Range Day Checklist: Advice From The Pros

A good day at the range can turn into an awesome day at the range with a little preparation. Here are some great tips! KEEP READING

rob leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield

Packing the essentials, plus a few extras, and having a plan will help you make the most of your time. Good preparation requires a solid organizational effort. But if you’re like us, you may find that your range bag can become cluttered and unorganized. Start each new season by cleaning out your bag. Take everything out and put back only what’s necessary — in an organized manner.

RANGE BAG
And if you don’t yet have a bag, find one that works for you and all of your equipment. There are a lot of options when it comes to range bags. We suggest getting one with several compartments to keep your range items organized. Some shooters prefer one large bag, many like the new backpack style, still others want multiple smaller bags — either way, you will need plenty of room.

Here are the basics that should always be in that bag:

Hearing Protection
Make sure you have ear protection. You may want to also throw in a spare set in case you misplace one, or a friend needs to borrow a pair. Basic ear plugs or earmuffs do the job, but high-quality electronic headsets are a worthwhile investment for both safety and convenience. Backup batteries are a must with electronic headsets.

Ballistic Glasses
Quality eye protection is another must-have, but it doesn’t have to be fancy (or expensive). Your eyewear should however be performance rated by ANSI Z87.1. This standard protects your eyes from high velocity and high mass impact. Grab a pair of safety glasses you’d wear in the shop, or you can opt for something more stylish from Oakley or ESS.

Magazines & Magazine Loader
|You can’t shoot your gun if you forget the magazines. Many shooting bags have specific compartments that hold each magazine individually. How’s that for organization?

Quick tip — number your magazines. This helps to identify and easily separate any magazines that are not properly functioning or need to be cleaned. Our Team Springfield SMEs suggest Dawson Precision magazine grip tape for the base pads. In addition, the aggressive surface helps you maintain a good grip on your magazine as you load  and reload it into your gun.

If you’re shooting a couple hundred rounds, it’s also nice to have a magazine loader — definitely a time-saver. You can find mag loaders for a wide variety of rifle and pistol magazines. They’re inexpensive and easy on the thumbs. Our SME’s favorite manufacturer is MagLULA. #TriedAndTrue

Cleaning & Tool Kit
Toss in a portable cleaning kit designed for your firearm, along with any other maintenance tools you might find handy. You don’t need anything elaborate — just enough to make sure your gun and magazines stay in good working condition. For those of you who shoot outdoors don’t forget sunscreen, lip balm, hat, and water.

day at the range

AMMO & AMMO CAN
You can probably fit a decent amount of ammunition in your magazines and range bag, but if you’re planning on an extended training session, an ammo can is a nice add.

You will also need a container to put your empty brass in. Any sort of receptacle with a lid works, from an empty cardboard box or military steel can to a 5-gallon bucket. One of our favorites is old freezer storage bags. #Reuse

TAPE & TARGETS
You have a lot of options here and most ranges sell targets. The type, shape, color, imprint, and material of targets is more than plentiful. Whether you’re going with a traditional bullseye, a paper silhouette, a Shoot-N-C, a whitetail deer target, or cardboard competition targets, make sure to bring tape.

Depending on the range and what target frames / stands are available, you may also need a staple gun (and staples) or binder clips to attach the targets to frames.

All ranges will designate what ammo you’re allowed to use. Any steel-core or armor piercing ammo will most likely get rejected, as it can spark and / or cause severe damage and cratering on steel targets.

Speaking of steel targets, some ranges may have steel targets you can use. With all steel targets, it’s very important to shoot a safe distance from the target to avoid ricochet. Recommended distance from steel targets (based on manufacturers and practical shooting organizations) varies between 9 and 11 yards minimum. To be certain, check the target manufacturer’s guidelines for safe target distance. Target type, composition, ammunition type, and target placement, position, and angle are all factors to consider.

Shooting on public land designated for target shooting? Leave the scrap electronics, tin cans and appliances at home — and always make sure you take care of the mess afterward. Don’t be the person who leaves their shot-up junk behind for others to deal with. #NotCool #PackItOut

SHOT TIMER
Shot timers are a great tool for training. You can test your skills under the pressure of the clock down to the hundredth of a second. Timers relay valuable information to the shooter: First shot time, target split times, target acquisition times, and the overall time of the drill.

Once you are a safe, proficient, and accurate shooter, speed is the next part of the equation. The timer is one of the best ways to track your progress in this area of skill development.

There are a variety of timers on the market. You can buy an old-school, time-tested, battery operated, handheld style (like PACT or Competition Electronics), or download a shot timer or dry-fire app on your smartphone.

PRACTICE LOG
Practice makes perfect — and it’s a lot easier and much more beneficial if you keep a practice log. Make the best use of your time and ammo by having a plan before you hit the range.

Choose one or two drills to focus on in each practice session. Work on a specific technique until you make some progress. Document the practice session – date, time, drill, target type, distances, number of rounds, procedure, times, and your overall takeaways from the day. Keeping a log is beneficial, as you can revisit old drills to continually re-test your skill level and compare results.

If you’re old school, a physical paper training book / log works fine. Put it in your range bag. More of a smartphone junkie? Try the RangeLog app. Need some drill ideas? Get some cool drill ideas from InstructorZero and Mike Seeklander of ShootingPerformance.

See what Midsouth has to offer HERE and HERE

SKILLS: Handgun Training

A few thoughts from much experience! Read it all HERE

handgun training
Always focus on your primary carry gun! As simple as that may seem, we all like to use them all! But this is the one that will matter the most.

Bob Campbell

Handgun training, more so than most pursuits, is charged with individuality. Special teams and rifle companies move as a unit and exercise strict discipline. They have a plan of action. The handgun is a weapon of opportunity carried to meet the unexpected difficulty. The action is not planned, and the response is reactive.

For many problems, a trained individual will respond with simple reflex. Reflex is sufficient for some problems, but simple movements set the stage for more elaborate responses. Training and movement should be simple and as straightforward as possible.
In education lectures, presentations are directed toward the crowd; handgun training must be on an individual basis. The direction of training, and the line of solution, must be clear. At present, I practice and work hard at keeping myself fit and prepared. As for games and competitions, I am fast becoming more of a pensioner than a participant.

I have engaged in a great deal of training and some competitions. I understand that study of drills, and then execution on the range, is the double route from which proficiency grows. You must hold a physical knowledge of movement and an understanding of the interplay of tactics. Every time you draw the handgun it must be a studied action reverent of the necessary safety involved and the intent of the handgun, which is to save lives.

handgun training
Hitting offhand with a short barrel 9mm is sometimes difficult but demands practice.

Practice, practice, practice
When I practice and drill, I am not absorbed in playing the game or the drill, rather, in winning. This means mastering the skills and hitting the target regardless of the requirement. I use a handgun of sufficient power for the task at hand. Ask yourself; does the handgun you deploy have enough power for the work for which it is intended? If possible, a firearm of disproportionate power to the work involved would be better, and that means a rifle or shotgun for home deployment — no concealable handgun has a surplus of power.

For many of us, most of the time we choose a reasonably portable handgun, and this will be the weapon with us when we are attacked. When in the home, choose a shotgun or rifle for far superior hit probability and power. We should not neglect to practice with those firearms. The handgun will become near useless if we do not practice often.

When I train, I use drills centered on common sense and real problems. As an example, while modern science stresses the strength of a straight line, I prefer the Greek idea and stress the strength of the circle. Moving and getting off the X is important. When you convert linear motion to rotational movement, you have accomplished much and that means you will be moving out of the line of fire and moving to a more defensible position.

You must understand that when there is a fight for real; you have to dispense with the range notion of the firing line is forward and the safe line to the rear. The whole area is a firing line and there will be people all around you. Moving constantly is a key to survival. Moving to a good firing position and firing accurately is another key.

Moving Constantly Is a Key to Survival
Training is a perpetual challenge. Substance, process determination, and action are needed. Becoming a formidable shooter is gained by action, not contemplation. The brain and hand unite to produce the desired result. I have been training for a long time on a regular basis. The past 35 years have reinforced the need to study and to learn.
I have prosecuted the inquiry to the best of my ability. A great deal of research and an open mind goes into proficiency at arms. The bottom line is to get the basics right. Hit the target. Then learn movement and seek cover when possible.

handgun training
Firing off hand, quickly, and moving is a key to proficiency.

As for the handgun, I have come to a sort of New Year’s resolution on my carry guns. As a professional gun writer, I test a lot of handguns. I am something of a gun crank, if not a collector, and enjoy pushing the envelope and discovering how well a firearm performs against another. Reliability is the baseline.

I have deployed several truly exceptional handguns during the past year and have my favorites for different uses. These include a Springfield Armory Mil-Spec in .38 Super, the Les Baser Concept VI .45, Dan Wesson Guardian .45, SIG TACOPS .45, SIG C3 .45, SIG Emperor Scorpion 10mm, SIG P225 A 9mm, and Colt Series 70 .45. My backups include a pair made in 1962, the Colt Detective Special and Colt Cobra, both in .38 Special, and the Kimber K6s .357 Magnum.

Then there is the Ruger GP100 7-shooter, because everyone needs a magnum. And you need a Glock, too; so I have the Glock 19X. These are fine handguns but too damn many. I enjoy each and try to keep my skill level up but with testing other handguns and teaching it isn’t easy or perhaps even possible.

This year, I am going to carry only the handguns that I fire and use the best. This means the 1911. I am narrowing it down to the most credible choices. So far, it looks like the SIG C3 or Dan Wesson for daily carry. When the pretty girl and I visit the ‘wild, out of the way places’ it will be the SIG TAC OPS with +P loads. That is enough to master.

What are your goals when you practice? Share them in the comment section.

Former ATF Agent Pulls Mask Off Giffords’s Plans for Federal AR-15 Registration

In an odd turn, just before Halloween one prominent gun control group briefly got out of costume: read all about what was underneath it… SEE MORE

giffords

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

When former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly launched Americans for Responsible Solutions (now named Giffords) in early 2013, gun owners were assured that the group sought moderate “common-sense solutions” to gun violence. The group admonished NRA for not working to “to find the balance between our rights” and gun regulation. Giffords and Kelly explained, “we don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home.”

This, of course, was all a marketing ploy. From its inception, Giffords has pushed the same warmed-over gun control policies as their less messaging-savvy peers.

To help their anti-gun allies better deceive the public, in 2016 Giffords put out a gun control messaging manual titled, “A Guide to Understanding and Engaging Americans on the Need for Stronger Gun Laws.” In a section labelled, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Talking About Gun Violence,” the guide made clear to gun control supporters that “Talk about creating a national gun registry, or banning or confiscating guns” was a definite “Don’t.” The group went on to falsely contend none of those measures “are policy priorities or have widespread support among gun violence prevention organizations.”

Not only is a national gun registry a priority for gun control advocates generally, as former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and current Giffords Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman made clear to The Hill this week, it is an explicit policy priority for Giffords.

In response to a question about AR-15 rifles, Chipman responded, “What I support is treating them just like machineguns.”

Reiterating that America’s most popular rifle should be subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA), Chipman went on to state,

To me, if you want to have a weapon of war, the same gun that was issued to me as a member of [the] ATF SWAT team, it makes sense that you would have to pass a background check, the gun would have to be in your name, and there would be a picture and fingerprints on file. To me, I don’t mind doing it if I want to buy a gun.

Chipman and Giffords’s preferred policy is similar to that supported by gun confiscation advocate Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). In early 2013, Feinstein proposed legislation that would have subjected tens of millions of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms to NFA regulation and registration.

While a former federal bureaucrat might not mind navigating the convoluted federal bureaucracy in order to exercise a constitutional right, most should abhor the prior restraint of NFA regulations.

In order to acquire a machinegun, the transferee and transferor must submit a Form 4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm to the ATF. The form requires identifying information about the firearm and personal information about the applicant. The transferee must submit an identifying photograph along with two completed FBI Forms FD-258 fingerprint cards. This information is compiled in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, colloquially known as the NFA registry. The transferee must also pay a $200 tax.

The NFA procedure is also a prohibitive waiting period. The latest ATF data measured the wait time for completion of a Form 4 at seven months, or over 200 days. At certain points in 2016, waits stretched to about a year.

Chipman’s policy of treating AR-15s “just like machineguns” would also mean a ban on the civilian possession of newly-manufactured AR-15 rifles. In 1986, anti-gun members of Congress were successful in getting one piece of gun control into the vital Firearm Owners’ Protection Act. A late, and controversial, amendment from Rep. William J. Hughes (D-N.J.) placed a ban on the transfer and possession of machineguns manufactured after May 19, 1986. Treating AR-15s like machineguns would mean a permanent freeze on the total stock of AR-15s Americans could lawfully possess.

There are good reasons gun control advocates seek to obscure such radical goals.

An October Gallup poll showed that 57 percent of Americans oppose “a law which would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semi-automatic guns, known as assault rifles.” For the last seven years, every time Gallup has asked this question opposition to a ban has outweighed support.

Moreover, there is no evidence that further restricting commonly-owned semi-automatics would reduce violent crime. A pair of Department of Justice-funded studies of the 1994 Clinton semi-automatic ban could not determine that the ban reduced violent crime. The later of the two studies, from 2004, stated, “the ban’s impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” In explaining why, the researchers wrote, “estimates consistently show that AWs [commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms] are used in a small fraction of gun crimes.” More recent research from the RAND Corporation determined, “Evidence for the effect of assault weapon bans on total homicides and firearm homicides is inconclusive.”

History also shows that otherwise law-abiding gun owners are unlikely to comply with gun registration requirements. In the year and a half following implementation of the N.Y. SAFE Act in early 2014, 23,847 people registered 44,485 guns. Estimates of the number of firearms in the state subject to registration were 1-1.2 million. Gun control advocates didn’t have any better luck that year in Connecticut. Despite estimates that Nutmeg State residents owned several hundred thousand firearms and 2.4 million magazines subject to new registration requirements, owners registered a mere 50,016 firearms and 38,290 magazines.

Anti-gun advocates are well aware that the American people, through their elected representatives, have repeatedly rejected the severe gun control measures they support. Faced with this reality, gun control advocates have continually dressed up their fanatical goals in all manner of disguise. Constantly masquerading as moderate, for gun control supporters every day is like Halloween. As for anyone who falls for their ruse, it’s all tricks and no treats.

RELOADERS CORNER: Improving Die Performance: 4 Simple Modifications

Here are 4 low-to-no-cost setup tricks that will improve the concentricity of your loaded ammo. READ MORE

Glen Zediker

Cartridge cases and reloading dies all have centers. Trick is getting the centers to agree. When they do then that’s an asset to “concentricity,” and that’s attaining a major goal in the process of making better ammunition. A part that’s under pressure and moveable, such as a cartridge case being sized or a bullet being seated, moves toward a path of least resistance. If all associated tooling is “straight,” and the case itself is uniform, then the result is “straight.”

Accepting existence of tolerances and misalignments, taking steps to help two conflicting centers come close together comes from providing some free-play in the apparatus. I call it “floating,” and it serves to help, and here are a few ways.

To be clear: free-floating can help in two ways. One is to build-in float within the tool, and another is to create float and then use that to better center a tool. I’ll explain…

shellholder trick

1. Shellholder
Reloading presses with conventional shellholder arrangements use a spring clip to retain the shellholder in its slot. Remove it! It sits the shellholder off on an angle.

Get to a (real) hardware store and get an o-ring to secure the clip. The o-ring goes around the slot previously occupied by the clip. To install the shellholder just roll the ring down, slide in the holder, and the o-ring will pop back up to block  shellholder exit. Normally, the size needed is 7/8-inch outside diameter, 11/16 inside diameter, 3/32 thickness.

With the clip gone, the shellholder sits flat, as it should, and since the shellholder is free to move also allows some “wiggle room” so the cartridge case can center itself as it enters the die. This honestly makes a positive difference, especially in bullet seating, it seems.

NOTE: for these next “tricks,” choose a case that represents your “best,” one that’s got the most consistent neck wall thickness.

indexing dies on reloading press
Always put an index mark from die lock ring to die body to press top. That’s a simple way to verify return to “zero” when a die is installed back into your press. And ALWAYS install and remove the die holding ONLY the locking ring! Never the die body. Any bit of body rotation within the locking ring requires repeating the process of die adjustment.

2. Sizing die lock ring
Speaking of “wiggle room,” there’s just a little too much of that in a 7/8-14 thread. It’s pretty coarse. Taking up the play created by thread-to-thread gaps results in “straighter” die installation.

Always (always) secure a die body locking ring when there is a case inside the die, and with the ram in its fully upward position (press handle all the way down). This bit of pressure helps bring the die into better alignment. It also makes the die difficult to remove after snugging down the lock ring. Just get stout on it, and, after initial removal, subsequent re-fittings are easy. I use a “strap wrench” (plumbing supply and auto parts stores will have one). “Channel-Lock” pliers also work, but result in cosmetic, but not real, damage. Lock rings with wrench-flats are the bomb.

Before initial removal of the die after the snug-up step, draw an indexing mark from the die body to the die lock ring to the press top. That’s a simple way to return to “zero,” and also to know if anything got out of kilter. Use a paint marker.

3. Sizing button (expander) / decapping assembly
To get the sizing button in a sizing die holding on center, loosen the decapping stem lock nut and run a case fully up. Then slowly retract it until you feel the button enter and lodge into the case neck. Now. Put just a little pressure back in the “up” direction (down on the press handle) and then tighten the decapping stem lock ring.

This really makes a difference, by my notes.

adjust sizing die expander
When it’s possible, and it almost always is, secure the pieces-parts when they’re doing their jobs. For instance, tightening the locking rings on a decapping stem when the expander is holding inside the case neck helps bring the stem into straight alignment, and the expander along with it.

4. Bullet seater
Follow the same die-body-lock trick, after a bullet has been seated, and also just in the same as described for centering the sizing button (just keep the pressure “up” rather than retracting the handle) while you lock the seating stem. Flushing the die body makes a difference. Centering the seating stem may or may not, depending on the style of seating die you have. The “sleeve”-type seaters (like the Redding Competition) are already in alignment so the seating stem itself can’t be influenced. As said, the body can get a help.

index sizing die
O-ring trick: the flexible ring allows for some “wiggle room” to help case and die centers match. Trick is reinstalling the die to hold the desired setting, and the index mark really helps.

One more: Lock-ring o-rings
Here’s another trick I can suggest, but don’t really use… That’s because it, indeed “works,” but I prefer these other means. The trick: install an o-ring under the die body locking ring (for sizers and seaters). This allows some movement, positioning flexibility, in helping a case center as it’s entering the die.

If you do this one, most definitely index-mark the die ring to the die body and then the ring to the press top, as suggested. Never touch the die body itself to thread in or out the die. Hold only the lock ring! (And that’s true regardless.) O-ring size is 7/8-inch inside diameter and a thickness of 1/8-inch.

NOTE: My topics over the past few editions have tended be a tad amount “nostalgic,” and there’s some reason. I just finished a new book, and this one took me way on back to the start of when I discovered reloading, which coincided with discovering my first AR15. It’s called “America’s Gun: The Practical AR15.” It will be available here soon, but not just yet. But go take a look! Information is on my web site HERE. I’m really proud of it. 

This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

Alabama McDonald’s Gunman Killed By Armed Dad, Who Is Injured In Shootout

A brave dad armed with a pistol stopped what could have been a mass shooting inside an Alabama McDonald’s. READ MORE

mcdonald's

SOURCE: FoxNews

Last Saturday  the unidentified father was leaving the establishment with his sons when a masked man walked into the Birmingham fast-food restaurant and started shooting, WBRC-TV reported. The father returned fire and, during the ensuing shootout, the gunman, the father and one of the man’s teenage sons were struck, according to the station.

The gunman, who was not identified, later died of his injuries. The other two injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Markus Washington, one of the McDonald’s employees, told WBRC-TV he was making two quarter-pounders when bullets started to fly. Washington said he ran into the freezer, where he heard about 15 shots fired. “I’m feeling grateful,” he told the station. “Wrapping my head around it all, I was just wishing someone would come wake me up from this nightmare.”

Washington feared the worst as the shootout unfolded outside the freezer door.

“All we hear is like different gunfire, so in my mind, I’m imagining everybody is dead. He’s looking for us,” he said. Washington added he was thankful the armed customer was there. “He’s my hero. Because I can only imagine how it would’ve went if he wasn’t armed. We might not be here having this interview,” Washington said.

The father is not expected to face charges, police said.

Authorities are now working to determine if the gunman intended to rob the restaurant, was targeting an employee or planned something more nefarious.

“Things like this are difficult for both families. The gentleman who unfortunately lost his life, the teenage boy who is in the hospital recovering from his injuries and the father who is also recovering from his injuries,” Birmingham police spokesman Sgt. Bryan Shelton said, according to WVTM-13. “It’s not easy being a father and watching your child get injured, get hurt like that. It’s a really heartwrenching experience.”

See the news VIDEO HERE.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Interestingly enough, here’s a short excerpt from a 2013 Business Insider story regarding McDonald’s policy on concealed carry. Following an announcement from Starbucks denouncing and disallowing legal concealed carry, both McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts supported “adhering to local, state, and federal laws.”

McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb gave Business Insider this statement:
“We recognize that there is a lot of emotion and passion surrounding the issue of firearms and open carry weapons laws.

While we respect the differing views of all our customers, McDonald’s company-owned restaurants follow local, state and federal laws as it relates to open carry weapons in our restaurants.

For franchisee-owned restaurants, operational decisions regarding open carry weapon laws are made by the independent franchisee.

That said, as with all aspects of operating a McDonald’s restaurant, we expect our franchisees and their crew to follow local, state and federal laws.”

In contrast, Starbucks issued a statement that said:
Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners. For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas — even in states where “open carry” is permitted — unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

Where will you buy your coffee?

Review and Retrospect: The Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum

One of the most iconic and unforgettable handguns, Dr. Dabbs spends some trigger time on Harry’s Hogleg. READ IT ALL

model 29
The Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum is as cool a handgun as has ever been crafted. Immortalized by Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character, the Model 29 exudes an archetypical American power vibe.

model 29

Will Dabbs MD

“I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?”

Words can be powerful. Nations go to war over words. People fall in love over the turn of a phrase. Words can be frivolous, powerful, dangerous, or inane. These particular words, likely penned by the legendary John Milius and spoken by Clint Eastwood in character as Dirty Harry Callahan, are some of the coolest ever captured on film. But for a remarkable turn of fate, they could have been uttered so much differently.

Dirty Harry defined Clint Eastwood’s career. Harry was originally supposed to be played by Frank Sinatra. The role was also offered to John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen, George C. Scott, and Paul Newman. They all passed on the project citing its excessive violence. It was on the strength of Newman’s recommendation that the producers offered the role to Eastwood.

If ever there was a firearm that should receive title billing in a movie it was the Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum used in Dirty Harry. The synergistic combination of Eastwood’s inimitable presence and the Model 29’s unparalleled power created an enduring cinematic icon. At a time when the Age of Aquarius threatened to castrate American virility, Dirty Harry gently reminded the world that we Americans were still the baddest boys on the block.

Origin Story
Elmer Keith was the father of the .44 Magnum. In the early 1950’s Elmer began experimenting with the .44 Special cartridge to produce something more powerful and therefore better suited for big game hunting. Once he devised the round he approached Smith and Wesson and Remington about producing a gun to fire it. The S&W Model 29 first drew breath on December 15, 1955, and was offered for retail sale a month later with an MSRP of $140. That’s about $1,280 today.

big revolve rounds
The .44 Magnum is a big round. Shown here from left to right are the 9mm Parabellum, .45ACP, .44 Magnum, and .500 S&W Magnum.

The S&W Model 29 evolved through ten different sub-variants between the mid-1950’s and the present. The gun has always been popular, but the 1971 release of Dirty Harry made it difficult for dealers to keep them stocked. While the pistol and cartridge have been subsequently eclipsed by such beasts as the .454 Casull and .500 S&W Magnum, in its day the .44 Magnum was indeed the most powerful production handgun in the world.

The Model 29 starts with a carbon steel frame and includes a fixed red ramp up front as well as an adjustable rear sight. The single action/double action trigger is wide and comfortable sporting the same slick greasy mechanicals for which Smith is justifiably revered. The 6.5-inch carbon steel barrel gives the gun an overall length of an even foot. The Model 29 has been produced in a variety of barrel lengths, but this one was Harry’s.

The cylinder, frame, and barrel are all beautifully blued, while the unpretentious walnut grips exude a timeless American power vibe. There is just something mystical about the synergy of all these graceful lines that causes an inevitable surge in serum testosterone. Just gazing upon it will make your heart race.

model 29 cylinder
The Model 29’s greasy smooth action makes reloads fast by revolver standards.

Range Report
Question my manhood if you must, but I do not find running the Model 29 .44 Magnum to be a particularly enjoyable experience. The Model 29 will push less energetic .44 Special rounds as well, and those are indeed fun. Full power .44 Magnum loads, however, peg my funmeter in fairly short order.

The greasy smooth double action/single action trigger should hang in the Louvre as the very physical manifestation of mechanical art. The gun’s particulars like the cylinder release, ejector, cylinder fit, and sights are the embodiment of ballistic perfection. Prodigious recoil notwithstanding, the gun shoots better than do I out to fifty meters or more.

The classic blued Model 29 with its Dirty Harry-esque 6.5-inch barrel is currently offered on the Smith and Wesson website with an MSRP of $1,169. Adjusted for inflation this is about what they cost back in 1956. You don’t typically buy one of these massive wheelguns to really shoot much. Most of us just stare lovingly at ours. Simply hefting the thing will reliably give you the tiniest little twitch to your eye and sprinkle a little gravel in your voice. In a pinch it will also likely blow a man’s head clean off.

model 29 accuracy
The Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum is capable of fine combat accuracy.

model 29 accuracymodel 29 specs

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Republican Mayor Survives Recall Effort After Twitter-Checking David Hogg

Waterville, Maine Mayor Nick Isgro stands up to social media attack from David Hogg. READ WHAT HAPPENED HERE

hogg

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Fortunes seem to rise and fall on Twitter with alarming regularity. But the platform may not be an equal opportunity soapbox, with some opinions reportedly getting more exposure than others and some speakers seemingly operating with greater impunity. That’s why it was refreshing this week to see the people of Waterville, Maine, stand behind their Republican mayor, Nick Isgro, after an effort was launched to recall him from office. Mayor Isgro’s supposed offense? Calling gun control activist David Hogg to task in a tweet.

The story began last March when Fox News personality Laura Ingraham tweeted about Hogg’s rejection by several California universities, adding perhaps to lessen the sting that that it was “totally predictable given acceptance rates.”

Hogg responded by tweeting a list of the top advertisers on Ingraham’s show, encouraging his own hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers to contact them and threaten a boycott if the advertisers did not pull their support for the show.

Many of the advertisers reportedly did just that, and Ingraham later apologized to Hogg for her comments. Hogg, not accustomed to being the bigger man, did not accept the apology and continued his attempt to ruin Ingraham’s career.

Fox, however, stood by Ingraham, and she weathered the type of tempest in a teapot that has destroyed the careers of other, usually right-leaning, media personalities. “We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” a Fox executive stated.

Mayor Isgro took note of this by retweeting a message that stated, “Fox News president backs Laura Ingraham despite advertiser boycott over Parkland controversy.” He also added some editorializing of his own: “Eat it, Hogg.”

This sparked the predictable backlash from Democrats already opposed to Isgro’s administration, as well as from supporters of David Hogg, who apparently believe that the teenage gun control activist should be able to dish out critical or biting commentary but not have to take it. Needless to say, the effort was buoyed by their supporters in the left-leaning media, who characterized the mayor as “attacking” a young survivor of gun violence.

Democrat Karen Heck, a former mayor of Waterville, took things a step further by launching a recall effort against Isgro in April

To put Mayor Isgo’s comments in context, it’s important to understand that David Hogg is well known for calling out the targets of his activism in the most insulting terms possible, while wielding a very tenuous view of the law and facts underlying gun control and political activism. This has, of course, earned him accolades and fawning media coverage from people and entities predisposed to his point of view but somewhat constrained in their own rhetoric by the requirements of their professions and general (though continually declining) norms of adult behavior.

Hogg, needless to say, is entitled to exercise his First Amendment rights.

And we’re entitled to point out that he just got stuffed in yet another attempt by Democrat activists to torpedo the life and career of a person who dared to give one of their own a taste (albeit significantly watered-down) of his own medicine.

It should be noted that Mayor Isgro did not escape from the situation totally unscathed. He did apparently lose his banking job in the fray.

Nevertheless the people of Waterville were not swayed by what Mayor Isgro characterized as an effort that “well-connected and wealthy political elites” started “with their friends in the media and dark money funded outsiders who do not live in our city … .” Waterville sided with their democratically elected mayor, rather than the selectively self-righteous, Internet-fueled mob.

Whether this augurs a decline in David Hogg’s ability to influence outcomes in the non-virtual world remains to be seen. But it certainly gives him something to chew on in the meantime.

Poll: Most Americans Oppose Ban on “America’s Rifle”

Despite media claims, a new Gallup poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support the AR15 ownership. READ ALL ABOUT IT

gallup ar15 poll

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last week, Gallup released the results of a poll which included a finding that should surprise no one: Americans oppose a ban on AR-15s and similar semiautomatic firearms by robust a margin of 17%. Meanwhile, current support for such a ban is 7% lower than the historical trend dating back to 1996, when Gallup first began polling on the issue. Americans, in other words, appear not to have been swayed by the intense media editorializing, celebrity pontificating, and youthful activism of the past year aimed at prohibiting what are by all accounts the most popular types of rifles in the country.

Of course, even in America, you could probably find people who would claim to support a ban on apple pie. It’s not very nutritious, they might say. It’s regressive, others might insist. Americans, after all, have the right to their opinions, even the unpopular ones.

When it comes to guns, the minority opinion is strongest among people who identify as Democrats. Gallup’s latest poll shows 56% of Democrats would support a ban on semiautomatic rifles, 16% above the national average. That is more than twice the percentage of Republicans (25%) who responded the same way. But even among Democrats, support for a semiauto ban has fallen 7 points since this time last year, notwithstanding the fact that some pundits were predicting that 2018 would finally be the year when banning highly popular guns would somehow become a winning political issue.

So what has all the “game-changing” post-Parkland grandstanding accomplished in the last eight months?

When it comes to banning guns, apparently nothing.

And it’s not just us who think so.

No one individual has shoveled more bad money into the gun control cause than billionaire Michael Bloomberg. In fact his insistence on burning huge sums of money on the issue for minimal returns almost makes you wonder how he ever got so rich in the first place.

But even he seems to understand the reality of the current situation.

According to an article in the Washington Times, Everytown for Gun Safety — the umbrella group for Bloomberg’s gun control activism –has actually shifted its midterm election spending into “ads covering abortion, health care and the Republican tax bill — but nary a mention of assault rifles … . “

Commenting for the article, gun control advocate Adam Winkler mused, “Perhaps the gun issue has waned a bit in the absence of highly publicized mass shootings in the past few months.”

And that, of course, is the irony of the gun ban movement: it needs the very events it claims to want to prevent for anyone to pay attention to it.

Even then, however, that attention and intensity typically prove to be short-lived.

Hyping other issues, of course, does not actually signal a retreat by Everytown from its gun control agenda. Rather, it’s a recognition that gun controllers will have to buy votes and politicians by other means to force their prohibitionist views downward on the American people, rather than using those views to inspire people to support their candidates in the first place.

In other words, it’s pretty much the opposite of a true grassroots approach.

Take, for example, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who was embarrassed this week by the release of audio recordings catching her and her staffers admitting that they conceal or downplay her true positions on issues like gun control in order to mislead voters on the positions she will take once elected.

All this is exactly why NRA-ILA — a true grassroots organization — is dedicated to ensuring that voters know exactly what they’re getting when it comes to the Second Amendment views of political candidates.

You might even say we try to make it as easy as pie … apple pie, of course.

SKILLS: Cut Your Reaction Time (UHR)

Trainer Steve Tarani shares his tips and tricks on increasing speed by decreasing time. KEEP READING

tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

The martial arts offer an age-old perspective on something critically important to your shooting performance — reaction time. Employing a punch, a round kick, an edged weapon or a firearm in self-defense means that you’re reacting to a rapid and dynamic escalation of force. Your objective is to stop or gain control of that escalation. The single most important factor in meeting that objective is time.

TICK TOCK
Both your dearest friend (when in ample supply), and adamant foe (when turned against you), time, in any self-defense situation with or without a firearm, is a double-edged sword.

“Reactionary Gap,” is a term applied to the amount of space at your disposal in response to a real-world active threat. The greater the reactionary gap, the more time you have. The smaller gap, the less time.

Physical violence that causes you to go to guns in defense of life or limb, usually means a minimal reactionary gap. Relying on precision shooting when fighting for your life at extreme close quarters, may not be your very best bet. However, having true reactive shooting skills in your tool kit will help make optimal usage of time.

REACTIVE SHOOTING SCHOOL
Founded (more than 40 years ago) by former FBI Special Agent and renowned professional competition shooter, Bill Rogers, this is a reactive shooting school that trains you to do just that — shoot reactively.

rogers school

If you’re a student of defensive handgun and you’ve never been, the Rogers Shooting School, located in Ellijay, GA, is a very worthwhile training investment. Reactive shooting is unlike any other, in that, just like the real world, you don’t have much time to react. The Rogers system demands alacrity in both effective gun handling and marksmanship.

According to Bill, we humans have an average “Unit of Human Reaction” (UHR) time measured to be approximately .25 seconds. It’s the measurable amount of time your computer (brain) needs to process stimulus response. Although the aggregate may be about a quarter of a second, this is a very subjective measurement and can vary from shooter to shooter.

One way to find your UHR is to use your shot timer. At your next practice session, face down range. Load up. No target required. Point your muzzle into the berm and take up as much slack in the trigger (if any / as possible) without sending the round down range.

shot timer

BEEP, BOOM
With the timer set to random (to provide more of an unknown variable — like the real world), have a buddy hold it to your ear. When you hear the beep, break the shot. Beep — boom, it’s that simple. The time registered between beep (stimulus — your sensory input followed by computer interpretation) and boom (response — signal from your brain box down the neural pathways leading to your trigger finger) is your approximate UHR. Run it several times to find your average.

Taking this average as your par time, you can use it to measure that initial critical step (interpretation and processing of life-threatening information) in making rapid and accurate round placement from concealment. Depending upon your skill level, running this drill repeatedly will better familiarize you with operating in fractions of a second and, in the long run, eventually lower your reaction time (UHR).

Reducing your UHR allows you to get to your gun faster because it lessens the amount of time required in decision making — which is a significant and contributing factor in the processing time from initial stimulus to response.

Given that the purpose of defensive shooting is to make combat-effective round placement in a timely manner when reacting to an active threat, time is not on your side. Reducing your UHR by even one tenth of a second shortens your overall time in placing a warranted first round on threat.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to using a shot timer at the range, look for and run other “drills” or training opportunities in your day where you may be able to work on reduction of your UHR. Such innocuous training as opening the microwave door during the countdown just as you see the one-second display, but prior to the beep, is a good drill.

Another training opportunity is when driving and sitting first in line at a red light. With your foot on the brake and your eyes on the traffic light — not on your cell phone — the split second you see the light change from red to green, move your foot off the brake pedal, faster than you normally would, but with good control to not stomp on that gas pedal. In fact, you want to make very light placement on that gas pedal. This action is similar to getting on your trigger quickly from the holster, in rapid control, but without disturbing muzzle alignment with the target.

Using these and similar reactionary gap training drills can help you to continually be cognizant of and work on reducing your reaction times. After a couple of months of running these, remeasure your presentation times. You may be pleasantly surprised with the performance benefits of cutting your UHR.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.