Monday, January 31, 2011

An Inordinately Busy Day

Trying to wrap up SHOT, round up a .300 AAC Blackout upper, order a scope from Burris, dry-fire since it's too crazy cold to stick my nose outside (even the Wonder Beagle had to wear booties on her walk), and, oh yeah, work.

GUN STORIES is rocking...20 interviews down, many more to go! Hopefully a big host announcement in a week or so. Planning for TBD/Survival #3 going level, baby!

Meetings this week on SG 2012...pretty excited about that, too. Working on logistics for full-court-press coverage of MGM Ironman this year, coverage at a level you've never seen before.

I love my job!

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Sunday, January 30, 2011


Not Anderson. Sorry's just that I solved "Aqualung..."

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The Fudds Among Us

This from NEWSWEEK's coverage of Sarah Palin ay SCI:

A few members, like Leonard Kutkey of Spokane, Wash., were willing to go even further, calling on the government to pass "more regulations on handguns—guns with no sporting purpose." Asked how the National Rifle Association would respond to such apostasy, Kutkey, a tall, professorial, white-bearded man, scoffed. "I think that the NRA goes too far, and that's why I've never been a member," he said. "It's overkill. We hunters pay a price for it." But Kutkey knew he was in the minority, and, looking around the room, he guessed that "99 out of every 100 people here w[ould] disagree."

My friends, we need to watch what we say and who we say it to! There are trolls, and Fudds, among us!

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Fun Day at the Range...

Iain Anderson's home club at the Tri-County Gun Range in Sherwood, OR, puts on a super carbine match...and not one for the faint of heart! I liked their 2 Minute Torture, essentially 3 firing positions -- a low port, kneeling and a 2nd low port -- facing 3 IPSC targets at 50 yards. The shooting positions are separated by about 10 feet, and the low ports are set so there us no "comfortable" way to shoot them...too high for prone; too low for kneeling. All you have to do is fire one shot from the first position, run to the second, fire another shot, etc. Repeat for 2 minutes...2 VERY LONG minutes! Heck of a drill. I think you'll be seeing more of Iain's training on DRTV soon.

Have to say I felt the press of time on this one...I did terribly, but I saw how I could do better...I will get in more carbine drills this year, but my focus remains cowboy, so the thrust of my training has to be cowboy. I'm amazed when people tell me they can't find a shooting sport they like...there are so many, and they're all so much fun. I'm lucky to have shot so many of them, and if there were 48 hours in a day I could fill them all up with clay pigeons, IPSC paper targets and steel.

I do think we're going to do a full court press on SG 2012 on the MGM Ironman. I spoke briefly with Travis Gibson about it at SHOT, and I'll have more details as we hammer them out.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Iain On the Way Down!

Me, I shot like the primate I am!!!'

-- Post From The Road

Friday, January 28, 2011

Additional Thoughts on the ATF Shottie Letter

The big issue here isn't whether ATF recognizes practical shooting as "legitimate" sports...the issue is that the "sporting purposes" clause itself is BS from the ground up.

I'm paranoid of course, but I can't help wondering what the real game is here...there are a lot of Saigas out there in 3-Gun, for self-defense and just because they're fun to shoot (and there will be a damn sight more over the following weeks as sales ratchet up to "bubble" levels!). It doesn't seem rational to me that even an agency as consistently dense as ATF would create such a massive poo-poo blast with a national election next year.

Many have noted that the Saiga as imported doesn't have any of the Evil List of non-sporting elements...however, I think I'm correct in that there are provisions prohibiting the assembly of an imported gun into a non-importable least I think that's what 922(r) says.

I think there's a bigger picture here...ATF has been circling shotguns as a category like a pack of vultures for the last 18 months...I suspect they have some play in mind, and this ridiculous "study" is a step along that path. It may have to do with how BHo is going to try and play us in the next few weeks. I have always feared a wave of Executive Orders outside the purview of Congress. Remember that BHo is a basketball player -- ATF sets him up, tosses him the ball and Barry takes the shot.

Having read the study a couple of times now, the only shotgun that comes to mind as "unimportable" is indeed the hapless Chinese Winchester '97 Trench Gun clone, because of it's deadly bayonet lug, and I'm not sure whether that variant is still in production (Chinese '97 clones go primarily to the cowboy action shooting market, and the Trench Guns aren't in demand...and no, you can't have mine!).

Again, ATF has always been an agency in search of a mission. It's just no fun to bust untaxed cigarette smugglers, and you'll never get a fawning Katie Couric interview that way! The best way for ATF to "clarify" it's mission is to figure out a way to make more law-abiding Americans into criminals.

The "sporting purposes" clause is a legacy of the bad old days, and rather than argue what it means, we need to take up the cause of eliminating it all together.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

ATF Shotgun Study

Am grinding through it's a "study" only in the sense that it was produced, apparently, by people with too much time on their hands. The usual crapola...

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On the Lighter Side...

Saw this over on Every Day No Days Off, the Conway Twitty Memorial 1911! Forget that Bill Laughridge special! Forget Doug Turnbull's 1913! Forget that $85,000 Colt being auctioned off! The is

Seriously, my favorite memory of Conway is he and I sitting on the deck of this resort he owned in the Cayman Islands, drinking boat drinks, watching the sun set, and telling trashy stories about people we knew in Nashville. "The most important thing in life, Michael," he intoned and many many boat drinks, "is to beat the machine." He did. And hell, he'd appreciate a 1911 that went with Nudie suits!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Uncapping the Taurus products...

Correcting what I've previously heard and reported...and I'm glad to be wrong! This just in from American Rifleman’s Mark Keefe:
With the vast array of new guns in the Taurus booth at the 2011 SHOT Show, it was easy to go into new-product overload. But the one gun that stood out most was the 28-gauge Raging Judge revolver. Whenever there is something truly new and different, there are bound to be juicy rumors, which included that the gun had been declared a National Firearms Act item by BATFE and “removed.”
This is simply not the case. Taurus President and CEO Bob Morrison invited officials from the ATF’s Technology Branch to discuss some of the firm’s new product introductions. “I asked them to come and give some advice,” Morrison said. By all accounts the meeting was cordial, professional, and not a “raid” or “gotcha” as erroneously reported elsewhere. No determination on the gun’s status was made at the show. Remember, to even be in the United States at all, the prototype had to be cleared by BATFE for importation. On the 28-gauge Raging Judge revolver, Taurus sought BATFE’s advice on some modifications to the gun and is the process of implementing the results of those suggestions. This is a very common practice; gun manufacturers and importers regularly work with BATFE as the firearm industry’s regulatory agency.
Also, despite rumors to the contrary, the .45 Colt/.410-bore lever-action Ranch Hand with the rifled barrel is good to go for importation, as is the 28-gauge Circuit Judge. You’ll see them later on this year, as well as the 28-gauge Raging Judge, with minor modifications.
Rumors also abound regarding an impending ATF ruling regarding shotguns and “sporting purposes,” but they have nothing to do with the 28-gauge Raging Judge.

Mark A. Keefe, IV

Monday, January 24, 2011

Is It Monday Yet?

Still waiting for the BATFE letter on shotguns.Man, the more I try to get my head around the cesspool of legislation around non-stocked shotguns, the more I think my head's likely to explode.

To wit, as near as I can tell from reading the docs and discussions posted on the Internet, a pistol-grip shotgun sold as a pistol grip shotgun (that is, having never been a regular stocked shotgun, such as the Mossberg Cruisers) is listed on the 4473s as neither a long gun nor a handgun, but "other." Since it was never a long gun, it is (allegedly) not subject to the 18-inch barrel limitation; only the overall length measurement of 26 inches or more.

Mossberg Cruiser

There has been buzz on the Internet that the ATF letters meant pistol-gripped shotguns were to be classified as "Destructive Devices," that is a firearm with a bore diameter of .50 inch that doesn't meet some sort of undefined, legally vague "sporting purposes" standard that no one has a clue about. I don't think that's the case at this point. The Striker/"Street Sweeper" shotguns were banned under such ATF rulings. The ATF also ruled that extensive use of certain firearms in the shooting sports didn't qualify as "sporting purposes," apparently since there were no penguins involved or other nitwit Catch-22 reasoning. The way the ruling was explained to me years ago by the feds was that so many guns were used in the shooting sports that use in the shooting sports couldn't be construed as as a "sporting purpose." For that matter, my "explainer" said with a straight face, neither could hunting, since any gun could be used for hunting various game. War is peace, and work shall set you free!

Street Sweeper Destructive Device

If, OTOH, you buy a shotgun with a stock (here's the GCA 1968 definition of a shotgun)and it comes with an accessory pistol grip, or you buy an accessory pistol grip for your shotgun, the gun is always a long gun and subject to both overall length and barrel restrictions when you put the pistol grip on.

If you put a regular stock on your pistol-gripped shotgun, then that's all hunky-dory unless the barrel length is less than 18 inches, in which case you have "manufactured" an SBS, a short-barreled shotgun, which you cannot legally do unless you fill out the appropriate NFA paperwork, meet the requirements, pay the $200 tax and wait for your tax stamp. Ditto if you hacksaw off the barrel of your regular shotgun to less than 18 inches, or you go less than 26-inch overall length — file the paperwork, pay the $200, wait for the tax stamp or get an all-expense paid vacation to the federal slam.

Here is the BATFE FAQs on SBS/SBR. Read it carefully!

You can change back to a non-controlled weapon without any heartburn, as per the FAQ, but only if you once again file the appropriate paperwork explaining the change with the BATFE. If you fail to file such a letter and you sell your now-Title 1 shogun to a friend, you may have sold her an NFA weapon, since the receiver, the part with the serial number, is the gun part of the gun. BATFE still has that receiver on their books as a controlled weapon, even though technically it isn't.

Ostensibly, a shotgun is specifically defined as having a smooth bore, e.g. no rifling. That means a pistol (such as the Ithaca Auto & Burglar double-barreled 20 gauge pistol) or revolver (such as the Colt New Service 44/40s with a smooth bore, designed for the Philippines I believe) having a smoothbore is a SBS and an NFA controlled weapon, unless that firearm has been specifically removed from the NFA, as has the Colt. Note that the Auto & Burglar has NOT been removed from the NFA!

If I were to take a hone to the barrel of one of my S&W 629s and grind out all the rifling so it would pattern better with .44 Mag shotshells...VIOLA! An SBS! If I hadn't filled out the paperwork, etc., I'd be guilty of a federal crime.

S&W Governor .410 Revolver

I could, OTOH, purchase a brand new S&W Governor revolver in .410 (and .45 Colt and .45 ACP) or any one of a zillion Taurus Judges and be happy as a clam, because the barreled is rifled, not smoothbored. Generally speaking, the rifling in these revolvers is "optimized" for shot, not the centerfire bullets. Some such guns, such as the Magnum Research BFR .410/.45, even though it has a rifled barrel, comes with a screw-in choke to allow it to pattern better with the .410. BTW, that choke is more like FULL than the listed Modified!
Serbu Super Shorty

A pistol made from a shotgun receiver that was never registered as a shotgun (e.g. stocked and with a barrel of 18 inches or longer) is an NFA firearm, but it is NOT a short-barreled shotgun, since it was never a shotgun. Instead, it is listed as Any Other Weapon, AOW, and it is subject to the same fed paperwork bot with a $5 instead of a $200 transfer tax. My Serbu Super Shorty, the coolest gun I own is an AOW. You can probably return an AOW to Title 1, but it requires the services of a White Wizard...

Rossi Ranch Hand

The mare's leg-styled Rossi Ranch Hand in .410, with a 12-inch barrel and an overall length [estimated] of roughly 24-inches is apparently an NFA weapon (as of last Friday) even though it has a rifled barrel. The Rossi Ranch Hand in .44 and .357 is a pistol even though it was made from a Winchester 1892 rifle receiver, because the receiver had never been a that? If the Rossi Ranch Hand had a smooth bore at was at least 26 inches overall, my understanding is that it would be legal as a pistol-gripped shotgun, or as it's known on the 4473s, "other."
Taurus Raging Judge

The prototype 28-gauge Raging Judge is an NFA weapon because, well, because. Actually, probably because a 28-gauge shell is roughly .55 caliber, and even with a rifled barrel it falls into the DD category. A few years back the great Hamilton Bowen had to get an NFA Destructive Device tax stamp to build a Ruger Redhawk in .577 (lest Hamilton be set upon by feral Mac trucks!).

Wouldn't it be a hoot if today's ATF letter banned the importation of Chinese Winchester 1897 "Trench Gun" clones because they have bayonet lugs?!?!?!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Republicans Won't Go To The Wall..."

This is from Peggy Noonan's WSJ column today. She is a superb op-ed writer--heck, she was a speechwriter for Reagan! However, she is a RINO who supported Obama, and she swings big weight. I wanted to show you what we're up against.

Here's a link that won't require you to subscribe:
Here are three things he [BHO] can do in the speech that would be surprising, shrewd, centrist and good policy. The first may seem small but is not. Normal people are not afraid of a lowering of discourse in political speech. They don't like it, but it's not keeping them up nights. Normal people are afraid of nuts with guns. That keeps them up nights. They know our society has grown more broken, families more sundered, our culture more degraded, and they fear it is producing more lost and disturbed young people. They fear those young people walking into a school or a mall with a semiautomatic pistol with an extended clip.
What civilian needs a pistol with a magazine that loads 33 bullets and allows you to kill that many people without even stopping to reload? No one but people with bad intent. Those clips were banned once; the president should call for reimposing the ban. The Republican Party will not go to the wall to defend extended clips. [my emphasis] The problem is the Democratic Party, which overreached after the assassinations of the 1960s, talked about banning all handguns, and suffered a lasting political setback. Now Democrats are so spooked they won't even move forward on small and obvious things like this. The president should seize the moment and come out strong for a ban.
Keep in mind that Ms. Noonan has lunch every day with the Republicans she's talking about here. In short. Noon believes that the Republicans will choose sucking up to BHO over us. It is our absolute duty to make sure that does not happen! After all we WILL go to the mattresses (a better aphorism, doncha think?) over this subject because we know that this has NOTHING TO DO with banning magazines of a certain capacity and EVERYTHING to do with banning whole classes of guns. If "reasonable" laws as sanctioned by Heller include banning whole classes of firearms, we are in deep dookey.

Again, the legal experts I talked to last week were confident there's no real traction here, but we CANNOT let the damned RINOs set the agenda.

Home Again Home Again...

...etc. Man, I went to bed at 7:30PM and slept 15 straight's noon, and I'm ready for a nappie!

Looks like we're going to be fighting battles on 2 fronts — the ATF letter on shotguns and the magazine capacity ban legislation. Granted, I'm a known paranoid, but I pretty much don't believe in coincidences, especially when it comes to antigunners.

Here is my take on the politics — BHO is going to issue a stirring call for gun control in his State of the Union Message, but he and his shills know that the McCarthy travesty is DOA in the House...even if through some unseen miracle it gets to the floor, it can't survive an up-and-down vote. Maybe a little different in the Senate, but I (and the legal experts I spoke to last week) don't think the Lautenberg companion bill can win there either.

For those of you who will be writing letter against the gun banners, I strongly urge you to study the language from Ian Argent's The Lair blog, because it is excellent:

To the forces of freedom: we’re fighting this because to allow them to define the number of bullets you “need” in a magazine is to allow them to define the number of bullets you “need”, period. Because after they pass the magazine ban, they’ll be coming for the “spare magazine loop-hole”. After all, the AZ shooter couldn’t have shot 14 people if he had been legally prohibited from having more than 10 rounds on his person. No more than he could have shot them if only the law prohibited him from injuring them…

However, BHO needs a gun control "victory" to throw to the left wing screaming loonies he claims as his base. Hence the "sudden" move by ATF on shotguns. The core issue is that the 1934 Firearms Act restrictions on short-barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns is fundamentally nonsense. As I'm sure most of you know, the 1934 Firearms Act was a kludged-together monstrosity designed to keep the "revenue agents" orphaned after the repeal of Prohibition working. The Act was originally planned to control not only automatic weapons, but all handguns as well. SBRs and SBSs were added to the Act to prohibit cutting down rifles and shotguns to handgun size.

When it proved to be politically impossible to include handguns, the SBSs and SBRs were left in the language, probably through sheer stupidity. The problem ATF has right now is that we are an amazingly self-regulating culture...we are by far and away extremely legal. That leaves ATF as a agency in search of a mission. I have met hero ATF agents who spend their lives undercover in viscous, deadly gangs who run guns, and I honor them for their service. But, quite frankly, most of the agents I've run across spend their careers trying to think of new and innovative ways to turn citizens into criminals. That is exactly what we're looking at here.

According to my cherubs and seraphim, forces within ATF have been lobbying to turn pistol-gripped shotguns into "Destructive Devices," a la the old Street Sweeper, which was declared a DD largely because it had a scary name. From the ATF standpoint, such a change of status would be a bonanza — there are millions and millions of pistol-gripped shotguns, and virtually any shotgun can be fitted with a pistol grip. Most of the owners of those shotguns wouldn't know they were in violation of federal laws, which would make them sitting ducks for ATF gun round-ups.

We may well see what amounts to the shotgun version of a magazine capacity ban. After all, there was nothing particularly special about the various Street Sweeper/Striker shotguns with revolving cylinders, spring-loaded or otherwise, except for their magazine capacity and ease of reloading. The issue from our point of view goes back to Ian's quote above...multishot shotguns are among the easiest firearms to reload. Most pump action shotguns can be reloaded a single round at a time virtually as fast as magazine shotguns (I refer you to any cowboy action shooting matches or the Blackwater tactical shotgun training tapes). After my GUNSITE 260 shotgun class, it stopped mattering to me whether I had an extended tube or long as I had shells I could run a pump or semiauto all day long. Think about the implications of soon as we let ourselves be pulled into a "do you NEED it" argument, we LOSE!

The "sporting purposes" test, included in, I believe, GCA 1968, is a red herring. It doesn't actually mean anything but exist solely to give gun banners a way to eliminate classes of firearms from importation. Our proper response is NOT to try and prove that this gun or that gun meets the "sporting purposes" test, but rather to OPPOSE the "sporting purposes" test as a fraud, an unprovable, legally vague assault on our rights.

From BHO's standpoint, this is a win-win — he can blame Congress for not stepping up to his stirring rhetoric, but then point to ATF's new mission to attack the oldest shooting technology in the world, the shotgun, which will be deemed the most terrifying weapon in the entire history of mankind, especially if it can be loaded with more than 2 rounds.

I could be wrong on all this stuff..we'll have a little better idea tomorrow, I suppose...

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Impending ATF Letter on Shotguns

As I tweeted, ATF refused to talk to me about next week's letter on we also tweeted, yesterday PM they moved against Taurus on the 28-gauge Raging Judge revolver and the Rossi .410 "mare's leg" style carbine. Neither of the Taurus guns are in production, so the ATF move essentially prohibits production of those guns as anything other than, I believe, an AOW Controlled weapon, with the paperwork and $5 tax.

The speculation is that next week's letter will address Saiga box magazine-fed shotguns. Those shotguns are increasingly popular in 3-Gun competition, and because of that growing popularity there are more capacity options than ever before, including drum-style mags. That makes the Saiga system dangerously close to the old "Street Sweeper" style shotguns tha ATF in a frenzy of antigun furor classified as a "Destructive Device." Of course the Street Sweeper was every bit as much if a "Destructive Device" as a Winchester 1897 pump, but remember, antigunner's plan is to "get what they can get."

I suspect that with the new gun control initiatives in Congress Obama has begun to loosen up the leash on hi regulatory dogs ,

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...


Focus has been on meetings and DRTV video, where we have had record traffic all week.

Am way tired...have been able to spend a little time with Marty Daniel at Daniel Defense, Larry Potterfield, my friend Mike "Spike" Register, the guys at Tactical Solutions, AAC (yes, the Suppresssor Shoot is one the list for SG for 2012), Travis Gibson of the MGM Ironman (guess), the guys at Stag on new carbine developments,...many many more...

Am planning a comprehensive mini-9 test for DRTV...should have the new Para 14.45 soon, as well as DRTV training tips from Travid Tomasie...going to TN to shoot the new Barrett suppressor-equipped .50 w/muzzle brake ,no less)...

Oh, and we have a BIG BIG announcement on the host of the new series, Gun Stories! We're going Hollywood in a big way!!!

Thanks for your patience while I'm running around Vegas like a crazy man....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day on the Range

Video update tomorrow on DRTV...incredible Crossman big-bore air rifle (120 gr @ 800 fps penetrating 3 1/2 inches of pine)...Gen 4 Glocks in .40 S& Charter Arms...Kimber Solo 9mm single stack...Taurus Judge in .28 gauge...SureFire 60 & 100 roundvAR mags..,SureFire 2 1/2 ounce .22 suppressor for pistols...Colt New Frontier S.A. in .44 Special...more more more...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Notes on Magazines

Man, I'm SWAMPED by last minute SHOT Show press releases, invitations, blah blah! If there were 27 hours in the day...etc.

Anyway, I wanted to post some thoughts on magazine capacity before I slithered into Las Vegas Hell. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has posted the text of her antigun legislation to be introduced in the House next week. As expected, it bans the sale and transfer of magazines holding more than 10 rounds; unlike the Clinton Ban, the McCarthy bill closes the loophole that let us purchase greater-than-10 round magazines made before the Ban went into effect in 1994. Obviously, a companion piece of legislation will be introduced in the Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

A key point here is, again, I don't think even a magazine capacity ban can get through the Republican House, especially since House leadership has already stated flatly that they want no additional gun legislation...period...exclamation point. So far, our lobbyists have remained on the sideline — the correct move, I think. But nobody believes that progun forces won't "spin up" if and when a real threat develops. It will be interesting to see whether Obama steps out of the shadows on this one. He is unequivocally the most antigun politician ever elected to high office, but he also wants to be reelected really badly, and his spinners have to know that all the good will bump after the Arizona shootings will vanish like rainfall in the desert if he gets on the antigun train.

A couple of areas to watch out for — one of my sources tells me that Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch has in the past supported such legislation, which might explain why Fox commentators have been pretty quiet on the gun front.A couple of days ago Robert Levy, on the board of the Cato Institute and co-counsel in Heller, said that a magazine capacity ban would likely pass Constitutional muster, a little tidbit that the antigun hounds have really picked up on.

The issue for us is that a magazine capacity ban seems, on its surface, to be a much lesser deal than as lot of other antigun proposals. In fact, a magazine ban is step one in banning all magazine-fed semiauto firearms (obviously the real intent here).

Magazine capacity is actually a non-issue because 99% of all firearms, magazine-fed or otherwise, are designed to be reloaded efficaciously. Like, duh! Guns are made to be reloaded easily. We already know that, because we are gun people...we shoot guns and we know how to reload them. Here's the ringer, though...even the most clueless antigunners, Paul Helmke certainly comes to mind, also know this simple fact.

That point is probably worth restating — there's no need to race around the Internet and post videos of people reloading various and sundry guns really quickly...that plays directly into the debate meme we talked about a couple of days ago. This isn't about the facts! Antigunners already know that a magazine capacity ban is nonsense; they know we can reload firearms quick like bunny. That's not the point of the exercise.

Think of a magazine capacity ban the way the kids in South Park would, a simple bulleted (no puns, please!) list:

1) BAN "extra" capacity magazines.
2) DISCOVER that, OH MY GOD, semiautos can be reloaded quickly with even 10 round magazines.
3) REDUCE allowed magazine capacity to 6 rounds, because, "It was good enough for Wyatt Earp..."
4) DISCOVER that, OH MY GOD, semiautos can be loaded quickly with even 6 round magazines.
5) BAN semiauto anythings.
6) DISCOVER that, OH MY GOD, other non-semiauto firearms can hold more than 6 rounds.
7) BAN lever action rifles and pump shotguns with "extra" capacity, along with any "extended tube" type device.

You get the drift.

DO NOT get caught up in "proving" how quickly we're able to reload this gun or that gun! Yes, you can run a Remington 870 single-feeding it from a bag all day long, but understand what the game is here!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More Thoughts

Cartoon courtesy National Review Online

Read NRO's extensive interview with John Lott to make sure you've got the information you need to rebut morons...Bill Maher comes to mind. Regarding Maher's appearance on Leno, where he suggested the NRA should be named the "assassin's lobby," I think Sebastian has the right of it when he noted the "tepid applause" that greeted the remark. The antigunners have lost the people, if they ever had them.

Real John Lott's op-ed in the New York Red, Times, too.

I love this piece, also in NRO, which has been super on guns recently, on how real jounalists should deal with firearms.
If a left-of-center reader turned to his favorite pundits this week to find out what to think about the Tucson massacre and gun laws, he’d have read nothing but clichés and half-truths.
There are at least two reasons for this. First is that most of these columnists have no firsthand knowledge of guns or gun culture. Second is that they haven’t bothered to read any of the countless academic studies of gun control that have come out since John Lott published More Guns, Less Crime in 1998. Perhaps they don’t want to slog through lots of statistics, or perhaps they just don’t care about the issue.
When I worked with NSSF I was amazed that reporters who would research any other topic to death simply took Brady's word on gun issues.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Keeping Up With The News

I wanted to give you all a heads-up on staying on top of the news. Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell and John Richardson at No Lawyers, Only Guns & Money are doing yeoman's work in staying on top of all the ramifications of the Tucson shootings. I strongly suggest checking with them every morning to see what's up.

One article worth reading is from Fortune, titled Why There's No More Debate on Gun Control:
How did we get here?
The answer owes in part to the National Rifle Association itself, whose opponents acknowledge as an unrivaled grassroots political force.
Obviously, read the whole thing. NPR has the typical histronics, but even they're not baying at the moon:
Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, says he sees McCarthy's proposal as the beginning of a "serious push for new gun laws." But he acknowledges that the 2008 Supreme Court decision affirming the constitutional right to keep and bear arms has complicated the control effort.
Those last, dying elements of the "antigun movement" have simply lost the American people; they are as out of touch as the flat-worlders, and have about as much influence.

I also wanted to address a comment on yesterday's post from Brian J. Here's his comment:
Michael Bane.
Words have consequences.
You are also part of the diatribe of noise on the subject. You use the same phrases you accuse the 'other side' using, you just change the names. 'Loony Left and gun grabbers' and the like.
You say OH I did not invent the phrase so and so said it first.
Really? This is not the 5th grade. You are an adult and appear to have enough gray hair that you should get what I am saying.
Just saying. Noise is noise, no matter where it comes from. We need a conversation among the people, not mouth pieces on the left or right.
Right now I feel I can not have a conversation with anyone on either side.
As an American is am disappointed in us. We should strive for debate, yes! Should we strive for agreement but we may only find common ground.
Diversity is the spice of these United States but too much of one thing is too much.
Brian, fair comments, and words do indeed have consequences. But you misunderstand me...I am not interested in having "a conversation with the other side." That phraseology are simply "code words" for "let me explain to you why you're wrong." Or, worse, "let me explain why it's important that you give up some of your rights because, you know, it is." In many many cases, debate is a disease. Debate implies that you triumph over me in a war of words, I am prepared give up something that's valuable to me, e.g., a portion of my enumerated rights.

For decades the gun culture was obsessed with debate...after all, we were on the side of the angels and the data was all in our favor. We debated and we debated and we debated and we LOST! We lost because the other side understood absolutely that the debate was all a sham...the more of our efforts that went into the debate, the less impact we had on the true battle, that for the hearts and minds of the American people.

I, along with Paul Erhardt, were early adopters of the more confrontational style of dealing with the other side and the MSM that has worked so well for us. In short, we don't compromise on our rights. I thought it was powerful that Congresswoman Gifford read the First Amendment on the opening day of the 112th Congress — freedom of speech is freedom to create the "noise" that's bothering you so much. The rough and tumble partisanship and its attendant language — and believe me, in the past it has been a lot worse! — is part and parcel of the only successful democracy on earth. I would posit that the at times inelegant, raucous, over-the-top shouting of an overheated body politic is in fact why we're still a democracy. It works.

I grew up in the Jim Crow South — my grandmother's favorite story was how I kept going into the "Colored" door at the What-A-Burger. I despise racism in all its myriad forms. But I unconditionally champion the right of racists, of haters, of reprehensible people to write and say what they will. The free marketplace of ideas will quash their venom more effectively than any "hate speech" legislation.

In any public tragedy, there is a strong — and fundamentally incorrect — impulse to find some wider, more equally distributed blame. When President John Kennedy was shot, our teachers asked us all to write poems about how we with all our many failings "helped kill" the President. Except we didn' unhinged Marxist who admired Cuba killed the President. My ninth grade class didn't have anything to do with it. As President Ronald Reagan so eloquently stated (and Sarah Palin so aptly referenced yesterday): “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

As Americans our job is not to "reach consensus" or "have a dialogue." Our job to carry our Founders' vision of freedom into the future, for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, for the sake of the world. Sometimes that is a hard and scary thing to do. Sometimes our duty will require us to make decisions that take us out of our comfort zones — who does not feel sick inside at some of the horrific comments of the real haters? Who is not appalled to see an American flag burned? Who doesn't look at an event like Tucson or Virginia Tech and be sickened? Freedom comes with built-in risks, but the alternative comes with chains.

So Brian, yes, words have consequences, and that's why I remain an unabashed, unreconstructed, uncompromising advocate for our rights. An advocate, not a debater...

And BTW, thank YOU for having the cojones to join in the fray!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Where We Are Right Now..

I've held off posting for a couple of days because I wanted to get a sense of how the narrative was developing (how quickly we use the newest cliches!). My take is that the gun control fanatics have overplayed their hand...that is, the rush to get some legislation in both the House of Representatives (ever the fanatic Carolyn McCarthy , D-NY) and in the Senate (the reprehensible Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ) looks more like political opportunism than reasoned thought, of course generally the case with antigun legislation.

I don't think any of the legislation has a chance of getting through. The strongly Tea Party-tinted House, already stung by MSM and Democratic operatives trying to paint them with blood, are unlikely to budge from their core values. In the Democratic-led Senate, a  lot of those Dems are up for re-election in 2012, and I think we as a culture and a political lobby can guarantee that a gun-control vote is political suicide. [NOTE TO THE LOONY LEFT: "Political suicide" means that the politician in question will be voted out of office; not that we'll stand by and force him to drink Kool-Aid]


The antigun push will follow established strategy, going after whatever the gun grabbers think they can get. In this case, it will be standard capacity magazines. I suspect there will be a lot of hot air, but in reality this is a fight no one wants. All the polling numbers indicate that there has indeed been a sea change in public attitude...the American people do not believe gun control works. Rather, the public, voting with their feet with CCW permits, believes that guns are more the answer than the problem. And with the rise of the Internet and alternative media, the gun control fellow travelers in the MSM no long have the power to drive public opinion. In fact, this most recent "blame the Republicans/Tea Party/talk radio/conservative bloggers" MSM obsession may have driven the final nails in the old media's credibility coffin.


The gun control "lobby" itself is in shambles and is seizing onto the Arizona shootings as its last chance to get enough money in the doors to keep Brady's Paul Helmke in brie and sherry. Helmke's performance on Fox News over the weeks was breathtaking — he couldn't have been any happier, smirking for the camera, grinning like the fool he clearly is.

Read Politico's piece on the absence of support for additional gun control, which comes to the same conclusions I have from the opposite side of the table. Obviously we have to be on top of this, but it's clear that the November elections scared the crap out of the Democrats, who actually believed there were still one or two Americans who supported their progressive agenda. They know now they're out there all by themselves, and that a gun control fight spearheaded by the Democratic establishment would make them pine for the "good old days" of the 2010 Shellacking come 2012. [NOTE TO THE LOONY LEFT: "Shellacking" is a phrase used by the President and does NOT indicate carpet bombing, wholesale slaughter, blah blah. blah]

Just my opinion...your mileage may vary...

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Battle Joined

From today's the whole thing: 
As usual, the ghouls at the Brady Center follow hot on the trail of a murder; in this case they are arguing that, had the federal assault-weapons ban not been allowed to expire, the Tucson shooter would have had a hard time buying the magazine he used in the gun with which he shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. It is certainly not true that, as Salon put it, “Weapon in rampage was banned under Clinton-era law.” The weapon in question, a 9mm Glock 19 pistol, was not banned; neither were the 31-round magazines the shooter used. What was banned was the manufacture or importation of new magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds.
That is not hair-splitting, inasmuch as high-capacity magazines for Glocks were and are commonplace — almost as commonplace as Glocks themselves — and remained so even while their manufacture and importation were banned. Most Glock 9mm magazines are usable in any Glock 9mm pistol, regardless of model. Glock makes at least four different 9mm pistols at the moment — 9mm being one of the most common calibers — and a high-capacity magazine sold for almost any of those could have been used in the Glock 19. Third-party manufacturers make them as well, and have made them for years and years, meaning that AWB or no AWB, finding one is not very difficult. The only difference the AWB is likely to have made is that the shooter would have had a used magazine instead of a new one (assuming he did in fact have a new one), and he probably would have paid five bucks more for it.
Nor is it true that, as the Brady Center claims, “Glock pistols are particularly easy to fire, letting off rounds as quickly as the operator can pull the trigger.” All semiautomatic weapons let off rounds as quickly as the operator can pull the trigger; that is the definition of a semiautomatic weapon. The Glock 19 does not have a particularly light trigger pull — its standard trigger-pull weight is 5.5 pounds – and a great many high-quality modern handguns have adjustable triggers, anyway, for a variety of reasons. Many women and people with less hand strength, for example, prefer a lighter trigger.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sunday Morning & Snow

Snowing hard this AM, so I'm probably going to hole up in the gun room and continue the winter renovations. Started my annual SHOT Show dreams last night...lovely dreams of missed appointments, taxis that never came, Paul Erhardt dragging me across the Show floor on the last day frantically trying to set up one last, I'd rather have stayed awake! One dream just before I woke up had me working to disassemble gunsmith Bill Laughridge's booth...yeechiness!

Friday, January 07, 2011

SHOCK! There's Writing on Street Signs!

This is one of the views near the Secret Hidden Bunker in the Rocky Mountains...this marks the first time I've ever seen it so clearly without glasses. The surgery seems to have worked somewhat better than left eye has excellent distance vision (for now, roughly 20/20-20/30, although it will take a month for the eye to "settle down." My right eye is slightly weaker and has some permanent damage, a slight fogginess, from the shingles attack that started this whole mess so long ago.

My eye doctor whipped up a quickie glasses prescription, and a had a pair made just in case, but so far I'm not having any problem seeing very clearly without glasses or contacts. If the situation holds, I'll probably investigate a contact lens for my right eye to correct a minor astigmatism and bring that vision to as good as it can be. I still have to have glasses to read, but so far I seem to be able to hold a pretty sharp sight picture.

I'm holding off going to the range as per the doctor's instructions on "eye strain," but I've done a modest amount of dry-firing and it seems to me that my vision is almost as good as when this whole ridiculous circus started. Again, if you have not been vaccinated for the shingles virus, a little left-over surprise from our childhood chicken pox, I strongly urge you to SPRINT to your doctor's office and get the shot! Let my tens of thousands of dollars, 2 surgeries, and at times agonizing pain and partial blindness be a lesson to you all!

BTW, speaking of sight pictures, guns and stuff like that, I mentioned this meme on one of the forums, but it still strikes me as pretty goes something like, "If you're going to get a small 9mm, get a Kahr Arms even though they're substantially more expensive, because, hey, what is your life worth anyway? And if you can't get a Kahr, get a Kel-Tec because, hey, they're really, really cheap!" Is it just me or does that seem weird?

I'd say if you're shopping for a mini-9mm — and I believe that hundreds of thousands of you will be in 2011 — try as many as you can and pick the one that hits the correct balance between what you like and your ability to shoot it. Let me repeat that — you need to find the balance between what you like, usually the smallest, lightest thing on the market, and the platform that allows you to deliver the follow-up shot quickly 100% of the time.

I am not a huge fan of the really tiny 9mms — the beautifully made Rohrbaugh comes to mind —   because they are extremely hard for me to shoot well (and keep in mind that I shoot a lot). Same philosophy on the ultralight J-frames, especially in .357 Magnum (the S&$ 340 is around 12 ounces, I think). Some people shoot the itsy-bitsy blaster extremely well...I am not one of those people...

I've talked a lot about being willing to carry 9mm over .45 ACP (not a fan of the .40, remember) due to modern bullet design. But my own personal self-defense philosophy calls for multiple shots quickly to neutralize an aggressor. I can't make multiple shots quickly if the recoil of the gun couple with the size of the frame is enough to break my grip on each shot. That is going to be different for every person and every gun, and that's why I think split time, time between shots, may be a primary factor in choosing a small carry gun.

Think about that...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Look What Crawled Into My Hand!

The long anticipated, semi-mythical Tactical Solutions Glock .22 Conversion Unit! With magazines, no less...

As soon as I get de-patched and my doc says I can go to the range (and I find a Glock 17 to borrow...this conversion if for 17s and 22s, although it ought to work on my 34 I'd think) and run this thing through the wringer.

Doctor's apointment in an hour or so...hopefully I'll have good news...see if the hi-rez video camera and the USB 2.0 port are live yet...just kidding, althought I really really wish I wasn't! Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Michael Bane will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster. Sigh...

Anyway, word from Crimson Trace is that the laser for the Ruger LC9 will be available more or less on Valentine's Day, so if you haven't picked out a gift for your Significant Other, I strongly recommend a new laser's the gift that keeps on giving! Plus it's red, and that's all Valentiney and stuff.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

First look at the Ruger LC9 (video)

The LC9 essentially “splits the baby” between the SR9c and the wildly successful LCP .380. Here’s my first report on the LC9.

Ruger LC9!

Just getting back from the range with the brand spanking new Ruger LC9, 17.1 ounce 7+1 9mm...initial impressions are that it recoils less than my LCP with Corbin DPX...more when I get home!

Ruger LC9 and "little brother" LCP

A handful of 9mm!

Length differences between LC9 and LCP

Okey-dokey...Ruger surprised me with this one. We all suspected it was in the works — I've been adamant that the single stack polymer-framed 9mms would be the new competitive battleground. Especiall after Sig Sauer came into the market with the P290 (below).

Sig Sauer P290

Obviously, this niche has been dominated by Kahr Arms, who for years had the niche to themselves with their extensive jewel-like like of little 9mms, such as this P9 polymer frame gun:

Kahr Arms P9

The Kahrs have always been great shooters, but their overall acceptance has been hampered by a relatively high price point...the pictured P9 is $739 MSRP. The lower pirce point in the market has been held down by the Kel-Tec P-11/PF9 series, skating in at a feathery 14 ounces and an MSRP of $333:

Kel-Tec P-11

The Kel-Tecs have their devoted followers, to be sure, but a 14 ounce 9mm is indeed a handful. I have had mixed luck with Kel-Tecs. Last year two years ago Taurus jumped into the market with their "Slim," a slim (natch!) 7+1 9mm, 19 ounce semiauto but a price point of $485, less on the street:

Taurus "Slim" 709B

If you recall, I was very enthusiastic about the Slim, because it brought home a fact that gun companies have often forgotten — width is a critical dimension in a concealed carry gun. As much as I like hte Glock 26 9mm, it's a fat little bastard in the grips and that always ruled it our for me as a carry gun. At various times I have carried an STI-LS9, one of the thinnest single actions available and a superb little gun, and the Para USA Carry 9, again, a single stack 9mm (this one with the Para LDA system).

I recently went to the Ruger SR9c for it's 1911 width grips and the fact that it shot like a house afire (my carry SR9c is out for a set of XS Sights right now). The SR9c clocks in at 23.4 ounces and a lenght of 6.85 inches for its 3 1/2-inch barrel.

The LC9 essentially "splits the baby" between the SR9c and the wildly successful LCP .380.

Ruger LC9...note manual safety

The LC9's length is 6 inches (same as the Taurus Slim, longer than the Kahrs and the Sig) with a barrel length of 3.12 inches. Weight is 17.10 ounces; width of only .90 inches, consistent with the Kahrs, the Slim and the new Sig and compared to the 1.2-ish width of the SR9c. To compare, the LCP has a length of 5.16 inch, a width of .82 and an unloaded weight of 9.4 ounces.

I put about 60 rounds of mixed 124-gr ammo through the gun, most of it WW white box ball. I won't lie to you — the LC9 barks. But interestingly enough when I shot it alongside by LCP with Corbon defense loads, I'd have to say the .380 definitely had a sharper bite. The LC9 agazines come with an optional buttplate with a pinky grip...I've never paid that much attention to similar buttpads for the LCP, but I have to say the extra finger on the grip of the 9mm made a big difference to me. Depending on how the gun carries, my inclination would be to install the extended buttpad on all the magazines. I shot the 60 rounds through 4 magazines and had no malfunctions of any kind, a little surprising since this is a VERY early production model. Watch Wednesday's video podcast...those are the first rounds from the out-of-the-box break-in, no oil, no nuthin'.

The LC9 has an excellent set of fixed sights (with those annoying 3-dots!), including a dovetailed front. In fact, when I changed from the LC9 to my carry LCP, I really missed the sight picture! The LC9 has a strong-side only manual safety a la the SR series...not really necessary for a long double-action-only trigger, but I'm still going to come down on the side ot "plus." As you all know, I am a huge proponent of a manual safety in a gun carried off-body or in a forward of the hip carry like appendix or forward crossdraw. The gun also has a magazine safety, which sucks. Hopefully, it's as easily removable as the ones in the SR series guns. All four magazines dropped clear, and the mag button is where God and Jphn Browning intended it to be.

The trigger pull is long but not particularly heavy (I ran this gun to the range straight from the FFL person, so I didn't have a lot of my tools and toys with me). Tere is a small bit of roughness — not stacking — at the end of the stroke, but it didn't seem to be an issue with my shooting. The trigger smoothed out some as I shot it.

I did NOT have time to do any accuracy testing, although both Marshal Halloway and I will be pulling that together over the next few days.

Okay, here's the question of the the LC9 a pocket pistol by the conventional definition? I'll give you a qualified "maybe." It's in my pocket now, and weightwise it feels like steel J-frame revolver, but bulkier. I'm ordering a DeSantis pocket holster tonight that should fit the LC9, and I'll let you know.

Do I think Ruger has found the tipping point here? My answer is yes, they have, and in exactly the same way they drove the LCP to best-seller status. There were a host of .380 pocket pistols before the LCP, but the Ruger captured the market with its name recognition, quality, price point and canny mix of features. The LC9 exhibits those very same's a Ruger, which means that not only will it likely work, but the company will stand behind it. At a $443 MSRP, it's substantially less than the top-end Kahrs (and probably the Sig, which hasn't yet announced the P290's MSRP), but not hugely more expensive than the bottom end. The sights are exceptional; the trigger pretty good. It's a handful, but not an uncontrollable handful.

I think the LC9 will appeal to the Gun Culture Ver. 2.0 people who came into the culture through CCW with a pocket pistol like the LCP and are now ready to step up to a larger caliber. They've had more time behind the gun, understand both shooting and carrying a lot better, and I believe the first gun they're going to be looking at is the one most similar to what they're already carrying.

[iPhone video and photography by the Sweetie]