The 1911 and I

PW9108LI find it interesting that having worked for a holster company for 10 months, I don’t have a decent EDC holster for my 1911.  Sure I have a leg rig.  And an Army Field rig… but I’m not one that I can carry concealed with.  That’s most strange to me.  Because I’ve been working on my 1911 a bit here and there all day long.   Just holding it, gives me some comfort and satisfaction in the beauty of the thing.
Mine is not a fancy 1911.  It’s not shiny and it’s not gleaming with black tactical pretense.  It is, just what it is.  And that’s why I love it so much.  It’s very honest about what it is.  Springfield Armory may have discontinued it… the “GI” model, but I think it was a mistake… because for some reason, I think it was the best 1911 Springfield Armory has ever made.
The finish is worn.  In places, down the bare metal.  The wood grips are scratched and scared.  It’s heavy, being made of solid steel.  The sights are the old style, rudimentary and hard to see.  The hammer spur is long, and with GI grip safety – it can bite you.  It’s not the most pleasant gun to look at or fire for any amount of time.  But it has something else….
Reliability.  I’ve not had a failure with this pistol… Not a single jam or misfire… and the accuracy has been above par.  I trust this gun.  It’s one of the few guns I keep loaded at all times.  (Which reminds me… it’s time to rotate the magazines)  It has never let me down when I put it to the test and it has done everything I’ve ever asked of it.

It reminds me of myself.  I’m not old, but I feel a lot older than I should for a man of my age.  It’s not the years, it’s the miles, they say.  My finish is worn and so are my parts.  I’m not pleasing to look at, and I’m a bit too heavy, and I can bite when not handled properly.  But I am reliable, and I hit hard, and I hit true.

Getting back into the job market… looking for employment.  I’m suddenly no longer optimistic.  I’m not as young as I used to be, and my family is larger and their necessities are more expensive… Feeding them is a challenge.  If an Employer is like a Gun Buyer… Why would they pick an old ugly GI 1911 when for less money they could buy one of these younger M&P’s or Glocks?

Such thoughts have depressed me greatly.  Regardless of that, I’ll be packing my 1911 from now until…  Well… I need to find a good EDC holster for this thing.  I think perhaps, I shall make one.

This 1911 is special to me.  It is an almost identical clone to one issued to me when I was in uniform and found myself in a kinetic altercation. The result was both my adversary and myself laying on the ground fifty yards apart.  I credit my armor for saving my life from his hit on me.  I credit the 1911 with denying him a second shot.    This is something that no Glock or M&P has done for me.  And well, this 1911 didn’t either, but it is a mirror image of the one that did.  That one was a Colt and had to be returned to the armory.  This clone was made by Springfield Armory.  I consider it to be close enough for a memento.   The fact that it’s served so well ever since I acquired it is only a happy bonus.

A changing world

Vladimir Putin is more popular than ever and is going to take the Ukraine with little effort.
Canada is getting itchy.
Scotland is going to split off from the United Kingdom.
Maryland State Police seem to be pissing on the Constitution more than Capitol Hill Insiders.

These are interesting times.  What should we do about all this?

What we need to do, is to get a grasp of our own legacy.  Our American heritage… our American Spirit.  American Exceptionalism.   To quote Mufasa, “You have forgotten who you are.”
We need to remember.

 

Harley and Me

I tried to look at some Harley Davidson Motorcycles last Saturday with Caryn and Evil Jim.  We went to a normal bike shop first, Honda’s, Zukes, Yamas, Kawis…. The stuff I normally like.  And of course I found… oh… about a dozen bikes I could have ridden home.
And then we went to the Harley shop.

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Outside the shop was some used bikes lined up.  One in particular looked most appealing to me.  I liked it’s look because it had a nice fat front tire that matched the look of the bike, but it was more of a Sportster 1200.  This meant it was automatically about 2000 dollars over priced.  But I was digging it.
And then the salesman was so kind as to fire it up for me.  Thankfully this killed my interest in any Harley about instantly.  It was shaking like someone was tazering an over caffeinated Michael J Fox.  I expected to see stuff to start flying off the thing.  Also, it was just loud as fu**.  Coming from a lifetime of firing guns of varying calibers with varying levels of earpro – I can tell you.  It was loud as fu**.  Painfully so.  And not loud as in Voice of Almighty deep rumble loud.  I’m talking more M-60E fired in an indoor range and you didn’t get your earpro on before the jackhole pulled the trigger.  Trust me – it’s that loud.
I stood there looking at this thing violently shaking as it was abusing what is left of my hearing… The sales guy was smiling like he was proud of this.   I don’t understand this.  To me, this thing is missing some parts or something is seriously wrong in that engine… and for the love of all that is holy, put a Muffler on that thing.
We went inside to look around.  I like the looks of the Iron 883, and in most bikes, an 883 is a good sized bike.  I love the Mid Sized bikes.  Between 750 and 1000, that’s my sweet spot.  But nooo… not in a Harley.  In the Leather Chaps world of HD, the 883 is a “Girls Bike”.  Or worse yet, it’s considered a “Starter Bike”.  Really?
Let’s see… consider the flag ship bike in the shop was a speed boat green sparkly festival of bling for over 30,000 Dollars US.  You have got to be kidding me.  What with the HD Shield in the tires, and half the dealership being SWAG… I just can’t take Harley as a serious motorcycle brand.   It’s too ridiculous.   It’s too BRAND and not enough BIKE.   It’s not about Riding, it’s about being in a Cult.
Harley is the Scientology of Motorcycles.

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You made one good bike, Harley.  ONE.  And you cancelled it.  What the hell is wrong with you people?  You are so over stuffed with your own Egos and calling yourselves Bikers and talk about living the Bike Life – but I never – NEVER see you freaking posers out riding in bad weather.   I never see you guys actually doing any hard core riding.   I see your shit in TRAILERS and in Garages.    You got a Harley – Feh – You have a Garage Queen.   So unless you are riding 8 thousand miles a year or more – You can just STFU about your Harley.

Never Go Full Harley.

The Challenger

The Dodge Challenger is an interesting car.  It’s a big car that can go fast.  Fundamentally, that makes it scary.  It’s a Muscle Car at heart.  I’m not going to bring up the original Challengers because they have nothing to do with the new ones other than some subtle character lines on the outside.

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This is the Challenger RT “Classic Package”.  Really the only thing classic about it are the throwback style wheels that remind me of all my favorite HotWheels as a kid… I have to say, I really like the look of this car.  Blood Red, with those wheels… It hits a spot with me.  Unfortunately, this car would attract way too much Cop Eye for me to ever have any fun in.    And really that “HEY LOOK AT ME!” color is just not me.  It’s not as bad as the bright Orange and Yellow Challengers, but still…. it’s pretty bad in the grand scheme of things.  I do like the look though.  Just on someone else’s car.

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Then I test drove this one.  I had driven a Challenger before, but it was a base model, with a V-6.  That car felt huge and ponderous and it didn’t feel all that great.  That hood really felt like it was way out there, and it just felt like I was piloting a barge.   This model though, was different.  The Hemi V-8 really makes this a different car.  And it was a Manual.  This one was better.  This one was the RT Shaker edition.  The Shaker as in the Hood Scoop that would shake in the originals… But it doesn’t do that on this one as the hood scoop is basically only a cold air intake.  Which is good.  But not giving you the ram air effect of the original.  So for the most part all it is about is the look.  And it looks good.  The hood scoop is very visible when you are driving.  But not really getting in the way.

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Your Gun Company’s Top 5 changes

Pick a Gun Company.   Any existing Gun Company, big or small.  You are now the CEO, Chairman of the Board, and Majority Shareholder.  It’s your company.  You can do anything you want with it.    What are the TOP FIVE things you would do with your Gun Company?

I’d take SIG SAUER.
1.  First thing I’d do, right off the bat… End the relationship with iTAC Defense.  iTAC is SIG’s goiter.  It’s the unwanted, unloved tumor that people tend to get rid of as soon as possible.  You have well engineered and made firearms, and then you have this cheap plastic crap that devalues the weapon system that the iTAC item is bundled with.  It’s AOL installed on your new computer.  The holster is a terrible knock off of the SERPA… it actually makes the SERPA look good.  The Red Dots are okay on the outside, but the field of view is too small and the Dot is too big and the optical quality is much like trying to see through a Vegas Fremont Street dive bar… DANK.  Dark and murky.  Do not get me started on the SIG Lights.
If SIG is going to Bundle holsters and lights and Red Dots… SIG has got to realize it’s intended market position and select accessories that are in that same position.  SIG wants to be the Mercedes Benz of the Firearms World – Who’s the Mercedes of those accessories?  Red Dots?  Trijicon.  Lights? Surefire.    Make some deals with those guys and make it happen.

2.  Kill the P250.  The P250 is SIG’s SIGMA.  You might think it’s just fine or you may have thought the SIGMA is fine.  You are wrong, and all your taste is in your mouth.  You are a Philistine, and your opinion is invalid.  The new 320 may be an improvement on the P250, but that’s a low hurdle.  I’d kill the 320 as well.   Because a Modular Handgun is a good idea, being able to fit a handgun to the hand of the shooter is idea thats time has come.  But the P250 is a really bad execution of that idea.   Everyone else has done this the right way, simply and effectively with swappable panels.  This started with the Walther P99 and now most everyone has done this – HK has done it the best.  SIG goes and does something completely different, which is fine… but they did it completely wrong.    Changing grip frames to go up and down in sizes of the gun it’s self… We’ve see that before in the Dan Wesson revolvers.  Nice execution there… but not exactly a success in the market.   Why is that? Because no one really wants that.  Why have 1 gun that changes when you can have 2?  I’d rather sell someone two guns.  They would rather own two guns.  How do I know?  Because I’d rather have two guns.  Changing calibers is different.  That’s cool.  Look at the TC Contender and Encore pistols.  That works.  But if the Contender or Encore was all the same caliber and only let you change barrel lengths – I don’t think it would have been the success that we see today.  The other thing the Contenders and Encores have going for them are that they are well crafted.  The P250 may be well crafted – but it doesn’t feel that way to me.  It feels as solid as a 68 VW Beetle that every time you shut the door you leave a line of powdered rust under the door sills.    It feels tinny and hollow.  Exactly in the same way a Glock or XDM or M&P doesn’t.  SIG needs a serious polymer framed Stryker fired pistol.  Not a 250 with a conversion kit stuck in it.

3.  This.  And This.   What are you making guns in Turkey now?  Sarsilmaz your contractor now?  Come on.  What the hell is this?  This is SIG’s version of the DONK.   This has got to stop.  Along with it, all the different color variations that are separating the SIG Brand from the SIG core foundation.  I counted 26 different versions of the P226.  Twenty Six.  I’m sorry, but that is just pants on the head retarded.   That needs to be trimmed down.  You make 20 different pistol types and each one has a couple dozen versions.  And that’s not even counting the pistol versions of the rifles… If I did, that’s 26 again.  That just… It gives me that sharp stabbing pain right behind my eyes… that headache… SIG – you give me THAT headache.

4.  The P210 is literally more than twice the actual price it should be.  I’ll give you 1200 bucks MSRP on them.  No more.  I’d make the P210 pistol something that every enthusiast can obtain… and by doing that I’d burst open the flood gates and take the single stack 9mm market by storm.  And don’t tell me that it’s so bloody complicated to machine.  This is the age of 5 axis CNC milling when you are talking about a pistol made in the age of hand machining.  You can make it faster and cheaper without sacrificing quality.  By limiting the production you inflate to value.  Look at it this way – everyone competing with an X5 – should be competing with a P210.  Make that your flagship line.  Don’t call it a “Legend”  Others will call it that for you.

4.  Your State Compliant guns.  GONE.  Screw those states.  I’m not going to make a special gun that compromises my product to capitulate with Anti-Gun bullshit legislation.   I wouldn’t sell a single item in those states.   Not only that… I’d move out of New Hampshire and move to a state that is unquestioned in regards to the Second Amendment.  I’d move to Arizona.  The right to keep and bear arms in AZ is not up for debate.  That’s where a premier gun maker needs to be based.  Not in New England.  New England had the industrial roots at the turn of the century, which is why the great gun companies grew there – but that time has passed.   It’s time to go to where your supporters are.  The tax dollars you generate for a state that doesn’t support your industry – is folly.  Move.  Close every office, move ever person and asset, liquidate what’s left.  Restart anew.  That’s what needs to happen.

5.  Where’s my Shotgun?   Specifically, where is my semi-automatic, tactical shotgun?

Overland

If you say Off Roading to different people, it’s going to mean different things.  And I don’t pretend to be an expert at anyone of them, but I’ve tried them…
Rock Crawling has never had much appeal to me.  Fighting your vehicle over obstacles may be fun for some… Twisting axels and drive shafts and blowing your tire’s bead off the rims… no, I don’t consider that fun.  Sure, it’s fun to watch others do it.  But I’ve never been tempted to do it for sport.  I’ve done it a couple times out of necessity in my Bronco or my Scotsdale… but I only did it to get out of areas I got into and had no other way out of.  No, I’ll avoid rock crawling as much as possible.
I’ve never liked Mudding either.  Sure it can be fun, but it can get you stuck tighter than anything else.  See, the Earth doesn’t like Mud Boggers and Mother Earth strives to punish them… Sucking them down ever deeper into her grasp.   I was once stuck for over 14 hours when I went Mudding with some folks in Washington State.  We were so stuck, a couple of us had to hike out to find Search and Rescue.   The Rescue vehicle showed up, pulled them out (While me and another fellow hung out at the Rescue Station and waited for them to make it back) and then got stuck them selves.   That cured me of all my desire for Mudding.   And then as further punishment, the Mud will get into your axles and bearings and everywhere else it can cause havoc and if you don’t get it washed out good – will act as a grinding compound to eat your vehicle alive.  No, no thank you.
Now then there is Overlanding.   This is my kind of off roading.  Overlanding is about traveling.  It’s about going some place, not just getting through some thing.  The way I see it, Overlanding has a point.  A destination as well as the journey.
I see a lot of Off Road vehicles guys are setting up and a lot of them just make me scratch my head.  What are they set up for?   To me, it seems they are set up for looks only.  Some look like they could be set up for Mudding or Rock Crawling until you look closer.  Few are set up to be an actual Bug Out Vehicle, yet that’s what their owners are saying they are.  I’m sorry, but Jeep is cool with your 454 on a stock 18 gallon tank turning 44″ tires isn’t going to get you much distance, so I hope you are not Bugging too far Out.
To me, a good Bug Out Vehicle has to be a good Overland Vehicle.  Imagine it this way… You have to get from one coast to the other, without going on a Freeway or passing through a city and avoiding as much population as possible, and avoiding Points of Entry along the way.  Now plot that course out.  You may have to take some trails or fire roads.  You may have to cross open BLM Land.  Forestry Trails.  Follow power line trails.
Okay, let’s get serious here.  Think about your Zombie Plan.  Your SHTF Plan.  Your Bug Out Plan… Where are you Bugging Out too? How are you going to get there.  Now think about who you are taking with you.  Okay, now think about what you are going to need.  Now think about how you are going to take that with you.  Yeah, just having a 4×4 isn’t the solution.   You may not actually need a 4×4.  If your plan is just “getting up into the mountains”… You need a better plan.
This is where Overlanding has some good value.  It’s like a how we go to Shooting Courses to learn the art of gunfighting… but for Bugging Out.  Get out there… get into the wilderness. Get away from Wi-Fi.  Disconnect from things.  And put yourself to the Bug Out Test.  By actually Bugging Out for awhile.
Man, I do miss my Chevy Scotsdale 4×4 right now.

The New Chevy

I’ve taken no small amount of flak for my 2013 Chevy Equinox.  But let me point out some thing.  The Feds no longer own any GM stocks.  It’s all been sold, and all monies borrowed from the Feds have been repaid.  So you can stop with the Government Motors bullshit. It’s over and that line is tired.  If you are going to remain a hater – at least be a creative one. Okay?  At least make yourself entertaining.  Come on, I drive an Equinox.  I can use all the entertainment I can get.

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That’s what I drive. V-6, 300+ horses, dual exhausts, alloy wheels, and all the charisma you need to stay solidly locked in The Friend Zone.

Don’t get me wrong – the EQ is a great little station wagon (if you ask the local constabulary) or SUV (if you ask Chevy and Motor Trend) that gets good mileage, has enough juice for it’s purposes, cruises the free way and back roads quite well… and it is quiet and comfortable and has some very excellent luxury features that I truly appreciate from my previous vehicle’s complete lack of luxury.

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510 CC’s of Desert Racing Fury – Truly a badass machine. Luxury Items – Hand Guards, Electric Starter, And a seat hard enough to hammer forge Katanas over.
Man… I miss that bike!

 

 

Well, it did have hand guards.  And an electric starter.  Rode that thing last winter.  Sure it was badass and hard core… but to be honest, a freaking Utah Winter?  What the hell was I thinking?  I was not right in the head.  This winter?  The EQ is a godsend.  Heated Seats.  Used to laugh at those.  They are, as I found out, completely wonderful.  And a touch screen XM infotainment system is fantastic.  Back Up Camera – awesome.  And it’s a handsome looking Cross-Ute.  It is one of the top selling Mid Sized Ute’s on the market, for good reason.  It’s totally competent in everything.  I do like it.  But it’s boring.  Boring in the same way that Nice Guys always end up in The Friend Zone.  It’s lacking Sex Appeal.  Bravado.  Machismo.  Passion.  Chevy has a few cars that have stepped up in the Testosterone Department.

One word:  Badass.

One word: Badass.

The latest Gen of the Camaro is a solid looking muscle car.  It’s badass on the inside, outside, under the hood, from the front, and from the back.  It’s a badass car.  It looks badass.  It sounds badass.  It is – badass.  It also attracts Cop Eye like Democrats to Tax Dollars.  While it has all the fun features a muscle car needs, it doesn’t quite have the level of comfort that I want.  I want a bit more visibility and a bit lower profile when driving past the local law dogs looking to make quota. I need less Cop Eye yet I don’t want to give up the cojones, if you know what I mean.  Something more balanced.   And something that doesn’t get you into that Mustang vs Camaro back and forth trash talk I find irritating.  That, and I think I would prefer the new 2015 Mustang anyways. But that’s not what I need either.  Because both of these cars lack something else I need.  A Back Seat.  No, I mean a Real back seat.  Not that I’d be in it, but I have sons who are as tall as I am, one as Big as I am, and I need to be able to carry at least 3 of them.    That means I need a full sized sedan, with 4 doors.

Now, who makes a Full Sized Sedan that has Cojones?  There is the Dodge Charger.  There is BMW’s 5 Series.  There is the Mercedes – I can’t even afford to look at those. And there is Audi, and we have a couple from Japan.  There is the Chrysler 300 SRT  And there is the Ford… no… wait… Ford doesn’t have anything.  And Cadillac’s CTS-V (or VSport). Sticking Domestic Market, the Axis Powers are out.  Sorry Germany. Sorry Japan.  That leaves the Chrysler… Which is far too expensive.  So is Cadillac.  So those guys are out.  So really that leave it down to the Dodge Charger… the Cop Car of Choice for the last few years.   And this guy…

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Now we’re talking.

The Chevy SS.  Here’s why I like it… no… LOVE IT.  I would take this car over everything else… Even the more expensive or Axis options.  For one, it’s got Cajones.  It’s a muscle car though and through.  Yet it’s wearing a button down collar shirt and a suit jacket.  Even has a bow tie.  With jeans and sneakers.  I like that.  Far less Cop Eye, and it’s going to give the Dodge Charger a run for it’s money in LE Agency Sales soon.  In fact, it’s looks have been compared to the Malibu – a Rental Fleet standard.  This is actually an advantage.  It’s automotive camouflage.  It’s a Sleeper.  A Q Ship.  I can go fast, and then when there are cops about, I can slow down and get back with traffic and blend right in.  Inside, the SS has the luxury items I have grown to appreciate.  And it has good visibility all the way around.  You can drive this car every day.  You can live with it.  It’s not a Weekend Only track car. It’s a family car.  With Cajones.  I really think Chevy has a home run here.  Pontiac had to too with the G8, but Pontiac had one critical flaw… It was a freaking Pontiac and I hate Pontiacs.  Put that red arrow head badge on something and you’ve ruined it for me.  Yes, everyone likes to point out that it’s really a Holden – great – I’m glad you can regurgitate the oft-repeated obvious.  However since Chevy owns Holden – It’s still Chevy through and through, so suck it.  The interior is all Chevy with their new styling that I find very attractive.  They have been putting out nicer interiors than any other Domestic and most Foreign.  I’ve been in some new cars and their interiors feel like they were from 15 years ago but with an iPad glued to the dash.

Here’s the thing, and you can argue amongst yourselves about this… Unlike other companies that took Government Bail Out Money – General Motors actually put it to good use and have transformed the company.  They are making good cars now. Look at what they were making before… Crap.  It was all crap.  I hated everything Chevy was making that wasn’t a Truck.  Now look at them… Well, don’t look at the Volt.  But look at everything else. They look good.  They run good.  They are are making solid cars now.  Hell, even the Malibu is a decent – albeit coma-inspiring – car.

Now look at S&W.  Under the Clinton Administration S&W signed a contract with the Department of Urban Housing.  I’m not going to go into that, you can read about that here.  Or Google it all up all on your own.  The fallout of this was that all True Patriots gave S&W the middle finger.  I did too.  Just like GM.  Yeah, I was hating on GM too… which was not hard to do because like I said before – I already did.  Save for the trucks.  Okay, back to S&W… When S&W was brought back to All American Ownership after that DUH Contract SNAFU, they needed to seek forgiveness from the American Gun Owners.  They did this and brought out the S&W .500 Magnum.  Because – forgive me for using this phrase – “Because ‘Merica”.  They made the Biggest Baddest Handgun on the planet.  And then they made the .460 because they decided to make something actually usable on that big beautiful frame.  Then they brought out their 1911′s.  And even redid the SIGMA into something actually good – the M&P.  And then they brought out their AR-15′s.  They brought out things that the American Shooter loves.  And it wasn’t a half assed job – they put effort into them – They were making Good Stuff.

Chevy, “The Heartbeat of America” is doing the same thing.  Like S&W they have taken their lumps.  They have learned their lesson.  And they are making Good Stuff… and they deserve our forgiveness.   GM employs a lot of American.  Chevy employs a lot of good people.  I know some of them.  They like their Guns and they dislike Obama as much as we do.  They could use our support.  Especially since they are making some great vehicles.

I do not even need to go there with the new Corvette Stingray.  Because – Damn.

Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.

Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.

 

The Shotgun

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The shotgun remains the most versatile arm we have in our armories.  For home defense, it is without equal.  Yet they are always forgotten and neglected.  They are not the guns that people pull out to show friends.  The classic 870 Remington is still my favorite.  Now, my friends at Scalpel Arms have taken the 870 to heart as well… They did the 870 proud.

The finish is pure art… but what I like about it best is the 12.5″ Barrel.  It looks good… nice and tight.  And done right, will still shoot very well.  But I think I like 14″ the best… but I’m not sure.  I need to test both side by side to see which works the best.

Frequently Asked Questions from Facebook Messages.

What is your favorite pistol?
Depends on the intended use.  Since I mostly talk about defense use of firearms, I’m guessing you are talking about my favorite defensive pistol… In that case it’s the Glock 23.   I’m sure most readers are shocked about that.  (Sarcasm) Overall and ultimately, the favorite pistol that I posses is my 1911.  It’s a bone stock Springfield 1911 GI model and it is my favorite handgun.  While I do not shoot it or even talk about it with any regularity, it holds a special fondness in my heart that I can’t explain, and if I had to explain it to you then you would not understand.  My favorite gun to just “plink with” would probably be my Beretta 92FS.  And I can’t explain that either.

What is your favorite caliber?
Again, depends on the purpose… overall and ultimately my favorite cartridge is probably the .17HMR. That little round continues to baffle and amaze me.  It’s insanely accurate and the damage that the .17 Hornady V-Max load is capable of is almost supernatural.  If you are talking defensive cartridges for handguns, well, 10mm but I am economically disadvantaged to enjoy it as much as my appetite for it allows.  So I satisfy myself with the shorter and weaker version called the “.40 S&W”.    For big bore rifle hunting, 7mm Remington Magnum is my pick for longer range hunting while .45-70 is my choice for closer range work.  However anything I can do with .45-70, I can probably do and would rather do with a 12 Gauge Slug.

If you had to “Pick Just One”?
That’s easy, and I’ve said it before… If I could only have just one gun, it would be a Remington 870 12 Gauge.  Potent and versatile, I can hunt anything from humming birds to African Elephants by just using the right shell for the job.  And I’ve hit targets with it from 0 to 400 yards (Have Witnesses) with my 18″ smooth bores, nothing fancy or specialized.

Do you still hate the AR-15?
No.  When I wrote “That” the AR-15 was finicky and troublesome, and I personally had several that were completely useless as rifles.  Moving on from that time, the AR-15 platform has had a lot of development and people have generally figured out how to build them to run.  Now days, even a cheap entry level AR from a 3rd tier maker is going to run pretty well if you take care of it.  And a good one will run pretty well even if you don’t.  My current rifles have reliability records that I would not have believed when I wrote the Why I Hate The AR-15 article.  Daniel Defense remains my top choice for an off the shelf rifle.  Crusader Weaponry for a custom rifle.