2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Couple of Updates

First, I am happy to announce that I received an email from Rich at Custom Carry Concepts stating that they are caught up with orders and will be taking new orders starting June 8th. If you were on his waiting list he also included a coupon code and will take your order early. As I have noted in my earlier review, he makes some really good stuff. Think of Fobus without the higher prices. Yea, his stuff is that good. Got a versaclip for my Bersa on the way.

Secondly, found some bricks of .22LR at the Powder Room over in Powell on Friday, guess I just wasn't looking hard enough. The price for a brick (500 rounds) was, get ready to gasp....$24.99!!
Whoa! Supply and demand takes it toll. Anyone else remember when these things were under 10 bucks?

Lastly, going on our first family vacation in like 4 years starting next Saturday, so posting may be halted for a bit. Don't worry, you can always check out some of my earlier posts. Tell you what, how about this, I will be offering a "surprise gift" to the first person that posts a reply to and upcoming article that announces the give a way. All you will have to do is find the word "GIFT!!" hidden in one of my previous posts for the past year. The gift will be firearm related but will not be an actual weapon or ammo, sorry, too much legal stuff to worry about. Remember, the offer isn't good until the actual posting of the announcement. I will ship only to continental US addresses only, sorry to the rest of you - I don't make any money off of this site so cost is a bit of a factor.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ammo Found!

Actually found a decent supply of ammo down at a local shop yesterday and bought some to stockpile and replace the rounds I have shot recently. Prices are definitely up and there were purchase limits, but at least I saw some calibers that I have not been able to find lately, .380 ACP to be precise. It was expensive, $20 for a box of 50 Fiocchi FMJ target ammo, but I haven't seen .380 on the shelf at this place that you could buy without also having to buy a pistol to put it in. The Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec P3-AT, along with concealed carry, are to blame.

Also picked up some Hornady Critical Defense FTX .380 personal protection rounds for my Bersa. These look like some interesting rounds, designed specifically for expansion, they use a soft material in the cavity of the hollow point to compress and push the bullet open as it enters the target. This is similar to the Pow'RBall ammo that Corbon has had out for a while, but instead of a solid ball the material in the FTX rounds is more pliable and seems to be aimed at utilizing the hydrostatic shock more effectively. The marketing material for the round prominently displays the Ruger LCP and there is some conjecture that the round was deliberately designed for this platform. I would reject this notion as I have also seen it marketed as a way to produce higher velocity rounds for lever action rifles that allow a pointed tip without the worry of primer strikes and rounds going off in a tubular magazine. The salesman assured me that they are superior to the Winchester Silvertip HP rounds I currently carry in my Bersa .380. At about $1 a round I won't be wasting these, though I will be firing a few just to see how they shoot compared to the Winchester.

As a side note, bricks of .22LR are still not to be found anywhere. I could get the plastic box of 100 subsonic rounds for $8.99 but that was about it. The .22 is such a versatile round that I can understand why people are gobbling it up to stockpile. It merits a post of its own sometime. Funny thing is that, unless somehow a ban on ALL firearms is passed, I cannot see many weapons chambered for it that would be banned and the ammo controlled or restricted.


I also picked up 200 rounds of Bulgarian 7.62x54R ammo to feed the Mosin and also a hundred rounds a piece of range ammo in .40 and .45. After all was said and done, I spent $180 on ammo for about 450 assorted rounds. I have to keep asking myself "when will this all end?". Unfortunately I don't like the answers I keep giving myself.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sheep, Wolves and the Sheepdog....Live and In Person

Just in case anyone in Ohio is interested.

Buckeye Firearms Association is honored to present Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in an intense, one-day mind training workshop called The Bulletproof Mind: Tactical Mindset for Armed Citizens.

Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009 - 8:45 am to 5:00 pm

Location: Holiday Inn - Cincinnati-Eastgate (I-275E), 4501 Eastgate Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45245

Cost: $99 per attendee / $79 for spouses and teens.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Steel Plate Shooting Vid from Carteach0

Great vid! This is fun stuff folks. This is the vid I wish I would of taken when I went out.

Here is Carteach0's blog page, check him out, great blog and a nice guy.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Shooting Steel Plates is Awsome!

I made a new friend on Facebook recently that is also a shooter located here in Central Ohio. He is a friend of my supervisor at work so when he offered to take me steel plate shooting down in Pickaway County South of Columbus I felt compelled to go. This turned out to be one of the most positive post-military shooting experiences that I have had.


(left)Waiting for the safety briefing before the match, Glock 22 by my side.

Eric and his son, Chris

Myself, OSU Pistol coach Jim Sweeney, Chris and Eric at the end of the days competition.

For those not familiar, steel plate shooting is a sport that involves shooting a course of fire involving targets made from steel plating placed out in front of the shooter in assorted patterns that he must engage as quicky as he can with his firearm. The shooter starts with a holstered weapon (unless they are using a .22 rimfire pistol, in which case you start from low ready) with hands above your shoulders. The timer holds a buzzer by your head and uses it to signal that time is started. Once time is started it is ended when the shooter engages a designated "stop plate" that signals the last target in the sequence, also known as a "run". In the competition we shot in there were five stations and you shot five "runs" at each stage.

The ranges at the Pickaway County Sportsmen Club were fantastic!

The family that shoots together...is not to be messed with by bad guys! This is not the portrait that the anti-gunners want you to think about when they try and pass their draconian gun laws.

This is a typical stage for a steel plate match, the target second from left with the red pole is the "stop plate"

Yours truly trying to make the plates go "PING!" with .40 rounds

Theoretically you would only need 125 rounds to complete the competition, but I shot a bit more as I had a few misses which do not count against your time and which you can re-engage before hitting the stop plate. Your best run time for each stage is used to computer your overall score and placement within your division. Divisions are based on type of firearm and sighting systems. Categories are either centerfire autoloaders, rimfire autoloaders or revolvers. They are further broken down by either limited (using only stock configurations and sights) or open (using modified weapons and equipment to include optical sights). I competed in the centerfire limited division using my Glock 22 with a Blackhawk Serpa rig.

Here are some of the custom speed rigs we were up against !

Anyone can shoot in these matches as long as you safely handle your weapon and obey all rules. There were a myriad of people competing including my friend Eric and his son Chris, a family of 3 and a lot of gentlemen that do this often with a lot of money invested in custom pistols and gun belt rigs. Both Eric and I used stock weapons in normal carry holsters. Eric used his CCW holster and I used the Serpa which is close to using my CCW holster. I am glad to say that the Glock reputation for dependability and accuracy was working for me as I had no malfunctions or ohter weapon related errors and shot really well (in my opinion). Eric was using a Glock 17 and his front sight fell off while drawing during the competition. He has fired over 20,000 rounds through it and this is the most serious thing that has happened. I told him it was a good excuse to go spend the money on getting a good pair of Trijicon night sites and having them installed. I think we both got some good practical training out of this exercise as we both used more or less the same type of setup that we would use in an actual self defense situation. The speed rigs were awesome, but I seriously doubt any of these folks walk around town with them on. Some of the shooters would get into the ready box and dial their holster's tension adjustments to where they were barely being kept in them for drawing. Meanwhile, my Serpa has a retention latch that I have to manually defeat with my trigger finger while drawing each time. I think I held my own.

Overall, this was great fun and provided some good training too. Some people may say that shooting IDPA is the way to train for defensive hand gunning, and I agree. But lets not discount plate shooting. It offers some challenges for the defensive minded shooter to train on.

  • You draw from a holster
  • You shoot targets no bigger than the torso of an average person
  • You engage multiple targets
  • You do it as quickly as possible

They all sound like things that you may have to accomplish in a self defense scenario to me!

As an added bonus we discovered that one of our fellow shooters was Ohio State's pistol team coach Jim Sweeney. He has multiple national championships to his credit and really was a great guy to shoot with. He was a definite marksman and out shot me. Boy talk about an opportunity to get a few pointers!

A big thank you goes out to Pickaway County Sportsmen, Inc. They have a great club down there, were very friendly and great to shoot with. I will definitely be going back!

If you are in central Ohio and would like to find out more click this link.

Shoot often and shoot safe!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to Huey's Gunsight

Without even realizing it this blog celebrated 1 year since its first posting on May 15th. I know there was a "lean" period in there for a while where I wasn't doing much, but I have a lot on the back burners right now waiting to be finished and posted. Thanks to anyone who may have stopped by and checked out my articles, and especially a big thanks to those that have taken the time to give me some feedback. Without any feedback this blog may have joined the thousands of others that die on the web every week.

Shoot often and shoot safe!!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sheep, Wolves and the Sheepdog

I have been meaning to write something about this topic for a while. I just posted this same article I found online (actually this is the exact person I was hoping to analyze). After reading it over a couple of times I cannot improve upon its composition. Hence, I am posting it in its entirety here. You will find this posted on many sites, I am but a single point in a vast network of people who know the truth.

For a long time I was a sheepdog sanctioned by the US Government to watch over its flock. Now I am a sheepdog sanctioned by my own hand to protect my own flock.

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman

By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing."

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:

"Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."

Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke

Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.

Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."

Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.

And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...

"Baa."

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Missing My Cougar...(no, not a MILF)

I have been messaging via Facebook with a friend of mine that is looking to get a first pistol with her husband down in West-By-God-Virgina. My first reaction was one of befuddlement, as I assumed that entire state had guns falling out of closets and poking out from under beds. Then I realized my geography was week and I was thinking of Kentucky-fried-Kentucky.

Anyway, after a series of questions about their intended use and budget I gave her a possible recommendation for a Stoeger Cougar, such as I used to own until recently. This got me a bit teary eyed and I realized I really loved that pistol, even if it was "only" a 9mm. It was of high quality and craftsmanship, dependable and shot well. I sold it to a friend and used the proceeds towards my Taurus PT845, so my regrets is bearable, but still there.

I found Stoeger's promotional video for the Cougar on YouTube, I still recommend this firearm highly.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

He's not Heavy, He's My (J-Frame) Brother..


One of the most easily recognisable firearms to the average person is the snub nosed revolver. More often associated with fedora wearing cops and gangsters of old black and white movies, the "snubby" has remained a popular handgun design until the present day. I originally owned my first snubby as a result of an impulse at a pawn shop that netted me a 1954 S&W Chief's Special in .38sp. It came with a creepy action, bad nickel plate job and custom wood grips. I loved it to a point. Then I moved up to one of the latest breeds from that lineage, a S&W 637 "Airweight" in .38+P. It has an aluminum frame, steel barrel and cylinder and black rubber grips made by Uncle Mike's. I totally love it without question. I picked it up used at a local dealer for $319, a total steal that I couldn't pass up on.

Here are the specs per Smith & Wesson's web site:

Model: 637
Caliber: .38+P
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Barrel Length: 1 7/8"
Front Sight: Integral Front
Rear Sight: Fixed
Grip: Rubber Grips
Frame: Small Chiefs Special
Style Finish: Matte
Overall Length: 6 3/8"
Material: Alloy
Weight Empty: 15 oz.

OK, lets get this over. The .38 Special is a man stopper with the right ammo. End of discussion. It has been proven over and over in real life engagements that using the proper ammo and shot placement that this round will do the job. Are there more powerful rounds out there for a revolver, absolutely. Some people may point to various charts and figures and state that the .38 Special is only a "marginal" stopping caliber. This may be true, I don't care. Even given that the .38 gives up some of its stopping power coming out of a 2" barrel (most loads are optimized for 4" barrels) it is still a good round, in my eyes, for the platform that launches it. For many years the .38 Special was the duty round of countless law enforcement agencies across the country and in its service life it proved to be a very capable stopping round. Other calibers have since been popularized, especially since the introduction of the "wondernine", the wheel gun has been taken off the hips of most of our nations police. Although the .38 has lost some of its former glory it is still one of the most popular calibers used in defensive handguns. If used properly it is more that up to the task of providing stopping power. Hey, its not a .45 and was never designed to be, but sometimes "enough" is enough. There are .357 models of the snubbie available and they certainly pack a punch, but just from the few times that I have gotten to fire them, the recoil from the magnum round in such a small form factor is harsh to say the least. +P rounds from this pistol result in a large report and flash as it is. This will all lead to bad follow up shot alignment in rapid fire and unless you have arms like the "classic" Arnold Swarzeneggar or Michael Clark Duncan, you may want to avoid the hotter load. And in case you're thinking "well, the .380 is all the rage with its hot rounds and pocket rocket designs"...I got one word for you, Ammo, go try and find any. At least I am still able to find decent .38 rounds out there for this piece.

I am currently carrying Winchester Silvertips that are a 125 grain +P hollow point rounds. You will find a lot of controversy over these rounds as they are the ones that were used by the FBI in the infamous 1986 Miami shootout where 2 agents were killed and 5 seriously wounded going against 2 heavily armed criminals. This event caused the FBI to abandon the S&W 13-3 .357 revolver and look for a semi-auto pistol in 10mm, which in turn lead to the popularization of the .40 S&W round (a topic for another post sometime). The lack of penetration due to over expansion using the Silvertip ammo was sited by the FBI as being part of the cause of the death of the agents. Some call this a scapegoat for the FBI's refusal to use ammunition that may of over-penetrated and cause collateral damage as well as not outfitting its agents with enough firepower to deal with current threat levels. On the other hand, some people claim the FBI was right on target. To me, for the engagement ranges that I would envision using these rounds (5 - 15 feet), plus the fact that I may use more than one if the need arises, makes these rounds a very effective round for me. To counter the possibility of over expansion I load a regular .38+P round nose bullet in the 3rd chamber of the cylinder for a "just in case" round if needed.

Hmmm, wonder why they call them Silvertips? Not guaranteed to work on werewolves, use at your own risk.
Click here to see some comparative test data done by a writer for Handgunsmag.com utilizing different .38 Special loads out of a 2" barreled revolver. The Winchester held its own.

Speaking of ammunition, the J frame series of pistols carry 5 rounds. Get over it, if I think I'll need more I'll carry my M&P .40c. I do carry a speed loader. If you have never used one I highly recommend getting one and practicing reloads with snap caps. With some practice you can get a respectable reload done on a revolver. Not as fast a maybe a mag swap in a semi-auto, but fairly close anyway.
Five, count 'em, five rounds is what you have to deal with, more than enough statistically for most encounters. Notice the checkering on the cylinder latch, very easy to operate.

This is a speed loader, they're cheap, buy one or two.

Getting back to the pistol, the Smith & Wesson 637 is a small framed (what S&W refers to as the J frame series) revolver. The fit and finish on my particular piece is pretty much flawless. It locks up tight, the trigger action is smooth in double action and crisp in single action, the frame is just small enough to work as a deep concealment gun and the sight are more than adequate for the intended purpose. Like the vast majority of revolvers, it has no external safety but does have an internal key locking system available for the user.
The model 637 has an exposed hammer in contrast to other models in the J Frame family that have either shrouded hammers (which are enveloped but allow a manual cocking of the hammer) or fully hammerless designs. The presence of the hammer exposed on mine allows the use of manual cocking for single action accuracy (but beware the pitfalls of this type of shooting as outlined in the safety section below). Some CCW experts don't prefer this style as it may present the hazard of snagging your pistol on your clothing with it during drawing. I have not had any issues so far, but see the concern involved. My perfect choice would of been the shrouded version of it if I had been buying it new and paying full price. As it was, buying a used pistol in great condition for what I got it for makes it a reasonable compromise. I have been debating whether to have a gunsmith bob the hammer (cut off the spur) or leave it as is.

You can get the general feel for the size of the pistol in this pic. Notice the different color of the frame (aluminum) versus the cylinder and barrel (steel). That color is a coating that will come off if you you a metal brush on it, I have rubbed of a bit by the barrel crown getting a bit too aggressive removing carbon with a brush and Hoppes #9.
One of the drawbacks of the small frame is that your extractor is not full length, pushed all the way in only extracts the rounds from the cylinder this much. The easiest thing to do is simply tilt the pistol upward (with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction) and let gravity do the rest.

The Uncle Mike's boot grip included on the pistol provides a comfortable and secure grip for the shooter. I have never felt like I have not had control of this weapon even with its shortened grip using this. Some people prefer wood or other smooth surfaces, but I find the rubber or synthetic surfaces to provide the surest grip even when sweating.

The sights are fairly basic with a simple rear notch and front post, both fixed of course. This wasn't designed to compete in IDPA matches or up at Camp Perry.

This is the sight picture you have to work with. Believe it or not this pistol is pretty damn accurate when firing with single action.

I have tried to improve on my ability to acquire the front site by using some high visibility paint designed for weapon sights on the front post. It helps a lot in the right lighting conditions.
Shooting the 637
I think most people are drawn to the revolver instinctively. It is simple that most people can figure out how it functions by looking at it in action. You pull the trigger, the hammer cocks back, the cylinder rotates bringing a fresh cartridge in line with the barrel, the hammer falls, the pistol fires. Simple. No "hidden magic" as with a semi auto with multiple parts to learn and put back together. Need to clean your revolver? Open the cylinder, remove any rounds and go to town. Again, simple. It has a reputation for reliability unsurpassed by semi-autos. Not that all revolvers are failure proof, far from it. Depending on the manuafacturer and quality of materias used reliability may vary greatly from pistol to pistol. Generally speaking, Smith & Wesson is one of the benchmark companies for revolvers against which others are mentioned. My specimin has been flawless in the 6 months that I have owned it and I have put several hundred rounds through it without issue. Very expected, but I wanted to point it out regardless.
I chose, simply due to the cost, on the model 637 Airweight. It is light at about 15 ounces fully loaded, mostly due to the use of aluminum in the samll frame. You will feel this lack of mass in recoil, especially when firing +P rounds. I do not believe the pistol is rated for +P+ rounds and would recommend avoiding any "hot" loads you may find. Muzzle flash can be quite impressive also, something to be considered if you think you may need to use this in a nightime environment. Muzzle blast and report are also quite sharp due to both the short barrel length and also the expansion of gasses at the breech. A lot of people choose snubbies as there first weapon based upon the misguided notion that since it is a small revolver it will be easy to shoot. For the reasons mentioned above I highly recommend that you train with a snub before you ever actually carry it or load it for home defense. The long, hard trigger pull combined with the recoil/report/flash issues above often casuse novices to loose confidence in their abilites when first shooting and creating large groupings. Start slow and steady at a range of only 7 feet or so. Then increase the range and pace as you feel comfortable and you will progress faster than you thought possible. While most of us will mainly target shoot with regular .38 Special roundnose or wadcutters at the range, be sure to get a full cylinders of your full power or "carry" load in every month or so to remind you what it shoots and feels like.
Accuracy is slightly better that what the snubbies reputation presents. Yes, you can get some decent groups in single action fire, double action groups aren't bad at "combat ranges" but if you think you will be knocking down pin after pin at the next bowling pin shoot you enter with this you need to catch the clue bus next time it stops by. The short sight radius does not allow for very big sighting errors and the trigger squeeze in double action does not lend itself to accuracy in rapid fire. At about 10 feet I can easily put all 5 rounds in the torso of a man shaped target using rapid fire. They will be spread from the neck to the stomach but at least 1 or 2 of them will have hit where they need be. To be realistic, when you practice you should develope good naturual instinctive shooting reflexes that put your intial round more or less where your arm is aiming when you raise the weapon into your sighting view. Pull the trigger "bang", more carefully aim the second - "bang". If the target is down scan, scan and scan to determine if another threat exists (wolves generally run in packs). This allows you another engagement allotment of ammo in the cylinder before a reload. (Boy, thats a posting topic in itself for later!)
Carrying the 637
The 637 is one of my two primary CCW pieces (the other being a S&W M&P 40c), of the two I enjoy carrying this the most due to its light weight and size. I am currently using a Don Hume IWB carry holster for it which slips in and out of my pants with ease, yet stays steady enough to draw from consistently. I normally wear khakis (dockers and the like) to work and the weight of the pistol and the holster make its wear effortless in these pants. I normally carry an additional speed loader in my pants pocket of my non-dominant hand - not exactly the perfect carry for it but you make due with what you have sometimes. I got to admit, it does feel like I am Mike Hammer carrying this sometimes, and that is just cool!
The Done Hume holster I carry my 637 in. Great looking and very comfortable as well.

Safety

Another key safety.
As I have stated in previous posts, I have no problem with internal key safeties in firearms. As long as the safety does not interfere with the operation of the pistol while in the "off" position I see no reason to cause an uproar. I have read in a few forums and postings where some people have claimed that the safety on S&W revolvers have been engaged during shooting. I can find no credible evidence that this is the case and would strongly disregard any rumors concerning this issue you may hear.
The safety is located on the left side of he frame directly above the cylinder latch. A small arrow etched into the frame to indicate the direction to turn the key to activate the internal lock. When activated, a small metal flag will extend and protrude to the left of the hammer which provides a quick visual indicator of the safety's status. The safety will lock the pistols action to include the trigger, hammer and movement of the cylinder if locked in battery. The cylinder latch is operable to load and unload the pistol while on safe.
Internal key lock is located directly above the cylinder latch.

The pistol also has a transfer bar safety which blocks the hammer from coming into contact with the firing pin until after trigger has been fully pulled rearward. And although not considered as a safety, the trigger pull when fired in double action is heavy enough to ensure that there is a reduced chance of an accidental discharge, unless you mean it of course. On the other hand, the single action pull is very light compared to a normal trigger and has been the cause of more than a few negligent discharges. A few police officers have tragically been charged after shooting criminals they had under control while using their pistols in single action mode and letting the light trigger get the best of them.
Conclusion
I like this pistol. End of story. It is light, adequate for the role to which I have assigned it, and most of all it has been reliable since day one.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Wow, second post in a row that contains something about idiots. More precisely, ignorance and apathy.

I went to a local gun store here in Columbus after work yesterday afternoon that I have bought from on many an occasion. The are the largest dealer by volume in Columbus and probably one of the biggest in the Midwest. They just started a new monthly add flyer and there were a couple of items that I wanted to look at. As I was standing there another shopper (a younger male in urban attire) came walking by carrying an armload of items as well as an uncased Hi-Point 9mm pistol that he had hooked by one finger in the trigger guard. The barrel was pointing to his side and sometimes right at him, depending on how he was standing. I could not tell from my position if he had a magazine inserted. I would guess that he probably did have it inserted for storage. He was not there to rob the place (suicide) or cause trouble. Maybe he was there to try and trade it in or find a holster, I don't know, not the issue here. Having a weapon on you while you are in a gun store is not unusual, I was carrying my Taurus PT845 under my shirt in a holster myself (the store is not in the best section of town) at the time. Maybe I am wrong, but I thought it was store policy, if not just common sense, not to carry a unholstered weapon around (especially like that!) unless it was in a case or sleeve. I went up to the counter and informed one of the salesmen about the situation and asked if he had a case that the customer could borrow until they left. He looked at me with that "deer in the headlights" look and said that they really didn't have anything like that and it did not seem to phase him.

Anytime I am around anyone with a drawn weapon my spidey sense gets kicked up a notch (and no, I am not a comic geek!). When their finger is inside of the trigger guard it goes up another notch. When they obviously don't have a freakin' clue of basic weapon handling it gets to go "DING DING" with a big red flashing alarm in my head. Even when I go to the range and know my shooting partner I am always trying to make an active sweep of whats going on around me to preclude the "I told you so" incident from happening. I don't know if anyone else noticed this, or cared, but prime directive #1 (save your ass) kicked in and I headed for the door (and I am not a Star Trek geek either, although the original series is the best!).

As I walked out I passed a bin of cheap, soft-sided pistol cases being sold for $3.99 a piece. I would think that the store, which sells hundreds of weapons a week, could afford to buy a couple of those cases themselves for just such an occasion when customers come in. People don't necessarily do things because they want to screw up. Mostly it is just ignorance. I am not saying that somebody is stupid or unintelligent. It is just that they may not be informed.

Things usually fail due to either ignorance (not knowing the correct procedure or foreseeing the outcome of an action) or apathy (knowing what to do but choosing to either not perform, or choosing to perform to a lesser level) .
Of the two, apathy is the greater of the two evils.

Most likely the customer was ignorant in this situation. In my opinion, the store salesman was apathetic. Even if there wasn't a store policy against carrying a weapon this way he should have recognized the danger of the situation and acted accordingly. Maybe he had just been numbed by looking at and handling weapons 8 hours a day for years that he just assumes all is well. If that weapon comes from behind his counter this is probably a true statement. When it is brought in from the outside I would expect him to err on the side of caution.
If you are this salesman and you happen upon this post. Its not personal. Maybe I was apathetic and should have voiced my concern more vocally. I chose the easier route and extracted myself from what may have been a dangerous situation.
I do have other options in my area for purchasing firearms, ammunition and accessories. I am unsure at this point if this single incident will be enough to sway me away from this particular store. Although I feel you can get better customer service at other shops, the prices and selection at this particular store is usually pretty good. If I have any further incidents I will be sure to report them here.
Apathy and Ignorance are contagious. Do your part to be part of the cure.
If you just want to see some really stupid idiots, check out this blog:
I haven't used this in a while, but..
Shoot Often and SHOOT SAFE!!