Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We're Looking for a Few Good People...

...for an episode of SHOOTING GALLERY filming the last week of February (27 Feb-1 March) in Texas.

Basically, you'll be teamed up with 2 other individuals (2 men; 1 woman per team) and given a barrage of training from 2 legends in the world of Special Forces...then the 2 teams will face off...the remaining team will then run a simulation against yet another legend in the Special Ops world.

You will probably "die!!!"

But you will have the adventure of a lifetime!

We'll have details on what you need to provide us on DRTV later today...

UPDATE: We're looking at Feb 27 - March 2 in the Dallas, TX area...the tentative plan calls for us to pit 2 teams of 3 each (and each team must have a female participant) to be trained, then pitted against each other.

Coach for Team 1 will be Chris Kyle; coach for Team 2 will be Mark Spicer. The winning team gets to take a shot at an aggressor team headed up by Kyle Lamb.

We ideally would like to see a couple of minutes of video of you telling us why you'd like to join this little foray. Post the video on YouTube and send us a link!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Para Acquired by Freedom Group

First thing this AM, Para USA has been acquired by the Freedom Group of companies...here's the press release:
Madison, NC – Freedom Group, Inc., (FGI) through a wholly owned subsidiary has announced today that it has finalized an asset purchase agreement to acquire certain assets of Para USA, INC., (Para).
Founded in 1985, Para has built a solid and enviable reputation for innovation, performance and reliability. Firearms enthusiasts, serious shooting competitors and law enforcement agencies choose with confidence from a wide and growing variety of Para pistols. Para’s revolutionary high capacity frame and light double action ( LDA ™) trigger systems, are part of the innovation that Para has brought to the world famous 1911 design.
"We welcome Para into the Freedom Group Family of Companies,” stated. E. Scott Blackwell, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Freedom Group Inc. “Para USA is a leader in handgun technology and their fine products exemplify quality, innovation and performance. Para is a perfect complement to our industry-leading family of brands, and our success in 2011 with the Remington R1 - 1911. We look forward to deploying both human and financial resources to continue to develop and supply current and future handguns for consumers and our channel partners. We also wish to thank all its employees for their continued dedication that has made Para a success.”
Para will continue day-to-day operations at their Pineville, NC based facility
This is a deal that has been hanging for while. We reported as long as 2 years ago that Freedom was shopping for a handgun company to round out their now-huge portfolio. It's also been no secret that Para has been struggling a bit since the move to North Carolina. Despite a history of innovative products, including the first larger-capacity 1911s, the superior Light Double Action system and the one of the first small single-stack 9mms in the market, Para hasn't been able to get the traction. I would still argue that the Para Carry 9 LDA remains one of the best small 9mms ever made.
The Tactical Target Rifle, Para's entry into the AR market, fell flat despite a number of innovative features and was discontinued last year. The exit of longtime Para professional shooter Todd Jarrett, whose spectacular run of successes kept Para in the spotlight, has not yet been offset by new Para professional shooter Travis Tomasie, who signed on after he left the legendary Army Marksmanship Unit.
This is potentially a very good match ...Freedom has the financial resources that Para has lacked, and the extensive Para product line offers freedom a path beyond the success of the Remington R1 1911 platform.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Five...

....Rob Allen started this meme about the 5 guns you'd buy if money was no object...Say Uncle, Bob Owen and John at No Lawyers weighed in, and I couldn't resist. Here's mine:

1) Cylinder & Slide Commemorative 1911 "Exactly the way John Browning made them" -- These may be some of the most amazing custom guns ever made. Bill Laughridge. a meticulous researcher as well as THE master 1911 gunsmith, decided to build a 1911 that would be EXACTLY like the first 500 1911s that rolled off the Colt lines in January 1912. This month he began delivering the guns, and they are the utimate heirloom 1911s. Bill estimates that he might eventually build as many as 130 of these masterpieces, but there will be a cut-off date. At least I got to shoot #1.

2) Holland & Holland "Royal" Grade double rifle in something tasteful, like .500 Nitro Express. And a time machine to take me back to the mid-1800s so I could join Richard Sir Francis Burton in his quest to find the source of the Nile. At least I got to handle the rifle.

3) The perfect 1928 Thompson, complete with correctly numbered drums, that Independent Studio Services sourced for a certain very famous Hollywood movie star. I'd like it even better if Said Movie Star would drop it by the Secret Hidden Bunker himself. I'd make cookies. At least I got to look at this one before it was delivered...

4) An original Ithaca Auto & Burglar 20 gauge double-barrel pistol. Hell, I've seen pictures!

5) My Father's .357 Flat-Top Ruger Blackhawk, now long gone. It was the first centerfire revolver I ever fired, and my favorite. I spent a lot of money creating its duplicate, and that gun, and old Wyoming cowboy gun rebuilt by Dave Clements and refinished by Doug Turnbull, remains the single most accurate revolver I've ever fired...but it's not the same.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Slow Night in Omaha...

...heading to Cylinder & Slide tomorrow, then home. Am documenting Bill Laughridge's "recreation" of the 1911...he is one stubborn cuss, to be sure!

Am finally back under way with THE NEW SURVIVAL GUNS, plus I'm working on the outline for the concealed carry DVD, which I'll be filming with Panteao Productions in March. I'm talking with Marshal Halloway about expanding our DRTV video coverage of .22s for this year. One thing I think we'll definitely be doing is a sort of "Ruger Rimfire 101" later this spring, with Tim Norris. I've invited Tim out to Colorado to do a 2-day RRC class, so if you live here in the High Country, email me for the details. We will have a few open slots.

My .22 M1 Carbine is under way! I think I did a pretty good job on explaning the rise of .22s on today's podcast. Lemme know what you think!

Am a little worried about the upcoming cowboy nationals, Winter Range, in Phoenix next month. The weather has pretty much demolished most of the weekend cowboy shoots, and my Sweetie and I haven't gotten in nearly the match time we did last year. Am hoping dry-firing carries me home.

Alf the Wonder Beagle is recovering well from her surgeries...she had some bumps removed and looks sort of like a Franken-beagle with all the stitches. Luckily, she's healthy as a horse...you couldn't tell that she was carved up yesterday. 

Next week I'll be putting in a couple of ATF forms for building SBRs, a Ruger Charger for one and a .300 AAC Blackout AR for another. I've always wanted a little bitty 10/22, and with the right paperwork I can build out the Charger. I'll also be puting together my iron-sight RRC gun next week, going with a Green Mountain barrel with a set of Fire Sights replacing the heavy Ruger target barrel  in my Target 10/22. I gotta make a hard decision whether to go limited or open...if I do go with the red dot, it'll be a Tac-Sol X-Ring with one of the new 2 MOA Aimpoints on it. Still considering changing handguns...maybe I could talk my Sweetie into loaning me her 1911 Kimber with the Tac-Sol conversion unit on it. LOL!

Take a few minutes to look at the Cabot 1911s...Joe Mantegna and I were absolutely blown away by those pistols...the 1911 as artwork. If I had one, I couldn't bring myself to ding it up shooting (probably why I'll never have one). That said, I got an email yesterday asking me if money was no object, what 1911 would I buy tomorrow...maybe I'm boring, but I said it would be a top-of-the-line Wilson Combat Classic Supergrade, maybe in .38 Super. Or one of Laughridge's perfect Retro-1911s. 

See? Plastic guns just can't generate that kind of longing!

Of course, I carry a plastic pistol...the contradictions continue to mount!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gee Whiz...Nursing SHOT Hangover...

Man, I can't seem to catch up on my sleep! Maybe by tomorrow, when Alf the Wonder Beagle has to go in to get a tooth pulled. Better her than me, I suppose...

I'm working on a SHOT round-up for this week's DOWN RANGE Radio podcast. I'm definitely calling the 2012 Show the "Year of the .22 LR." I think there are several reasons, but I want to highlight and discuss 4 for Wednesday:
• The Great Ammo Shortage of 2009/10 
• Gun Culture Ver. 2.0 discovering that guns are fun to shoot
 • Enhanced training opportunities with the .22
• The canny marketing of companies like Umarex and GSG
I also want to talk about the abrupt acceptance of the .300 AAC Blackout and the "suppress everything" movement, which is now in full swing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gee, They Noticed...

From Reuters, as lined on Drudge & InstaPundit:
Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as "preppers." Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

GS Named Best Shooting Show!!

Heck, we beat out the zombie ep of Shooting Gallery! Hell of a night!

Gun Sories wins Golden Moose...

....best educational show of 2011!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SHOT Hell...LOL!

As you guys have probably figured, I'm slammed big time here at SHOT. I've been focusing resources on the podcast (complete with coughing fits from talking too much, and DRTV's daily uodates.

So far, I have agreed to purchase a Legacy/Chiappa M1 Carbine in .22 LR, an Air Force pre-charged air rifle and maybe one of the Crosman/Jim Shockey signature air rifles. Shockey sure likes 'em!

No pistol decisions yet! Sig P938 in the running...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mitt Romney & Guns

I strongly urge you to read this post from Bitter on the Shall Not Be Questioned blog (previously Snowflakes in Hell). Bitter and I have had our differences over the years, but she has been steadily on the front lines of the RKBA battle...and in this powerful piece of writing she tells the whole truth from the perspective of someone who was there. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing, then pass it on to your friends:
If Mitt ends up winning the race because GOP voters choose him in the nation’s primaries, gun owners need to know the truth about Mitt Romney’s record on guns as Governor of Massachusetts. I have said before many, many times that as a gun owner in Massachusetts during his term, I was extremely active in the efforts to fight more gun control. Guess who was on our side for that battle? Mitt. 
As the state’s most active gun rights group notes in their write-up on Romney’s record, gun owners were able to make more reforms to the state’s oppressive gun laws under Mitt than they had in more than 20 years.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Great Read...

...from American Digest...please, take it to heart!

Yes, nothing is damaging the "Conservative Brand" lately more than the rolling stupidity that is lumping itself around the failure of the Republicans to come up with a viable candidate that is more "Conservative" than Mitt Romney. This "failure", which was predictable as long as four years ago, is causing many online 'conservatives to drop into premature political menopause with whining, hot flashes of anger, and the grinding of dull, old, axes. They are pissed, it would seem, because nobody other than Romney can carry the fight to Obama in the coming election. The more demented among them are declaring, shades of McCain/2008, that they will take their retracted balls and go home on election day rather than vote against Obama.

These people are deeply stupefied and confused. Ideology will do that to you. They seem to think, to actually believe, that this coming election is about only voting if you can vote for a candidate you like. Let me disabuse these kids of this silly notion right away. The election of 2012 ain't a conservative popularity contest. It's a war to, first, last, and always, destroyany possibility of a second term for Barack Hussain Obama.

Read the whole thing!

Ramping Up for SHOT...

Monday will be Media Day at the Range, so I'll get a chance to shoot a bunch of stuff...including the new Colt Gatling Gun...man, that would look so good on my porch!

Is there anything you guys have heard about and want me to try and run down and photograph?????

Then it's hardcore SHOT...we'll be filming for DRTV and OutdoorChannel.com all day Tuesday. Marshal and I plan to post a daily wrap-up to DRTV every day. I also plan to do the weekly podcast from the Show floor, but we're having to wing that puppy on the fly.

Thursday night are the Outdoor Channel's Golden Moose Awards, which will be streamed live to the Internet. Strangely enough, I'm nominated in a bunch of categories:

  • Midway USA's GUN STORIES for Best Overall Series
  • Midway USA's GUN STORIES for Best Show Open
  • Midway USA's GUN STORIES for Best Shooting Sports
  • SHOOTING GALLERY for Best Shooting Sports
  • Midway USA's GUN STORIES for Best Educational/Instructional
  • Michael Bane's Video Podcast for Best Online Original Series
  • Midway USA's GUN STORIES as Fan Favorite New Series

I was hoping that I'd get nominated in the Best Turkey category until they told me it was for turkey hunting...who knew? Joe Mantegna and Dan Ramm are coming in for the award ceremonies, which will be a lot of fun. I have now repeatedly promised not to create any international incidents...

Seriously, many many thinks to the many, many people who make all these shows possible...Producers Tim Cremin, Dan Ramm and Joe Mantegna, directors of photography Brandon Green and Rob Stookey for GUN STORIES; Producers John Carter and Mike Long, directors of photography Gene Moffett and Brook Aitken, sound technician Lincoln Terhart and all the other crew for SHOOTING GALLERY (Dan and Joe join us as producers for SG in 2012, BTW...they're handling our "Hollywood office"); Producers Marshal Halloway and Denise Jackson for the video podcast. They are dream teams, and quite frankly the best in the business.

I'm very very lucky...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just Another Day @ the Office!

A Perfectly Annoying Thing

Sorry for the blog silence this week...I was out in California finishing up both our SHOOTING GALLERY Celebrity Shoot-Out for the season and the episode with everything you ever wanted to know about how guns make it to television and the movies. I was at the prop house Independent Studio Services and the set of Criminal Minds, which we're using as our centerpiece. 

I had planned to post pictures and updates, but I was stymied by the fact that Apple's upgraded mobile platform iOS5 is a nightmare...the apps that I used to post from the road no longer work, although they've all been "upgraded" to iOS5. The system now crashes repeatedly in my iPhone and my iPad. The guys at Blogsy, my main iPad blogger app, worked with me to get it up and running. I've just downloaded yet another blogging app, supposedly" optimized" for the new operating system. If you start seeing short posts and pictures, you'll know it worked.

Monday, January 09, 2012

On the Range Today

Will try to get some pictures posted by end of day...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Notes to Self...

...avoid watching pandemic movies like CONTAGION before heading to the airport, lest you find yourself bathing in hand sanitizer...

Got my Green Mountain 10/22 barrel with the Fire Sights, part of my plan to do better in the Ruger Rimfire matches this year. It's a .920 barrel, but shorter and with lightening cuts in the barrel. Hoping to split the baby between super light and super heavy. Am also thinking about building up a new pistol off a Mark III and one of the new Volquartsen frames.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Guns = Business

Here's a great piece, coauthored by our good friend Paul Erhardt, in the giant Daily Caller blog, covering an area we've been surprisingly week in pointing out...that's the "business" side of the gun business, and its implications in the upcoming New Hampshire GOP primary:
Campaigning in liberal San Francisco in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama was caught ridiculing those “who cling to their guns and religion.” The president’s cavalier attitude toward gun owners could undermine his re-election effort, especially in New Hampshire, where guns mean jobs. 
In New Hampshire, the gun issue isn’t just about the Second Amendment and freedom. More than 2,000 state residents are employed by firearms and defense-related manufacturers, including Sig Sauer (which manufactures the guns used by the Secret Service) and Sturm, Ruger & Company (which reported a 38% increase in sales between the third quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2010). Add that to the 1,500 jobs supported by New Hampshire hunters and the 4,000 jobs supported by Granite State sportsmen, and you can see how the firearms issue takes on greater meaning in the state.
Read the whole thing!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Big Wedneday

Tonight's SG on suppressors has generated tons of response, almost all of it positive. That's great news, because suppressors are indeed a great tool for safety and for shooting. Period. At the very least they should be moved to the AOW list, since they're demonstrably not firearms.

BTW, I'm in my 5th month of waiting for my paper to clear on 2 suppressors.

Interestingly enough, I was looking at some data this week showing that many of you watch THE BEST DEFENSE several times...it's got great DVR numbers. That tells me we're doing our job, because the information is compelling enough to be studied. THANK YOU, all! And thanks to the other 2 Mikes, Seeklander & Janich, and Marty Hayes, who are absolutely committed to getting it right.

The SHOT Show is out there waiting, a black hole sucking us all towards Vegas!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Having Trouble Getting Back in the Harness

Of course, it could be that this is the first working day of the year and I'm swamped. I got this incredibly stupid idea thatI was going to overhaul my recording studio, which I've been tinkering together as each piece of equipment failed over the years. In fact, I have no idea how I built the thing in the first place...maybe the South Park underwear gnomes built the whole thing. I started it on a shoestring and got the cheapest stuff I could, then added an excellent Audio Technica studio mike, which has to be the only thing in the studio worth keeping. In short, about 30% of it works, which allowed me to do the podcast as long as I didn't accidentally bump anything.

You should see the wreckage now! Hopefully, I can order enough stuff tomorrow to have the studio back up at least 90% in a few days. I wish I lived next door to a sound engineer...or a miracle worker...

Anyway, about the Ruger SR22 .22 pistol...didn't get a chance to get out and shoot it today because of the aforementioned mess. It's the same size as my SR9c carry gun, which is good, as I see it as practice piece. I'd rather it was more like the SR9c in layout and with a similar fire control system as opposed to a hammer DA/SA, but hey, no one asked. The SR22 does feel good in my hand, which is a big plus. It does cry out for a threaded barrel, though. Should be an aftermarket one pretty quick. Of course, I'm in Month 5 of waiting for my silencer paper to clear ATF, so there's apparently no rush.

Since it's a Ruger, it's more likely to work than that "W" thingie so many of you will write me about. Yes, yes...I know all about the "Cult of W..." I do like my PPK/S, but the .22s I've shot have been problematic. Maybe Thursday at the range.

I got a really cool giveaway gun in the mail today...a Ruger 556 rebuilt by JP Rifles! Man, is this a nice rifle! More details when we formally announce the giveaway, which may be after SHOT.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Day, 2012

It's cold and windy here at the Secret Hidden Bunker as the new year is born. There's many things I could say on this first day of a new year...we are a troubled country, the fear spreads like a disease and our future is clouded. As always on New Year's Day, I go back to the wisdom of LOTR, the great mythological tale of our time...especially appropriate for this year, as our own quest, the American quest, rests on that edge of that edge of the knife...but hope remains, if friends stay true...
Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.