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)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

GLOCK 23 Gen 3 RTF2

Pretty, isn’t it?

Well, as you got from the last post I got rid of my S&W M&P40c as my “heavy” CCW piece and picked up a Glock 23 with the RTF2 grip on it to replace it. Again, nothing against the Smith & Wesson, it was just that I am beginning to become a real Glock kind of guy and wanted to keep the same pattern of handgun for most of my activities. I have previously posted my favorable thoughts on the Glock series of pistols and there simple ruggedness has convinced me to “drink the cool aid” and become a Glock fanboy I guess. There are more than enough reviews on the G23 out there and needless to say it, along with the G19 compact 9mm, are probably the two most popular Glocks in the hands of private users (I believe the G22 is actually more widely used due to LEO procurement). I will only give a few brief impressions of this pistol and let you have the obligatory pics that I post for every weapons post.

First though, some general spec type info about the G23.

Model Glock 23 Gen3 RTF2
Caliber .40 S&W
Overall Length 6.85 inches
Height including magazine 5.00 inches
Width 1.18 inches
Length between sights 6.02 inches
Barrel length 4.02 inches
Barrel Rifling Hexagonal w/ right hand twist
Length of twist 9.84 inches (roughly 1:9)
Magazine capacity 10+1, 13+1 (will also accept 15 round G22 magazines)
Weight (empty) 21.16 ounces
Empty magazine weight 2.46 ounces
Full magazine ~9.87 ounces
Weight w/ full magazine ~31.03 ounces
Trigger pull (stock) ~5.5 pounds
Safeties Glock Safe Action 3 internal safety system (trigger, firing pin block and drop)

This is almost the perfect sized multi-use pistol I have held or shot! Size is important, and I love the size of this G23. The grip is just long enough to get all of the fingers of my meat paw on it securely but still short enough to be carried as a CCW. The barrel length is just about right to use as either a CCW or a primary duty weapon (I know of least one PD, Tombstone, AZ, that has adopted it as its primary duty weapon. It is said that many consider either the G23 or G19 to be the one hand gun that they would want if they were strictly limited to having just one hand gun in their collection. I think this belief is well founded. It really is hard to fault the dimensions of this pistol once you have held and shot it. I hear that upon graduation from their academy FBI agents are given the choice to carry either the G23 or its full sized brother the G22 and the majority of them choose the G23. Magazine capacity is 13+1 (for those of us in “non-enlightened” states that don’t limit our citizenry to 10 rounds) which is more than enough I would think for most CCW applications, large enough for duty use and only 2 rounds less than the G22. If you were to go with the G19 in 9mm you would get 15+1 in the same sized package.

Just to show the size of the G23 here it is in my meat paw. Like I said its just about the perfect size for both CCW and duty needs. And yes, I have my finger on the trigger. I double damn checked the chamber and had an empty mag in it. I just wanted to show that despite some people’s claims to the contrary, that the grip on a Glock is not so big as to prevent you from getting a solid finger on the trigger.

The RTF2 grip is awesome! Alright, let me “get a grip” here before I go on (get it! funny stuff, huh?!?). Corny jokes aside, it took me a day or two to get used to the thousands of “polymids” – as Glock calls them – shaped spikes all over the grip before I could handle them comfortably without notice. Now I can hardly think how I ever got along without them. Supposedly born out of requests from special warfare operators to give them a gripping surface that worked equally as well dry as when wet with water, sweat, mud, oil, blood, gut and everything else they might encounter I think Glock came up with the solution. Again, I had to get used to them with my bare hands. They felt abrasive the first couple of days shooting it but now it feels like my hand is LOCKED into the pistol when I am holding it.

Top: check out all of those polymids! Bottom: RTF2 grip next to my G22 Gen3.

Meprolight night sites for the Glock are OK. I had them installed at the store since they were only around $60 with my retired military Glock discount. Nothing major to report over Trijicons, they seem a bit brighter during the day but either way you go with either you will be fine. Glock 22 with Trijicon sights (left) next to the Glock 23 with Meprolights. Not a whole lot of difference in my book. Please note I have replaced the scratched back plate of the G22.

As with all Glocks I have bought I installed the extended slide stop and grip plug. Simple, inexpensive upgrades that you can install yourself with very minimal instruction and both add unobtrusive, yet functional, additions to your pistol.

Glocks now ship with 3 mags! Yeah! now you can have 1 in the weapon and 2 on your side like God intended. Thanks Glock!

As with all defensive firearms, use some good ammo! While the el cheapo brand white box FMJ stuff is cool for punching holes in paper at the range, you need good expanding ammunition in the magazine if you need to defend yourself. I use either Winchester Silver Tip 155gr HP or Winchester Ranger 155gr JHP rounds. I have somehow gravitated to the lighter and faster loads for my CCW carry. I don’t have justification as to why, it just kind of happened. Oh well, if I am lucky I will never have to find out if I made the right decision anyway.

Slipstream it. Use Slipstream or any other quality lubricant (I have drank the Slipstream cool aid also apparently, I think it was sitting next to the pitcher of Magpul cool aid) to lube the pistol. Found a good video on YouTube of lubing a Glock using the easily remembered “3-2-1 method”.

The new scalloped slide serrations…meh. Yeah, they seem to grip a bit more, but the nice thing about the old ones is that they went all the way through the height of the slide and gave you that edge between the slide surface and the relief of the cut that was very easy to get a purchase one. If you grip it properly you won’t have any issues with the scalloped pattern of the RTF2. Thought it was interesting when the Gen 4 G22 and G17 came out they went back to the “old” style serrations. Oh well, “meh” I say again. G22 with “classic” serrations on the left and the G23 with the scalloped serrations on the right. Meh.

What the hell is up with the accessory rails? I have put my Insight M3 light on it a couple of times and to my dismay it seems to be gouging the plastic along the edge of the rails with small nicks. I am really not worried about any long term function or durability issues with the gun as they are small and I don’t plan on hanging a light on it a lot. I am still curious on how they got there though and may contact Glock about it.

Get a decent holster for it. A good gun deserves a good holster to be carried in. Once again I got a Custom Carry Concepts versaclip for daily carry. For $20 its hard to beat it combination of comfort, ease of use and durability. The kydex not only is easy to draw and return to but also provides positive (and adjustable) retention.

This is the 4th Versaclip that I have ordered from Custom Carry Concepts. Quite a deal for $20.

Couple hundred rounds down the barrel without a hitch. Not that I expected anything less with FMJ range ammo, but still notable. Glocks are almost legendary (OK they ARE legendary) for being the Timex (takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’) and Energizer Bunny (Keeps going and going…) of the firearm world. There are entire web pages and video segments on Glock torture tests – check out the 30 video series by schapman43 . While we are on that subject found another interesting video on YouTube. Here a guy buries his Glock 21 .45 for two years and then digs it up, hoses it off and he and some buddies burn 500 rounds through it. Yeah there are a few malfunctions, but considering the condition it is in that is pretty damn good. The funny this was that while watching the video I all of a sudden blurted out “hey, I know that guy!” Right there at the 4:53 mark I see a guy I met at Appleseed up in Gibsonberg, Ohio last year named Mike. Not only did I meet this guy he was the one that was nice enough to let me cut loose with his custom Springfield M1A and get a couple of dings on the 500 yard steel target. A quick email to the video’s poster confirmed that was indeed Mike and the Sandusky County Sportsmen’s Club where I shot Appleseed was where this was taken. It’s a small world….and one in which I now have a hankerin’ for both a M1A and a Glock 21!

Lastly, its a GLOCK! I said once before that you use one Glock you’ve just about used them all. If you have shot any Glock you know the deal….the grip angle – you either love it or hate it, the grip width – you either love it, hate it or deal with it (the old 2x4 that works analogy), don’t use unjacketed lead ammo, the trigger is a Glock as well – a bit mushy with a constant let off and over travel that you learn to live with. Disassembly is in the classic Glock tradition, I am not a big fan of having to pull the trigger to disassemble them but as long as you double check the process MOST people do it without incident (as I am typing this some idiot just put a round through his floor trying to take his apart).

But most of all with a Glock, it just works.. for me and hundred of thousands of others.

OK, with these 5 parts, there are only another 32 that make up the entire weapon, you can disassemble them all totally in under 5 minutes.

A little zombie fun, gonna get to watch Dod Sno and Fido tonight!!

Remember this clip? (I told you posting it wouldn’t get old any time soon!)

Well, I just got a Netflix account set up and guess what, it is available to play on demand on my PC browser!! The file is Called Dead Snow (Dod Sno in Norwegian) is a movie about a group of friends that go to the mountains to have fun and run into the reanimated corpses of Nazi out to protect their ill gotten booty. Its also got some comic undertones (as the clip clearly shows) so I think that this is going to be a blast.

dod snow

Why would there be German Nazi zombies in Norway in the first place, well for those of you in the "I-don’t-care-about-anything-that-happened-before-grunge generation, Norway was an occupied country by Nazi Germany during much of the war and was used as a base of operations against merchant shipping attempting to reach the British Isles. Chief headache producer for Churchill and the lads was a German Kriegsmarine Battleship called the Tirpitz. Now the Tirpitz was your general big time classic battleship and almost identical to her more well known sister ship the Bismark (no its not just the name of a donut). Big guns, fast, massive armor belts….all the stuff that would make a merchant seaman poop in his fruit of the Looms if he saw it on the horizon when all he had were some light guns and an inch or so of steel between him, this battleship and the cold, icy Atlantic. Even though the Tirpitz only saw limited action its mere presence was enough of a thorn in the side of the Brits that they went all out to sink this one ship. After several unsuccessful attempts (no smart bombs those days) the Brits finally got a few bombs on target and sank her in October of 1944 in a frigid Norwegian fjord (say that 3x fast..). The Norwegian fjords sometimes have the same affect that the water of some of our Great Lakes have. The water is so cold year round that sailors lost in it often to not decompose enough for gasses to build inside of them to bring their bodies to the surface and they sink to the cold depths never to be found. Cheery thought, eh? Anyway, could the Tirpitz be the source of zombies for the flick? Not likely, the Tirpitz was capsized and sunk in a relatively shallow area of the fjords and after the war the majority of the battleship was salvaged and most of the 970+ dead crewmembers’ bodies recovered. Anyway, a bit of neat WW2 history for you there…Tirpitz_altafjord The Tirpitz in a fjord, zombie generator? Not likely…

fidoThe other film that I am looking forward to see is the Canadian zombie flick Fido. Its your basic kid and his pet zombie flick that takes place in an alternate 1950’s universe where a zombie outbreak has caused civilized American cities and towns to be turned into walled compounds run by the Zomcom corporation who take responsibility for not only keeping the inhabitants safe from the zombies, but also controlling their lives a teensy bit. To make things more interesting they have even developed a way to domesticate zombies as cheap labor and this brings us to our films title character. Fido is the zombie owned by little Billy and boy does it look like they are going to get into a whole bunch of adventure. I am not going to spoil the movie for either you or me, but lets say there is a good amount ironic humor and satire of the way advertisers looked at life in 1950’s it it. Man, am I glad I got Netflix now….

michael_jackson_caracterizado_zombie_videoclip_thriller11 Since you are actually reading a gun related blog I probably don’t need to remind you that the entire gun culture is seeded with zombie references occasionally, ok. a lot! Why is that I sometimes wonder? The answer to that from the right side of the audience is that it is all in jest and zombie movies usually involve a lot of gunplay and its just all in fun. The left side would probably argue that its because deep down inside all gun owners are secretly psychopaths that have a dark fantasy about actually shooting and killing people and zombies allow us to experience that fantasy without guilt. Well, I think both answers are more or less along the correct lines of thinking. Yes, zombie movies are fun and entertaining to watch (and sometimes scary too!) and the hero or heroine is more often or not armed with some high power or flashy type of firearm. Gun nuts like seeing that type of firepower in films. Often the term zombie apocalypse is used within the firearm (and also to a degree the survivalist movement) to describe a worse case scenario where being prepared, especially with firearms, would be appropriate. And yes, deep down inside I think that there might be a little inclination to use our skills against some scum that may deserve it and zombies fit this bill nicely since that they are evil without a background. Yeah, that is probably going to sound a wee bit messed up to some of you reading that but lets face it. Just by being a gun owner you have stated the fact that the idea of doing serious physical harm to another is plausible in your frame of reality as long as it fits within certain parameters of reason. The difference between you and I and Johnny Scumbag is that our parameters are generally much more limited than his and our level of self control to stay within them is much stronger. Would I ever consider shooting somebody for getting into a minor fender bender with me? most certainly not, but Johnny is not above pulling out his pistol and shooting somebody for a minor incident such as this. (and yes that it Michael Jackson to the left….despite any other activities in his life the guy was talented and Thriller was a major event in my early life, so he gets to stay in zombie form on the page)i-dont-hate-zombies-400x400

There have even been psychological studies done on our fascination of the zombie as a society (most likely by some dope smoking hippie grad students living off of a government grant while obtaining their PhD’s) and many theories about projection of self and society ills onto a non-real representation of ourselves and ….blah blah blah. Lets face it, zombie movies are just pretty much fun to watch. They are undead, evil and single minded individuals that you don’t have to worry about trying to reason or compromise with. You win as totally as you can when you fight a zombie, or lose as totally as well. It is the ultimate affirmation of your abilities as a person to defend yourself in a way. And so with that in mind I hope you enjoy the next zombie flick a bit more and take a minute to remember all of the wasted effort and probably tax dollars that went into your .99 cent RedBox rental or Netflix order to figure out just why you chose it.

So on out and rent a zombie flick! Need a suggestion? Well I offer up the trailer for Zombieland for your viewing pleasure…good flick

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Smith & Wesson M&P40c review

Note: Cleaning out the draft page of the blog. This is a post I started a while back and never finished. It was intended to be a 2 part review of teh M&P40c and my new Glock 23 RTF2. For now I am going to post it as a review of the M&P (although some Glock content is in here) and will follow up on the Glock 23 in a later post.

OK, this is going to be a bit strange, but I want to review my M&P40c pistol that I sold last month. I have touched on it before and have provided numerous pics of it but have never actually written a review on it. Let me just start by saying it is an outstanding handgun and me selling it is not because of any deficiency I see in the weapon. I originally got the M&P40c to compliment the full sized M&P pistol I had so that I had a the same platform to train on for both a full sized pistol for a “SHTF” type use as I did for CCW. Problem was that I couldn’t hit the broad side of a 10 ring at 20 feet with the M&P for some reason so I traded it in on a used GLOCK 22 and have been very happy with it. The G22 is what I have been shooting steel plates with and it works pretty well for me, as the following video shows…

Anyway, I kept the M&P40c even after getting rid of the full sized pistol just because I didn’t feel like messing with the entire trade in hassle and stuff. I finally decided to go back with my original plan to have a common platform for both my full sized and CCW pistol after shooting my friend Greg’s G27 sub-compact GLOCK in .40 a few weeks ago. The size difference between it and the M&P4oc was minimal in practical carry sense. Then a guy who I follow on his blog called the Mad Ogre (George Hill) who has always been a huge SIG fan got a G23 seemingly out of nowhere and I started thinking. Just as the M&P40c was only marginally bigger than the G27, the G23 is only Marginally bigger than the M&P40c and gives you another 3 rounds of firepower. Interesting I though. I tool a look at Greg’s G23 and made a few comparisons against the M&P and decided that the GLOCK is where I wanted to head.

Above. The M&P40c on the left compared to my new Glock 23 RTF2 on the Right. The Glock is about .6” longer, but height wise (which is what is really important in CCW concealment) they are about even. The difference is the Glock gives me 3 extra rounds.

But before I start going into to too much detail about the differences between the two, let me first do a quick review of the M&P.

A Quick Smith and Wesson M&P40c Review.

First and foremost let me state this, the M&P series of pistols, to include the M&P40c, are fantastic weapons. They have been adopted by many law enforcement agencies to include the Columbus Division of Police here in Central Ohio. The fact that I am selling my M&P has nothing to do with the quality of the pistol, but rather on a philosophy that I am trying to adhere to.

A little background. Smith & Wesson is not only the nations largest manufacturer of firearms, it is also one of the oldest and continually operating businesses in America. They have a tradition of building quality pistols and other firearms going back over 150 years. Back before the plastic pistol craze and the “wonder 9” explosion, the majority of civilian police forces in this country carried a .38 or .357 revolver on their hip, and the vast majority of those were made by Smith & Wesson. I think it could be argued that maybe they did not see the impact that semi-automatic polymer handguns would have on the law enforcement market, but they were definitely caught off guard when police agencies began to retire the wheelgun for 9mm and .45 auto pistols in the early 80’s.

Smith & Wesson’s early counter to the trend was a successful line of steel frame semi-automatic pistols chambered in 9mm and .45. These were often adopted on the S&W name and, more often than not, proved to be capable duty weapon and self defense pistols in the hands of competent shooters. Still, the onslaught brought on by Glock and some other manufacturers began to seriously eat away at S&W’s market share in LE sales. Finally in 1994, S&W debuted their own polymer framed pistol dubbed the “Sigma” series. It bore a striking resemblance to the Glock. So much so that in fact there are stories of people actually swapping barrels and entire slides between the two. The similarities were so much alike that their earned the nickname “Swock” (S&W + Glock = Swock). This connection did not escape Glocks notice either and they sued S&W for patent infringement. The case was settled out of court with S&W reportedly paying Glock millions in compensation for the right to keep on manufacturing the pistol with minor changes to the mechanism. S&W still sells the Sigma today as a value line oriented pistol for self defense and it has also been ordered in quantity to equip the police forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have never personally fired one, but I have handled them in stores and gun shows. They fit pretty well in the hand but have fairly ordinary, if just not out right bad, triggers for a striker fired semi-auto. Still, they appear to be solid, they have a fairly decent reputation, and you can currently get one for about $270 after a rebate before tax. Not bad if you need a “beater” or “truck gun” for self defense.

smith_sw40ve

A Smith and Wesson Sigma Pistol.

Skip forward until 2005 and Smith and Wesson finally engineered and designed a poly pistol that they needed to in order to stay competative. Although they borrowed from some design points from both Glock and Walther (who they are also licensed to produce copies for) the overall design of the pistol was somewhat unique when it came out. First off it offered the ability to switch out the backstraps of the grip to fit multiple sized hands. This is a major plus for police and law enforcement departments that are trying to buy one weapon that can be fitted to many people in the department. This feature has now been ported over by many manufacturers, including Glock, into their pistols.

Another thing that S&W did with the M&P was incorporate a innovative and safety conscious method for disassembling the pistol. Instead of the Glock method which involves manually clearing the pistol and then pointing it in a safe direction and pulling the trigger in order to remove the slide, S&W went another route. The pin that is used as the retaining pin for the back straps also doubles as the take down and armorer’s tool for the weapon. You drop the magazine, lock the slide to the rear and then with the tool push down a shepards hook wire in the mag well from the ejection port to disengage the sear and allow the slide to be removed from the frame. This forces the shooter to verify clear by making them not only visually peer into the chamber area but also do a physical sweep of the area. Every year some officer or civilian somewhere puts a round into the duty room floor or living room floor by pulling the trigger on a Glock that they thought was unloaded but wasn’t. This system on the M&P all but removes the chance of this type of ND (negligent discharge) from happening. In addition, in lieu of the take down bar in the Glock, the M&P utilizes a rotating take down lever on the left side of the frame.

DSCN1652

S&W M&P40c pistol with a compact 1o round mag and a full sized 15 round mag, it will use either.

As far as design aesthetics and ergonomics the M&P does well in both areas. Its slide is recessed and beveled in spots to make it very “sexy” in appearance and to aid in reholstering while still retaining enough material to be very durable. The slide is finished with a melonite treatment, similar to the Tennifer treatment on Glocks. They are both nitriding processes but differ slightly in the chemical composition of the formulas uses. In addition to the interchangeable back straps contributing to the feel of the grip, the pebbling on the surfaces and the angle are also very comfortable. The controls are excellent with the slide stop being located on both sides of the frame for both left and right handed shooters. On models newer than the one I had with an external safety it is also located on both sides of the frame. The magazine release, while only on one side at a time, is adjustable and can be moved to either side at the discretion of the shooter (utilizing the grip tool again).

As far as safety goes, in addition to the takedown procedure outlined above the M&P uses the 3 safety systems utilized in the Glock as well: 1. A trigger safety, 2. A firing pin block safety and 3. A drop safety. All 3 are disengaged in order when the trigger is pulled and automatically engaged when it is released. As I mentioned above, certain models can be gotten with an external manual safety as well. Going even further, certain models (like mine) have a magazine drop safety (pistol cannot be fired without a magazine in the weapon) and still others have an internal key lock safety as well. All in all, using these and following the 4 basic rules of firearm safety it would be hard to have an accident with this pistol. Unfortunately, some idiot will undoubtedly prove me wrong.

The one safety feature I was not particularly fond of the way it was implemented was the trigger safety. The trigger safety consists of an articulated trigger hinged in the middle that must be depressed from the bottom as well as the top to enable it to clear the trigger guard area and fire the weapon. This is supposed to prevent ND’s from happening when the trigger may receive lateral pressure from an errant piece of clothing while reholstering or the like. Problem is I didn’t think it would be likely that a piece of clothing would only strike the upper part of the trigger in the smaller part of the arc of the trigger. In a glock this is done by a slimmer safety lever in the middle of the trigger assembly (think Savage Accu-trigger) that is devoid of any contact with the side of the main part of the trigger. This seems to make more sense to me. There was probably some type of patent infringement that they had to worry about that they could not violate to keep that out of the M&P. Not a show stopper, keep blind returns to the holster to a minimum and be safe and it should not be a big deal.

Shooting and Reliability. In contrast to the poor showing I had with my full sized M&P .40, shooting the compact version of the pistol was easy to keep my rounds where I wanted them. I never really worried about group sizes other than to say the majority of my shots past 10 yards would generally end up in the targets torso which is “good enough” for a 155 – 18o grain .4o round traveling 900 – 1100 fps in most cases. I nary ever had any malfunctions with the pistol with either both the feeding, cycling or ejecting of rounds. The issues I did have I think I narrowed down to some questionable reloads that I had gotten a hold of. For range use Winchester 180 grain TMJ practice rounds ran flawlessly in it the entire time I had it on my hip.

Overall, the M&P40c was a great pistol to have. I genuinely would trust my life on it (and did as a primary CCW weapon) and would not hesitate to recommend it to another shooter. The guy I sold it too, Zach, is getting a great pistol and considering the condition of the pistol, Night sights, the 4 compact and 1 full sized mag I threw in along with a Custom Carry Concepts Versaclip holster, I think he got a great first CCW setup and I did not gouge him on the price.

More trap stuff...

One of the blogs I follow, Captain of a Crew of One, posted a story yesterday about of all things...trap shooting. Again, if that isn't a sign that I am destined to pursue clay sports I don't know what is. Its a decent article of his experience going through a 4H Shotgun instructor course, and while the goal was more than just shooting itself the pics he has of the range and some shots are awesome, check this one out!! Click HERE to be taken to the original post on his blog...

Notice the hull (shell) in the air, the shot cup to the lower left of the clay, the clay breaking and you can even make out the shot column....great pic!!!

And in other trap related news, Kev, not to be outdone by yours truly, went and bought himself a real nice over/under Browning Cynergy Classic 12 Gauge......sweet!! Looks like he got a sweet gun with some extras and all the "bling" that a fancy shotty should have.

Monday, March 29, 2010

So I went with a Magpul MOE grip for the AR after all.....

When I was out and about last week I picked up a basic MOE grip from Magpul for $21 for the AR. It didn't come with any cool cores to hold a extra bolt or batteries (ordered one to hold two 123 batteries for my EOTech XPS and Insight M3 weapon light though) and does not replaceable inserts or anything like that, just a plain old plastic grip. Nothing was wrong with the Hogue and I really do like their rubber products but I had gone all the way with the other Magpul products so I thought I would just go ahead and put this on as well.

The Magpul MOE grip, basic and functional, isn't that all you need?

The grip was easy enough to install, just remove the other grip and install the MOE using the supplied flat head screw and the washer from the original factory grip. The blue thread locking compound that was on the screw did make the final 3 or 4 turns a pain but there is no chance it will back off and wiggle loose now.

The grip is fairly basic but has some stuff I immediately liked at once. First off although the finger grooves on the Hogue were nice once I had a firm grip, changing hands or repositioning my hand on it I would often land on top of the groves and have to adjust again to get set. With the MOE grip you just wrap around and with the slight flare on the forward portion of the grip you lock in. Secondly, while not a "grippy" as the rubber on the Hogue, the surface of the MOE grip sides and front and back strap give good traction even with gloves on. I also think the grip angle is a bit better than the Hogue, though that might just be my mind playing games with me, but I do like it. Also, since the grip is wider it is more like the grips on my GLOCKs which is OK with me and makes transitioning that much easier I would think. I also like the way it has a "beaver tail" flair on the rear of it that melds into the lower receiver, keeps your hand from riding up the back of the grip when you first grab onto it. Overall I am very pleased with this new addition to the rifle.

So with the grip I have basically constructed a M&P15 MOE edition rifle with the inclusion of a Magpul trigger guard, ambi sling point and an EOTech XPS halo sight. Excluding the sight I spent in excess of $1200 for the rifle. A new rifle in the MOE outfit (stock, grip, hand guards, rear sight and 2 mags) is currently $999 at my local dealer. Well, what I have learned from this is that I could have saved some cash if I had just purchased the S&W M&P15 MOE edition instead of purchasing it all in pieces!!!

This is my rifle...there are many like it...and most people ended up getting them for a lot less than what I paid in total...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Well, I guess I am going to be a clay shooter now….

Kevin has been trying to get me to go shooting trap and skeet with him since last year so I finally decided to take the plunge and go to a 2 hour beginners class at Black Wing Shooting Center in Delaware, Ohio. First off let me just say that Black Wing is, in my opinion, the “Cadillac” of shooting centers in central Ohio. They have an indoor pistol and rifle ranges and a large outdoor trap and skeet range as well as a large retail store. I have always thought their prices were a bit high but the facilities are top notch. There is even a snack bar and lounge area behind the retail area that seems to be catered toward the large trap and skeet crowds that gather there year round on league nights and the weekend.

Back to the class, as way of saying thanks to Kevin for helping me with the man cave project, I also bought him a class seat and took him with me. Long story short, I had a blast. Our instructor, Bill, is a retired Army Master Sergeant and has a background in SOCOM type units as well as over 35 years of trap and skeet experience. He was a great instructor, other than the obvious classroom safety and theory portion he excelled on the range and was able to stand behind each student and analyze our issues just by watching our barrels move. On top of it all he even stayed out there with us an extra half hour on the range and also helped me in their retail gun vault as well (more on that in a minute). He was a great guy and a major factor in a few decisions that I made after the class…

trap1

Our class instructor, Bill. He is holding the Browning BT-99 trap gun that I considered buying used (not this particular one) before I set on a Stoeger Condor Competition.

trap2The trap and skeet ranges at Black Wing. They are going to have a sporting clays (kind of like a golf course for skeet with various shooting points and scenarios rather than golf holes) in late spring in the woods off in the distance.

trap3

Kevin getting some pointer from Bill after a shot. Kevin was by far the best shot in our group. He is using a Franchi I-12 auto loading 12 gauge. The poor guy between us wanted to use a Remington 870 pump (a nice gun itself) but wasn’t able to break a single clay the entire class…and he drove here from somewhere close to Cincinnati to take this class.

I had spent a bit of time on line prior to the class researching trap and skeet and was surprised with the amount of info that there is on the subject. I was equally surprised to find that the headquarters for the Amateur Trap Association (ATA) and Trap Shooters Hall of Fame is located right here in Ohio, Vandalia, Ohio to be exact (just North of Dayton). I also found that the state trap championships are shot just a bit North of where I live too. Kind of nice to have that much tradition right in your own backyard when starting a sport. I had also done some research on line of what to expect to pay if I wanted to go into this sport in terms of a firearm and gear setup. The price of competition guns for trap can be upwards of $10,000 with most falling between the $1,500 - $3,500 range for “basic models”. That was more money than I could budget for a hobby right now. I was looking at some used guns on line and locally and found a Browning BT-99 single barrel trap gun at Vance’s for $699 (the retail new for about $1,400). It was in decent shape and I even got to shoot one at the Black Wing class just by chance. A great gun for sure. Very single purposed for trap and at that it apparently excels based upon the glowing recommendations that I got there at the range. Talking to some people I had been warned that a single barreled gun like the BT-99 would only be used for trap so skeet and sporting clays would not be a possibility in the future if that is where I wanted to go at some point. For that I would need at least a 2 barrel over/under gun to be a competitor.

I had also looked at a model by Stoeger called the Condor Competition that retailed for $629 on their web site. You may recall that for a time I owned a Stoeger Cougar 9mm pistol and was very pleased with the fit and finish of it. It was made in Turkey under supervision by Stoeger and the Condor is made in Brazil under the same supervision and quality control. I had read some bad reports about the Condor online but mostly they were older models and from people who boasted that there $4,000 race guns would just smoke the Condor in Competition. That’s just fine, I do not intend on being at the Olympics in 2 years shooting trap for a gold medal or anything like that. I plan on shooting casually with Kevin and other friends on the weekends and maybe even joining a league at some point. I had asked around on a firearms board I post on frequently about the Stoeger and George from MadOgre.com (who just happens to work in a gun store in Utah) replied with the following comment:

“Allow me to chime in. I've shot one.
It's not the most elegant of Over Unders... but like Stoeger's other shotguns, they are built like tanks. They are solid. Rugged. Reliable.
They are good guns and I wouldn't hesitate to buy one myself.”

That along with Bill’s recommendation and my own experience with Stoeger and I went ahead and pulled the trigger.

condor_competition_large_standard

Stoeger Condor Competition 12 Gauge

The same time I bought the gun I also got a basic outdoor membership to Black Wing ($175) that gives me 10 rounds of free trap for the next year (a $90 value), discounted trap for up to 2 people ($6 versus $9) and 5% off of all my purchases, including the Stoeger I was getting that day. The discount of the retail price brought it down to $550 from their $579 asking price, nice. I also picked a 12 gauge bore snake (been wanting one of those anyway), a basic shooting vest and a couple of boxes of trap ammo.

I have yet to shoot the gun (we had some other things to do, otherwise I would have taken it out back and shot a round) but I like it already. It is a classic break action over/under 12 gauge and has the following feature…

  • It’s a left handed model..if that just isn’t karma or whatever telling me to buy this I don’t know what is…its got a palm swell for lefties as well as a “fitted” recoil pad
  • replaceable chokes
  • ejectors (shell pops out instead of needed to be pulled when you open the action)
  • A manual tang safety/barrel selection switch (you can choose to shoot either barrel first, nice if you happen to have them choked differently for different types of targets)
  • Automatic safety engages when the action is open
  • an adjustable comb (cheek piece on the stock) for custom fit
  • dual bead sights (though I found out that you don’t exactly sight in a shotgun in trap but rather get aligned with gun and let it follow your sight path)
  • Ported barrels for reduced recoil
  • A single trigger inertia firing system
  • High gloss wood with checkering

It lacks some of the engraving and other “bling” found on the expensive Italian heirloom pieces that I had scene on other competition models, but hey its basic and functional…just like me. As soon as I get it back to Black Wing to shoot I will post more pics and a review.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

RIP Agent Bill Maxwell (aka Robert Culp)

Robert Culp died yesterday at age 79 while taking a walk. The actor was probably best known for his role in I Spy with a young Bill Cosby but I will always remember him for his role as FBI agent Bill Maxwell in The Greatest American Hero on TV back in the early 80's. His character was paired with a school teacher named Ralph who was given a super hero suit by aliens (but loses the instruction manual leading to an running gag of him having to learn how to use the suits various powers by trial and error) and charged with saving the world. Where the character of Ralph is portrayed as being very liberal, Bill Maxwell was shown to be very conservative and right wing. Obviously this show was meant as a metaphor of how our country should reunite after the divisiveness of the 70's and the end of Vietnam, Watergate and the like behind us..

Anyway the thing I remember most about Culp's character on the show was his very prominent use of 1911 .45 pistols, in the opening scene his credit shot uses him in a sitting position busting caps at an off screen target with a 1911. I remember that being maybe the first time I ever noticed a slide recoiling on a semi-auto pistol, funny to remember that. His wasn't the first introduction to the 1911 in my youth via TV (old movies and Magnum P.I. being in the forefront of my memory) but it was part of a lasting impression of fondness that I have for that pistol.

Culp busts caps with the .45 at about 0:44 in the clip..

James over at Hellinahandbasket is also remembering Culp today and poses a challenge to name any of the weapons Culp holds in various promotional stills from I Spy.

And while I am on the subject of 1911's, I hear the USMC is ordering more of the M45 (formerly the MEU-SOC (Marine Expeditionary Unit - Special Operations Capable) pistol) 1911 pattern pistol for troops overseas. I guess a pistol design of over 100 years can hold its own these days...or maybe just .45 is massively awesome for combat use...anyone in the Army listening....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Healthcare is done….wonder if guns are next…

The president signs the highly controversial healthcare bill this morning basically signing over 1/6th of the U.S. economy to the government to run as it sees fit.  I am not going on a tirade here about the pros or cons of the bill, frankly something needed to be done but I personally do not think that this was the way to go about it.  Regardless, Obama can now cross one item off his agenda for his presidency……

 

I can only wonder where gun control is on it now that healthcare is out of the way!!!

Been away from this a bit longer than I had hoped…

Sorry for lack of material around here of any substance.  Between finishing up college and working on my man cave / bunker in the basement for my firearms I have not had as much time to spend on this blog as I had planned..got a few articles in the works so just hang on a bit longer…

Below, the man cave in progress…

  mancave1

mancave2

Special thanks to Kevin from the Superfrikinawesomestuff blog for both the technical guidance and labor to get this far…

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Smith & Wesson made me happy today!


I have a Smith & Wesson model 22a rimfire pistol that I picked up about a year and a half ago to plink with and such. Problem was the way the gun was designed the recoil rod and spring have a chance to pop out when you disassemble it. Which mine did of course some time ago. The pistol has sat broken down into its parts in a plastic bag in my safe since this fall and I pretty much forgot it was there until I started ramping up for the spring. With the new steel plate season coming up and my renewed interest of taking it seriously this year I thought about using it for the rimfire class.

I went looking for a replacement part on line and found them to be few and far between. I eventually called Smith & Wesson's customer care line and told them I needed a "Firing pin", which is what I though the recoil rod was at the time. They sent me a firing pin for free which upon receiving I immediately recognized was the wrong part. Called them back today to explain my dilemma and they identified the part I needed and again stated that it was free and was sending it out today. In addition they told me just to keep the spare firing pin "just in case"

Thanks for great customer service Smith & Wesson.

I also picked up a couple of spare mags for $30 through an online listing so I am well on my way to rimfire-steel-plate-shooting goodness!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How not to buy from an individual

I have both bought and sold a number of firearms from sources such as gunlistings.org and armlists.com.  I have had both good and bad experiences with them….but nothing like this….

If only it was this simple….

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Team Glock action...

Getting ready for American Steel Plate matches to start up again in about a month..

Using a G34 this year...he is what it is capable of doing in the proper hands....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Band of Brothers on HBO…

HBO is getting ready for The Pacific which starts this week, their new mini-series drama about WWII combat in the Pacific Theater. They have been showing Band of Brothers all this week. I am sorry, being a former Infantryman I cannot watch the following scene with a small woody….

In other news, I am finally finished my college program for good! I have a few new additions to the gun locker that I will finally have the time to introduce to y’all! Stay tuned!

Friday, March 5, 2010

So, where're ya' from?....

I normally don't make a habit of checking how many hits I get a day on this blog, just a bit too narcissistic to me. I know I vary anywhere from 50 - 200+ on a daily basis with a good number of them being unique hits (people not returning from the same IP address). Keeping anally retentive stats on that kind of stuff kind of takes some of the fun out of doing this, its just a hobby that I like to pursue and it keeps me focused on something. I really strive more on feedback than anything else, I would rather have 5 people that visited regularly and gave feedback and had a dialogue with me to some extent than 100 people who take a peek and leave.

Anyway, I do check stats from time to time. I noticed on my ClusterMaps application that is in the upper right column of my page that it will be reset on March 14th so that the map doesn't become a big red smear, just thought some of you whom may have not take a look at it may want to see it before it goes bye-bye.
here are stats of who's who on the map and how many have visited from each country...

Current Country Totals
From 14 Mar 2009 to 14 Feb 2010


United States (US)25,156
Philippines (PH)585
Canada (CA)486
Pakistan (PK)423
Germany (DE)412
United Kingdom (GB)273
Brazil (BR)237
Turkey (TR)165
Thailand (TH)164
Australia (AU)161
Italy (IT)134
France (FR)123
Netherlands (NL)94
Finland (FI)92
Argentina (AR)84
Spain (ES)73
Venezuela (VE)69
Colombia (CO)66
Guatemala (GT)64
Poland (PL)61
Switzerland (CH)61
Czech Republic (CZ)57
Austria (AT)56
Sweden (SE)53
United Arab Emirates (AE)51
Greece (GR)49
Japan (JP)40
Russian Federation (RU)40
Chile (CL)39
India (IN)38
Mexico (MX)38
Belgium (BE)37
New Zealand (NZ)37
Slovakia (SK)36
Norway (NO)35
Bulgaria (BG)34
Saudi Arabia (SA)33
Hungary (HU)32
Romania (RO)31
Indonesia (ID)30
Denmark (DK)25
Ireland (IE)25
Israel (IL)23
Hong Kong (HK)23
Georgia (GE)22
Malaysia (MY)21
South Africa (ZA)20
Portugal (PT)20
Serbia (RS)19
Puerto Rico (PR)18
Iraq (IQ)17
Singapore (SG)17
Montenegro (ME)17
Taiwan (TW)16
Korea, Republic of (KR)16
Jamaica (JM)16
Croatia (HR)16
Ukraine (UA)16
Estonia (EE)15
Lithuania (LT)15
Macedonia (MK)13
Kuwait (KW)12
Vietnam (VN)12
Latvia (LV)12
Asia/Pacific Region (AP)10
Dominican Republic (DO)9
Slovenia (SI)9
Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR)9
Honduras (HN)9
Trinidad and Tobago (TT)9
Egypt (EG)8
China (CN)8
Malta (MT)6
Peru (PE)6
Costa Rica (CR)6
Iceland (IS)5
Ecuador (EC)5
Virgin Islands, U.S. (VI)4
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA)4
Sri Lanka (LK)3
Ghana (GH)3
Algeria (DZ)3
Jordan (JO)3
Luxembourg (LU)3
El Salvador (SV)3
Moldova, Republic of (MD)2
Mongolia (MN)2
Qatar (QA)2
Yemen (YE)2
Azerbaijan (AZ)2
Lebanon (LB)2
Bolivia (BO)2
Cyprus (CY)2
Uruguay (UY)2
Brunei Darussalam (BN)1
Suriname (SR)1
Cameroon (CM)1
Greenland (GL)1
Kenya (KE)1
Tanzania, United Republic of (TZ)1
Namibia (NA)1
Madagascar (MG)1
Vanuatu (VU)1
Guyana (GY)1
Papua New Guinea (PG)1
Nicaragua (NI)1
Bahamas (BS)1
Bangladesh (BD)1
Palestinian Territory (PS)1
Morocco (MA)1
Gibraltar (GI)1
Oman (OM)1
Cayman Islands (KY)1
Jersey (JE)1
Grenada (GD)1
Guam (GU)1
Guadeloupe (GP)1
Belize (BZ)1
Panama (PA)1

Stupid question, excellent respons...

Got this in an email....can't vouch for the validity of it, but it is hilarious never the less....

Australia has very restrictive gun laws concerning the type of firearm and caliber that a civilian may possess....however there is a very vocal opposition of gun owners in the country trying to change that....this General is probably one of them...

*******************

For those that don't know him, Major General Peter Cosgrove is an Australian.

General Cosgrove was interviewed on the radio recently.

Read his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children.

Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you have to love this! This is one of the best comeback lines of all time.

In a portion of an ABC radio interview between a female broadcaster and General Cosgrove who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military Headquarters..


FEMALE INTERVIEWER:
So, General Cosgrove, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

GENERAL COSGROVE:
!
We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery and shooting.


FEMALE INTERVIEWER:
Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?

GENERAL COSGROVE:
I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:
Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

GENERAL COSGROVE:
I don't see how.. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.


FEMALE INTERVIEWER:
But you're equipping them to become violent killers.

GENERAL COSGROVE:
Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?

The radiocast
went silent for 46 seconds and when it returned, this interview was over.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

TEXAS WISDOM

I don't care who you are or what you believe in, this is funny.

TexasGuns

Even though I haven’t seen eye-to-eye with Texans on the football gridiron in recent years, I got to love their views on Gun Control….

Barack Obama at a recent rural elementary school assembly in East Texas , asked the audience for total quiet.  Then, in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands once every few seconds, holding the audience in total silence.


Then he said into the microphone, "Children, every time I clap my hands
together, a child in America dies from gun violence."
 

Then, little Richard Earl, with a proud East Texas drawl, pierced the quiet and said:

 ''Well, dumbass, stop clapping!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How the media views an AR-15...

...hmmmm, but my media guide calls this an AK-47....isn't every gun an AK-47?all credit to the Everday, No Days Off Gun Blog.....a great read every day, much like the Firearm Blog but with0ut weekends off...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Soldiers on drugs....not what you think....


The use of hallucinogens as non-lethal chemical agents have been studied for a long time. Generally they have have been seen as not effective as the results, while effective, were not predictable over time. However, as this BBC documentary shows, they sometimes are quite humorous....


I have to say I love the uniform, weapons and equipment of these Royal Marines circa 1964..

In a different vain, a new movie THE CRAZIES is opening that is a remake of a 1973 George Romero B-Movie that portrays the aftermath of an Army chemical spill of drugs intended for mind control use and their affects one a small town whose water supply is infected. See, Romero did non-dead zombies long before 28 Days Later...click on the pic to be taken to the movie site