CZ 100

You know how some things set a standard. They become the benchmark by which all others are judged. Well, for many of my reviews I have mentioned the CZ 100 pistol as an example of what I consider to be just about the worst trigger ever made on any production handgun ever. I’ve mentioned it but until now I have never introduced it to you. That’s been rather rude of me and I apologize. Let me introduce it to you now.

The CZ 100 is a polymer framed automatic that is a radical departure from CZ’s standard 75 series based guns. It is not just a polymer framed CZ 75 clone. If that is what you are wanting, check out an IMI Desert Eagle poly in 9, .40, or .45. I reviewed a pair of them last year. Those were outstanding handguns.

One of the biggest departures from normal CZ tradition is that the 100 is a double action only pistol. The trigger mechanism is unique in that the idea behind it is simple to the point of almost being brilliant. Pulling the trigger moves a hook that grabs a bar on the striker and slingshots it back. At the farthest point of travel, the trigger hook drops off the striker allowing it to fly forward to fire the gun.

I say “almost brilliant” because it of course fails miserably at being any sort of usable trigger at all. No, I’m serious, it’s bad. It’s the stuff of nightmares. The trigger feels exactly like those old toy guns you used to be able to buy at grocery stores that shoot those little plastic disks. I’ve actually had nightmares where a large dark looming threat is advancing on me and I pull out my sidearm and pull the trigger… it feels like this and in my dream little plastic disks fly out to bounce off the menace which is of course unfazed by the plastic disks. To put it bluntly, the CZ 100 is my nightmare pistol.

Let me describe the trigger pull. A long take up pull, then heavy stacking up to a level that is off the scale. If the trigger pull was just bad, that would be one thing… but when the trigger breaks, it pulls the front sight off to the right suddenly. Trying as hard as I might, I could not pull the trigger without the sight being jerked off target. Interestingly, when I dry-fired the gun left handed, the sights stayed on target. I don’t know why that is… maybe it is the way I manipulate triggers and I just do it differently left handed. The trigger is not just bad, it’s funny how bad it is. It’s almost as if it’s a joke. How could a serious arms company release a pistol so awful?

Actually, several have. AMT’s BackUp .45, the HK VP-70, Stanley Staplers, all have bad triggers on the epic scale, but the CZ 100’s is worse. Trust me.

Now the question is this; is the 100 otherwise a decent pistol handicapped with a bad trigger? Let’s take a look at it objectively. When you first take up the 100, it feels pretty good in the hand. But the more you hold it, the more odd it feels. It gets to be downright awkward. The pistol’s styling is also interesting. They went to the trouble of making the gun as slick sided as possible, including the breaking of the slide release lever and take down pin into two separate parts instead of one combine unit. Then they hide the slide release under the frame and have the release lever sticking out an odd little window. It’s like a cross between something you might see on classic Star Trek and The Next Generation. The lines of the pistol are all wrong. Looking at it from a side view, it merely looks ugly. Change your viewing angle to look at it more from the front and it becomes absolutely hideous. This is the Pontiac Aztec of handguns.

Like the Pontiac Aztec, even for being an abomination, it does offer good utility. For example, you can sometimes fine CZ 100’s for under $300’s. They are very reliable. It has a unique belt/holster snag feature up on the top to help aid in one hand slide manipulation. They needed this because you can’t quite hook your belt on the rear sights… because as a cruel joke they topped this pistol with an adjustable rear sight as if someone with a room temperature IQ might mistake it for a target pistol. There is the hint of frame rails under the muzzle, tempting one to think it a tactical pistol. All the tactical lights I’ve tried on it either don’t fit and even if they did, they are not able to lock on to it. So it isn’t a tactical gun, or a target gun, and being a 9mm it is not an overly powerful gun… so what is it? I’m not exactly sure. I guess it is trying to be a self defense gun. Let’s see if it is.

If you can manage rowing that trigger all the way back, the gun will fire every time until you have emptied all 15 rounds. Of course you will feel like Ben Hur at the oars of a Roman galley by then, but still… the gun does work. That 15 round magazine is a decent payload for a gun so slim. The 100 is rather slick sided for being so ugly… but then again so is the Swamp Thing. All this can be yours, an easy packing, reliable, high capacity 9MM, for under $300. Like your momma told you about lima beans, it doesn’t matter how bad it tastes, it’s good for you. I’ve actually seen examples for sale for as low as $225. At that price you are at the Makarov level. I’m not sure which one I’d buy if they were side by side for the same price, but I’d probably lean to the Mak.

I don’t mean to bash the CZ 100 so completely, but I can’t help it. It is kind of like nachos… you can’t eat just one. Unless by one you mean a plate full. One plate full is a good stopping point. Those who are familiar to me, know that I am extremely fond of CZ firearms. So much so that one day I hope to make a pilgrimage to the Czech Republic to where CZ guns are made. My favorite handgun remains my CZ P-01. I especially like CZ’s magazine fed bolt action centerfire rifles. Dang near everything else from CZ I find to be excellent and most worthy. I wouldn’t hesitate to spend my own cash on anything from CZ, anything save the 100. The 100 is just awful and should be avoided as much as possible like it was mosquito borne West Nile Virus.

Unless you are a full blown CZ Freak and just have to anything and everything from CZ. That being the case, I can’t blame you. The 100 is a very interesting pistol. You can’t help but to look at it. Like a weird mole on the face of someone you are trying to talk to. There is some weird fascination about it that draws you to it. And that is the oddest thing about the CZ-100… for all it’s warts, for as ugly and utterly nasty as it is… you can’t help but to kind of like it. Like ET in a way. Shooting the 100 well is a challenge and there in is the draw. It’s like riding a GP class bike with a tight clutch and a throttle like the trigger on a detonator. Awkward and difficult… it’s fantastic. But it’s not something for everyone. Unlike the GP bike, the 100 is awkward and difficult, but it isn’t for anyone.

If this article contradicts its self, it is a good metaphor for the pistol.

CZ USA could make this a much more appealing weapon system, but it would require a completely different fire system. I would suggest they take a close hard look at a couple other good fire control systems. Kahr Arms has perhaps one of the best examples of a DAO (Double Action Only) system. Then again they could do it as a Single Action system like the Springfield XD. That would be my choice if I was the Head Honcho at CZ. I’d also do something to the looks and the size. I would clip the grip frame down to “CZ Compact” size, and then recontour the slide to something more appropriate to concealed carry. The weird way the slide overhangs the dust cover at the muzzle end… reminds me of the front end (the bow, sorry) of an Aircraft Carrier. But considering that CZ’s lineup already has better pistols for these purposes… the P-01, the PCR, really there is no point in the 100. There is no necessity for CZ to force out a polymer framed pistol before it is really ready for prime time. The only reason for using a plastic frame is to reduce weight. The only gun that this is needed in are for guns intended specifically for concealment. And CZ has already done a poly version of the RAMI. I guess the best thing for CZ to do would be to just drop the gun altogether.

Another thing about the 100 is that it has a brother. There is a .40 cal version that wasn’t imported into the USA. They called it the CZ-110. If you ever thought that the 100 was great, but it just needed a little more horsepower, well, your wrong. The 110 was just as bad as the 100 ever was but added snappier recoil. Good times. Ugly and awkward and now uncomfortable! Brilliant!

To sum up the CZ 100 quickly, if you are a CZ collector, fine, get it. If not, spend your money on a more worthy pistol.




The NAA Guardian has long been one of my favorite little pistols. I have no specific reason to validate that bias… there are pistols out there that are a bit smaller. Some that are lighter. Some that are more powerful. In a race for first places, the Guardian doesn’t win any category firsts. Yet when you take in all the score averages, it comes in with the most points in my book.

Some guys might not like it because they think it might be too heavy. Or the trigger pull too long and too weighty. The slide might be too hard to pull back. The sights might be too hard to see. You know what? They are right. The Guardian has a way of turning negatives into positives. Let me explain. The sights are just about useless. They are too small and narrow to be effective. But this does not matter because the intended purpose of the weapon, they are not even going to be used. The slide is hard to cycle by hand because the gun uses a blow-back action. It isn’t an elegant system, but it is very reliable. As long as the ammo works, the gun is going to work. The trigger is long because it is a double action only design… which gives the gun added safety and simplicity of use. It is as simple to run as a revolver. It doesn’t need a safety lever to worry about.

Overall the Guardian is greater than the sum of it’s parts. When you are walking from your office out to your car late at night and parking lot looks spooky, you can feel that reassuring weight in your pocket letting you know that you are prepared. As you walk, you casually slip your hands in your pockets and your right hand slides over and around the grips. The cool steel whispers a comforting voice to your mind, “you will be okay.” Should a goblin appear, the snag free profile draws quickly and easily from the pocket holster. You don’t have to think about working the action or dropping the safety because the gun is always there for you, always ready. You might be scared and under stressed. Maybe your trigger finger is already on the trigger while you cover the potential assailant… under such stress a lighter trigger might be pulled all the way resulting in a negligent discharge. This happens to members of law enforcement sometimes… it could happen to anyone. With the Guardian’s longer pull this isn’t so much of a danger.

Should you have to fire, the .380 ACP cartridge is going to bark and snap and send out a 90 grain jacketed hollow point to deliver your cease and desist order. While a .380 isn’t the most powerful round out there, the Guardian’s 6+1 capacity will certainly make a convincing argument to the goblin that it picked the wrong victim. The Guardian’s magazine release is in the standard American position on the side behind the trigger… if you practiced, you can reload the pistol quickly. But by this time the Goblin could be laying on the ground bleeding out and you could be using your other hand to call 911 on your cell phone.

Of course all the above is a worst case scenario. But that is what we are all about… we hope for the best, but plan for the worst. A concealed carry gun like the Guardian is such a simple thing, like a seatbelt or a parachute. It can only do it’s job if you strap it on before you take off.

My last gun review I mentioned the shooting at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City. Since then we have had the shooting at Virginia Tech… Unlike at Trolley Square, there was no one at the scene armed with a concealed weapon. Had there been, the outcome could have been different. The body count could have been a lot less. Here is the clincher, there were people who had the concealed carry permits, but didn’t have the weapons on them. That was because of the Virginia Tech no weapons policy. That is the thing that bothers me the most. 30 victims died after the police were already on the campus. I’m not going to disrespect the police here, but I am going to say this: Personal Security is a Personal Responsibility. Remember that.

For that purpose you have to have your weapon on you at all times. You can’t leave it at home. You can’t leave it in your vehicle. You can’t leave it in your purse back at your desk. You have to have it on your person, and where you can access it without drawing attention to yourself.

This is where the Guardian comes into play. Carried in a pocket holster, the gun is invisible and you can look cool as a jewel as you stand there with your hands in your pockets, in about as nonthreatening a pose as you can be… yet be ready to instantly respond to a threat. In an inside the waistband holster tucked in behind your hip the Guardian is easily forgotten and unnoticed… but it is always going to be there for you.

As I mentioned in the first part of this series on the Ultimate Concealed Carry Gun I laid out some reasons for our selection of the Guardian as our gun of choice. Let’s review. We wanted a gun that was small. We wanted a gun that was solid. We wanted at least a .380 caliber. We wanted the highest quality while avoiding high premiums. We wanted reliability. After filtering all the gun industry’s products, the result was the North American Arms Guardian.

Let’s take a look at the internals. The Guardian doesn’t break down in the usual way. There is a small take down button on one side. Hitting that button allows you to lift the rear of the slide up and off the frame and then slide it forward off the barrel. Here is the interesting thing about the Guardian, the frame and the barrel are both one part. So you have the frame/barrel, the slide, and the recoil springs with that little weird spring plug.

I took my example apart and was struck by the bigger hammer approach that NAA used in the design. Even in the small parts there is a large dose of rugged built in. This is a sturdy little fellow. If the Guardian was a character from Lord of the Rings, it would be Gimli the dwarf. Small, tough, and full of attitude.

It was also a little rough. I used a new product called Ultra Blue by Microlon. The color is like the blue milk that Luke Skywalker drank in episode 3. Strange or not, it’s some really slick stuff. With a little bit if that blue stuff and some hand cycling, the Guardian smoothed out a lot.

During test firing, I ran through four boxes of shells with no problems. The reliability is there. As the saying goes, “accuracy is fine, but reliability is final.” I would have no problem packing this gun as a daily carry item. Even if it isn’t my main gun, it can always ride as a backup. In a pocket or on the ankle, it can always be there for me.

There are some things about the Guardian that I would want to change. Oh sure, the gun is fine as it is… but I want it to be better. I want NAA to deck it out as the “Vee Dub” commercials say “Pimp zee Auto.” I want it to be slicker. I want the edges to be melted a bit. And as always I want there to be tritium in the front sight post. I would also like something a bit more in the looks department. Dress it up a bit for me. Nice wood grips maybe, but those don’t contribute anything but pure cosmetics… but it would still be nice.

Even if it is a concealed carry gun, I want it to look cool. I don’t care if no one ever sees it. Like a tattoo under your clothes… you know it’s there.

The Guardian is a great starting platform for The Ultimate Concealed Carry Pistol… Let’s see what we can do with it and how it turns out.

Caliber: .380 ACP

Magazine Capacity: 6+1

Operation: Double Action Only

Material: 17-4 pH stainless steel

Barrel Length: 2.49″

Height: 3.53″

Overall Length: 4.75″

Width: 0.930″

Weight: 18.72 ozs. unloaded

Suggested Retail Price: $449.00

EAA Witness Compact 10mm:

EAA Witness Compact 10mm:

This review was published by Concealed Carry Magazine, for the photos that go along with this article, check out Concealed Carry Magazine.


The one thing that has always bothered me about Concealed Carry type guns is that they are all about compromise. You give up power for smaller size. You give up accuracy for a shorter barrel. You give up everything you really want in a handgun for the ability to have it on you all the time. Maybe I’ve grown cranky. Maybe I’m just fed up. Whatever the source of my feelings, I’m tired of compromises. I’m tired of shooting tiny guns that only make small holes, or dent paper. I want some raw horse power. I want some excessive force. And I want it with some decent accuracy, control and something that could get me through a knock down, drag out gun fight. A real gun. But it can’t be a 1911, and it can’t be a .45… or Tim would string me up with my own gunbelt.


I was given the chance to “pick something” from the EAA catalog for review. Anything. Then shoot the hell out of it and see if it holds up. I’ve done 9’s and I don’t like .40’s all that much, and you are all sick of my gushing on .45 ACP. So I picked a Compact Witness in 10mm. This is an all steel, double action, 10 round, 10mm pistol with a 4 inch barrel, fixed 3 dot sights, and EAA’s “Wonder Finish”. The MSRP is only $450. That’s what it is, but it doesn’t really tell you guys what it really is. The gun is rather heavy for its size. Being that it is in a caliber with such potency, that weight is not a downside. The gun is in an intermediate size for being called a compact. I guess it is smaller than the full sized gun, but it isn’t really all that compact. The gun is thick through the grip so you can really hold on to it, but the length is too short to get all your fingers aboard. Even with the magazine’s finger extension, you still cant get your pinky to join the others on the gun. This might not be an issue for you out there with knuckles that are not swollen from arthritis. The Wonder Finish is an attractive finish that feels slick to the touch. It reminds me of NP3, for those that know what that is. As good looking as the finish is, the one thing I really like about it is that it is very easy to clean. After test firing all I did was spray it down with a little Hoppe’s #9, rinse that off with a little Hornady One Shot, then wiped it off. It looked clean as new and was slick as ever. Some Hoppe’s and a bore snake cleaned inside the barrel, and I put a little Tetra Gun Oil on the rails and sear and that was it. I was done cleaning in about 2 minutes.


This little beast is chambered for is something that most shooters are not familiar with. I showed it to a few guys, and they had never seen nor heard of 10MM before. (I know I live in the sticks, but there are good people here) So let’s review a little history. The 10mm was introduced in 1983 in conjunction with the Bren Ten pistol by the well known firearms house of Dornaus & Dixon… We all know those guys, right? No, me neither. All I know about them was that they had this pistol that was an epic flop. The famous Jeff Cooper was a huge supported of the Bren Ten, and the pistol was good. It just never caught on. I don’t know why. The cartridge is brilliant. It can be chambered in guns that you can chamber .45 in, meaning 1911 type guns. It offers a wide performance spectrum from target loads to deer hunting loads. You can go from 135 grain bullets at 1600 fps, to 200 grain bullets at 1200 fps. This gives you performance like no other auto cartridge… you want this sort of versatility in a more common platform, you will have to go with a .357 magnum or a .41 magnum because the 10mm is right in between those two. That’s a lot of power and flexibility that you just don’t find in your normal automatic pistol. Especially not an auto for concealed carry purposes.

In 1986 in Dade County Florida, the FBI got into a big shootout with a couple of baddies who didn’t fall over dead like they were supposed to. The Agents hit them repeatedly, but the baddies kept fighting, and Agents got killed. The FBI reevaluated everything about their side arms. They examined the calibers and the bullets and they added it all up. The answer was the 10mm.

Unfortunately for all the lawyers and accountants the FBI hires, the 10mm was too much for them. Too much recoil. So they downloaded the cartridge to mild levels. S&W said that they could do that in a 9mm length cartridge and put it into a smaller gun… and that’s how we got the .40 S&W cartridge, called the Short and Weak by those who had become used to the 10mm.

Looking back at this development, I can see that it was a good move and now most handguns are chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. The downside is that the 10mm just fell out of the public eye. Today, it’s almost invisible. The gun store that I work at doesn’t carry 10mm ammunition, and we don’t carry any 10mm guns either. I drove out to SLC, Utah and stopped by every gun store that I knew of. It took all day, but I hit 9 shops. Only one of them stocked ammo, and none of them had a pistol. The one place that did have some ammo, only had 4 boxes. 4 boxes in a city of 2 million. I was discouraged. Fortunately there is the internet, and more ammo was ordered.


I didn’t want to shoot this gun alone… I wanted second opinions. Shooting Buddy Ben came with me one time, then The Travis came with me another time. We are all in agreement that the gun shoots very well, accuracy is more than acceptable, and the recoil isn’t just manageable, but enjoyable. Ben made a comment worth note, “The FBI couldn’t handle this? Sissies.

I agree. The 10mm out of an all steel gun is really not much more kick than a .45, and I once taught a little Japanese lady that weight less than two bags of dog food how to shoot a .45 and she did great with it.

Ben and I decided to shoot at steel. The base plate of an abandoned oven is made of sheet metal thicker than most desert dwelling kitchen appliances. Ben had his trusted XD Tactical .45 that we used for comparison. The 5 inch barreled .45, shooting 230 grain FMJ Blazer Brass loads, punched through the metal, but pushed in a big dent before breaking through it. The EAA Witness 10mm with its 4” tube blasted through the same metal so easily that it looked like we used a Dewalt power drill. The penetration is incredibly impressive. You don’t see this sort of power from a gun you hide on your person.

We did find an interesting problem with the gun. EAA only sent us one magazine for the pistol, so I can’t tell if it’s a mag issue or an ammo issue. American Eagle 180 grain rounds would jam the gun on the second round from the last in the magazine – every time. This was a failure to feed as the round would stand up in the magazine and the slide close on that side of the cartridge. First thought was that this is obviously a magazine issue, but it only happened with AE 180’s. Norma, Buffalo Bore, Hornady, PMC, and Winchester did not jam.

The other thing that we all agreed upon was that the gun its self still needs a little work. The slide seemed to batter the frame pretty good, especially with the hotter Norma and Winchester loads. I think the spring is a bit too light from the factory, it could be two to four pounds heavier. The gun has some sharp corners around the trigger guard and muzzle. The front sight post is formed with the slide instead of dovetailed in like it should be. This means you can’t install night sights, or different sized posts to adjust the point of impact for different loadings.


While the gun is good as it is… especially for the money. It could easily be better. You could take it from about a 7, to a solid 9.

The gun falls in a unique category in that it is big enough to not be as easily concealable as a compact, yet too small to be a target type gun. It needs to be optimized for our concealment purposes. Here is what needs to be done. First off, the sights. I know I always bitch about the sights on a pistol or hail them as needed. Sights and trigger are two critical things that can not be skimped on. EAA should have a guy in house to grind off the front sight post, cut in a dovetail, and put in Tritium night sights. That is a must for a gun to be taken seriously by me. Target guns and Defense guns need two different kinds of sights. Different purposes. This EAA Compact Witness is supposed to be a Defensive gun. The grips. The grip panels on the gun are good and… er… grippy. They help soak up the recoil a lot and make shooting this 10MM a joy. Unfortunately they are too thick. And the soft rubber allows fabric to cling, making the gun print too much. In my attempts to conceal this gun, I found that it printed too much under just light shirts like what I like to wear in warm weather. You would have to wear a sports coat over this thing to keep it hidden. I suggest to get rid of the grips and use thin profile aluminum grips from Hogue. This would slim down the profile a great deal and make packing CCW much much easier. The finger rest on the magazine is another thing. The gun is too short for a 3 finger grip, and the finger rest doesn’t help me one bit. Go ahead and let the pinky swing free on this one, and let the gun be just that much shorter for concealment. Now for the biggie. I’ve not tested a handgun that BEGS for a Melt Job more than this Witness. It has sharp edges on its sharp edges. The front of the gun has the full length rails that extend to the muzzle, all they way past any point of being useful, straight to being irritating. If this was taken to a belt sander for about a minute and a half – it would be brilliant. A custom gunsmith should be able to do this to your gun with very little effort, but with huge returns. Of course then he would have to refinish it and you would lose the Wonder Finish – which even EAA can’t tell me what it is. One last thing. The gun needs a recoil spring about 2 pounds heavier. Wolff Gun Springs can fix that one with no problem.

Considering the price of a new EAA Witness… having this work done to it wouldn’t be out of the realm of reasonable when you take into account what you would then have in your hands. A concealed carry gun that makes no compromises.


The Thirties

One of my least favorite things at the gun shop is when some guy who we don’t know, sends in his wife who we don’t know, to buy some “300”. We don’t know the people, so we don’t know which 300 the guy might have. 300 generally means a .30 Caliber of some sort and well, there are too many common options to just pick one. During hunting season, this happens on a regular basis. So guys, if you do send your girl into town to pick up a box of ammunition – do your wife a favor. Rip off the end tab of your last box of ammo and send that with her so the guys at the gun store know exactly what you need, and we don’t think of you in a less than flattering manner.

Let’s look at some of these 30 cal cartridges. There are 10 different common 30’s. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.

The .30-30 Winchester. The Thirty really started as a market success with the .30-30 Winchester. This was the first serious high velocity metallic cartridge using smokeless powder. It was a hot rod back in its day. Shooters were amazed. These days, the .30-30 is often scoffed at by those that don’t get it. Personally, the .30-30 remains a favorite of mine. It’s mild, yet potent enough to take down an elk at 200 yards. Typically it fires bullets from 150 grains to 170 grains, at moderate velocities from 2250 FPS to 2400 FPS. Accuracy is average to pretty good from most rifles. Most of which are lever action rifles with open sights. The best I’ve ever seen a .30-30 do was half inch groups at 100 yards in a rifle that had about 250 bucks worth of gunsmithing to tune it for better accuracy.

The .30-06 Springfield. This is the classic .30 caliber cartridge that America has used all around the world fighting for our freedom. The Aught Six as it as loving called, has fathered more offspring cartridges than anything else. Most notable is the .270 Winchester, which has become the second most popular cartridge according to nationwide sales… but that is another story. The Aught Six fires bullets usually between 150 grains to 200 grains, but there are loads out there going lighter or heavier… I’ve seen them as low as 110 grains and as high as 225 grains. Velocity is high, but remember, this is not a Magnum cartridge. Velocities are typically centered around 2800 FPS. Accuracy is very good, but could be better because the case has a lot of wasted space in it, reducing the efficiency of cartridge and allowing for less consistent powder burn. This cartridge went to war in WWI in our bolt action Springfield 1903 rifles, then into WWII in our M1 Garands, and into Vietnam still in our 1903 Springfields that were accurized and scoped and used as sniper rifles. Because of the shear number of surplus rifles on the market, and because of the almost universal acceptance, use, and general fondness of this cartridge… it has become the Number One cartridge in America for overall sales. Still today, it remains the Top Dog. Every company that makes a rifle, makes one in .30-06. There are those that love it with a passion, and there are those that don’t really like it… but no knowledgeable shooter disrespects it.

The .308 Winchester. After WWII, the M1 Garand was altered and the action was tweaked to fire from a detachable box magazine. This needed a cartridges that was shorter for better feeding. This is where the .308 Winchester came to the spotlight. This gives us almost the same performance of the .30-06, but does so with greater efficiency and thus better overall accuracy. Again, like the Aught Six, the Three’oh’eight fires rounds from 150 grains to 180 grains like most of the .30 cals going on… but does so at about 2700 FPS, which is only about 100 FPS slower than the Aught Six.

The .300 Savage. This one goes back to 1921 and was the first “300”. It was hugely popular for a time, and chambered in Savage’s strange yet good model 99 lever action. It’s a bit shorter than the .308, and milder, pumping out 150 grain loads to a pleasant 2630. You can bump up the loads to 180 grainers, but the speed drops off a bit too much I think. So while it’s a lighter hitter than the .308 and a harder hitter than the .30-30, it occupies a comfortable place in that middle ground. It very well could be the ideal .30 caliber for light carbines. Imagine a Model 7 Remington in this cartridge… that would be great combination. The round is very accurate and just a pleasure to shoot.

The .300 Winchester Magnum. In 1963 gun makers decided to go big in terms of velocities. Winchester hit the home run with the .300 Win Mag, and its the ballistic equivellent of the Mona Lisa. A work of art. And a work by which all other .30 caliber magnums are compared to. It’s powerful and has a strong kick to it, but not too hard as to be punishing. In a full sized rifle, it is quite manageable. You can load a 180 grain bullet up to 3,000 FPS… a dramatic increase in horsepower. People just call this round “The Win Mag” and most everyone knows exactly what you are talking about.

The .300 Remington Ultra Mag. Remington had to do something big, so they came out with the .300 Remington Ultra Mag…. or the .300 RUM as I like to call it. This cranks to the same slug as the .300 Win Mag about 250 to 300 FPS faster and hitting harder by about 600 foot pounds of energy according to typical load data. This cartridge is a dragon slayer. There are some out there that are hotter, like the .30-378 Weatherby magnum, but not by much. If a scope is going to get bucked off a rifle and break mounts and rings – most likely the gun is going to be a .300 RUM. Around where I live, we call these “Elk Cannons” and we sell a ton of them. For long range knock down, this has it. The .300 RUM can body slam an Elk at a thousand yards.

The .300 Winchester Short Magnum. When this one first came out a few years ago, I scoffed at it. “Same ballistics as a .300 Win Mag? What’s the point?” Well, what it gives you is that classic Win Mag power, but it does so with greater accuracy and with about 20% less felt recoil. I set up two rifles exactly the same… Synthetic stocked Weatherby Vanguards, using the same rings and bases I mounted the same scopes on each. The only difference was that one was a Win Mag, the other a Short Mag. The Win Mag kick was tolerable, but after 10 rounds I was done shooting it for the day. I shot a sub 1 inch group with it and it was great. Reaching out with that much crushing power, that is a lot of violence to focus into a inch. Then I shot the Short Mag. I shot a one hole group, and it was actually fun to shoot. Less recoil enough to shoot all day… I ran out of bullets for it. Same speed, greater accuracy, less recoil… this round has no downsides. Marketing didn’t come up with this round like I thought… this is ballistics engineering at its finest.

The .300 Remington Short Action Ultra Mag. Remington wanted to do something in a Short Mag type platform and they came out with the Short Action Ultra Mag… and it flopped. It’s a decent round, just a tick behind the .300 WSM, but it does so in a slightly shorter length, allowing it to be able to be used in .308 length actions. This allows us to make AR-10/SR-25 type rifles that hit like a .300 Win Mag. To me, that makes it a winner. I think this is just about the perfect cartridge for military applications in GPMG’s (General Purpose Machine Guns such as the M-60 and M-240). The US Military wants more power? Here it is. Take our current crop of .308 caliber SR-25 sniper rifles and rebarrel them to .300SAUM… presto. While I think the SAUM has it’s place, it is a commercial flop. The WSM beat it, but I think this is more of a perception matter than performance. People hear “Ultra Mag” and they want a dragon slayer, not just another Win Mag Mirror. I think Hornady could lend a hand and blend some powders and do their alchemy and come up with a Heavy Mag load for the .300 SAUM and it would then enjoy a ballistic advantage… But that is neither here nor there.

The .30 T/C. With the trend for making all things short and chubby, someone had to do it… so TC did. They made a .30-06 Short Mag. This cartridge mirrors the classic .30-06 ballistics. But it is more than that. It does so in a shorter, more efficient case. It’s the same length as the .308 Winchester but a touch chunkier. It is of course more accurate thanks to the greater efficiency. It also does two things that we are going to take as a bonus. It has less felt recoil, and it’s actually faster than the Aught Six by a few FPS, and in some loads up to 100 FPS faster. Not much… and nothing to make me want to run out and buy a new rifle in this caliber. It’s a like a hot handloaded .308, and in my opinion nothing more. TC brags that it’s the first cartridge with the TC head stamp, and that’s fine. Bully for them, but I’m thinking it’s rather un-needed. Now if they had taken this chunk of brass and necked it down to a 7mm, 6.5, or a .25 caliber – maybe we would talk.

The .300 RCM. The RCM stands for Ruger Compact Magnum, and in the same 24 inch barrel, it’s a clone of the .300 WSM. The RCM uses a different powder blend and gets up to speed quicker, meaning it works in shorter 20 inch barrels. I guess that’s nice. For guys guys that want short barreled Magnum rifles… all three of those guys should be happy with the .300 RCM. I have to be honest here, these last two rounds, the .30TC and the .300 RCM… the .30 caliber market is crowded enough and good, proven, classic calibers are being pushed out by these new rounds that do things slightly different. Yes, yes, yes, it’s accurate. But so was the .300 Savage. I don’t see a place for the .300 RCM in the future, and I think the .30T/C is going to die out as well, rather sooner than later. But that’s just my prediction. Who knows. It could really take off like the .300 WSM did. Now, Ruger has a version of this cartridge in .338… the .338 RCM and that has some serious potential there. I like that idea, but in the .300 class, it’s like just another boy band. We’ve heard that tune before and looks the same as the others.

If I was to pick a new .30 caliber round for all around use, I’d pick the .300 WSM. It does everything right, and nothing wrong. As a beer commercial once said, “Tastes Great, Less Filling”.


LRI Long Range Shooting Course:

LRI Long Range Shooting Course:

(For the photos that went along with this review, check out the page I first published them on here)
500 Miles to nowhere. I left Ogre Ranch after 9AM… a late start… Friends and Family delayed, but quite honestly I was reluctant to leave my boys. I wanted to bring them with me.

The drive was long but not bad at all… crossing the 500 miles I went through some of the most gorgeous country I’ve ever seen. Oceans of grassland, dotted with Pronghorn. So many antelope that I couldn’t believe it. There was a Speed Goat everywhere I looked. Most of the trip I’d see them individually, but as I moved further north east, I began seeing them in larger groups. Even a good sized group that could have numbered about a hundred. I’ve not seen that many in one group in almost fifteen years.

LRI is located near Lance Creek Wyoming. Now, you guys know I bust on Vernal, Utah for being a small town. Vernal is cosmopolitan compared to Lance Creek. I’ll try to remember that next time I complain about the lack of good eateries in Vernal. In about a week once this is through.

LRI HQ is a simple steel building that was built in a week. Hastily done, but accommodating. Plenty of room for everyone, plenty of space. The bathroom has a door, there is a shower, urinal, toilet, sink, and there is a Washer and Drier. Everything one needs. Military bunks that could have been taken straight from Ft. Benning’s Harmony Church, where I did my Boot Camp way back when. Brought back nightmares of Drill Sergeants in Campaign Hats. Luckily those nightmares did not materialize as Shep and his crew of Instructors are casual and laid back.
September gave us a cold snap so this first night, it was cold. As it would be every night of the course. All of us gathered the night before class started so we could start first thing Monday morning. We bullshitted that night, and we could see our breath while speaking. The space heaters can not keep up. This is why LRI has no scheduled winter courses. While it was chilly, it wasn’t too cold. We were told to bring layering clothes for cold weather so no one was uncomfortable. If you got too cold, Shep’s dog, Ruben, could come over and give you a friendly hump to warm you up.

After driving all day, everyone was just happy to be able to walk around and bullshit. Most guys at there are former military, so everyone had stories to tell. Looks like a good group so we’ll have a good class once in starts first thing in the morning.


Day One:

We woke up and had chow at 7:30. A great breakfast. We had some class time on the fundamentals and got damn near overwhelmed with information and mathematical formula. Because our class was small, we got through the bookwork quickly. Theory is just that until you put it into practice. Since the weather was on our side here, we decided it was time to head out to the range.

We went to the 100 yard range for zeroing. We worked some drills that I wont get into because they are LRI intellectual property. One fun training drill that I will talk about is the Colored Dot game. There are 4 colors, and rows of four in different patterns, and this was on four different target boards. You get your name called, you get a color called, and you shoot that colored dot on that row, on each target board as quickly as you can. It was a lot of fun and a good challenge.

We had a lot of discussion regarding the critical importance of tracking your cold bore shots. Lots of misinformation out there floating around the Gun Shop Commando Circuit about what a Cold Bore Shot is. What I didn’t know was just how far off those CBS’s can be… and the importance of tracking them. Reason being, so when you make a CBS, you know where it is going to hit. This is why you have to be consistent with your cleaning routine, because it has an effect on your CBS. Drastic effects. These effects were different for each rifle at the course. I never really thought about the CBS like this before. Another reason to keep a Data Book – for each of your rifles.
Day Two:

The food here is fantastic… Chow time isn’t your normally chow hall mess. Larry is a Master Chef… a Grilling Ninja. You will not be disappointed when you drag yourself back in from the range and smell the food he’s been cooking up. Hot coffee and water for Tea or Hot Chocolate was always ready and waiting.

Our days start out at the 100 yard range where we work the FBI Drill and track our CBS. Once that was done we move out to the long range course. We checked our zero at 200 yards and found where we were hitting at distance. This day was about finding our Scope Dope from 200 yards out to 600 yards and hitting at those ranges became clockwork. We discussed Max Point Blank, Wind Drift, and we worked drills between 4, 5, and 600 yards. We also worked on Sniper – Spotter Teamwork.

Day Three:

I’m eating so much good food, I feel sick. My bad knee is kicking my ass. I came to the course with a torn meniscus and ACL tendon, so moving is done with gritted teeth and Tylenol. The LRI Staff were accomodating and while I moved slower, they made sure I didn’t miss anything without holding up the rest of the class. If you have some sort of health or mobility issue, LRI can still work with you so you come away knowing how to get the most from your rifle. In spite of my pain, I’m enjoying everything. CBS, FBI Drill, and we worked from 700 to 1000 yards. Once we found our scope dope for each range… yes, at this point we were already hitting at a Grand. Brilliant! Shooting at a grand, I got scope bit hard enough to cause bleeding. Jason, one of LRI’s former Marine Snipers, asked me if I needed a bandaide. “Fuck a bandaide,” I said, as I jacked another round in the chamber and hit the 1000 yard plate. This just taught me a lesson to be mindful of crawling up the stock.

Now that we can shoot, we have to push it further. To start out on the next phase, first we had to learn how to draw a Range Card. This is basically a map of your field of fire. On this you jot down your ranges to anything out there… target reference points, any identifiable features… known ranges. Also include your scope-dope for those TRP’s. Makes things easier. I’ll leave the details of drawing a good range card to the Masters at LRI. There is a lot more to it, and there are different kinds of range cards you can draw. While this is a standard practice for military operations, it has applications outside of the military. If you are a hunter, you can draw up range cards of your fields of fire from your favorite tree stand or hunting blind. If you are a police sniper, take the time to draw range cards from likely positions from landmarks such as roof tops or towers… having that information at your fingertips could come in very handy in the future.

While we were doing drawing our range cards, the LRI instructors removed the field markers on the rifle range, and scattered the targets around… they were no longer at known distances. 10 steel plates, numbered, and we had to estimate the ranges and jot down our estimated scope-dope for each. Then we did an evil little drill where we have to shoot each plate based on our estimates. Marine Snipers do this all the time… this is their bread and butter as Marty, one of the instructors, explained. The way you do this is with your mil dot reticle in your scope, working a math formula, and there you go. My problem is that I didn’t have a Mil Dot reticle. I had the Rapid Reticle from PFI. There is a way to mil out ranges with the PFI scope – but we didn’t cover this. This was the first time that my brilliant PFI RR800-1 scope became a handicap. You have to shoot a score of 80. I lead the class with an 84 on the first drill.

Day Four:

I was hoping someone would give me a Negligent Discharge and accidentally shoot me in my knee. It kept me up all night… again… We had an MRE for lunch the day before, which means I couldn’t take my normal morning constitutional. Evidently I wasn’t the only one. Farting was abundant. Thank goodness the wind had picked up to clear the air.

We of course did the CBS tracking with the FBI drill, worked some more unknown distance drills, and then we went out hunting.


I’ll just give you the highlight reel now…

The Vehicle Assault Course. The LRI Assault Jeep is a monster. Huge tires, big cage for stand up shooting while on the move… which is perfectly legal at LRI. Not in Utah. Damn it. For this course I used my SIG 556. I rocked the course, not just hitting each target, but double or triple tapping each one – just because I was having too much fun.

Town Raiding. Six of us jumped into the LRI Assault Jeep and we went raiding prairie dog towns. Jason spotted a coyote and called out for me to shoot it. My rifle wasn’t at a friendly angle and thanks to the roll bars in the Jeep, I couldn’t move my gun into a better position fast enough, so Jason shot it. I didn’t mind at all. It was a good shot and the coyote didn’t even twitch. Matt and Shep then had to step coyote excrement as Jason posed for a photo, holding up the dead coyote. Shep clipped the ears for the bounty which is 25 bucks.


On an interesting note, calling in coyotes with commercial made calls didn’t work here, but pounding around in the Assault Jeep, blasting Hard Rock, scaring wildlife in six counties evidently does. On the other hand, using these calls, Mule Deer respond with gusto. We tried to hunt coyotes… and I used a small arsenal of my best calls. Didn’t call one bloody coyote in with them… but two doe Mulies came in at a dead run. Frantic, they were. They got within 20 yards of me, standing up in the open, and they just looked at me with their ears up… it was like they were saying “What!? What is it?!” They snooped around, walked past Matt and then wandered away. I’ve never seen that before.

Another thing I never saw before was a hawk who swooped in for a strike on a prairie dog that I was about to pull the trigger on. He swooped in and perched right there stretching his talons… magnificent bird.

Lefty-Twofer. Jason had a brutal shot which nailed a P-dog sitting in a perfect side on shot position. His bullet clipped the dog in the back of the neck and severed the spine letting the head fall forward unattached. Because I spent a lot of time rolling in Jason’ Chevy in the Shotgun position – I had to shoot left handed. This proved to be a challenge, but no handicap. I made some fantastic shots. The best one was two head shots with one bullet, left handed. These little P-Dogs would be instantly turned inside out in a very violent, graphic manner. It was a horror show.


Now, this was all done shooting 55 grain V-Max bullets with my Savage .22-250 which Rob Bonacci, LRI’s Armorer sorted out for me… The bloody gun could extract a fired shell, but not eject it. He fixed that. Then gave it a tiger stripe camo paint job. And he put a target crown on my carry pistol. Rob is a fantastic gunsmith who really knows his craft. If your gun has a problem, Rob will fix it.


The other students there were solid good guys. Good shooters. Travis and Chris from Magpul Dynamics, with their purpose built sniper rifles. Dimitri from LA. Matt from Min. Matt was the most improved shooter, coming in with his new hunting set up. A Weatherby Vanguard in .300 WSM topped with a Nikon Monarch BDC rifle scope. He couldn’t get that gun to group at all at first… yet went away owning anything out to a 1000 yards with authority. Dimitri, man… he shot group at 1000 yards that was about 5 inches with a .308 using factory rolled ammunition… Federal Gold Match. I about fell over when I saw that. The instructors are good people… Shep, Marty, Jason, and Rob did a great job and put on a course that I will never forget. Larry with the cooking… Stan Wolfe… what can I say about Stan? The man is an institution… he is developing a new mounting system for optics on long range guns that allowed me to hit at 1100 yards – easily – in high wind. He’s Old School Marine, being a Veteran of the Korean War. Stan has come out to each and every LRI course, and while not a student of the course or an instructor per say, he had a lot of wisdom he passed on to anyone who wanted to listen.


Then there is Ruben. An insane Wire-Haired Griffon… which is a hairy sort of sporting bird-dog. The floor was his territory, so don’t leave anything on it… or on your bunk in easy reach… or your sleeping bag with arousing looking lumps. Because Ruben would either steal it or hump it. Including old men such as Larry and Stan. Oh, this was funny.

Ruben was easily distracted with a laser, I found. He would chase it with determination. The trick is to get him chasing a laser, then lead it under or behind the couch and turn it off to make it look like the dot was hiding. Ruben would be occupied with this for a good long time. So if you get Ruben interested in something that belongs to you… get him to hunt that laser dot and he’ll leave you alone.

I had a great time at LRI and I was reluctant to leave this shooter’s heaven… As the road from LRI turned back from dirt to pavement, the music on the radio changed to the news, and instantly I was back in the real world.

I look forward to going back as soon as I can.
Gear Observations: Dimitri was a genius when he busted out elbow and knee pads… and then a saint when he let me use them to help my busted knee. I think brining knee and elbow pads is a great idea… and I would recommend bringing them. Since you spend a great deal of time in the prone, bring a pad of some sort to lay on.

The Remington XCR Compact Tactical performed very well… but it wasn’t perfect. First thing I had to get done was to build up a check rest. This allowed me to be more consistent with my positioning. I had a hard time loading the 4th round in the magazine. Sometimes it would load #4 with no problem, other times, it would jam it up and you would have to dump all the rounds. The good trigger got better as the class went on.

The PFI RR800-1 scope was brilliant. I really like this scope, and I really like this rifle/scope combination. The accuracy potential is impressive. The yardage marks in the scope made hitting much easier. You still have to find your range, calculate your wind… and your scope will tell you where to hold for the shot. Because you zero this scope for 100 yards, and the one hundred yard line is so high, it is a little different holding the gun on that mark… you naturally want to hold for 400 yards, the center of the reticle. But don’t do it… hold where PFI suggests and you will be DNO… Dead Nuts On. That is, you will be DNO if you bring ammunition that falls within PFI’s suggested performance range. Unfortunately I brought the wrong ammo for the task at hand. I brought with me Winchester Super-X 150 grain cartridges. Here is what I learned. The rate of twist is not good for 150 grainers and Winchester Super-X loads are inconsistently loaded. This is a statement that I make in the same tone as saying getting kicked in the balls hurt. It’s not just obvious, to you, but it’s obvious to all those around you. The ballistic coefficient of these soft points are horrible. They have roughly the same drag as a Pontiac Aztec with the parking brake on. They bleed energy to the point that after about 500 yards, the bullets hardly any mark on the steel plates we were shooting at. You will want to use heavier bullets, and you will want those loads to be Match Grade… regardless of weapon or caliber. If you can’t get Match ammunition, get the next best thing…. and by that I mean not ammunition from Remington or any Winchester White or Silver boxes. Get Hornady. If not Hornady TAP, then Hornady Custom. If you can’t get Hornady, then Black Hills. If you can’t get Black Hills, then get Federal Premium or Federal Fusion. These rounds have higher BC’s than others, and more importantly are loaded more consistently. Don’t skimp on your ammo, get the best you can. Not just that, but get a lot of it. I went through damn near 400 rounds. That’s a lot. If you reload, pay extra attention to your loading and craft each cartridge with the utmost attention to detail, using the best components… and make sure they work in your set up.

While, the ammunition that I used was different from PFI’s suggestion, The PFI scope worked quite well. At 100 yards, I zeroed for the 100 yard mark. At 200 yards, the scope was DNO. At 300 yards, this is where the ballistics departed from PFI’s ranges and to hit at 300 I held for 250 yards. So I found my Dope for 300. I wrote that down in my data book.
Did I mention your data book? Bring a new one to this class… and consider starting from scratch if you already have one you are working on. Because the cats at LRI are going to give you more information that you are going to want to track. Go to staples and get a small spiral bound note pad, a good pen, and a mechanical pencil for drawing range cards.

LRI showed us a few interesting things. One being, scope failures. We had a number of scopes shit the bed at the LRI course. We had a Burris crap out on one individual. We had two Leupold Mk IV Tacticals go down. I had a Leupold Vari-X III fail me… luckily it was zeroed when it stopped adjusting so it’s stuck… but where I needed it anyways. So I’ll deal with that later. Does this mean Burris and Leupold scopes wont hold up? Not hardly. Anecdotal evidence is just observations regarding one scope on one gun and you don’t know what may have happened to the scope before the failure. I have seen these scopes on other guns go through hell and back. Eventually, every scope will fail. That’s just going to happen. It’s only a matter of time. My Vari-X III is an ancient early example of the breed. It’s been fired more than any scope should have to endure.. and it’s still shooting. Hell, I killed 4 prairie dogs with it on my lunch break after I zeroed another gun. One thing that can lead to an early failure of a scope, is improperly mounting. The rings and scope have to be aligned perfectly or you get uneven pressure and stress through the tube. There are lots of very subtle factors at play here… but they amplify each other during recoil. Another thing that can lead to a failure is environmental stresses. Are you leaving your scoped rifle in your trunk during the heat of the day, then shooting the hell out of it? Do you thing that scope will live a long life like that? We can’t control the process of manufacture or the quality control that went in to your individual scope… but we can control how we treat it. Your scoped rifle is a precision instrument… you have to treat it as such.


Pride and Fowler Scopes.

Pride and Fowler Scopes.

PFI has sent us a couple rifle scopes.   Looking through the PFI RR800-1 – right next to the Zeiss 3.5-10 Conquest… Brighter? The Zeiss is a little bit brighter.  I’ll give it that, but not by much.

This is the Zeiss.  1 inch tube, second focal plain etched reticle.  It’s a good scope and it works very well.  Clear? The PFI unit is just as clear. Crisp sharp contrast… this is great glass.  It uses a 30MM tube which allows for a naturally sharp image because you are not bending the light as much to force it through the smaller tube.  

I tried to take the photos as carefully as possible to make the images look as close to each other as I could.  You will notice that on the same power settings, the PFI does bring the target in closer.  If you zero the Zeiss at one power setting, and then change the power setting, the ballistic marks are going to mean different things.  This is the problem with ballistic reticles in scopes that use a second focal plain reticle.  You have to either use them at the max setting or at a factory specified… usually 10 power if it isn’t at max.   The First Focal Plain reticle, or “FFP” is a big advantage for the PFI over the Zeiss.

Notice the reticle zooms as the scope zooms. 

This allows the reticle to maintain proper relation to the target and allows the ballistic plex to be used regardless of power setting.  HUGE advantage in the field, I can’t stress this enough.  You could be overwatching a field of fire and you need to look at something that is close up, or you need a wider field of view… so you back the power down.  Or you need to zoom in to something to get a closer look, so you crank the power up… Well, the PFI scope is accurate whereever you have it.

Now I also noticed something… as I mentioned before… see the 3.5-10 Zeiss is no advantage over the PFI’s 3-9. Because when I set them both to 4 power, I had to bring the Zeiss almost up to 5 power to get it to magnify at the same level as the PFI. So really they are about the same level regardless of what the dial is indicating. 

The Zeiss had a better eye relief by about a half inch – but this is not a problem considering these are mostly going on .308s and the like… not .300 Win Mags. Recoil isn’t going to cause the scope to kiss you… because there just isn’t enough of it.  PFI is working on a Magnum scope for magnum velocities and trajectories… but it isn’t out yet.  Soon.

Now the biggest difference… The PFI is $595. The Zeiss is $725. That $130 difference… I really don’t see 130 dollars worth of difference to get the Zeiss here. Especially since the Zeiss’s reticle can only be used properly at full magnification.  Being completely objective – The PFI wins. And I’m saying that even though I’m a huge- HUGE Zeiss fan. This is not what I was expecting. 

Now, you guys know I had to buy a whole new rifle because I liked this PFI scope so much.    I picked a Remington 700 XCR Compact Tactical rifle in .308.   Not only did I buy that rifle just for this scope, but I took this combination to LRI, for some advanced training.  You can read about that here.  To sum it up, the PFI system is a true winner, and I’m completely sold on it.

Now that I am a dealer, it is my pleasure to offer these outstanding scopes to you guys.


Charles Daly D-M4EL Carbine.

Charles Daly D-M4EL Carbine.

(For the photos and videos related to this article, check them out as originally published on Old Mad Ogre, HERE)

I have a friend named Bax. He’s a former Jarhead, opinionated, somewhat self-aggrandizing, but smart. He keeps me honest. Around me, it just seems the subject of AR-15 rifles just swirl like radioactive fallout in a breeze. This dust is of my own making, as I nuked the AR-15 platform in one of my articles. While it is true that I do hate the AR-15 for many reasons, I also love it for many others. There are strong points in its favor and I have some AR-15’s for those reasons.

In the middle of yet another AR-15 discussion on, the subject of Charles Daly came up. I dismissed Charles Daly off hand because of previous experiences with CD products that left me disappointed. I generally operate on the Fool Me Once principle, so I had no interest in exploring another CD product.

Bax however, was insistent and somehow got Charles Daly involved. Mr. Kassnar himself, President of Charles Daly stepped up and offered a CD rifle for defense. To clarify, Charles Daly’s Defense division, CDD has the AR line, and it was a CDD rifle that was send to me. A straight forward M-4 clone, no frills. On the CDD web page, it’s the second one from the top.

The Specs. Item No.: CCDM4E16. 5.56mm Nato, 16” Barrel, 1×7 ROT, MSRP $1309.00USD. Flat top, with removable carry handle. Fixed front sight. 6 position collapsible stock. Chrome lined 4150 barrel, M-4 feed ramps, M-4 fore end.

When the rifle came, I was expecting it to be at the Bushmaster/Armalite level, meaning typically Milspec and rough. But I was pleased to see that it was much better than that. I am a critic by nature, and if there is something to criticize, I am inclined to do that. I was batter up at the plate ready to swing and knock this rifle over Bax’s head. I felt deflated. It looked good. It felt good. It didn’t have any “cheap gun” rattles. It didn’t have a grind in the action like cheaper AR rifles do.

In fact, it looked just like a Rock River. I had a Rock River on hand in the exact same set up, so I compared them side to side. It was like I was looking at twins.  However the Charles Daly had an advantage.  The gas key on the bolt carrier is staked securely while the Rock River was not.  This is an important detail for a heavy duty use gun.  Other than that, they were virtually identical. 

Well, not quite.  The CD gun was better looking. The exterior finish was cleaner, blacker, and smoother. It honestly looked better. Felt better to.

I had to shoot it. We had got in some new optical gunsights. One is called the ISM-V from Insight Technologies. It had to be tested out too, so this looked like a good match up. I mounted the optic, gave it a quick bore sight and hit the range.

Because most of the interest in this gun was from online sources, I wanted to break away from normal article tradition, and take some video to post on YouTube.

The first time out with the CDD, I noticed the only real complaint that I could find. The trigger was typical MilSpec. This means it was a touch heavy in the second stage with a little creep and a little grit. Not bad, just completely average. No better and no worse than any other trigger for this type of rifle at this price range. We didn’t have much time, but Marcus, a co-worker and I blasted through a couple mag fulls. The gun shot quite well and was easy to hit with… typical of the AR type. Nothing out of the ordinary and we experienced no jams. And this was just right out of the box. Box to Range. No cleaning or lube.


To do this right and to give this gun a fair shake, I had to give it a cleaning and while doing so, examine the internal parts. The internals looked as good as the externals. No shortcuts, no hidden problems or skeletons. Just good quality parts that were built right.

I cleaned the weapon using a new CLP product branded by Smith & Wesson, made sure every part was properly lubed, and reassembled it. This was the only cleaning I did on the gun until the completion of the evaluation. However I did lube it along the way, using Tetra Gun Oil on the bolt and bolt carrier. That was it.


Not wanting to review the optic and focus just on the gun, all subsequent shooting was done with the gun’s carry handle attached and just used the iron sights. However it must be said that this ISM-V is a great choice for a combat red dot type sight. It co-witnessed with the front sight perfectly and allowed you to use the optic as a ghost ring sight for fast close range shooting.

Extending the shooting range further and you can use the optic as advertised. The accuracy was exceptional. Very consistent. As was the ejection. Unlike most AR-s, the CDD spit out all the brass in about a 4 foot area. Better than the typical 8 foot area of most AR builds.

ROUND COUNT: 880… no video.

One of the things I am interested in when it comes to weapon, is can they actually be applied to work.  I have to tell you… yes.  Since I don’t have a supply of Iraqi Insurgents to deal with, I have to find an alternative.  We do have coyotes out here and I was able to test the CDD rifle on a couple of them.  From the back of the truck into firing position, the CDD performed well.  From spotting 3 coyotes, I was able to put 2 of them down cleanly and quickly.

I did have one failure with the rifle, and I’m going to take that on the chin and admit it was Operator Error. I didn’t have the magazine seated properly, so when the weapon fired the first round, the magazine fell so it couldn’t feed the next one. That was my fault, and not the weapon’s. That being said, the functioning of the gun has been flawless. Again, this is something I was not expecting and was even hoping it would be otherwise.

When I benched the rifle, it was a very cold day. Not quite warm enough to keep me from shivering slightly. But it was still accurate enough to shoot under an inch. Open sights on a frosty, foggy day when I couldn’t even see the target clearly through the fog – I’ll take that accuracy happily. I bet on a warm clear day, that group could have been shrunk by half.


I’m giving this rifle a 9 out of 10. It loses points for the trigger, but everything else was solid.

Next time, Bax.  You are buying the ammo.

For article discussion relating to this rifle, see the thread on WTA.

Thank you to Mr. Kassnar of Charles Daly. 

The SIG GSR 1911 C3:

The SIG GSR 1911 C3:









What can I say? I had to have it when I first saw it and I’ve been working on getting one for a long time… today was the day it came home with me. Sexy little minx, the C3. The C3 is SIG’s answer to the CCW question. Colt used to make a pistol called the CCO, a gun that I have always wanted since I first saw it. Then Colt dropped it because Colt is run by a pack of useless idiots with balls slightly smaller than your average sun-dried raisins. Well, SIG, being smarter than the average bear, is making their own flavor of the CCO concept. Commander length barrel on top of an Officers sized frame. This is, and I am not saying this lightly – the PERFECT concealed carry combination.

You know how I’ve said that Kimber makes “one of the best” production 1911’s out there? Yeah, well SIG is the other part of that equation and they do make The Best production 1911 out there. I’d like to see some top gunsmiths make some top end customs based on the SIG GSR’s. In the photos, take a close look at the frame to slide fit. No, scratch that… Go to a stocking SIG dealer and look for yourself with your own eyes. To get better than that, you are going to have to buy a full house custom built gun for at least double the money… and even then I really don’t think you can get better than that. Not when you are talking Stainless and Aluminum… now if you were doing a solid steel gun with the same steel on the frame and the slide – maybe it might look tighter, but you can’t actually make it any tighter. There is ZERO play in this C3’s frame to slide fit. There is no play in the barrel.

Kimber still makes some great handguns, don’t get me wrong. I’m still a huge fan of Kimber’s Tactical series. But SIG’s GSR’s? They’ve taken it up a notch. The reason I got the C3 was that I wanted a good compact 1911, but I wasn’t quite sold on the Ultras… It’s the Bushingless Bull Barrel that turned me off. The C3 has a Bushing. It has a GI type follower… no full length guide rods… no paper clips required to take it down… no gimicks or bullshit… just a solid 1911 the way John Moses Browning would have approved of. Say hello to my new daily carry gun. To get better than this – I’d have to buy a Wilson Combat or a Nighthawk Custom.

Shooting the C3, I couldn’t be happier. It’s A+ on the Accuracy Score. Even out to 50 yards, it was precise. Reliability is exactly what you come to expect with SIG, meaning it was flawless. Yeah, you can say I’m a hard core SIG fanboy now. So what do I think is better, the SIG or the Kimber? Read this post again. The SIG’s don’t use plastic mainspring houses, let’s just leave it at that.

The Zen Of Handgunning

The biggest mistake novice pistoleros make is a simple matter of forgetting the basic fundamental skills. For some reason, they can tell you what it takes to shoot, but when they draw the weapon, it all goes out the window. For me, the biggest reason I enjoy handgun shooting is that it is more of a challenge. What makes it challenging is that handgunning is a whole person event. You can’t half-ass a pistol shot. It takes a combination of body and mind and an almost zen-like “one-ness” with your handgun to make those pistol shots consistent. And it all starts from the ground up.

The Stance, is something continually harped on by martial artists… placement of your feet, your balance on your feet… there is a reason serious martial artists harp on this so much. Everything is build off that foundation. For handgunning, it is the same. We are not tensing up to throw round-house kicks, but we are getting ready to take some recoil and to possibly make movement. But since we are not about to Chuck Norris anything, our feet should be shoulder width apart, nice and comfortable, knees unlocked and just slightly bent, and our weight just a bit forward… on the balls of the feet not the heels.

Going along with the stance is a huge debate in the Gunner’s Community about Weaver vs Isosceles… the correct answer is the same answer as “Mary Anne or Ginger?” The answer is “Both”. We should learn to use both and to transition seamlessly between the two. Which one we use and when all depends on the situation. If I am in an Interview Position, where I am talking to someone who I am not clear on the identity or Intent of the person – I stand with my weapon side away from that person. This puts me into the Weaver position. Should I be facing a potential threat and I’m wearing armor – I want as much of that armor facing the threat as possible so I’ll be set up for an Isosceles position. And you can’t say “I only use Weaver and nothing else” Well, that’s just stupid because in real life, target engagements do not happen in static positions like they do on the range. Say, I’m facing a target and it starts moving from my left to my right – and I track that target with my weapon, I am swinging through Weaver into Isosceles. Say that target goes from straight in front of my Weaver position and breaks to my left – then I bring my right foot forward and I am now into the Isosceles again. So train with both, because in reality, you will need both.

Get a grip: It’s almost scary when I hand a person at the gun counter a pistol and I watch them take up their grip on the gun… it’s really easy to spot the Ignorant and the Novice and the Braggarts and who is an experienced shooter. Women make the biggest mistakes in the grip department. The Ladies will often grab the grip very low, putting all fingers on the grip under the trigger guard, leaving almost an inch or more between their hand and the beavertail or base area of the pistol. This is the “I’ve never shot a gun before in my life” grip. I especially find it amusing when the guy gripping the pistol like that has made claims to being Super Secret Squirrels in the military. Uh huh. The other common problem grip is the Revolver Grip. This is where the Support Hand’s Thumb goes across the top of the firing hand, behind the pistol. This might be okay with a Revolver, and maybe that’s how you’ve done it all your life. But now days when you do that, you run the risk of the slide hitting your thumb and causing you some sudden discomfort and or lacerations. The grip should start out with the firing hand with the pistol inline with the bone of the forearm. This grip should be up as high on the gun as possible, to put the bore axis as low as possible. The support hand then wraps around the firing hand fingers, anchoring the pistol in a vice, with both thumbs together and if possible, pointing forward. The trigger finger is up along the frame of he pistol when the pistol is not aimed at the target. A good grip is critical because because a handgun does two things during firing. One is the recoil is going to make the gun kick back and up. Torque is going to want to make the gun twist. You can Recoil from the mass of the bullet and the pressure of the charge sending that bullet out of the gun and down range. You get torque because the barrel has rifling in it to impart spin on the bullet. A good grip controls Torque and Recoil and minimizes their disturbance.

The Sight Picture. Often I ask the students what they are looking at and what their sight picture looks like. I get some strange answers. First off, the Sight Alignment, how you should align the sights. Take a look at this simple Paintbrush rendering of a sight picture.

When we are shooting target sights, we use the sights with the top of the center post even with the rear sights and we center that across the equator of our target, ( a center hold) or we put the target on top of the center post, (a 6 O’clock hold) which is the least ideal sight picture one can have in my opinion. Now, for Defensive or Tactical shooting, we use just the Dots. Line up the dots, and put that dot on the center of the target as shown in the little .gif image. The Sights and the Target together make the Sight Picture. Now how do we look at the Sight Picture? Our eyes are trying to focus on 3 things at once… something that they are not able to do. So where are we looking at? Our eyes should take a sharp focus on just one thing… the Front Sight Post. In an engagement, we are looking at the target, first and always… When a threat is identified, we bring the weapon up into the eye level and we are now looking at a sight picture. From here, shift your eye’s focus to the Front Sight Post and apply pressure to the trigger. Simple as that. Don’t over-think this. You don’t have time. Place the Dot, and Place the Shot. Nothing else is important to look at.

The Trigger: Triggers get a lot of abuse… They get jerked and slapped and crushed just beaten on all the time. You can do everything right, and ruin the shot with even a slight case of trigger abuse. When you pull the trigger, do so with a steady pressure until the trigger breaks and the weapon is fired. To do this right, in a way that is consistent, it requires practice in large quantities. That means Dry-Fire Practice. So get some snap-caps and get to work. If you are using a pistol with a round barrel, balance a coin on it. You should be able to dry-fire the weapon without the coin falling. I like to use a laser to practice this as well. If you have a laser mounted to the weapon in the guide rod or the grip or wherever – great. You can activate the laser and dry-fire with it. The laser will clearly show you what you are doing wrong. If you do not have a laser, you can buy a cheap laser pointer for a couple of bucks. Many of these are the diameter of a pen. You can put the laser pointer in the barrel. It doesn’t have to line up with the sights. You are not aiming with it. But it will still show you what is happening. The laser should not move when you dry-fire the gun. Now, it’s important to practice dry-firing just as you would with live ammo. Important to note – Do not Dry-Fire any Rim-Fire type firearm without the use of a Snap-Cap. Most of the time with the laser, you will see the dot jump to the right. This is sometimes caused by a bad placement of the finger on the trigger. Use the Pad of the trigger finger, not the knuckle. The pull should be straight in line with the trigger’s arc of motion. Some triggers have Over Travel. This means the trigger breaks and fires before the trigger has moved all the way back… this allows the trigger to jump that last distance and smack the back-wall of the pull and this could throw the shot off. Over Travel can sometimes be remedied by the user, or sometimes it needs a Gun Smith to sort it. The trigger can be gritty, or heavy, or it could stack. Stacking is where the trigger pull gets heavier just before it breaks. There is a lot that can be wrong with the trigger pull’s qualities… but almost all of them can be overcome with lots of dry-firing practice. Okay, now that you have the trigger pulled back, and the weapon is fired – keep the finger on the trigger. Almost all Novice shooters instantly at the firing – take their finger off the trigger completely. Then they start all over again. This isn’t good. This leads to Trigger Abuse. Don’t beat your trigger. When you break the shot, keep your finger on the trigger. If you have a rifle, pistol, revolver, shotgun… take a moment there at the back wall. This is a part of Follow Through. Don’t let up off the trigger until the Front Sight is back on the target. Let the trigger forward slowly. You will feel the trigger reach a point before it’s all the way forward where it clicks. That’s the reset. As soon as it resets, start pulling it back again for your second shot and then so on.

Training Scars: There are tons of Training Scars out there, too many to deal with. But I’m going to talk about two of them. A Training Scar is any Bad Habit you have picked up that needs to be worked out. If you have Training Scars, the best thing to do is to get with a serious Firearms Trainer to work with you. Your shooting buddy doesn’t qualify. In fact, that could be one of the reasons you have Training Scars. Find a real Trainer who can watch you and see what you are doing wrong so he can help you do what is right. Anticipation can be fun and can sweeten the moment. Like when your lover comes out wearing some sort of sexy candy wrapper (what you tear off before consuming) that is some excellent anticipation. For those to young to know what I mean, think about Christmas Morning before Mom lets you open those presents. Or if your Extreme-Muslim – that moment just before Akmed pushes that button to detonate that vest you made for him. Those are examples of Anticipation. In shooting, Anticipation is a bad thing. Don’t anticipate Recoil. This leads to an instant before firing where you actually push the gun. Even just slightly… this can throw your shot off. Anticipation’s Best Friend is Flinch. Flinching is bad, because you can do all kinds of jacked up things including actually closing your eyes just before firing. Look, it’s a simple as this… you can’t hit the target if your not even looking at the thing. You are also legally liable for every round that you launch… so it would be in your best interest to keep your bloody eyes open, okay? Now, if you have Flinch it’s going to take a lot of training to get it out of you. The best way to get rid of flinch is to take your shooting back to Square One. Get out the old .22 pistol or even an Air Gun. (Airsoft isn’t accurate enough to really see what you are doing) Start shooting those low recoil guns, use the laser, and dry fire a lot to work out any sign of Flinching.

Rethinking the Glocks: The Model 23 RTF2.

I knew I was going to catch some flak from my 1911 Brothers out there for selecting, of all guns, the Glock in a .40. The Anti-1911. You wouldn’t believe the amount of flak I’m catching from work! They have been merciless. Let’s just say I don’t work at a Glock Shop. Guys, I am not turning my back on the 1911. I am still a 1911 Guy. But before I am a 1911 Guy, I’m a Gun Guy… which means I like guns… all guns.

The Glock’s biggest criticism is that it’s ugly. Many owners think it beautiful. Regarding the Glock’s beauty. I’ll be the first to say… it’s not Pretty. However the Function of it is what can make a Glock absolutely gorgeous. The low bore axis helps reduce muzzle flip. Combine that with that funky grip angle that helps return the gun to point of aim faster… now lets add in what really is a fine trigger pull… consistent and the same every time… with a super short Trigger Reset… And it’s simple. Nothing complicated. Nothing “trick”. It’s about as straight forward of a mechanism as it gets. The Glock really is the whole enchilada when it comes to Function. That’s why I am going to give the Glock another chance. I didn’t contact Glock for a Review gun, I ordered one for my own outright purchase.

When my Glock 23 arrived, I took off my SIG P229R and picked up the Glock. I had to carry it. I loaded it up with some 165 grain PDX1’s from my SIG Mags, and tucked it in. I know I usually advocate the test firing of your carry gun with your choice of carry ammo, but in this case, I had no concerns. There are 3 lines of guns have always felt comfortable with right out of the box. HK’s, SIG 22X series, and of course, Glock. See, I’ve owned a Glock before. A Gen1 17. I’ve been to this rodeo before… I know the Glock well enough and have always respected it’s reliability.

I dismissed them when the Gen2 came out, and I’ve not paid any attention to them since. They just didn’t feel right in my hand. The RTF2 grip feels much better to me, I don’t know why. I started looking at the Glocks again when we got in a 17RTF2 and I thought, “You know, this isn’t bad at all.” I’ve got friends who are into Glocks and they all kept recommending them. A lot of guys I respect recommended them. LittleLebowksi from is one of them, but the kicker came Las Vegas. At SHOT Show, my friend Mark Walters and I sat down at Ceaser’s Palace and we had a good conversation. During which Mark gave good testimony about his favorite gun, the Glock 23. It was a convincing argument. I promised I’d give Glock a second look. So I did.

I borrowed a Glock 17 and shot several magazines through it. After a few mags I got used to the grip angle. It shot just as I expected it would. Reliable and predictably accurate. I had no problem with it. However I’m just not all that interested in a 9mm. I’ve become reacquainted with the .40, a caliber I used to stake my life on back in Virginia. My 229 is incredible with the .40 when it comes to shootability, but it’s heavy. When I carry I do the “AllDamnDay” Carry and that usually means from 6AM to 10PM. That’s a long time to have a Heater strapped on. As much as love the SIG P229… and I really do… I want (no, not need… just want) a lighter gun for all day carry. A mid-sized gun, not a compact, not a mouse gun for pocket carry… a Mid sized gun in a mid sized caliber. From Glock that means Mark’s beloved model 23. The balance of form, function and firepower is just perfect for what I was looking for. The Glock 23 is just “it”.

The RTF2 grip texture is said to be too rough, but it does perfectly what it was designed to do. Lock the gun into your hand so it wont slip. Oh, it does that. But it isn’t “Fabric Friendly” so you gotta watch what you wear over it, and you sure as hell want to wear something under it… it can be… abrasive. But when you draw the gun, and it’s in your hand. It’s going nowhere.

The large Tritium front sight post of these Warren Tacticals.

The trigger is one of the things that Glock Owners like to brag about. It’s worth bragging on, because it’s pretty dang good. The pull is consistent, shot to shot. But the trigger reset is what really sets it apart. The distance which you let the trigger move forward, to where it resets so you can fire it again… very short in the Glock. One of the shortest, if not the shortest resets on the market. What this does for the shooter is to allow that trigger to be run quickly and efficiently… which makes for fast and accurate shooting. Something Glocks are very good at. When I roll into an IDPA match, I note who’s shooting Glocks. More and more frequently it’s the guys with those Glocks that are on the tops of the Leader Boards.

Accuracy? That goes without saying. Glocks are going to just as accurate as any other service auto. And when it comes to practical accuracy, they can be even more so. From the holster to putting rounds into the target, they are just as fast as the classic old 1911 while shooting groups that rival John M Browning’s Masterpiece. This is why so many Law Enforcement Agencies have adopted Glocks. Combine this accuracy, the utter reliability, and the simplicity of the Glock system, you have something a Department can issue to all its officers with little more training necessary than with a service revolver. Many departments have reported improvements in qualification scores overall after a Glock adoption.

Does this mean I have gone over to “The Dark Side”? Why, yes, I think it does..