Saturday, April 08, 2017

Haven't Much Been in the Mood to Write

Well, actually that's not completely true…I'm scripting for GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA, so I'm spending 6-8 hours a day in front of the computer working. Given all the personal stuff that's been whirling around, it's hard to build up a lot of enthusiasm to tackle the laptop after I shut down the desktop.

Plus, it appears there's been a massive reduction of IQ in the various social media, and wading through the crap just makes me tired and bored. I can't even gin up the enthusiasm to be snide. OTOH, I've been shooting alot, mostly the new Ruger Mk IV Competition, but also some of the bigger boomers. I'm getting my Ruger American .450 Bushmaster ready for a SHOOTING GALLERY episode later in the year. Also started moving rounds through my .22 bolt action rifle, to try for some kind of tune-up for Africa.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! As you can see from the above photo, my Magnum Research BFR 45-70 is now home! I'm probably going to take it out this afternoon and continue striving for carpal tunnel syndrome. First off, let me say that the BFR is a superbly made gun [WARNING: Kahr Arms is a sponsor]! This is my first BFR…as I think you guys know I am a connoisseur — or co-nigh-zee-eer, if you live in the South or Detroit or South Detroit, for that matter — of single action revolvers. I have a lot of them, both production and custom, have shot a lot of them in many many different flavors over the years and irrationally love them all. The first gun I ever shot as a little kid was a Ruger Bearcat .22 single action. The first centerfire handgun I ever fired was a Flattop Blackhawk in .357. The first ammunition I ever reloaded went into that Blackhawk. So there.

The BFR is a pleasant surprise. For a beast of a gun, it has a certain proletarian beauty. Machining is top-notch, the trigger pull is a crisp couple of pounds, the sights are excellent and I like the new BFR gripframe, always a touchy thing for single action aficionados…if you want to start a bar fight at a gather of SA fans, bring up plough-handle vs. Bisley, then stand back. I generally don't like rubber grips on a boomer, but the Hogues on the 45-70 are pretty nice, and I suppose I'll be happy with anything that soaks up a little recoil. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. If not, Jack Huntington does a really great looking modification of the BFR gripframe and knows as much about boomers as any living man except Lee Martin…he built a short-barrelled BFR in 50-110, a caliber which I have shot to the detriment of my shoulder in a Sharps!

To be fair, I have shot 45-70 revolvers before, both the old canon-bronze framed Century 100s, an  early BFR (3 shots!), and a 10-inch T/C single shot I had custom built by J.D. Jones, so I'm unlikely to burst into flames on the first shot. In fact, as long as you're using sane loads, the recoil is not nearly as brutal as, say, a .500 Linebaugh or even a .454 Casull, which has a much sharper recoil wave. I plan to start with 405-gr "Trapdoor Safe" loads, then probably move up to Hornady 325-gr Leverevolutions, which I keep on hand for the Ruger #1. I suppose I can build up to Ashley Emerson's dinosaur-killers after a bit. 
Few other interesting tidbits…Standard Manufacturing is now cataloging their color casehardened, engraved 1911 for $1895. That's a good price for such a great-looking 1911! I handled these at SHOT and was very impressed. Considering that Standard/CT Shotguns builds $100k+ shotguns, they are masters at their craft. 

Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training has an interesting article on "deep deep concealment," carrying a weapon in non-permissive — not illegal, mind you — environment. Definitely word a read! Here's his points on non-metallic knives:
When dealing with a walk through metal detector, these tactics won’t work. In the event that I have to go through one of those, I will carry my ceramic Talonz knife (after replacing the metal dog tag chain with a short piece of paracord) or my G-10 composite copy of the same Fred Perrin knife I mentioned earlier. Neither of these are detectable by any metal detectors. 
I would urge anyone trying to carry plastic, ceramic, or composite knives through a metal detector to verify that they are truly metal free. Some companies insert a small amount of metal in the blades or handles just so people can’t sneak them through metal detectors. Pick up a portable metal detecting wand. The ones most security officers use are fairly cheap. You can pick one of those up for less than $25 on (affiliate links). Better safe than sorry.
So I took his advice. I have one of the carbon fiber versions of the Fred Perrin La Griffe, in addition to the steel version, that I figured should be just as invisible as Greg's G-10 version. I also have a Stone River Gear ceramic neck knife that I was curious about. I called my friends at Tall Guns, who train security guards among other things, to ask if I could bring the 2 knives over an run a wand over them.

We all agreed that the carbon fiber La Griffe was going to be a slam dunk…it is beautiful made, weights just next to nothing and, surprise, lit up the metal detector like a Christmas tree. We were very careful to keep the knife away from its sheath, which has metal rivets, and any other metal. For whatever reason, the little carbon fiber La Griffe Carbone will definitely set off a metal detector! Good to know. I ordered one of the G-10 versions, which I'll check before I use it in an environment where I might be wanded or have to walk through a metal detector.
The Stone River ceramic neck knife (above), which we expected to set off the metal detector, instead passed with flying colors. I suggest you take Greg's advice and verify that your own non-metallic weapons are really as invisible as you think they are!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Great News From Apex Tactical!

The world's greatest trigger manufacturer take customization to a whole new level!!!

From tomorrow's presser:

New Apex Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger

Apex is proud to introduce the all new Red Anodized Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger, the one replacement trigger for all (or most) of your custom trigger needs.

What It Does
An industry first, the Apex Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger is designed to provide what no other trigger does, and that’s offer the end user maximum versatility in a custom replacement trigger. Whether you’re working on a Beretta, Colt, Glock, Sig, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Ruger or Taurus, the Apex Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger directly replaces the factory trigger with a bright red type 2 anodized solid aluminum trigger body. Requires extensive gunsmithing depending on model trigger and performance features desired.

Expected Results
– Reduces trigger pull by approximately as much as you’d like it to
– Smooth uptake and reset, assuming you do it right
– Reduces pre-travel, over-travel and reset (same assumption as above)

Applicable To What Gun(s)
Works with nearly all pistols, in any caliber, with factory interchangeable triggers.
Does NOT work in Bryco, Hi-Point, Jennings, Lorcin, Raven, Star or similar handguns (because, well, Apex).

Features & Specifications
– It's a pretty shade of Red
– Block expertly tumbled prior to anodizing to provide that smooth-to-the-touch feel
– Requires extensive machining, so grab that Dremel Tool and have at it

In The Package
1 ea. Red Anodized Gunsmith Fit Universal Trigger (in block form)

Installation Resources
There are none. So, good luck with that.


Hello, McFly, this is not an actual trigger and will not work. However, it is actually available for purchase at for just $9.95.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Update on Projects

Thought you guys might like to see the progress on my Ruger Mk IV — the grips have been changed from the target grips to a standard set from ShopRuger, a rail has been mounted and the C-More bolted into place. I just started shooting it, and I'll fill you in on accuracy details, hopefully this afternoon after my fun and exciting appointment with the dentist!

On other projects, the Ruger American Ranch Rifle in .450 Bushmaster is definitely going with us to Ox Ranch in Texas for an episode of SHOOTING GALLERY (Shooting tanks and shooting hogs, c'mon! What could be cooler?). Right now it's fitted with a Leupold VX-Hog 1-4X, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a Nightforce NXS 1-4X is in my future!

As I mentioned on Facebook, I am going to tentatively pass on the Ruger GSR in .450 Bushmaster, although it is a beautiful rifle and very true to Jeff Cooper's concept of "Thumper." I've just had a flood of "non-standard" guns/cartridges over the last few months — my .338 Federal Scout and Wilson AR-10, the .458 SOCOM Wilson Combat I built, the .50AE Desert Eagle and the .450 Bushmaster — and a mixed lot of guns coming through the Bunker, so I'm already behind. Besides, now that I've "dialed in" the Ranch Rifle, I'm wondering if I actually need another Thumper!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Okay...Only A Bunch More Conference Calls and I've Made It to the Weekend...

A bunch of wrap-up thingies for the week...

1) Mo' Rugers! Mo' Rugers! Mo' Rugers! Ruger has announced an American .45 Compact. I like the compact 9mm a lot, so I would expect this one to be every bit as good. I assume Brother Ed Head has a review spinning up for DRTV. Ruger also announced 2 more versions of their MK IV .22 pistols, a 22/45 Tactical, based on the upgraded model with the removable grip panels, and a MK IV Competition, which I have on the way to me this week.

This is the pistol I alluded to on Wednesday's podcast. Am looking forward to shoot more Rimfire Challenge this year, and after shooting the Mk IV Hunter version for SHOOTING GALLERY this season, I really want to put the Competition model through the paces. Should be here today or early next week.

It will be fitted with an RDS for this season...

2) Here's Version 3.0 of my EDC:

You may ask yourself why so many versions. Valid question. Just before a match I tanked my untankable Trij RMR06 on my competition USPSA Carry Optics gun. By tanked I mean it stopped holding zero and battery life dropped to minutes...obviously a sick puppy! Plan A was to pop an RMR off one of my other guns, bolt it onto the Suarez G19 I compete with and be good to go. Then Mr. Ham-Hands himself stripped one of the screws holding the RMR in place (Oh come on! Don't you dare tell me you've never stripped a little screwhead!).

Rather than stick with my original plan of screaming and pulling my hair out, I shifted gears on EDC back to my RMR-equipped G26 (not exactly a huge change, to be sure, since my EDC has a G26-sized frame anyway...I didn't even have to change magazines), pulled the slide off the EDC G19 — a very old Glock slide fitted with a first generation Leupold DeltaPoint, and went to the match.

I had always intended to go to a different slide/optic on the ROBAR-build frame, but it was on the back burner. Since I had pieces of Glock scattered all over the place, I decided to move that plan up. I talked to Gabe Suarez and had Suarez International build me up one of their G19 slides in grey with an RMR06 and stacked night sights front and rear. I added a stock barrel and recoil spring assembly. I'll start testing on it today. Once I get around 200 rounds though it, I'll place it into service. BTW, here's a great round-up of Glock barrels from the Victory Gun Blog. I run a Wilson Combat barrel in the competition G19, and it is noticeably different, especially with the Wilson Signature 125-gr Match ammo. If the barrels ever come back into stock, I might even buy a spare! LOL!

And yes, any RDS-equipped firearm that I use for carry is equipped with BUIS!

3) In our Hand Me the Mallet Department..this left me to fix my ham-handed stupidity on the competition gun. Above all things I hate tapping out screws and bolts, especially little bitty screws and bolts. Amazon to the rescue! I have Craftsman bolt and screw removers, but I took a quick look for something a little smaller. I came across Alden MicroGrabits, cutter on one side, extractor on the other. A little pricey, but it looked like what I was looking for. Boom! easiest extraction I've ever done! These things rock...dentists ought to use them. Will have my Trij boxed up and on the way to service today. Meanwhile, I'll stick with the competition set-up I have now.

4) I'll be doing a little big bore stuff next week, working with .44 Magnum single actions for upcoming SGO episode. I admit that part of this is driven by Max Prasac's book I talked about in a previous post. I realized that it has been a while since I worked with the single action blasters, and I kinda missed it. I'm even itching to do some .44 Magnum reloading...maybe it's spring in the air...or a virus of some kind.

5) And one more gun lust point...heard from Big Horn Armory this morning that they are now offering their achingly beautiful big bore lever guns in a 16-inch barreled Trapper version. This is from the presser:
Trapper carbines retain all of the features of the Models 89, 90 and 90A that have made them a resounding hit with hunters and woodsmen who desire a fast-handling powerful repeating rifle that can deliver multiple shots faster than the traditional bolt-action rifle. Receivers and barrels are made from 17-4 stainless steel CNC machined to the tightest tolerances in the industry. All components are made in the USA and assembled by a well-trained staff of gun makers in Cody, Wyoming. Stocks are made from selected American black walnut superbly fitted to the metalwork and checkered to 20 lpi, capped with a 1-inch recoil pad. The generous finger lever accommodates the largest hands even with gloves. Big Horn Armory rifles have the nearly bomb-proof Skinner Sights aperture adjustable for windage and elevation and a post front sight.
In either .500 S&W Magnum, .460 S&W Magnum or .454 would only make my pre-'64 Winchester 94 30-30 jealous!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Inexplicably, It's Not Friday

I'm on my second gallon of coffee to see if I can jumpstart my brain. Fingers crossed...

I've started reading my friend Max Prasac's spectacular book, THE GUN DIGEST BOOK OF HUNTING REVOLVERS. Even if you're not interested in handgun hunting, the book is a wealth of information on big bore revolver shooting (and was Max's previous book, BIG BORE HANDGUNS).

Our SHOOTING GALLERY episode on John Linebaugh's annual big bore seminar in Cody, WY, was very popular. I think a lot of shooters (and I'd include myself in that group) are fascinated with shooting the big boomers. As I said on the show, it is undeniably hard — hard to master that giant explosion so close to your face, hard to handle that much recoil, hard to keep your hand and wrist from crumbling into powder after a hard day of the range. Max is one of the great masters of this arcane art, and it helps that he is an excellent writer. For those of us who love the boomers, the photography is breathtaking.

HUNTING REVOLVERS is the second "significant" firearms book to be published recently — the first is Richard Mann's THE SCOUT RIFLE STUDY. I say "significant" because both the books add new information and impressive depth to our understanding of these 2 niche areas.

Considering that Richard is a pecker-headed West Virginia redneck, the SCOUT RIFLE STUDY is pretty much a masterpiece in multimedia…the only thing I can think of to explain this is that Richard is holding a whole bunch of 10-year-old hackers captive in his basement. I'm pretty sure Richard knows everything about Scout Rifles, and like Max, he knows it because he's put a bazillion rounds through them, tried numerous different configurations, and used them for training and hunting around the world.

I tend to default to people who do, as opposed to people who have carefully examined all the significant Internet forums, blogs (including mine), social media and YouTube — and hell, even taken a class! — to arrive at their conclusions. I know I've ranted about this recently, but it popped up in my head again since Marshal and I have been writing checks to purchase T&E guns.  We tend to buy a lot of guns and gear because we're in the business, and the way to really understand a firearm is to shoot it a bunch. A 30- or 90-or even 180-day test and evaluation period will introduce you to a gun or a piece of gear, but you don't really know it.

I figure Max and Richard have spent the bulk of their disposable income for decades buying and shooting the guns they're now writing about. That would be my definition of "expert."

Sunday, March 05, 2017


So yesterday I had a wonderful plan…was going to get out the door early, do my various and sundry errands, then spend the afternoon at the range. I'd gotten out my .22 Ruger American bolt gun and a brick of CCI Quiet to do some work off sticks and practice off-hand on close and medium targets. I was darned excited.

Of course the errands ran long, so on the way home I grabbed a turkey sandwich from a little sandwich shop I'd visited before and ate it on the way home. You know what's coming next, right? I'd just stepping into the house and set the groceries down when the cramps hit, and — YEHAW! — they put me on the freakin' floor! Needless to say, I didn't make it to the range…I was lucky I made it to the bathroom…almost.


Better today, but if you've ever been through a bad bout of food poisoning you know that it echoes for days. Just what I needed.

Tomorrow on the video portion of the podcast I'm going to be talking .22s. We (me and my shows) sort of drifted away from .22s during the Great Ammo Shortage…it didn't make sense to me to be heavily promoting a type of shooting that was — temporarily — out of reach. With ammo back in the pipelines, I wanted to come back to .22s and to the NSSF Rimfire Challenge, a sport I'm proud to have had a hand in founding. I would like to make the World Championships this year in October.

I'm hearing rumblings of changes in the Rimfire Challenge, and I'm 100% on board in any capacity they might need me.

I'm going to start working with the Mark III I built a couple of years back, the one with the Majestic Arms trigger and the Tac-Sol 6-inch upper. If you recall, that build was one of those "3 Little Piggies" builds where I couldn't get it exactly right. The final product, though, is the absolutely best .22 pistol I've ever shot…until

I was hugely impressed with the new Ruger Mark IV .22 (you saw it on SHOOTING GALLERY this season!). I was tremendously impressed with the 2 Mark IVs I shot — the Hunter and the Target — but especially the fluted-barrel Hunter version. I said on camera that the Mark IV Hunter I'd been shooting was the single best Mark-series .22 I'd ever shot…true. I'm very interested in the Competition model like this Gallery of Guns 100-year commemorative. The Ruger designers when down a similar path to my own…the longer (6 7/8-inch) barrel, but slabbed to reduce the swing weight.

I've got a Mark IV on the way and I'll shoot it against my Mark III. I'm also very interested in the Tac-Sol TLP-22, which I've handled but not shot. Chet, Dan, Mike, Ford and the whole crew at Tac-Sol were able to synthesize the lessons we've learned over the years of the Rimfire Challenge and translate them into a pistol (in the same way they built their X-Ring rifles). BTW, I am lucky enough to have a different sort of X-Ring in the works — on with the cocking handle on the LEFT side…heck, where it should be! I saw Mike Wirth's leftie X-Ring when I was out at Tac-Sol a few years back and put my name on the waiting list if they ever did another run. It's in the oven cooking up as we speak.

I am going all red dot this year, since I'm EDC'ing a Trij RMR. I will probably go back to the old Burris Speed Dot on the rifle…I love that sight! Was cheap, worked great…what can one say? Sort of like the old Tasco ProPoint, one of the first red dot sights I ever bought. The thing still works.

Not sure about the dot on the pistol. I have several options. Right now there's a Burris FastFire on it, but I'm considering a C-More.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Save Your Pennies...

From Swaro this afternoon:
Cranston, Rhode Island - SWAROVSKI OPTIK NORTH AMERICA, a subsidiary of the Austrian based company, announces the dS, representing a completely new generation of rifle scope. This product will highlight the optical features of a conventional rifle scope and combine the technology of digital targeting to form an impressive, complete device. Delivery starts in Europe in July 2017. The launch in the US market will be Shot Show in January 2018. 
The new dS shows not only the correct aiming point, but also the key ballistic data in the head-up display without any distraction and in real time. The key benefit for hunters is that the correct aiming point will be displayed automatically in the rifle scope. With the press of a button, the dS measures the exact distance to the target, having factored in the magnification setting, air pressure, temperature, and angle. This takes into account the personal ballistic data for your firearm/ammunition combination. The windage mark intervals are calculated based on the distance measured, the wind speeds set, and the ballistic data. 
The display shows the distance information, bullet energy, and other features in a high-resolution head-up display that clearly provides you with all the hunting data that can contribute to a successful hunt. The design of the dS with its attractive silhouette will look great on any rifle. 
The scope requires networking with a smartphone. Exchanging data is simple and straightforward via the Bluetooth® interface. The personal data supplied when sighting in the target are input directly into the app and transmitted immediately. 
SWAROVSKI OPTIK has developed a “smart” rifle scope with the dS, which provides hunters with intelligent support. Technical and long-range optical innovations, combined with the hunter’s own expertise, make it possible to remain totally focused even in challenging situations. “This makes an important contribution in terms of allowing hunting to be carried out in a responsible manner all the time,” says Carina Schiestl-Swarovski.
Sure, it's going to cost more than car, probably more than an SUV, but in reality you kid can put him - or herself through college without your help...besides, what's a degree in puppetry worth these days? Get the scope...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Winter is Back, Dammit!

How could this happen, I ask? No more casual afternoons at the range for a while…was really nice to have almost a month of spring in the dead of winter, right about the time when we all start coming down with cabin fever ("I shot six holes in my freezer" as the song goes).

Spent yesterday shooting/videoing for the SGO GP-100 special. Was especially fun plinking with the GP-100 .22 10-shot and CCI "Quiets." Could barely hear a "tink" when the bullets hit the 60-yard silhouette.

Today is V/O for the AMERICAN MARKSMAN finale and some planning for next week's podcast. Since the first segment is video'ed I'm trying to put together a more visual piece for the filming. Next week I fully intend to wear pants, however.

I've done a little juggling of guns for in-house carry. Normally, I stick a .380 in my pocket when I get up in the AM, since I dress comfortably when I'm going to be working in the office all day. Note the dripping understatement in that comment...anyway, with people working outside on the new video studio most days (today being a Snow Day exemption), and me having to occasionally race to a store to pick something up, I wanted something a little more definitive to have on my person. Rather than buy a G43, I settled on the Ruger LC9s I put a couple of hundred rounds through a while back. I have a nice Simply Rugged DEFCON belt holster that is comfortable and easy to carry all day, so I'm going to go that route for awhile.

I never had any trouble with the older long DA pull LC9, especially after Galloway Precision overhauled it. As I said earlier, the LC9s has the best striker-fired trigger I've ever felt. I'm going to replace the Ruger guide rod and spring with a stainless steel captured spring version from Galloway just as a precaution. Still, when I leave the house, it's the red dot G19.

I guess I'll go ride the Spinner for an hour or so...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Great Circle of Life...

...Ruger style!

Been out shooting me some revolvers, filming for SGO. Aren't they just as cute as a passel of puppies? From top-dead-center, going clockwise, GP-100 .44 Special, Alaskan Super Redhawk .454 Casull, SP-101 Wiley Clapp version, GP-100 .357 Wiley Clapp/Gemini Custom, and .44 Magnum Redhawks by Hamilton Bowen.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fun Day at the Range

Yesterday we began filming for an SGO episode centering on the new Ruger GP-100 .44 Special…I want to talk a little about the history and the enduring appeal of the .44 Special. Since yesterday was B-Roll Day, I got to haul out a bunch of cool guns to shoot, including my Taylor's Schofield .44 Russian top-break, an S&W M-21 .44 Special and a plethora [use "plethora" 2 more times and it's MY word!] of GP-100s in multiple calibers.

As I've talked about on the podcast, I was never a particular fan of the GP-100. I have and had Smiths and Colts in .357, and because of my fascination with big bore handguns, .357 guns didn't much show up on my radar. That changed when my friend Ken Jorgensen at Ruger convinced me to try one of their Match Champion GP-100s. Ken is a revolver specialist and an enthusiastic ICORE competitor, and I know he had a lot of input into the Match Champion (so named as it was designed for IDPA revolver competition).

I got the gun just before I headed out to GUNSITE for a week of filming, so I took the Match Champion and a case of .38 Special ball along with me. In between filmings I had a great chance to run the gun and really liked it. Initially I wasn't crazy about the Hogue grips, but they feel really great in the  hand. I bought the gun and ran it in USPSA revolver competition…no, I didn't win the Cadillac, but I had a lot of fun.

It only got worse from there. We did a SHOOTING GALLERY episode on the ICORE Revolver World Championships, and I used a "vintage" GP-100 6-inch I bought off GunBroker and had overhauled by my friends at Cylinder and Slide Shop. I shot in the"classic" division, which requires speedloaders instead of moon clips.

From there I added a Wiley Clapp 3-inch (customized by Gemini Custom) and a 5.5-inch 10-shot .22 GP-100 for easy practice. I had trouble with my first .22 GP-100…one of the chambers was, in my best guess, not cut quite deep enough, causing the cylinder to bind up. I ended up returning that gun to Ruger, and the second has worked without a hitch. I plink a lot with CCI Quiets, which are…quiet.

One of the things we filmed yesterday was a recoil comparison with self-defense loads in the 3-inch .44 Special, the 3-inch .357 and a 2.75-inch Redhawk. I'm also doing a little history of the .44 Special, working up through .44 Russian (hence the Schofield) to the .44 Magnum. The other 2 parts we need to film are a comparison with other mid-frame .44 Specials (a Hamilton Bowen custom S&W .44 Special "Mountain Gun," a S&W 396 AirLite, a Charter Arms Bulldog and a Taurus 431 stainless steel. As you know, most of my revolvers have been "dinked." The Bulldog was redone by MagNaPort and has been a consistent problem child. The old Taurus, which was a gift from my father decades back, ended up in my safe because my father said it had the worst trigger in history…which is did. Jim Stroh from Alpha Precision completely redid the gun, rounding the square butt and going through the action with a fine-toothed comb. The result is one of the best .44 Specials I own. So the Ruger GP-100 has a lot of competition there. The final part is going through the GP-100 line. I'll do accuracy testing next week.

FWIW, in the last few years I have gone to "designer" cartridges for self-defense carry in both .44 Special and .44 Magnum. In the Specials, I've defaulted to Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel 200-gr wadcutters at 1000 fps; in the Magnum, as I've mentioned before, I've sett;ed on the Garrett Defenders, 310-gr at roughly 1000 fps.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Is It Friday Yet?

I need to parse this:

13 pounds of horse genitals concealed in woman's luggage; claimed it was for medicinal purposes

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, 
And no one can talk to a horse of course 
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse 
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse. 
He's always on a steady course. 
Talk to Mr. Ed.

"Oh Wilbur! Put down that knife!
I'm filming another episode of SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE today, if I can get past a flood of nickel and dime stuff. Like little bitty ducks nibbling at my testicles...

The initial run of the video podcast is a big success, and we will go forward with it. Essentially, we'll be videoing the first segment of DOWN RANGE Radio, which will go up on DRTV Wednesday afternoon. The regular audio version will go up Wednesday morning as usual.

Friday, February 10, 2017

I'm Not Sure, But I Think It's Friday...

Had a GREAT day Wednesday filming episode 13 of SHOOTING GALLERY Season 17 at the Liberty Firearms Institute (LFI) in Johnstown, CO, with John Carter producing/directing and my good friend Mark Passamaneck as guest blatherer. We shot a bunch of pistol caliber carbines (PCC) and, as Mark coined, pistol caliber pistols (PCP, a gateway drug). Was Big Fun! You'll see it around mid-March on SG.

LFI is one of the new generation of "guntry clubs," about as far away from the old dingy basement ranges from the Old Days as you can get. They have 2 25-yard ranges, a 50-yard range,  a 100-yard range (with televised targets so you don't even need your spotting scope), a steel range (frang only), a spectacular retail facility, classrooms, in-house training and gunsmith, an executive lounge, safes for rent, a coffee shop, space for a full-fledged restaurant and even a substation for the local cops on premises. Very impressive! I'm looking at doing a lot of my shooting there until winter loosens it grip.

The guns we had for the episode include, my JP 9mm GMR-13, a Stag 9mm carbine [not currently in production, but slated to come back at some point in the future] set up as a 3-Gun "trainer" Mark's home built (on a QC-10 lower) competition 9mm carbine, a Sig Sauer MPX, an Angstadt Arms pistol, my now-ancient Spike's Tactical 9mm pistol, a Kel-Tech Sub-2000, my QC-10/Dead Foot Arms 9mm pistol build, an IWI X95 9mm and a CZ EVO carbine that we ran out of time before we could shoot!

This is obviously not a survey of all PPCs! SG is now 19 1/2 minutes of edit (for a 30-minute program). I couldn't get in another gun on a bet — no diss on the Beretta CX-4 Storm, the Hi-Point, everybody's favorite cereal box, the KRISS, the AR-ish carbines/pistols (Aero Survival Rifle from TNW, Thureon's GA Carbine, Just Right, Tresna Defense's JAG9G, Flint River Armory's CSA45 (in .45ACP) and the upcoming FightLite MXR) and the insta-carbine, Mech Tech. I reached out to Mech Tech Systems, since I've used them in the past, but we couldn't get anything put together in time. Ditto the "oldies but goodies:" Marlin Camp Carbine, Ruger PC9, the lever guns, the bolt guns (Seen the Rock Island .22TCM bolt guns converted to a suppressed 9mm? Cool!), the other AR-15 platform manufacturers (the uber-AR 9mm was from Olympic, I believe, which just folded; Rock River Arms is still big into 9mm pistols and pistol caliber carbines, as is CMMG). Finally, no Auto Ordnance Thompsons (although I own a great one, rebuilt by Stan Andrewski years ago) or any of the current flood of MP5 clones, including the one from H-K and assorted different flavors of Uzi,  the Chiappa 9mm M1 Carbine that I have NEVER seen in the wild, or the great granddaddy of them all, the Colt 9mm SMG in its semi auto version, the Colt 6951. Oh, or pistol-to-rifle conversions...I already mentioned the Mech Tech, but there's also C.A.A.'s RONI system and the Sig Adaptive Carbine Platform. Did I mention specialty guns, like the 9mm carbine from Trojan Firearms that feeds from an STI 2011 magazine; Nordic Components' interchangeable magazine well carbines, Glock specialist Lone Wolf's Glock magazine carbines and components and a bunch of other pistol caliber lower manufacturers. This is why I launched SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE on

The ultimate feral cat whacker...

Wow! I need a nappie!

I talked to the TNW Corp guys at SHOT, and I am interested in the Aero Survival Rifle in 10mm, which should be a wicked-good home defense weapon...the 200-grain Buffalo Bores are closing out at almost 1200 fps, according to their website. A Brethren MP-5 has been in my sights for a while, but the price tag is still daunting. In all likeihood, my next "pistol caliber carbine" will be an M1 Carbine in .30 Carbine. I have a Hamilton Bowen .30 Carbine Ruger Blackhawk from the Old Days, and it is a very loud hoot to shoot. I'm set up to load .30 Carbine, and I always meant to get a M1 Carbine to go with it. When we were filming the Finals of AMERICAN MARKSMAN, one of the guns our finalists had to use was the M1 looked like a lot of fun to shoot.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Margarita Monday Home Run!


Check this out…

• The juice of 3 "sweet limes" and 3 lemons.
Tequila Reserva 1800 Silver
Contreau Orange Liqueur

Mix using my secret formula (2 1/2 shots tequila; 3 shots lemon/lime juice; 2 shots orange liqueur…don't tell a living soul!)

You will be the THE TOAST OF THE TOWN!!! Good grief these things are good! yes, it's hard to find sweet limes…you're going to have to go to Whole Foods, which means you need to armor up and risk running into snowflakes, although they make a pretty good guacamole, too. Trust me…make this for your Spousal Unit for Valentine's Day, and she/he/ze/ve/per will weep, weep I tell you, with joy. Trust me on this!!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

New Gun Day!

Not home yet, but on the way!

My good friend Jason from Lipsey's called me to say that their exclusive .44 Magnum/.44 Special Ruger #1s are in! I love Ruger #1s…back when I was a kid and couldn't afford anything, I was enamored with single shot rifles. I lusted for a Rolling Block (Hi and Lo Walls were so far out of my reach I didn't even imagine owning one), but ended up with a beat-up cut-down Trapdoor 45/70 that I shot the crap out of.

By the time the Ruger #1s appeared 47 years ago, I'd drifted pretty solidly into handguns. About a dozen years ago, though, I was at a Ruger event in southern California (back when you could have shooting events in southern California) and had a chance to shoot a #1 in .450/400 3-inch Nitro. It was, quite literally, a blast. By the end of the event, only Diana Rupp from SPORTS AFIELD and I were left to shoot up a case of the heavy recoiling cigar-sized cartridges…Diana, because she's a dedicated safari hunter; me, because I'm an idiot who likes the big boomers. I went home and ordered my own #1 in .450/400.

Predictably, the #1 laid around the gun safe until Ken Jorgensen from Ruger, Ron Stein from COWBOYS and I had a chance to go to the Order of Edwardian Gunners' Vintage Cup competition for SHOOTING GALLERY. Most of the rifle event focused on double rifles, but there was one for single barrels…a running impala stage. I put all 4 shots in the kill zone of the running target from 25 yards (I think…one was a neck shot, which would have worked well), the big boomer bucking and roaring. I also shot it in the SG Safari Rifle competition in Montana a couple of years back. It is great fun to shoot it you like recoil, but it's a bit like shredding $10 bills and throwing them out your car window.

So I decided to reload for it, maybe do some lighter loads for practice…bought the dies, bullets appropriate powder…then read Ross Seyfried's article in Double Gun Journal (sorry…I can't find it on the Internet) on downloading the .450/400 and it scared the crap out of me. I short, the big Nitro cartridges don't lend themselves to powder-puff loads.

At the same time I had a chance to get a #1 in 45/70 — HA! A cartridge I understand! I cartridge I've loaded for pretty much forever! I jumped at the chance. Eventually, I fitted a Picatinny rail segment to the top and fitted a long-eye-relief Leupold Scout scope to it.  That was going to be my go-to gun for New Zealand a couple of years ago, but oddly enough, when I submitted the #1 and my Ruger GUNSITE Scout rifle for permits, only my Scout rifle was approved.

The only other #1 that I really wanted to add to my battery was a .44 Magnum (another cartridge I'm pretty much intimately familiar with). Ruger had made some #1s in .44 Magnum, but the vast majority of .44s were the #3 Carbines, a little utility single shot that was discontinued sometime in the mid-1980s. I'd off and on looked for a #1 but never stumbled into one at the right time at the right price. The #1s have always been very low volume specialty items, and right now all the #1s are only available through Lipsey's.

When Lipsey's announced that they were going to add the .44 Magnum to that line-up, I jumped at the chance. It has taken a few months for them to get into the pipeline, but, hopefully, mine will be here next week!

Friday, February 03, 2017

Mandatory Read on Silencers

From my friend Kel Whelan writing for RECOIL:
If you want a suppressor, buy the ticket, take the ride. The HPA Bill may or may not pass in the two year Congressional class it is now in. While things actually do look positive, the firearms legal community has more widely-impacting laws it may burn its clout on to pass (notably nationwide reciprocity for concealed carry). Support the HPA and the ASA – they need your help since this *isn’t* a done deal. The best thing for supporters to do is to call and email legislators in support of the HPA, and ask to bring the bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.
By all means read the whole thing!

Monday, January 30, 2017

When the Bear Eats You...

…there are days like that, and today was one of them. So I'm driving to meet Mark Passamaneck for lunch, then we're headed over to the big, spectacular Liberty Firearms Institute to talk about filming my last 2017 season SHOOTING GALLERY episode on pistol caliber carbines there. I am driving my 2015 Mini Cooper, a car I more or less like and that I bought new. I make a left turn at a light…not a screaming, crazed sliding turn, but a slow, as in "I'm in traffic," turn. As I turn the corner, whammo blammo, 4 lug nuts on the right front wheel SHEER OFF (I heard them let go), leaving the wheel hanging on on a single lug nut that partially pulled out.

Think on that…4 lug nuts sheer off…WTF?

I pull to a stop and block the lane, luckily not a bust street, and get out to see what's happened. I see that I am screwed, call Mini Roadside Service and Mark P., then have a seat and wait. Here's my punch line on this…same thing happened last year, except that it was only a couple of the lug nuts that sheered, and the vibration damaged the front end. When I took it into Mini of Loveland for service, I was told that the right front tire had been "miss-installed," so the vaunted Mini warranty didn't apply…natch. So I assumed I had some massive brain fade when I put on the snow tires, ponied up the $800 and resolved to pay more attention changing tires. I put on the snows in December, and I was METICULOUS in checking the tires, especially the right front.

So my Mini gets hauled to the dealer, where I'm informed there's a recall on my car, and they may well have to replace the engine…think on that…replace the engine…and it may take awhile.

Super. At least that's covered under the warranty, along with any damage I might incur while having sex with a buffalo while in the car...

Let's talk about Minis. My Sweetie got her Mini the first year, and it has been a wonderful car. Still runs like a scalded dog, handles like a go-kart and has been amazingly maintenance-free. The dealership that delivered her Mini, Ralph Schomp Mini in Denver, were great over the years, everything you might want a car dealership to be. Since I had a work truck — my aging Honda Element, as close to a bulletproof car as I've ever owned (Honda discontinued it, or I'd have bought another one in a heartbeat) — my Sweetie said, "Buy a Mini of your own."

So I did.

The Mini hasn't aged well. What started out as a quirky, minimalist box-rocket has become a real car, bigger, bulked up, less zippy…but, in fact, still better than most of the options. And let's face it, I'm not really a car guy. I pretty much drive 25,000 miles a year to and from the airport, appreciate a decent sound system and prefer manual transmissions. That's kinda it.

From the beginning of my fizzled love affair with my Mini, it was a bundle of not-particularly-attractive quirks. It is, in fact, an annoying car. It's electronics appear designed by Apple, that is to say, by people who have never actually seen a car and only have the vaguest idea of what a car might be used for. I have studied the controls for heat/cold…they still make no sense…"Auto" isn't auto, "manual" isn't exactly manual; thankfully, the seat heaters work. The turn signals, well, suffice to say they work…sorta. Like many of the other dubious "features" in the car, the concept of "intuitive," like, say, something that might need to be operated in a steel and plastic box hurtling down the highway, seems to have been dismissed. Plus, the electronics don't necessarily work all the time; perhaps they're operating on a shortened British work week, like my old MG's hydraulic system. Switches might turn something on or off, usually exactly the opposite you might expect.

The only electronic feature that I would class as 100% is a bizarre ring of colored lights around the speedometer. The lights flash in rhythm to…something…perhaps Kanye West's blood pressure, or the phase of the moon. I am told that, was I younger, I could be taught to program the lights, personalize them, perhaps to pulse to the soundtrack of "Saturday Night Fever" or Madonna's monthly outrage cycles. I do wonder why the only thing that works 100% is a feature designed to distract the driver! Maybe in the next model year Mini can arrange a cleverly placed, brightly colored squirt gun to blast confetti into the driver's eyes when the speed hits, say, 70. Cheeky!

I won't go into the dealership…yet. My favorite visit was when some brain-dead snowflake who worked there yelled at me about how good their customer service was. Hmmmmmmm. I haven't seen her in a while, Maybe she's stuffed into a trunk on the lot.

Oddly enough, for all the irritation, I still like driving it. I rent lots and lots of cars, and I
'd have to say that most of them suck worse than the Mini. It's pretty good in the snow, and I've trained it to get to the airport virtually by itself. God knows how much it's going to cost me to get it out of hock…no doubt the dealership will find that because I used oatmeal instead of real lug nuts, it's all on me.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Don't Judge Me, Bro!

But first, a buck walks into bar…sorry, no punch line. I did tell the barkeep not to serve either the little 3X3 or the 2X2 spike you can't see, because it just sets a bad precedent. A mule deer needs to be at least a 6X6 before being served at a bar. As far as does go, right now it's entirely up to the bartender. Soooooooo…the next time someone asks you where the mule deer are, tell them the truth — they're at the bar.

I actually was at the little general store next to the bar when the 2 bucks walked into the bar. The guy you see in the pix above nearly stepped on my foot on his way to the bar. Mule deer are really inconsiderate especially when rifle season is over.

I have to confess than when I ran to the market I'd just finished a hike with Newt, and I was wearing (prepare to be shocked) a Taurus Judge, one of my usual trail guns — especially when it's not bear season…they're all nappy-nap right now, and I won't see rattlesnakes for months. The Judge is mostly for coyote deterrence or whacking the errant oddly behaving skunk or raccoon. As I have mentioned before, it's rolling death on bunnies and snakes. I keep it loaded with 3 Federal #000 buckshot (which I've shot into ballistic gel) and 2 .45 Colt Winchester Silver Tips (which I've also shot into ballistic gel from a Judge). It ain't love but it ain't bad.

I figured I could survive a trip to the market without arming up. Thank God the deer didn't charge!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Someone Please Push the Rock off the Cliff!

Illustration from my upcoming book,
"Dealing with General Contractors: A Rehabbers' Guide"

I'm gearing up to start scripting the next season of GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA. So far, I am gearing up by sitting in my living room and listening to the dog snore. I also spent an inordinate amount of time searching the Internet for Barnes 55-gr TSX .223 ammunition, which I eventually found at…wait for it…Cabela's. I'm also also thinking about cleaning up my office. This is, I believe, what people refer to when they say, "Procrastination."

My on-site studio construction is now delayed by weather and the undeniable fact that many general contractors should be trussed up and fed into a wood chipper. I am often amazed that more general contractors are not killed and eaten by enraged customers. Back when I lived in NYC — the statute of limitations has long since expired, so don't even think about it — I threatened to beat one to death with a 3-foot wrecking bar unless he finished my bathroom, allowing me to both take a piss and then wash my hands without changing floors. Rehabbing in NYC more closely resembled a sardonic comedy series than anything you see on HGTV. When I watch rehab programs on HGTV, I am amazed that they never are seen bribing any inspectors, nor are their supplies delivered at 3AM by being dumped off the back of a speeding truck. Plus, contractors smile a lot an actually meet the deadlines. Fantasy…nothing but freakin' fantasy!

It's probably too cold to shoot…my tongue would stick to the gun.

Maybe I'll start reading Steve Hunter's new book…or take up knitting...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yesterday — That Kind of a Day

What kind of a day? The kind of day where you spend the whole day struggling against a collapsed Internet connection, then when you finally sit down to crack that adult beverage, you notice that the dog is happily eating your passport.


I had a bunch of voice work to not only do, but upload ASAP. So, of course, the Internet took the Big Sleep. I ended up using the hotspot on the phone, roughly 300 baud, to upload the audio. Slow, but I managed to get it ground out. I sort of had illusions that I'd start putting rounds through the Ruger GP-100 .44 Special (pictured above) later in the day, but it turned out to be just that…illusions. Maybe tomorrow.

I gotta say I'm not enamored with the great big grips on the .44 Special GP-100. Compare and contrast these with the rubber/wood insert grips on my Gemini Custom-tuned GP-100 Wiley Clapp .357. Here's a pix from my friend Jeff Quinn at GunBlast:

I think I'm going to try these compact grips from ShopRuger:
I these were the grips that Wiley originally wanted on his namesake GP-100.

I had some various stems and seeds left over from SHOT 2017. I was excited the see that ALG Defense, the sister company to Geiselle Automatics, was offering a Galil trigger. The one they had at SHOT was super-deluxe, so I talked to the guys and, hopefully my Galil will be headed off to serve as their crash test dummy as well as get a slick trigger. Here's a link from The Firearm Blog…the ALG site seems to be down.

I found the perfect-sized messenger bag from 5.11 to hold the most recent QC10/Dead Foot pistol project. I'm hoping it gets here in time for our SHOOTING GALLERY filming. Makes for a natty package. BTW, I paid MSRP, and rush shipping. Not crazy about multicam, but it is what it is. I woulda gone blue Kryptek.

I'm convinced Tony Galazan, the founder of Connecticut Shotgun is a true demented genius. The CT Shotgun gun room is a wonderful slice of England in New Britain, and his top-end shotgunsyours for a nice 6-figure price tag — are absolutely beautiful. With 4 acres of world-class machining capability under the roof, Tony decides to build a jewel-like 3/4 scale Thompson in .22 LR. Then he invents the bullpup double-barreled pump shotgun, the DP-12, which won the coveted Golden Bullseye design Award for the top shotgun of the year. My DP-12 is now my go-to shotgun, with a tube of #00 buckshot and a tube of police slugs; pull the trigger twice, and you get one from Column A and one from Column B.

No sense letting his machines and craftsmen sit idle, so he starts manufacturings ARs and, in his spare time, designs a semiauto box magazine-fed shotgun, the SP-12, which will come to market this year (3-Gunners, begin hyperventilation). There a bullpup version of that shotgun somewhere in the back rooms in Connecticut. And a more traditional tactical pump action...

Hmmmmm..what to do, what to do next…

Building the perfect Single Action Army revolver has sent more than one manufacturer to an early grave, so Tony says,"Of course!" SAAs were designed when handwork was cheap and machines were expensive, and their creation assumes meticulous machining and assembly. The result, as shown at Media Day, were pretty incredible (we'll have video on SOG) — precise metal work, crisp actions and finishing on par with his high-end shotguns.  How about making the grips from the leftover wood from his high-end shotgun stocks? Oh, and available with his own spectacular color case-hardening and engraved. And hey, as long as he's building Single Action Armys, why not add a 1911 to the mix? With color case-harened options, and engraving? For $1300?

So what next? Of course! What anybody would do next…a pink 6-barrel .25 ACP "volley gun" that fires 2 shots at a time! Also available in OD Green. And bright SHOOTING GALLERY yellow.

To me, Tony Galazan is what's great about the firearms industry, a man not only with a vision, but with a restless curiosity and the amazing talent (and the configurable factory) to turn visions into reality. How neat is that?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Year of the Pistol Caliber Carbine

[I should mention that we filmed heavily with many of the products Ive been talking about, and those videos will appear on SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE over the next couple of months!]

This was, as I predicted, the Year of the Pistol Caliber Carbine. They were all over the place on the SHOT floor, and I don't think we were able to even scratch the surface. While there were a lot of "Me toos!," with many AR manufacturers rushing to get a pistol caliber product out the door, there were some interesting new products as well as substantial evolution from dedicated pistol caliber companies.

Let me start with the one pictured above, the new FightLite PCC, an extension of their subgun project for an overseas client. FightLite was originally known as Ares Defense, and they are responsible for a couple of really cool innovations, including the first (and I think only) successful belt-fed upper (and complete guns) for ARs. Gary Paul Johnson, the author of the standard reference text on assault rifles and a contributor to both DOWN RANGE and GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA, has waxed poetic about this conversion. Another significant contribution from Ares was the SCR rifle, which we featured on DOWN RANGE last year. It brought the AR platform to a more standard rifle configuration for those benighted locations with ridiculous laws on "assault weapons."

I talked to Geoffrey Herring, the CEO of FightLite, about the new pistol caliber gun. The one FightLite had at the SHOW was a 9mm version feeding from Glock magazines. Note that this is NOT an AR platform gun  — upper and lower are proprietary, designed from the ground up for modularity in caliber conversions and different magazine wells. Initial focus will be on .22LR and 9mm, with maybe a .40 S&W (but with that cartridge down for the count, I doubt that it's much of a priority). Geoff said that a 10mm and .45 ACP versions were a little farther out. Magazine offerings will include Glock, Beretta, CZ, S&W, Sig and Springfield. Geoff noted that because this was based on their SMG design for LEO/Military, they wanted to create a gun that was easily modified to fit whatever pistol magazines.

It's a side charger with the handle on the right, and, boy, is this thing light! They didn't have the exact weight, but it'll come in low. This is definitely one to watch. Geoff said both pistols and carbines will eventually be available, and the price he hinted at was sub-$1000.

While we're talking about modularity, I shot video with Nordic Components and their new modular AR-based PCC (that's the 8.5-inch pistol version above). If you shoot competition, of course you're familiar with Nordic Components — shotgun magazine extension tubes, custom competition .22 rifles, AR parts and accessories.  The magazine well is replaceable ($149 for each different magazine well) and right now offers Glock and M&P magwells, with more on the way.

These are relatively higher priced guns, in the $1500 range, and given Nordic's solid footing in the competition world I would expect to see their carbines on the line in USPSA PCC matches.

And speaking of competition-oriented PCCs, I spent some time with my good friend John Paul at JP Rifles going over the upgrades in the GMR-15 9mm PCC. As you know, I've had a GMR-13 for years, and it is a superbly accurate carbine — 1.5 MOA @ 100 yards with Wilson Combat Match 125-gr. The upgrades will definitely catch the attention of the competitor looking to give the Sig MPXs, which currently dominate the fledgling PCC division, a run for their money; they include a flared magazine well for easier reloading, an improved magazine release, bolt lock back on last round (more important to competitors than in the Real World, I would contend) and JP's excellent trigger.

John told me how he fought producing a 9mm carbine until he finally threw up his hands and told his talented staff to "go build one if you want to." The GMR has now become one of their best-selling products. I can't recommend this carbine enough. At $1700 it's not cheap, but JP has proven itself to be one of the great master riflemakers in the country. The GMR is available for either Glock or the plentiful Colt-style magazines.

You probably know War Sport from their top-of-the-line LVOA carbine and SBR, with their distinctive shock cord bungee wrapped handguard that extends to the front of the barrel with cutaways on the side for the BattleComp muzzle brake. This year they're rolling out a 9mm WS-9 pistol and a Honey Badger-styled collapsable stocked version of the SPR, both running off Glock magazines.

I wanted to visit War Sport because they represent the high end of the AR-based pistols.SBRs — enhanced triggers, superior finished, their own muzzle device, short throw safety lever Nitrided bolt, and their own barrels. No word on pricing yet.

You already know I'm a big fan of Angstadt Arms and their UDP pistol and carbine. After last year's SHOT Show I ordered a UDP-9 pistol with a Shockwave Brace from KAK (above photo), and I've been very happy with it. My plan is to SBR it later this year.

For this year Angstadt upped the ante by partnering with KGmade suppressors to produce an integrally suppressed 9mm carbine. They had a prototype at the show and think the MSRP is going to land in the $1600 range. A 9mm from a 16-inch barrel is already quiet, and an integrated suppressor should get it down into the "Pufft" range.

Everything about the Angstadt Arms pistols and carbines scream quality. I've only shot my pistol out to 25 yards with ARSCOR ball,  but it grouped very well. Once I get it SBR'ed and have a proper stock, I'll run it out to 50 and 100 with match ammo and see what we get. I think this is a company at the right place at the right time!

As you know, my last build (for this season's SHOOTING GALLERY) was built off Quarter Circle 10 components (including an upper with a 5.5-inch barrel) along with the Dead Foot Arms folding system, shown above with my IWI X95 in 9mm for comparison. This one is going to stay a pistol, and I've been happy with the results. On SG, you'll see how the folded package fits easily in a 5.11 Covert Messenger Bag with room left over for a G26.

(Photo from

Obviously, if you're doing a PCC build, QC10 is the place to go for quality components. When I stopped by the boot they showed me the newest project, a 9mm lower for MP-5 magazines. You have to admit that the MP-5 lower looks darn cool, although the MP-5 magazines will put a dent in your wallet for sure!

I also got by TNW, largely by accident to se their Aero Survival pistols and carbines. As I mentioned before SHOT, these little pistol caliber carbines have garnered some excellent reviews (and here), and I wanted to see and handle them myself. 

One thing that caught my attention is that the Aero Survival guns are available immediately in powerful 10mm…although there are many announced 10mm carbines/pistols, there are only a few on the market. I believe Olympic Arms has had 10mm as an option pretty much forever. A 10mm carbine makes an outstanding home defense carbine.

The Aero Survival carbine easily changes calibers by switching barrels, bolt heads and magazines. In fact, TNW offers multi-caliber packs in both the pistol and the rifle. From a prepper standpoint, the Aero Survival rifle (especially in the muti-caliber packs) would make an excellent secondary rifle — your primary being an AR platform gun, natch. Keep it it in your EDC pistol caliber with caliber change kits in the other common calibers. BTW, the backpack for the breakdown rifles is designed to carry plate armor sold separately, of course.

I'm thinking I may get one of these in 10mm and put it through its paces for SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE.

That only scratches the surface, of course. Some things haven't changed — the Sig MPX absolutely rules the roost. The venerable Kel-Tec SUB-2000, available in 9mm or .40 S&W with magazines for multiple platforms and a low-ball price of $500, remains the first choice for a first pistol caliber carbine — if you can find one! GunBroker is your best bet. MP-5 clones are coming on hard…I did an earlier post that covered MP-5 clones, including the HK SP5K. I'll cover the RONI instant-SBR concepts in a different post (and I've talked about them on the podcast).

Here's the link on my parts list for my QC-10 build.

Here's my post on the advantages of a pistol caliber carbine for self-defense.

Couple of additional points, sort of related. I can't remember who I was talking to (sorry!), but he postulated that part of the rise of the 9mm carbine was that Gun Culture Ver. 2.0 essentially "came of age" in a period when .22 LR simply wasn't available. The vast majority of the new shooters came in through concealed carry, then purchased ARs during the Obama Nightmare Years. Sooner or later those shooters were looking to get more our of their carbines. If it had been a few years earlier, they might have gone to .22 ARs and near ARs (for example, the Ruger SR-22 that runs off 10/22 magazines). But with .22 not on the shelves (and the carbines being hellishly finicky on ammunition…the SPIKE'S/JP carbine we built up for SHOOTING GALLERY will run on one, count em, one type of ammo, CCI Tactical), the obvious choice was the 9mm carbines since Eastern European 9mm ammo never fully vanished from the market. As the price of .22 rose, 9mm became even more attractive. Makes sense to me.

Also sorta related, with M1 Carbines from both Auto Ordnance/Kahr and Inland Manufacturing now coming on line in big numbers, the fun-to-shoot M1 Carbine could be called a pistol caliber carbine. The .30 Carbine cartridge was aways a better cartridge than people gave it credit for, with a 110-gr bullet approaching 2000 fps, which easily tops the pistol caliber ballistics even out of the longer barrel of a carbine (Cor-Bon 115-gr +P is running a little more than 1500 fps from a 16-inch barrel, for instance; .357 Sig 110-gr @ 1768). The late Jim Cirillo and I talked a lot about the .30 Carbine, as he used a cut-down version while he was in the NYPD stake-out squad. It worked for him. I shot the new Inland "sniper" T-30 M1 Carbine at Media Day, and with the "vintage" 2.5X Hilux scope I was happily ringing 50 and 100 yard steel as fast as I could pull the trigger. Shooting an M1 Carbine is like eating popcorn…it's hard to stop!
I would love to shoot an M1 Carbine in USPSA's PCC division, but that's not to be (yet). I talked to USPSA President Mike Foley about this very issue the last day of SHOT, and he told me the .30 Carbine had been considered as a pistol caliber cartridge for the division (there have been .30 Carbine revolvers and semiauto pistols, after all), but the issue was that many USPSA clubs have what, by modern standards, less than optimal steel targets. Modern steel (AR-500 and above) targets like those from MGM and Action should handle .30 Carbine with no problem, but on some older steel targets the 200fps extra velocity of a .30 Carbine over a .357 Sig is enough to dimple.

BTW, SHOOTING GALLERY is thinking of sponsoring a WW2 3-Gun match to film for the show! What do you think?

Wow! I'm sure I forgot something! But I'll be writing more about SHOT 2017 over the next few days.