Sunday, July 29, 2012

What to Expect at Your First Competitive Pistol Match – Part 2

The start of match registration

Many clubs have registration via their website as well as at the range for any walk-ons. At our local club it’s best to register early, so you’re not called by a number all day. Being a number isn’t such a terrible thing though. Sooner or later, sometime during the match, there will be comments, jokes, or stories about your being a number or an experience someone else had as a number. Today it was a shooter that was #41. He’s a regular shooter, but forgot to register in time. He wanted to change it to #40 because that was his age and he was hoping that would help him remember what his number was. Needless to say, we wouldn’t let him forget his number or his age today.

Squads are created during registration. The MD will try to balance the squads with at least two RO’s, experienced shooters and new shooters. So if you’re there with a bunch of buddies that are all new, don’t be surprised if you’re broken up. Also, remember which squad you’re in. Make a new friend. Who knows, thirty years from now, you may still be shooting buddies.

After registration, there will be a shooter’s briefing. This is when the Match Director will go over the course of fire, safety, and any other notes of interest. This is also when the MD will ask if there are any new shooters to the range or club. They typically have a separate briefing for new shooters to highlight range safety. You will be asked to let your Range Officer know you’re a new shooter. Informing the RO that you’re a new shooter will alert him that he needs to take a little extra time with you. A good RO will also watch more carefully while you shoot to keep you out of trouble regarding rules of the game and safety. At local matches, they are not beyond coaching you a little when you’re a newer shooter.

Our club usually has a stage briefing after this. (Today we didn’t because of the heat.) The MD will walk us all by each stage and explain the course of fire; how you are starting, whether loaded, or unloaded, at a certain position; stage scoring, whether Virginia count (only the specified number of rounds may be fired without a penalty) or Comstock (you can shoot as many rounds per target as you like without a penalty as long as you attempt the minimum).

The squad walking thru the stage

Once your squad forms up at your designated stage, there will normally be time for everyone to walk through the stage and see where all the targets are. Keeping in mind the capacity of your magazines, you’ll want to 
walk through and do an imaginary dry fire, figuring out the order in which you’ll engage the targets and when you’ll need to reload.

The shooting order will be called out, so listen close. Here is when it pays to remember that number you were given at registration. If you’re up next, stay near the starting point, and don’t help reset the stage. This keeps the match moving along with little delay. Once you’re done shooting, feel free to follow the RO and score keeper to see how you did.

Shooter's ready! Standby... (BEEP)

Now just be safe and have fun!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What to Expect at Your First Competitive Pistol Match – Part 1

A Typical USPSA Stage

Are you wanting to shoot a competitive pistol match, but don’t know what to expect? Well, let me tell you. You can expect to be a bundle of nerves, but you’re going to have fun; you’ll learn a lot from experience and from talking with other shooters, and you’ll make new acquaintances.

What do you need to shoot a competitive pistol match? You will need a safe and reliable handgun that qualifies in one of the approved divisions; a good quality gun belt and a holster that covers the trigger guard of your firearm; magazines pouches or speed loader pouches; at least 3 magazine or speed loaders, but 4 or 5 is best; eye and hearing protection; 150 – 200 rounds of ammunition, depending on the organization. If you don’t have a range bag, you might want to pick one up and stock it.

Depending on which organization you’re shooting in, you’ll have to decide what division you will be shooting in. Read through the organization rules for the differences between the divisions. If you’re registering at the range, you can also talk with the Match Director as to which division would best suit you. USPSA, IDPA, and GSSF are some of the bigger organizations.

Our range (and most others from what I understand) is a cold range, meaning there is no handling of firearms outside the holster except in designated areas. One of these is the “SAFE AREA”. This is a designated area where you can take the gun out of a bag or gun rug. You can "dry fire," rack the slide, perform minor repairs, etc., provided the gun remains unloaded. You cannot load the gun or in any way handle ammunition in a safe area. While you can be wearing ammo on your belt, you cannot touch or load magazines in the Safe Area. So when you arrive at the range, if you normally carry a firearm or if you’re wearing your competition firearm, you’ll need to make sure it’s unloaded before entering the range.

The old salts don't mind helping the newbs

For your first match, it’s best if you can arrange to go with a friend that has shot a match at this particular club before. If you can’t, have no fear, these are some of the most friendly people. You just have to be brave enough to ask questions. Everybody was a new shooter at some point. The best thing I found was to get to the range early to help set up. This lets you break the ice with the Match Director and identify yourself as a new shooter, and it introduces you to some of the other shooters.

In part 2 we’ll pick up at registration.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Should You Carry a Gun?

Should you carry a gun? Do you understand that if you do carry a gun, you may be called upon to use it to take a life out of necessity to defend yourself, a loved one, or an innocent person near you from great bodily harm? Are you willing to accept this responsibility? Do you understand the legal and social turmoil your life may be cast into should you have to use that gun? All very important questions that the answers to will change your life. If you’re willing to accept the responsibilities, read on. If you’re not willing, please understand that this post is not an attempt to convince you otherwise.

If your answer to all of those questions is “Yes”, you’ll want to consider how you will carry lawfully and intelligently.

First and foremost, read, understand, and learn your state and local laws for carrying a gun. And if you’re going to travel to other states, do the same for them as well. This does NOT mean go solely by what your friend told you, or what you read on the Interwebz. Even government websites can be incorrect, so do your homework.

I also found out that you cannot trust the information you get from law enforcement personnel. Yes, the people sworn to uphold the law, don’t always know the current laws. When I first moved to Georgia, I applied for the Georgia Firearms License (GFL) because I didn’t know the carry laws and wanted to be legal while carrying between my home and my parents’ home 3 hours away. I asked a city police officer one day what that license allowed me to do. He didn’t know, but it would maybe keep me from being harassed too much. On the back of this license were a couple of the carry laws in legal-ese. Another law enforcement officer told me that the license allowed open carry, but I could not carry concealed, even though it mentioned it on the back. (I read it to mean I could carry concealed.) My native Georgia coworkers were no better. When asked, most of their opinions started with, “I think it means…” So read and understand the laws that apply to you.

There is nothing wrong with getting informed opinions from others to help you understand what a law means. Your state Attorney General probably has formal opinions of some of your gun laws on the Internet. I know Georgia does. These help as well. Befriend a lawyer or two. They are experts at interpreting the law, and they know how the laws are interpreted by the courts.

Go get some training. Not just on how to shoot better, but on the laws and how to apply them in real life. There are thousands of firearm training facilities. Find a reputable trainer; check their credentials, then go. This is something you cannot get enough of.

Lastly, carry. Bad guys don’t make appointments and they don’t have boundaries. Carry everywhere you possibly can within the law. Know where your laws say you cannot carry. If in doubt, stay the heck out.

I’ll get into actual carrying in a later post. The main thing to remember once you’ve decided you are willing to carry a gun is education. Know what you can and can’t do, where you can and can’t go, when you can and can’t use a gun.

Be safe.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What's In Your Range Bag?

What’s in your range bag? If you’re like me, your range bag has your “core” items for your time at the range, whether you’re competing, plinking, or practicing drills. I try to keep my range bag packed with the bare essentials that apply to every gun I own, as well as most accessories. Keep this in mind as you read through the post.

No ammo - Due to space constraints, besides, it’s just too danged heavy otherwise.

Tools – I try to keep an assortment of screwdrivers and allen wrenches in case something comes loose. I keep a pair of fencing pliers in the truck 24/7, and they can be used as a hammer if need be. I also keep a tape measure in the truck. That will come in handy laying out targets at varying ranges. It’s also nice that you can replicate USPSA or IDPA classifier stages.

A cleaning kit – Just in case I need to clean a gun while at the range. (This includes all your favorite solvents and oils.) Who knows, it might be the cause of that failure to eject. I can also use the rod for clearing a squib should one occur. My favorite gunsmith also swears that a 2 or 3 second shot of Rem Oil down an AR barrel while it’s still hot will make cleaning much easier when you get home. I haven’t tried this yet, but when I do, I’ll let you know how it worked out for me. If it works, I’m going to try it on other guns as well.

Clean rags – Whether it’s wiping my gun down or wiping my sweaty brow, I can’t go wrong carrying these.

Spare magazines – Because nobody likes reloading every three minutes

Spare holster – Just in case my primary has a malfunction during a USPSA match.

Sunscreen – Whether you’re fair skinned and easily burn or not. I happen to be pigment challenged.

Bug repellent – Not for the skeeters, but for the no-see ums. (If you don’t know what a no-see um is, consider yourself lucky.)

Magazine loader – I take my MagLula UpLula everywhere I shoot.

A Sharpie – You never know when you’ll need this. I use it to number magazines and write on targets. One day I’ll get the numbers etched on my magazines and I won’t have to keep re-marking them.

With the exception of spare magazines and a spare holster, which never leave my range bag, all of these items can be used no matter what gun I take with me to the range.

 If I can’t address any issue that comes up with the tools I have with me, then I’m packing up and heading home. Since my local range is just 7 minutes from the house, this doesn’t necessarily end my day, but if it were an hour away I’d have to call it quits. For this reason, I don’t carry more in my bag. If your range is a considerable distance, you might want to carry more tools for when Murphy rears his ugly head.

Edited to add (ETA) - Eye and ear protection - Don't skimp here. If you lose either sense, you won't get it back, EVER!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sight Confidence

I just read a pretty good article in today’s Tactical Wire titled “Skill Set: The Speed of Sight” by Tiger McKee, the Director of Shootrite Firearms Academy. His article talked about how much time you can lose in a shooting situation, just by changing your focus from your sight picture to your target in an attempt to see where your bullet impacted.

This got me thinking about how I shoot, and how I train. If I’m just plinking, I’m guilty of taking a shot and peeking at the target to see where I hit. When I shoot a USPSA match, I don’t shift until I think I’m done with a target. Then I usually decide if I want to take another shot for a better score or not.

Tiger talked about how they discourage people from peeking by not taping targets. He mentioned negative targets. They have a hole in them so you can’t see where your bullet went, unless of course it’s a bad shot. This is where my wheels started turning. I’ve wanted to get some USPSA or IDPA targets to take to the range to practice with, but taping is a pain because it could be an hour or more between cold periods on the range. Plus I wouldn’t go through as many targets this way.

Two or three negative targets set at various distances would be ideal. It would let me shoot as much as I like at different distances and at the same time I’d learn not to change my focus. Now, unless I’m totally off base with this, I’d naturally become more confident in sighting and shot placement. I guess I could even gradually make the cut outs smaller to help with accuracy.

Okay, now I’m all excited about getting to the range again to try this out. I’m going to have to make some target stands first. Catch ya’ll later. If you need me, I’ll be in the shop.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Maglula Uplula Pistol Magazine Loader

When I first saw the Maglula Uplula Pistol Magazine Loader it made no sense at all to me. I just could not visualize how this contraption was going to load a magazine. All the reviews said it would save my thumbs from the pain of loading magazines and I could do it in less time. I held out for a long time, thinking, “I can load a ten round M&P45 magazine pretty quick,” and I really didn’t want to spend the money for something I didn’t think could live up to the hype.

When I finally caved, it was more out of curiosity than necessity. I bought my Maglula from the MidwayUSA website with the idea that if I didn’t think it lived up to what everyone was saying about it, I’d return it with fewer problems there. I thought I’d gotten it on sale, but I’m probably thinking I just didn’t spend as much as our local gun store.

When it arrived, I opened the package and was pleasantly surprised to find out how well built it was. It actually only took less than a minute it figure out how it works. I don’t know about it actually saving you any time, but it does make loading those last couple of cartridges into a magazine so much easier. It might average out to less time between the super easy first few rounds and the super tough last couple of rounds of that 10 round M&P magazine.

The Maglula Uplula did in fact save my thumbs from a lot of wear and tear when I started shooting USPSA matches. These matches use anywhere between 130 to 150 rounds. That’s not really a lot, but that’s 13 to 15 times of having to load rounds # 9 and 10 into an already cramped magazine. With the Maglula, it’s as easy as squeeze and push down. The hardest part now is just keeping the bullets in your loading hand pointed in the right direction. Don’t laugh, sooner or later, you’ll be loading in a hurry and drop a round into a mag backwards with this thing.

Maglula sells these loaders for calibers less than 9mm and for rifles. They have the StripLula for loading .223 into AR and Mini-14 mags. There is the BabyUplula for pistols up to .380. Maglula is coming out with a 22Uplula for converted .22LR magazines. Lastly there are the V10 and V12 for .22LR mags with projecting follower buttons. Before you order from anyone though, check out Maglula’s website. There are a bunch of restrictions on what each unit will work on and what it won’t work on, so read up and order carefully.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gun Acronyms

There are loads of gun acronyms out there. Some can really stump you without some kind of guide that explains their meaning. I’m going to make a list here that I’m sure will not be complete, but I’ll try to touch on all of the more popular ones. So here goes.

2A - Second Amendment

ACP - Automatic Colt Pistol (.32acp or .45acp)
ACOG - Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight
AD - Accidental Discharge
AE - Action Express (.50AE)
AK – (Avtomat Kalashnikova) Kalashnikov Style rifle
AR – AR-15 or AR-10 abbreviated

BAR -Browning Automatic Rifle
BATFE - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
BCG - Bolt carrier group
BDC - Bullet drop compensator
BG - Bad guy
BMG - Browning Machine Gun
BOB - Bug out bag
BT – Boat-tail
BUG - Back up gun
BUIS - Back up iron sights

C&R - Curio & Relic (Federal Firearm License)
CC - Concealed carry
CCP - Concealed carry permit
CCW - Concealed carry weapon
CHL - Concealed handgun license
CHP - Concealed handgun permit
CLP - Cleaner lubricant preservative
CMP - Civilian Marksmanship Program
COF -Course of fire
CPL - Concealed pistol license
CQB - Close quarters battle
CQC - Close quarters combat
CWP - Concealed weapons permit

DA - Double action
DAO - Double action only
DOD - Department of Defense

EBR - Evil black rifle
EDC - Every day carry

FDE - Flat dark earth
FFL - Federal Firearms License
FMJ - Full metal jacket
FN – Flat nose
FPS - Feet per second
FSB - Front sight base
FTE - Failure to eject or failure to extract
FTF - Failure to feed or failure to fire

GAP - Glock Automatic Pistol
Gr - Grains
GSSF - Glock Sport Shooting Foundation

H&K - Heckler & Koch
H&R - Harrington & Richardson (i.e. .32 H&R Mag)
HBAR - Heavy barrel
HD - Home defense
HP - Hollow point
HWS - Holographic weapon sight

IBZ - Improved battlesight zero
IDPA - International Defensive Pistol Association
IPSC - International Practical Shooting Confederation
IWB - Inside the waistband

JHP - Jacketed hollow point
JSP - Jacketed soft point

LC - Lake City
LC - Long Colt
LCP – Lightweight Compact Pistol
LCR - Lightweight Compact Revolver
LEA - Law Enforcement Agency
LEO - Law Enforcement Officer
LOS - Line of sight
LRN – Lead round nose
LSWC – Lead semi-wadcutter
LWC - Lead wadcutter

M&P - Military and Police
Milspec - Military specifications
Milsurp - Military surplus
MOA - Minute of angle
MRWC - Mid-range wadcutter

NFA - National Firearms Act
ND - Negligent discharge
NCIC – National Crime Information Center
NICS - National Instant Criminal Background Check System
NRA - National Rifle Association
NSSF - National Shooting Sports Foundation

OAL - Overall length
OD - Olive drab
OWB - Outside the waistband

PBR - Point blank range
PC – Probable cause
PD - Police department
POA - Point of aim
POI - Point of impact
PSP - Pointed soft point or plated soft point

QD - Quick detach(able)

RAS – Reasonable articulable suspicion
RKBA - Right To keep and bear arms
RN – Round nose
RNFP – Round nose flat point
RO - Range officer
RTBAV – Refuse to be a victim

S&W - Smith & Wesson
SA - Springfield Armory
SA - Single action
SAO - Single action only
SA/DA - Single action/double action
SA - Situational awareness
SAAMI - Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute
SAF - Second Amendment Foundation
SASS - Single Action Shooting Society or Single Action Six Shooter
SBR - Short barreled rifle
SBS - Short barreled shotgun
SHTF – S**t hits the fan
SJHP – Semi-jacketed hollow point
SKS - Samozaryadnaya Karabina Simonova
SJSP – Semi-jacketed soft point
SMG – Sub-machine gun
SO -Safty officerSP – Soft Point
SPC - Special purpose cartridge
SpHP – Spitzer hollow point
SS - Stainless steel
STHP – Silver tip hollow point
SWC - Semi-wadcutter

TC – Truncated cone
TMJ – Total metal jacket

USGI - United States government issue
USPSA - United States Practical Shooting Ass.

WC - Wadcutter
WIN - Winchester
WMR - Winchester magnum rimfire
WWB - Winchester white box

Are you still with me? I told you there was a bunch. And this isn’t all of them. Don’t expect to learn them all. You’ll learn what you use on a regular basis. That’s all you need, for now. LOL

Friday, July 13, 2012

Choosing My Next Gun

One day back in early 2010, one of the guys at work was talking guns and it caught my ear. It got me thinking about what I had for protection at home. I know any gun, put into service can be used to provide protection to some extent, but what I had at home at the time really wasn’t well suited to home defense. So I started looking on the Internet for the best home defense gun. Now, my Google-fu isn’t the best, but I managed to find the topic. So then, here came the flood of questions and opinions.

I thought the most versatile weapon would be another pistol. I knew a revolver was out for insufficient capacity and extremely slow reloads. So I wanted a semi-auto pistol. Well, the first semi-auto pistol to come to any noob’s mind is Glock. I’d shot one about 5 years earlier and wasn’t impressed. I had a hard time hitting a Coke can at 10 yards with it. I didn’t think it was me, because I could shoot the eyes out of George Washington on a dollar bill at 10 yards with my Python.

One day after work I went by the local gun store and indoor range to see what they had. I wasn't sure what to expect, and since I hadn't shopped for handguns in over 20 years, I had a severe case of sticker shock. The $800+ price tag on 1911’s had my jaw dragging the floor. Actually, it might have been the Kimbers that caused that. It’s hard to tell since they both happened almost simultaneously. The salesman behind the counter asked all the typical questions:
  • What do you want the gun for? Home Defense? Personal Defense? Competition? Plinking?
  • What price range were you thinking about? What price do you put on your life?
  • What caliber were you thinking about?

So I went home more confused than ever. I could answer the first question. I wanted to at least use it for defense and plinking was secondary. I’d never thought about carrying or competing. The price? Wellllllll, that’s not really a problem, but I knew I couldn’t afford $1400 on a new Kimber with all the bells and whistles. Caliber was a tough decision. I was familiar with the .45ACP round from the Navy and my brief stint with a Gov’t Model Colt, so that was my first choice. I knew ammunition wouldn’t be cheap, but it wasn't horrible. I looked into 9mm and .40S&W too. The .40S&W ended up being my secondary choice. I’d read that a lot of law enforcement and government agencies were using that round. Ballistics were respectable as well. It was cheaper than .45ACP, too.

So I went back to the store later that week, and Megan was behind the counter to help me. I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about a young lady selling guns, but she impressed me with her knowledge and she didn't try to sell me something I didn’t want. I asked about the differences between the .40 and .45. I held a few different makes, but the M&P felt the best. It gripped more naturally, and the sights came up to my eye better than the Sig (I forget the model #) or the Rock Island Armory compact 1911. I still wasn't sure about what caliber, though.

So I went back to work and talked to the gun guy there. I hit up a couple of other gun stores to feel up a few more guns, but I went back to the M&P. Megan was there again, and I told her I was thinking about the M&P but couldn’t decide on caliber. She said I could rent one of each, a .40 and a .45 and try them out. If I bought one, the rental would be free. If not, I was only out about $50. So you know I had to try them out.
The M&P40 felt good. It comes with two 15 round magazines, a lock, and a case. The 40S&W round has a pretty sharp recoil. I don’t think the .45ACP recoil is that sharp. The factory trigger is long and gritty with a fairly long reset.

The M&P45 felt just as good in my hand. It actually felt slightly fatter than the 40. It comes with two 10 round magazines. There are 14 round extended mags out there for this pistol. Recoil, though heavy, it was still manageable, and shooting it side by side with the 40, I don’t think the recoil was as bad as the 40.
I don’t know if it was me, or the guns, but the M&P40 didn’t seem as to be accurate as the M&P45. The M&P40 had a couple of failures to feed and one failure to extract. I think this might have been due to it needing a good cleaning. The M&P45 didn’t look any cleaner though.

I opted for the M&P45. They come in 4” and 4-1/2” barrel lengths. I got the 4”. I wish they made one in a 5”. M&P’s have bulky grips. I’ll say they don’t conceal well, but that depends on the person and their choice of clothing. I think they are better suited for open carry, but I’ll stuff mine under a shirt once in a while and I’m only 5’8” 170 pounds.

The M&P semi-autos all come with three different sized palmswells to accommodate hands of all sizes. They also come with a lock, two magazines, and a carrying case. S&W now sells kits with holsters and mag pouches for a complete ready to go set up.

This M&P will eat anything I feed it, from 230 grain ball to 230 grain hollowpoints. She’ll eat Corbon Pow’rBalls. And just for grins, I ran 2 mags of 200 grain semi-wadcutters without a hitch. I’ve never had a problem with the gun that I can blame on the factory. (Yes, there’s a story behind that statement, but that’s another day.)

I now have a reliable defense pistol with a decent capacity, outstanding reliability, and just a bit of power. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Now I Know Better

I joined the Navy in my senior year in high school, and went off to boot camp the September after I graduated in 1982.  I eventually ended up in Newport News, VA aboard a new construction submarine. By the time my first enlistment was coming to an end, I had a bad attitude and high hopes of making “big bucks” as a civilian working at the shipyard there in town. Well, I got that job at the shipyard. This is when I started learning what the real world was all about.

As I mentioned in “My First”, I bought my first handgun on my 21st birthday. I guess I bought it for a number of reasons. For starters, I was old enough to buy one, so I felt like I needed to. (Funny thing is, I didn’t feel like I needed to vote.) I wasn’t thinking about the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. I’m not sure I was really thinking at all. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret buying the gun. It’s just that I had always wanted a Colt Python, so I bought one. Now I know better.

I also thought it would somehow make me invincible. With it, nobody could hurt me. I felt like I had the baddest gun anyone could ever want. All I would have to do is pull it from its nylon Uncle Mike’s holster, and that 4” stainless steel gun would have the bad guy running for the mountains. (Too many movies, I guess.) Now I know better.

Lastly, I thought I’d be able to hunt with it (as a secondary weapon.) It’s a .357 magnum. It can take down a deer. That 125 grain semi-jacketed hollow point will put a hole the size of your fist in an animal. It will drop in its tracks. I didn’t know anything about the ballistics of a .357 or the capabilities of the round. I didn’t know anything about barrel length and velocities. I didn’t know how far off the deer would be up in those Virginia mountains. Now I know better.

In retrospect, I had no business owning a handgun back then. I put no thought at all into purchasing it, selecting the ammunition for it, or into carrying it. I lived in an apartment with neighbors on both sides and above me. There were no brick firewalls between the apartments. I hate to think what the after effects of a negligent or accidental discharge would have been. I never even thought about what the gun laws were in the state of VA. One of my hunting buddies told me I didn’t need a permit in VA as long as the gun was exposed. I never verified this for myself. I never did any kind of research about what the laws said I could or could not do. I never put any thought whatsoever towards how and when I could use that gun to defend myself. Now I know better.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rootin' Tootin' Origin

I’m a pretty easy going guy, but I am serious when it comes to guns… mostly. Yes, I follow the 4 basic rules of firearm safety, but I don’t eat, sleep, and breathe guns. I’m close though. Just ask my girlfriend.

She is where the name of this blog came from. Granted, it really came from one of our favorite cartoon characters, Yosemite Sam. He was the rootin’-est, and the tootin’-est!! She started ribbing me about going off to do my “rootin’ tootin’ thing” (with six-gun fingers blazing) when I was packing my range bag to go to the range. That only got worse as I became more active in the local USPSA matches. I can’t even fathom how I would imitate the sound effects of those six-gun fingers in type.

My point is, just because this blog has a silly name, I’m serious about the way of life, because to me, it is a way of life. It now affects everything I do.

My First

I bought my first firearm when I turned 21. I actually put a down payment on it about 2 weeks prior, and picked it up on my 21st birthday. I was expecting to pay $700 for it. It was a Colt Python, and it was one of my dream guns. It ended up being on sale the day I picked it up from The Gun Box in Newport News, VA. Final price was $600 for the 4” stainless steel piece of art. Happy birthday to me!! If you can find one now in this condition, you’ll easily pay twice what I did. She’s been my nightstand gun since the day I bought her.( I’ve been meaning to rethink that philosophy for some time now.)

My second dream gun is a Colt Gold Cup National Match. I’ve not had the pleasure of owning one of these… yet. Another reader from a forum I frequent sold one today. If I had seen the post sooner, there would have been another pony in the stable. One of these days, one of these days.

I did manage to get my hands on a Colt Government Model 1911A1 from a buddy in the Navy. I hung on to it for a year or so, and never really shot it much. I ended up selling it, like a fool. That was the last gun I sold. I might sell another one day, but I doubt it. I’m finicky about the guns I buy, so the gun would really have to be a major disappointment for me to turn around and sell it.

I don’t consider myself a collector. I have rifles, shotguns, and more handguns. I believe different guns suit different purposes and different occasions. There is no one perfect gun. I’ll get into that more later on down the road.