Showing posts with label .38. Show all posts
Showing posts with label .38. Show all posts

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Range Report and Strike Hard Gear AK Chest Rig Initial Impressions

Went to the range today. I had the privilege of coaching a person who had never fired a handgun before. He did well which is always good for positive reinforcement. I think he plans to shoot more often then eventually purchase a handgun of his own.

I shot OK considering it's been awhile. Revolvers are always fun to shoot. It also helps on ammo that they only hold 5-6 rounds and do not reload as quickly. So a 50 round box lasts a lot longer than with a 17 round Glock 9mm.

Rifle shooting went well. Honestly the setup where I was didn't have sufficient range to test that much but I was able to do CQB type stuff plus a few longer shots out to 150 meters or so.

I was able to find ammo locally to shoot though it took going to a few stores. That was good as I only flew with a small amount of ammo and my Lucky Gunner purchase is still en route.

My Strike Hard Gear AK-47 Chest Rig showed up in time to come along on the trip. I went with the padded H harness and am very happy with it. They charge $8 or something for the padded H whic is very reasonable and totally worth it. I especially like that the harness attaches to the rig with buckles so you've got a variety of options. Adjustment was simple. It is also pretty comfortable as well as low profile. The 4 mag pouches with small admin pouches on the sides and a read map pouch is a nice configuration for most civilian needs. They make an add on shingle to take it to 8 mags if you want. The front has MOLLE so you could stick on all manner of pouches to suit your needs. Mags are secured by tabs (designed for AK mags) held by elastic cords. It is a nice simple system. Access to mags in a hurry was great, I was able to do a few shoot 5, reload, shoot 5 drills and it worked well.

Overall for $75 plus 8 for the H harness I think this setup is an excellent buy.

We had fun shooting up all the ammo we could afford to shoot. Got home then I oiled up the guns because it was pretty wet. Tonight after the kids go to bed I will bring them out to do a real cleaning.

Shooting is fun. How was your last range trip?




Saturday, August 3, 2013

Traveling Guns n Gear

Did some thinking. It's going to be a folding stock AK and a pair of semi automatic pistols for me. Both pistols are Glock 9mm's; one large and one small. Wifey's .38 will be handy also.

The AK was chosen because it's folding stock makes the rifle as short as it can be without morphing into an SBR or a bullpup. Since I bought years ago when basic AK's were reasonably priced I'm far more comfortable with the risk of it getting stolen than Project AR.

[This brings us to a teachable moment. The particular AK in question has a pretty spotty reputation and at least in terms of fit and finish is very close to the bottom of the AK barrel. This brings us to an interesting point. Some guns have spotty reputations and generally they are well earned. That being said the rate of systemic issues/ lemons doesn't matter if your gun has been tested and works. Careful inspection and if possible test firing are probably smart in this scenario. ]

For gear it will be the Miami Classic for the big Glock, a pocket holster for the smaller one and a Costa Leg Rig for a load out. Also tossed in a leather OWB holster for the small one just to have another option. To fill them and the guns it will be about 6 pistol mags and 3 rifle mags. I wouldn't have that many pistol mags but the shoulder holster holds 2 and the leg rig holds 3 (or 2 and a knife/ light/etc).

For knives I'll be carrying my benchmade and a spyderco folder in my off hand back pocket. Have been toying with replacing the folder with a small fixed blade of some sort. Realistically getting a folding knife, even a spyderco with that big hole, open in fight with my off hand is an iffy proposition. I have a push knife but it is a bit too big and they run afoul of knife laws in many areas. Lots of folks seem to like the Ka Bar TDI, I find them awkward. The CRKT Bear Claw has always seemed like it would fit that role well. Then again Cold Steel makes a shorter push knife with only 1 edge which generally makes the legal issue easier.

Aside from lots of organizing and packing life's normal stuff that is what I'm looking at taking for the trip. Hope it interests somebody. If anyone has questions, input or suggestions they are welcome. 


Saturday, June 8, 2013

5 Guns

It's well past midnight but I'm still rocking gun porn Friday. The 5 gun topic came up and I feel like chiming in. To make things a bit interesting I will do our family (Wifey and I, kids aren't near age yet) setup then what a hypothetical bachelor setup would be.

Family. Sort of like we talked about before Glock 19, AR, .22, Wifey's .38 and a Remington 870 12 gauge. With that setup I/we can hunt pretty much anything in North America (.223 can kill deer sized game an 12 gauge slugs will kill anything albeit at limited ranges), and defend ourselves.

In a hypothetical batchelor scenario Wifey's .38 would be swapped out for a Glock 26. The rest of the setup G19, .22, Rem 870 and AR would stay the same.

That's my .02 on that.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Rambling Gun Stuff Discussion

In my recent discussion of the J frame Chris of Arma Borealis mentioned the reload advantage of automatic's vs J frame .38 or .357mag revolvers. For the sake of convenience I am going to break subcompact type automatics into 3 categories: subcompact double stack, subcompact single stack and tiny.

Subcompact double stack: Examples of this are the Glock 26/27 and the M&P/ XD equivalents. These guns offer a lot of firepower in a small package. A 9mm Glock 26 holds 11 and the grip extension (a must) buys you another round. I think the Glock .40 is 10. Unsure about the M&P/XD but they are probably similar. They are also pretty shootable if you have enough grip to get the pinky on it. Also these guns can take larger magazines like a Glock 15 rd or 17 rd mag which is handy. Power is good too as these guns are generally chambered in 9mm/.40S&W/.45acp.

 I notice little difference transitioning between subcompact and compact's of the same flavor. Being shorter in terms of length and grip makes these guns easier to conceal than their compact and full sized siblings. Also if the gun is of the polymer flavor (vs a tiny steel 1911 or whatever) they are pretty light. Reliability is comparable to their siblings, a Glock will of course fare better than a Kel Tech. However nothing is free.

The downside of these guns is that they are the same width as the bigger guns. As we saw before a J frame revolver is much thinner throughout (obviously not the cylinder).  This means while their height/ length and weight are minimal the width is a consideration. Depending on your method of carry it could be an issue.

As compared to the J frame these guns shoot better, hold a lot more bullets and reload faster but are thicker and this a but harder to conceal.

Sub Compact single stack: Old school examples are the Walther PP/PPK/S/PPK and the Bersa .380. Newer examples would be the Ruger LC9 and S&W Shield. These guns often hold 7-8 rounds. I think some of the .45 models hold 6. These guns offer moderate, at the high end of 8 to a J with 5, to negligible, the mini .45's with 6 to a J with 5, capacity advantages.

The reliability varies. Walther's have been made by so many people over the years with some better than others. In general they are well, German. A precision machine that functions perfectly however it demands good fuel (bullets it likes) and some maintenance to do so. If you cannot do this, or the concept of use does not allow it, then choose another gun. If you can meet the fairly modest requirements these guns will do their job well. Bersa's by every account I have heard will run all day long. The downside is they are a fairly big and heavy .380. The new Ruger and S&W offerings are by every account I have seen built to a professional standard and will perform as such. If you get a Kel Tech or Taurus that is a roll of the dice, some run all day long but many do not.

Power varies between adequate with 9mm to marginally adequate with .380 or weak with .32 (the only .32's I am aware of in this size are the Walther's like Brigid's). IMO as we compare to the .38 the only round that is equal in terms of power is the 9mm.

Accuracy is pretty good. The quality guns in this category are capable of excellent accuracy. The Walther's particular are very accurate. A buddy of mine had a little j frame .38 but at some point realized he couldn't hit squat with it and bought a beautiful Walther PPK/S that shot wonderfully. A HIT with a .380 is indisputably more effective than a miss with a .38/.357mag.

Measured up to the J frame. These auto's are thin and thus easy to conceal. The J is thinner in spots but not by a whole lot. Capacity varies but the reload goes decisively to the semi auto. Power varies from a wash (.38 to 9mm) to decisively favoring the J.

Tiny pistols: Examples of old school ones are the Beretta .22lr/.25/.32. Newer examples are the Kel Tech P3, Ruger LC380. These guns are IMO really in a different class than the J frame. Power sucks to varying degrees, they do not hold many bullets and are often difficult guns to shoot well. Some can be shot accurately and other's not so much. Realistically effective ranges vary from across the room to 'belly gun's. Some manufacturers do not bother putting sights on these guns. The J beats them in every category except concealability.

The real advantage of these guns is that they beat the hell out of knives, fists or harsh words. Short of a speedo/ bikini or nekid they can be carried any time.

Between a small semi automatic or a J frame .38/.357mag both are servicable weapons. Both type of weapons have pluses and minuses. In the last few years a lot of really viable options by professional grade manufacturers have come out on the semi automatic side. On the other hand I can see why there is still a market for the J framed revolver.

I recently handled a Glock with two common modifications; an extended mag release and an extended slide stop. The extended mag release was terrible. It stuck out too far and rubbed like crazy on my side when carrying the gun. Personally I have never had an issue hitting the mag release on a Glock, the extended one is not wider (which might let you hit it instead of missing it if you were off a bit) but just stuck out further, like not needing to push my thumb another 1/8th of an inch really matters. I see no reason for this modification. Maybe it would buy 1/32 of a second which matters to gamers. To me for a practical use CCW/ tactical pistol the trade off is not worth it.

The extended slide stop I was ambivalent about. The part looked similar except a tiny nubbin towards the back that stuck out a small fraction of an inch. Unlike the terrible extended mag release it did not bother me par se but it did not do anything for me either. I've never had an issue hitting the slide stop to bring the slide forward. My thumb sweeps down in light contact with the frame and there is so much surface area covered I can't see how the stop could be missed.

Personally I will stick with a 3.5lb connector and a steel guide rod as my choice Glock mod's.

For my Remington 12 gauge 870P I've done some thinking and plan to stick with a 1 point sling indefinitely. Between cycling the action and (once I get one) using the light there is enough going on toward the end of a shotgun that I do not need a sling up there.

Got a Blade Tech IWB holster as part of a trade. It is pretty nice. An undershirt is important as the edges can be a touch abrasive but otherwise it's comfortable and being able to reholster 1 handed with an IWB holster is nice. A good piece of kit.

Well that is all I can think of to talk about right now. Hope you all have a great Friday. As always input is welcome.



Friday, May 31, 2013

Living With My J Frame Part 2: Overall Attributes and Shooting



I wrote Living With The J Frame about a month ago. Immediately realized there were some holes in that post. Seems it has taken me awhile to get there but there is no time like the present. So here we go.

I thought it would be interesting to look at the J frame by characteristic. Accuracy, Power, Capacity, Concealability and Reliability.

Accuracy: The J frame is mechanically a fairly accurate firearm. The professional quality brands; in this case Smith and Wesson, Ruger and formerly Colt (their prices are now well in the collector realm so unless you've already got it go elsewhere) will perform well in general and particularly in regards to accuracy. If I recall Massad Ayoob spoke once about doing grouping with these guns at 100 meters that were well under 12 inches. The budget brands such as Rossi and Taurus do not perform as well but unless your gun is a lemon (budget companies have A LOT more lemon's) it's probably a serviceable gun. Charter Arms is at the bottom of that range though the company has been sold so many times reliability is anybody's guess though the best case is probably OK and the worst is paperweight.

If you read carefully you would  have caught that I said the J frame is mechanically a fairly accurate firearm.

Translating that mechanical accuracy into real world shooting however is another matter. As Alexander Wolfe noted the J frame is not an easy gun to shoot well. Honestly in my opinion the J frame is a downright difficult gun to shoot well. The front sight and U notch is not a good sight, short sight radius, tiny grips, heavy (though fairly smooth in quality guns) trigger pull and a tiny handle make these guns very hard to shoot. They have been called an expert's gun and there is some truth to that. If you are an expert with handguns in general you will shoot the J frame well, if you are a good shot you will shoot the J frame OK, If you are in OK shot you will shoot the J frame poorly.

Honestly I do not think the 9/10 people at a gun range on any given day can hit @#(($ with a J frame at 20 meters. The local Community College baseball team's pitcher tossing a fastball worries me more at 20 yards than average Range Guy with a J frame. Sure the the shooter can theoretically kill me but a bolt of lightning could also strike me dead while Bobby can't make it in Div 3 ball would drill me with an 80 mile an hour fastball.

Shooting a J frame well takes a certain level of overall capability and a good amount of practice. One could very well argue that time would be better spent with a firearm that is easier to master.

Power: The .38 special is amply powerful. If you put round(s) reasonably near the right places a .38 special will stop 2 legged predators. Sure there are newer more Tacti Cool rounds out there but if you do your part by putting lead into meat the .38 will do it's part by putting that sack of meat out of the fight.

Capacity: Most J frame revolvers hold 5 rounds. To my knowledge the only exception is the old Colt J's which held 6. This is not great but for that size isn't terrible either. Really it is fairly representative of that size range of guns. Plenty of comparably sized auto's hold 6-7 rounds which is not so different. There are subcompact double stack auto's that hold more however those guns are considerably thicker so there is a trade off there.

Concealability:  Personally I have comfortably carried J frame revolvers in 3 ways. The first is along the waistband. For concealment of course this means inside the waistband. Unless you are trying to stick 20 pounds of you into 15 pounds of pants the J can be carried anywhere along the waistline. I prefer 1 o'clock but lots of folks like the classic 3-4 which works fine also.

The second is in a coat pocket. This is handy. In the winter my favorite setup is to have a J frame in my coat pocket and a full sized handgun on my belt. My right hand sits on the grip of the J in my pocket as I walk around. Nobody notices, lots of folks have a hand in their pocket. I could shoot it through my pocket or take it out to let a few rounds go, potentially before transitioning to a full sized pistol.

The third way is in a pants pocket. Lots of folks seem to do it but I can't pull off carrying a J frame in my front pants pocket. If fits in normal pockets but I think it prints pretty good. My J ends in the cargo pocket of my shorts (I live in Arizona and haven't worn long pants outside of work since February ish.) in a pocket holster a lot. Admittedly not the perfect setup but I am carrying a pistol that can be brought into play reasonably quickly. Certainly this is a huge step up from a gun in our vehicle's glove box.

Reliability: Quality (Ruger, S&W, Colt) revolvers are very reliable weapons. (The lesser brands tend to have 'studs and duds'. It's not so much that they are not capable of making quality guns, just that the 'lemon' ratio is a lot higher than better brands) They will work for a long time and shoot a lot of rounds with only basic maintenance.

However the rose colored glasses of time have affected our perceptions of revolvers. They can go have parts break, out of timing, get jammed or otherwise fail. This is worth discussing. An old saying goes "fixing a semi automatic pistol is as close as the nearest spare parts, fixing a revolver is as close as the nearest qualified gunsmith'. Like most sayings there is some truth to it. Modern semi automatic pistols tend to have drop in parts. In other words break an extractor, identify the issue, take the gun apart, replace the problem part(implied task have spare parts) like an extractor and get back to shooting. In this regard 1911's are iffy and revolvers are pretty much a no go. These guns require parts be 'fitted' ie honed, adjusted, etc to function properly. Honestly most people and a decent percentage of 'gunsmiths' can not do this reliably. Something to think about in terms of long term sustainability.

Anyway that was a bit more formulaic than I planned for but it seems to cover all the bases. As always your input is welcome.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jack Asks Glock 26 or 19?

My recent discussion of the J frame received a comment on our general discussion of the Glock 26 I wanted to reply to here.

@ Grasshoppa and Ryan,
I'm currently looking at an in between from an LCP, my little pocket rocket and my FN 40. I've decided at this point, I want to go 9mm for capacity and more power than a .380. Right now I've thought of the G19 but have recently been playing with the idea of a G26. Either way I carry one back up mag so the difference from 25 to 30 rounds isn't a biggie. If it works out, and the wifey likes it, which I'm almost sure she will since she loves my dads SR9c, I'd get her one down the road. Anyway what are your thoughts from your G26 and 19, respectively? Personal preferences, wish you woulda gone the other way first? I'll probably get both down the road but that could easily be years. Also, taking my current set up in mind, I've got a pocket rocket and a full size what would you suggest? Thanks for your time and help!!! Much appreciated!

Jack


 Jack, If you had said "I'm looking to get my first handgun. It's narrowed down to a Glock 26 or a Glock 19, which should I get?" or "I can only take 1 pistol on our upcoming road/ boat/ whatever trip; should it be the Glock 26 or Glock 19?" the answer would be simple. Glock 19 every day of the week plus twice on Sunday. However your question is a bit more complicated. First you already have a full sized pistol and a tiny gun. Second we get into concept of use.

I love the Glock 19. It is a great compromise of shootability, concealment and round count in a sufficiently potent cartridge for 2 legged predators. On the other hand like any compromise there are some sacrifices at the extreme ends.

When I was a kid in Scouts and such we camped a lot at least 1-2x a month year round. Money was relatively tight for most of us. We couldn't afford to have sets of summer, spring/fall and winter tents/ sleeping bags/ etc. That meant we had to make choices. Gear that was ready for January in the mountains out of the box was a real drag the rest of the time. On the other hand super light summer stuff wouldn't work for half of the year. The answer was to split the middle and get what I would call 3 season gear. In the summer it is easy enough to sleep with a bag open. In the winter you slap a tarp over the tent then add a fleece or wool (depending on the situation) blanket with the sleeping bag and you were good to go. Wasn't perfect but it worked pretty well.

To answer your question we have to get into concept of use. For a gun that will do house duty, concealed carry and potential SHTF type duty I would go with the Glock 19. After selling off a couple other pistols it has became my do everything handgun. For this concept of use I prefer the Glock 19. On the other hand if I wanted the commonality and reliability of a Glock 9mm in a package that was comfortable to carry to the store for popsycles on the hottest August day and already had a larger handgun for other purposes the Glock 26 would probably be the way to go. So my answer would be no I would not do it the other way around. Granted if I had it to do over again, knowing I would later want a Glock 26 when  they are unobtanium at sane prices, might have done some things different so it would be in the safe now but not instead of a G19. In any case there is usually another gun you really wish you could've bought.

[Along those lines I've came to terms with the fact that I'm not getting a G26 any time soon. When they are showing up prices are well above $600 with $650 being pretty common. Simply not willing to pay that silly of a price for something I do not NEED. Availability will come back sooner or later then I will purchase a gently used Glock 26 for a reasonable price. Kinda lame but oh well.]

For your situation. It seems to me like you are looking for a larger more potent gun that YOU WILL CARRY on those hot summer days to the corner store. I fear for that concept of use a Glock 19 will lose out to your LCP almost every time which misses the point of buying it. There is a distinct possibility it will sit by the FN in the safe. On the other hand a Glock 26 will probably make it out the door a good percentage of the time.

So those are my thoughts on that. As always input is appreciated.
-Ryan

Friday, May 3, 2013

Living With My J Frame

I've had my little Smith and Wesson 642 for a little while now. Since it's purchase I removed then ended up selling the Crimson trace laser grips and replacing them with Hogue boot grips. The boot grips are a lot smaller which lets the gun better suit my concept of use which is a little concealed carry piece. Here is what my little J frame looks like now.
I am pretty happy with it though at some point plan to set it up like Alexander's J frame with the wood S&W grips and a Tyler T grip. Aside from looking really good that setup will probably shoot better than my current grips. The only reason I haven't done it is that $60-75ish discretionary gun purchases are a long list.

My holster is a Blackhawk IWB.
It is perfectly adequate for carry in its intended role and does OK as a pocket holster. I'm not in love with it but it works; given the price point around a half rack of cheap light beer it offers a lot of value. If money were no object I would have a nice soft leather IWB holster, a Safariland pocket holster and an ankle holster for this gun. However as mentioned before gun stuff that would be nice to have is a really long list.

Awhile back Alexander Wolfe and I had a discussion about the size difference between compact Glock's like the G19 and J frame revolvers. Since I have been alternating carrying the two for a few months now plus the camera was already out I figured it might be fun to take some pictures then talk about my thoughts on the matter.
The Glock 19 and Smith and Wesson 642 side by side. Man who is the lucky duck that has both of these great carry options. At the first glance they look very similar in size. However as we will see appearances can be deceiving and the differences, however small, are in places where they matter a lot.

The Smith & Wesson 642 sitting on top of the Glock 19. The picture does not really show it bit the J frame is slightly offset and higher than the Glock 19 just because of the way the angles of the two guns came together. This is where the first significant difference in size becomes apparent. The length and height of the two guns are not THAT different. However as you can see the back of the J frame is curved while the back of the Glock 19 is roughly in the same location as the furthest point back on the pistols grip. The backstrap is one of the two points on a pistol that prints (shows through clothing while concealed) the most. Also it is one of the reasons the J frame vanishes under anything except a skin tight t shirt.
Looking at the two guns from the back we get a better picture of their relative height. The S&W is just a little but shorter than the Glock 19. However when we look at width it's a different story. Aside from the cylinder and the fattest part of the grips the S&W 642 is significantly thinner than the Glock 19. Also very significantly it is a lot thinner at the end of the grip. Combine that with the grip being shorter and you have most of the reason the J frame conceals much easier than the Glock 19. Personally I can hide a J frame under almost anything while the Glock 19 takes a loose button up or polo shirt that's roughly a size larger than my body.

A top view of the guns in the same position. Shows the overall differences in width and length.

Bottom line is the J frame is smaller in all the right places (barrel, width, grip size) to make it a much more concealable gun. It is much easier to conceal than the G 19. I can conceal the J frame wearing anything other than a swim suit. On the other hand the Glock 19 takes a polo or button up shirt 1 size larger than my body to conceal with a real belt to hold it.

Between the two there is no dispute the Glock 19 is a superior firearm. It holds 3x the darn bullets plus it's a much easier gun to shoot well. However that is not the point of this comparison. It's great for folks to pack a full sized Glock, M&P or 1911 with 2x reloads. Seriously good for those guys. However my observation is that most people will not actually pack a full sized heater with any regularity. The running joke that if you ask any guy who says he packs a full sized 1911 to show it to you right now he will mumble some BS about how it's in the glove box/ nightstand/ safe runs true far more often than not.

I genuinely believe in high percentage carry. Personally I carry a gun unless it is really illegal, like years in prison not 'asked to leave the establishment' kind of illegal. When you carry all the time the inevitable 'running to the store for a gallon of milk' scenarios come up. Also there are times you just plain don't feel like strapping on a larger pistol. Plus it is hot and getting hotter down here. Any gun beats the hell out of no gun.

Personally I go back and forth between carrying the J frame and the Glock 19. There is a sort of informal risk assessment for every trip. If I'm leaving our little town it's the Glock 19. If it's after 8 o'clock or so it is the Glock 19 with a light. If I am carrying a lot of cash or making a significant trade it is the Glock 19. Last weekend between my wallet, some garage sale cash and money for the the gun show I was walking around with about a grand; so I carried the  G19 on my right hip and the .38 in my off side cargo pocket.

However all things considered my lifestyle is pretty safe as there are not a lot of muggings and shootings between 3 and 6 pm. Since the risk assessment of going to the store for groceries at 4pm on a Tuesday is pretty low the J frame wins a lot. It wins because I should have a gun but don't need that much of one.

I feel adequately armed with the J frame and 2 reloads.  Sure it's not a Glock 19 with a reload. That being said what realistically concerns me these days is 1) somebody trying to rob me in the parking lot or 2) getting carjacked, the distant 3rd would be just getting caught in something here or there. Either of those  (2 probable) situations will be over one way or another before I shoot 5 rounds. The cold hard truth is that I'll have won, lost or be behind something with time to reload by then.

That being said I am in the market for a Glock 26. Sooner or later one will be saved from a life of an owner who is not me. That might just be the setup. Until then I will split my time between the Glock 19 and the S&W 642.


As always your opinion is welcome.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Odds N' Ends

The lettuce, spinach and green beans went into pots today. That was big fun. This whole growing my own vegetables thing is pretty cool. Also I'm excited to say it looks like I'll be involved with an intro to canning thing in the near future.

Had dinner and a couple beers at a local bar. Since neither driving slightly inebriated or taking a cab appealed to me I decided to hang out drinking water and reading till the booze wore off. I am currently reading Ghost Wars:The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. I got halfway into this book way back in IBOLC but it lost my interest. These days I am a lot better informed on Afghanistan and the players involved, through research and personal experience, and am probably more patient so it's a bit easier to get through.

On the plus side guns are becoming more available. The local shop has a variety of evil black rifles and semi automatic pistols. They are also doing pretty well on mags. A variety of AR mags including PMAGs at $22ish were present. They had limited pistol mags, I think mostly various Ruger and XD mags plus a few Glock 19 mags at $32ish.

Ammo is trickling into the shops and flying out. A lot of guys are showing up at Wally World early in the morning. Some to meet their own needs and some to resell at stupid prices. The local shop sold 7k in .223 in 2 days with a 3 box per customer limit. Personally I'm semi actively looking and buying when prices are right.

As summer hits here we are seeing consistent temps in the 80's. My little .38 J frame is definitely earning its keep. The G19 is really only viable for open carry these days. However given that it I'm in Arizona that option is legally on the table and socially acceptable to boot. Sort of depends on my mood and the risk of a given venture. Since I'm much more of a grocery store at 4pm than an ATM at 3AM kind of guy the risk is usually pretty low.

In writing this rambling, I'm too lazy to do something serious post I realized that a month ago I wrote basically the same thing. Big fun.








Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Carry and Gardening

The weather here in Southern Arizona seems to have decided to stop snowing and that it's Spring. A pleasant change but pretty fast. Suppose that's the nature of the desert. This brings up a couple issues worth discussing.

Carrying a gun in the fall and winter is easy. Pack whatever you want then put on a coat. It's the good times for sure. The benefits of packing a full sized piece without any of the issues of concealment. Spring and summer are what separates those who practice high percentage/ consistent carry from the fair weather strap on a heater in the winter or when they are going to wherever and want to pose.

Warm weather carry is not hard with a bit of planning. Get an inside the waistband (IWB) holster and get started. Blackhawk makes a decent one at a great price. You can choose to carry a compact pistol like a Glock 19 or subcompact pistol like a baby Glock or J frame which makes things easier. While I do not like following the rabbit hole of smaller guns down to a really small gun like a Beretta 21A/ NAA .22 revolver, etc but  they certainly beat not having a gun at all. On the other side of the coin you can dress around a bigger gun (though most won't and it will stay in the glove box/ nightstand/ safe) or open carry.

The endstate is to not let the weather getting warmer stop you from carrying.

The garden is coming along pretty well. The green onions from the store definitely sprouted in the cup of water. Turns out the roots need space below them and once I lifted them off the bottom of the cup they went crazy.  Now they are sitting in a pot of dirt. The potatoes (also from the store) are sort of going. They definitely have white shoots coming from the original taters and a couple are growing some leaves. I am optomistic that the rest will catch up. Hopefully they will get to growing and in a week or so I'll put them into a container.

The garden is coming along. So far I am really enjoying it and find the whole thing quite calming. Maybe I will try to do a second wave of stuff and or try to grow some more herbs.



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Basic Budget Guns Part 2: Handguns

To continue the ongoing series (Part 1, Part 1.5, Part 1.75) today we will talk about handguns. To catch you up I recommend buying common model firearms from reputable and common manufacturers chambered in a common caliber. Also remember to consider the cost of fully equipping them when comparing and pricing guns.

The goal here is to get a basic gun that fits a tight budget but is still a good solid weapon to bet your life on. The distinction between this and the cheapest guns out there is significant.

While I do not have a clear price range in mind a loose goal of $350 (of course markets vary so these guns might be 4 and a quarter in LA or 300ish in Alabama) to $400 seems like a good mark. This is of course for the gun itself, though if you buy used a holster (and maybe extra mag) might get tossed into the deal.

For a one handgun solution I tend to favor compact pistols. A .38/.357mag *3 inch* J(small) or 3-4" K(medium) sized revolver is a really good option. I would recommend Smith and Wesson or Ruger or if those are not available a fairly new Taurus. Unless you know what you are doing (which is not the target audience of this series) an older Charter Arms, Rossi, Taurus, etc might very well be a lemon and only useful as a paperweight. Newer Smiths run out of this price range in a hurry but an older revolver like a Model 10 or 64 can be had in this price range. Rugers do pop up here also. Both will probably run a bit closer to $400 but they do not need mags.

The reason revolvers will come in the cheapest is because you do not need mags. Figuring $25-35 for most mags (not today, we'll get to that in a minute) and that IMO you want a bare minimum of 6 mags cost adds up fast.

For semi auto's the Kel Tech PF9 and Ruger LC 9 both seem like pretty decent contenders and are in our price range. They are towards the smaller end of guns I would be comfortable with for an everything handgun but they are readily available and take single stack mags which are still out there at sane prices. The really little .380's and 2" J frames are difficult guns to shoot well and not especially fun to shoot which means you are less likely to put in the time to learn to use them. This combination makes them less than ideal beginner guns.

Interestingly Iraq Vet8888/ Barry of Moss Gun and Pawn did a video on handguns under $350.

Won't disagree with anything they said but there are inherent compromises in basic budge guns. Compromises that are acceptable for one person might not be acceptable for another. If you are a bit less concerned about commonality of ammunition and parts the Bersa .380 is worth looking into. If you plan to buy all the ammo and parts you will every need with the gun then the Makarov is a fine option.

Note that I really haven't talked about  any double stack auto's. Glock pistols and in particular the Glock 19 (which would otherwise be my choice here) are relatively hard to find these days. You can get them but (excluding oddballs like .45GAP) they are running a bit more expensive than before firearmagedon. In my neck of the woods it will be very hard to touch a non oddball used Glock for under $550 with $600 probably being average. Most significantly the price of full capacity double stack mags that hold more than 10 rounds (especially Glock 9's)  is up considerably, though they are slowly trending down. Glock mags are running $43-45 in my neck of the woods and it's a sellers market. This is significantly up from the $25-28 pre panic prices. For a guy like me who wants to have 9-10 mags that is a big price difference. Between the higher price of the gun and mags I think the Glock 9mm is currently priced out of a "common man" budget. The same can be said for the other pistols that would normally be in this range. Smith and Wesson Sigma's and the old Ruger P series still offer good value if you can find mags at a sane price.

My basic budget handgun setup would be:
-handgun (duh)
-6 magazines for an auto/ some speedloaders for a revolver
-500 rounds of ammunition. In a perfect world you might have 500 rounds of JHP ammo and then some FMJ for plinking but if the budget is tight consider getting 100 rounds of JHP and the rest FMJ. If the budget is uuber tight just rock boring old ball ammo.
-decent holster that can be used for concealment
-belt stuff enough to comfortably hold said gun in holster

Personally I would be looking for a decent used revolver either a Smith and Wesson Model 10/64 .38 or a Ruger Security 6 .357 really whichever came up first.

Hope that helps somebody. Next chapter we will talk shotguns which will be short and easy.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Standardization of Weapons

Through a lot of effort and energy some good things have happened over the past few months:
We have standardized pistols to .22lr, .38/.357 revolvers and 9mm Glocks.
Our shotgun platform is the Remington 870 3".
Rifles are still where they are with .223/5.56, 7.62x39, 30-30 and 30'-6. That may or may not change. The working stuff is pretty much consolidated. The outliers are still in common calibers and good guns so I am disinclined to get rid of them.

 It might be worth considering swapping your oddball(s) for another gun that fits into your  situation. Simple is good.

 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Easy Wrong or Hard Right

A few of things happened today.

I found myself at the grocery store at lunch time. Really wanted to grab something to eat but didn't. We aren't hurting or anything but stuff is getting more expensive so we need to watch things. Went home and made food instead.

This afternoon I knew that I should work out but really didn't want to. Taking a nap or sitting on my butt sounded better. So naturally I ran, did some pushups/ situps/ pullups, lifted then ran home. The reason is that it usually sounds better to be lazy.

This evening we were going to take a guest on a tour of our little town. I wanted to grab the .38 and go but instead went with the less comfortable to carry Glock 19. The reason is that I consider (and believe stats reflect this) evenings a bit more risky so to me the right answer was the Glock.

We face these choices every day in many ways. Over time these little choices compound and really start to add up. Also they build into habits which are powerful things. We don't always need to be perfect. That just isn't life. However making the right choice 3 out of 4 times and spreading them out so you aren't always slacking on on thing is probably reasonable. It will let you be human but still stay on the right track.

Will put together a better post tomorrow. All of a sudden it got pretty late on me today and I'm just not feeling it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Glock Modifications



I

I saw this video awhile back. Steve Fisher saying the goal of modifying a gun is to improve functionality without messing with durability or reliability I think is a good starting point.

While I do think the Glock is probably the best standard bone stock fighting pistol out there it could be a bit better. I like swapping the normal guide rod/ spring out with a spring that has the same tension (or whatever they call it) but a stainless steel body. The primary reason for this is that a little bit of weight up front helps decrease muzzle rise. Some might also argue they are more durable.

Something new I did today is to swap out the standard trigger connector with a #3.5 trigger connector. Between the reference manual and youtube it wasn't too hard to figure out. Took the gun to try at the range today and it was pretty awesome. It's just a bit lighter and smoother but makes a whole lot of difference. The combination of the steel guide rod and 3.5lbs connector is awesome. It is seriously like a whole different better shooting gun. I shot the same gun about a month back and groups were probably less than half the size this time.

Night sights are pretty much required and are an easy upgrade on most modern service type pistols if the gun does not come with them.

I think the combo of ss guide rod/ spring, 3.5lb connector and night sights is an upgrade all of my Glocks will get. Might just stash a spare set or three (at that mythical time when I have $500 for gun stuff and nothing else to buy) just in case. That way I could set up a Glock acquired however down the road the way I like it. Stole that idea from Matthew Bracken's newest book Castigo Cay.

A pistol mounted light like a Streamlight TLR-1 is a solid option. I have a love hate relationship with them. I love the capability but hate the added bulk. For a dedicated home defense or open carry/ tactical gun a light is an easy decision. For a gun that is going to regularly pull concealed carry duty it is a harder call. I like the idea but the Glock 19 with a light kept getting left at home in favor of the J frame. A more concealment oriented slimmer holster would help but that's still carry under a sweatshirt or something, not AIWB which is my preference for concealed carry. I do not think anybody makes an AIWB rig for a gun with a light and if they did I'm not sure it would be tolerable to carry. Definitely better to carry a Glock without a light than to think I carry a Glock with a light but actually pack the snubby 9/10 times. I think running a concealed carry Glock and a home/ tactical one is probably MY way forward.

That's what I have done to Glocks. Things I can see doing

A modern red dot like a Trijicon RMR or the new Leupold offering seems like a really cool way to go. I'm going to wait for some more R and D to happen and prices to slip down a little bit over a few years before seriously considering taking the plunge. Obviously higher suppressor sights would need to go with this setup.

A threaded barrel to go with a suppressor would be cool at some point.

Stippling has potential to help with grip, etc. I would want to see and handle a gun done by a shop before giving them my gun. Too many yahoos with a dremel and a soldering iron think they are gunsmiths these days to trust just anybody offering the service.

Beyond that I cannot think of anything currently available that I want to put on a fighting handgun.

What have you done to Glocks (or I guess other pistols)?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dry Fire Practice- Little Things

This evening after putting Walker to bed I conducted some dry fire training. It was pretty good. Definitely getting used to handing the smaller J frame and it's trigger. One nice thing about a DAO revolver is that you cannot cheat and thumb cock it so you just have to get comfortable with the trigger. I am eager to get it out to the range and put some more ammo through it. This trip will coincide with zeroing the new scope for the AR after it arrives.

Did notice one interesting thing when shooting the wheel gun. My Blackhawk IWB holster came out with the gun a couple times. Admittedly it was probably just because I was repeatedly drawing without taking the time to really reset the holster. That consideration aside it is still no bueno. An easy fix is to undo the velcro on my rigger belt, slip the holster in and then re velcro the belt. The bottom of the plastic clip sort of looks like an upside down T that hooks on both sides of the belt keeping it solidly in place. I will probably talk more about this holster at some point. It's not perfect but for $10 picking one up when you get a gun then figuring out another option down the road when your budget allows (if you even feel the need to) is a solid option. Elitists will hate it but a $10 holster that is good enough for casual use or to get you started on a busget has some real value in the market place.

Next I shifted to rifle work. I haven't rocked iron's as primary sights for awhile and wanted to get used to using them in a CQB type setting. Also I needed to knock some dust off the old muscle memory. Rifle work was good. Weapon manipulation and target acquisition were solid. Also spent some time training with the tac light. With it located at about 1:30 the setup is pretty natural. The only minor issue is if I get lazy about grip my thumb can obscure the sights. Optics sit slightly higher so this should be less of an issue. If a bit more training will not fix this I will look at other mounting options or a pressure switch.

The point I am trying to get to is that we find flaws and weak points in our gear, systems and capabilities when we use them. Little things come up and we figure them out by setting stuff up differently or training appropriately. Occasionally something big pops up that must be dealt with. If you just buy a gun, a holster and a bunch of hollow points  then load up the gun and stick it in the holster to occasionally travel with you these flaws never appear. It is true that you may live a charmed life and never have these unknown flaws become huge problems but not everyone is so lucky.

Get out and use your stuff. Getting out and shooting is great but with the limited availability and high price of ammo these days it may be hard to do often. Dry fire is free and you can do it at home so there are no excuses.

Just Do It!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Readily Available Guns



An interesting video from the good folks at Moss Pawn and Gun on readily available guns in the current firearmagedon situation. My .02 are that Glock prices have gone up significantly. Used Gen III guns seem to be going for around 6 bills in Southern Arizona and they aren't being advertised long. Finding a 17 is easier than a 19 though. I think revolvers are worth thinking about if you cannot pay the current double stack semi auto (and especially Glock 9's for whatever reason) premiums as they have been essentially unaffected by this mess.

For whatever it is worth things seem to slowly be getting better as the freedom ban folks seem to be stalled out. Maybe it's just that the folks who wanted an AR/ AK and could pay loony tunes prices have already bought. AK's and AR's are available and slowly but surely prices might be trending slowly down. Unless you are desperate it might be wise to wait this out.

Anyway there is the video to give some advice to folks really trying to get set up today without paying stupid prices.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From Around The Web

Teotwawki Blog did an excellent Snub Nose Gear Roundup.

A journalist was not treated very nicely when he asked if Mayor Bloomberg was giving up his armed security. The classic elitist liberal position that chosen ones deserve the best protection the public purse will buy but us peasants can dial and die. Bet they aren't packing neutered 7 round mags either.

Assault Weapons ban does not have the votes to pass the senate. Next step is to protect our right to be full people unlike New Yorkers who are 7/30ths as important as chosen ones. After that we tell them to keep away from law abiding citizens right to buy and sell their private property with other law abiding citizens. Enforcing the gun laws we have would be a good start.

The lost art of cut shells.

Detroit edges closer to bankruptcy.

About every centerfire rifle in existence is just waiting to be redefined as a cop killer.

Monday, January 28, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I got a new heater. Also picked up a bunch of accessories I have been wanting. A Safariland paddle holster that will accomodate a Glock with a TLR-1. If I like using the light on my Glock down the road a nicer setup will be acquired. A stainless steel guide rod and a Lone Wolf 3.5 pound trigger connector round things out on the Glock front.

Got a set of boot grips for the new heater as well as an en cheapo holster (till I figure out what I want), and some speed loaders. Tossed some more speed loaders and speed strips into the order just because.

Lastly I picked up a Costa Leg Rig. Pretty sure that on a rigger belt is going to be my answer to the 'battle belt'.

Picked up a few odds and ends at the grocery store. Looking at making a decent sized order this week.

Well that is what we have been up to. What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Five For Sure

I like this saying. Would argue that a Glock 19 (and its S&W MP and XD contemporaries) is 15 for sure but this package is smaller and a lot lighter. It is a catchy saying all the same.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Small Revolver Choices- SW Airweight .38?

We talked before about whether I should get a revolver or a little semi auto.

Anyway I decided to go with a little revolver. There were a lot of different considerations involved in this.

The Kel Tech 9mm is at least temporarily rejected. If one comes up at a deal and it is from a person I know (that will say if the gun sucks or not) maybe but for now I think not. There are a whole flock of new subcompact single stack 9mm's but I want to see how they fare and let some kinks get worked out.

There were a variety of options but I quickly narrowed it down to a Ruger SP 101 .357 mag or a Smith and Wesson .38/.357. Lots of other companies (Taurus, Charter Arms, etc all) make decent revolvers but I am looking for something that I'm not going to have issues with or want to replace in 2 or 3 years.

After some consideration the role I am looking to fill is a carry piece smaller than a Glock 19. This will give me some options and since I will be in Arizona through the summer that is important. I do think the steel framed models are probably more durable over the very long term. However since subcompact revolvers tend to be guns that get carried a lot and not have crazy round counts so to me the issue is negligible. Also this is another consideration in buying a quality revolver. My concern about the SP 101 is that despite being small it is heavy enough to be problematic for my intended use of summer or casual carry.  Also I tend to want to go lighter for a carry gun which makes the air weight smiths a good option.

[Eventually this little revolver will be paired with a stainless steel .357 or some variety. A Ruger GP 100 4" would be nice but a 3" SP 101 might just be the ticket.]

Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog noted you do not get a lot from the .357 cartridge (vs the .38 special) in a snubby and there are probably shoot-ability issues in lighter guns. I would be inclined to go with a .357 mag and load .38's just to have the chamber capacity if it ever came up. So I got to looking. Around here SW stainless .357 mag's of the small variety are semi rare and in the air weight flavor they might as well be made of unobtainable and have diamonds for night sights. Nice guns but way more coin than I want to spend.

Anyway the combination of my preferences, budget and availability makes me think a Smith and Wesson Airweight .38 special as the best available option. Thoughts?





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