• Category Archives Reviews
  • Army Adopts Sig Sauer Sidearm

    The U.S. Army announced on Thursday that it would adopt a new sidearm manufactured by Sig Sauer.

    The Army awarded Sig Sauer the contract for a brand new Modular Handgun System worth up to $580 million over 10 years. That sum will equip the military branch with the P320 beginning this year once operational testing is complete. It will replace the standard issue Beretta M9 that the Army currently employs.

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  • Five Machine Guns for Your Last-Minute Christmas Shopping

    Christmas is closing in fast, and many of us could use some last-minute shopping ideas.

    Breitbart News, therefore, wants to promote five machine guns that would make great Christmas purchases.

    Granted, the process for getting a machine gun is so riddled with bureaucratic nonsense that even if you purchase one today, you will not get it until six to eight months after Christmas. (A machine gun purchase requires the buyer to be photographed, fingerprinted, and subjected to a background check. The buyer must also register the machine gun and pay the federal government a $200 tax.) But at least the purchase will be made, and Santa can leave a friendly note explaining that you have a machine gun on the way!

    For those who do not know, machine guns are legal to own in the majority of states. The catch with purchasing one is that the gun has to have been manufactured before May 19, 1986. Because of this, there is a finite number of guns available. Therefore, prices can be exceedingly high.

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  • Book Review—The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies

    While attacks on the Second Amendment are all-too common in today’s politically charged climate, advocates fighting for our right to self-defense and the right to bear arms now have a powerful new tool in The War On Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies, the latest book by John R. Lott Jr.

    Lott, who holds a doctoral degree in economics and has established himself as a peerless investigator on the topics of gun use and gun rights, once again provides decisive analysis and careful research of current studies and government data to prove there really is an effort to limit, if not completely remove, firearms from the hands of the American public. Roughly two-thirds of the book is centered on analytic proof and commentary that gives backbone to Lott’s thesis that a concerted campaign is being waged by politicians and bureaucrats with gun-control agendas. Impressively, and as any serious study should include on such a broad topic, there are two appendices of data and an extensive set of footnotes citing every source Lott mentions in his textual analysis. There is also an index for more specific topics.

    What makes this book unique among pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment rights-related tomes is the detailed chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the many lies and obfuscations pushed by influential anti-gun figures. Lott corroborates contradictory data from various sources, including analyses and studies he has (in full disclosure) conducted himself. What’s more, the author is actually able to break down the anti-gunners’ arguments by citing their own data. To further expose the often-corrupt motives behind gun-banners’ data manipulation and silencing of those who challenge their intentions, Lott recounts several instances of media and academic bias, if not blatant censorship, from his own attempts to build public awareness of actual facts supporting self-defense and gun ownership.

    Whatever the specific issue, readers will be able to find a relevant chapter to enhance their understanding of what’s really at stake. Topics include: how academics and the media distort facts; how public health officials, the CDC and physicians have failed to produce sufficient proof, cause or correlation to determine that firearms are a detriment to people’s well-being; and how Stand Your Ground laws and background checks have real world applications and ramifications on everyday law-abiding citizens. Lott dedicates three chapters specifically to how the U.S. compares to other countries. He dedicates an entire chapter to Australia and whether that nation’s gun control initiatives have worked—hint: they haven’t. The most chilling of his conclusions is that an obvious collaboration between factions in government, media and academia is attempting to control public discourse by distorting facts to meet expected outcomes.

    Lott has accomplished the difficult task of collecting, consuming, analyzing and disseminating hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of research to give readers and advocates hard numbers to present in debate or discourse. As such, readers might find it challenging to pore through such a wealth of statistics and data, though the text is articulately written. Lott peppers the chapters with tables and line graphs to better illustrate where the data is and where it clearly doesn’t support the left’s assertions. The author also highlights biases in the collection of data and study methodology, either because of the failings of the data, in how the data was poorly sampled or how it was manipulated by those conducting the studies. It is a heroic effort to show that good guys with guns do make a difference while also condemning those who purposely mislead or misdirect those seeking the truth.

    John R. Lott Jr., $27.99, hardcover, 256 pages, Regnery Publishing, regnery.com

  • Six Great Pocket Guns for Your Christmas Wish List

    Christmas Day is fast approaching and Breitbart News thought it apropos to highlight six pocket guns that should be on wish lists around the country.

    These guns are perfect for men who live in climates where cargo shorts/pants are daily wear, as you can put the gun in a small holster and literally drop it in your front pocket and go. The six guns listed below are also excellent gift choices if you have a woman on your list–say, a mother or grandmother who plans to keep the gun in her purse or even to carry the gun in a sweatshirt pocket while walking the kids in the park.

    One of the guns on this list is so light and compact you can carry it in sweat pants or other relaxed clothing without needing to worry about the weight of the gun pulling on the pants.

    And the recoil on all these guns is minimal, as they are chambered in .380, .32 or .38 Special. They really are great guns for mothers and grandmothers who realize they are the first line of defense for their children or grandchildren should trouble strike.

    Here are the six pocket guns…

  • Dean Weingarten: Smart Guns Are Really Dumb

    Segway Pimp Slap

    So, in a near laboratory environment, on Colt’s terms, at their range, without weather, blood, hand-to-hand combat, or long storage times, the reporter, Vanessa O’Connell, watched the demonstration. It failed. Spectacularly.

    From NPR:

    ROSE: The timing was awful. Just when Colt needed to convince potential customers they could trust this new smart gun, here’s a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal saying they can’t. Not long after, Colt pulled the plug on smart gun research. Seventeen years later, no American gun company wants to pick up where Colt left off. Joel Rose, NPR News, New York.

    The fact is that “stupid” gun technology is a really stupid idea, virtually designed to make guns fail. It operates under the assumption that it is better for a gun not to fire than to fire. Proponents of the idea are either blissfully ignorant of real world problems or simply love the idea of making guns less reliable.

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  • Ammunition Disaster, Again

    Carry Life | Ammunition Disaster, Again

    We’ve observed that the ammunition drought is waning—thank goodness. Joining the ramp-up of established suppliers are new domestic and offshore sources, all supplemented by healthy growth of, and interest in, handloading. Thank goodness, again. We can finally get back out to the range and not treat every cartridge like a gold nugget.

    For reasons that remain a little murky, however, it seems as though we’re seeing more ammunition-related issues once we’re there. None of these—happily—have been serious, but it seems as though folks are treating cartridges as a commodity just a bit more than is truly wise. Despite being small packages, the little buggers are complex and powerful: It pays to know just what you’re feeding your firearm, and be hyperaware of how they function together.

    We took a good look at the sorts of things that can go wrong on the back end of the cartridge. This is usually the stuff that prevents firing—bum priming of one type or another. Problems at the other end can be just as formidable, though they usually prevent feeding. Either—duh—can be a major nuisance on the range, but a genuine danger for the Carry Life: A stoppage is a stoppage, and most are preventable.

    Bullet Damage

    This one is easy, and we’ve partially dealt with it here. But take a peek at the front of every bullet you load, and especially for defensive purposes. Obvious flaws in symmetry or serious gouges are automatic disqualifiers.

    We also perform a tactile check on “flaring” closure. This is a rare flaw in factory ammunition, but not, repeat not unknown. This occurs after the case mouth is slightly over-expanded to accept the base of the bullet without damage, and then closed (usually with a taper crimp) to a diameter intended to stop the cartridge at the correct depth against the “shoulder” at the far end of the chamber. Insufficient crimp/closure can lock your action up astonishingly tight, and is a bear (even dangerous) to clear. In the check for this, you’re looking for no “sharpness” at the rim of the case, and certainly no remaining visual evidence of the flare.

    Be careful you don’t confuse the undesirable sharpness with a defined edge. If it’s too smooth, you have an over-crimp that can create ignition and accuracy problems, but it’ll feed as though greased!

    The most reliable way to capture all these checks at once is the “thunk” test. Remove the barrel from your pistol, clean the chamber, and let each round fall into the chamber (don’t push it in). A properly sized round will “thunk” to a stop with the base of the case juuuuust clear of the feed ramp—we think you’ll know it when you hear it. Rounds that don’t do this can have a variety of problems—all are bad, some are dangerous. Discard and preferably disassemble them.

    Bullet Profile

    This is a more difficult assessment to make on inspection alone than you might think. Generalizations are certainly possible, but even these must be taken with a grain—or several thousand grains—of salt.

    Round-nosed or conical bullets are generally the best for feeding reliability, and that’s why they’re so common as auto-loader target fodder. Their old name was “military ball,” or just plain “ball” ammo, and they’re everywhere in the .380 ACP, 9 mm and .45 ACP worlds. They aren’t foolproof, however: If overall length (commonly known as OAL) isn’t right, they can be very nearly as aggravating as …

    … Truncated cones. Ours is a love-hate relationship when “TCs” are the topic of conversation: We’ve had both good and terrible luck with them. They aren’t all that common outside of .40 caliber (both .40 S&W and 10 mm). That’s for a good reason—they are generally malfunction-prone if OAL doesn’t fall in a very narrow range. This means they’re sensitive to feed ramp shape/collision angle, hence sensitive to slide speed, hence to recoil spring rate, and hence to grip mechanics. You get the idea. That said, if they work in your gun, they’re likely to work very well, as they allow more mass for a given profile, and this can make TCs seem softer-shooting than other shapes.

    Hollow-points are the remaining major group of profiles. They’re widely and correctly associated with defensive use because of how they react on striking targets: The hollow nose is essentially a designed-in “fault” that causes the bullet nose to open (often dramatically) further on impact. Such “mushrooming” rapidly transfers bullet energy into the target and keeps the projectile from exiting what it hits and causing unintended downrange damage or injury.

    Some varieties have rounded external profiles and feed with nearly the reliability of ball. Others are more slope-sided like truncated cones. These designs afford a bigger “hollow” and theoretically better expansion, but may not feed as well. These can be a big crapshoot from individual firearm to individual firearm. Though they generally feed much better in the last 10 years than they used to, before choosing anything for a Carry Life application, they require …

    Testing, Testing, Testing

    Anybody that “shoots for a living,” that is service members, law enforcement, etc., generally benefits from the work of professionals that do this for them. All the factors that go into the “big tent” called reliability are within their purview. They have the training, resources and facilities to exercise every aspect of ultra-reliability. They’re generally damn good at it too.

    They have another huge advantage that often escapes notice—a comparatively tiny number of firearms that must rise to the vaunted levels of performance their environments (rightly) require. In consequence, manufacturers are also far more likely to pay close attention both to their needs and any issues—again, just as they should.

    Mere mortals make their own version of the reliability equation both better and worse. On the positive side of the ledger, choices from a broader selection of firearms and ammunition can be tuned to very specific—even personal—needs/tastes. The downside should be equally obvious: Dramatically more potential variation in performance accompanies this huge variety.

    Spare a little pity for manufacturers here: They try to meet everybody’s needs with all firearms and for every conceivable, legit purpose in a huge variety of calibers. That’s the job we don’t envy!

    All of which brings us to our point: If you’re serious about the Carry Life, you dare not trust anybody else’s evaluation of ammunition for one reason—they don’t have your firearm.

    While modern designs and manufacturing methods have substantially reduced gun-to-gun variation in the last generation or so, it is still less than perfect. You can probably expect that if your pal’s Model XYZ will run Ammo ABC, yours will too. But you probably cannot expect that if Company 123’s version of Model ABC will run given ammunition, your Company 789’s version of the XYZ will. (1911, Beretta/Taurus/SIG, CZ/EAA owners, are you listening?)

    Nor should you expect that compact versions of full-size guns will behave as their bigger relatives do. This gets complicated in a hurry, but locking/unlocking geometry, barrel length, slide mass, recoil spring rates and your ability to keep operating energy “in the gun” as size changes are just a few of the variables that can turn your reliable workhorse into a finicky diva in nothing flat.

    So how much testing of expensive self-defense ammo is enough, you gulp and ask? Well before you buy a single round, do some research. Firearm manufacturers are the best resource here: They may have military and or law enforcement contracts that they’ve tested for, and met. Cash in, so to speak, on this data if you can. More and more firearm companies are even making their own ammo; if this isn’t a recommendation, what would be?

    The next best resource is local law enforcement. While Departments are likely constrained by liability concerns from “official” comment, use your imagination a little, and you can often find out what they load. If your luck is good, you may be able to connect the dots between your defensive firearm and a nearby agency, which is better still: Use what they use.

    Failing that, we have a hard time recommending anything less than 100 rounds, and 150 or 200 is better.

    <<Cue agonized groans>>

    Yep: It’s a beating money-wise, but think about consequences. Even though your goal is to be so observant that you avoid altercations altogether, or so skilled that you play your own intimidation card, in the end a defensive firearm must be utterly reliable. And how that firearm behaves in your hands is the only test that really matters.

    So inspect—and test—those cartridges, and Carry on.

  • House of Canards: Netflix Drama Gets it Wrong on Gun Laws, NRA

    [SPOILER ALERT: If you plan on watching the fourth season of the Netflix political drama “House of Cards” you may want to finish viewing it before reading this article.]

    March 4 saw the premiere of the fourth season of Netflix’s hit political drama House of Cards. The show follows the machinations of House Majority Whip Frank Underwood as he ascends to the presidency and subsequently runs to stay in office. While the real-life Washington elite certainly have an unsettling fondness for the Machiavellian drama, its depiction of life inside the Beltway is highly stylized. This season this fact is made abundantly clear with the show’s portrayal of federal gun laws and NRA.

    Starting in episode 4, former reporter Lucas Goodwin, who was imprisoned as a result of some of Underwood’s intrigues, makes an attempt on the fictional president’s life outside a campaign rally. While Underwood is greeting a crowd of critics, Goodwin draws and fires a pistol, striking and wounding Underwood, and killing series regular Secret Service Agent Edward Meechum. Goodwin is killed by Meechum’s return fire. Underwood withstands the attack, but requires a liver transplant to survive.

    Following some illegal maneuvering with the list of prospective liver transplant recipients by Underwood’s chief of staff, an unrelated young man gains access to a firearm in his family home and uses it to kill himself. The young man’s suicide provides a liver for the ailing Underwood.

    With these events as the background, Underwood’s equally conniving wife, Claire, stages a press conference in the Whitehouse to push gun control. As props, the first lady displays a firearm “illegally obtained by a career criminal at a gun show,” she then moves on to a gun that was “ordered on the internet, no background checks.” The final firearm she displays is the one used by Goodwin in the assassination attempt on her husband. Claire then explains that she is working to introduce legislation to criminalize the private transfer of firearms, “including gun shows and online sales.”

    First, while a favorite target for gun control activists, research shows that criminals simply do not acquire guns at gun shows in significant numbers. A Bureau of Justice Statistics survey that queried state prison inmates as to the source of the guns they possessed at the time of their offense found that 0.8 percent obtained the firearms at a gun show. Alternatively, 40 percent answered that they acquired a gun from a “street/illegal source.”

    Second, the supposed “online sales” that gun control advocates target are better described as transfers pursuant to online communication. These transfers are simply the modern version of a sales posting in a printed want ad or on a shooting range bulletin board. Individuals use the internet to offer a firearm for sale or trade and then typically set a time and place to meet face to face with an interested party to transfer the firearm. The idea that there are individuals legally ordering firearms from retailers directly to their front door without undergoing a background check is a misconception.

    Of course, on the off chance that the writers intended to further elaborate on Claire’s duplicitous nature by having the character misinform the public in the same self-serving manner as her real-life anti-gun counterparts, the scene is a stroke of genius.

    As is typical in House of Cards, political intrigue ensues. Having survived the attempt on his life, Underwood is in search of a running-mate and cuts a deal to place a pro-gun senator on the ticket at the behest of his party’s leadership. Along with the help of a surreptitiously obtained list of citizens susceptible to anti-gun messaging, the wily Underwoods push the Congress to the brink of passing the gun control legislation.

    However, at the last moment the Underwoods cut an elaborate deal with NRA to help force the “pro-gun” senator off the ticket in order for him to be replaced with the Underwoods’ favored candidate. In return, the Underwoods abandon the gun control legislation.

    During these scenes, an actress playing an NRA lobbyist exerts NRA’s power over the pro-gun senator by exclaiming that the group “poured millions into his campaign,” and that the organization raised the princely sum of “$20 million” for the candidate. The portrayal furthers the popular misconception that NRA’s political power stems from our checkbook.

    NRA is a 5 million member grassroots civil liberties organization. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our highly-motivated members, we are able to influence the political process by our impact at the ballot box. Some of the more sophisticated members of the media acknowledge this fact. Simply put, it’s NRA’s ability to melt legislative switchboards and deliver votes, rather than campaign contributions, which allows us to effectively represent gun owners. When other groups do it, the press calls it democracy.

  • Massad Ayoob on Sizing a Handgun

    How do you test your defensive sidearm to the point where you can be confident in it?

    How do you figure out the right car or computer or defensive firearm for your needs? You test it. You do so preferably before you buy it, but certainly before you trust something important to it, like your life.

    Let’s look at some of the most important criteria in defensive handgun selection…

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  • NYPD Authorizes Registration of ARES SCR Rifles in NYC

    ARES SCR Sport Configurable Rifle

    ARES Defense Systems, the country’s leading manufacturer of innovative, mission-configurable firearms, parts and accessories announces that the NYPD Firearms License Division has completed their review of the ARES SCR rifle and have determined that it is not a military firearm (assault weapon) as defined by NYC law, and is accordingly authorized for registration, to own and possess by qualified residents of New York City.

    For those unfamiliar with the situation as it developed in the past few months; the ARES SCR (Sport Configurable Rifle) is a sporting rifle that does not exhibit any banned features as defined in the New York SAFE Act and is therefore considered legal to own and possess in the state of New York. New York City however has additional criteria by which they test firearm classification and the discretion to determine what is an “Assault Weapon” under NYC guidelines.

    At first blush, some members of the License Division interpreted the ARES SCR to potentially be a copy of an AR15 type rifle (which is banned in the state), and therefore instituted a temporary prohibition on registering ARES SCR rifles in New York City until they could fairly review the matter and make a final determination as to the ARES SCR classification in NYC.

    When they completed their review yesterday, they ruled in favor of allowing registration of the ARES SCR Rifle by qualified residents of New York City.

  • Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: A Comprehensive Intro to Night Vision Devices


    Night vision devices, or NODs (Night Optical/Observation Devices), were once considered too costly for consumer use. Recently, they’ve not only become more powerful and popular, but less expensive due to so many different manufacturers cranking out devices in the last few decades. They’re also no longer restricted to those with a governmental budget (or sociopathic serial murderers in the early 1990s) and you too can probably afford a night vision optic.

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