I was hanging out at a certain gun store the last couple days, and they have a .223 caliber pistol in stock. I had to examine this thing closely. I’ve avoided liking these because I fee the ATF will reverse it’s decision on these things and they well be deemed to be SBR’s at the flick of a Bic pen and then the ATF will ask for all the records of all those that bought these things. I felt like they were a potential trap.
I made the mistake of handling the bloody thing again and thinking “why not?” It might legally be a pistol, but it’s a little rifle in all reality. The fact that you can take this “pistol” and shoulder it and fire it as easily as any SBR, but without dealing with all the SBR red tape is very attractive to me. Now I’m wanting one. DANG IT.
I am quite tempted to get an AR-15 Pistol and but a “Arm Brace” on it. Because I love SBR’s but hate the red tape that goes will them. Here’s the thing though, and the reason I am hesitant about this… The ATF has changed it’s mind in the past about things and there is no reason that they couldn’t change their mind on this. This “Brace” thing looks too much like a stock, even if it isn’t. For some reason.
Because I look at these things… and the first thing that comes to mind is “Stock”. It just does. It has the profile of a stock and you can shoulder it like a stock, so realistically, what’s the difference? I’m afraid at some point in the future, the ATF is going to change their mind on these and all the sudden you are going have an illegal SBR on your hands. Or even worse, you can be well within the guide lines and yet some local Officer Captain America is going to see it and declare it to be an SBR and arrest you and confiscate the “pistol”. Because Cops in general, do not have the best track record of knowing all the ins and outs of Gun Laws. We would think that they do, and a lot of them really do… but some don’t. MAC talks about being That Guy, well, there is always That Cop. And you don’t want to be that guy that meets That Cop. Especially considering that these things could be legally reversed overnight.
What we need to do is just get rid of the Barrel Length restrictions on rifles and shotguns. Just do away with those line items in the NFA. And well, if we are doing away with those, let’s just toss out the NFA altogether because it’s a package of regulations that only serve to create infringements and stumbling blocks for things you can still get if you are willing to jump through the hoops. So they effectively do nothing but piss us off.
So I’m going to avoid a potential ATF trap with these Braces.
I 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.
Well, let’s just get this out of the way. I have a new desk calendar, so that means it’s a whole new year. I’m really not all that hyped about the whole New Years thing. This just means we’re all a little older and we still keep plugging along doing what we’re doing… except now we’re doing it with 58 Billion in new taxes and 40,000 new laws. This also means we get to start worrying about Taxes and all that… Let me find my party whistle for that.
I started out 2014 as optimistic as ever, but that faded faster than my list of New Years Resolutions. Which was first to have one. I couldn’t find it. SO.
For us Gun Guys, the New Years means getting ready for SHOT SHOW which is in a couple weeks. Why is SHOT always in January? Really it needs to be in March. March is a much more reasonable time. Spring time. The new beginning. Where as January is the dead of winter and I’ve yet to travel to or from SHOT without having to use Four Wheel Drive at some point. Well, Last year I did drive a 4×4, but didn’t engage it. We were however engaged by Homeland Security armed with HK MP5 topped with EOtechs… And this year I’m looking at a lack of snow and now suddenly wondering if I should fly to Salt Lake and rent a 4×4 for good luck. Alas, the flight is already booked and the down side is that the flight plan actually takes me to LAX before rebounding back to Vegas. So not only do I have to enter California, but I’ll be in Los Angeles of all places. I must have been unusually cruel to puppies in another life. But still… SHOT SHOW. I’ve got a schedule of meetings I’m putting together, and in between, I’m going to be looking at some of the New Hotness.
Already there is much buzz about the Remington R-51 pistol, which you have all already seen. Quick note to all those telling to look at the Remington R-51 Pistol. Yes, we’ve seen the new Remington R-51 and are blown away by the resurrection of the strange design from 1917 that was then a commercial failure but will now be a dramatic renaissance. It is a good looking pistol and different from what is current fashion. We are sure it will sell like hot cakes. However it does not impress me. The action seems wonky to me and I don’t like it. While it has some nice features, I’m just not as impressed as some folks. I eagerly await the return of the Savage 1907 and the Borchardt C-93. I shall start saving immediately. But I’ll look at this new R-51 and give it a fair shot. I will strive to be open minded, as I always am and will freely admit that I was wrong if it turns out that I am. I’ve changed my opinions on many things as new information comes to light. So while I’m not impressed in the slightest, if it feels good in the hand, if it has a good trigger, those are certainly pluses. But reliability is my main concern and reliability will not be proven at SHOT Show.
It’s been some time since my last article for Concealed Carry Magazine. I’ve been meaning to write one sooner, but to be perfectly honest, most of the new concealable handguns that have been coming out have just not sparked much of an interest in me. I’ve been bored with most of the options out there and no one wanted another Compact 1911 article. Most of this time off I’ve been packing SIG C3’s and 229’s and all year I’ve been packing a G23-RTF2 and that has all been from Mark Walter’s bad influence on me.
At SHOT 2010 I trudged through the show looking for something that peaked my interest enough to review. As I looked at all the new guns on the market, I really struggled with the malaise that’s been plaguing me when it comes to small handguns. That was until I walked into the S&W booth. They showed me their new Bodyguard BG380. Instantly my Spock Eyebrow went up. What’s this? A little auto pistol that I want to go shoot? Since Kahr hasn’t come out with a 10mm MK10 pistol, this would do.
While the BG380 is the same size as the other pocket .380’s that have dominated CCW handgun sales for the last two years, the new Smith is different. The difference comes from the whole feel of the gun. It’s as if S&W took an M&P pistol over to Walt Disney and put it in their “Honey, I shrunk the thing” machine. Normally when you shrink something, you lose a lot of qualities other than just size and weight… much like the Doberman Pincer shrunk to Toy Pincer size gives you a twitchy, fickle, and delicate thing. These Micro M&P’s are just as serviceable and snarly as the original… just in pocket size.
The most unique feature of the BG380 is the in-frame laser module. Insight Technologies makes it for S&W and we’ve not seen anything similar out there. The Module, should it fail, is replaceable. It’s fairly bright, but not as cohesive as other laser aiming devices from other companies. This isn’t a problem as this pistol isn’t meant for any longer range shooting, but I would have liked a more powerful laser. If I was Crimson Trace or Viridian, I’d be working on my own module to drop into the Bodyguard. The limitation on power comes of course from the batteries, and having the batteries within the frame as they did it makes me scratch my head. You can only shove so much battery in there. I’d have rather engineered the weapon to carry the batteries in the floorplate of the magazine and had power contacts on the sides of the magazine body. Dewalt knows how to do this, it wouldn’t be hard and they would have been able to use more battery. More battery is a good thing.
Some shooters argue against lasers as unnecessary gadgets. It’s true that a laser isn’t a necessary thing, but any device that gives you any sort of an advantage in target engagement or intimidation is a huge benefit… especially with pocket sized guns. Another thing some guys claim, is that sights are unnecessary to such small guns. However I checked the law books and I didn’t find any exceptions to gun laws or liability of gun use for small guns. You launch a bullet out of a small gun, you are just as liable for where it goes. And for a pocket gun with the purpose of defensive use, that bullet needs to go exactly where it will do the most work. Shot Placement is even more critical in small defensive guns.
The pistol its self is just the platform from which the projectile is launched… and the BG380 gives you a small, concealable platform that you can have on you at all times, or just when greater discretion is required. The only thing one is giving up with the BG380 is power. I can’t let this review go by without mentioning that I consider the .380 Auto round to be the minimum cartridge which I deem as acceptable for defense. It falls someplace in the Force Continuum between “Harsh Language” and 9mm. I would only use it when guns of greater caliber are not an option. While I am not a huge fan of the .380 auto, I must admit to being a fan of the Bodyguard. It’s cool, it’s reliable, it works. It’s an absolute buy for those looking for a pocket pistol.
Had the chance to train with Steve Reichert today. Not as an Instructor, but as a Student. And I had a great time. Photos can be found here.
Steve Reichert puts on a top notch training class. It was an honor to train with a man of his experience and insight. I can honestly say that he made me a faster shooter. From 2.3 seconds to 1.42 for first round hits on steel from the holster. It was hot, muggy, and we had some rain showers, but we trained on.
Starting out, there was a lot of repetition in some core fundamentals that many instructors gloss over because they are not fun to train… but the Wax on Wax off approach to building good habits made the difference in building our speed and confidence.
Steve is a beast with his SIG P226. And he shows you how to do the same with your gun. Some people may be intimidated about going to a class taught by a certified professional badass like Steve, but I found him to be very personable, professional, without the elitist chest pounding. The same went with his assistant instructor. I was impressed. Excellent training. Some of you may not know who Steve is. Watch this:
The range was gorgeous… The Spartan Ranch in Maysville, NC. If you get a change to train there, with Steve… Take it. You will not be disappointed and you will come away sharper than when you first arrived.
Monday I picked up a Glock 36. And after spending some time with it, I have some mixed feelings.
The gun it’s self is great. A tight little compact .45 that is both accurate and reliable, with several spare mags and a Galco holster. A good package. It has tritium night sights too, which to me is a requirement for a defensive pistol. There is nothing wrong with the gun.
I dig the fact that I’ve got a .45 I can trust to carry again. And I do. It actually shoots very well. And it’s light weight. I don’t even know it’s there, if you know what I mean. It just disappears. In all seriousness, it packs all day long as well as a S&W Bodyguard .380.
But I’m just not sure if I like it.
The grip is very narrow and un-glock-like. Yet the finger grooves are very Glockish in that they line up in exactly the wrong places for me and I can’t really get a good comfortable grip on it… because it feels like I’m grabbing those peaks and nothing else. This is an easy remedy with a few minutes of Grinder Time. And I’ve illustrated clearly in my Glock History that I am not afraid to do that. And perhaps I will. But for the sake of Review, I’m keeping it stock. Perhaps that’s not fare to me or the Glock. Maybe I should put in some effort and make it as good as it can be and then review that. I’m considering it. The grip is almost too narrow for me. It feels as if I can’t get a good grasp on it, but that could go back to those finger grooves. I’m not sure.
Here’s the thing though, I like this Glock 36 more than I like the XDS. The S is a fine pistol. Springfield really did hit a home run in it. They shoot very well, and while snappy, they are controllable and not unpleasant to shoot. We had a range day with an S and no one had a single malfunction with the little guy all day long. That’s quite an achievement for a little .45. But the Glock 36 had unlocked that achievement years and years ago. It’s the S before the S was cool. And I like the fact that it has a real front sight post on it and not a Fiber Optic sliver. I really hate those things. They just don’t hold up over time. I have people coming in weekly asking about how to fix the fiber tube in their front sight post. This is something we should never ever have to even think about. It’s not an item of maintenance It’s not something that we should be worried about. I find a Fiber Optic front sight on a Defensive Handgun to be completely unacceptable. Target pistols, fine. But on a Defensive gun? That’s a No-Go right there. And in ARMY terms, that’s a FAIL. Don’t pass go, you get to start over. But that’s another topic. I like the fact that Glock has the most solid reputation for reliability. You don’t have to question it. It’s there. It says so right on the slide. “Glock”. There are only a few other gun makers that I trust based on that name. SIG, HK, and Beretta. That’s pretty much it for me. Other guns I have to spend time with to get to know. Then once reliability is proven, I can trust them.
In a recent article I wrote, I said that I was done packing mouse guns. No more tiny guns for me. Tiny guns in tiny calibers do not fulfill the mission for which we are bothering to carry for in the first place. This Glock 36, while not tiny, is certainly small. The smallest gun I have in my carry rotation now. I find I am very comfortable with a .45 Auto back in the line up. My Springfield GI really isn’t in the rotation anymore, and more of a special occasion gun for me. Or when I am feeling overly nostalgic or historical. But being a full 5 inch Government Model, it makes OWB all day carry just a little less “easy”. A smaller .45 is a good thing, if done right. And the 36 is indeed done right. In a discussion with a Gun Counter Co-Worker, we were talking about calibers and how law enforcement had evolved their carry rounds and has found a sweet spot in the .40 caliber. He says, and really, this is brilliant, that the .45 Auto never had to evolve. Much like the Great White, it was perfect for it’s function as it was created so it didn’t need to evolve. That was good – deserved a fist bump for that. But we can talk about the 10mm another time.
Velocity is a good thing. And a big fat heavy .45 slug out of a short tube is even slower than normal. So I elected to forgo my normal PDX1 / SXT load options and try something new. Hornady’s new Critical Defense in the 185 grain load. I used to be a big fan of 200 grain loads, and still am, but you can just never find them anymore. All the new stuff in .45 Auto is 230’s. So I was pleased to see a 185 grain option in a modern load. I’ll report more on these rounds in the future. But they are going where I want them to go and feed and cycle perfectly, which is the main requirement. See, I like the lighter bullets in the shorter guns because they give as much speed as you can get. Reliable expansion of any hollow point is a function of fluid dynamics thanks to velocity. You don’t have the velocity, you don’t have the fluid pressure that expands the cavity to allow for the bullet to mushroom. I don’t think this is going to be a problem with the 185 Critical Defense loads.
Saturday’s Defensive Pistol Class was the hardest class we’ve ever put on. In the morning, an hour before the class started, we arrived and started setting up the targets. It was a beautiful morning and we were looking forward to having a great day of training.
As the students started to arrive, so did the wind. The wind was brutal. We had Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that said it was just like over there. The wind was picking up sand and dust and blasting us all day long. Sand would get in the guns, in your eyes, ears and teeth, and in your sinuses. And that wasn’t the worst of it. We’d watch helplessly as the target boards were snapped off the stands and carried up over the berms, over the mountains. Paper targets that were taped to the boards were shredded, and then ripped off the boards, and then the boards were ripped off the stands. This was the worst training environment I have ever trained in. I wanted to Postpone the class… But the students wanted to train, so we trained.
The students all did a great job. They worked hard and trained hard in these horrible conditions. One guy was having problems with sand getting into his contacts, but he stayed and trained through the end.
It really felt like being Sand Blasted, it would sting, the skin and eyes. This was unpleasant. With the sand getting into everything, we did have some problems with some weapons. One of the Walthers started jamming very badly and was failing to go into battery with more consistency than not. Sand in the magazines started getting troublesome for an XD shooter. The worst of it though was the sand contamination that brought a S&W Revolver to it’s knees.
If there is any lesson to be learned from training in these conditions… it’s that these are the same conditions experienced by our troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan. We expect them to perform in it. Such conditions make doing everything more difficult and unpleasant to say the least. But with following the basic core fundamentals of shooting technique and malfunction clearing… you can overcome the environmental difficulties. These students can no handle shooting in situations like these… they can handle anything. Great job to everyone that attended.
But right here is what made this class, as brutal as it was, very special to me. Our good friend brought out his daughter to train. She’s 13. She had never done anything like this before and really took to it.
She did a great job in some of the worst conditions, with a gun that was jamming like a jazz band. Dad was proud of her, fit to bust. I was proud of her too… I’ve known her since she was just a little tiny thing and it’s good to see her being raised right.
After the class, some of our Crusader 870 Shotguns came out to play, one had been transferred to a customer the day before and the other was Joe’s personal training gun.
The actions were so smooth it felt like I was shooting Semi Autos. Cycling was effortless and fast. There were no failures of any kind and the patterns were good with the loads used. With the Rifle Sights, I was able to pick up targets and engage them fast and accurately, just as fast as with a Ghost Ring set up, but with much more precision. It doesn’t have the Cool Guy winged rear sights that are popular because they look cool… These sights just work better. When you start launching slugs, Ghost Rings are no help. Rifle sights are what you need.
I want to personally thank my assistant instructors who were dealing these these conditions and the environmental issues we were having. Joe and Zack, hopefully we never have to teach a Sand Storm again… but if we do – we know we can get it done.
This was not a Fun Day at all. It was hard. It was unpleasant. It was draining. And that’s what Training is all about.
A customer traded in an old and battered Glock 22 Gen 2. All the finish is worn off the slide, the frame is hammered, the trigger wouldn’t reset. This pistol had certainly seen better days.
As a pistol to take in for trade… we probably shouldn’t have, because we can’t resell it. So I’m taking it so I can rebuild it.
I had stock trigger group components from my Glock 23 that dropped right in and fixed this old Gen2’s main problems. It’s a working gun again. Not the best of guns, but at least it’s functioning. Dirtpile ugly, but it’s going to be reliable. The slide is going to have to be refinished completely and the frame, I’m going to have to retexture to hide the wear and dings. I’m thinking about cutting the frame down to a G23 length, so I can use 23 and 22 magazines, making a Hybrid gun that a lot of custom Glocksmiths have done… allowing one to conceal well, yet still shoot well. Like what SIG did with the 1911 C3.
This is already a fun project.