Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, Gunnies

From me and my family, to you and yours, have a safe and Merry Christmas everybody.

Be safe.

Why Carrying a Gun is a Civilized Act

I'd read this article some time ago. It still makes perfect sense to me. I'm sure it doesn't make sense to the gun grabbers, though. So I thought I'd share.

Why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

Be safe.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Ten Commandments of Concealed Carry

I stumbled across this today and thought I'd share it with you. 

10 Commandments of Concealed Carry
Written by Massad Ayoob.

Carrying a lethal weapon in public confers a grave power that carries with it great responsibilities. Those who lawfully engage in the practice realize that. Those who are considering “carrying” need to know what those experienced people know.

If You Carry, Always Carry
The criminal is the actor, and the armed citizen is the reactor. The typical violent criminal arms himself only when he intends to do something with it. He picks the time and place of the assault, and initiates the attack. Therefore, he doesn't need to worry about self-defense.

The armed citizen, the intended victim, does not know when or where that attack will come. Therefore, he or she must be constantly prepared and constantly vigilant. The “pistol-packer” learns to pick a comfortable holster and an appropriately sized handgun, and “dress around the firearm.” After a few days, or a few weeks, it becomes second nature to wear it.

When the defender does not know when the attack will come, the only reasonable expectation of safety lies in being always armed.

Don’t Carry If You Aren't Prepared To Use It
There is a great irony that attaches to the defensive firearm. When you analyze a great many defensive gun usages (DGUs) you discover that the great majority of the time, the protection weapon does its job with no blood being shed. Usually, the offender who is confronted with the prospect of being shot in self-defense either breaks off and runs or surrenders at gunpoint.

Its most important asset turns out to be its power to deter. The irony comes from the fact that its power to deter is drawn directly from its power to kill.

Understand that criminals do not fear guns. They are, after all, an armed subculture themselves. What they fear is the resolutely armed man or woman who points that gun at them. Criminals are predators, and their stock in trade is their ability to read people and recognize victims. They are very, very good at reading “body language” and determining another’s intent to fight, or lack thereof. In short, you’re not likely to bluff them.

If you carry a gun, you must be absolutely certain that you can use deadly force. The person who is hesitant or unwilling to do so will, in the moment of truth, communicate that vacillation to the hardened criminal they are attempting to hold at gunpoint. In such a case, it is quite likely that the offender will jump them, disarm them, and use the hesitant defenders’ own weapons against them.

If, however, that same criminal realizes that he is facing a resolute person who will, in fact, shoot him if he takes one more transgressive step, he is most unlikely to take that step.

The irony: The person who is prepared to kill if he or she must, is the person who is least likely to have to do so.

Don’t Let The Gun Make You Reckless
Circa 1970, armed citizen Richard Davis invented the Second Chance vest, concealable body armor that for the first time could be worn constantly on duty, under the uniform, by any police officer. Some alarmists speculated that “being made bulletproof” would cause cops to become reckless. Those fears turned out to be totally unfounded. As any officer who has worn armor can attest, the vest is a constant reminder of danger and, if anything, makes its wearer more cautious.

It is much the same with concealed firearms in the hands of responsible private citizens. People unfamiliar with the practice fear that “the trigger will pull the finger,” and armed citizens will go looking for a chance to exercise their deadly power. This, too, is a largely unfounded belief.

The collective experience of ordinary, law-abiding people who carry guns is that they don’t feel a sudden urge to go into Central Park at three o’clock in the morning and troll for muggers. They learn that being armed, they are held to what the law calls “a higher standard of care” and are expected to avoid situations like traffic arguments that could escalate and, with a deadly weapon present, turn into killing situations.

Like an officer’s body armor, the armed citizen’s gun is a reminder of danger, a symbol of the need for caution. The late, great big game hunter and gun writer Finn Aagard once wrote, “Yet my pistol is more than just security. Like an Orthodox Jewish yarmulke or a Christian cross, it is a symbol of who I am, what I believe, and the moral standards by which I live.”

Get The License!
You’ll hear some absolutists say, “No government has the right to permit me to carry a gun! I don’t need no stinking permit! The Second Amendment is my license to carry!”

That is the sound of someone asking to go to jail. Like it or not, the laws of the land require, in 46 of the 50 states, a license to carry. In two states, there is no legal provision for the ordinary citizen to carry at all. Realize that things are not as we wish they were; things are as they are. If things were as we wish they would be, we wouldn’t need to carry guns at all.

If you are diligent about studying carry license reciprocity, and about seeking non-resident carry permits in states that don’t have reciprocity, you can become legal to carry in some forty or more states. It can get expensive, and it can get tiresome. However, allowing yourself to be made into a felon and being ramrodded through the courts is much more expensive and far more tiresome.

Bottom line: if you carry, make sure you carry legally.

Know What You’re Doing
You wouldn’t drive an automobile without knowing the rules of the road. Do not keep or carry lethal weapons for defense without knowing the rules of engagement. It is a myth to believe that you can shoot anyone in your home. When Florida rescinded the requirement to retreat before using deadly force if attacked in public, the anti-gun Brady Center introduced a publicity campaign claiming that the new law allowed Floridians to shoot anyone who frightened them. This, of course, was blatantly untrue, but a great many people believed it to be so because “they heard it on TV” or “they saw it in the paper.” Such dangerous misconceptions can cause the tragic death of people who don’t deserve to be shot, and can get good people sent to prison.

It is the practitioner’s responsibility to “learn the rules of the road” when they take the path toward armed self-defense. There are many firearms training schools, and at least one, the author’s Lethal Force Institute, specializes in teaching the rules of engagement. Information is available under the LFI section at www.ayoob.com. It is wise to take local classes that emphasize the rules of “deadly force decision-making.”

Similarly, a person who opens fire with a gun they don’t know how to shoot is a danger to all. If you need the firearm for its intended purpose, you will be under extreme stress. Learn to shoot under pressure. Quick draw from concealment, safe holstering, proper tactics, and much more are on the curriculum if you are serious about defending yourself and your loved ones to the best of your ability.

Concealed Means Concealed
A very few people carrying guns for the first time feel an irresistible urge to let others see that “they've got the power.” First-time carriers and rookie cops, usually young in both cases, may fall into this trap. It is a practice to avoid for several reasons.

In most of this society, the only people the general public sees carrying guns in public are uniformed “protector figures,” such as police officers and security guards. When they see someone not identifiable as such, who is carrying a lethal weapon, they tend to panic. This makes no friends among the voting public for the gun owners’ rights movement—you do not make people into friends and sympathizers, by frightening them—and can lead to a panicky observer getting the wrong idea and reporting you to the police as a “man with a gun.” This can lead to all sorts of unpleasant confrontations.

Moreover, a harasser who has picked you as his victim and knows you carry a gun can create a situation where there are no other witnesses present, and then make the false claim that you threatened him with the weapon. This is a very serious felony called Aggravated Assault. It is his word against yours. The fact that you are indeed carrying the gun he describes you pointing at him can make his lie more believable than your truth, to the ears of judge and jury.

MCRGO, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, is directly responsible for getting reform concealed carry legislation enacted in their state, and has been in the forefront of fighting for the rights of armed citizens in that state. MCRGO’s Steve Dulan, in the organization’s Weekly E’News of 6/23/08, had some cogent points to make on the topic of private citizens carrying handguns visibly in public:

“Open carry of firearms, subject to MCL 750.234d, it is legal to carry a visible pistol in public. MCRGO has not adopted an official position on this subject,” wrote Dulan, who continued, “I agree with Ted Nugent and many others that it is a bad idea in almost every situation. Tactically, you are giving up the element of surprise should you face a deadly force situation. Furthermore, you run the risk of being called in to 9-1-1 as a ‘man with a gun.’ I have been on police ride-alongs when this call comes over the radio. It creates a very dangerous situation for all concerned. I do not carry openly. I have a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) and take care to choose a gun and holster that, along with appropriate clothing, allow me to keep my gun concealed unless/until I need it to save a life.”

As cogent and valid as Steve Dulan’s arguments are, it still makes sense to have legal open carry available as an emergency option. If the wind accidentally blows your coat open and reveals the gun, an open carry provision assures you have committed no crime. If someone who has not yet felt the need to get a concealed carry license suddenly begins getting death threats, open carry provides an emergency avenue of self-protection until the paperwork can be processed to acquire the license to carry the weapon discreetly out of sight.

Maximize Your Firearms Familiarity
The more you work with the firearm, the more reflexively skilled you will become in its emergency use and its safe handling. If your home defense shotgun is a Remington 870, then when you go claybird shooting or hunting, use an 870 pump gun with a barrel and choke appropriate for each task. If you are a target shooter who uses the 1911 pistol platform at bull’s-eye matches and have become deeply familiar with it, it makes sense to acquire a concealable 1911 to use as your carry gun, so that the ingrained skill will directly transfer. If a double-action .44 Magnum is your hunting revolver, and another double-action revolver is your home defense gun, it makes sense to choose a carry-size revolver as your concealment handgun when you’re out and about.

Consider training classes or competition shoots where your chosen defensive firearm is appropriate to the course of fire. This skill-building will translate to self-defense ability if your carry gun ever has to be used to protect innocent life and limb. If training ammunition is too expensive, consider a .22 conversion unit for your semiautomatic pistol or a .22 caliber revolver the same size as your defensive .38 or .357. The more trigger time you have with a similar gun, the more confidence and competence you’ll have with the gun you carry, if you can’t afford to practice as much as you’d like with the carry gun itself.

Understand The Fine Points
Every state has different laws insofar as where you can and can’t carry a gun. It’s your responsibility to know all the details. In one state, it may be against the law to carry a weapon in a posted “no-gun zone.” In another, that sign may have no weight of law at all behind it. In a third, you may be asked to leave if your gun is spotted, and if you do not depart, you will be subject to arrest for Trespass After Warning.

In the state of New Hampshire, it is perfectly legal to carry your gun into a bar while you sit down and have a drink. If you do the same in Florida, it’s an arrestable offense, though you’re allowed to have a cocktail in a restaurant with a liquor license, so long as you’re seated in a part of the establishment that earns less than 50% of its income from selling alcoholic beverages by the drink. In North Carolina, you can’t even walk into a restaurant that has a liquor license, with a gun on. And, perhaps strangest of all, in the state of Virginia at this writing, it is illegal to enter a tavern with a concealed handgun, but perfectly legal to belly up to the bar and sip a whiskey while carrying a loaded handgun “open carry” fashion in an exposed holster!

A superb current compendium of gun laws in the 50 states can be found at www.handgunlaw.us. Review it frequently for possible changes.

Carry An Adequate Firearm
If you carry a single-shot, .22 Short caliber derringer, you will be considered armed with a deadly weapon in the eyes of the law. You will not, however, be adequately prepared to stop a predictable attack by multiple armed assailants. Most experts recommend a five-shot revolver as the absolute minimum in firepower, and the .380/9mm/.38SPL range as the minimum potency level in terms of handgun caliber.

It is a good idea to carry spare ammunition. Many people in their first gunfight have quickly found themselves soon clicking an empty gun. A firearm without spare ammunition is a temporary gun. Moreover, many malfunctions in semiautomatic pistols require a fresh (spare) magazine to rectify. Some fear that carrying spare ammo will make them look paranoid. They need to realize that those who don’t like guns and dislike the people who carry them, will consider carrying the gun without spare ammunition to still be paranoid. It’s an easy argument to win in court. Cops carry spare ammunition. So should you.

Carrying a second gun has saved the lives of many good people. When the primary weapon is hit by a criminal’s bullet and rendered unshootable…when it is knocked from the defender’s hand, or snatched away by a criminal…when the first gun runs out of ammo and there is no time to reload…the list of reasons is endless. It suffices to remember the words of street-savvy Phil Engeldrum: “If you need to carry a gun, you probably need to carry two of them.”

At the very least, once you've found a carry gun that works for your needs, it’s a good idea to acquire another that’s identical or at least very similar. If you have to use the first gun for self-defense, it will go into evidence for some time, and you want something you can immediately put on to protect yourself from vengeful cronies of the criminal you were forced to shoot. If the primary gun has to go in for repair, you don’t want to be helpless or carrying something less satisfactory while you’re waiting to get it back.

Use Common Sense
The gun carries with it the power of life and death. That power belongs only in the hands of responsible people who care about consequences, who are respectful of life and limb and human safety. Carrying a gun is a practice that is becoming increasingly common among ordinary American citizens. Common sense must always accompany it. 

Be safe.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Evil is Coming (Video)

I just saw this video and thought I'd share it with you. Share it with your friends.

This video brings this to mind:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html#mfAbVWpI25XbODtv.99
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

Be safe.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html#mfAbVWpI25XbODtv.99

Friday, December 13, 2013

More Against the NY SAFE Act

It's not very current, but it still speaks volumes. The video says it all.

Hat tip to Mike at MA Custom Guns and Ammunition.

Be safe.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

NBC Report of Child Gun Deaths Since Newtown - The Root Causes

I caught an NBC article on my Facebook feed this morning while getting ready for work. It was about how many children under the age of 12 that have been killed by guns each week since the Newtown incident.

I had just enough time to peruse the stats and see that this needed closer scrutiny. Tonight I took a closer look at the numbers. I decided I could break the numbers down into 6 categories.

  • Direct violence - This would be gun violence directed at the child and/or other persons involved in the same shooting incident, i.e. someone purposely shooting at the family sedan with intent to do harm to those specific occupants, or someone breaking into a home with the intent of killing the individuals inside.
  • Indirect violence - This would be gun violence not directed at the child, i.e. the child is shot as a result of a random drive-by shooting.
  • Direct accident - This would be the child accidentally shooting him or herself.
  • Indirect accident - Where the child is accidentally shot by another person.
  • Murder/Suicide - Beware of mommy and daddy!
  • ?? - This is where I categorized the data with insufficient information to even take a wild guess as to the cause.
Before I go any further, I need to explain that I'm not trying to trivialize the deaths of anyone, child or adult. Turning this information into numbers makes me feel bad, because after all, they were all innocent children, but I don't like it when the press does this same thing to fit their agenda.

Here's how I saw the breakdown from most to least. Some were kind of iffy as to which category, so I took the best guess I could with the information provided. And when I could even guess, the tally went into the ?? category. Since NBC titled the article "Since Newtown" I did not include those 20 children. NBC didn't include them in their count, but they do show in the far left column.

49 - Murder/Suicide
44 - Indirect Accident
31 - Direct Accident
27 - Direct Violence
15 - Indirect Violence
 7 -  ??

I wasn't really concerned with the numbers between girls and boys, though it's plainly obvious that more boys were involved than girls. I just chalk that up to more boys being curious about guns.

3.26 - The average number of children under the age of 12 that died by a gun each week since Newtown. I couldn't find the 2013 stats for child abuse deaths, but in 2011 it was 4.3 child deaths from maltreatment PER DAY

The numbers above tell me this:
  1. Mental health is a HUGE issue. You gotta be really whacked to kill one or more kids and then take your own life. In my opinion, this accounts for nearly one third of the deaths.
  2. Nearly half are attributed to accidental shootings. Based on the number of accidental shootings, we as adults (generally speaking here) have failed our children. We failed to teach them how dangerous a firearm is and what it can do to a human being. We've failed to teach them respect of that firearm, and how to handle it safely. We've failed as adults to use our heads for something other than a hat rack. Many of these stats are about children being shot by guns left out where children too young to understand guns can get to them. 
  3. All I can say about the direct violence is that there are probably some mental health issues in the background there.
Again, this is my interpretation of the statistics after reviewing them for just a couple of hours. I'm sure this isn't the way NBC was hoping people look at these numbers. That climbing line in the middle of the graphic, and the tall bar on the far left are intended to shock people into blindly siding with the gun grabbers. The same with the way they put a name, age, and location to each little square. 

My respects to the families of these and all lost children. This post was not intended to trivialize them in any way, but to make a point of the root causes of their deaths. 

Be safe.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

G&A Ranks Best States for Concealed Carry

Back in March, I brought you Guns & Ammo's report on how the states ranks for gun-friendliness. Now, Guns & Ammo has come out with their ranking of the  best states for concealed carry. Each state is ranked on the following nine topics:

  • Permit Issuance (May or Shall Issue)
  • Reciprocity
  • Training Time Required
  • Application Fee
  • Stand Your Ground Laws
  • Best States for Guns ranking
  • Duty to Inform
  • Pre-emption
  • Issued to Non-residents
Top and bottom of the list aren't really any surprise. It follows pretty close to the previous list they published. Georgia, again, fell lower on the list than I would have expected and certainly lower than I like. Arizona is looking like a nice place to visit and stay. Virginia is on the list at #11, but with their new governor Bloomberg Puppet coming into office, look for them to loose ground unless activists in The Old Dominion stay vigilant.

Have fun with this one.

Be safe.

Friday, November 29, 2013

LaserLyte Training - Plinking Cans

Remember your Dad taking you plinking when you were a kid? What did you love most about it? If you're like me, you still love it, especially shooting old cans. You got the instant gratification of knowing you hit your target, and you tried your darnedest to get the can to fly up in the air. Well, if it didn't fly up, it would at least fall over. It was certainly more fun than shooting a paper bullseye target. The part nobody liked was going down and setting the cans back up, so you always added more cans. Those were the days.

Well, while sifting through my email backlog, after stuffing myself with turkey yesterday, I came across this, the LaserLyte Laser Plinking Can Set. Suddenly indoor training isn't so dull. They don't fly up into the air, but don't be surprised if later models do (hopefully) or someone figures out how to modify these. Then LaserLyte would just need to figure out how to get them to stand back up by themselves.

I think they might be a little pricey at $105 for just three cans, but that is "suggested" retail price. I think this would be a good present for yourself or your favorite shooter if you or they already have the LaserLyte training system. A good training device that is fun too, not a bad combination.

Be safe.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from me and mine at Rootin' Tootin' Gun Blog. 

Take just a minute and think about what you are thankful for.

Be safe.

Monday, November 18, 2013

George Zimmerman - Back in the News

George, George, George...


When are you going to learn that you're living under a microscope. Did you have this much trouble staying out of trouble before? Are you trying to outdo OJ?

Be safe.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

US Navy Enlisted Submarine Warfare Insignia
I served in the US Navy aboard a nuclear powered submarine in the early '80's. I was only on active duty for 3 years before transferring to the active reserves. I didn't serve during a shooting war, so sometimes I don't think of myself as a veteran. Then I remember that even though the Cold War wasn't a shooting war, I was still there preserving the peace and freedom of the United States of America.

We've all heard the horror stories of Vietnam vets coming home and being spat on. While I was in the Navy, it wasn't that bad, but we were definitely looked down upon by the civilian population. Not since World War II have service men and women been welcomed, recognized, and praised like they are today. I am so glad that we, as a country, are finally giving our veterans the recognition they deserve, and I hope it never changes.

And if there are any veterans out there that, like me, think they didn't contribute anything during their time in service, please think again. You did play an important role in the defense of our great country. Every command is a team, and there are no unnecessary members on those teams. On the boats (submarines), we used to have an internal rivalry about which rate was more important, but we all knew that we couldn't get underway without every member of the crew. 

Thank you fellow veterans, and your families, for your service and sacrifice in the defense of this great nation. We, as a nation, cannot thank you enough.

Be safe.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday, Marines!

Happy birthday wishes to all the Marines out there, past and present. I hope you find a tender steak.

Be safe and thank you for your service.

Friday, November 8, 2013

EOTech Rebate

EOTech has announced a $60 rebate on their products purchased from now until January 31, 2014. Looks like it will apply to an optic and magnifier, so you can potentially save $120 on the pair. Read this for more details.

Be safe.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Social Media

Did you know Rootin' Tootin' Gun Blog was on Facebook and Twitter? I'm also on Shooters Legion, Shooters Office, and Social Firearms.

I've finally got enough "Likes" on Facebook to see how many people I'm reaching with my posts, and it's a sad sight to see. Please read these instructions to make sure you see every post, and if you like the page, please share it with your friends. If there is anything that you don't like about the page, please share it with me. And by all means, leave comments on the blog or on one of these sites. I would love to hear everyone's feedback.

Be safe.

Guns Save Lives Day - December 15, 2013

I'm on vacation, so I'm finally taking some additional time this week to go through a lot of old emails. One of which caught my eye from the middle of October. Since I haven't heard anyone else promoting it, I thought I'd do my duty and pass it along to all of you.

December 15th (Bill of Rights Day) has been designated Guns Save Lives Day. It's being sponsored by several pro-2A groups like The Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, DefendGunRights.com and others, including my favorite, GeorgiaCarry.Org. This will be the day after the first anniversary of the Newtown shootings. It's designed to counteract the gun-grabbers' expected push to exploit the events of Newtown once again for their agenda.

There is a website for the event, and it even has a petition to sign. Go here and check it out. Once inside, you'll see the events the gun-grabbers have planned. Please show them your support.

Be safe.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bad News in the Gun World

I've been too quiet lately about the anti-gun movement. I will work on changing that in the very near future. In the meantime, here are some things you should be thinking about:

Bloomberg is the outgoing Mayor of NYC. I didn't realize he wasn't running this term. As I see it, this is going to free him up to dedicate his time towards, 1) a possible 2016 presidential campaign, and/or 2) dedicating more of his time and money to the anti-gun movement across the United States.

Virginia has elected a new governor, Democrat Terry MacAuliffe. Virginia gun owners beware! MacAuliffe is deep into Bloomberg's wallet and he wants your guns. Better start writing your state legislators to stop him before he can get started. Now might be a good time to join the Virginia Civilian Defense League.

Florida Carry reports the Florida State Attorney has instituted a "Stop and Frisk" policy.

Get involved, people! 

Be safe.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Initial Reloading Purchase - Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler

Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler and Media Separator
I’m slowly working my way into the reloading world. Since I didn’t want to run up a credit card to buy everything at once, I’m buying items piecemeal while I save for the next purchase. My first investment was the Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler Kit from MidwayUSA. The kit came with a media separator, crushed corn cob tumbling media, and Frankford’s brass polish. This is everything you need to get started with cleaning cases.

So far I’ve used this tumbler for some .38 Special cases and it did great. The corn cob media was initially treated with the Frankford Arsenal brass polish and allowed to cycle in the running tumbler for a few minutes as directed, then the cases were added. I think I put too many in for this batch. The instructions say to add the cases with the tumbler running until you see they don’t move freely. I think my problem was that as I was adding them to the tumbler, I was mesmerized by seeing them disappear into the media. It’s like they get swallowed up in quicksand, but then you see them swim by every couple of seconds. Well, I added until they slowly bobbed along on the surface. A coworker of mine that reloads told me this is okay, it will just take longer to get them shiny.

What have I learned so far? 
  1. When you clean brass, do yourself a favor and don’t do it in a room you are trying to watch television in (or directly adjacent). It does make enough noise to make hearing the TV difficult. It also tends to annoy your significant other. The level of annoyed will depend on so many factors (many unknown) that they cannot be listed here. Take it somewhere that it won’t be heard. 
  2. I also learned not to start a load and then stop it until the next day. My first batch I ran for about 20 minutes and then shut off until my show was over. Well, then I decided to finish it the next day. This apparently causes your corncob media to stick inside some cases. Retumbling will remedy the problem on most of the cases, but I ended up sorting through every case and taking a small flathead screwdriver to scrape the rest of the media out of the 2 dozen or so that didn’t come completely clean. 
  3. Sort your brass by caliber before tumbling. I was warned about this ahead of time. It will keep smaller cases from getting into larger cases and preventing them from being cleaned. If you’re going to reload .45ACP, be sure to learn the difference between small pistol primers and large pistol primers. You don’t have to sort them before tumbling, but you have to sort them sooner or later.

Typical .45 ACP cases before tumbling
The tumbler itself seems to be well built, and it does the job. It holds a decent amount of pistol brass. I didn’t count how much I put in this initial load, but I’d guess it was about 200 pieces. There are larger, probably better, tumblers on the market, but I didn’t want to sink a ton of money into some items initially. I read reviews on the tumblers out there and opted for a model with good reviews but not the most expensive. One feature I like most is the inline ON/OFF switch. Others praised this in their reviews, and I saw complaints about other tumblers because they didn’t have this feature. It is definitely more convenient than messing with a plug every time you want to start and stop your tumbler. What I also liked about this tumbler was that it came with everything I would need to start cleaning brass the day it arrived. Later, I can change media and polishes to see what works best for me.
Typical .45 ACP cases after tumbling in corn cob with Frankford Arsenal polish

The media separator is okay. It does the job, but I have a few minor complaints about it. 
  1. This is another noisy evolution, and if not done in the proper location at the proper time, it will elicit additional complaints from your significant other. 
  2. With a moderate load of brass in it, it tends to lift out of the cradles attached to the bucket while you’re turning the basket. Maybe higher priced models have a way to lock the basket shafts in place? Regardless, I can live with it for now. I just have to take it slow, and remember I’m not spinning a load of clothes in a washing machine. 
  3. I probably shouldn't be complaining about this, because I’m sure the alternative is much worse. The pin that locks the basket closed is a real booger to insert and remove, hence it keeps the basket closed really well. Again, the alternative I’m sure is much worse. What I would recommend for Frankford though is changing it from a round headed pin to an L shaped pin so it’s easier to grab. The little elastic cord provided on their pin isn’t stout enough to use to pull it for very long.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with this first purchase. I’m now looking for a beam scale and bullet puller. Pretty soon, I’m going to have to start cleaning out my workbench in preparation for setting everything up.

Be safe.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Product Review – TacStrike ¼ Scale Steel Target System

The TacStrike 1/4 Scale Target System
(It was straight before I started to take it down and realized I hadn't taken a picture of it.)
There are a lot of companies out there producing steel targets for the shooting industry. I personally don’t think you’ll come across a better steel target than the TacStrike ¼ Scale Steel Target System. It truly is a “system” in that it functions as a steel target as well as a stand for cardboard IDPA and USPSA targets. Designed and built to take the beating professional training classes dish out, this target should last an individual a lifetime.

I came across TacStrike about a year ago while researching another blog post. They are a small, family run business that sprouted from, and is still based on, their firearms training business. TacStrike’s customer service is amazing. If you call or email them, you get a prompt answer usually from Rob, the owner. Every order delivers with a pocket copy of the US Constitution, some TacStrike decals, and a personal note written and signed by Rob thanking you for the business.

I have loved shooting steel since the first USPSA match I shot 2 years ago. I love to hear the ring of a good solid hit. What I don’t like is waiting for the range to go cold to change out a paper target. With the ¼ scale target, that is a thing of the past. Now, once I get it set up, I can shoot until my hands hurt.

The target system comes in a single heavy duty cardboard box that will have your employer’s receiving clerk hating you for weeks. (Sorry Gene.) I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only did I get the steel target, stand, and upright, but I also got two wooden 2”x 2” stakes.

Construction of the ¼ scale is very sturdy and well thought out. As a fab shop welding inspector for many years, the first thing I looked at were the welds; no ugly welds, no cracks, no stuck wires, and only a few pieces of spatter. The target system consists of three pieces, the base, the upright, and the target plate. The base is a typical “H” shape with holes for staking to the ground. I use ½” x 8” L-shaped concrete anchors. There is one piece of square tube in the center for the steel target upright, and two on the sides to insert wooden 1” x 2” or 2”x 2” target stakes. These two are spaced for IDPA or USPSA targets and have screws to hold either size stake in place. All three of these have holes drilled in the bottom to allow water to drain out. The upright is a piece of square tube with a protective piece of AR500 that extends down from the target area, just in case you have a low round. The target plate just drops into four brackets on the upright.

The ¼ scale is as the name implies, one fourth the size of a regular IDPA target. It’s made of AR500 steel that if used properly, can take the abuse of most rifle and handgun ammunition from .22LR up to .308. I can’t find anywhere on the web that explains the size perspective to distance. In other words, what distance does this target represent? With it being ¼ the original size, I’m not sure if it simulates the same full size target twice the distance from the shooter or four times the distance from the shooter. (Any math/science wizards out there know this?) All I know is that it forces me to aim smaller. It also helps me with trigger control and sight picture. If I don’t hear that ring after a shot, I know I have done something wrong. So I work to correct it. Try that with a paper target with 50+ holes in it.

I bought this target back in April of this year, and just got my first opportunity to take it to the range for a test drive this past weekend. A friend and I launched countless .22LR, .38 special, .45ACP, and .223 frangibles at it without it even having a hiccup. It was a good thing that I staked it down to the ground, as the .45’s would rock it a little when shot with speed. The soft ground from all of the recent rain didn’t help matters with that, but I don’t think the target wavered more than an inch. I might see if I can find 10” concrete anchors to help alleviate the problem in the future.

I’m thinking I might like the full size version for longer distance rifle work. It’s currently unavailable as Rob is redesigning it, but we shall see. I’ll have to start saving up. If you’re in the market for a target like this, a swinger, or target carriers, take a look at TacStrike. I think you’ll be impressed.

Be safe.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dipping into the Reloading Pool

A coworker of mine has been telling me for months about the benefits of reloading my own ammunition. After some consideration, I’ve decided to take a little dip in the reloading pool. I’m not diving in just yet. I’m just going to wade around in the nice warm ankle deep water. I’ve looked around at presses and all the other accessories, and I just can’t afford to drop $800 in one chunk. So for now, I’m going to buy a little here and there before making the big press purchase.

The biggest benefit to reloading, and I think every reloader out there will agree, is the cost savings per round of ammunition. Even in these days of higher ammunition prices from manufacturers, reloading will still be less expensive because you aren’t paying for a manufacturer’s labor and mark up.

Many will argue though, that you aren’t really saving money, because you’ll just load more. And I can see their point. If I spent an average of $50 a month on 100 rounds of store bought .45ACP, and reloading that same 100 rounds only costs me $25 to produce, I’ll spend the remaining $25 to produce 100 more rounds. Therefore not actually saving money, but allowing myself to shoot twice as much as I did in the past.

Another big benefit to reloading is being able to customize a round to your specific needs. I know a lot of reloaders that shoot pistols competitively (IDPA and USPSA), and they load their rounds lighter than factory for less recoil. Rifle shooters usually reload for better accuracy. This can be done by pistol shooters too. The customizable options are virtually endless.

I’m shooting (pun intended) for the cost savings. My lifestyle right now only permits me a finite amount of time to go to the range, so I’m looking to save money on the amount of ammo that I do shoot. Maybe later down the road I’ll have more time to spend on the range and I’ll be able to shoot the same amount of “money”.

Over the last year or so, I've acquired quite a stockpile of spent brass from myself and others. It’s in various calibers, so I’ll eventually have to clean it to sort it. So this stage of the investment will be a case tumbler and cleaning media, and a Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Manual. More on that in the next installment of reloading posts. For now though, I can work on getting all this brass cleaned and read up on how to reload. I’m hoping this will help me make better decisions about components to buy in the future. I’ll try to keep you all posted on the various decisions along the way.

Be safe.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Armed Society is a Polite Society

Most of us have heard the expression, “An armed society is a polite society.” It implies that people will not set out to assault or provoke others as their “victim” may be armed and capable of defending themselves.

I know it wasn’t meant this way, but I also like to interpret the saying as, “Gun people are some of the nicest people you’ll come across.” When I re-entered the gun world three years ago, it surprised me how many people I knew were gun enthusiasts as well. It was almost like (and I use the term loosely) a secret society within society. People offered help, plenty of advice, and even equipment to help me get started.

Now I’m considering reloading my ammunition, and in talking to other gun folks, another secret society is coming out of the woodwork. The reloading (or handloading) society seems to be even more polite and helpful than I’ve already experienced in the top tier of the “Gun World.” Guys have offered plenty of advice on equipment selection, best practices, and even offered to use their equipment to show me how.

I get the impression that handloaders hold themselves above the common shooter, due to the higher risks involved in loading their own ammunition. I don’t get the impression that it’s an arrogance, but from talking to folks that load their own, I get the impression that this part of the hobby isn’t for everyone.

So I’m wondering, if reloading is another layer of the shooting hobby, is there another tier below it? Any input? Feel free to leave a comment.

Be safe. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Added to My Required Reading

I've started following a new blog called "The Old Gunhand - Gun resources for senior citizens." I came across this blog a couple of weeks back and I really like it, even if I am several years from getting my Senior Citizen discount or a reserved parking spot at the local Hardee's.

The posts are pretty thorough and well written. The best part is he is writing about topics we're all going to be concerned with at some point. For some it will just be sooner than others. And though the blog is geared toward seniors, it's still got information that's useable by all ages.

Give him a look-see and check him out on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Be safe.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Quote of the Week - June 8, 2013

GeorgiaCarry.Org has filed suit against the city of Carrollton, GA for a couple of local ordinances on their books that violate state preemption. One ordinance prohibits carrying firearms or other weapons in a parade, and the other prohibits firearms on the Carrollton GreenBelt which is a biking/walking trail. The co-plaintiff, Carrollton resident John Miller, said he would like to be able to carry a firearm on the trail without fear of prosecution.

Carrollton, GA Mayor Wayne Garner, who claims to be an NRA member and supporter of the Second Amendment said,

"If somebody is afraid to ride a bicycle without guns, I suggest they stay home.”

You can go here for the whole article.

Be safe.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Newtown Shooting Photos

I was sitting in the airport the other day when I heard a news story come on talking about releasing photos of the Newtown shooting crime scene? I think it was Fox News running the story. I couldn't hear everything thanks to the two neighboring gate agents that either just like to hear themselves talk over a PA system, or they were competing for who could be the loudest and least understood. I since learned that Connecticut passed a bill banning the release of crime scene photos taken at Sandy Hook, so I guess the story was about the lead up to the passing of this bill.

The newscaster was saying something about the need to publish the photographs so the public could see that the law enforcement agencies were doing their jobs properly. Ordinarily, I'd agree with that line of thinking, but not in a case like this. This isn't an investigation into government wiretapping. This is a story affecting hundreds of lives of surviving family members that have the right to privacy. Let a special committee review the investigation to ensure it's being done properly and then report to the public their findings. The public doesn't need to see this stuff.

No good can come to the families affected by this shooting by publishing the photos or videos of the crime scene. The families are living in their own Hell without the press airing the gruesome scenes upon their release, on every anniversary, and anytime they want to beat the gun control drum.

It certainly won't benefit those outside the Newtown community either. I have nothing to gain by seeing this stuff, and you don't either. We don't need to encourage any more psychopaths to strive for a higher body count. In fact, I'd be okay if the press would just make a quick mention of a shooting that occurred somewhere by some nutjob without mentioning his/her name, and then going on to the next story. Stop giving these people the publicity they are craving. I'll probably catch Hell about this, but if these whack jobs want publicity, televise their execution, that is if they aren't so cowardly as to kill themselves first.

Be safe.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ten Gift Ideas for Father's Day

Sorry I’m late getting this out to you. Father's Day is Sunday, June 16th. There’s still time to find a good gift for Dad this Father’s Day. Somehow I don’t think he’ll mind too much if you tell him his gift from Brownells or MidwayUSA or any other gun related store or website is running a little late.

Shopping for a gun nut can be tricky. If you don’t know all of their specific guns by model and caliber, shopping for them can be downright difficult. So I’ll try to keep it somewhat generic. I won’t tell you to buy them a gun because that’s like trying to buy a woman a pair of shoes, and ammo is out because it’s so scarce.

Here are my top 10 picks for this Father’s Day in no particular order:

1. Maglula Uplula magazine speedloader – This one goes without mention. Every shooter needs one. I did a review on it some time ago. Here is the post.

2. Here is a cleaning kit that covers calibers from .177 to 10 gauge. 

3. Here is a very inexpensive item that often gets overlooked. No more wearing your earmuffs around your neck or over your temples. 

4. I have one of these cleaning mats, and I love it (once it aired out a bit). There are different sizes, but for me, this size works for everything. 

5. If Dad uses an outdoor range, these are on sale right now. Tacstrike is a great company and carry other great products to choose from as well. 

6. If Dad reloads, you can’t go wrong with this (unless he already has it of course). 

7. Here is a spiffy little box for toting shotgun shells. I just wish it carried more than 4 boxes of shells. 

8. Here is a great gift idea if Dad ever needs to leave his handgun in the car or truck. 

9. If your budget is tight, get him a magazine subscription. We admit it freely, we LOVE browsing through them.

10. Last but not least, take Dad to the range. Spend some quality time with him. Even if it’s not really your “thing”, sacrifice some of your time for him and show just a little interest. After all, he’s sacrificed a lot more over the years for you.

Be safe.

Staples Office Supplies vs. Maple Creek Gunsmithing

Have you heard about how Staples rejected a gun store's entry into the Staples' PUSH It Forward Contest that they were running? They rejected the application of Maple Creek Gunsmithing because: 

"Entry contains content that promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing); promotes any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous; promotes any particular political agenda or message; is obscene or offensive; or endorses any form of hate or hate group."

After all the money Maple Creek had spent with Staples, Staples throws them into a class with criminals. Maple Creek vowed to never spend another dime with them. They were telling it from the highest rooftops. Word got around, and next thing you know, Staples changed their mind. Now, whether they changed their decision because they realized they are doing people wrong, or if they just want to head off bad publicity, you'll have to decide. 

I'm not calling for a boycott of Staples, because honestly, I don't think enough people would get the word (from me and everyone else writing about this subject) and then actually boycott them to make a difference.
 I just wanted to get the word out that Staples is backpedaling. You might also want to check out Maple Creek's Facebook page and give them a "Like". If you don't do Facebook, you're out of luck as they don't appear to have a web site.

Here is the link to the original article.

Be safe.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quote of the Week

I don't know if I'll make this a regular post topic or not, but I couldn't pass this one up. I saw this by Miguel over on Gun Free Zone and couldn't resist.

"We rose to the challenge and directed that ugly middle finger to the White House and Congress and said: MOLON LABE (Which is Greek for “Bring it on. I am gonna make you my bitch.")"

The article is a good read too.

Be safe.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Facebook Connectivity

Happy Mother's Day everybody.

It has come to my attention thru another Facebook page that when I share a blog post on Facebook, not everyone that "Likes" the Facebook page gets the notification. So let's kill two birds with one load of bird shot.

If you use Facebook and wish to keep abreast of my posts, go here and "Like" the Rootin' Tootin' Gun Blog Facebook page. Once you've "Liked" the page, please follow these instructions so you are notified of all of my posts.

"In order to keep receiving our updates hover your mouse on the "Like" or "Liked" button at the top of this page. Then select "Add to interest lists." from the drop down menu. This will make sure you see our updates on your news feed as we post them."

If you have any problems, let me know.

Be safe.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Picatinny vs. Weaver – What’s the Difference?

Picatinny rails allow for universal mounting of grips, lights, optics and other accessories.

What is the difference between a Picatinny rail and a Weaver rail? They look a lot alike, but they aren't exactly interchangeable. In hopes that you won’t make the same mistake I have, here is a bit of history and an explanation of the differences between Picatinny and Weaver.

Until a few years ago, I’d never heard of a Picatinny. You have to remember, I’ve just gotten back into shooting in the last 5 years. Up until then, the only thing I had ever had mounted to a rifle was a 4x40 scope on a Marlin 336C .30-30 hunting rifle. Back then “the” mount to have was a Weaver.

Apparently while I was playing Rumpelstiltskin in the early 90’s, the technology of optics was growing in leaps and bounds. Up to that point, there was no standard mount. All the manufacturers pretty much did their own thing. Well, along comes Uncle Sam and he wants a quick method of changing optics and accessories while maintaining accuracy. They turned to Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey for the solution.

What the arsenal did was gather a sample of the different mounts and more or less found an average of them all, tweaked it a bit here and there, and came up with the Mil-Std-1913 Picatinny Rail. It turns out that their rail is very close to the Weaver design.

The only real difference is the recoil lug slots on the Picatinny are slightly wider than weavers and the spacing between these lugs is more consistent. Picatinny slots are 0.206” wide and spaced 0.394” apart between centers. The Weaver slots are 0.180” wide and there is no consistency in the spacing since most mounts were made for a specific piece of equipment.

Are Picatinny and Weaver interchangeable? Here is where it gets tricky. My single experience before learning the difference says, “NO!” But generally speaking, Weaver mounts will Picatinny rails, and Picatinny mounts are not likely to fit Weaver rails. There are exceptions to every rule, but to play it safe, if you are accessorizing a Picatinny rail, buy only Picatinny mount accessories. If you’re outfitting a Weaver rail, buy Weaver mount accessories. It will save you a lot of fussing and cussing.

Be safe.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Product Review: Valeo Adjustable Grip Strengthener

The Valeo Adjustable Grip Strengthener

You might recall that I took a Practical Pistol class back in September. One of the fundamentals taught in the class was grip. I had a little bit of trouble with this so I made a small investment in a Valeo Adjustable Grip Strengthener from Hibbett Sports. I must say, it has helped. The best part about it is that it’s adjustable, so I can adapt it to suit me.

After the class, I knew I needed to work on my grip strength. Shooting the M&P45, recoil management was crucial, and the best way to improve that was grip. I had seen an article by another blogger for a grip trainer that had four individual “buttons” so each finger could get its own work out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the blog I saw this on when I wanted to buy it. I tried to use my Google-fu to find it, but never did. So, I hit the sporting goods stores that we have here in town, which is all of Sears, Dick’s, and Hibbetts.

Sears and Dick’s had the old fashioned kind with the spring loop that all of us older folks are familiar with. I really had my mind set on the one with the buttons though, so I headed off to Hibbetts with my fingers crossed. They also had the old fashioned kind, but they also had this one from Valeo. I was thoroughly surprised by the price tag, too. I was expecting to pay up towards $30, but it was only $15. I figured if it was a $15 mistake, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings as bad as a $30 mistake.

The Valeo wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I liked the fact that it was adjustable. According to the package, it’s adjustable from 25 to 90 pounds of resistance. I probably started out around 35 pounds. It’s difficult to judge what exactly it’s set at, but you can get a rough idea with the little scale on the side. It would be really nice if it was more precise in the setting so you can change it and go back to an older setting, but no such luck. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the fact that it is adjustable. I like knowing that as my grip strength increases, this does not have to just get easier and do me no good.
The resistance scale - Not the most intuitive
Another good feature about the Valeo is the grips have ridges to get a secure grip. If your hands get a little sweaty during a workout, they will probably still slip on these grips, but it won’t be much. If you have a dry grip, it may take a trial squeeze or two to get the grip you want. I’m in this category, and I have trouble adjusting my grip with this under tension.

If you actually know me, you know I’m no strength trainer or body builder, so I just kind of developed my own workout regimen. Every other day, I do 3 sets of 10 reps and hold it for 3 seconds on each rep. Sometimes I mix it up by doing a slow 3 second squeeze, holding for 5 seconds, and then easing off over 3 seconds. Other times I squeeze it completely, hold for 10 seconds, and then release it. I do these until it feels “easy”. That’s usually about 2 weeks if I stay at it and don’t get lazy. Then I increase the adjustment knob ¼ turn and start all over again. I do this for both hands. I wonder if I should be working up to holding the grip for 30 seconds to simulate shooting a stage at a USPSA match. 

In the 5 months I've been using the Valeo, I can tell the difference in my grip and recoil management. Am I "there" yet? No, I don't think so, but I may never be totally satisfied with my grip. That's just the way I am, I think. 

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. If the scale was more precise, I'd give it the 5th star.

If there are any weight training shooters out there with any experience, I’d be happy to hear it.

Be safe.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Risk of Carrying an Untested Firearm – Life’s Easy Lesson #2

I prefer to learn my lessons of life by other people’s mistakes. Based on what other people have told me, I already knew not to trust my life to a firearm that is new to me without testing it. In my “narrow-mindedness,” I assumed this was just generally accepted knowledge by anyone that owned and carried a gun. Well, I’m a little less narrow-minded now.

For a couple of months now, one of my coworkers has wanted to go out to the gun club that I’m a member of to shoot. He is new to the area and didn’t know where to go to shoot so I told him I’d take him out to the club. He told me back then that he had bought his wife a new carry gun and wanted to try it out.  Now that it stays light out longer, and the weather is warming up, we finally got the opportunity yesterday evening after work.
He bought her a Taurus PT22 with pink grips. According to him, she picked it out. Being the good husband that he is, he got her all the pink accessories too, the pink holster, pink safety glasses, and pink ear muffs.

After hanging our targets, he loaded up the one magazine he brought along with him. I didn’t see how he loaded his first round, whether by inserting it into the chamber manually via the tip up barrel or by working the slide to feed a round from the magazine. He got one shot off, and the gun jammed. We both fiddled with it for a couple of minutes. It finally cycled manually, and he got one more shot off before jamming again.

Being Quality Engineers, it had just become an official science project, and we were determined to figure out the root cause. We looked at the ammo. It was .22LR, and the barrel of the gun was marked for that caliber, the bullets were fully seated and not oversized in length, so that’s probably not the problem, but we weren’t ruling it out yet. Closer examination of the magazine we could see a small rub on the back showing bare metal, and looking at the front it looked like the opening under the bullet was slightly bent to one side. So we are chalking this up to the magazine for now. We’ll test the other magazine and any new ones he has in the future. All this time, he’s getting madder and more flabbergasted.

Now for the scary part, I asked him the rhetorical question, “You bought this for your wife to carry for personal protection?” This is when he tells me what I had expected based on his expressions. She’s been carrying it for over a month. I’m sure we are all glad she never had to use it, but he learned the valuable lesson I had trusted from others. If at all possible, always test any firearm you expect to use to protect your life or the lives of others. Know that it is reliable with the equipment and ammunition you intend to carry it with.

Now, how do you do that? I had read that you should run three full magazines of your carry ammo without any failures before you can trust the ammunition/magazine combination for personal protection. Is this the standard method of testing a carry combination? I don’t know, but it seemed like a sound process to me. When I bought my M&P45, I intended to carry it with 230 grain jacketed hollow point ammunition. So I bought 100 rounds (obviously back before the Panic of ’12) each of several different brands. I ran all the rounds through three different magazines without any failures. Those magazines are numbered 1, 2, and 3 with an electric etcher and are the ones I carry with that gun. I've since added more magazines to my collection, and each one was tested with my brand of carry ammo. So I know I can trust all of my magazines with Remington 230gr Golden Sabers, and the first three can be trusted with that and other brands as well. 

If any you know of another method for testing firearm reliability, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

Be safe.