Monday, May 30, 2016

The Debt that Can Never be Repaid

Find the cost of freedom
Buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
Lay your body down

My thoughts today are also with my father, Robert R. Bane, USN, Pacific Theater, who could never quite find the path that would take him all the way home. Rest in peace, Dad. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Absent Michael Bane

Sorry…as you probably figured out, I've been on a huge production swing. In the last 6 weeks I've:

• Filmed the "Mass Casualty Event" that's going to really shine
• Went to GUNSITE and did a week of high-speed videography
• Worked with Marshal to film the first 5 SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE episodes
• Produced a couple of commercials for Academy Sports
• Did all 3 days of the NRA Convention
• Spent 2 days at the FBI Academy filming for the Dillinger GUN STORIES ep
• Spent the rest of the week at the NRA Museum filming with Joe Mantegna
• Some other stuff I've probably blotted out of my mind

Last night I had an absolutely wonderful dinner with Steve Hunter, his daughter Amy (now working at the NRA) and my good friend Lars, who has shifted over to the political side of the NRA. It was one of those dinners that I wish all of you could have been there with us! Conversation swung wildly from politics to the Battle of Pavia in 1525 and all points in between. And yes, Bob Lee Swagger did come up.

Things should return to normal — hectic, but not completely crazy — next week, so I will continue with my blathering!

Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Guy Clark, R.I.P.

A friend, a songwriter of unsurpassed genius. Go with God, brother. Say "hi" to Merle for me.

The Guitar

Well, I was passing by a pawn shop
In an older part of town
Something caught my eye
And I stopped and turned around

I stepped inside and there I spied
In the middle of it all
Was a beat up old guitar
Hanging on the wall.

What do you want for that piece of junk
I asked the old man
He just smiled and took it down
and he put it in my hand

He said you tell me what it's worth
You're the one who wants it
Turn it up, play a song
And let's just see what haunts it

So I hit a couple of cords
In my old country way of strumming
And then my fingers turned to lightning
Man...I never heard it coming

It was like I always knew it
I just don't know where I learned it
It wasn't nothin' but the truth
So I just reared back and burned it

Well I lost all track of time
There was nothing I couldn't pick
Up and down the neck
I never missed a lick

The guitar almost played itself
There was nothing I could do
It was getting hard to tell
Just who was playing who

When I finally put it down
I couldn't catch my breath
My hands were shaking
And I was scared to death

The old man finally got up
Said where in the Hell you been
I've been waiting all these years
For you to stumble in

Then he took down an old dusty case
Said go on and pack it up
You don't owe me nothing
And then he said good luck

There was something spooky in his voice
And something strange on his face
When he shut the lid
I saw my name was on the case

Sunday, May 15, 2016


It was a pretty "gunny' week last week even though Marshal and I worked out butts off laying the ground work for SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE, a long-time dream of ours that will be available on the upcoming OC app — anytime, anywhere, any platform.

Much, much more on that later, but I will be filming for SGO at the NRA Convention. BTW, on the broadcast side, we're wrapping up GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA and will start filming Season 17 of SHOOTING GALLERY in June. SG is now the most successful shooting show ever, based on all criteria — ratings, sponsorship and longevity.

My 2.75-inch Redhawk .44 Magnum came back from Hamilton Bowen last week…and it is PERFECT! Hamilton did his usual masterful tune-up and added the longer Redhawk firing pin we've discussed here before. The little Redhawk also sports Bowen sights and is regulated for Garrett "Defender" 310-gr bullets at 25 yards.

It immediately goes into service as my EDC here at the Bunker, what with all the hungry bears waking up.

Secondly, I have happily finally finished debugging my Wilson Combat .458 SOCOM problem child. Of course, it wasn't a "for real" Wilson Combat complete gun…even though, yes, I wrote the book on Wilson Combat…LOL! I got the upper from Wilson years ago, just in time for the ammo crisis. So I had an upper and could not get either loaded ammo or components, so I just sat it aside for a time.

When I was able to buy loaded ammo (Wilson and SBR) and Starline finally did a run of brass, I put the project on the front bought a lower from Wilson (hey…standardization of logos) and a single stage Timney trigger and put the thing together. Whereupon it flatly refused to run…multiple feed problems from standard aluminum mags. Bill recommended Lancers, and that was better, but I still had some hiccups. As I mentioned before, I found an article that suggested 2 modifications to the mags — a half-moon cut in the front of the mag to make it easier for that big bullet to exit and slightly bending the front of the magazine lips to let the nose of the .458 sit higher than a 5.56. I gave it a try, and the problems seemed to vanish.

About that time Wilson started offering Lancers marked as .458 SOCOM…I got a couple and they work perfectly.

Verdict? The little carbine is a PERFECT hog gun, which is its intended role! I'll be doing load development while I'm laid up from Knee #2 replacement in June. Right now it's fitted with a Burris AR-1X sight, but there might be a Nightforce NXS 1-4x with my name on it in the future.

We also did a demo showing the difference in recoil in Ruger LCRs in .9mm (my personal choice), .38 Special +P and .327 Magnum. The 9mm and .38 were Corbon DPXs; the .327 Federal Hydra-shocks. Then had some fun with my JP 9mm carbine, ringing the 120 yard head plate from the bench and doing 60 yard off-hand head shots…this is with ARMSCOR ball, no less.

Finally, we found the Gunwriters' Conundrum. I had a bunch of multicolor guns from SCCY Firearms. The are all-American made polymer-framed DAO 9mms.

Truthfully, I hadn't given them much thought. But my FFL dealer, which is owned by 2 very knowledgeable, very savvy trainers (in fact, it's mostly a training facility) told me the only guns they actually stock are the SCCYs, that they've sold a ton of them and that the owners were extremely happy.

When I saw them at SHOT I realized the company was owned by a couple of friends of mine and available in the entire Martha Steward palette of colors…okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but they do have a very festive line. I looked up a number of reviews; some were very positive; some were very negative. So SCCY sent me a selection of colors, and we're going to do a long term test for SGO. But I did want to do a quick into of the guns.

Here's where the Gunwriters Conundrum comes in. The first SCCY I shot (ARMSCOR ball again…ARMSCOR is, thankfully, a sponsor), in teal, which is very fashionable, had 2 light strikes in the first 10 round mag. I had maybe one light strike per mag afterwards.

This is not a big deal to me until AFTER break-in (100-200 rounds), then it is a VERY big deal. The trigger was long, but not any heavier than a Ruger revolver. I did notice I wasn't getting the hits on my 20 and 25-yard head plates that I expected. Marshal said we needed to change colors for video, went in and came back with a purple SCCY (probably an homage to Prince). I loaded it up and it ran like a champ…same trigger, but no light strikes, no problems whatsoever. So I decided to pay attention to the trigger pull and went 5 for 5 on the 25-yard head plate and 4 for 5 on the 60 yard Action Targets torso. In fact, even with the heavy trigger, it was fun to shoot. Yes, it's snappy…all lightweight 9mms (including the Ruger LCR, the Shield, the Sig 928, fill-in-the-blank) are snappy.  It's physics…get over it. All DAO trigger pulls will be harder to deal with than the striker-fired or single-action semiautos, but someone, back in the days when the DA revolver ruled the roost, we all learned to deal with it. Ed McGivern's records weren't set with super-tuned triggers! Guns are made of plastic and steel and don't adapt very well, but we primates are whizzes at adaptability.

We used up the rest of the 9mm we had with us on the purple SKKY no problemo.

Here's the conundrum…extrapolating from a set size of "1" doesn't necessarily tell us anything, yet that's what gunwriters do routinely. We're going to do more extensive tests for SGO, and I'm going to rotate through the guns I have on hand. I will also talk to the company owners on the light strikes in the teal gun. And yes, because the company is run by friends of mine (not sponsors, but friends), I'd love to see them succeed even more than they're doing now. Further, I think there is a very real need for an inexpensive, effective EDC gun, and the SCCYs are available at an MSRP of $340, typically less than $300 in a shop.

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NRA SHOW! TWO SIGNINGS — THE KAHR BOOK FROM 2-3PM ON FRIDAY AND THE OC BOOTH 11-11:30AM ON SATURDAY. Please come by and see me or I'll be sad and lonely!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sneak Peak!!!!

Yes! It exists!

The Rise of America's Most Influential Custom Shop, 
Wilson Combat

Michael Bane

With an Introduction by
Ken Hackathorn


AVAILABLE FOR ORDER direct from WILSONCOMBAT.COM beginning May 20th or pick up a signed copy at the WILSON COMBAT booth #4262 at the annual NRA show in Louisville, KY May 20-22. Book signing Friday and Saturday 2-4pm and Sunday 10am-Noon.

Here's Bill's presser:

Bill Wilson

Authors: Bill Wilson with Michael Bane
Forward by Ken Hackathorn
Introduction by Michael Bane

Back cover copy:

This is the story of Bill Wilson and his passion for life in the gun culture, and of
his world famous company WILSON COMBAT. Bill is, what many people refer to as, a “self made man”. Starting out from humble beginnings in the small town of
Berryville, in northwest Arkansas, he has taken his passion for firearms and
shooting and turned it into a successful competition shooting career and business. Beginning with a keen interest in guns, Bill has been eating and sleeping gun stuff since the 1960s. He is one of the rare breed called “GUN GUYS” and this is his personal journey and that of WILSON COMBAT, the premier custom gun company in America.

Also included are educational chapters, from Bill, with useful information on firearm selection, improving shooting skills, firearm maintenance and handloading ammunition. Additionally, photo chapters showcasing pistols built by the early pioneers of custom 1911s and unique deluxe pistols created by Wilson Combat are included.

This unique book is a combination of educational material as well as Bill’s personal biography and the history of Wilson Combat.


1. The Early Years Pg 1
2. The Drive to Excel in Competition Shooting Pg 12
3. Watchmaker or Gunsmith? Pg 35
4. Couldn’t Have Done It Without Them Pg 54
5. The Need for Parts Pg 64
6. The Complete Wilson Combat Pistol Pg 80
7. Life Beyond the 1911 Pg 95
8. Wilson Combat Today (2016) Pg 121
9. The Second Generation - Ryan Takes the Helm Pg 145
10. Blessed with a Wonderful Family Pg 154
11. IDPA - Putting the ‘P’ Back in ‘Practical’ Pg 173
12. Bill’s Favorite Guns Pg 197
13. A Passion for Hunting Pg 226
14. Still Shooting After All These Years Pg 252
15. Finally A Texan Pg 261
16. Firearm Maintenance Bill’s Way Pg 272
17. Handloader, not Re-loader Pg 289
18. Bill’s Favorite Handgun Training Drills Pg 296
19. Bill’s Buds Pg 314
20. Guns of the Past Masters Pg 338
21. Wilson Combat Unique and Deluxe Pistols Pg 358

6" x 9" Hard cover, 4 color with dust jacket
386 pages
390 photos


Monday, May 09, 2016

Some Specific Thoughts on How Those of Us in the Gun Culture Need to See the Coming Election

You know where I stand — unconditionally against the presumptive Democratic nominee. I have said that I am willing to vote for the "Best of Show" from the Westminster Kennel Club as long as he or she has an (R) after her name. That's because I vote guns, and the choice seems pretty simple to me. Let me list the ways:
• The Democratic nominee has called for "Australian style" gun confiscation if elected. Let me repeat that; The The Democratic nominee is in favor of door-to-door confiscation of legally owned firearms. 
• The Democratic nominee has stated her specific opposition the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court rulings in Heller and McDonald that interpreted the Second Amendment as an individual right. There is no doubt that should she be elected and quickly fills the currently empty seat, the Bloomberg organization, with it's unlimited funds, with push a 2A case to challenge to the Supreme Court ASAP.
• Because of the recent death of Justice Scalia, the incoming President will be able to immediately either shift or retain the 5-4 majority that passed both Heller and McDonald. Given the ages of several other Justices, the incoming President will likely have the power to change the Court for at least a generation. 
• The Democratic nominee has stated she will spend "every day" of her Presidency thinking of ways to destroy the "gun culture," e.g., "us." 
• The Democratic nominee unconditionally favors banning "assault weapons" and other non-specifiedd "guns." Any new assault weapons ban would likely be modeled on the bill proposed after Sandy Hook, which is far more restrictive and far more specific than the Bill Clinton AWB. That is, it would ban guns by name, as opposed to by some vague set of specifications, e.g. wording such as "…this legislation bans the possession all guns derived from the AR-15/M-4/AR-10 platform, or using any version, caliber or modification of the AR-15 lower and/or upper receiver and any other firearm using a operating system derived from a current military platform such as the AK-47, the M1A/M-14, etc., including but not limited to, the Ruger SR556, the Ruger AR556, the Ruger SR762, the Ruger SR22, the Ruger Mini-14…and on and on. 
• The Democratic nominee opposes concealed, open and Constitution carry and will support Federal legislation to curtail or eliminate these Fundamental rights. 
• The Democratic nominee supports universal background checks that would completely eliminate the private sale of firearms, even to family members. Under the Bloomberg Model bill adopted in Colorado and Washington and the only bill that has been mentioned as a model, the definition of the word "transfer," long defined by BATFE as "transfer of ownership," the standard BATFE still uses, would be changed to "transfer of possession," e.g. the physical act of handing a gun to anyone is defined as a "transfer" and as such must go through an Federally licensed dealer. Loaning a gun to a competition shooter whose gun has gone down or loaning a rifle to your friend for hunting season would be banned by Federal law. As originally drafted by Bloomberg's antigun attorneys, the law was so broad-reaching that, technical, it would be illegal, a felony, to allow someone to "house-sit" in your home if you had weapons locked in a safe, even if the house-sitter had no knowledge of the combination nor any other way to access your personal firearms.
• The Democratic nominee has called for he elimination of the law protecting firearms manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits and has in fact called for people to be able to sue gun manufacturers for criminals' use of stolen guns. 
• The Democratic nominee has called for a huge expansion of gun bans for "domestic violence," to include the "sexual assault" allegations built into the "Yes Means Yes" legislation currently in place on most college campuses and written into law in liberal states. This is a massive expansion of gun bans and. based on the current laws circumvents 4th and 5th Amendments Fundamental Rights. 
• Previously, the the Democratic nominee has called for the registration of all handguns and federal licensing of all handgun owners. 
• The Democratic nominee has a NRA rating of "F." From the NRA: "Hillary Clinton's extreme views are completely out of touch with the American people." 
• The Democratic nominee has received awards from antigun organization. 
• The Democratic nominee has vowed to do everything in her power to destroy the NRA, America's largest civil rights organization.
OTOH, here is the platform of the Republican nominee as it relates to the Second Amendment and guns. Every point of this platform has been backed up in speaking engagements by the presumptive nominee. It is consistent with information I gleaned from my personal conversations with Donald Trump Jr. prior to the beginning of the campaign, and it is consistent with information I have heard from other 2A activists who have had direct contract with the Trumps.
Donald J. Trump on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms 
The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.

The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that belongs to all law-abiding Americans. The Constitution doesn’t create that right – it ensures that the government can’t take it away. Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. This is about self-defense, plain and simple.

It’s been said that the Second Amendment is America’s first freedom. That’s because the Right to Keep and Bear Arms protects all our other rights. We are the only country in the world that has a Second Amendment. Protecting that freedom is imperative. Here’s how we will do that:

Enforce The Laws On The Books

We need to get serious about prosecuting violent criminals. The Obama administration’s record on that is abysmal. Violent crime in cities like Baltimore, Chicago and many others is out of control. Drug dealers and gang members are given a slap on the wrist and turned loose on the street. This needs to stop.

Several years ago there was a tremendous program in Richmond, Virginia called Project Exile. It said that if a violent felon uses a gun to commit a crime, you will be prosecuted in federal court and go to prison for five years – no parole or early release. Obama’s former Attorney General, Eric Holder, called that a “cookie cutter” program. That’s ridiculous. I call that program a success. Murders committed with guns in Richmond decreased by over 60% when Project Exile was in place – in the first two years of the program alone, 350 armed felons were taken off the street.

Why does that matter to law-abiding gun owners? Because they’re the ones who anti-gun politicians and the media blame when criminals misuse guns. We need to bring back and expand programs like Project Exile and get gang members and drug dealers off the street. When we do, crime will go down and our cities and communities will be safer places to live.

Here’s another important way to fight crime – empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves. Law enforcement is great, they do a tremendous job, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time. Our personal protection is ultimately up to us. That’s why I’m a gun owner, that’s why I have a concealed carry permit, and that’s why tens of millions of Americans have concealed carry permits as well. It’s just common sense. To make America great again, we’re going to go after criminals and put the law back on the side of the law-abiding.

Fix Our Broken Mental Health System

Let’s be clear about this. Our mental health system is broken. It needs to be fixed. Too many politicians have ignored this problem for too long.

All of the tragic mass murders that occurred in the past several years have something in common – there were red flags that were ignored. We can’t allow that to continue. We need to expand treatment programs, because most people with mental health problems aren’t violent, they just need help. But for those who are violent, a danger to themselves or others, we need to get them off the street before they can terrorize our communities. This is just common sense.

And why does this matter to law-abiding gun owners? Once again, because they get blamed by anti-gun politicians, gun control groups and the media for the acts of deranged madmen. When one of these tragedies occurs, we can count on two things: one, that opponents of gun rights will immediately exploit it to push their political agenda; and two, that none of their so-called “solutions” would have prevented the tragedy in the first place. They’ve even admitted it.

We need real solutions to address real problems. Not grandstanding or political agendas.

Defend The Rights of Law-Abiding Gun Owners

GUN AND MAGAZINE BANS. Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried. Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like “assault weapons”, “military-style weapons” and “high capacity magazines” to confuse people. What they’re really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans. Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.

BACKGROUND CHECKS. There has been a national background check system in place since 1998. Every time a person buys a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer – which is the overwhelming majority of all gun purchases – they go through a federal background check. Study after study has shown that very few criminals are stupid enough to try and pass a background check – they get their guns from friends/family members or by stealing them. So the overwhelming majority of people who go through background checks are law-abiding gun owners. When the system was created, gun owners were promised that it would be instant, accurate and fair. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today. Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system – and it should go without saying that a system’s only going to be as effective as the records that are put into it. What we need to do is fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system.

NATIONAL RIGHT TO CARRY. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.

MILITARY BASES AND RECRUITING CENTERS. Banning our military from carrying firearms on bases and at recruiting centers is ridiculous. We train our military how to safely and responsibly use firearms, but our current policies leave them defenseless. To make America great again, we need a strong military. To have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves.
There is not one single thing in that platform that I disagree with. In fact, I could have written that. It is a nearly perfect stand on guns and the Second Amendment. This is, my friends, as good as it gets.


I think you will all accept my credentials as a Second Amendment activist and my work for the gun culture...I don;t need to reiterate, but if anyone asks I will be happy to provide my comprehensive resume and, if you desire, references.

The criticism of Trump from our culture seems to center around what Trump might do based on previous statements. Once again, my personal conversations with Donald Trump Jr. — and Trump lists his children as the single biggest influences on his opinions — Trump Sr. fully understands our issues and why his earlier positions were incorrect. I believe Trump. I also believe that Trump can and does carry a handgun for self-defense. That makes him a card-carrying member of our culture. Other than Rick Perry, he remains the only Republican candidate who actually exercised Second Amendment rights.

Whether Trump like big game hunting or not, he stood by his sons unconditionally in the feces-storm they went through and he refused to back down on the conservation issues involved in big game hunting.

From an activist standpoint, if I'm going to have to fight, I would MUCH RATHER fight a turncoat elected on a Second Amendment platform than a dedicated Alinsky-ite who ran on a gun confiscation platform and has the 100% support of her party. Even if Trump pulled a 180-degree turn — which I do not believe he would do — we could stop that cold, especially if his coattails allow us to keep the House and Senate, or even one of the Chambers. We stopped the antigun initiative after Sandy Hook, after all.

But with the election of the presumptive Democratic nominee, we will be fighting an unprecedented multi-front, heavily funded, totally immoral and unethical battle. We will be facing not only the Executive and Legislative branches, but a "weaponized" Supreme Court and a full frontal assault of "weaponized" agencies, including the IRS, the SEC, the EPA, Homeland Security, another crooked Attorney General with expanded powers, BATFE and the FBI let off the leash — you name it and the successful Democratic nominee will weaponize it and aim it directly at our heads.

And quite frankly, I believe that if the Democratic Party goes "all in," something they've dreamed of for decades — if they finally decide to go door-to-door — there is a potential approaching certainty that this does indeed come to guns, to a Second Civil War that has the potential to make the first one look like a Sunday church social. The Democrats either don't know or don't care that they're juggling lit matches and sticks of dynamite. But we do! And it is incumbent on us to stop dancing around the abyss, take a step back and make this country great again.

I've repeatedly said, sarcastically, "What difference does it make?"


Saturday, May 07, 2016

An Apology as I Try to Figure Out the Best Way to Go Forward on the Internet

I have just finished a 3-week stretch of filming, including 2 weeks on GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA and our spectacular "mass casualty event" special. Every spare moment between actually running the cameras has been time spent on scripting, production planning for SHOOTING GALLERY and working with the Advertising Department.

Today is my day off…Marshal comes in tomorrow and we start work on digital projects. That will be followed next week by a 2-day ad shoot I am producing and directing, and then I leave for the NRA Show [SATURDAY NIGHTMICHAEL BUYS THE BEER!]. I go straight from NRA back to GUN STORIES.

PLEASE don't take this as a complaint! I love what I do and feel truly blessed to be able to do it. We received at 3rd "save" for THE BEST DEFENSE this year, a friend of mine. I believe the mass casualty event special will be quite literally revolutionary, a game changer that we all believe can and will save lives. PLus, some major changes are coming to OC Digital, changes Marshal and I have been working toward for years. Honestly, we have no idea how the time commitments are going to shape up.

But I am now trying to figure out how to re-balance my life. Rehab takes up a huge chunk of time, and the fact that I have made the decision to have the second knee replaced in early June is only going to add to this weight. Both my physical therapist and my surgeon feel strongly that the rehab of my shattered right leg is being hindered by my badly slagged left knee. I gotta suck it up and get this done or I am never doing to be able to get back in shape.

The blog gets the short shrift. I'm working on posting to the blog and FaceBook simultaneously, which will help keep this site up to date. I anticipate posting more here as I move into June. Secondly, I am pulling at least a third of SHOOTING GALLERY filming back into Colorado, plus at least a part of THE BEST DEFENSE. Yes, this makes me a major hypocrite…lol! One more sin to add to my already long list. But I've simply run out of options. I've got to get these production schedules under control, and I've got to open up some additional time for digital production. That's not to mention the fact that for scripting, I need access to my own extensive reference library and my second "reference library" of firearms and my range here at the Secret Hidden Bunker.

In 2015 I had done 150 nights out until I trashed my knee, well on track to beat my 2014 record of 160 nights out. I already have 2 international trips planned for this year.

Anyhow, I thought it was only far to bring you guys up to speed! It's all good...