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The Jennings .25 ACP- A Tale of Wonderment

Over the years, as I popped in and out of various gun stores in various states, I often stayed away from “that” section of the gun counter. You know, the one with the sub $200 pistols with names hardly published in the latest Guns and Ammo magazine. The tiny .25 ACP has always been a cartridge that intrigued me for some odd reason. The thought that in days gone by, this diminutive caliber had not only been relied upon for carry, but sought after boggled my mind, and still does. While well aware of the meme-like quality and reputation of the little Jennings in particular, I often told myself I’d only purchase one if I could find it for under $100. Years went by, and I forgot about the Jennings.

One day a few weeks ago, I was in my local gun shop purchasing some more reloading components, and I browsed “that” section of the counter, waiting for my friend and owner of the shop to finish helping another customer. I saw my forgotten J 25, with box and spare magazine, for $75. I told Jim, the owner of the shop I wanted to purchase the gun. After a series of looks that could only be interpreted as concern for my mental well-being, he retrieved the box for the gun and rang me up for it, as well as a couple of boxes of full metal jacket .25 ACP. Giddy with excitement, I hopped in my truck and drove home. I decided to shoot the pistol as it sat in the box. Needless to say, after years of sitting neglected, it did not do so well. A video of that initial range session can be found below.

Despite the pistol’s initial failings, I was not going to give up that easily. It might have been stubborn pride, or boredom from the COVID-19 quarantine, but I made the J25 my primary mission. I completely disassembled the gun and began giving it a thorough cleaning. The tiny six round magazines were not readily able to be disassembled, so I took some CLP and a QTip and chased the magazine follower down, cleaning the insides of the magazines. After making sure the pistol was well lubricated and cleaned, I reassembled it and could immediately tell a difference in how smoothly the slide moved on the frame.

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Taking it out for a second shooting session, I was blown away. The J25 acted like a completely different gun. It ran well, and was even fun to shoot, as long as I kept my mind off of the price of ammunition. We’ll discuss that more later. Here are videos of my second and third trips to the range, respectively.

So, as you may have noticed in the third video, accuracy is surprisingly decent at self defense distances for such a small gun. With decent reliability thus far, and acceptable accuracy, my thoughts began shifting to whether or not this gun is suitable for defensive use. The short answer, in my opinion, is no. If you have the means and ability to procure a firearm in at least .380 ACP, and carry it, I would strongly advise that course of action. The .25 ACP leaves a great deal to be desired in muzzle energy, projectile performance, cost of ammunition, and being able to shoot the gun accurately AND quickly. That being said, the conversations centered around defensive handgun selection are rarely black and white, and it’s truly rare to always be able to carry the same gun. Sometimes, the need for something very discreet arises. And it is in that role, and that role only, that I consider the .25 ACP to be an acceptable choice.

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The reality is that the .25 ACP and more specifically, the Jennings J25, are not recommendations I would make for a go-to concealed carry piece. They are, at best, a last ditch option for when you need a backup, or you simply cannot get away with carrying anything else. The ammunition is expensive- I paid $20 for a 50 round box of range ammunition. The hollow point offerings from Speer and Hornady are more. Interestingly enough, many proponents of the .25 claim that the velocity is simply not there for reliable expansion AND penetration, and of the two, penetration is the more important factor. Based on this, they claim that the .25 ACP is best carried with FMJ rounds.

While it’s usefulness for defense may be the subject of debate for some time to come, I can say that this little pistol is a lot of fun, and for the price, maybe you can have some fun too, if you find one for sale at your local gun shop.

Thank you for reading. If you haven’t already, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. That is where I produce the bulk of my content these days.

 

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Buying Your First Gun? READ THIS!!

In these uncertain times, the firearms industry has experienced a rapid and substantial uptick in sales of firearms, ammunition, and accessories during these uncertain times. Many gun stores have reported that the overwhelming majority of sales here recently have been from new gun owners- people that had previously never owned a gun before. Anecdotally, what I have been hearing from friends in the business, seeing on social media, and interaction I’ve had with viewers on YouTube, backs this up. The universal crisis we are facing from Covid-19 and this novel coronavirus has many people all over the world facing the uncertainty of the future due to the unprecedented nature of both the illness, but mainly government actions in response to this illness. Here in the United States, with our relative free access to firearms thanks to our 2nd Amendment protecting our natural right to self defense, this uncertainty has manifested itself with people choosing this moment to arm themselves.

I have condensed the majority of this information into video format on my YouTube channel. Part 1 of 3 is up now, with the other two coming soon.

Chances are, if you are reading this, then you may fall into that category. Buying a firearm for the first time is a big deal, under the most normal of circumstances. Right now, it is going to present some challenges of its own with many places on lockdown, and social distancing being highly encouraged. One of the first things I typically recommend to new gun owners is to seek out qualified instruction from a reputable instructor. Many trainers have suspended training sessions, and many gun ranges that previously have offered introductory classes have suspended those, and in some cases, even their range operations. Fortunately, there are many things you CAN do to learn about operating your firearm safely, and putting in the work to get proficient with your firearm. Before we get into all of that though, I’d like to discuss some of the various common firearms types out there, and some of their merits and downsides. This may help you decide on what type of firearm will best suit yours and your family’s needs.

Rifles. This is a very broad segment of the firearms market, so I’m going to break this down into two main categories. First, we will discuss manually operated firearms- lever actions, bolt actions, and the like. These rifles require the shooter to manually chamber each round before firing. These can be found chambered in everything from small calibers such as .22 Long Rifle, all the way up to the largest of center-fire rifle cartridges. In many cases, these are the go to style of rifle for hunters. I certainly recognize the usefulness of these rifles for hunting, if chambered in a suitable caliber, they have several downsides when it comes to being useful for defensive purposes. These rifles commonly have an internal magazine which must be loaded one round at a time, which is inherently slow compared to an external magazine fed firearm. They also require each round to be manually chambered, leading to a slower rate of fire. This decreased fire rate could potentially cost you your life in a gunfight.

The second type of rifle we will look at is the modern sporting rifle style. This encompasses things like AK-47s, AR-15s, AR-10s, and other magazine fed semi-automatic rifles with a standard magazine capacity of 20+ rounds. While often demonized by the media as “assault rifles” these rifles, particularly the AR-15, make up a huge segment of rifles sold in America, and are a favorite platform for home defense, hunting in some cases, and over all fun for target shooting. The major benefit of the AR-15 is its extreme modular nature- these rifles can be endlessly modified and adjusted to fit the shooter. For example with a quick adjustment of the rifle stock (the part of the rifle that rests against the shooter’s shoulder) my AR-15 can be shot comfortably by my wife, who is substantially smaller than me. The rounds that these rifles shoot are often not very punishing, particularly the AK-47 and AR-15. For the rest of this discussion, we will focus on these two designs, with an admitted heavy bias from me towards the AR-15.  

 

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The author’s AR-15 (left) and AK-47 (right)

The AR-15 most commonly shoots the 5.56 NATO round which is a relatively small and light projectile, traveling at relatively high velocities. This caliber is the main caliber of the U.S. military, and many law enforcement agencies in the country. This translates into ammunition being widely available, which is definitely a plus when considering a rifle for SHTF (shit hitting the fan). On the other hand, the AK-47 shoots a 7.62 x 39 mm round, which means the cartridge’s overall length is shorter, but the diameter is larger. This round is heavier, but moving at slower velocities. The 7.62 x 39 mm round is a better choice for hunting, although both calibers will work for small to medium sized game. 5.56 NATO ammunition is going to be lighter and easier to carry, in addition to being more common than the 7.62 x 39 caliber. My vote here goes to the AR-15. For a rifle that offer the most out of the box, and be endlessly configured and tailored for the user, the AR-15 is hard to beat. If you live in a state where these rifles are illegal or heavily restricted, something beats nothing.

Now we will discuss shotguns. Shotguns are some of the most versatile firearms known to man. The range of projectiles these guns can fire is truly impressive. Everything from birdshot, a lot of tiny pellets, commonly used for shooting sporting clays or shooting birds, as the name suggests to slugs, one massive piece of lead, commonly weighing one ounce. There are a variety of calibers when it comes to shotguns, but these are measured a bit differently than traditional handgun or rifle cartridges. The most common are 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and .410, also known as a 28 gauge. These terms refer to the amount of solid lead balls that could be made in the same diameter of the gun’s bore out of one pound of lead. So, the smaller the number, the larger the bore diameter. For instance, 12 gauge has a bigger bore diameter than 20 gauge and so on. There are several more sizes of shotgun chamberings, but these are the most common. 12 gauge is undoubtedly the most common here in the US and has the most support in terms of ammunition variety and availability, and is my recommendation. Shotguns have been one of the most misunderstood firearms from what I have gathered talking to new shooters. The way they are portrayed on television and several persistent myths have led several things to be cemented as fact, that are actually demonstrably false. Let’s pick some of those apart.

  • You don’t have to aim a shotgun. While several projectile loads in shotguns DO offer some spread, this is heavily dependent on the range the projectiles are being shot at. They open over distance, not immediately upon the barrel on a standard shotgun. Depending on the load, some shotgun shells may still have all of the pellets in a fist sized pattern at 25+ yards. This means that inside of a standard home, aiming is absolutely essential. Remember that interior walls are often nothing more than some studs and two layers of drywall. These ear easily defeated by most projectiles from firearms. Getting your rounds on target is paramount to both stop the threat, and minimize the potential for injuring an innocent bystander or family member.
  • Just the sound of racking a shotgun will scare an intruder. This is a tricky one because the definitive data simply isn’t available to show if this actually works or not. Anecdotal stories can be found both supporting this, and showing that it failed to deter an intruder. The issue here is that many people believe that this is all that will be needed to stop a home invader, while in truth, it may or may not. You need to be prepared to use said weapon if your life or the lives of others in the home are in danger.
  • Birdshot is NOT acceptable for defensive use. It lacks the penetration needed to reliably stop a threat in all but the closest engagements. It can and will still penetrate interior walls. There is literally NO reason to use this for defense against two legged threats. Bird hunting, clay shooting, and venomous snakes that are in your immediate vicinity.

Shotguns are very versatile at the end of the day, and if you are planning on acquiring more than just one firearm, I absolutely recommend picking up a 12 gauge shotgun. They can be used to hunt, and with buckshot or slugs, can be devastating defensive weapons, although my preference will always be with 00 buckshot for defensive purposes. Slugs will extend the effective range of a shotgun somewhat, but accuracy can suffer at range by nature of most shotguns lacking rifling, the grooves on the inside of the barrel of firearms that imparts spin on a projectile. This spin helps stabilize the projectiles and makes them more accurate. Some shotguns have rifled barrels that either come with them or can be purchased separately but these should only be used with slugs, and can be more trouble than they are worth. A shotgun’s range is going to be in the middle- longer than a handgun, much shorter than a rifle.

By my site and YouTube channel name, you may have correctly deduced at this point that I am a handgun guy. I like everything about them. Their portability, designs, and the challenges inherent in shooting a firearm that doesn’t benefit from having four points of contact with your body like a rifle or shotgun (strong hand, support hand, shoulder, and cheek) but only has two. Handguns are what I, and a substantial amount of other people carry daily as a last line of defense to preserve our lives and those of our families. They’ve been around a long time in one form or another and their designs have changed based on war, metallurgy advances, and cartridge innovation. They are largely tools of convenience, outdistanced in orders of magnitude by centerfire rifle calibers. We carry them because they are able to be concealed, but if I KNEW I was going to be in a fight, or had a high potential of being in a fight, I’d most assuredly want my rifle. That being said, these are valuable tools, and a handgun may be the right firearm for you.

  • They can be concealed. In our society, concealed is definitely the way to carry a firearm. While I wholeheartedly believe that open carry IS a right, I find the political and social climate to be largely intolerant of firearms carried plainly in the open in most places. There are various arguments about whether open carry acts as a deterrent or makes you a target, and I will leave that discussion to those better suited to have it. I carry concealed because I don’t like drawing unneeded attention to myself.
  • Ammo is inexpensive in relation to rifle and shotgun rounds. This will largely come down to your caliber choice, but 9mm is usually what I recommend to new shooters because it is typically easily obtained (present ammo shortage excluded), the recoil is manageable and typically will not “scare off” a new shooter, and the variety of firearms chambered for 9mm is vast. Despite what some older folks will tell you, 9mm absolutely possesses the energy to decisively end a deadly force encounter. The most important factor is going to be shot placement- making sure your rounds impact where you mean for them to.

Handguns also have their drawbacks as well. The rounds are not as powerful as a rifle. They make poor choices for hunting. Perhaps the biggest one is that they take a great deal of practice to shoot well compared to a rifle. You will absolutely need to put in the time and effort with a handgun to be proficient with it, particularly for the means of self defense. I cannot stress enough the importance of training regularly with your defensive handgun.

 

In closing, if you could only pick one firearm for SHTF, I would have to recommend a solid, dependable AR-15. Ideally though, I think it would be prudent to have a good AR-15, shotgun, and dependable 9mm handgun. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses.

Folks, I don’t write on here nearly as much as I used to, and most of my time is now spent making my YouTube videos. I will be putting out more content geared towards folks just getting their first firearm soon. I also have several gun and gear reviews that may help you in your purchase decisions. I hope that all of you stay safe during these uncertain times, and that this information helped you in some way.

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Sig Sauer Emporer Scorpion Fastback 1911 First Look Review

I have always been enamored with the look and feel of 1911 handguns from the first time I held my Dad’s Llama .45. As my love for history developed, it was impressed upon me just how groundbreaking John Moses Browning’s design was for that time period. Over 100 years later, variants of 1911 pistols can be found regularly in the holsters of special forces personnel, concealed carriers, and on nightstands across the country, ready to defend life and liberty. That’s not even taking into account the countless shooting enthusiasts who have come to know and love the fun to be had shooting a quality 1911.

Though I’ve had a couple different 1911 handguns in the past, I have never owned a commander length variant, just the short 3 inch officer variants. The full sized 5 inch government styles certainly would be fun to own, but I fear I would never get them out and shoot them, and certainly wouldn’t carry one. The Emperor Scorpion Fastback fits neatly in the commander category with it’s 4.2 inch barrel and full sized grip. Let’s look at some more specifications from Sig’s website:

Barrel: 4.2″

Overall length: 7.7″

Width: 1.4″

Height: 5.5″

Weight: 35 OZ (unloaded)

Finish: PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition)

Trigger weight: unlisted, but in 4.5-5 lb territory, user adjustable

MSRP: $1,234

 

 

So, as we can see, the gun is not lightweight, not particularly small, and not cheap, at least judging by the MSRP. The frame and slide are made of steel, which is not light, but also lends itself to the soft recoiling I experienced while shooting the Scorpion. While the .45 ACP is not a particularly hard recoiling round, it does typically have a stout “shove” with smaller, lighter guns, particularly polymer firearms. I found the Scorpion to be very well balanced and a joy to shoot.

I purchased the Scorpion used, and it was missing the second magazine the firearm ships with. However, at the price I got the gun for, I really won’t complain, as the savings more than make up the difference in acquiring several Chip McCormick or Kimber mags. And, should you pick up a Scorpion of your own, you will most certainly want to do that, as the gun is truly a blast to shoot.

The “Fastback” designation in the name refers to the rounded heel of the grip, where as a typical 1911 will be more squared off. I initially didn’t know how much of a difference this would make in the weapon’s handling, but it didn’t take long holding it to convince me this would be far more preferable for carry purposes and even extended shooting sessions than my officer sized Ultra Carry by Kimber.

As of this article, I have not fired enough rounds through the Scorpion to give it a rock solid recommendation, though I experienced zero reliability issues in the 100 or so rounds I fired today. The gun fed and extracted well using the Sellier and Bellot 230 grain full metal jacket rounds, and reliably fed a magazine of Federal’s HST 230 grain +P self defense ammo. Based on my limited experience with the firearm, I have to say I am pleased with it, and do fervently look forward to shooting it more.

 

As an aside, I apologize for the hiatus from writing. I have been focusing on catching up my YouTube Channel with this site, and making videos for the guns which I have already written articles on. The guns which I have already made videos for, have now been edited to include an embedded video link from YouTube.

I will also be reviewing some rifles and shotguns in the near future, though handguns will always be my true love and passion when it comes to shooting.

As always, thank you for reading, and your support. I hope everyone has a very joy filled holiday season no matter what you celebrate, or if you don’t. Enjoy the time with your family, stay safe, and keep shooting!!!

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Desert Eagle .50 AE Review

Chances are, you’ve either seen the iconic Desert Eagle .50 AE either in one of several movies featuring the pistol, or in countless video games. You may have even heard various rumors about the pistol’s origins and intended uses, or even claims as to it’s capabilities. Let’s go ahead and get the facts straight on the gun before proceeding to the review.

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The massive Desert Eagle .50 comes with one 7 round magazine.

Starting development all the way back in 1979, the Desert Eagle .50 AE was designed to be the semi automatic handgun capable of chambering the largest center-fire handgun cartridge in the world. Magnum Research Inc was responsible for the design and refinement of the pistol, and production was initially handled by Israel Military Industries until 1995, when Saco Defense took over production for a brief period of three years, and then back to Israel Military Industries. Since 2009, Desert Eagles have been made in the USA at Magnum Research, in Pillager, MN. Herein we see the origins of one particularly common rumor about the gun, that it is used by the Israeli military. It is not, at least in any official capacity. We also see that this is a “because we can” type of firearm, though it has certainly found some viable uses, which we will discuss later on.

The Desert Eagle is massive. As the gun can come chambered in other, more common calibers, such as .44 Magnum, and .357 Magnum, I almost feel as though Magnum Research should have named the .50 AE variant the “Desert Pterodactyl” for the size of the round it takes. The rim of the .50 AE is the same size as the .44 Magnum, and is smaller than the case itself. The case then tapers slightly down to .54″ to accommodate the .50″ projectile. The Hornady XTP hollow point rounds I fired during the review leave the muzzle at a respectable 1,475 FPS, and the 300 grain projectile generates a whopping 1,449 foot pounds of energy. To put that in perspective, a standard .44 Magnum round travels roughly 1,230 FPS and generates 806 foot pounds of energy. That is a LOT of power to be fired out of a handgun.

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The author firing the Desert Eagle at dusk. Note the basketball sized ball of fire.

Let’s look at some specs on this impressive weapon:

  • Barrel length is 6″
  • Made out of carbon steel, other materials and finishes available (gun reviewed is “brushed chrome” finish)
  • Single action, trigger pull is listed as 4 pounds
  • Weight with empty magazine is 4 pounds, 5.8 ounces
  • MSRP is listed as $1,999, though typically seen for about $1,600-$1,800

 

The way the gun works is perhaps what is most intriguing to myself and other firearms enthusiasts. It uses a 4 lug bolt reminiscent of the 7 lug bolts commonly seen on AR-15’s and M-4’s, and has a port under the chamber where gas is routed when a shot is fired. The gas then travels inside a tube running underneath the barrel where it encounters a piston, which it then engages and cycles another round. It is essentially the same principle used in countless rifles, but rarely, if ever, seen in a handgun.

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Note the lug slots and the gas tube located just above the feed ramp.

Firing the Desert Eagle .50 AE is an experience unlike any other. The recoil is extremely stout and the report is thunderous. The muzzle flash is bright, even under bright daylight conditions. One of Newton’s laws  states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In considering the amount of muzzle energy we discussed earlier, you can imagine what the recoil is like. The gun has received a bad reputation for being prone to jams. I tried to replicate that today, and was able to by “limp wristing” the pistol. It doesn’t like that at all. I encountered a failure to feed three rounds into the magazine. If I maintained a proper firing grip on the pistol, I had no such issues. Speaking plainly, I cannot afford the amount of ammo it would take to run a proper reliability test on the gun, but in scouring the internet, did find several Desert Eagle owners with far more financial resources than I have who reported firing upwards of 1000 rounds with no issues, using factory loaded ammunition.

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Failure to feed caused by “limp wristing” was the only issue I had.

Accuracy with the Desert Eagle is surprisingly good, although I’m sure that others will fire the gun much more accurately than myself. After 7 operations on my right forearm and extensive metal hardware being inserted, I found myself truly not just anticipating each shot, but almost dreading it. Even considering that, the gun absolutely did its part and and the crisp, single action trigger really lends itself to lobbing the 300 grain hunks of lead where you want them. With the large section of rail atop the barrel, the gun also lends itself well to being fitted with an optic, if that’s your cup of tea. I would, however, recommend going with a quality optic, as it has been my experience most “bargain buys” will not hold up to sharp and powerful recoil, and the Desert Eagle certainly delivers that. The iron sights the gun comes with are plain, dovetailed fixtures which worked just fine against my light colored target. I’m sure there are other options out there if you wanted to change them out.

 

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Accuracy was respectable, even out to 25 yards, when aiming at the “-3” at the bottom of the target.

As far as uses for the Desert Eagle, concealed carry is simply out. The weight, size, chambering, and potential for jams when not held properly immediately disqualify it. However, there are people who deer hunt with it, carry it for bear defense, and even just enjoy shooting it. Handloaders have reported that you can really milk the cartridge for all different purposes, and that it is a good cost saving practice if you find yourself shooting the .50 AE frequently. The ammo IS pretty pricey, at $1.40 a round being the cheapest I found it from reliable brands. For bear defense, I would be reluctant to carry the Desert Eagle simply due to the size, weight, and the simplicity of a revolver vs a semi-auto in those fast paced and short distance encounters. Speaking honestly, this is just a fun gun to shoot, even with the joint cracking, bone jarring recoil. It is even more fun to shoot with a group of friends. I would advise that you make sure that anyone who shoots it is confident and fairly experienced with firearms before letting them take a turn with it. The internet is full of videos of inexperienced shooters whacking themselves in the forehead with the barrel due to lack of experience, and the power of the firearm. So, should you get one? That’s up to you! It’s fun, but expensive to buy, expensive to shoot, and in my opinion, should come with some coupons for Motrin in the packaging.

 

Thank you for reading. Please, consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Minds. Also, if you would like to make a financial donation, those are always very appreciated, and mean so much. Liking and following our Facebook page is also very much appreciated. Stay safe and keep shooting!!

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Kimber Ultra Carry II Review

In today’s world of super high capacity, polymer framed, modern, and commonly seen and carried firearms, we often enjoy a touch of elegance. Kimber is typically found at the low end of the high end makers of 1911 handguns. The tolerances are tight, the lines of their guns are refined, and Kimber enjoys a reputation for quality that is well earned. Kimber’s Ultra models are super compact 1911 handguns that are well suited for concealed carry and personal protection.

Though 1911 handguns are typically heavier than their more modern counterparts, the Ultra Carry II is built on an aluminum frame, which helps carve some of the weight down. The Ultra Carry II also enjoys the weight reduction and aesthetics of a skeletonized hammer and trigger. The model I own is the two-tone variant, with a satin aluminum frame, black carbonized steel slide, and beautiful rosewood grip panels. I have done no aftermarket work to the gun.

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The author’s Ultra Carry II. Note the skeletonized hammer and trigger, as well as the checkered grip panels and serrated backstrap.

1911 style handguns are often considered unreliable, and that blanket assumption is often applied unfairly. Indeed, some  hollow point ammunition may not feed reliably, due to the cavity shape in the nose of the projectile. Kimber 1911s in particular are often touted as prone to jam, but I have often found that the largest thing these owners have in common is that they fail to break their pistols in. These guns are built to extremely tight tolerances, meaning that the frame and slide are very tightly put together. This is why a break in period of approximately 500 rounds is often recommended. My own Ultra Carry II was not immune to this. After about 300 rounds, it started working all the kinks out and got just “loose” enough to reliably run. After the full 500 rounds, I haven’t had any hiccups at all with ball ammunition, and only experienced issues with Sig’s V-Crown hollow point defensive ammunition. I use Federal HST rounds for defensive purposes now, when I carry the gun.

With that out of the way, let’s look at some specs on the Ultra Carry II:

  • Weight is listed as 25 oz with unloaded magazine inserted
  • Magazine capacity is 7+1 rounds
  • Recoil spring weight from factory is 18.0 lbs
  • Comes standard with full length guide rod
  • Barrel is a match grade, 3″ bushingless bull barrel
  • Sights are fixed, low profile, 3 dot configuration
  • Trigger comes from the factory between 4-5 lbs and is user adjustable to a degree
  • MSRP is $837.00

 

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The sights are clear and easy to acquire, and the white dots will suit most needs for recreation, though tritium sights would be my preference if this was my standard carry weapon.

have carried my Ultra Carry II quite a bit, off and on, and can say that it is right at home inside the waistband riding in a Don Hume leather open top IWB holster. The beauty of a 1911 is that it is a narrow gun, and very unobtrusive to carry. The weight is mitigated a bit by the aluminum frame, but it is still a solid weapon. With 8 total rounds on board, statistically you are prepared for most self defense scenarios, and 1911 magazines are extremely slim due to their single stack design, so slipping an extra magazine or two in your pocket is not very difficult.

 

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This is admittedly NOT the pistol I shoot the best, but as you can see, at defensive distances, the groupings are satisfactory.

Shooting the Ultra Carry II is fun. If you predominately shoot striker fired handguns, such as Glocks, then the crisp, single action trigger will seem shockingly light and enjoyable. Recoil is manageable, even with the very short barrel and aluminum frame, and the checkering on the backstrap helps anchor the gun. The checkering on the Rosewood grip panels certainly looks nice, but it doesn’t do much to help securely hold the gun. There is no checkering or texture on the front of the grip, below the trigger guard, and I believe the gun would really have benefited from some checkering there. When only firing a few magazines’ worth of ammunition, the lack of grip texturing really isn’t that evident, but after an extended shooting session, or if your hands are sweaty, you may easily find yourself having to constantly readjust your grip on the pistol. Accuracy with the Ultra Carry II is as you would expect from a higher end 1911. It most likely will not win you any bulls-eye matches with the short sight radius and somewhat slippery grip, but for defensive purposes I found the Ultra Carry II to be more than adequate. I have also shot two coyotes with it, one of which was dropped in its tracks with only one shot. The other required a follow up.

A few subjective negatives should be mentioned however. I have fairly large hands, and even I cannot activate the slide stop/ slide release without altering my grip on the gun. Also, I feel that if you buy one of these guns new, you need to be prepared to put about 500 rounds through it to get it broken in. Unfortunately, that is the price you pay for tight tolerances, and Kimber is not alone in this. On the bright side, that’s a real good reason to shoot 500 rounds through your new gun, if you find yourself needing to explain it to a dubious wife or girlfriend.

If you are looking for a 1911 for strictly recreational purposes, I would recommend going with a full sized, or Commander sized model, rather than the Ultra Carry II. However, if you want a 1911 for defensive purposes, in the timeless .45 ACP chambering, that is small enough to conceal, large enough to control, the Ultra Carry II may be just what you are looking for. As always, thank you so much for reading. Stay safe, and keep shooting.

http://www.kimberamerica.com

http://www.donhume.com

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Ruger GP100 7- Shot .357 Magnum Review

Long before we had semi-automatic handguns capable of holding 15, 17, even 20 rounds that we could conceal under a light jacket, there existed one type of gun that one could always depend on: the revolver. From its origins in the late 1930’s, all the way to present times, the .357 Magnum cartridge has earned its reputation as a fight stopping, deer dropping, health and hearth defending round. It is commonly referred to as “The King” when it comes to stopping bad guys in one shot. It traces its roots back to the ubiquitous .38 Special, which enjoyed great popularity. However, the power just wasn’t there for back country enthusiasts and hunters, so a man by the name of Elmer Keith set about improving the .38 Special. After experimenting with hot handloads (and destroying a few revolver cylinders in the process) Keith extended the .38 Special brass by 1/8th inch to accommodate the higher powder charges and Smith and Wesson gave him a stronger revolver to use in his developments. Thus, the .357 Magnum was born. Police departments and civilians alike received the round with open arms. Law Enforcement personnel were much more comfortable with the .357’s increased power, especially when compared to the .38’s of the time.

 

Ruger’s 7 shot, steel GP100 builds on the legacy of earlier Ruger models like the Security 6. The classic GP100 has enjoyed a reputation of being a stout workhorse that can handle a steady diet of full power .357 Magnum rounds, while also being capable of firing the soft shooting, and less expensive .38 Special ammunition. Ruger currently produces the 7 shot GP100 in 3 barrel lengths: 2.5″, 4.2″, and 6″. I have the 4.2″ and consider it to be the best of both worlds for a general purpose revolver that I may occasionally conceal, but more often will be worn during back country excursions.

Let’s take a look at the specs:

  • Barrel length as reviewed: 4.2″ (2.5″ and 6″ also available)
  • Made out of stainless steel
  • Grips are rubber with hardwood panel inserts
  • Weight is 40 OZ unloaded
  • Capacity is 7 rounds
  • Finish is a satin brushed stainless
  • Barrel twist rate is 1:18.75″ right hand
  • Cylinder lock up is in three places: front of frame, rear of frame, and at bottom of cylinder
  • MSRP is listed at $899

For me, the first thing I noticed when I picked the GP100 up is its weight. At 40 ounces unloaded, it is hefty firearm, and solidly built. The finish on the gun is a brushed satin stainless that I find very visually appealing. It seems to be the perfect balance of aesthetics and function. It should resist elemental degradation well, and has held up well in the time I’ve had it, despite having been on my side during some sweaty weedeating sessions and other yard maintenance activities. Not to say that the blued version of the gun would fare any worse, mind you, I just prefer the stainless look.

The sights on the revolver are great for most uses. You get a fully adjustable rear sight, which is a necessity if you plan on using varying bullet weights or different hand loads, as the point of impact can vary significantly with different powder charges and projectile weights. I only had to do some minor tweaking to go from 158 grain semi-wadcutter .38 Special loads, to 110 grain semi-jacketed hollow point .357 Magnum rounds. The front sight is a fiber optic affair that comes with a green fiber optic “rod.” The sight is manufactured by HI-VIZ sight systems and you can order different color fiber optic inserts to replace the green one if it isn’t what you like. The inserts are reasonably priced as well. As you can see in the picture below, the front sight is kind of difficult to see when indoors, or lacking sunlight. If this were going to be a defensive pistol, I would most certainly swap the sight out for a tritium/ fiber optic combo sight, to ensure I could get a good visual on the front sight in every lighting condition.

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Rear sight features a nice “U” outline that I find very useful.
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Front sight’s fiber optic insert glowing nicely outdoors

If there’s anything the GP100 does well, it’s shooting. Admittedly, I am not a revolver expert, or expert marksman by any means. However, this gun is as accurate as any handgun I have ever shot, and if I do my part, I have no doubts that the GP100 will do hers. When shooting full powered .357 Magnum rounds, one begins to appreciate the heft the gun brings to the table. The weight of the firearm certainly soaks up the recoil, and even after an afternoon of shooting nothing but .357 Magnums out of it, my hands were no worse for wear. Shooting .38 Specials out of the GP100 is even more enjoyable. Very mild recoil, and less concussive report. The double action trigger pull is long and heavy, as one would expect, and clocks in at 12 lbs. The single action trigger is delightfully crisp, and comes in at 4.2 lbs. 7 round speedloaders made for the S&W 686+ by HKS also work flawlessly with the 7 shot GP100.

 

It is in shooting the gun that I did notice one issue. While I don’t believe the gun is to blame, it is still noteworthy. When Ruger added the 7th round to the GP100’s capacity, it necessitated the rounds being held more closely together in the cylinder. With some ammunition brands, I encountered case rim discrepancies in size that prevented loading the cylinder to full capacity, as the case rims would not sit flush and would prevent the cylinder from closing if you tried to proceed with 7 rounds anyways. I encountered this with Tula’s steel cased .38 Special, Remington’s green and white box .357 Magnum, and UMC’s Bulk .38 Special ammo. It didn’t happen every time I would load the cylinder, but certainly enough to mention. I did not  have any issues with Federal ammunition, or Hornady ammunition.

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The rounds sit very closely together in the cylinder, and naturally, any variation in case rim size on ammunition could be problematic for loading the cylinder to its full capacity.

While the MSRP for these guns is listed at $899, I have not seen them for that anywhere. I have found them typically priced between $600-790 and for what the gun delivers, I think it a fair price to pay, even at the upper end of that price range. This is a gun sturdy and reliable enough for most tasks I can think of, and it has earned my trust for outdoor activities. Here are some links to Ruger’s website, and HI-VIZ. Thank you for reading, stay safe and keep shooting!

HI-VIZ sights: http://www.hivizsights.com/

Ruger GP100 accessories: http://shopruger.com/GP100/products/3120/

Gun as reviewed from Ruger: https://ruger.com/products/gp100/specSheets/1771.html

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So, You Want to Carry a Gun?

If you are reading this, I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s because you have decided you might want to start carrying a gun. So, let’s get a couple of disclaimers out of the way for starters:

I reside in Georgia. Any reference to laws and other legal considerations are done with that reference in mind. Check your local laws and regulations.

I am obviously not an attorney and this does not constitute legal counsel in any way, shape, form or fashion.

I assume no liability whatsoever for any action you or another person takes after reading this article.

Clear? I hope so. Can’t be too careful in today’s world. Which is a nice transition to the topic at hand, carrying a gun. For the purpose of this article, we will primarily be discussing concealed carry, as opposed to open carry, so bear that in mind. When discussing carrying a firearm with someone in person, I usually like to figure out what prompted this decision, as sometimes there may be an underlying issue that needs to be resolved, with the desire to carry a gun being a symptom of that issue. For example, an ex boyfriend stalking a woman. She should be taking legal routes to resolve the stalking, while absolutely getting the means to defend herself should the need arise. I’m not saying getting the permit and firearm is a bad idea at all, but the issue needs to be resolved, whatever the “issue” may be.

Here in the state of Georgia, our firearms laws are fairly relaxed compared to other states across the country. The usual restrictions to firearms ownership still apply, such as felony convictions, domestic abuse, dishonorable discharge, etc. We will be going from the assumption that you are legally allowed to possess a firearm from here on out. What is NOT required, per state law, is any kind of formal training to get a carry permit and carry a firearm. Without delving into the politics surrounding this, suffice it to say I think carrying a gun without at least rudimentary training is a bad idea. You should have a working knowledge of your firearm, basic understanding of your legal rights and responsibilities as a concealed carrier, and practice enough to maintain proficiency with your firearm. We aren’t talking SEAL Team 6 stuff here by any means, and it behooves you and the general public to obtain this knowledge and these skills.

Classes are available to teach you how to shoot. Ranges are available for you to practice and maintain your skills. What is not so easily taught is the mindset that you should have while carrying a gun. That gun is to defend your life, to put it simply. If you were a maintenance tech before you started carrying, you are still a maintenance tech, your job didn’t change. You didn’t somehow become Superman. Yes, there are cases where a concealed carrier used their weapon to save the life of someone else. No, that’s not a bad thing. If your moral compass and your legal rights and responsibilities align in a moment of need for someone else, great. But your primary purpose in carrying a firearm as a civilian is for self defense, not crime fighting, not to get yourself in bad situations just because you have a gun now.

It takes only a minute or two to see a news story about someone being killed or assaulted in a violent crime. There is a criminal element out there that does bad things to good people. Such has been the case for all of human history, and likely will not change in our lifetimes. If these news stories are what prompted you to start down this path, that’s completely understandable but also understand according to National Institute of Justice statistics, violent crime is consistently decreasing. Remember that there is a fine line between fear and prudence. Do not let fear dictate your decision making when it comes to big decisions like carrying a gun.

After discerning your reasons to begin carrying a concealed firearm, the next step is to go to your county courthouse and apply for a permit. While some states allow “Constitutional” or permit-less carry, Georgia requires a permit to carry a firearm on your person. There will be some paperwork you will out, as well as having to obtain fingerprints from the county Sheriff or other local law enforcement agency. There will also be a fee that will need to be paid. This fee can vary from county to county, so check with your county to get accurate pricing. Turnaround times on permits being issued can vary. Mine took about two weeks. That seems to be the average from talking to friends. The Georgia permit is good for 5 years, and if renewed before expiration, is typically less expensive when renewing it. The Georgia permit also will serve as a background check when purchasing a firearm in the state of Georgia. The gun store will simply copy the permit and your driver’s license and file it with your other paperwork from purchasing the gun.

This next section is largely subjective, so bear with me. If you hang around “gun people” at all, you have likely heard the term “carry gun” thrown around. This is because a “carry gun” is something most concealed carriers spend a great deal of time researching and considering before making a decision on. For me, a gun I intend to use for concealed carry has to meet some very important criteria before I would consider carrying it. I need to be able to shoot it well under simulated stress, both accurately and quickly. It needs to be unquestionably reliable and fool proof to operate under stress. Lastly, I need to be able to conceal it fairly easily. In my case, this brought me to the Glock 19 9mm pistol. It just works for me and my needs. It may not for you. The best advice I can give you, the novice carrier looking for a concealed carry gun, is to find a range that will allow you to rent guns and try them out. Tell the range staff that you are in the market for a carry gun, and try several out. Or, if you have a friend that has several guns and you trust, ask them to let you go shooting with them and try some of theirs out to see if you find a potential match. Inevitably, someone will ask if I have some recommendations to start the search with, so here are a few that I personally have carried, and would recommend to someone new to carrying a gun:

  • Glock 19 9mm
  • Smith and Wesson M&P 9c 9mm
  • Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 9mm
  • Glock 26 9mm
  • Glock 30s .45 ACP

Some of you have probably noticed two things: I like Glock and Smith and Wesson, and I like my carry gun chambered in 9mm. Both are true. That’s not to say there aren’t other options out there that may make more sense for your needs and preferences. These are just what I am willing to put my stamp of approval on, based on having actually carried these guns. My reasoning for the 9mm is quite simple: it is cheaper than the other two members of the “big three” self defense calibers, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, delivers enough energy for self defense needs, and is mildly recoiling and easier to shoot more quickly and accurately than other options. Again, these are my personal reasons and based on my experiences.

Once you decide on a firearm to carry, you are going to need a holster to carry it in. This is almost more subjective than the firearm selection portion of the article. Where on your body you carry will largely be determined by your day to day activities and your clothing that you typically wear. Find what works best for you. It’s alright to have more than one holster style for different occasions. Just remember to practice drawing from each holster you have. (With a completely unloaded firearm for practicing!!!!) There are a few features I think it is necessary to have on your concealed carry holster.

  • The trigger guard and trigger should be completely covered by the holster. This lessens the likelihood of negligently discharging the firearm.
  • The holster should hold the firearm securely. This can be accomplished through a tight fit, or a retention device such as a snap, or button release.
  • On leather holsters, make sure that the leather is in good shape and stays well maintained. Over time, leather can become very flimsy and start making its way into the trigger area of firearms upon holstering the gun, resulting in catastrophic consequences. LOOK as you holster your gun to also make sure nothing is being pulled into the holster with the gun, such as a shirt tail, jacket cinch cord, key lanyard, etc.

Ammunition choices for concealed carry are bountiful, to say the least, and we won’t be diving into the various choices available in this article. Hollow point ammunition is the best option for carry, however. This is due to two main reasons, the first being that hollow point rounds are designed to “mushroom” and expand when entering a soft target, thus slowing the bullet down so that its potential to overpenetrate the target and cause unintended damage is greatly reduced. The second is that by expanding, the bullet is effectively delivering more kinetic energy to the target, making it more effective in the application of stopping a violent attacker. I will urge you to YouTube carry ammunition in the caliber you decide on, and make an informed decision based on the results of your research. My carry load is Federal’s HST 124 grain hollow point round. That can serve as a starting point for your research. Don’t get so caught up in which round you want to carry, that you forget to practice. You can have the best ammo available and it not do a bit of good if you can’t hit your target consistently.

I commend your decision to take responsibility for your own safety, and since you’ve made it all the way to this point in the article, taking it seriously enough to do some research before assuming such a responsibility. Remember, you will win 100% of the fights you do not get in. Effective risk mitigation decision making, a confident demeanor, and not making yourself a soft target will go a long way towards lessening the probability of even needing your firearm. Bear in mind that a gun is just one tool in your self defense toolbox. Not every self defense situation will warrant deadly force (even brandishing your firearm unjustly can land you in jail) and it would be beneficial to obtain some quality martial arts or unarmed self defense training as well.

If you found this article helpful, please, share it with others who you think would benefit from it. Thank you so much for reading. Stay safe, and stay prepared.

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Losing Your Hero and Redefining Everything

Everywhere I look I see calendars… On our fridge, in my locker at work, my phone widget, the break room at the plant. I see the dates change, marching on as inescapable as a rising tide and as ominous as nightfall to a lost hiker in the woods. This isn’t new, but the gut wrenching sensation as July 24th approaches, is. One year sounds both long and short depending on what you are thinking about it in reference to, and it has been both.

Almost one year ago I lost my dad. No long illness prefaced his heartbreaking exit from this world. No movie scene dramatic music playing, no emotional last goodbyes. I was at work, starting my shift, when I received a text from my brother that something was wrong with Dad. My two brothers had met him at his small office in town and had been talking when he apparently collapsed and ordered them to not call an ambulance. I texted back that they needed to call 911 anyway but he convinced them otherwise. A few minutes later, I received another text that they were going to take him to the hospital to get checked out. I let my lead man know that I needed to go and assured him that once we figured out what was going on and got Dad situated, I would be back to finish my shift.

As I walked to my car, my thoughts went nuts. “What if something is REALLY wrong this time?” See, nothing had ever really stopped Dad. That Easter prior, he had wrecked his motorcycle at approximately 70 MPH and walked away with some road rash, a broken rib, and broken wrist. That was it. I watched him bandage stitch worthy cuts with a paper towel and electrical tape growing up. Nothing, and I mean nothing, stopped him. But my thoughts wouldn’t let it alone. I flew down the highway to the neighboring town where the hospital was, in excess of 100 MPH, not caring about cops, I just had to see my Dad.

As I pulled in, I saw Dad’s truck under the drop off awning of the hospital, and a crowd surrounding the truck. I found a parking spot and ran inside as fast as I could, but not fast enough. Dad had suffered a heart attack, the nurse informed my brothers and I, and they were “working on him.” Cool, he had had two of those over 10 years prior, I remembered. No big deal. He had lost weight, kept his blood pressure under control and with the exception of smoking, looked healthy as could be. The minutes rolled by infuriatingly slowly until over an hour went by. My grandparents, my Dad’s parents were there now, along with my wife and two young sons. We were called back to a room and my heart jumped. “He’s ok!” I thought.

I was wrong. The room was empty. No Dad, no gurney. The somber faced doctor informed us that they had done all they could but Dad didn’t make it. I remember vividly the cry of pain that I heard from my grandparents. I remember the room spinning and hitting my knee on the floor and looking angrily skyward. I remember getting up and hugging my two younger brothers while choking back the tears and trying to process what we had just heard. I was 27 years old….Too young to face life without my ever present, wise, caring, and loving father. My wife was pregnant with our third child, he would never meet her. My sons would grow up not knowing one of their grandfathers. My mind would not quit. The implications of losing Dad were too numerous and severe to even process. Who would help me with home improvements on my first house my wife and I just bought? I didn’t know any of that stuff!

My wife begged me to ride back with her, that I didn’t need to be driving. I refused. I needed to be alone. I needed to say “Fuck you” over and over to whoever or whatever deity had just stolen my Dad from me. I still had my radio from work, and in the moment, taking it back and putting my tools away was the most important thing I could do. I had texted my lead and let him know that Dad hadn’t made it. When I walked back into the maintenance shop, the guys told me I needed to go home. There were hugs and “I’ll pray for yous” as I got everything handled. My supervisor told me I had 3 days bereavement that would be paid, but I could take as long as I needed. It was surreal walking back to my car and heading home. Dad couldn’t be gone. It was one of those really bad, detailed dreams you wake up from, it had to be.

Night brought no sleep that night. My tossing and turning kept waking my wife up, who was trying everything she could think of to try and comfort me. She needed sleep. Our boys needed at least one parent functional the next morning, and she WAS pregnant after all. I got up and moved to our sitting room recliner and the thought hit me: pictures! They were all I had left!!! I got on Facebook as though they would delete Dad’s account and all pictures of him within the hour. I saved EVERYTHING that had Dad in it. Sitting in the chair, exhausted, I would doze off, then wake up sobbing. Anger, crushing sadness, anger, crushing sadness, a laugh at a good memory, then back to anger and sadness. Was I losing my mind? How could I go from sobbing to laughing to clenched fists and back again?

I scoured the internet for advice. But every article or blog post I came across referenced a father dying at old age or from a lengthy illness. Mine was 52. It was a Monday. It was sudden. Had NOBODY gone through this before? Could nobody give me a 5 step plan to continuing life and being ok? Where were the goddamn answers?? (Hint: there aren’t any, really) I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. The next day, there were phone calls, condolence texts to answer, and checking on my little brothers and my mom. Checking in with my dad’s sisters and parents. Trying to be strong, and some sort of comfort for everyone, though I was clinging to sanity by a razor thin thread. Stetson, my oldest child, was 2. He kept wondering what was wrong with Daddy, as I would spontaneously erupt into body racking sobs at the thought that the one person that could get me through this was the person we just lost.

Mom called. Her, my brothers, and I needed to meet with the funeral home and start planning. Planning a funeral? May as well ask me to design a teleportation device. I had no clue, STILL have no clue how I got through that. Nobody wanted to make a decision on anything, we all just looked at each other at each question the funeral director asked, not wanting to step on toes, or hurt anyone’s remaining feelings. I still hadn’t eaten, hadn’t slept more than a few minutes. We did it though. We planned a ceremony and burial that we believe Dad would be proud of. He had no will. We winged it, but it went smoothly.

The day of the funeral. The internet said it would bring closure, but it didn’t. The funeral mass at the Catholic church in town did nothing for me. I was (am still) furious at God, or whoever is up there. The burial itself did nothing for me. Just drove home that point that Dad was gone. Six feet of soil now covered my father, my hero, and my closest friend. The one man with all the answers could give me none.

Fast forward to the days, weeks, and months since. I still cry. Hell, I’m crying now. I cried this morning, and last night. I’ll cry tomorrow too probably. But I’m grateful that I had such a close relationship with Dad for those 27 and a half years that it DOES hurt this bad. I’m grateful that he was in my life, when so many of my friends never knew their father, or he was abusive, etc. Every time I swing a hammer, turn a wrench, listen to classic rock, I feel him with me. When I mow my lawn with one of my kids on my lap, I remember that he had done the same with me. When I shoot his guns, or look through pictures, the memories flood me of time spent shooting, camping, talking, and driving. He left me with so many good memories that I can one day share with my own children.

If you are reading this and you have gone through something similar, know that you aren’t alone. If you, like I was, are scouring the internet in the hopes that you’ll find answers to your pain and grief, you won’t. At least not quick ones. All I can tell you is take time for you. Don’t get so caught up trying to be strong for everyone else that you neglect yourself. I’m just now learning this. Cry. Cry whenever and wherever you feel that you need to. Pull off the highway if your eyes get too blurry. Let it out. Keeping that bottled up will do nothing but hurt you worse. It’s cliche, but try to think positive. Don’t dwell on the “what ifs,” focus on the good memories. If a particular missed opportunity to say or do something really tugs at you, speak to your loved one, say you’re sorry and move on. Make sure to learn from it and prevent those emotions with your loved ones still living. Don’t measure your grief “journey” by other people’s standards and experiences. Seriously, don’t. Only you will know how best to navigate the complicated waves of often conflicting emotions you will feel. Get a tattoo if you think it will help. Grow out, or cut your hair. Dye it. Change your clothing style. Take a trip. Just try to stay away from destructive things like drinking or drug use.

I hope this helps at least one person.

 

 

What Covid-19 Has Taught Me

May I first preface this by stating that before this, I considered myself “prepared.” Not a prepper, mind you, as I learned over the years that “those guys” are way beyond my wildest dreams as far as what they have thought of and prepared for. No, I am nowhere near that level of preparedness. BUT, I figured I was in good shape. However, this pandemic has revealed some things to me, and I figured I’d share them with you, in case they might help.

  1. Your young kids have no clue what is going on. If you tell them that it’s even more important to not waste food, etc, they will likely completely ignore you. Kids are definitely a freaking liability in an end of the world scenario. They don’t listen under the best of circumstances. Not much has changed from daily life.
  2. You don’t have as much food as you think you do. This is simple. Walk to your pantry and chances are, if you are honest with yourself, there’s not more than a week or two in there. Especially if you are feeding a family of 5 like I am. I have never really concerned myself with what the kids “like” as I very much subscribe to the “you’ll eat what your mother cooks, or go hungry mentality” but their preferred pickings tend to go fast.
  3. You realize once your job deems you non-essential and you get to self isolate with your wife and kids, that you have way undervalued her contributions to the household. (Have I mentioned the kids are little jerks, yet?)
  4. Self-Isolation is NOT a vacation. Not with kids. Not at all. All those things you think you’ll get to enjoy being at home? Nope, not with the kids.

So, for all of you considering having kids, do so before the end of the world. Trust me. Give yourself a buffer to make sure they are old enough to listen and contribute in some way. Mine are not, and my blood pressure reflects that.

 

Before you send me hate mail, this is obviously (mostly) humor. Chill out. Laugh a little. Most of all, everyone stay safe. We’ll get through this.

CZ P10-C Review (after 1,500+ rounds)

First, I would like to offer an apology for my negligence in writing articles for this blog. I have gotten distracted by creating content for my YouTube channel, and the various responsibilities of fatherhood. I will try to begin writing more frequently again, as I find it much more cathartic than making videos. That being said, if you haven’t already, do me a favor and check out The Hungry Handgunner on YouTube. I’ve put in a lot of work on the channel over the last year. The link to the video review is below:

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Over the years, we have seen many polymer, striker fired handguns emerge with both subtle and overt claims to the Glock throne, particularly the Glock 19. It is, and has been the reigning champ for years, and will likely remain so. The size of the Glock 19 strikes a healthy balance between duty and concealed carry. A magazine capacity of 15 just works. Accessories for the Glock 19 abound- most holster makers have a Glock 19 model in their lineup, magazines can be found in most gun stores, and being chambered in the world’s most popular pistol cartridge, the 9×19, doesn’t hurt either.

But this article isn’t about the Glock 19. The CZ P-10C may just be the closest thing to a “Glock Killer” that I have run across. I picked the pistol up over the summer with the intention of giving the gun a whirl, and then likely trading it off for something else after I had a chance to review it. What started as startled admiration for the handgun, turned into a quest to see how hard I could push it. I had heard the comparisons, and now I wanted to see if this relative newcomer to the CZ lineup had what it took to dethrone the King. In my humble opinion, it absolutely does, and more.

Coming in just a hair larger than the Glock 19, and slightly heavier (We’ll get to why in a bit) the P-10C has better ergonomics, 15+1 capacity, my model came with night sights, and the single best striker trigger I’ve ever experienced out of the box. Many of my friends with custom Glock builds have dumped an extra $150-200 into their Glocks to get a trigger close to the stock trigger of the P-10C. It features a very crisp break, not too much pre-travel, and no over travel that I noticed. The reset is very positive- both tactile and audible. The sights are metal- a very nice change from the polymer affairs Gaston’s blasters ship with by default. Mine have 3 tritium vials and I found the tritium to be adequate for low light situations.

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Sights on the author’s P-10C are metal, with tritium in all 3 dots.

Where the gun truly shined for me was shooting it. I found the very aggressive grip texture to provide a very secure hold on the pistol, even with very sweaty hands in the Georgia summer. I never felt as though I was going to lose my hold on the gun. While a very aggressive grip is a quality I love in a handgun, particularly a defensive on, I recognize that others may not prefer the texture. It truly is aggressive. The mini pyramid like shapes on the front strap and back strap do a good job of digging into the hand and holding the gun in place. It may not be something you like, so I’d recommend trying one out before committing to the purchase.

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Notice the pyramid-like shapes on the back strap- these help hold the gun securely in your hand when firing.

When you disassemble the pistol, it becomes readily apparent why the gun is a couple ounces heftier than the Glock 19. This pistol’s internals are beefy. Everything made of metal in the gun just feels and looks much more robust. Is it needed? I don’t feel qualified to say, but I can tell you that the P-10C does have a fully supported chamber, which has been a point of aggravation for many Glock shooters in the past. Speaking of disassembly, the procedure for taking down the P-10C is identical to the Glocks. Two takedown levers rest above the trigger area, and you pull back lightly on the slide before engaging these.

After about 750 rounds through the pistol, I made the decision to start carrying the gun. My accuracy was better with the P-10C in a week than it was after years and thousands of rounds through my Glocks. When I decided to start carrying the gun, I wanted to see if the P-10C would fit my Glock 19 holsters since the dimensions were so close. Turns out I had some success. The pistol fit my Lucky Coyote appendix setup like it was molded for it. It did not fit my Safariland OWB holster however. I discovered that the trigger guards are slightly different, so the ALS on the Safariland couldn’t properly engage the CZ.

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The P-10C in my Lucky Coyote appendix holster molded for a Glock 19 with the Olight PL- Mini 2. I highly recommend Lucky Coyote for your holster needs.

At the time of this review, I have over 1,500 rounds through the P-10C. In that time, I have had two malfunctions, both while using Tula steel cased ammunition. One was a failure to eject, the other was a failure to fire. The failure to fire was not the result of a light primer strike, but rather a faulty primer on the round, as I could not get the round to fire, even after trying it in a different 9mm pistol. Using brass cased ammunition from a variety of manufacturers, I experienced zero issues.

I’m hesitant to officially declare the P-10C a Glock Killer at this point, simply because aftermarket support is simply not on the level of the support for Glocks, and likely wont be. But in every other way, the CZ takes the cake for me. It includes several features that Glcok should include, in my humble opinion, and delivers them for between $100-$150 below the Glock 19’s price.

I hope you enjoyed this article. I will try to get more written reviews out as time goes on. If you would like to support the work I do, please consider supporting me on Patreon. I am completely viewer and reader funded, which enables me to provide unbiased reviews without being “bought” by gun and accessory companies. Thank you for reading! Stay safe, and keep shooting.

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Balancing Preparedness and Safety

Few things have brought me a more varied combination of emotions than realizing I was going to be a father. I can still vividly remember the feeling of seeing those first blurry ultrasound pictures five years ago. Now, those years, and two more children later, the emotional roller coaster is still going strong. Hope, joy, sadness, worry, excitement, pride, discouragement. It’s all part of the parenting experience. Worrying about the threats the external world poses to our children is one thing, but what about the dangers within our own homes?  To the tactically minded fathers and mothers, or fathers and mothers to be, the challenge of remaining prepared for a potential threat, and balancing the safety of your child is a challenge not commonly addressed.

Before I became a father, I kept my firearms staged when I was home. Easily accessed, hidden from view, but unsecured. It didn’t take very long as a father to realize that wasn’t going to fly anymore. By the time my firstborn had begun to crawl, I had changed my habits. Videos abound on the internet of curious and mischievous kids doing things, or getting into things that they shouldn’t. While it may be cute and slightly funny when it’s the ice cream or cookie jar, the results can turn deadly very quickly when it’s an unsecured firearm.

Figures from a 2016 study by the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that 3,140 individuals under the age of 19 were killed by firearms. Of that figure, the study states that some 60%, or 1,884 incidents were preventable. Speaking solely on the heartbreaking cases I have read myself, I would say that most of these are fairly easily prevented. There’s no reason a two year old should be getting their hands on a loaded (or unloaded) firearm. Not with the plethora of quick-access, concealable safes on the market.  Most of us would state that we own firearms for the purpose of protecting ourselves and our families. But, part of that responsibility is protecting our children from our firearms.

There are many different solutions one could take to be both prepared, and safe with their firearms. I keep everything but my carry gun and home defense gun in a large safe, built for that purpose. I don’t worry about staging firearms through the house, as I typically am carrying while awake, and after bed time, the home defense gun is where it needs to be per our home defense plan. At no point are either my carry weapon or home defense weapon anywhere that could be accessed by anyone other than myself or my wife. On the infinitesimally small chance that something occurs when I am out of reach of a firearm, I will simply have to get to it as quickly as possible, or hold off the threat until my wife can respond. It’s that simple. I am much more comfortable with the odds of that happening, than finding one or more of my children dead or grievously wounded because of  my own negligence.

As far as introducing children to firearms and teaching them; there are many, many theories on the best course of action. From what I have read, it seems as though children in homes where firearms are treated as a taboo subject are generally more likely to seek them out unsupervised and play with them. Firearms are everywhere, in books, video games, and movies. Very rarely are they shown in a responsible light, or safe and correct handling techniques demonstrated. So, it is up to us, the responsible gun owning parents, to demonstrate safety first and foremost. There is no concrete age to start showing your kids safe gun handling, rather, I would suggest paying attention to their maturity and ability to understand and follow simple instructions. I have drilled it into my four year old that if he is somewhere and sees a firearm unattended, he is to immediately tell myself or his mother, or another adult if we are not present. Will he do it? I certainly hope so. I hope that I have made clear that guns are NOT toys, can and WILL hurt or kill people, and that when he is old enough, I will teach him to shoot any gun I own. It is my hope that I have removed the taboo from the subject with him, and have set clear boundaries and given sufficient explanation that he can understand he is not to touch a firearm without me there and directing him. He has not been permitted to handle a gun, but I do allow him to watch me clean them or work on them, and give him the opportunity to ask questions. Through his questioning, he has learned that it is paramount to remove the magazine and check the chamber before proceeding any further with handling a gun. I do not MAKE him watch me clean or handle firearms, but he knows he can if wants. Sometimes he does, sometimes he’s got better things to do, and that’s perfectly fine, even preferable, for me.

By having a firearm in our homes, we are inherently bringing the potential for bad things to happen. The same with cleaning supplies, alcohol, tobacco, unsecured furniture (seriously, look it up. Young children are killed or seriously injured all the time by falling dressers, etc), vehicles, batteries, and medication. How much potential there is for them to harm themselves or others is directly on us, as parents. I would urge all of you to very carefully and honestly assess how you store your firearms at home. Be mindful of the limitations, inclinations, and abilities of your children. They are often simultaneously smarter, and not as smart, as we think. They can often physically do more, reach more, and lift more than we think. If your children are teenagers, please, remember your teenage years and monitor their emotions. Suicidal ideas are not uncommon during these years, and you may be unknowingly placing their undoing within reach. If this article scared you, good!! It’s a subject that has scared the hell out of me since I became a father, and again just doing the research to write it.

Please note that I’m not telling you how to raise your kids, and everything in here is simply my opinions and musings. Check your state and local laws for regulations governing how firearms must be stored in your home. Nothing here may be interpreted as legal or medical advice, nor any liability assumed, explicitly or implicitly.

Confronting the Harsh Realities of Self Defense

This has been an article idea I’ve had bouncing around in my head for long while. Its inspiration comes from countless comments I’ve seen on Facebook gun pages, and internet forums. These comments are rich in ego, and pleasant delusion, but lack a level of critical thinking that anyone who carries a firearm for self defense should possess. To give you an idea of what I’m referring to, take this comment posted yesterday on a video about self defense:

“You don’t need more than five shots, and you don’t need a medical kit. There’s no reason to try to help the guy you just shot.”

Where to begin….. In his comment, we can ascertain that the poster believes that there is no possible outcome other than the “bad guy” getting shot and requiring medical aid. Oblivious to the fact that medical supplies could very well end up being used to treat his own injuries, injuries of innocents around him, or very possibly, the “bad guy,” he posits that one doesn’t need a “medical kit.” His stance regarding magazine or cylinder capacity is largely supported by statistics, depending on how you view the numbers. Most self defense shootings are over in less than 3 seconds, with less than 3 shots fired. So, by those numbers, sure, 5 sounds like plenty. However, none of us have a little crystal ball to tell us what the parameters and particulars of a self defense engagement are going to be. You might need 1 round, you may need 15. The last part of his comment is going to be a sticking point for some and there’s a wide range of possible reasons, both for and against, helping someone you just used deadly force on. I will always advise against it, because they obviously just did something leading you to believe that you were in imminent danger of either death, or grievous bodily injury, hence the employment of deadly force. There is no reason to get yourself within reach of someone who may or may not still possess the capability, opportunity, and intent to harm you.

 

I could easily provide enough examples to go on for days, but this comment really denotes a common trend. We, as human beings, and as individuals who have taken steps to defend ourselves, hate to dwell on potential negatives. There will always be that small voice in our ear trying desperately to get us to avoid thinking about the possibility that things might not go according to plan. That’s life. However, when we allow ourselves to embrace that kind of one sided thinking, we set the stage to make some bad decisions in regards to risk mitigation and threat response. Put more simply: You may not win the fight. I know it’s easy to slide your “EDC” items in place and believe that you are prepared for whatever the day has in store. But are we, really? Are we prepared for the possibility that we may NOT make it back home? Are we prepared for the potential legal battles that may ensue, both criminally and civilly, in the wake of a self defense shooting? I would say, no, we aren’t, generally speaking. Those things aren’t pleasant to think about. They don’t match the internet “gun guy” persona so many of us (myself included) like to portray.

A lot of us spend a small fortune on training, ammunition, and devote a great deal of time to becoming proficient with our weapons. It is not a pleasant feeling to realize and admit that all of that can be negated in an instant. See, the violent attacker you end up trying to defend yourself against already has the upper hand. He or she has made the first move, and everything you do from that point on is reactionary. You are fighting where and when they want. They chose that battle ground. They likely knew what they were going to do and obviously feel comfortable where they are. You have to adapt to their environment and their terms, and fight like hell to change those terms. And to top it all off, they don’t have to be good, only lucky. That’s right. All of our 5 shot groups, shot timer drills, dry fire practice, draw practice, everything, can be reduced to nothing with one lucky shot, stab, or strike. It doesn’t matter that you were the better marksman, you’re dead. It doesn’t matter that you practiced 3 times a week for the last 10 years. They didn’t, and you’re still dead.

But say you don’t wind up dead. Say you “win” the encounter with minimal injuries. Are you really and truly prepared for the mental cost of having taken someone’s life? Have you given any thought to how that might actually feel, even if completely justified? If not, you should. Legally, are you prepared to be painted as the bad guy by a state prosecutor, or by the deceased’s family in a civil suit? What about the financial burden of defending yourself in court?

Right about now, some of you are likely saying to yourselves “Well, what the hell are we supposed to do??” That’s easy. Keep training. Keep staying physically prepared. But add some mental preparedness to the mix as well. Ask yourself the hard questions I brought up in this article, and just be cognizant of the fact that we are NOT guaranteed another day, hour, or minute on this planet. There is a level of emotional preparedness for death we should all strive to maintain, and it doesn’t just apply to self defense, but daily life in general. Anything could happen at any time, so let that stupid fight with your spouse go, tell your kids you love them, and try to be a decent person.

Obviously, you will win every fight you don’t get in, so here’s my top 5 risk mitigation questions to ask yourself:

  1. If you were NOT armed, would you still go to this particular place? ( not locations that you MUST go to)
  2. Can you go with others? If you must go alone, can you go in the day time hours?
  3. Where are your exits, in any environment? Do you have a backup? A backup to your backup?
  4. Are you clearly and actively focused on your environment and those sharing it with you?
  5. Are you making yourself a target, through things you are saying, what you are wearing, or how you are acting?

 

I hope this article helped bring some levity to a serious topic, and that it helped you in some way. Thank you so much for reading, and for the support. If you haven’t yet, check out my YouTube channel where I offer gun and gear reviews as well as personal protection tips, at https://www.youtube.com/user/countryboy9384

Also, check out our online store for apparel at https://teespring.com/stores/the-hungry-handgunner

Why Do People Own and Carry Guns?

It’s been awhile since I wrote an article here, as I have been focusing primarily on catching up my YouTube channel with videos on the guns I previously had written reviews on. In that time however, I began piecing this article together in my mind. It’s a question I have been asked many times since I became a gun owner, and one that most gun owners have likely been asked themselves. So, if by some stroke of luck, your internet search for answers to the question in the title has landed you here, sit down and get comfortable.

For the purpose of this article, I will be assuming you are asking the question in good faith, with a genuine interest to know why many of us choose to own and even carry a firearm. No, I do not speak for all gun owners, or even anyone other than myself, but I hope this piece may help you understand better the reasons for gun ownership and being armed in public. Let’s start with dispelling some misconceptions.

  1. It’s not because of fear. I don’t wake up afraid that today will be the day I will be a victim of violent crime. The reality is that violent crime trends have been on a consistent downturn for several years. The world IS getting safer, regardless of the impression given by newspapers and broadcasts daily. For those of us living outside of major metropolitan areas, even more so. BUT, the other reality is that there still exists a segment of humanity who, whether for financial gain, religious motivation, drug dependence, or just unadulterated sociopath or psychopathic tendencies, will not hesitate to harm other human beings. Statistics show that these people are present in all areas to some degree, whether you live in the idyllic, serene countryside, or the bustle of city dwelling. There is someone there who would hurt you, given the right circumstances. I don’t fear those people. Rather, I acknowledge they exist, and I do what I can to be prepared for the off chance that they may become a threat to myself or my family.
  2. We don’t WANT to shoot anyone. It’s pretty sad that I have to toss this one in, but alas, I do. As I said at the start of this article, I can’t speak for everyone, but I run in a lot of circles, the majority of which consist of people who carry guns daily. None of them want to shoot anyone, and I certainly don’t either. As a matter of fact, the overwhelming consensus seems to be that we all hope we DON’T ever have to shoot anyone. Aside from the moral cost it has on a sane individual to take a human life, or even grievously wound someone, there is also the legal costs of defending oneself, even if such actions were ruled completely justified. Anyone who says they could and would take a life and be fine with it, is either full of shit, to put it bluntly, or mentally unhinged. Most likely the former. Being prepared to defend oneself, and being prepared for the lifetime of second guessing and potential guilt that come along with such actions are two totally different things.

Those are really the two biggest misconceptions I have run across. But there’s more reasons folks choose to own guns than self defense, although that seems to be the biggest reason I have heard from talking to fellow gun owners. Let’s discuss a few of these in a little more depth.

Hunting– Whether you are for it, or against it, it’s legal and it’s popular. While not a hunter myself, many of my friends are. For them, it is an excellent way to put wholesome food on their family’s table and for some, a direct way to engage in conservation efforts. Believe it or not, many species which are hunted here in America are grossly overpopulated. This presents some potentially devastating situations for other species of animals and even vegetation in some cases. Not to mention things such as deer getting hit by cars, which costs BILLIONS in property damage every year, and has resulted in many injuries and deaths as well. Hunting with firearms is probably the most popular way to hunt here in America.

Recreational- While this may surprise you, many of us gun owners really enjoy shooting our guns. For folks like me, who grew up shooting regularly and availed themselves of every opportunity to get behind a trigger, recreational shooting is something we have been doing for years and is a great source of relaxation. Recreational, or target shooting, can be a great exercise in hand-eye coordination and a fun way to challenge yourself to achieve better levels of marksmanship each time you go to the range. In addition to casual, individual shooting, there are many forms of competitive shooting emphasizing speed and accuracy.

 

Getting back to the defensive side of owning and carrying firearms will require us to get into the many reasons folks decide that they need to take the step to prepare themselves to potentially use deadly force to defend themselves or their families. Many people I know go years owning firearms before they decide to start carrying one on their person daily. Sometimes, this decision is prompted by a violent crime happening near them, to someone they know, or even to them personally. While this may seem like a fear based decision, people that I know who survived a violent encounter and decided to arm themselves going forward are not making that decision out of fear, but rather, a sense of resolve and acknowledgement of the evil that exists. These people are making a commitment to taking the steps necessary to protect themselves should such an event occur again. That takes courage not fear.

For others, the decision to carry a gun may stem from military service or law enforcement experience. Both of these two professions routinely show individuals the ruthless and brutal traits humanity can exhibit. These individuals in many cases have a very visceral knowledge of what some humans can be capable of, and thus wish to be prepared to confront that reality when off duty as well.

The third category of defensive gun owners typically have learned from the other two categories, or have arrived at the decision by their own deductive reasoning.

One last motivation for owning firearms will trace its roots back to the birth of our nation when the founders of this country successfully defeated the tyrannical British empire in a war for our independence. While the degree of tyranny we live under now is wildly debatable, the fact that tyranny can rear its ugly head is not. History has long shown that an armed populace is simply harder to oppress and has a much better chance of preserving individual liberties from a government set on restricting or eliminating them. Most of the folks I know do not advocate overthrowing the government or any such behavior. However, should the United States descend into a dystopian nightmare, privately owned firearms may well be the last recourse for the restoration of liberty for all, gun owners and non gun owners alike.

I hope this may have shed some light on the reasons many of us own firearms. This is by no means an all inclusive list, just my musings as someone who has been shooting guns for over 20 years, and being a gun owner for almost 10 years. Thanks for reading!!

What Should You Use for Home Defense?

If you browse social media, or the news, you will likely run across a story or two involving a home invasion. While violent crimes in general have been on a downturn for the last several years, those of you reading this likely recognize that while uncommon, there still is a predatory element in society that lacks moral scruples when it comes to taking what you own, and potentially hurting or killing you in the process. I have written about concealed carry and self defense outside the home, but have stayed away from defense inside  the home till now. For one, it’s a highly individualized subject that varies based on the layout of your home, where and how close your neighbors are, and perhaps most importantly, the number, location, and age of any children you have in your home. Before we go any further, perhaps we should discuss the pros and cons of “the big three” options for home defense.

 

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Shotguns: Long heralded as the king for home defense, a shotgun chambered in 12 or 20 gauge is certainly a formidable weapon. However, round capacity is usually limited, even in something like the pictured Maverick 88 by Mossberg, with its 7 round magazine tube. With a pump action shotgun, each round must be manually chambered by pumping the foregrip, making follow up shots difficult if you are hurt, or encumbered by carrying a child or using a hand to open doors. Shotguns also suffer from the common  misconception that you don’t have to aim them. While multiple projectile loadings do spread upon leaving the barrel, they do not open up nearly as much as Hollywood would lead us to believe. Also, with projectile spread, also comes an increased liability for any projectiles which miss their intended target and go through a wall.

 

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For the sake of this article, we will only be talking about modern sporting rifles, such as the AR-15

Modern Sporting Rifles: Ak-47 variants and particularly the AR-15 have become increasingly popular as home defense weapons, and it’s easy to see why. They commonly have 30 round magazines, are soft recoiling, easy to get on target, and particularly with the AR-15, are extremely customizable for the individual user. In many homes where the designated home defense firearm would potentially be used by multiple shooters, the AR-15 has garnered a great deal of popularity. Even at 6’1, 250 pounds, when my 5’4 wife picks up my AR, with a quick adjustment of the length of pull on the stock, she’s ready to go, and vice versa. However, modern sporting rifles do still suffer from the two handed use requirement for best performance. Yes, you could operate the rifles with one hand to a limited extent, but accuracy will suffer, and in a home with loved ones present, isn’t accuracy paramount?

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The author’s CZ P-09 Urban Grey

Handguns: Perhaps one of the fastest growing segments in the home defense firearm category, and also one of the most misunderstood choices. Handguns are dismissed often as being too hard to use under duress, or lacking sufficient power for home defense. But we rely on handguns daily when we carry them to both possess sufficient power, and in our ability to operate them correctly in a self defense situation. There are many reasons someone might choose a handgun for home defense. Their typical size allows for easier storage and concealment in otherwise conspicuous places. They can be much more easily operated with one hand than a long gun, and ammunition is typically much more affordable to practice with and keep around.

With all that being said, I don’t believe that there’s any one correct answer. So much is dependent on the factors I outlined at the beginning of this article. For instance, using an AR-10 chambered in 7.62x51mm may not be the most prudent decision if you reside in an apartment complex. By the same token, even if you live in a rural setting, you must consider where those projectiles will go should they pass through your intended target or miss completely. A quick search on YouTube will show you that most rounds will penetrate residential interior walls, and some even on through exterior walls. This should help to drive home that shot placement is vital.

Children in the home is huge consideration that I feel is often overlooked in this conversation. How many kids do you have? What are their ages? Are they old enough to be counted on to remember what you told them to do in an emergency situation, or will you likely have to herd them or retrieve them physically in the event of a home invasion? Such things can and will impede your ability to operate a firearm, particularly if you are using a rifle or shotgun.

Lastly, the time to discuss with your spouse, room mates, or children, if they are old enough to retain the info, is before such a situation arises. Have a plan. Know who is dealing with the threat initially, know where other residents are supposed to stay, who is dialing 911, what to do if the initial defender fails, and where to regroup if you all must leave the residence. Just like the fire escape plans some of us did in elementary school, the time to prepare is before the time comes to implement the plan.

My goal is not to tell you what you should or shouldn’t use for home defense, but rather to promote these things being taken into consideration. Also, please read up on your local laws. Some jurisdictions have a requirement to retreat, while others don’t. Also, there is a plethora of info available in regards to making your home less inviting for would be burglars.

For gun reviews, please check out my YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/countryboy9384 nd subscribe. I will be making a video presentation on this same topic in the near future as well.

Stay safe, and I hope everyone has a great holiday season.

Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 9mm 2.0 Review

If you follow the firearms industry at all, you have probably noticed the plethora of sub-compact handguns designed for carry. Traditionally, these guns skimped on features more commonly associated with their full sized counterparts. As time has progressed however, we are seeing more and more innovation in the world of sub-compact carry pieces, and the lines between the pocket pistols and duty guns grow more blurred when it comes to features.

Smith and Wesson launched their wildly successful line of M&P (Military and Police) semi-auto, striker fired handguns in 2005. Though the lineup was originally geared towards and marketed for law enforcement personnel, where the guns have enjoyed great success, civilians took notice. In 2012, Smith and Wesson released the 9mm and .40 S&W variants of the Shield, and heavily marketed the pistols for civilians to use as concealed carry pieces. It worked extremely well. The guns began selling like crazy and haven’t let up since. According to CBS News, as of 2016, the M&P Shield 9mm was America’s #1 selling gun. Reportedly more than 1 million of these firearms have been sold.

It’s hard to argue with numbers like that. The Shield 9mm is a gun that carries well, shoots well, and has a respectable capacity of 7+1 with the flush fitting magazine, and 8+1 with the extended magazine. Here are some specs from Smith and Wesson’s website:

  • 3.1″ barrel
  • Sights are steel, with two white dots in the rear, one in the front
  • Polymer Frame
  • Weight is listed as 18.3 oz (unloaded)
  • Overall length is 6.1″
  • Width is 1″
  • MSRP is listed as $479.00

 

I have owned both the original Shield, as well as the 2.0. While I believe both are great guns, I do prefer the more aggressive grip texturing on the 2.0. The trigger is improved, but not enough that I would justify spending the money to upgrade from the 1.0 to the 2.0. Neither variant has ever given me issues with reliability, and holsters work for both versions. The MSRP that Smith and Wesson has listed is exorbitantly high compared to what I have actually seen the guns go for. Brand new 2.0’s can be had for less than $380 all day long, and used 1.0’s I have routinely seen for less than $300, and in fantastic shape.

As Smith and Wesson says on their website, “One million Shield owners can’t be wrong.” As much as I like Glock, I’d have to say they are right.

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