between the No. 1 and No. 4/5 is that the latter makes it easier to swap out the bolt face to correctly adjust headspace. The 4 and 5 rifles also have rear-mounted, two-position aperture sights instead of forward-mounted open sights, which makes them preferable in my book. The older my eyes get the more I appreciate aperture sights.

The popular saying is that in World War I the German Mauser was the best hunting rifle, the American Springfield was the best target rifle, and the British Lee-Enfield was the best battle rifle, thanks to its fast action and 10 round magazine. Those same rifles appeared again in World War II, though by then the American military had become the first major power to switch to a semi-automatic rifle (the M1 Garand) as its primary infantry rifle.

See also:
- Range Report: Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No. 1 Mk III
- Gun Links #37 - Lee-Enfield Edition
- Enfield Rifles (external, via Tam)
- - See SMLE and Lee-Enfield sections (external)
- 303 Rifle History (external) - encompasses the Lee-Metford, Lee-Enfield, Ross, and P14 rifles

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April 18, 2006

Weekly Gun Nuttery

ArtooOnPatrol2.jpgGullyborg has the Carnival of Cordite 55, with lots of links to Anarchangel's recent spate of high output, excellent stuff.

Cowboy Blog rounds up the gun bloggers Buy a Gun Day purchases. Late addition: Tam's 1883 S&W top break. Some other interesting old guns: Denise's WWII Japanese Nambu pistol, Mostly Cajun's 1910 Canadian Ross straight-pull, and Heartless Libertarian's WWII Remington-Rand 1911. If you missed it, here's my 1944 British Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine.

Gunner notes that Wal-Mart is discontinuing gun sales at some of their stores.

Jeff has the weekly check on the bias, his roundup of gun coverage in the media.

SayUncle fisks an article about Columbine and refutes some gun control myths that have grown up around it.

GeekWithA45 reviews the new CrimsonTrace LaserGrips model 405 for J-framed Smith &Wessons. I have the same 305-equipped S&W 642 as the Geek and R2 there, and I think I'd like the new mid-sized 405 as much as the Geek does.

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April 19, 2006

Blogger Shoot This Sunday

SayUncle has details of the blogger shoot this weekend at Coal Creek Armory.

I plan on brining bringing a couple of Smith &Wesson revolvers. I'll also rent the Desert Eagle .50 and buy the first box of ammo for anyone who wants to shoot the beast with the triangular nose. As seen is movies such as The Matrix, Snatch, Equilibrium, and the little QuickTime dealie up there.

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April 25, 2006

Light Blogging and Notes on the Blogger Shoot

Sorry for the lack of posts. I felt kind of bad Saturday and Sunday, and Monday I called in sick and wound up sleeping until 5:30 in the afternoon.

The blogger shoot Sunday was fun. We shot everything from Tam's 1899 Smith &Wesson topbreak revolver to a fully-automatic MP5 submachinegun. (The S&W's sights were tiny - it was like lining up three hairs.)

The Desert Eagle .50 wasn't as much of a recoil pig I thought it would be. The gas operating system and four pound weight damp a lot of the recoil. Too, the recoil springs weren't as stiff as I had heard.

The only unpleasant part of shooting the beast with the triangular nose was having a half ounce brass case smacking you in the face. After the first two shots I had major flinch from anticipating the ejected brass. One person got a nice half moon cut from the open end of the brass hitting him above the eyebrow. Still waiting on the pics of that.

Incidentally, I was pretty impressed with the Deagle. I had always thought of it as a novelty gun. Once I handled it I realized it was a well-made gun - nice sights, good controls, and a high degree of finish. Now I understand why they cost as much as they do.
Good times. I enjoyed it as always, and it was nice to meet some new faces.

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April 28, 2006

FBI Notes on Misplaced Over-penetration Fears; FBI Miami Shootout

From the FBI's notes on the 10 mm (PDF link).

The fear of over-penetration is a misconception, which was created back when law enforcement was trying to overcome misinformed public resistance to the use of hollowpoint ammunition. In the process, we began to believe it ourselves. First, our lawyers are unaware of any sucessful legal action resulting from the injury of a bystander due to a round over-penetrating the subject. We are aware of numerous incidents of Agents/officers being killed because their round did not penetrate enough (Grogan and Dove, for example). Further, if you examine shooting statistics you will see that officers hit the subject somewhere around 20-30% of the time. Thus 70-80% of shots fired never hit their intended target, and nobody ever worries about them - only the ones that might "over-penetrate" the bad guy. Third, as our testing shows, even the most frangible bullets designed specifically for shallow penetration will plug up when striking wood or wallboard and then penetrate like full metal jacket ammunition. We are aware of successful legal actions where an innocent party has been struck by a shot passing through a wall, but as we have proven, ALL of them will do that.

Grogan and Dove were the two FBI agents killed in the 1986 Miami shootout with a pair of bank robbers named Platt and Matix. Five other agents were wounded. Matix fired only one shot, which missed. Platt did all of the rest of the fighting against the FBI agents and arriving Metro-Dade police officers. He soaked up numerous bullet wounds, including several rounds of 12 gauge 00 buckshot that hit his legs as he wriggled out of a wrecked car, and one 9 mm hollowpoint round that entered through his arm early in the fight and stopped just short of his heart. Platt was pretty much everyone's worst nightmare - ex-military, well-practiced, and unrelenting.

As a result of ammunition failures in Miami, the FBI undertook a program of extensive ammunition testing. The FBI concluded that a minimum of 12 inches of penetration in ballistic gelatin was necessary for reliable incapacitation, and "18 inches is better."

See also:
- Firearms Tactical report on the shootout
- FBI Report on 4/11/1986

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April 30, 2006

Third Ed. of "Standard Catalog of S&W" in Progress

Good news - Jim Supica and Richard Nahas are hard at work finishing up the third edition of The Standard Catalog of Smith &Wesson, their essential reference book for S&W collectors. Even better news - they're soliciting input at the Smith &Wesson Forum. They need everything but pricing ready to go to the publisher by June 1, with pricing by July 15.

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May 10, 2006

Crossing America II Survey

Kim du Toit has posted results from the second edition of "Crossing America." He asked his readers what longgun, handgun, and knives they'd use to cross North America circa 1605. Modern implements were allowed. The rules were that you got 800 rounds of longgun ammo for an unscoped gun, 1,000 rounds of handgun ammo, and two knives in addition to a Swiss army knife. The trip would be expected to last two years.

Here are the results for knives, handguns, and longguns.

I'd probably go with a .357 or .44 revolver. As much as I like S&W I might go with a Ruger for the edge in ruggedness (especially in .44) and ease of disassembly. For the longgun I'd thinking I'd go with a 12 gauge shotgun with rifle sights and a mix of birdshot, buckshot, slugs, and sabots. The shotgun's range is more limited than a rifle, but this would mostly be a game-getting gun, and it's easier to hunt small game with a shotgun. Likewise, the shotgun ammo is heavy, but that's what the pack mule is for. Failing that, I like Kim's idea of a levergun chambered in the same round as the revolver. If one breaks, you can use its ammo in the other gun.

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May 17, 2006

Weekly Gun Nuttery


That's the Mateba MTR-8 revolver, an eight-shot .357 which has the revolving cylinder forward of and below the trigger guard to reduce recoil. Wild stuff.

Jeff Soyer has the Weekly Check on the Bias (complete with a Time magazine reporter who learned to love guns) and Gullyboard has the Carnival of Cordite.

Blake Wylie, professional gun man-model. I wonder if that look is his "Magnum" or "Blue Steel."*

Can't decide which gun board you like best - The Firing Line or The High Road? This thread may help:

The way I see it TFL's more forgiving clearances allow for higher reliability in dusty and muddy environments. THR's direct gas impingement system may allow for higher accuracy, but TFL can shoot "minute of bad guy" at likely urban engagement ranges. As far as terminal effects, a TFL might expand but a THR won't shrink. Sure, TFL has a partially unsupported chamber and is made of plastic, but its lighter weight is a big bonus and it has proven reliability. Buy one of each!
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May 24, 2006

ABC has Former Handgun Control, Inc. Employee Covering NRA

Bartholomew Roberts at The High Road has the details, including links to Jake Tapper's past anti-gun articles for Salon at least had the decency to identify Tapper as a former employee of an anti-gun lobbying group. ABC News doesn't have that compunction, and is putting him on straight news assignments dealing with guns, such as covering the NRA's current efforts to lobby for legislation to keep governments from seizing guns during emergencies, as happened in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

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May 30, 2006

Weekly Gun Nuttery

Gullyborg has this week's Carnival of Cordite.

Jay has a new Marlin .22 I really like. Stainless steel mixed with a grey laminate stock is a combination that's pretty and weatherproof.

Via Kim Du Toit comes this LiveJournal entry of a guy who almost got killed when his neighbor discharged a gun inside their apartment building. Here's the picture from the neighbor's side:


The neighbor claims he forgot he had the .44 Magnum in his pants when he sat on the toilet, and it just went off. Me, I'm not buying it. Modern DA revolvers don't just go off, and neither do modern SA pistols. They have transfer bars or hammer blocks to prevent accidental firing when the gun is dropped or the hammer is struck. The only way to fire them is to pull the trigger. Considering the rest of the arsenal laid out on the vanity, I'm pretty sure the neighbor was practicing looking badass in the mirror with his heaters when he had a negligent discharge. Dumb.

Incidentally, some people are piling on the blogger, accusing him of setting up the whole thing, faking it, being an anti-gun shill, etc. I don't get that impression at all. If anything, the guy is being incredibly cool-headed.

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June 20, 2006

Bitter Bitch vs. David Ignatius

Bitter wins, of course, in fisking his editorial about the NRA's efforts to enact laws to prevent Katrina-style police confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens during an emergency.

The fearsome NRA launched a nationwide campaign last month demanding that every mayor and police chief in America sign a pledge that they won't disarm "law-abiding citizens" in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Am I fearsome? Some of you know me in real life, and I hardly think I come across as fearsome. And for the record, they are asking, not demanding. Demanding creates an image for readers that they are doing it at gun point or something. Oh wait, that's the kind of bias that many anti-gun MSM folks want to express. Fearsome, demanding NRA folks are evil...

The NRA is also proposing federal legislation that would make it a crime for cops to disarm lawfully gun-toting citizens during emergencies. Even by NRA standards, this is a bad idea -- not just divisive but downright dangerous.

Dangerous for law abiding citizens to have guns? But you just said in the previous sentence that they are lawful. Is someone who is lawfully driving a car dangerous? Is someone who lawfully uses a kitchen knife dangerous? Why is someone who lawfully uses a firearm dangerous?

Does the gun lobby really want to remake America in the image of Iraq?

Considering Saddam controlled who had guns in Iraq, I think that's exactly what this type of legislation is designed to avoid.

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June 26, 2006

Strong Enough For a Man (But Made for a Woman)



Better living through feminine hygiene products.

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July 07, 2006

Maxwell Smart's AR-7 Rifle

Wild. The owner bought it at a gun show from a guy who claimed it had been used on the "Get Smart" TV show. He bought it, not really believing the story, but has since confirmed it was true.

"On top is Max's version of the Armalite AR-7 and on the bottom is the standard AR-7"

See also:
- Range Report: Armalite AR-7 Rifle (.22)

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July 10, 2006

Old vs. New Ruger Vaqueros

Jim March explains the difference between the two and what it means. I didn't quite get it before.

He also has a good explanation of the difference between transfer bar and hammer block safeties, if you're not clear on that, or if you've ever wondered why old West sixguns were carried with only five rounds. That was portrayed with wonderful realism in David Webb People's script for Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven.

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July 21, 2006

Chinese Company to Revive MG Autos

A Chinese company has purchased MG and will revive the brand, with some cars made in China, some in Britain, and some in the U.S.

I won't say it couldn't work. The Chinese have been successful at selling reproductions of American antiques and even reproductions of American guns. Some of those guns weren't made anymore because they were older designs (like the 1895 Winchester shotgun, 1896 Mauser pistol, or 1887 Winchester shotgun) that required too much handcrafting to be made profitably by a U.S. company with U.S. labor. The one question mark here is how economical this will be with British and U.S. workers assembling some of the cars.

P.S. The Chinese guns are made by Norinco. I won't buy any Norinco because of the company's horrendous ethical violations. Those violations are detailed in Norinco's Wikipedia entry, and include illegally importing and selling 2000 fully automatic weapons to undercover agents posing as Mafia in 1994 (and offering mortars, anti-aircraft missiles, and other weapons) and selling "missile-related goods" to Iran in 2003, which led the Bush administration to impose a two-year ban on Norinco imports. Besides all that, any money spent on Norinco guns goes directly to China's military industry.

P.P.S. That Wikipedia entry links to Nazarian's Gun's (sic) Recognition Guide in Norway. It's a great site, reminiscent of the Russian if not quite as developed.

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Carnival of Cordite

I'm behind on my gunblogging posts, but the latest gun blogger's carnival is up at Mr. Completely's.

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July 26, 2006

Brass Fetcher's Ballistic Testing


Brass Fetcher does amateur ballistic testing in ballistic gelatin. Check your favorite caliber and loads to see how they perform. If you ever wondered why people still use 12 gauge, here's your answer. Brass Fetcher does the proper testing procedure of calibrating his gelatin using a BB fired into the medium, then correcting his final results based on the BB's penetration.

The results for the .38 Special re-affirmed my faith in my favorite .38 Special load - a 158 grain semi-wadcutter lead hollowpoint nicknamed the "FBI load" since back in the days when the FBI still issued revolvers. It has the right amount of penetration, and expansion to 0.6 inches, even when test-fired from a 2" snubnose. Brassfetcher also tested the newer Speer 135 grain GoldDot Short Barrel, which did almost as well from the same snubnose barrel.

More about the FBI test he refers to is here. As a result of that testing and the Miami-Dade shootout the FBI recommends a gun/cartridge combination that achieves 12 inches of penetration in ballistic gelatin.

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July 27, 2006

New Smith &Wesson Bear Guns

163463ES_hp.jpgIn a triumph of marketing over practicality, Smith &Wesson has introduced Emergency Survival Kits with "Waterproof Storm® Case, Blast Match™ Firestarter and WetFire tender, Saber Cut™ Saw with fabric sheath, Jet Scream™ whistle, Star Flash™ signal mirror, Polaris® compass, two MPI Mylar Space® Emergency Blankets, Smith &Wesson Extreme Ops Liner Lock Folding Knife with Black Sheath, "Bear Attacks of the Century - True Stories of Courage and Survival" book by Larry Mueller and Marguerite Reiss."

Oh, and it includes a gun. A Smith &Wesson gun. Now you see the fiendishly clever plan from those bright bulbs in marketing. "There's a prize in the box, and the prize shoots bullets." You can have your choice of a S&W .460 or .500 Magnum in candy-colored yellow, orange, or red Hogue Monogrips. Collect all six!

I don't want one, but I have no doubt people will buy them.

I saw that kit at the S&W exhibit at the NRA convention, next to the TR M22 I played with. The salesman was explaining how great the thing was to some kid with a bad complexion.

I tend to agree with the folks on that thread who'd prefer the existing 4" guns to these 2.75" jobs. Those barrels are just too short to get full use out of those cartridges, and I'd rather have the extra weight out front, along with the compensator. Then again I don't have a use for a .500 Magnum anyway, so no one cares what I think.

Just to compare fps, a 2.5" bbl 500 S&W will do about 1140 fps with 400gr bullet @ about 50,000psi. A 500 S&W with a 4" bbl will do about 1450 fps @ the same 50,000 psi.

Bonus! - Markos ponders the S&W 327 Tactical.

Two-tone Bonus! - black ion finish on a stainless S&W .500 Magnum


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July 28, 2006

Smith &Wesson 67

I've become a fan of the Smith &Wesson Model 64. It's the stainless steel version of the Military and Police (Model 10) that's been made forever. It's a timeless design - a K frame S&W in .38 Special with fixed sights. What makes them sweet is that many were made when S&W was cranking out high-quality guns with mirror-polish finishes, crisp lettering, and good wood. Many of them have pinned barrels.* There are some fascinating 64s out there at prices that are bargain basement compared to some other S&Ws.

The 67 is the 64 with adjustable sights. (Or, depending on how you look at it, the 67 is the stainless steel version of the Model 15.) I like my 64s, but on a gun with a 4" barrel I'd rather have the adjustable sights of the 67.


This Model 67 on Gunbroker has great proportions and is giving me that old familiar "me wantie" feeling. It has the tapered barrel more commonly seen on Magnum-chambered S&Ws. The serial number of the gun matches the serial number on the cardboard box, and I'll bet it matches the serial number on the inside of the grips. (Based on other S&Ws I've had, the company was serial numbering the grips to the gun as late as 1979.) I like it.

This Model 67 was sent back to S&W to have a white outline rear sight installed, and a red ramp insert installed on the front sight. The gun includes the letter requesting the change.

* I couldn't find a good Web reference for pinned barrels, so here goes. On Smith &Wesson revolvers the barrels are threaded and screw into the frame. On older S&Ws there were transverse holes through the barrel and frame. During assembly the barrel was screwed into the frame until the two holes aligned. Then a roll pin was inserted into the hole to hold the barrel into place. On newer S&Ws the barrel is "crush fit" into the frame until tight, which is a simpler and therefore cheaper way to fit barrels to frames.

Some people say that pinned barrels were better - if only theoretically - because they relieved stress on the barrel (somehow). I think that to collectors pinned barrels simply represent the older, more labor-intensive way of doing things, and to collectors the old way is the better way, because they don't make 'me that way any more.

P.S. For Magnum cartridges, the pinned-barrel guns also had recessed chambers. In most revolvers the cartridge rim catches on the edge of the cylinder. On recessed chamber guns the chamber is countersunk, so that the cartridge rim is flush with the edge of the cylinder. This was originally done for balloon head cartridges, which tended to rupture. Recessing the cartridge head enveloped the casehead to reduce the chance of injury to the shooter. Balloon head cartridges haven't been made in 50 years. Nowadays S&W only uses recessed chambers for rimfire cartridges. Guns with pinned barrels and recessed chambers are referred to as "pinned and recessed", or P&R for short.

Bonus! - Do you wanna know why people like Smith &Wesson?

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August 02, 2006

AR vs AK Ad Nauseam

roscoe on the biweekly AR vs AK thread at The High Road:

There are lots of threads here and at TFL on this topic. Be ready for the mud to sling in all directions.

I will condense the opposing positions for you:

1. The AR is a tempermental, finnicky tool that will only cycle through a full magazine when blessed personally by the pope, plus it shoots a round that won't even stop a well-fed hamster. The AK can be filled with concrete and it will still fire 10,000 rounds without a stoppage. Plus, it shoots a man's round.

2. The AK is so inaccurate that you couldn't hit a barn from the inside with a full magazine. It was made by communist slaves who used rocks to assemble the receivers, in the dark. The round has such a curved trajectory that you have to aim at a target's hat to hit his feet at 150 yards. On the other hand, the AR is a precision weapon that can hit a matchhead at 600 yards consistently, and should have night vision, IR, a red-dot scope, a tactical sling, and a tactical flashlight, making you a single-man ninja army.

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August 03, 2006

Pics of the NAA .32 Break-top Revolver

According to the company president's page this is basically what the new gun will look like, with small changes to the hammer and triggerguard. The picture at least answers the question of how it tips up (it wasn't clear from earlier pictures). That cylinder rod looks sort of fragile to me. It's not clear how it ejects, but I'm having a hard time imagining it would be an elegant-type operation.


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August 04, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #68

It's up at Gullyborg. I finally remembered to submit something this week.

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August 24, 2006

Standard Catalog of Smith &Wesson 3rd Ed. Announced

The third edition of Nahas and Supica's Standard Catalog of Smith &Wesson is available for pre-order. You can request an autographed copy, which is what I did. Jim Supica solicited information and steering advice from Smith &Wesson Forum members in creating the third edtion.

Bonus! - Smith &Wesson has an official FAQ which includes links to PDF versions of their manuals.

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August 29, 2006

S&W Pre-WWII Grip Identification

XavierBreath has a guide to pre-WWII Smith &Wesson grips. Good stuff.

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September 05, 2006

Wolf Ammo at Coal Creek Armory

CCA has Wolf 7.62 x 39 ammo at a good price. Get it while it lasts.

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September 06, 2006

Things That Destroy Bluing

In The High Road gunsmithing section someone asked for suggestions for household products to remove a gun's bluing. (I'm guessing the guy wanted to strip the gun to bare metal before applying an all-new finish.)

Color me surprised at all of the things mentioned in that thread that would remove bluing from a gun.

- Ammonia
- White vinegar
- Comet
- Naval jelly
- Muric acid
- Lime Away

Apparently even mild acids will remove bluing. Now this makes it sound like bluing dissolves if you make a joke at its expense. Bluing is more durable than that list suggests as long as you don't store it in the pickle jar, but I do like stainless steel and the new, improved finishes for carbon steel.

Bonus!- Glock's highly durable and corrosion-resistant Tenifer finish, BTW, is a form of case-hardening. There's an entire Web site called devoted to metal finishes, firearms and otherwise.

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September 14, 2006

Jeff Cooper

From ColtCCO via Uncle:

I had been worried before, and according to Pat Rogers, The Colonel has had a massive heart attack and has signed a DNR order. He is apparently not long for this world.

Cooper, a veteran of WWII and Korea, invented modern pistol shooting, the color codes, the four rules of gun safety, the scout rifle concept, and innumerable other ideas. He was a prolific writer and founded the Gunsite shooting school. He stopped writing his commentaries after the April/May edition, which led a lot of us to worry about his health.

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September 15, 2006

Tamara on the Montreal Shootings

The killing spree at a Montreal college campus reminds Tamara why she carries a gun:

I ain't goin' out like that. Whether it's some Columbine wannabe who's heard the backward-masked messages on his Marilyn Manson discs, distressed daytrader off his Prozac, homegrown Hadji sympathetic with his oppressed brothers in Baghdad, or a bugnuts whackjob picking up Robert Frost quotes transmitted from Langley on the fillings in his molars, I am going to do my level best to smoke that goblin before my carcass goes on the pile. I am not going to go out curled into a fetal ball and praying for help that won't arrive in time.

Read the whole thing.

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September 22, 2006

Has Anyone Tried Smart Lock Triggerlocks?


If they work worth a flip they'd be hard to beat for $20. Click the image for the Web site.

The reason I'm interested in these is the anti-theft cable attachment (shown on the Web site). Seems like a handy thing for car storage, and I like the fact that they don't require a key.

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September 25, 2006

Jeff Cooper, 1920-2006

"An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it."
 -- Jeff Cooper

"The rifle is a weapon. Let there be no mistake about that. It is a tool of power, and thus dependent completely upon the moral stature of its user. It is equally useful in securing meat for the table, destroying group enemies on the battlefield, and resisting tyranny. In fact, it is the only means of resisting tyranny, since a citizenry armed with rifles simply cannot be tyrannized.

"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."

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September 28, 2006

If Oleg Volk's Gun Photos are Gun Porn...

then Tam's gunwriting is Penthouse Letters. Combine them, and you get this piece on the Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifle.

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October 10, 2006

New Springfield Armory EMP (Enhanced Micro Pistol) 1911


This is interesting. It's a 1911 made specifically for short cartridges (9 mm, .40 S&W, .45 GAP) and sized to match. The picture above shows the EMP compared to a comparable short-barreled 1911. From The High Road.

Bonus! - This Kimber is a wicked CCW gun, with no hammer or sights to snag on.

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October 11, 2006

The Intangible Part of Shooting

Uncle, back from the Gunblogger Rendezvous in Reno, writes:

I had an epiphany of sorts in Reno. No matter what I do, how hard I try, or what I know: I just don’t like AKs. Period. Can’t help it.

I have a nice AK (see pics here) and I should like it. ... But I don’t. I don’t like how they feel. I don’t enjoy shooting them. It has nothing to do with them not being fine weapons. I guess, my dislike of it is more aesthetic/ergonomic in nature. I’ll probably unload it at the next gun show.

In comments, I told Uncle how he feels about AKs is how I feel about Glocks. I'll concede intellectually that Glocks are incredibly reliable and durable. They're also remarkably corrosion resistant, not unfairly priced, lightweight, available in a huge assortment of frame sizes and calibers, and have an embarrassment of aftermarket parts, accessories, and qualified gunsmiths who know how to work on them. Despite all that, and despite having shot eight or 10 different Glock models, I've never bought one because they just don't move me. The only one I feel like I shoot well with is the model 30.

The handguns I like - S&W revolvers, 1911s, CZs, SIGs - are guns with great triggers, sights, and ergonomics that keep me hitting the X ring. If a gun can't do that - and make me enjoy it - I won't buy it. Townsend Whelen captured it, in part, when he said, "Only accurate rifles are interesting." Only enjoyable guns are interesting, maybe. There's a reason the almost-century old Colt 1911 is still going strong - a gun with great pointability, great balance, and a great trigger is still a great gun, in any century.

This will be anathema to people who aren't part of the gun culture, but part of the appeal of shooting for some of us is pleasure. Shooting a well-designed, well-crafted gun and shooting it well is pleasurable. Some people will find that idea shocking. Others will nod knowingly.

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October 12, 2006

SmartLock Triggerlock Review by Mike

A few weeks ago I asked about the SmartLock triggerlock as a possible solution for secure car storage when used with the optional cable. Mike of FecesFlingingMonkey was nice enough to buy and review it.


As promised, I picked up one of those Maglocs and had a good look at it. My impressions:

1) Overall, it is fairly well made, and should hold up well so long as it is not abused. It seems to be about as strong as any comparable lock, maybe a bit better than some.

2) There is a cryptographic weakness in the design that makes it much easier to brute-force the combination than you might expect. This may or may not be an issue for you, depending on your circumstances. I'd expect that I could open one of these in maybe two hours, on average.

3) The biggest drawback is that the operating sequence is more complex than I'd like. In addition to the numbers, it has a button on the left side, a button on the bottom, and something that looks like a button on the front. After you press in the combination, the button on the side will open the lock, the button on the bottom will reset all the buttons,
and the thing that looks like a button will, of course, do nothing.

The problem? When they occasional user of this product is scared, they will first push in the combination, and then there is a very good chance that they will press the wrong button afterwards. Either they will wonder why the fake button on the front doesn't work, or perhaps they will press the bottom button and reset all the pins. My rule of thumb for functioning under pressure is to assume that you are wearing gloves and your IQ dropped forty points. I would not want to try to open this lock under pressure.

It'd be fine for child-level security for an unloaded firearm, which is what the instructions say it is rated for. I'd go with a top-quality lockbox for a defensive arm.

(On a related note... some of the lockboxes I've seen use closed-cell foam to hold the gun. For some reason, this stuff has an incredible ability to cause rust. Always replace it with something else, like oiled fleece or cloth).
 -- Mike

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October 16, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #76

It's posted here.

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October 29, 2006

"Only One Gun"

Anarchangel has an interesting variation on the "only one gun" theme: which gun would you choose for each of these categories?

1. Rimfire Handgun - I don't have much passion on this one. My Browning Buckmark would be fine, but so would a Ruger Mark II/III with a good trigger job or replacement trigger. (Countertop has a Mark II with an amazing trigger.) I'm tempted by a K-frame S&W .22 revolver.

2. Rimfire rifle - My Winchester 170. It's not necessarily the best, and I wouldn't expect anyone else to choose it, but it was my first gun and I don't ever plan on selling it.

3. Centerfire hunting rifle - No strong feelings here, either. I'd probably sneak in the Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine.

4. Centerfire carbine (either hunting or defensive) - Probably an AR-15, if I could think of a reason I'd use one. I tend to think the cheaper Kel-Tec SU-16 has more practical uses, and it uses the same ammo and magazines.

5. Shotgun - My Mossberg 500 pump in 12 gauge suits me fine, and I've got both a slug barrel and trap/field barrel for it. The only reason I'd want anything else is if I took up skeet and wanted to be competitive with the guys running $10,000 over/unders.

6. Battle rifle - M1 Garand. As with the AR-15, I don't have much practical use for a gun like this, but the Garand has historical value, and many clubs sponsor Garand matches that are beginner-friendly. This is on my near-term buy list.

7. Milsurp rifle or handgun - Probably a 1911 (I'm sort of cheating it in here), but my SKS is an awfully handy and inexpensive trunk gun. A trunk gun would a good 10th category.

8. Pocket gun/Concealed carry handgun - My S&W 642, a small, snub-nosed, 15 oz .38 revolver.

9. Open carry handgun/service pistol/general duty sidearm - Probably my S&W 686 .357 revolver, though I'm tempted to go with something shorter than its 6" barrel.

UPDATE: I forgot that I was supposed to pick one gun if I could only have one. I'd go with a .357 Magnum revolver with a 3" barrel. Powerful, versatile, and it'll fit in a pants pocket if it has to. My 3" 64 .38 Special is almost there, but I'd probably swap it for a 3" 66 in .357 Magnum with adjustable sights.

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November 03, 2006

It'll Be Awesome

So last night I was replying to a question at The High Road about picking a .357 Magnum revolver. It grew pretty big, so I decided to make it a blog post. It grew bigger.

This morning I woke up and realized it needed a another section or two, and a couple more pictures. I can't finish it before I go to work so I'm bumping it until Monday.

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November 06, 2006

It'll Be Awesome, Part 2: Promises, Promises

Another delay on the .357 Magnum post. The UT game stuff was more timely. Mañana, mañana.

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It'll Be Awesome, Part 3: The Big Tease

Not much time to work on the S&W buying guide tonight, and I have to vote in the morning.

But look! It'll have graphics.


P.S. Does anyone have a good illustration of round vs. square butt frames? I'd love to have one.

UPDATE: Ask and ye shall receive.


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November 07, 2006

It'll Be Awesome, Part 4: The Longest Post

I made some more progress tonight with the text for the S&W revolver buying guide, and made a new graphic.


P.S. When I finally finish the project I'll probably delete these teaser posts.

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November 08, 2006

Now That's a Fast Reload

Travis Tomasie. He loads a new magazine before the old one hits the ground. Moving faster than 9.8 m/s2 is a nice trick.

P.S. I wonder if he's related to Rolo Tomasie from LA Confidential?

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November 10, 2006

It'll Be Awesome, Part 5: Copyproof with Me

Here's a preview of one section of the S&W buyer's guide. Any suggestions or corrections welcome.

Barrel length

Barrel length is a tradeoff. Longer barrels give gunpowder more time to burn, which delivers higher velocities. They also have longer sight radiuses so it's easier to shoot them accurately. On the other hand, shorter barrels are lighter and handier. In defensive guns another advantage of a short barrel is that they give an adversary less gun to grab onto during a struggle.

  • Two inch and two and a half inch snubnoses make great carry guns. In smaller frames snubnoses are small enough for pocket carry.
  • Four inches is a good all-around barrel length. It's by far the most common barrel length in police issue guns.
  • Four inches is a good all-around barrel length for everything except concealed carry, where it's a bit long. Four inches is by far the most common barrel length in police issue guns and medium-sized guns.
  • Three inch guns are pretty sweet, too, and right now I slightly prefer them. For .357 Magnum three inches is preferable to shorter barrels because the ejector rod is long enough to guarantees positive ejection.
  • Five inch guns are also somewhat uncommon
  • Six inch and longer barrels are very pleasant when shooting .357 and other heavy calibers. The long barrel puts weight out front that helps reduce muzzle rise. Long barrels are unwieldy to tote around in anything but an open carry belt holster, so they're primarily useful for range use and hunting.

Incidentally, revolver and autoloading pistol barrels are measured differently. With autos, the barrel length includes the chamber. Revolver barrel lengths indicate the barrel only, and don't include the chamber/cylinder length. A revolver with a four inch barrel is roughly equal in length to an automatic with a five inch barrel.

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November 11, 2006

New Digs for Freedom Sight

Jed has moved his blog to

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November 12, 2006

Knox Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert Outdraws Bad Guy

From Stacey Campfield via Tamara.

The customer went out side to smoke a cigarette. Lumpy went outside to tell him it was time to do some paper work. When the man came back in Lumpy had a bad feeling and had his hand on his gun he keeps on him at most all times. The man started to pull his gun.....Bad move. Lumpy does quick draw competitions for fun and had his gun pointing down the criminals throat before the criminal had his own gun half drawn. After some harsh words the criminal dropped his gun.

He began to ask for his drivers license back but Lumpy told him to get out and be happy he got out alive. The police caught up to him a few hours later and he confessed.

Lambert was apparently wearing his "Friends of the NRA" hat at the time. This is what gunwriter Massad Ayoob likes to call "a failure of the victim selection process."

NOV 13 UPDATE: Today's Knoxville News-Sentinel has the details.

A LITTLE LATER: Betty Bean has an even better writeup in the Halls Shopper.

NOV 14: Betty Bean found the suspect's MySpace page.

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November 13, 2006


The Wookieepedia, "a Star Wars encyclopedia that anyone can edit."

I liked this trivia bit from The Empire Strikes Back:

Great secrecy surrounded the fact that Darth Vader was Luke's father. David Prowse, who spoke all of Vader's lines during filming, was told to say, "Obi-Wan killed your father", and, until the film premiered, only George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Mark Hamill and James Earl Jones knew what would really be said. Jones later reported that his reaction to the line was, "Oh, he's lying!"

And for all my gun nut friends out there here's an index of Star Wars weapons. I knew that Han Solo's blaster prop was based on the C96 "Broomhandle" Mauser. I didn't realize the stormtrooper's blaster prop was based on the Sterling submachine gun.

  • Return of the Jedi had script help from David Webb Peoples, who wrote Unforgiven and who wrote the screenplay for Bladerunner and Twelve Monkeys.
  • "David Lynch, with a Best Director nomination for the 1980 film The Elephant Man was approached by Lucas to helm Return of the Jedi, but he declined and went on to direct Dune."
  • "Another wardrobe problem is shown when Oola's breast flops out of her costume, just before she is dropped into the rancor pit (at 0:13:45 on DVD) . This problem is present in all versions of the film."

I checked the DVD and it's true. Here's a wardrobe malfunction screencap.

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November 14, 2006

It'll Be Awesome, Part 6: You're a Good Copyeditor, Charlie Brown

Part of the ongoing project to build an S&W buyer's guide.

Model names, model numbers, and "dash numbers"

You'll sometimes see the same gun referred to by a model name (such as the Military and Police) and a model number (the Model 10). In the past S&W used names, but starting in 1957 they switched to model numbers.

What constitutes a different model? It depends, and is best illustrated by example. Take the Model 10 as a starting point. It's a K frame .38 Special, blued steel with fixed sights. The 64 is the 10, but made from stainless steel. (All models that begin with 6 are stainless.) The 15 is the 10, but with adjustable sights. The 14 is the same as the 15, but with different sights and (generally) a longer barrel. The 17 is more or less the 15, but chambered for .22 instead of .38, and so on.

To see a modern gun's model number open the cylinder. The model number will be stamped in the area covered by the cylinder crane (hinge).


Even within a model, S&W makes changes over time. The gun above is marked "???". That indicates the ???th revision to that model, a "dash ???.". The first version of a model doesn't have a model number, and you'll sometimes see such a gun referred to as a "no dash."

What constitutes a different dash number?

A short list of past reasons for dash changes include a change of grips, the switch from square to round butt, the inclusion of a Master lock, inclusion of the frame lock, changes in barrel length and finish options, change in cylinder latch style, and enginering changes to fix problems previously fixed on a recall basis.

scsw3rded.jpgI'm not aware of an online source of dash number information. I look up that information in The Standard Catalog of Smith &Wesson (SCSW) by Jim Supica and Richard Nahas. It's a wonderful history of S&W guns and includes a listing of dash number changes for each model. All serious S&W enthusiasts and collectors should have a copy. Most stores have the second edition, but a third edition is complete and is slated to ship in January, 2007. I used the book for reference when writing this guide.

An overview of model numbers

There's an extensive treatment of this in the SCSW, 2nd ed., pp. 122-123. Here's the quickie version I keep in my head. There are exceptions here and there, as S&W ran out of numbers or had to shoehorn oddball models into cubbyholes.

1X - blued and nickel K frames
2X - blued and nickel N frames
3X - blued and nickel J frames
5X - blued and nickel, various frame sizes
6X - stainless steel, various frame sizes

2XX - L frame AirLites (aluminum frames, titanium cylinders)
3XX - various frame size AirLites (aluminum or scandium-aluminum frames and scandium-aluminum or titanium cylinders)
4XX - J frame aluminum frames, carbon steel cylinders
5XX - blued and nickel steel, various frame sizes
6XX - stainless steel, various frame sizes

Listing of major model numbers from

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November 15, 2006

Lee-Enfield Goodness

Bought off of tonight: Lee-Enfield Butstock Cleaning Kit Original, Lee Enfield Mechanism- Colour Picture Book, and Lee-Enfield Bandoleer. When the cleaning kit and cleaning rope arrive I'll pack them into the stock's trapdoor using this article at Smelly SMLE Shooters as a guide.

I knew that SMLE stood for "Short Magazine Lee-Enfield," but I always thought the "short" meant a short magazine. Now thanks to a very nice Lee-Enfield history I've discovered it's actually the Rifle, "Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield" and is meant to be read backwards as the Lee-Enfield, Magazine, Short Rifle. So it's the rifle that's short (relative to its fencepost predecessors), not the magazine, which was quite large for the turn of the 20th century.

If you like the Lee-Enfield, you'll probably enjoy this article on extractor types at

First let's consider the umbiquitous Lee Enfield. The oldest of the designs still in widespread circulation and by far and away the best military bolt action produced.

It is probably still the most common rifle in Southern Africa apart from the AK47. The Lee action is not noted for its strength and only the Mk IV or V actions have the strength for a cartridge as “hot” as a .308. I dislike the safety, the comb is too low for comfortable use unless a cheekpeice is fitted etc, etc. On the plus side though I have never used any other bolt action rifle which could be fired as quickly, or reloaded as quickly as the Lee. There are two reasons for this phenomenal speed of fire (I have witnessed 10 shots in 10 seconds with all rounds hitting a man sized target at 100m). Most importantly is the fact that the bolt handle is located BEHIND the strong hand. As you take your finger off the trigger after firing you move your hand up and backwards, whilst on chambering the round the hand moves naturally from the bolt to the trigger. On almost all other rifles you have to move your hand forward from the trigger to reach the bolt handle. The other reason is that the Lee cocks on closing, significantly reducing the force needed to open the bolt. It must also be noted that despite all the arguments you might hear about the need for an accurate rifle to have a quick lock time, front locking lugs and a one piece stock, I have seen many more accurate target rifles built on Lee actions than I ever have on Mausers.

Given the right ammo (and/ or barrel) and a shootist who knows how to follow through during the (relatively) long striker fall, a Lee Enfield rifle will always outshoot a Mauser despite all the theoretical disadvantages. They are also one of the easiest rifles to keep clean, since the breech face is exposed. Not that they require cleaning to work, and will keep firing long after a Mauser or even an AK has clogged up. The main failure of the Lee action is its extractor. A small claw like affair, which always works unless you have a bulged cartridge or have broken the spring. Bulged or oversized factory rounds are a thing of the past, but go into any gun shop, however, and ask them what is the most common repair needed on a Lee, and they will tell you that it is a broken extractor spring, and that if you want one they are still awaiting the next shipment from South Africa. All in all the Lee Enfield is a fantastic action for a working man's plainsgame rifle. It may not be as "Strong" in terms of withstanding overloads as other designs, but it is easily the most rugged, and will withstand far more abuse/neglect than any other type.

Another, minor advantage of the Lee-Enfield is that because of the relationship of the bolt handle to the trigger it's possible to work the bolt with the thumb and forefinger and pull the trigger with the middle finger.

See also:
- Gun Links #37 - Lee-Enfield Edition
- Range Report: Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No. 1 Mk III
- Buy a Gun Day Purchase - Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine
- History of the Enfield Rifle (external)

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November 16, 2006

It'll Be Awesome, Part 7: Return of the (J)edi, Return of the (K)ing, '(L)ectric Boogaloo, and Revolutio(N)s

The latest proof installment of the Smith &Wesson revolver buying guide. Comments and criticism welcome.

Frame sizes


Smith &Wesson builds their .357s on four frames sizes. (They have a fifth frame size, the X frame, that's used for the .500 Magnum and .460 Magnum.) These are the frame sizes in increasing size, showing how many rounds of .38/.357 they hold.

FrameWeight in Steel
2" or 2.5" barrel
Capacity in .357/.38
J22 ounces5 shot
K32 ounces6 shot
L35 ounces6 or 7 shot*
N??? ounces6 or 8 shot**

* 686, 681, 586, and 581 are 6 shot, the 386, 686+, 520, 619, and 620 are 7 shot
** The high-priced, occasionally-produced 627 Performance Center guns are 8 shot and are marked .357 Mag 8X on the barrel. Clint Eastwood used a limited-run snubnose version in Blood Work. Performance Center guns are semi-custom models made on a limited basis. The 627 isn't offered in 2006, but several AirLite 327s are available from the Performance Center.

J frames
The Js use a coil spring trigger, and most people find the trigger isn't as smooth as the leaf spring triggers in the larger guns. The sights on fixed sight J frames are also very tiny and hard to see. The light weight also affects practical accuracy, as heavier guns are less affected by shaky hands and hasty trigger pulls. Clearly, these are not target pistols.

What they are is small, lightweight, and handy. That makes these guns favorites for concealed carry, particularly in a 2 inch snubnose. The snubnoses are so popular, in fact, that S&W offers them in a variety of hammer configurations for concealed carry. The snubnoses like the 60, 640, and 649 are great CCW guns. (The 60 is a Chief's Special model with an exposed hammer, the 640 is a Centennial model with a fully-concealed hammer that won't snag on clothes or collect pocket lint, and the 649 is a Bodyguard model with a shrouded hammer that can be cocked.)

There's also the Kit Gun configuration. A Kit Gun in S&W parlance is a J frame with adjustable sights and a three inch or longer barrel. It's meant to be thrown into a backpack or tackle box as part of your kit (in the British sense of "gear"). Kit guns were originally .22s, like the stainless model 63. The Kit Gun 60 is available in 3 inch and 5 inch barrel lengths.

Stainless J frames work great for ankle carry, jacket pocket carry, and any kind of belt holster carry. Most people agree that the steel guns are a bit heavy for routine pocket carry. For pocket carry you may prefer the AirLite guns built with scandium-aluminum alloy frames and titanium cylinders. In snubnose J frames they weigh about 12 ounces. Shooting .357 Magnum rounds in a 12 ounce gun produces impressive recoil, and some people find they don't like it. If possible, shoot one of these guns before buying it. Because of the recoil, lightweight bullets have been known to "jump crimp" (pull out of the cartridges in unfired chambers), which can potentially bind the cylinder. S&W recommends using 125 grain or heavier bullets. The AirLites cost roughly $150-200 more than their steel frame equivalents.

If you want a gun for concealed carry and are OK with .38 Special instead of .357 Magnum, the AirWeight J frames are great picks. In place of the expensive and exotic AirLite materials, the AirWeights use plain aluminum frames and stainless steel cylinders. They're much less expensive, at about $350-400. Weight is about 15 ounces, which is about three ounces more than the AirLites. You have your choice of a Chief's Special (637), Bodyguard (638), and Centennial (642). I chose the model with Crimson Trace LaserGrips to make up for the small fixed sights. Buy one and you, too, can join the ever-growing 642 club.

K and L frame
The K and L are the mid-sized frames, and are probably your best bet for one gun that does everything. The 65 and 66 were Ks. The 681, 686, 619, 620, and 520 are Ls.

The 65, 619, and 681 have fixed sights, those others are adjustable. The fixed sights on these models are more usable than on the J frames, and the adjustable sights are fantastic.

The K frame was once a popular choice in .357 Magnums, but Smith has discontinued them. Legend has it that K frames that were fed a steady diet of many thousands of full-power .357 Magnum loads would "shoot loose." The forcing cone at the breech end of the barrel was also apparently prone to cracking with full-power loads, particularly with lightweight bullets such as 110 grain, which struck the forcing cone with higher velocities. I will note that some people dispute this, and say they haven't had any problems even after firing many thousands of rounds.

At any rate, S&W created the slightly beefier L frame to address the issue. In 2005 they discontinued the last of the K frame .357 Magnums. Some people still prefer the K frames, which are slightly smaller and lighter than the Ls. The 19, 65, and 66 were and are excellent guns. They were very popular in their day, and they're easy to find on the used market. The K frame is still available in .38 Special as the fixed sight 64 and adjustable sight 67. Taking the advice of people who say the 3" round butt K frame is the ultimate fighting revolver, I bought an older version of the 3" 64. It really is a remarkably well-balanced gun in a handy size..

If you want the lightest gun in this size, look no further than the AirLite 386 at 18.5 ounces.


Handles, grips, and butts
The J frame has the smallest handle, and is comfortable even for people with tiny hands. The K and L frame are slightly larger. K and L frame handles are larger, and can share the same grips. The N frame handle is too large for some people's hands. S&W seems to have learned their lesson - even though the X frame is bigger than the N, it has a smaller handle. It's actually the same size as the K and L, and can share grips with them.

One more thing about grips. Older S&Ws have square butt frames. Newer S&Ws have round butt frames, which better accommodate smaller hands. If you're buying aftermarket grips for your gun, make sure you know which butt style your gun has and buy grips to match. Except for a few retro models all new S&Ws have round butts.


Obsolete frame sizes

Armchairgunshow (by SCSW author Jim Supica) has this pictural overview of frame sizes and this description of some obsolete frame sizes.

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November 18, 2006

Standard Catalog of S&W, 3rd Edition

Amazon is listing a January, 2007 release date. That was news to author Jim Supica, who was told it would be in time for Christmas, but he called his publisher and confirmed it.

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November 21, 2006

Abercrombie and Fitch Used to Sell Guns?

I knew that Western Auto and Sears sold guns under their own house brand names.

But A&F? I just think of them as a mall rat fashion store, but before they went bankrupt and someone bought the rights to the name they were apparently an outfitter's store with their own Abercrombie and Fitch-branded guns. I didn't know that.

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November 22, 2006

"Mayors Against Illegal Guns" Mayor Convicted on Gun Charges

From the Cybercast News Service via The High Road:

A Mississippi mayor has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor weapons charges after carrying a handgun on church and school property, and a gun rights group thinks now would be a good time for him to step down from Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, a Democrat, pleaded guilty Nov. 15 to the misdemeanors to avoid felony charges that would have cost him his job. Instead of jail time, he was fined $1,500 and put on a year's probation.

Lawrence Keane, director of the gun rights lobbying group National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), on Tuesday called Melton a "hypocrite" for violating gun laws while maintaining membership in MAIG.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns is the group Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam supports.

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November 28, 2006

New Slimline Glock 21

Via Ninth Stage here comes the next-generation Glock 21. Some gun dealers on GlockTalk have confirmed it's for real. It uses new magazines, but its magazines are backwards-compatible with older Glock 21s. Someone on GlockTalk bought one of the new magazines the other week and posted a picture (but I couldn't find the thread again).


As the image above shows, it has an ambidextrous magazine release and a standard 1913 Picatinny accessory rail. It's also apparently thinner in the grip than the current 21, which is a good thing. The grips on Glocks with doublestack magazines are a bit thick in any caliber larger than 9 mm.

Scuttlebutt is that this is Glock's answer to the un-dead spec for the Joint Combat Pistol in.45 ACP for the U.S. government. That spec called for a 1913 rail and a grip size that "shall be operable for a range of operators from the 5th to 95th percentile per section 3.6.3."

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November 29, 2006

Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski's Homemade Gun

From CBS5 via The High Road.


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November 30, 2006

Jamie Mangrum of Has Cancer

After three operations his doctor is giving him a 70% chance. He's not planning any new material for the site, which is coming down March 30th, 2007 when the final advertising agreement ends. Announcement here. has been a great resource, and it will be missed. The CD-ROMs collect everything from the site, and buying them now might help the family.

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December 04, 2006

For Trekkie Gun Nuts


Via The High Road.

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December 06, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #80

Bitter has the 80th edition and was nice enough to include some of my posts.

Oh, and Uncle has a link to a wacky knife/revolver dealie. And check the link in comments for more historical examples of the same idea.

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December 15, 2006

Man, Those Internet Gunboard Flamewars Have Been Going on Longer Than I Thought

Flint Blackpowder Rifles Vs Percussion Cap Blackpowder Rifles.

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December 18, 2006

Smith &Wesson to Acquire Thompson/Center


NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Smith &Wesson Corp. said it was buying privately-held firearms maker Thompson/Center Arms for $102 million in cash. The deal, which is expected to close in January 2007, is expected to add 1 cent per share to 2007 earnings. The Springfield, Mass. firearms maker said it now expects 2007 earnings, which will include a 10 cents a share charge as a result of the deal, to be 27 cents a share. Previously, the company had estimated 2007 earnings, prior to the acquisition charge, of 36 cents a share. For 2008, the company raised its earnings forecast to 60 cents a share from 52 cents.
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December 20, 2006

Standard Catalog of Smith &Wesson 3rd Ed. Update

I got a call today from Old Town Station. I had pre-ordered the 3rd edition and they needed my address and credit card number. They said I should receive a signed copy the second or third week of January.

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December 21, 2006

Study of Unintentional Discharges

This is a fascinating study of unintentional discharges in a controlled setting. A researcher gave officers a SIG modified with a pressure-recording trigger and had them go through a course of fire to see if they touched the trigger, and if so how much pressure they applied.

In his first study, 33 male and 13 female officers of different ranks and years of service, were sent into a room to arrest a "suspect" and to "act in a way they thought appropriate" while doing so. The officers were armed with a SIG-Sauer P226 that was rigged with force sensors on the trigger and grip. All the officers were instructed that if they drew the gun during the exercise, they were to keep their finger off the trigger unless they had made the decision to shoot, per their training and department regs.

As the role-play evolved, 34 of the 46 officers drew the gun and one officer actually fired, intentionally. Of the 33 others who drew, all insisted that they had followed instructions to keep their finger outside the trigger guard, because they'd not made a decision to shoot.

Seven of the 33 -- more than 20 percent -- had, in fact, touched the trigger hard enough to activate the sensor. Even the officer who eventually fired his weapon "not only touched the trigger twice before actually firing and once again afterwards, but also had his finger on it long before actually firing," Heim notes. Yet he too maintained he'd kept his finger well clear of the trigger until the very split-second before he fired.

In a second series of experiments Heim explored how various body movements might affect an officer who has his or her finger on the trigger but does not have an immediate intention to shoot. Specifically, would certain movements cause an officer to involuntarily increase pressure on the trigger enough to unintentionally discharge a round?

Heim ran 25 participants (13 female and 12 male, average age 25, all armed with the sensor-equipped SIG) through repetitions of 13 vigorous movements common to police work while their index finger was on the trigger.

In about 6 per cent of cases, enough trigger pressure was registered to have fired the pistol had it been uncocked (that is, mechanically set for an initial double-action trigger pull). In about 20 per cent of cases, the pressure was sufficient to have fired the gun had it been cocked (as with secondary rounds). The gun used had a 12-pound double-action trigger pull and a 5-pound pull, single-action.

The motions that caused the greatest contraction of the trigger finger--and thus the greatest force exerted on the trigger--were all jumping motions, whether with both legs or a single leg on either side of the body. The next greatest contracting force was caused by an abrupt loss of balance. Next were single-leg kicks (especially using the gun-side leg).

For me this confirms what I've thought for some time. Learning rule three (keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until you're ready to shoot) is necessary, but not always sufficient. You can say "just keep your boogerhook off the bangswitch" but people will sometimes squeeze the trigger anyway, for reasons detailed later in the article. Some guns - particularly those with thumb safeties and heavier triggers and trigger takeups - are somewhat less likely to discharge in those circumstances, but even heavy DA triggers aren't a cure-all.

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December 22, 2006

Things I Didn't Know: Cordite


I knew that when most people talked about "the smell of cordite" they were slightly mistaken, in that cordite isn't just a generic term for gunpowder. What I didn't know is that cordite was literally produced in the form of cords, or sticks, stuffed into the cartridge.

Using acetone as a solvent, it was extruded as spaghetti-like rods initially called "cord powder" or "the Committee's modification of Ballistite" but this was swiftly abbreviated to "Cordite". It was quickly discovered that the rate of burning could be varied by altering the surface area of the cordite. Narrow rods were used in small-arms and gave relatively fast burning, while thicker rods would burn more slowly and were used for longer barrels such as those used in artillery and naval guns.

Box O'Truth took apart some .303 British cartridges and has pictures. The picture above is from the Wikipedia entry and shows a four inch shell.

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December 27, 2006

Grant Cunningham Picks Centennials Among J frame S&Ws

Background: the J frame is Smith &Wesson's smallest currently-produced frame size and the Centennials are the J frames like the 642 that have a hammer that's fully concealed so it can't snag on clothing or let lint or coins into the frame.

Revolver-only gunsmith Grant Cunningham writes in Battle of the "J" frames why he prefers the Centennials:

I'm not qualified to talk about tactics, but there is one salient point that is missed in the crossfire: the Centennial models simply have better actions!

The enclosed hammer Centennial models have slightly different sear geometry than do the exposed hammer models, which gives them a pull that is more even - more linear - than the models with hammer spurs. For the savvy shooter it's a noticeable difference, making the Centennial a bit easier to shoot well.

The Centennials also have one less part than the other models: since they have no exposed hammer, they don't have (nor do they need) the hammer-block safety common to all other "J" frames. That part, which is quite long and rides in a close-fitting slot machined into the sideplate, is difficult to make perfectly smooth. Even in the best-case scenario, it will always add just a bit of friction to the action. Not having the part to begin with gives the Centennial a "leg up" in action feel.

Interesting. I wasn't aware that Centennials didn't have a hammer-block safety.

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January 03, 2007

Standard Catalog of S&W 3rd Ed. Just Arrived

I had pre-ordered a copy back in the fall and it came today.

This is a major update. The layout has been completely revised, the version (dash) numbers and values are updated, and all of the pictures are now in color. The glossary is illustrated, and there are sections on serial numbers and listings of guns by caliber. A lot of work went into this.

Congrats to Richard Nahas and Jim Supica for cranking out a major new edition.

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January 04, 2007

CMP to Offer M1 Carbines Again


Great news - the Civilian Marksmanship Program has obtained a significant quantity of M1 Carbines that they will sell to the public. From CMP announcement:

M1 CARBINES SOON TO BE AVAILABLE FROM THE CMP . The Army has transferred to the CMP a significant quantity of M1 Carbines. We are currently processing these carbines through our Inspection &Repair operations and expect to have some ready for sale by 1 March, 2007, but it may be sooner. More information will be posted on as it becomes available. At this time no decisions have been made as to grading, pricing, or limits. We are not accepting orders or establishing waiting lists at this time.

Scuttlebutt and conventional wisdom

  • According to someone from CMP, domestic surplus is long gone and any carbines and Garands sold from now on will be returns from foreign governments. Speculation includes Italy, Korea, and Greece. If I had to bet? Korea.
  • Quantity is in the five digits ("closer to 10 [thousand] than 99"). Expected to last a year or two. Expect some limits on the quantity each buyer can purchase, just as with the M1 Garand, which is limited to eight per year, but the limit will almost certainly be lower for the carbines.
  • There won't be any (or practically any) M1A1 paratrooper models with folding stocks, and CMP staff on the forums have said there will be absolutely no full-auto M2s.
  • The CMP currently has no magazines, but that could change. Stock up on GI mags in the meantime, since the price will probably go up.
  • There's no more surplus ammo, though it's possible that could change, too.
  • There has been some speculation on price, but no announcements. Decent GI carbines have been selling for $600 and up (often way up) for a long time. Some of what CMP sells may be mixmasters of different parts, and some will be closer to original issue. Sistema1927 on The High Road boldly predicts "that CMP will sell run-of-the-mill 'service grade' carbines for $450. 'Rack grade' for $350, and stripped receivers for $150."
  • Many people recommend Scott Duff's books on the M1 Carbine.

Requirements to purchase from the CMP

From the CMP page:

  • U.S. Citizenship - "You must provide a copy of a U.S. birth certificate, passport, proof of naturalization, or any official government document that shows birth in the U.S. or states citizenship as U.S."
  • Age - "You must provide proof of age. Usually proof of citizenship also provides proof of age. In those cases where it may not, a driver’s license is sufficient."
  • Eligibility to purchase a firearm - not a felon or other prohibited person. CMP will run a NICS background check, just as with any other firearm purchase.
  • Membership in a CMP-affiliated organization, most of which are shooting clubs that hold regular matches. You can find a searchable database of organizations here, or you can join the Garand Collector's Association for $25 a year.
  • Marksmanship or other firearms-related activity
    • Current or past military service.
    • Current or past law enforcement service
    • Participation in a rifle, pistol, air gun or shotgun competition (provide copy of results bulletin).
    • Completion of a marksmanship clinic that included live fire training (provide a copy of the certificate of completion or a statement from the instructor).
    • Distinguished, Instructor, or Coach status.
    • Concealed Carry License. (Good news for lots of us.)
    • Firearms Owner Identification Cards that included live fire training.
    • FFL or C&R license.
    • Completion of a Hunter Safety Course that included live fire training.
    • Certification from range or club official or law enforcement officer witnessing shooting activity. A form for use in completing and certifying your range firing can be downloaded from the CMP web site at
    • No proof of marksmanship required if over age 60. Proof of club membership and citizenship required for all ages.
  • Any relevant local or state qualification cards.

I've been meaning to join a CMP-affiliated club for a while, and a CMP M1 Garand has been my "next purchase" for about two years now. This finally pushed me over the edge. Yesterday I mailed the paperwork and $25 check to join the Garand Collector's Association so I'm now qualified to buy from CMP.


- M1 Carbine at
- M1 Carbine at Wikipedia
- History of the M1 Carbine - Includes serial numbers and quantity produced by manufacturer. Besides Winchester (who designed the gun), manufacturers included jukebox maker Rock-Ola, computer maker IBM, National Postal Meter, General Motors' Inland and Saginaw divisions, and several others.

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January 10, 2007

Glock Torture Test


Guy puts his Glock through his homemade torture test involving sand, mud, baby powder, saltwater, shooting it with another gun, driving over it in a truck, and dropping it out of an airplane. It still works.

Like I said, Glocks don't float my boat, but I sure do respect their reliability and durability. A Tennifer finish and a polymer frame make for one tough gun.

Hat tip to Rivrdog.

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January 11, 2007

More M1 Carbine Info - Parts and Magazines

With the CMP getting ready to sell surplus M1 carbines again, here' s some information on where to buy some things you'll need.

As with anything gun-related and old, you can find some things at Gunbroker, eBay, and CheaperThanDirt (click on the categories to drill down to specific products). CTD has some original GI parts and some reproductions, and they're pretty good about making clear which is which.

Here's an M1 parts diagram from Chestnut Ridge, which sells carbine parts. So does Tank's Rifle Shop, which offers carbine gunsmithing services.

MCB-303.jpgI always thought the M1 carbine stock magazine pouch was a cool idea. There's a Leapers reproduction for seven bucks. (Or you can buy the same thing from this guy for twelve bucks on eBay.) For the real thing check eBay and Gunbroker, where they seem to go for $15-20.


Indications are that the CMP received carbines with no magazines. Even if they scrounge some up to include with the guns you'll need some extras.

A lot of people seem to think the original GI magazines are the best. GI issues came in 15 and 30 round (sometimes called M2) versions, with 15 being the more common by far.

J and G Sales has GI mags. They're $24.95, which is high, but they're advertised as new condition still in the wrapper. They'll also hand pick by manufacturer for an extra $2. If you want, say, a Rock-Ola magazine to go with your Rock-Ola carbine that's not a bad way to go.

I bought the last two carbine magazines at Coal Creek Armory. They were $9.99 each, with some bluing wear and light surface rust which both seem to be common on surplus mags.

I noticed numbers stamped on the back of the magazines. After Googling around I discovered the M1/M2 Carbine FAQ by James Wesley, Rawles. According to the FAQ those are manufacturer codes. That's how J&G Sales knows who manufactured the magazines they have in stock. My magazine marked OI-S'G' was made by Saginaw (a division of GM). The other one is marked OI-Q and doesn't appear in the FAQ.

(Side note: When I saw "James Wesley, Rawles" I knew I had seen a name written that way recently, along with an explanation. Sure enough, I had seen a link to Rawles' FAQ on hard-core survivalism. The way he writes his name is intended to separate his Christian and family names. People who are into hard-core, the end of the world as we know it type survivalism strike me as a bit out there. Then again, some people think I'm out there because I'm into guns and believe in being prepared for short-term emergencies like blizzards and earthquakes, so I try not to judge.)

I didn't realize it before, but there are stripper clips for M1 carbines.


If you're interested in using a carbine for self-defense, you many to consider the Cor-Bon DPX. From John Farnam's informal tests:

Cor-Bon DPX

28May06 30M1 Carbine At an Urban Rifle Course in PA this weekend, we again shot ballistic gelatin through the standard, four layers of denim. This time, I wanted to compare 223 DPX (53gr Barnes bullet) with the new 30M1 Carbine DPX round (100 gr Barnes bullet). Mike Shovel from Cor-Bon was on hand with a supply of both. The 30M1 Carbine round is now available from Cor-Bon, and I, for one, made sure I have an adequate supply! Interestingly, the 30 M1 Carbine bullet penetrated nineteen inches, while the 223 penetrated fifteen! Both bullets expanded in the classic Barnes way. Four layers of denim doesn't retard Barnes bullet expansion at all, in any caliber. Who have and use an M1 Carbine will benefit immensely from this round, the first new round in this caliber in a long time, and the most effective one of all available, by far. Recommended!


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January 19, 2007

New Lew Horton S&Ws


Lots of blued and nickeled goodness for those who like that sort of thing, including N frames with square butts, round latches, diamond grips and 3" barrels, some or all of which have 4 screws in the sideplate. Looks like case-hardened hammers and triggers, too. Old school. Clickety

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January 20, 2007

Gun Nut Quiz

Here. I got 7 out of 10. I missed the question on the .220 Swift, .22LR, and coil vs. flat springs. I at least learned something useful on that last question. After each question you get the correct answer and a short explanation, so it's educational.

Found on THR. Take the quiz before you follow that link to avoid cheating. yhtomit makes a very valid point about one of the answers being kinda bogus, but it was one I got right, so I don't get to adjust my score.

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January 25, 2007

Shooter's Wheel of Misfortune


Shooting tips based on where your bullets land relative to the target center. From

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January 29, 2007

Gun Lubricants and Protectants

So I've been researching gun oils lately.

It started with gunsmith Grant Cunningham has advice on gun oils and lubricants. One of his recommendations is Dexron-type automatic transmission fluid, available for a few dollars at auto parts stores. His favorite is something that isn't considered a gun lube at all - Lubriplate "SFL" NLGI #0 grease, which is used in the food service industry for machines that come into contact with food. I did notice he claimed poor corrosion resistance for WD-40, which did well in the some of the tests I found.

And here are those tests.

Brownell's - Birchwood Casey Sheath, Boeshield T-9, Break-Free LP, Break-Free Weapon Wipes, Brownells Cosmoline, Brownells Rust Preventive No. 2, Hoppe's Lubricating Oil, Rig Universal Grease, Tetra Gun Lubricant, Valvoline 5W-30, and WD-40. - FP10, Corrosion-X, Eezox, BreakFree CLP, Strike-Hold, Rem-Oil, Slip2000, Mobil-1 15W50

The Gun Zone - Kleen Bore TW25-B, Break Free CLP, Break Free LP, Shooter's Choice Rust Prevent, Birchwood-Casey Sheath, Remington RemOil, Eezox, WD-40, Kano Kroil, 3-in-One Household Oil, Sandaro Industries' Bore Cote, Miltec-1, Sandaro Industries' Arms Cote

Those tests are pretty harsh. They use raw, untreated steel (or nails in The Gun Zone test) exposed to water and even saltwater. Some highlights:

Boeshield T-9 - Based on Brownell's test I'd be inclined to use Boeshield T-9 in a saltwater environment.

Hoppe's Lubricating Oil - Very poor rust inhibitor in the Brownell's and Gun Zone tests.

WD40 - WD40 did well as a rust preventer, but it's not a very good or long-lasting lubricant. Also, as WD-40 dries it leaves behind a residue, so if you use it wipe off any excess and don't spray it inside the gun where a buildup could cause problems. That means you'll need another product besides WD40 to use internally, in addition to a cleaning agent like Hoppes #9 solvent. It is a good thing to know if your gun gets soaked and you want something to displace the water (the WD stands for water displacement) and protect it from rust until you get home and clean it.

Breakfree CLP - Me, I use Breakfree CLP nine times out of 10. It's a cleaner, lubricant and preservative (hence CLP) so I use it for everything: cleaning and protecting the bore, lubricating and protecting internal parts, and wiping down the outside of the gun. It's available everywhere guns are sold, comes in several spraycan sizes or a bottle small enough to fit in my range bag, and the price is reasonable. Breakfree CLP contains Teflon particles for lubrication. According to the instructions you should shake the container before use to suspend the Teflon. CLP did very well in the tests for rust protection (though not as well in Brownell's test, for some reason), so I don't see any reason to buy anything else for routine use.

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February 02, 2007

SIG P Pistol Definitions and Differences

I just saw this on The High Road and wanted to blog it for future reference.

  • P220 is the original single stack full size. 9mm, .38 Super, .45ACP
  • P226 is the double column full size brought out for US military trials vs Beretta. 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG
  • P225* is the single stack compact originating as the P6 to German police specifications. 9mm
  • P228* is the P225 slide on a short double column frame. 9mm
  • P229 is the P228 frame with a heavy milled slide to handle .40 cal. 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG
  • P239 is an even more compact single stack gun. 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG

* Models not in regular commercial channels right now. Still findable but not as common as others.

And then there's the itty-bitty P232 in .380 ACP.

I've never owned a SIG, but I've liked every one I've shot. In the past SIGs were DA/SA, which I don't care for. Now SIG has a pre-cocked, Glock-style, DOA trigger that they call their DAK trigger. When Countertop was in town he and Uncle and I rented a DAK trigger SIG at Coal Creek Armory. I liked it. Pull weight is advertised as seven pounds, which is probably about right for a pistol without a thumb safety.

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February 03, 2007

African Hunting Articles

African Hunter has some interesting articles for us gun nut types.

The article on bolt action vs. double rifles could use either a better editor or a less humorous spelling checker. It has such great malapropisms as "a great error lesser extent" and "the advantage gained mayor may not be significant, though."

Note to self - Mayor Maynot would be a good name for a comedy character.

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February 06, 2007

The Smith &Glockfield Excuse-O-Matic 9000

Why do some people refuse to call a jam a jam? From a thread on The High Road:

I've got a 4-inch Service model . . . .it's had about 2852 rounds through it. (Give or take 2 rounds). It is 100% absolutely positively boring in that it never jams, fails to fire and rarely misses the target.

Sounds good, but here's his next paragraph:

I shoot tons of 200 Gr. LSWC ammo in my 1911's and when I tried to use it in the XD45 it would digest maybe 100 rounds and then start jamming on every 5th-8th round. I tried about everything I could think of reloading wise and was never able to get it to run more than 100 rounds without a jam of some sort. My best was 99 rounds.

Hey, lots of autos don't like semi-wadcutters. That's fine. And if the gun shoots without jams using the ammunition you use, that's fine, too. Just say so in the first place.

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February 07, 2007

"Shoot Me First Vest" - a WOTD, Quote, Guns and Star Wars 4-in-1

Some of the more common topics I cover are quotes, the word of the day, guns, and Star Wars. Consider this a 4-in-1.

Shoot me first vest - What some people call a vest worn to conceal a gun, either inside the vest itself or holstered on the belt and covered by the vest.

Some people in the concealed carry community think that armed robbers entering a convenience store or whatever will shoot the guy with the photographer's vest at the first chance, assuming that he'll be armed. Other people dismiss the idea. They counter that the "shoot me firsters" are just being self-conscious about their handguns, and that most people are blissfully unaware of the fact that people in society carry concealed weapons.

So there's the word of the day and gun angle. Here's the quote and Star Wars angle. Massad Ayoob is a police officer, self-defense instructor, and a popular gunwriter. This is what he had to say about the idea of concealment vests being shoot me first vests:

After all these years, I've only found one case of anyone "getting shot first" because they were wearing vests. It is found in the very first Star Wars movie. The rebel bodyguards of Princess Leia are all wearing a uniform that includes a black vest which looks remarkably like something from Concealed Carry Clothiers. When the Imperial Storm Troopers led by Darth Vader attack their ship, the Storm Troopers blast every rebel so dressed.

Of course, Han Solo wore a vest and he didn't get shot. Then again Han tended to preclude that problem by being the one to to shoot first. (Or at least he did until Lucas released the "special editions" of Star Wars and edited the cantina scene so that Greedo shot first.)


Bonus! - Top 10 Other Things that Han Shot that Didn't Shoot at Him First

Previous WOTD - Pigovian Tax

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February 11, 2007

Lumpy Lambert Loves Lovers

Knox County Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert is offering his wedding officiation services free of charge for any couples that want to get hitched on Valentine's Day, which is this Wednesday the 14th. The "shotgun wedding" ceremonies will be held at the Coal Creek Armory gun store and shooting range in West Knoxville. linkity

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February 13, 2007

AR-15 Pr0n

Tam's 6.8 SPC AR goodness.

I'm not even sure what I'm going to do with an AR-15, but I intend to get one before the end of 2008 in case the new Congress or president have any crazy gun control notions. Title2 Sales has some amazing Stag Arms prices - $105 for a stripped lower, $160 for a complete lower, and $495 for a flat-top upper with an ARMS #40 BUIS, and those prices include shipping. (And the prices were a little lower earlier today. I swear they raised the prices while I was posting.)

But I gotta wait. First I need a CMP M1 Carbine and M1 Garand. Gotta get those while the getting's good.

After that and the AR-15, more semi-automatics. Probably handguns. I love revolvers, but they'd be the last thing to get banned, and I've got quite a few already.

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New S&W Revolvers


Despite what I said in that last post, Smith &Wesson keeps coming out with tasty new revolvers. There's a 3 inch barreled 7-shot 686 which I've been hoping they'd make for years. There's also a new 4 inch barreled 6-shot SSR designed for IDPA stock service revolver class which looks racy in a 627 PC way.

If you like autoloaders there's the new .45 ACP M&P.

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February 14, 2007

Utah Mall Shooting

SayUncle has the skinny. I hadn't heard that the killer was stopped by an off-duty cop who was carrying a concealed handgun. But then, that's the part of the story the media frequently leaves out. Killing sprees in Texas and Memphis were likewise stopped by armed citizens, but that part of those stories received very little attention.

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"H.R. 1022: To reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes"

H.R. 1022 has been introduced in committee.

From The High Road, where there's lots of discussion and political fingerpointing. Examples:

"Well, all you folks who voted for anyone but a republican now know what the next 2-10 years are going to be like. Maybe longer."

Which was countered by:

"Plus, even if it does pass, all you good Republicans have nothing to worry about because your President will veto it, right? Remember, you guys all said Bush was just playing politics when he said he would sign a new AWB. You guys don't think you are wrong now, do you? Do you?"

Yep. Bush said in the 2004 election that he would sign the AWB renewal if it came across his desk. At the time, he was confident of a Republican Congress keeping that from happening. What could possiblie go wrong? The 2006 elections went wrong, Democrats now control both houses of Congress, and Bush's words are coming back to haunt gunowners.

Still, Bush and a Republican Congress were very good for gunowners. The AWB was allowed to expire in 2004, and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms act protects gun companies from frivolous lawsuits that were threatening to destroy them.

This renewal probably won't go through, but another one might after the next election. This is exactly why I'm only buying semi-autos between now and the end of 2008. Just in case. If anything is banned it will be semi-automatics. And if they aren't banned outright they will be regulated - as in the 1994 AWB - with regards to magazine capacities of more than 10 rounds and "evil" features like collapsible/folding stocks and flash hiders.

LATER: In comments, Heartless Libertarian suggests .50 BMG rifles as something even more likely to be banned. SayUncle suggests buying suppressors while you still can. Kim du Toit is considering selling his non-semi-autos to fund semi-autos. All of those things have crossed my mind, too.

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February 16, 2007

CMP M1 Carbine News

From CMP:

Update – 16 February, 2007: We have started the inspection of the M1 Carbines that were recently transferred to the CMP. Because the carbines were received with the bolts removed and many are in heavy preservative, the process is taking longer than expected. The carbines will not be ready for sale on 1 March. We will begin accepting carbine orders for Inland carbines on 30 April, 2007. Carbine orders received prior to 30 April will be returned to the sender. Other manufacturers will not be available until later in the year. At this time no decisions have been made as to pricing. We are not accepting orders or establishing waiting lists at this time. Next CMP Sales update is planned for 23 March.

See also:
- More M1 Carbine Info - Parts and Magazines
- CMP to Offer M1 Carbines Again

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February 21, 2007

What is Rudy Giuliani's Position on Guns?

GeekWithA45 has the answer, and it doesn't look good. Giuliani is the current Republican front-runner. Dammit.

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February 27, 2007

More on HR 1022 (Assault Weapons Ban part 2)

Uncle has more. Like I said before, this probably won't pass, but it's notable that this one is much worse than the 1994 AWB.

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Kel-Tec RFB: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

Via The High Road. Watch the second shooter for the full effect. When he knocks out the empty brass it's The Matrix come to life. Dang.

That's a bullpup design, which moves the action, magazine, and part of the barrel back into the buttstock. One of the engineering challenges with bullpup rifles is that the ejection port is right next to your face. That's a problem if if you're shooting off-handed, and the gun is kicking hot brass out on your cheek. Bullpup designers have various solutions for that - reversible ejection ports, bottom ejection, and top/forward ejection.

The Kel-Tech RFB (PDF link) above ejects through a tube parallel to the barrel, and recoil assists the process of working the cases through the tube. The coolest thing is that when you manually cycle the gun it ejects all the spent cases from the tube to the sound of tinkling brass. Hollywood directors will go crazy for it.

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March 10, 2007

Second Amendment Upheld as Individual Right

Great news in Parker vs. D.C. The D.C. Circuit Court upheld the second amendment as an individual right:

To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.

It doesn't get any clearer than that.

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Makin' Boolits

Handloading a .44 Magnum cartridge with the Lee Classic Loader. A hammer plays a central role.

Lee has a ton of their own reloading Web videos.

Question for you reloaders: Am I right to think that using the Lee Auto-Prime would eliminate the chance of pulling a Looney Toons and setting off the primer? Also, would it better to just buy the hand press?

Not that I'm going to do this anytime soon. Reloading is something I kick around every now and then, but I still don't think I have time right now.

P.S. - I love how the YouTube preview includes the "WEAR EYE PROTECTION" part.

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March 12, 2007

.32 NAA on Hiatus

North American Arms president says that the project is on indefinite hold.

See also:
- Pics of the NAA .32 Break-top Revolver
- Picture of NAA's Mini .32 Prototype

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March 14, 2007

Clayton Cramer: Why Parker vs DC is a Great Test Case

More good news for our side:

4. Unlike many of the right to keep and bear arms cases that have worked their way up through the courts over the years, where the defendant is a criminal of some sort, or at least an unsympathetic character, such as Dr. Emerson in USA v. Emerson (5th Cir. 2001), we have squeaky clean plaintiffs on this case, so the Court doesn't have to worry about releasing a criminal if they make the right decision.

5. Rather than directly challenging the bearing of arms, or the right to own some rather unusual or exotic weapon, this case involves the right to have a loaded and functional handgun in your home for self-defense. This is about as much of a no-brainer as there can be for the courts. While the decision doesn't directly challenge the constitutionality of a handgun registration law, it does make it clear that the current DC strategy of prohibiting new registrations for handguns is unconstitutional.

6. They mention a Beretta 92 semiauto pistol, as I recall Dr. Emerson's weapon that got him in trouble, and in the context of U.S. v. Miller (1939) to demonstrate that even if you want to use the argument that only arms relevant to militia duty are protected, a handgun like the Beretta 92 (which is currently used by the U.S. armed forces) is clearly protected. They must be having a cow over at the Brady Campaign right now. More importantly, they mention that the Militia Act of 1792 requires at least some members of the militia to arm themselves with handguns. Excellent!

Read the whole thing.

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March 22, 2007

"The Embarassing Second Amendment"

by Sanford Levinson, in the Yale Law Journal:

The Second Amendment, though, is radically different from these other pieces of constitutional text just mentioned, which all share the attribute of being basically irrelevant to any ongoing political struggles. To grasp the difference, one might simply begin by noting that it is not at all unusual for the Second Amendment to show up in letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines. [26] That judges and academic lawyers, including the ones that write casebooks, ignore it is most certainly not evidence for the proposition that no one else cares about it. The National Rifle Association, to name the most obvious example, cares deeply about the Amendment, and an apparently serious Senator of the United States averred that the right to keep and bear arms is the "right most valued by free men." [27] Campaigns for Congress in both political parties, and even presidential campaigns, may turn on the apparent commitment of the candidates to a particular view of the Second Amendment. This reality of the political process reflects the fact that millions of Americans, even if (or perhaps especially if) they are not academics, can quote the Amendment and would disdain any presentation of the Bill of Rights that did not give it a place of pride.

And it goes one to an excellent history of the second amendment and explains why it means what is says.

It also includes Abbey Hoffman's wonderful re-phrasing of a bumper sticker: "If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns."

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March 23, 2007

CMP M1 Carbine News

CMP updated their their M1 Carbine page with some prices and more information.

Inland-made M1s will be the first for sale, with orders accepted April 30. Other manufacturers will be released later, but apparently not before September. Price for Inlands will be $495.00 plus $22.95 shipping and handling. I had hoped they'd be about a hundred bucks cheaper, but oh well.

There's a limit of one manufacturer per customer in 2007, so you could buy one Inland, one Winchester, etc.

CMP describes the guns as Service Grade.

Carbines have been rebuilt and refinished at least once and will exhibit in most cases varying degrees of wear on many of the parts and generally no noticeable or significant pitting on metal. All the carbines have late features - such as adjustable sights (heavily staked) with bayonet lug bands and rotary safeties. Metal parts are mixed USGI. There are no carbines with early features. Muzzle will gauge 3 or less on muzzle gauge. Stocks will be replacement Italian marked M2 type birch or beech pot belly or USGI walnut but having seen heavy use with possible rebuild marks (no original stock cartouches remain). Most stocks have the “FAT” stamp / cartouche (Fabbrica Armi Terni ).

That solves one mystery. There was speculation before that the guns were returns from the governments of Greece or Korea, but it was actually Italy.

CMP now has a guide to identifying genuine GI 30 round magazines (PDF link).

See also:
- CMP to Offer M1 Carbines Again (explains eligibility requirements)
- More M1 Carbine Info - Parts and Magazines

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May go to CMP South Store Wed. Night/Thurs. Morning

UPDATE: Got me dates messed up. This would be the following Weds./Thurs. of April 4th and 5th.

I have the day off next Thursday so I'm thinking about going to the CMP South store in Anniston, Alabama to buy an M1 Garand. It's about a 4 hour drive from Knoxville.

From reading the CMP forum Thursday is a good day to go, since it's less busy (the store is open Thurs-Sat.). The store restocks at night, opens at 8:00 AM, and the best selection is first thing in the morning. So if I go Wednesday night after work and get up first thing I can get there when they open.

The Garands are going fast, so this may be the last chance to get a good one out of this batch. Some field grades still show up at the stores, even though they're no longer available at the online store.

Incidentally, the M1 Carbines will be available at the North and South stores starting May 3, but it's gonna be a madhouse. Here are some cell phone pics of teaser display carbines at the South store.

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March 27, 2007

Jay Earns Net.fame

I noticed a visitor in the blog's referral logs that came from Deviant Art (work safe despite the name). It turns out the artist used a photo from this 2003 blog post to make a photo manipulation.

Vintage Katz by ~roguehobbit on deviantART

Here's the original:


The gun Jay is holding is a Commando made in Knoxville by Volunteer Enterprises. That post gets quite a few hits from people searching for information about the Commando, and in comments people are sharing information and trading parts.

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April 07, 2007

Amazing New S&W Revolver Uncovered

This San Mateo County Times article is ostensibly about the growing trend of women taking up the shooting sports, but it accidentally leaks news of a radical new Smith & Wesson revolver. From the opening paragraphs.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO - KIMBERLY SHRUM grips a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver and aims at a target 25 yards away.


A hot shell casing hits the floor ...

An S&W revolver that ejects its cases! It's all new! It'll change the industry!

It's a mistake. Sheesh. This is why you should take a reporter shooting. Otherwise they'll claim to have seen a revolver that ejected its empty shells. Via Tim Blair.

See also:
- Gun Advice for Writers and Reporters

UPDATE: Emporer Misha says the mistake was the result of bad editing, not bad reporting. Thanks to Matt in comments for the pointer.

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Movie: Shooter (2007)

"Welcome to Tennessee, patron state of shootin' stuff."
 -- Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), in Shooter

That's from the new Mark Wahlberg movie, Shooter, based on the Stephen Hunter novel. He says that on arrival to Athens, Tennessee. It's a town just down the road from where I live, and as I mentioned once, it was the site of the 1946 Battle of Athens. That's the only modern example of which I'm aware of U.S. citizens taking up arms against an unjust government so that bullets were ready to make sure ballots were read.

I enjoyed the movie. The action is excellent, and gun guys will be overjoyed. See it now so you can join in on the threads at your favorite gun boards. Wahlberg plays Bob Lee Swagger with subtlety. He isn't an over the top Stallone/Schwarzenegger action hero. He's just a guy, a Jacksonian, who happens to be able to take headshots at a thousand yards.

I fell in love with actress Kate Mara. I want to spirit her away to a mountaintop cabin and spend a weekend counting her freckles.

There's the usual action movie improbabilities and exaggerations. (The fx guy is extremely fond of gigantic fireballs.) The interplay between Swagger and the bad guys is likewise cartoonish. The villain played by Ned Beatty is a Cheney look-alike Congressman from a Western state who loves him some oil pipelines and over-under shotguns. So that's either good or bad, depending on how you feel about Cheney.

If you're "a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns" as Swagger describes himself, I can pretty much guarantee you'll enjoy the movie.

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April 09, 2007

Update to the Shell-ejecting Revolver

The other day I made fun of a newspaper article that had a Smith & Wesson revolver ejecting its empty shells. Emporer Misha says the mistake was the result of bad editing, not bad reporting. The reporter's original story described a .357 Magnum revolver and a .22 semi-automatic pistol. The editors combined the two into one nonsensical sequence. I guess it's time to take an editor shooting.

Thanks to Matt in comments for the pointer.

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April 10, 2007

You're About to be Raped. Would You Rather Puke or Shoot?

The Illinois State Police has a Web page with advice for women to defend themselves from a rapist. Tamara finds the advice wanting:

Instead of a handy, portable weapon that requires no great amount of strength to operate, we are instead advised to attempt to take on a 250lb rapist with a teasing brush or a handful of keys. Brilliant plan, that. "Well, sir, we couldn't revive her, but her assailant should be easy to spot in a lineup. Judging by what she had clenched in her hand in her last moments, his hair should look fantastic."

The worst part, the part that makes me want to scream and throw things at the monitor, is when they drag out the old primate appeasement behavior: "It may sound disgusting, but putting your fingers into you throat and making yourself vomit usually gets results." No. No way. Why should I worry about getting vomit stains out of my clothes when I have the means available to make my attacker worry about getting blood stains out of his? Sorry, ISP, but I'm sticking with the gun.

One of Tam's commentors makes the point that the Illinois State Police advice is about one step removed from "relax and enjoy it."

Self defense. It's a human right.

UPDATE: Aunt B. isn't crazy about the Illinois State Police advice, either.

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April 25, 2007

The Wrong End of a Gun

The killing spree at Virginia Tech has prompted discussion about what the students might have done. Some of it is sensible, but some of it is second-guessing, chest-pounding naïveté. Mark Steyn, a columnist I respect and frequently agree with, wrote an awful piece of agenda-injection decrying the VA Tech massacre as an example of what he calls a "culture of passivity."

Some bloggers and others are describing what it was really like to find themselves being robbed at gunpoint. It's probably a good idea to read those accounts before forming an opinion about how a person can be expected to react.

Rich Hailey was robbed when he worked as a convenience store night manager.

He waited until the only other customer in the store left, then he approached the counter and pulled a gun. It was a small revolver, and he pointed it at me and demanded that I give him the money in the register. As I started to pull out the money, he changed his mind and told me to hand over the drawer. I did, and as he went to pull the money out, he set his gun down on the counter between us.

Now the adolescent hero boy that lives in all of us immediately speaks up.

"Wow! If I were there, I would have grabbed the gun and got the drop on him. And if he even twitched wrong, BANG! I'd a dropped that sucker in his tracks. Yessirree bubba, that's what I'da done."

No you wouldn't have.

I thought about it. The guy was high on something and moving slowly. I would have had a good chance of grabbing the gun and being a hero, and only a small chance of missing and winding up dead. Well, let me tell you folks something. When you're looking at a gun, death is there in the room with you, and it's close, and real, and you have a completely different perspective. I believed that if I went for his gun and missed, he would kill me. End of story. Whether that belief was accurate or not is irrelevant; it's what I believed at the time. I figured that my best chance of avoiding that big ugly thing called Death was to cooperate and not give this guy any grief.

Nashville Knucklehead recalls being held up when he was bartending at a Nashville O'Charley's.

I have read things from people questioning the bravery of the victims at VT. Things like, "If three of them had rushed the gunman, maybe they could have save dozens of lives."

If you think that, you are a total fucking idiot.

I remember it like it was last week. I was laying on the floor in the dining room while the gunman was in the back. I could have gotten up and run out the door and gone next door and called the cops. But I didn't. Why? Because the motherfucker HAD A GUN. He could have come out as I was leaving and shot me in the back. Or come out after I left and said, "Where's the dude with all the hair?!?" and started shooting all my friends. What if I had saved my ass at the expense of my co-workers? Would that make me a hero? When someone has a gun, you don't act like a hero, you do what he says. I'm a big motherfucker. I'm a brave motherfucker. You know what? Little dude HAD A FUCKING GUN!

Rich and Jim didn't have guns, but Flatiron on the 1911 forums did. He was armed and mentally ready to use a gun, but got caught by surprise at a storage center.

I carry in a load and when I come out a young punk is standing there with a ski mask on, black baggy pants, black baggy coat and it actually takes me a few seconds to realize he has a 9mm black Glock pointed right at my chest.

I put my hands up and say "be cool bro" and at that he says "give it up" and I say "be cool" again at this point he starts getting all excited and cursing and saying stuff like "you think I'm playing %$#@&"

I pull out my wallet and say this is all I have. He snatches it with the gun pointing at my face now.

Now I would like to point out that I am never unarmed and because I was working in my backyard I had sweat pants on and sweatshirt and hooded zip up jacket and I had my Kel-Tec .380 in a pocket holster in my right front pocket.

He is about about 3 feet from me with the gun now pointed at my chest. For one second I contemplated knocking his arm away and rushing him but you know what... when the gun is aimed at you it's a whole different story.

We can always learn lessons from people's experiences. Once we know what could happen we can come up with new plans. After 9/11 passengers know better than to assume that a hijacking will end with a safe landing, and can adjust their mental posture. Likewise, we can admire the passengers of Flight 93 who learned what happened to theo ther planes and overpowered their attackers, or professor Liviu Librescu, the 76 year old Holocaust survivor who sacrifice his own his life at VA Tech to give his students time to escape.

At the same time, I think a wise person should be reluctant to second-guess the split-second decisions ordinary people make in life or death situations. That's particularly true when those ordinary people are facing the long odds of being empty-handed on the wrong end of a gun.

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May 08, 2007

First CMP M1 Carbines


See also:
- CMP to Offer M1 Carbines Again (explains eligibility requirements)
- More M1 Carbine Info - Parts and Magazines
- CMP M1 Carbine News

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May 09, 2007

Concealed Carry Permit Holders More Lawful Than Most

When "The Tennesseean" published an online database of Tennesseeans who have concealed carry weapons permits, the blogosphere erupted in protest. SayUncle was on top of the story from the moment it broke and had the best coverage. By the end of the day the newspaper, had
taken the database offline.

(Small note. The term "concealed carry weapons" permit, or CCW, is the most commonly used, so I'll use it here. In Tennessee the official name is a handgun carry permit, and the gun can be carried concealed or not.)

Andrew Sullivan asks, "If gun rights are civil rights, why would anyone feel the need to hide the fact that they own one?" To which Glenn Reynolds responds, in part, "But I'll turn the question around: If abortion is a civil right, why would anyone object to having a newspaper publish a searchable database of people who've had one?" David Kopel notes that another newspaper, The (Fort Wayne, Indiana) News Sentinel," decided not to publish a similar listing for fear that they would expose a woman who had obtained a gun and a CCW for protection from her violent ex-husband.

What "The Tennesseean" did was perfectly legal, but what exactly was their motivation to go to all that trouble? Publishing lists of CCW holders tends to suggest that they need to be tracked, like sex offenders. It implies that they're nefarious characters who can't be trusted.

Nothing could be further from the truth. One study found that in Florida CCW holders were 300 times less likely than the general population to commit a crime. A Texas study found that CCW holders in that state were "5.7 times less likely to commit a violent crime, and 14 times less likely to commit a non-violent offense."

There's a simple reason CCW holders as a group are so law-abiding -- they have to be law-abiding citizens in order to qualify for a permit in the first place. This is what you automatically know about a person who has a CCW in Tennessee:

  • They've never been convicted of "any felony offense punishable for a term exceeding one (1) year".
  • They've never been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  • They've never been convicted of the offense of stalking.
  • They were not under indictment at the time they applied for a CCW.
  • They were not the subject of an order of protection at the time they applied for a CCW.
  • They haven't had a DUI in the past five years or two or more DUIs in the past 10 years
  • They haven't been under treatment for or hospitalized for addiction to drugs or alcohol in the past 10 years.
  • They've never been adjudicated as mentally defective.
  • They've never been discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions ("dishonorable discharge, bad conduct discharge or other than honorable discharge Chapter 1340-2-5-.02 (5)").
  • They've never renounced their U.S. citizenship.
  • They've never received social security disability benefits "by reason of alcohol dependence, drug dependence or mental disability."

Any one of those things disqualify you from having a CCW in Tennessee. Part of your $115 application fee pays for a background check. Another part of the fee pays for you to be fingerprinted and your fingerprints filed with the state. Registering your fingerprints with the state is not exactly the sort of thing someone bent on a criminal life wants to happen.

Because of Tennessee's requirements for CCW permits, it's no wonder that CCW holders are less likely to commit crimes than the average person. "The Tennesseean" seems to think that CCW holders are less worthy of trust. I'm just the opposite. When I know that someone has a CCW I give that person more trust.

See also:
- Tennessee Handgun Carry Permits

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Jack Lail on The Tennessean's Database of CCW Holders

"Knoxville News-Sentinel" online managing editor weighs in at his personal blog on "The Tennesseean's" decision to pubilish a database of Tennessee handgun carry permit holders, and the paper's quick decision to take the database offline.

It is an illustration that just because you legally and easily can publish databases of public information, the public might not think you should. And if you can't defend your position in answering their concerns, maybe they have a point.

In would be no surprise to find people often don't like having their names in publicly searchable databases. CEOs of publicly traded companies don't like their total compensation listed. Public officials don't like government salary databases. People want to keep divorces and bankruptcies out of the paper. Some people don't want what they sold their house for known. Politicians don't particularly like campaign disclosure laws or campaign finance databases -- unless it detrimental to the efforts of their opponents. Public information can be downright embarrassing when it, well, becomes public.

How information is handled (or what we choose to publish/broadcast) in an age of Internet and electronic databases can be vexing. The media should make as much information available as possible. Government, itself, at all levels should be more open; not less so. I'm all for Sunshine. But as the gun database shows, the rational can't just be "because we can."

Good stuff. But notice the typos. Clearly, he's another blogger in need of an editor.

I keed I keed! Actually, I'm going to email Lail and see if he'd be interested in running a revised version of this blog post as a guest editorial in the News-Sentinel.

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May 28, 2007

Jawa Ion Blaster Replica


Replica of the Jawa iob blaster from Star Wars, made from a Lee-Enfield rifle, and offered for sale on eBay.. Via Xavier, who has more info.

It's neat, but it isn't much of a replica. Some of the Star Wars guns were based on real arms, but the ion blaster seems to have been made from scratch. The actual movie prop looks completely different.


UPDATE: In comments Trebor writes;

Actually, that *is* an more-or-less accurate recreation of the Jawa rifle from A New Hope. The movie prop, like the eBay item, was made from a cut-down Lee Enfield #1 Mk 3.

Here's a link. Look at the pic of the Jawa with the rifle.

That second picture is a prop from one of the later movies of a different Jawa gun.

Man, if you can't trust Wookiepedia, who can you trust?

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June 04, 2007

MonsterPig's Name was Fred

In comments to this post a reader named Jenn sent a link to update on MonsterPig. It was a domesticated pig purchased days before by a man named Phil Blissitt. He said he became annoyed when people. thought the photo was doctored. He also says that the pig had become a nuisance that frightened visitors.

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New S&Ws in the Pipeline

GunBlast visited Smith & Wesson and has the skinny on some new models, including the re-introduced Model 63 Kit Gun (which is now an eight shot instead of a six shot), John Ross Performance Center edition X frames, a Performance Center Model 60, and a nickel Model 29.

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June 11, 2007

M1A Magazines in a .308 Ruger Frontier Rifle


The Frontier's standard internal magazine only holds four rounds. The picture shows a Frontier modified to accept a 10 round M1A mag, but 20 rounders will presumably work, too. Neat mod.

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June 18, 2007

Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

In 2005 Congress passed the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Anti-gun groups had organized lawsuits against U.S. gun makers to attempt to hold them liable for crimes committed using their guns. To my knowledge none of those lawsuits were never successful, but the costs of litigation threatened the future of those companies.

Before the act was passed anti-guns groups tried to derail it by lying about its intent, claiming that the act would make gun makers immune to any liability for defective products. SayUncle has been taking note of this strategy and its dishonesty for years. Now there'a a court case in the news that puts the lie to the strategy. From SayUncle via Jeff Soyer:

A Macon woman who lost a child in an accidental shooting in 2000 was one of three people who won a judgment against a gun manufacturer this week.

Linda Bullard, whose 15-year-old son Billy died in 2000 in their Macon home, is due to receive several hundred thousand dollars, her Macon-based attorney Joel Grist said Friday. The exact amount of the judgment is still to be determined, he said.

This part caught my eye:

Bullard was one of three parties who previously sued RKB Investments, an umbrella partnership set up in Florida by California gun manufacturer Bruce Jennings, whose company, Bryco Arms, manufactured handguns known as “Saturday night specials.”

Handguns "known as Saturday night specials?" When you repeat a meaningless political pejorative as if it's a correct label your tabloid is practicing a type of reporting known as "yellow journalism."

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June 20, 2007

Roy Jinks Letters from Smith & Wesson


This is me saving a link to the page for requesting a letter from Smith & Wesson. For $30 S&W wlll research your S&W's serial number and tell you exactly when the gun was produced and where it was originally shipped. Here's a sample letter.

The information letters are thanks to the research of S&W company historian Roy Jinks. The Boston Globe has a surprsingly upbeat story about Jinks a few years ago. I guess it helps that S&W is a Massachusetts company.

I have an unusual S&W Model 64 revolver I want lettered. Model 64s are chambered in .38 Special, but this one is a .357 Magnum. According to the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson S&W made heavy barrelled Model 64s in .357 Magnum for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in 1972. The guns had no special markings to indicate OHP use. There were 750 "Oklahoma Highway Patrol Commemorative" models made in 1973, and I'm guessing this was one of those.

In 1972 S&W startied offering that configuration as the Model 65. Mine is marked 64-1 under the crane amd the owner's manual is for the ".38 Military and Police Stainless Revolver Model No. 64," but has ".357 Magnum" on the side of the barrel. The pre-printed sticker on the box says 64, but the hand-written label says 65.

The gun is unfired, which is why I suspect it's one of the Commemorative models - it's hard to imagine an OHP not being fired. It has the original box and papers, and the serial numbers on the gun, box, and wooden grips all match. It's the only gun I own that I don't plan on firing.

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June 28, 2007

S&W M&P Autos Developing Rust Problems?

A couple of people on The High Road are reporting rust on their M&P's slides.

While stainless steel can certainly rust, my gut feeling is that this indicates a problem somewhere in the production process, possibly even in the passivation of the stainless steel. The stainless slides are coated in Melonite, which should further inhibit rusting.

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June 29, 2007

Front Sight Firearms Training

Hey, I'll play. Full disclosure: Front Sight is offering free gun classes to bloggers who post links for them. Melissa's been wanting to go to Vegas, so maybe she'll go to Vegas and I'll go to Pahrump. I don't have any experience with them, but I recall that Spoons went there and liked it.

July 03, 2007

Volunteer Enterprises Commando, Made in Knoxville, TN


I've known since I was a kid that the Volunteer Enterprise Commando was made in Knoxville. I didn't know where in Knoxville until I saw the cover of the owner's manual. Clinton Highway, PO Box 12198.

Does anyone have any idea where on Clinton Highway that might have been?

UPDATE: Micheal Silence at the Knoxville News-Sentinel was kind enough to link this post. One of his readers, Rick Forman, wrote: "I don't know the exact address but they were made in Claxton in a steel building across from Old State Cir. next to Bull Run Rd. My brother worked there for a while in the early 70's." *

Based on that information I found this satellite image at Google Maps. The next time I'm out Clinton Highway I'll pop in some of those buildings. I'm betting someone knows which one was formerly Volunteer Enterprises.

* NOTE FOR Y'ALL WHAT AIN'T FROM AROUND HERE - Claxton is an area on Clinton Highway. It's either a community or possibly a town that was annexed by Knoxville (I'm a little unclear on that point, so if you know, don't be bashful about posting in comments). There are many parts of Knoxville, like Bearden, that were once cities unto themselves before being annexed as Knoxville grew, and which retain parts of their original identities.

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July 05, 2007

Wisconsin Personal Protection Referendum

Via Triticale.

Concealed carry has twice passed the Wisconsin legislature, and twice been vetoed. I've decided to issue a call for a referendum, to make an end run around the veto. The blog I've created is at
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July 09, 2007

FS: Lee-Enfield Pseudo No. 5 Jungle Carbine



I'm selling my No. 4 Lee-Enfield that was converted to a pseudo No. 5 Jungle Carbine. I originally thought it was a No. 5, but have since learned different. It isn't a gun for someone like me who wants a piece of history, but if you want the functionality of a No. 5 at half the price it's a bargain. It's been checked by a gunsmith and is in very good condition.

I'm selling it to make way for a new gun. Price is what I paid for it - $165. I'll give preference for face to face sales in Knoxville to anyone with a Tennessee handgun carry permit and Tennessee driver's license. Otherwise I'll ship it to an FFL for actual UPS fees. For face to face sales I'll throw in 20 rounds of ammo.

UPDATED 8/26 with more pictures. Click any picture to enlarge.

See also:
- Range Report: Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No. 1 Mk III
- Gun Links #37 - Lee-Enfield Edition
- Enfield Rifles (external, via Tam)
- - See SMLE and Lee-Enfield sections (external)
- 303 Rifle History (external) - encompasses the Lee-Metford, Lee-Enfield, Ross, and P14 rifles

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July 17, 2007

Dude! More Free Guns!


Found at The High Road where opinion is split between this being evil and this being THE GREATEST IDEA EVAH!

See also:
- Dude! Free Bait and Vittles!
- Dude! Free Cars for LAPD's Fake Hookers!
- Dude! Free Microwaved Fake Penis!
- Dude! Free Beer and Lapdances!
- Dude! Free Pregnancy Test!
- Dude! Free Hookers!
- Dude! Free Guns!
- Dude! Free Underwear!

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July 18, 2007

The Guns of ... Miami Vice, Smokin' Aces, and Shooter

New from MadOgre: Guns of Miami Vice, Guns of Smokin' Aces, and Guns of Shooter (still in progress).

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July 19, 2007

Bowen Classic Arms' S&W Fixed Sights


Fixed sight K frame Smith & Wesson revolver have sort of small sights, and the fixed sight J frames have really small sights. Mark Dye at Bowen Classic Arms came up with high visibility fixed sights for J, K and N frame S&Ws that look pretty good to me.

As far as price, it's one of those if you have to ask you probably can't afford it deals. Bowen is known for being very good, but not cheap. Bowen Classic Arms is just down the road here in Louisville, so if you live in the area you can avoid shipping fees and also talk to the gunsmiths personally. Like Grant Cunningham, Hamilton Bowen and his smiths work exclusively on revolvers.

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High Speed X-Ray Photographs of Guns, Bullets

Bullet penetrating eight metal plates. Note the shadow of the hand holding the weapon.

Pretty neat. There's no source listed for the photos, so this could be the world's most ingenious Photoshop, but they look legit to my untrained eyes. Found at The High Road.

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August 01, 2007

Weird Linked-cartridge Revolver-thingy Identified

Gunner uncovered an unusual gun, Uncle posted about it, I linked it, and someone from The High Road named SDC had the answer: "That's a Josselyn Chain Pistol, patented in 1866."

And here's the original patent (you'll have to go through the free registration process to read it).

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August 10, 2007

Hoffners IWB Revolver Holster (ITP Ultrux Miurage)


So, basically, a minimalist IWB design that hugs the body by keeping the cylinder above the beltline while keeping the bulk above the beltline minimal by reducing the leather to exactly what's needed to cover the triggerguard. Could be good. I wonder how good the retention is?

Here's another view. Via The High Road.

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FBI Investigates CCW Cronyism in California

From the Sacramento Bee via The High Road:

The FBI is looking into concealed-gun permits issued by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, according to documents filed in a lawsuit that alleges former Sheriff Lou Blanas issued permits as political favors.

Documents filed Friday in the federal civil rights suit say FBI investigators have requested gun permit documents from the department, which include a permit Blanas issued to Sacramento businessman Edwin G. Gerber. Gerber gave $3,500 to Blanas' election campaign, election records show, and bought a vacation home with Blanas in Reno in the fall of 2005, according to property records.

The former sheriff signed Gerber's gun permit a day before leaving office last summer. He issued the approval without following the department's usual procedure, which calls for a three-person committee to review applications from people asking to carry a loaded gun in public, according to interviews and court documents.

This sort of thing is why so a majority of U.S. states have gone to shall-issue concealed carry weapons (CCW) permits. As opposed to discretionary systems, under a shall-issue system law enforcement automatically issues CCW permits for citizens who legally qualify. In other words, shall-issue makes CCW permits just like building permits, driver's licenses, marriage licenses, business licenses, and most other bureaucratic permitting processes in first world democracies.

From Clayton Cramer:

California is one of a small number of states that still has a discretionary concealed handgun carry statute that grants nearly unlimited discretion to a sheriff or police chief whether to issue a permit or not. When this law that when first passed in 1923, it was part of a bill that was explicitly stated by supporters as part of a strategy to disarm Hispanics and Chinese:

it will have a salutary effect in checking tong wars among the Chinese and vendettas among our people who are of Latin descent.
This is not really a surprise; racism is one of the three pillars of American gun control law.

There have been problems for my entire adult life with California sheriffs issuing permits to political supporters and big campaign contributors, as my friend Jim March has documented in detail here.

The corruption is ongoing--not just history. Los Angeles County Sheriff Baca has pulled some pretty sleazy stuff in this area, as this June 15, 2007 MSNBC report discusses
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August 28, 2007

Who Are the 10 Slackers?

U.S. most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people:

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said.

U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.

About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States, it said.

U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

You know, lots of people complain about the military, police, and government. Yet a surprising percentage of those same people think the military, police, and government should be the only ones with guns.

Be consistent. Just don't trust the government. All politicians belong to the Politician's Party, and they're ultimately not to be trusted. They're certainly not to be trusted with a monopoly on force.

From the article:

France, Canada, Sweden, Austria and Germany were next, each with about 30 guns per 100 people, while many poorer countries often associated with violence ranked much lower. Nigeria, for instance, had just one gun per 100 people.

"Firearms are very unevenly distributed around the world. The image we have of certain regions such as Africa or Latin America being awash with weapons -- these images are certainly misleading," Small Arms Survey director Keith Krause said.

And in those countries the violence is perpetrated by the government or government-sanctioned groups. In the 20th century the most common non-natural cause of death was being murdered by your own government. Stalin killed several times more Russians than Hitler killed his fellow Germans. Mao alone killed some 50 million of his fellow Chinese. As one slogan goes, with gun ownership you get tragedies, without gun ownership you get genocides.

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September 04, 2007

JFK's M1 Garand Rifle Up for Auction

JFK bought his M1 from the Department of Civilian Marksmanship in 1959 while still a Senator. The bid price is estimated to reach $50K-100K. From the auction page:

This rifle is fully documented with a copy of the original DD1348 noting that it was shipped to Senator Kennedy in Oct 1959; a copy of a Memorandum of Record that was provided to Senator Kennedy by the Dept of the Army detailing the additional upgraded work that was performed on the rifle; a copy of a Letter of Appreciation (signed by Senator Kennedy) that was sent to MSG Raymond Parkinson, thanking him for the additional time and care that he took in accurazing and test firing this rifle, along with the actual 200 yard test target shot by MSG Parkinson, (ten shots at 200 yards, approximately 2 inch OAL). Also accompanying this rifle is a letter from the NRA Museum dated Sept 1970, indicating their desire to obtain and put on a permanent display this very rifle (by serial number), along with a hand receipt dated Oct 1970 taking title to this rifle. This rifle was briefly written up in the May 1967 issue of the "American Rifleman" which also depicts the letter of appreciation noted above. It is complete with an original Boyt 44 marked leather sling, the 1959 NM handbook, and the original wooden shipping/storage box that was hand built by MSG Parkinson.

Hat tip to the The High Road, where several have noted that JFK was an NRA life member.

The Department of Civilian Marksmanship was privatized under Bill Clinton and is now the Civilian Marksmanship Program. They still sponsors shooting matches and sell civilians U.S. surplus rifles, including the M1 Garand.

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September 06, 2007

More M&P Rust Issues

The problem and the not-entirely satisfactory followup. Here's another instance I linked before.

I'm tending to go along with the opinion that this is a quality control issue that affects a few guns, rather than a pervasive issue in the design and manufacturing process.

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September 10, 2007

A Gun I Wouldn't Shoot on a Dare

Brass Fetcher gelatin tested a .45-70 derringer.

I used a vise. The owner of the gun was good enough to let me put it in a vise... so the wooden grips are ruined, but my hand is still in one piece. The noise from firing was fantastic. It was probably the loudest gun I have ever heard and I was 30 feet away from the muzzle, using a steel cable to pull the trigger!

[T]he gent who funded the test and sent me the gun, actually fired it once by hand. I think he said it was akin to holding out your hand, and having someone hit it with a hammer. His hand hurt for a week, he said.

The thing was gnarly in the vise too ... I purposefully clamped it hard enough to indent the wood, hoping that it would not move. It actually moved back about 4" in the jaws of the vise, before coming to a stop and rotating the gun skyward. Luckily for me, the barrel rotated into a support structure on the vise, which stopped the guns motion. I should have videotaped it!

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September 13, 2007

FS: S&W 625JM .45 with Trigger Job, Accessories SOLD

LATER: It's sold.


I'm selling my Smith & Wesson 625 Jerry Miculek special. It's an N frame S&W in .45 ACP with a 4" barrel, Jerry Miculek wood grips, frosted stainless steel finish, adjustable rear sight, and gold bead front sight that's removeable without tools. (The front sight is way cool, and I wish more Smiths had it.)

It's had a professional trigger job at Coal Creek Armory with reduced weight Wolf springs and a high mass firing pin, and with chamfered charge holes.

Gun is in 99% condition. Has had about 700 rounds fired through it. Comes with original box, papers, and S&W steel moonclips.

- Screwdriver-type demooning tool from
- 10 steel moonclips from
- 10 Rimz plastic clips (which is what I used almost exclusively since they didn't require a demooning tool)
- 50 rounds or so of fired Georgia Arms .45 Autorim brass.
- 100 rounds or so of .45 ACP brass if you want it

$635, which is less than the new price, and this is with a trigger job and the accessories. I'll be walking this around the gun show in Knoxville Saturday morning. If it doesn't sell there I'll put it up for sale on The High Road and Smith & Wesson Forum next week, or will ship to a reader's FFL. Email me if interested. I'll also have the FS: Lee-Enfield Pseudo No. 5 Jungle Carbine for sale at the show.

See also:
- Homer's Range Report for His New Smith &Wesson 625

Bonus! - And if you're wondering who Jerry Miculek is, he's the world's fastest pistol shooter. In the video below he's shooting an S&W 625 when he fires six shots, reloads, and fires six more shots all in 2.99 seconds. Miculek is so crazy fast it looks like he's pushing the bullets out of the gun. He has to use a revolver because the cycling time of a semi-auto slows him down.

P.S. - Those wood grips were designed by Jerry Miculek, and are what he uses on his guns. I have to say I was really warming up to them. They don't have checkering of fingergrooves, but they work really well because of the shape and low-gloss finish. The other revolver I was shooting Wednesday night had classic S&W fingergroove wood grips with a high gloss finish. The Miculek grips were more comfortable and controllable shooting .45 ACP than the S&W grips shooting .38 Special +P. I think Jerry's on to something with that design. Now if only Hogue or Pachmyr would offer a low cost version in rubber.

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September 17, 2007

Rare ASP Pistol Just Sold at Coal Creek


I was looking up Coal Creek Armory's Web site for their phone number and saw this. It's an ASP pistol - a rare bird to begin with, and this one is number 100 of a limited edition run of 100.

The ASP was a S&W 39 pistol with modifications designed by weapons designer Theodore Paris, who did work for the CIA and other U.S. agencies. Paris died last November, which prompted an article I read somewhere about the ASP. I thought it was at James Rummel's, but I couldn't find anything. It may have been at Airborne Combat Engineer or The Gun Zone.

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D.C. May Be Compromising Already in D.C. v. Parker

Dave Kopel at Volokh via everybody.

The strategic implications of DC's decision are enormous. It appears that DC has decided that its long-gun self-defense ban is constitutionally indefensible. The most logical inference is that DC (despite statements by the Mayor at press conferences) has concluded that it cannot convince the Supreme Court that the Second Amendment is not an individual right. DC is retreating to position that the individual Second Amendment right is not violated by a handgun ban, as long as individuals can possess other guns.

Under current D.C. law the subjects can possess neither.

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September 26, 2007

WI Circuit Court Upholds CCW Right Without Permit

From The High Road

On September 13, 2006, an unarmed Vegas -- acting under the orders of the District Attorney to avoid prosecution -- was robbed, beaten, and sprayed with pepper spray by three assailants. Consequently Vegas went out and purchased another firearm. On January 4, 2007, Vegas was again attempting to deliver a pizza when two men approached him and pointed a gun in his face. This time, he responded by again exercising his right to self-defense and shot his assailant in the hip. Vegas then secured his assailant' s firearm along with his, placed them both on the roof of his car, dialed 911, and waited for the police to arrive. The DA determined that he acted in self defense, but he was subsequently charged with CCW for the moments before he was assaulted and defended.

Even though this charge was brought forward by the DA’s office, the court has ruled in favor of Vegas, saying:

“Defendant Vegas has demonstrated the requisite extraordinary circumstances that warrant his concealed weapon…Vegas legally purchased his firearm for the purpose of security and protection. There is a strong inference that Vegas’ concealed firearm has saved his life during these violent assaults…Vegas has a substantial interest in being secure and protecting himself by carrying a concealed weapon.”

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, I don't think this means you're free to CCW without a license anywhere. First of all, it's a lower court ruling that could get overturned. Beyond that, the pizza guy had a specific history, and was actually attacked at the time his CCW status was revealed. (There's a name for that - breaking the law, but finding that breaking the law was necessary, but I forget what it's called.) Still, it's a good win for the right to self-defense.

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September 28, 2007

On the High Price of Ammo

"Did you know that a pack of ramen noodles costs less than a .38 bullet?"
 -- yesit'sloaded

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October 01, 2007

More Google vs. Guns

Google is threatening to cancel SayUncle's AdSense account because his site promotes guns, gun rights, and shooting activities. You know - things that are perfectly legal.

Google - censors or nannies?

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October 03, 2007

Break-Free Powder Blast Gun Cleaner

I needed to clean the 625 before I shipped it to the new owner, so I tried a new-to-me cleaner - Break-Free Powder Blaster. It's a solvent in a fairly high pressure can. It really did blast away powder and carbon residue, and a toothbrush removed the rest. The last time I shot the 625 I cleaned it with Break-Free CLP and a toothbrush, so it was already fairly clean, but it came out even cleaner this time. The extractor star looked shiny and new.

Powder Blast is a really good degreaser. The outside of the gun felt bone dry. I'll have a can of this around the next time I need to remove Cosmoline from a milsurp.

Because it's such a good degreaser it strips away all of the lubrication it touches. Because of that it isn't something I'd use every time I clean a gun (except sparingly on a brush or boresnake). Another reason not to use it every time is that the big can goes pretty fast. I used about half a can in cleaning one gun. With a little more forethought I could probably cut that in half. For occasional thorough cleanups I think I'll like it.

The instructions warn that that the solvents may harm some wood finishes or plastics.

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October 05, 2007

New Ruger Auto Pistol Rumor

From Ruger Forum via The High Road, there's a new Ruger auto pistol coming out in the next few days. Rumor has it it's a polymer frame, and will initially be available in limited quantities of four guns per dealer.

UPDATE: There's one for sale on GunsAmerica. No picture, but the name is given as the SR-9. No guarantees that that's the final name. New rumored ship date is October 11.


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October 09, 2007

What's in a Name?

Reporters love using the term "asault rifle." So much so that after the Virginia Tech shooting they called Cho's Glock an "assault pistol" even though the Glock is by far the most common police handgun in America. Whatever sells papers, I guess.

Uncle has the latest, in which an AR-15 is an assault rifle when in the hands of citizens, but a "patrol rifle" when used by a police. You've heard the story this week of a spurned deputy who went nuts and used his department-issued AR-15 to kill six people? CNN is calling his AR-15 a "police-style" rifle.

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October 16, 2007

Defensive Ammo: Regular, Premium, or Supreme?

Interesting thread on The High Road. What kind of ammo do you use in your guns intended for self-defense? The answers range from the cheapest Winchester White Box (WWB) to the most expensive rounds of Federal Hydra-Shok and CorBon.

With any ammunition for defense you want to shoot enough of it that you're sure it shoots to point of aim and that it functions reliably in your gun. For semi-automatics, many people consider 200 rounds to be a minimum before trusting their ammo. The super premium ammo costs about a dollar per round. How many people can afford to spend $200 to verify that a particular brand of ammo works with their gun? If you have multiple carry guns, multiply their number by $200. Suddenly the people shooting the cheap stuff seem like they've got a point.

I use mid-priced Remnington (158 grain SWCLHP* in .38 Special and 125 grain SJHP** in .357 Magnum) that in today's wildly inflated prices costs about $25 per 50 round box, or about fifty cents per round. WWB costs half that and the super premium stuff costs twice that.***

I'd hesitate to use WWB in a defensive gun. One reason it's so cheap is that it's never inspected by human eyes. I've seen pictures of some cock-eyed WWB cartridges with banged-up brass that made it to the store.

Which ammo do you use for self-defense?

The cheapest
The best, price no object

View Results

* Semi-wadcutter lead hollowpoint. The 158 grain variety of which in .38 Special is known as the FBI Load because the FBI used it for years. It has an extremely good reputation.
**Semi-jacketed hollowpoint
***The .38 Special Winchester White Box I bought at Wal-Mart the other week cost 28 cents per round. For comparison, a pack of Ramen noodles at Wal-Mart costs 12 cents. For the price of a 50 round box of WWB .38 Special ammo you could eat Ramen for lunch and dinner for a month.

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October 18, 2007

PMB-4M Russian Less-lethal Weapon


blog_shooting1.jpgVia The High Road, another oddball Russian weapon, though this one is less-lethal. Comment from a native Russian member of The High Road:

Well, i do carry one like that for past 2 years. Weird it is, powerful - hardly. It fires rubber slug of about 180 grains in weight, ~ .60 caliber, for about 50 ft-lbs of muzzle energy. At point blank range and with light clothing, it may cause a broken rib or jaw, or other such impact damage, but with heavy winter clothing it effectiveness degrades severely.

As for flash-bang, it does work to some extent. It gives a muzzle blast couple of feet long, and sounds like magnum-caliber rifle or something like that. At night, when fired into the face of attacker, it will bling him / them for good several minutes, providing escape time. It also beats the sh*t out of roaming dog packs.

The problem with this weapon (and with any other less-lethal weapon IMO) is that people tend to consider them as toys, or at least non-life-treathing devices, which results in irrseponsible use (use of knuckles to settle some personal disputes here, especially among youngers, is almost "socially acceptable", and less-lethal weapons often are considered just as long-range kickers, not real guns). Other problem is that police will often ingnore any minor damage to people and refuse to open the investigation case

The thing is electrically ignited; there are versions with Lithium battery or trigger-operated impulse generator (like mine). It also has a "smart" chip that runs low-voltage test through all chambers each time trigger is pulled to find the first loaded one, and fires it. I think it could be "hacked" to fire in salvos but see no reason for that. It also has a built-in laser pointer (with separate battery in the butt), which is useful due to almost non-existant sights; it also permits more or less accurate hip-firing.

Read on in that thread for information about the current Russian practice of converting conventional arms to fire rubber ball ammunition - such as the "condom-firing" Makarov - for legal use by civilians. According to the linked article gun laws were liberalized under Yeltsin to allow more citizens to own longarms, but few people are allowed to own, much less carry, handguns.

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Ruger SR9 Official Announcement


Following weeks or rumors Ruger has announced the SR9 pistol. The rumors that it would be Glock-like were true. It's a striker-fired design with a glass-filled nylon frame and stainless steel slide. Capacity is 17 rounds of 9 mm. Weight is 26.5 ounces with an empty magazine. One unique feature is the manual safety, which I expect most folks will either love or hate. I'm indifferent, but it looks like it's a location that's hard to reach with your thumb.

LATER: I'm surprised Ruger went with a molded-in grip design. That's very 1995. The trend is towards removable grip panels to fit different hand sizes, as in the Walther and S&W's M&P.

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October 21, 2007

Randy Mays' Gun Pages

I discovered Randy Mays' Web page, and had a fine time reading around it this morning. He buys and shoots quite a few guns during the course of the year while taking classes and working as an NRA instructor. His highlights are collected in the First Impressions section of the site - 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, and 2003.

He found an ingeniously simple and inexpensive way to carry extra speedloaders.

His Web site is begging for blog software, and he knows it.

I understand there is something called a "blog" that's available to people who want to share information on the Web, but I'd rather just continue doing this. The word "blog" sounds political, sounds like it is a vehicle for an agenda of some sort. I don't have any agendas that I know of, although I'm supposed to have another CT scan in January and who knows what that's going to show.

I liked this, too: "Notice how the range is constructed to keep all of the projectiles (bullets) within the range boundaries. This is state of the art range design. In Idaho, we use Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon as backstops."

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October 22, 2007

Hogue Now Makes Toilet Seats

Hogue should make them in black, double the price, and call it a tactical waste elimination system.

P.S. - They also make their Hand-All rubber grip sleeves for power tools, which ain't a bad idea.

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October 23, 2007

Ruger SR9 Reviews Coming In

Early reports from The High Road, Michael Bane and Ramblings from Oz.

Opinions on the trigger seem to differ wildly. The people who seem to like the trigger seem to be folks (like Bane) who were at special showings, and may have gotten ringers. Guns pulled out of the dealers case seem to not have such good triggers.

One person compared the SR9's trigger to a Mosin-Nagant revolver, which is not a compliment. The best thing you can say about a lot of Ruger's triggers is that the guns are popular enough and the triggers bad enough to inspire good aftermarket replacements.

Previous Ruger SR9 post.

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Martin Luther King Owned Guns, Sought a Concealed Carry Permit

Eric Scheie:

Well before his decision (apparently in 1955) to embrace Ghandian non-violence as the best tactic in the national showdown over civil rights, King had been a committed civil rights activist, but also a man who believed in protecting himself and his family against constant threats of racist violence (which included the bombing of his home).

Accordingly, the pre-Ghandian King had been armed to protect himself and his family -- to the point where his home was described by one activist as "an arsenal":

King would later admit that at the start of the boycott be was not firmly committed to Gandhian principles. He had initially advocated nonviolence not as a way of life but as a practical necessity for a racial minority. When his home was bombed at the end of January, he had cited Jesus-- "He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword"-- rather than Gandhi in urging angry black neighbors to remain nonviolent. At the time of the bombing, King was seeking a gun permit, and he was protected by armed bodyguards. Only after the bombing did King alter his views on the use of weapons for protection. His reconsideration was encouraged by the arrival in Montgomery of two pacifists who were far more aware than he of Gandhian principles.

Competing with each other for the influence over King, Bayard Rustin, a black activist affiliated with the War Resisters League, and Glenn E. Smiley, a white staff member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, saw themselves as King's tutors on Gandhian precepts. Rustin was shocked to discover a gun in King's house, while Smiley informed fellow pacifists that King's home was "an arsenal."

King appears to have not only been personally armed, but he applied for (and was unconstitutionally denied) a gun permit:

Martin King was not committed to nonviolence at the beginning of the bus protest. As white violence became increasingly focused on King personally through police harassment, the bombing of his home, volumes of hate mail, and frequent telephone threats of harm, King, seeking to protect himself and his family from white violence, applied for a gun permit, which, of course, was rejected. The threat of violence was so real that armed blacks took turns guarding King's home. King also kept a loaded gun in his house, which Bayard Rustin of the War Resistance League nearly sat on during a visit.

Eric has much more, including the racist origin of many gun control laws.

Incidentally, Alabama's refusal to grant King a carry permit is yet another example of why discretionary government permitting is a bad idea. Any discretionary system is prone to abuse and corruption. Today Alabama and most other states are shall-issue, which means they're required to issue carry permits to anyone who legally qualifies. That's the same practice used for most other government permitting - driver's licenses, marriage permits, voter registration, etc., and is the only way to avoid abuse.

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October 25, 2007

NEF and H&R Single Shot Rifles and Shotguns

Dave McCracken has a great post about NEF and H&R single shot shotguns and rifles. I bought one in .410 a couple years ago and think it's nifty, especially considering I only paid fifty bucks for it. Even new they're not much over a hundred, and they're so simple there isn't much to go wrong with them,

Greybeard Outdoors Forums is a good place to find more info. The Handi-Rifle FAQ and
Handi-Rifle Basics 101 threads are especially good.

Incidentally, I'd love to find a 12 or 20 gauge NEF Tracker locally. I can find them online, but by the time you pay shipping and FFL transfer fees they're no longer a bargain.

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Now That's a Gun Vault


Needs a crane just to install the door. Check.

Walls and ceiling made from triple rebar-enforced concrete. Check.

Communications and climate control. Check.

Nice. More info here.

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October 29, 2007

HR 1022 has 59 Co-sponsors

The addition of Dennis "the Midget"* Kucinich makes 59 co-sponsors. That according to Gun Legislation & Politics in New York.

Is 59 sponsors significant? I dunno. Paging Countertop!

HR 1022 is a re-authorization of the Assault Weapons Ban, only with more stringent provisions. It has me considering selling off some revolvers and bolt actions to pick up some more semi-autos and plenty of magazines.

* I made that up myself.

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Fred Thompson on U.N. Gun Control

A letter from Fred Thompson:

Last year, the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights declared that international human rights law requires all nations to adopt strict gun control laws. These “minimum” provisions are much more restrictive than any of those on the books anywhere in the U.S. and would almost certainly violate the Second Amendment of our Constitution.


So now the UN wants to disarm civilians? Where was the UN when the massacres in Rwanda occurred? What did the UN do to protect the victims of ethnic massacres in Bosnia? Disarming civilians under the guise of international human rights law will only lead to more such genocides by ensuring that civilians can never defend themselves! It would be funny if it weren’t so perverse.

Thankfully, the Framers of our Constitution recognized this potential peril to our liberty, and enshrined in our Second Amendment the more basic right of self-defense. The U.N. can say what it likes about other countries’ citizens’ possession of small arms being a violation of human rights law, but so long as the United States is a sovereign nation governed by its Constitution, its words will have no effect here. And I am glad for it.

I agree completely. Go, Fred, go.

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