Sunday, March 28, 2010

Above, you see a computer rendering of a Beretta 92 FS pistol, stainless steel I might add, which is my favorite flavor of Beretta 92 FS pistol; but I digress.

Below, I have included a link to a very interactive website, which illustrates the operation of the Beretta 92 FS pistol. This is a very good website because it shows pistol operation and internal safeties that are often impossible to visualize on the gun itself without a cutaway. Yes, even I learned a few new things here, and I've been shooting and studying this gun for the last decade! Now, if I can learn something about this wonderful gun here, I'm sure 99% of everyone else will too.

http://www.genitron.com/Basics/Beretta92/New-Beretta-92.html

-James

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Gun Is Like a Seatbelt.

I was recently involved in a conversation with a gentleman who wondered why I carry a concealed weapon everywhere I go with me. Among the usual questions, he asked me a question that has remained in my mind for the past few days: "Does carrying a gun make you feel safe?"

I answered the question with another question: "Does wearing your seat belt make you feel safe?" He said that, of course, it did. "Why?" I asked. He then made the point that while he doesn't anticipate getting into a car accident, it's just good insurance to put the seat belt on just in case. I asked him if he did anything in the car that would warrant wearing a seat belt, like driving really fast, cornering as hard as he could, stopping quickly or just following cars too close for safety. He answered an obvious "no" to my question.

Satisfied, I answered his original question. "My gun is like a seat belt. I carry it, not necessarily because it makes me feel safe, but because it is good insurance. I don't go wandering into bad neighborhoods, or go making trouble for myself. I'm pretty low key. Most people don't know I have a gun, and those who do don't know if I'm carrying it or not, or even where I might be carrying. I don't go to places where I will need the very protection I have. Just as I instinctively click a seat belt on as soon as I get into my vehicle, I holster my weapon as I'm putting my clothes on.

First off, concealed carry isn't a macho thing. It's not a way for me to walk around showing everyone how much bigger my... "member" is than theirs. The whole point of concealed carry is to keep the weapon concealed. I personally don't want anyone to know I'm carrying a gun.

Second, just because I carry a gun on my person doesn't mean I take the liberty of being reckless or stupid. If a neighborhood is an area that I wouldn't walk through unarmed, I'm certainly not going to walk through it armed either. I'm just going to avoid it completely. Why? Well, in all likelihood, if an area (neighborhood, bad part of town, wrong side of the tracks, etc) is bad enough that I wouldn't feel safe their in the first place, why would I risk going there, even with a gun? There are plenty of other places I'd rather be in the first place. Just because I have a gun doesn't mean I'm invincible.

Third, carrying a gun doesn't make me feel safer than if I wasn't carrying. I only carry half the time anyway. I can't carry a gun at work; it's against company policy. Granted, there are places that my job requires me to go to in which I'd like to have a gun, but it wouldn't make me feel any safer. The best way to feel safer is to avoid those areas that would make you feel unsafe to begin with.

I was listening to news radio the other day, and it was reported that a man was shot and killed in a neighborhood I used to live in. This neighborhood is one of those hoity toity areas where the median income is no less than $175K annually, everyone seems to drive a BMW, Mercedes, Volvo or other car worth no less than $45K, all the houses are newer and larger, and the kids either attend private schools or the public school is well funded. Yet even in that neighborhood, some guy was murdered. No one knows why, but who really cares? If someone can be murdered in a neighborhood like that, what makes it any better than my neighborhood, where the median income is less than $50K annually, the average car is more than 7 years old, the houses are 90+ years old, and the schools are underfunded and no one can afford to send the kids off to private school?

The reason I brought this up is because it doesn't matter where you live, what you drive, or where you choose to spend your time. People are still people and criminals are still criminals. Crime knows no neighborhood. It doesn't care if the neighborhood is rich, poor, or somewhere in between. Sure, the type of neighborhood may determine what kinds of crime occur, but it doesn't matter. Crime happens everywhere. Concealed carry is insurance. It is protection from the possibility that the crime may come to me.

When I drive down the street, I don't gauge my chances of getting in a car accident based on what neighborhood I'm driving through and then determine if I'll wear my seat belt or not; it would be silly to do so. Car accidents can happen anywhere. If you wear your seat belt, getting in a car accident may not be as bad as it could be. The same goes with carrying a concealed weapon. Yes, being put into a situation where you may have to draw your gun is going to suck. It just doesn't end well, whether you carry or not. But for my money, for my life and the lives of my family, I'd rather have to draw my gun than submit to the will of a criminal.

-James

Taxpayer-Funded Abortion on Demand, Courtesy of a Catholic and a Mormon

Is there no accountability for the most powerful people in either religion?

Taxpayer-Funded Abortion on Demand, Courtesy of a Catholic and a Mormon

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Summertime Carry

Ah, the seasons are changing. The air is warmer, the days are longer, the sun is sunnier, and the criminals are still criminals.

With the increasing temperature outside, it is getting more and more difficult to keep my outside-the-waistband (OWB) holstered Ruger SP101 as concealed as I'd prefer it to be. Sure, I throw a vest over my long t-shirt, but even then there are occasions where I feel like the gun is wearing me instead of me wearing the gun.

Last summer, I carried my concealed pistol around in an Uncle Mike's inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. It was nice to have the gun as tight to my body as possible. Even with just a t-shirt, the weapon did not print against the fabric at all. That's one advantage to having a spare tire around the mid-section; it cuts down on the printing, LOL!!!

All joking aside though, I need to address this issue for 2010. My old fabric Uncle Mike's holster did it's job, but it also did the bare minimum. With only one plastic clip, the holster could rock back and forth. Being fabric, it would collapse if I had to draw my gun for any reason, like getting into a car. In order to reholster, I had to either unbuckle my belt (because the belt provided the weapon retention) or jimmy with my holster and gun with two hands to get it back into place. This became more and more annoying as time goes on.

A good holster allows the user to reholster with one hand only. This leaves the other hand free to do any other task there may be. This means that the holster must not collapse when the weapon is drawn. Another good holster trait is support and stability. I hate carrying my weapon in a holster that can rock forwards or back. For one thing, it makes me feel less secure. Secondly, this makes it so the gun could work its way loose. If the only point of retention is a belt, and that belt isn't tight enough to keep the gun from moving, then it is not the best retention you can have.

Come to think of it, I only bought the Uncle Mike's IWB holster because I needed a holster until I could buy a better holster. Well, I did buy a better holster. I'm 100% satisfied with its performance. The problem is that when I bought the holster, we were heading into the winter season and IWB carry wasn't as important. During the winter, I have jackets, coats, sweatshirts, and vests that I can wear to help cover up the bulge on the side of my hip. I'm sure that if I was going into a summer month, I would have considered more IWB options, and indeed I did. However, I was a little put off with my experience with the Uncle Mike's, and that may have swayed my position.
Well, I'm going back to IWB carry. Well, not 100% of the time. I still have my Kramer OWB horsehide holster for my Ruger SP101. But being as I need my gun to be a little closer to my body in the summertime, I have to address the need to go IWB, at least for the summer months. This time, however, I'm going to switch gears and carry my little pistol that could instead of my SP101. Yep, I'm going to carry my Ruger LCP as a primary gun for while. Having 13 rounds of .380 auto at my disposal between the gun and an extra magazine are comforting. But what I'm really after is an experiment on a holster design that it intriguing.
It is the Crossbreed brand holster. The model for the Ruger LCP is the "mini-tuck" holster. Crossbreed makes a tuckable holster design that actually allows the wearer to tuck in his or her shirt over the firearm, making it even more concealable. The only thing anybody will see are a couple of clips over a belt, if they notice at all. The ability to tuck in a shirt means that even if I'm wearing a shirt and tie, I can go without a blazer jacket and still have the pistol completely concealed. Other IWB and OWB holsters require a shirt, jacket, sweater, or other garment to cover the gun on the outside. So, even if I was to tuck in a shirt, I'd still have to wear something over my pants to keep the gun out of view. This is why I'm very interested in the Crossbreed line of holsters.

I've seen this holster up close too. A coworker brought in a super-tuck deluxe to show me. I was impressed with the design and quality of work put into it. Crossbreed holsters are not manufactured on an assembly line in some plant where 50 people could touch it on its way out the door. They are hand made, one at a time, in a small leatherworks shop.

Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe

You can see that the design of the holster offers a lot more that being able to tuck your shirt in. The holster itself utilizes a large leather panel (cowhide or horsehide) to spread the load of the weapon over a larger area of the body. This distributes the contact area evenly and increases comfort while reducing fatigue. One of my pet peeves about other IWB holsters is that after a long day of carrying, I feel sore right where the gun contacts my body. It's kind of like wearing a pair of shoes that just aren't wide enough for your feet. Yeah, sure at first it doesn't seem like much, but after a long day of walking, your dogs are sore! The same holds true for carrying a 32 ounce chunk of steel against your skin. Another feature I like is the utilization of two tuckable clips. These hold the holster in place on your belt. With the load points spread far apart, the chance of the weapon rocking back and forth... well lets just say that there's a snowball's chance in hell the gun will rock back and fort with this design. It is rock solid! Another feature, and a big plus in my book, is the actual holster. It is made from a polymer material called Kydex. It is heat formed to fit the specific weapon of choice. In the holster world, one size fits all is not an advantage. A holster formed to your particular weapon is a must for proper weapon retention, fit, and safety. In the first picture, you can see the Ruger LCP retained at the trigger guard, the trigger itself, and the ejection port on the slide. This keeps the weapon in place and ensures that the trigger will not move when the weapon is holstered. This is a big consideration because most of my pistols have no mechanical safety other than a long double-action trigger pull. Additionally, the holster retention is not affected by the belt. The holster will not collapse when the weapon is drawn and belt retention does not affect weapon retention.

As I've said before, I'm experimenting with this holster design. For the experiment, I want to utilize my Ruger LCP. The reason being is that if the holster cannot accommodate my needs with the smallest pistol I own, then how am I to expect it to handle with a larger, less concealable pistol? I do remain hopeful that it will work however, given the holster costs about $70. Yes, it is expensive. Most good holsters are. Buying a holster is like buying a guitar; you get what you pay for. If you buy a $20 guitar, you get $20 worth of music. Buying a cheap holster gets you the benefits of a cheap holster. My Uncle Mike's holster was only $10.

Should I enjoy the mini-tuck for my LCP, I will look into a super-tuck for my SP-101. I still enjoy the firepower that fire-breathing revolver brings to the table.

-James

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beretta 92A1 (M9A1)

Beretta announced, at the 2010 Shot Show, the arrival of the Beretta 92A1, aka M9A1 9mm handgun. Beretta isn't messing around with this gun. The introduction to this new generation of the 92/926 series of successful pistols is a welcomed sight by many a Beretta pistol owner, including yours truly.

I'm a huge fan of Beretta pistols. I currently have a stainless Beretta 92 FS (I hate the word INOX and will not refer to mine as such) that I bought back in late 2001 for my 21st birthday. I had the opportunity to get into the Glock community, or the 1911 community, the revolver community, the Springfield, community, etc, but I chose Beretta because they had (and still have) a combat proven system that is reliable, caveman simple to operate, and easy to maintain. Plus, the 15 round capacity (at the time) could not be beat. The Beretta 92/96 series are very large handguns. They are not meant for people with small hands. For me, that's no problem because my hands fit comfortably around the grips.

Trying to keep up the success of the 92/96 series, Beretta introduced the 90-two and 90-six pistols, which were basically weird funky versions of a platform they already had. I personally wasn't going for it, and I have a feeling most Beretta fans weren't either. It seems to me that it was a flop. Of course, the only redeeming factor was a 1913 picatinny rail incorporated into the frame underneath the barrel. This rail allows for adding lights or lasers to the weapon, giving it more versatility than a gun without.

The new 92A1 benefits greatly from the fact that, while it has a bunch of my ideal Beretta wish list items, it still remains faithful to the tried, tested, proven, and very loved platform that made these weapons so popular in the first place. The lines, the ergonomics, the function, the levers and releases, the magazines... everything as it should be and it just got a whole lot better.

Welcome to the 21st century Beretta! Here's what makes this new Beretta so awesome!

1. 17 round magazine! That gives you two more than previous Berettas. Additionally, the new Beretta uses the older Beretta magazines. This also means that the old Beretta uses the new Beretta magazines. That means my old Beretta can hold 17 rounds too!

2. Removable front sight. You may replace a damaged front sight or simply change to a different one if you want. That's huge! That's my biggest gripe about my older Beretta; my front sight can't be removed.

3. Accessory rail! Yes, finally a good pistol with a 1913 standard picatinny rail! It allows the mounting of lights and lasers.

4. On the .40 caliber 96A1, there is a recoil buffer to increase service life.

5. Captive recoil spring assembly. 1 piece assembly which means less parts to field strip and possibly lose. Note, I NEVER LOSE PARTS! But hey! It could happen!

6. Rounded trigger guard. Well, that doesn't really bother me, but it makes the gun look pleasing.

7. And of course it is available in either 9mm or .40 S&W. I'm personally a 9mm guy.

Okay, of all those things, I think 1, 2, and 3 mean the most to me. Those are the three things I wish my gun came with originally. I solved number 1 by buying 17 round magazines for my older Beretta. But when I buy the 92A1, it will come with three additional 17 round magazines! YES! That's like $80 in magazines alone!

I think, of all my guns in my collection, my Beretta 92FS is my favorite. I'm now going to make it my mission to give my stainless beauty a little competition.

-James