Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Um, DO WANT!!!

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol!

You know, there aren't many firearms that get me so excited that I can hardly contain myself.  Yeah, sure, there are guns out there that I really like and that I really look forward to owning at some point in the future, but there aren't many that really get me salivating like the one pictured above: The Rossi Ranch Hand pistol!

This bad mother is just what the gun doctor ordered!  With an overall length of 24 inches, it has a 12" barrel, and the butt stock has been hacked off just after it flares from the straight grip, and is capped off with a metal butt plate.  It's reminiscent of Steve McQueen's "mare's leg "gun carried in the 50's t.v. series "Wanted: Dead or Alive" in which Mcqueen played a bounty hunter named Josh Randall.  Yeah, this is good stuff! 

Based on a Winchester model 92 rifle, this concoction has been hacked down in all the right places to make it interesting, menacing, and neato all in the same package.  It's a pistol because of the short barrel it's lacking of a real butt stock.  Coming in at just 4 lbs, it is one nasty little... uh, hand cannon.

Rossi has chambered this gun in a variety of calibers which include .357 Mag./.38 Spl., .44 Mag./.44 Spl., and .45 Colt.  Nevermind those larger calibers.  What I'm interested in is the .357 Magnum offering.  You send a nice heavy 180 grain .357 bullet down a 12" barrel, and whatever is on the receiving end is in for a big surprise.  Of course, the bigger boy calibers are impressive too, but I have my priorities.

I really like this gun.  I will own this gun.  Make no mistake about it.  I have been searching high and low for a gun suitable for hiking trips, strapped to a backpack, or just a campsite gun to keep in the tent.  Besides, there is the cool factor.  Look at the extra large lever loop and the menacingly short barrel!  Do you know anyone that owns a gun like this?  I didn't think so.  Yeah, I've got a Marlin 1895 lever gun, chambered in .45-70 govt, but even it can't compare to the audacity of badassdom of this unique little gun.  This boy is in a class of it's own, and I want to make it a part of my collection!

-James

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Requiescat in Pace

Grandpa, Born July 9, 1926, died June 14, 2010


Last week, I received a phone call from my dad.  He called to inform me that my grandfather had passed away.  I was shocked to find this out.  Though he was in his 80's, Grandpa was a spry individual who was always doing something.  I don't think he rested one bit during his retirement.  Everyone expected that he would have been with us for a few more years.  It was ironic because we had planned to go up and visit him over the Father's Day weekend to do some work and help him cut and stack logs for his fireplace.  Now, he has passed on.  I was told that he passed away peacefully while he slept. 

I am deeply saddened because Grandpa was a man I could always look up to.  He was a loving husband, father, and he was a great grandfather to me and the rest of us kids.  He always had a funny joke to tell, a good story, and he was never idle. 

He was an all American kind of guy.  He was very patriotic and he loved his country.  He fought in two wars to protect our great nation, yet he was a very gentle, softspoken man.  Grandpa had an insane work ethic.  He wasn't one to sit around on his butt.  I knew him after he was officially retired from being a teacher, but in retirement, he spent a good number of years fishing on his boat in Alaska.  He wasn't one to ask for handouts and he would not let on that he was upset or anything very often.  He was the kind of man that took what the world dealt him and made the best of it - and boy did he do good with his lot.

Grandpa is loved by all who knew him.  If anyone ever needed a good role model in their lives, it was he.  Grandpa showed me, through example, what it took to be a real man in many ways.  He was a very longsuffering individual who through his patience and hard work, achieved anything he put his mind to. 

In the last few years of my grandmother's life, Grandpa took care of her with incredible devotion and love.  He would sacrifice everything to take care of her and he walked through hell and back to ensure that she was comfortable and had a good quality of life when she was sick.  That kind of love and devotion is a rarity in this day in age.  Grandpa knew what it took to really love someone and he proved it time and time and time again.  It was rumored that Grandma lived as long as she did only because Grandpa cared so much for her. 

This is a man worth your attention.  He earned my respect long ago when I was an adolescent trying to find my place in this crazy world.  I would like to think that some of his qualities have imprinted themselves onto me, but in my humility, I would venture to say that I could never be the man he was.  If I could be but half the man he was, I would be satisfied. 

Grandpa loved his life.  He lived a long and worthwhile life and while his passing brings about tears of sadness, his life is one that will be celebrated for many years to come.  His legacy is an honorable one.  Grandpa, I wish you well in the next chapter and will do my best to honor your memory for as long as I am on this earth.

May he rest in peace.

-James

Thursday, June 17, 2010

SR9c... Ordered.


My order is in.  I decided that after I dropped off my LCP at the UPS hub, I'd stop by the gun shop and drop off some money for the Ruger SR9c.  I finally decided on the color I wanted too.  If you haven't already guessed, I opted for the black alloy instead of the brushed stainless gun.  I chose black for two reasons: 1, black is stealthy. 2, the black one will match my other blackened SR9.  Besides, after looking at my other guns, I also decided I need another black gun in the corral because black is evil and when it comes to guns, I'm a huge fan of evil.

This gun will be a concealed carry weapon.  This one won't be a safe queen like some of my others.  This gun will fill the gap between my Ruger LCP and my Ruger SP-101.  With that in mind, I began researching holsters for it.  It didn't take long for me to find my way to the website for Crossbreed holsters and the Supertuck Deluxe.  It also didn't take me long to decide that for IWB carry, this is the holster I'll be getting for my SR9c.  Since I was there, and thinking about it, I sent an email to CB Holsters asking if the full size SR9 and the smaller SR9c would fit the same holster.  I didn't see any reason why not.  The SR9c is basically a full size SR9 that has been bobbed in a couple places.  Well, within a day, I received a reply back stating that the SR9c and the SR9 indeed fit in the same holster.  Dude!!!  That's like getting a two-for-one deal on holsters! 

The only other thing I'm considering is an OWB holster for the SR9c.  Again, I have found fortune in the Mitch Rosen leather holster, made specifically for Ruger.  Like the Crossbreed, it will fit both the SR9 and SR9c.  The Mitch Rosen leather holster is dyed Cuban brown and it will fit my 1.5" leather belt perfectly.  It even has the Ruger logo stamped on it.  Both holsters should do well in giving me plenty of concealed carry options for the SR9c and even the SR9 on occasion.

The only thing that sucks is that the gun shop I ordered from won't have them available until the end of July.  Yeah, that's a long time, I know.  But I have enjoyed good luck from these people and have spent a lot of money there.  They all know me by name and all take the time to BS with me about this and that.  Besides, I called a bunch of other places and the people were either rude, unable to tell me anything, didn't know what the SR9c was, or didn't want to place an order until later anyway.  So screw it.  Now, I just have to sit and wait for my gun to come in and when the call comes, I'll be down there faster than two jiggles of a jack rabbit's ass to pick up my new toy.

-James 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Buy a Shotgun

A lot of people I know ask me what firearm they should buy for protection.  The answer to that question depends largely on how they intend to use it.  Protection is such a vague description, especially when choosing what weapon is right for you.  What sort of protection are you looking for?  Are you interested in a concealed carry firearm that will be on your person at all times?  Are you after something for just around the house (home defense)?  Do you want something to keep in the glove box of your car on long trips?  Do you want something you can also shoot recreationally?  All of these questions are important to know.  Most importantly is: how much experience do you have?

I've been shooting all my life.  I've handled hundreds of guns and I've shot nearly every type I could get my hands on.  I feel no less comfortable shouldering a shotgun over a semi-automatic rifle.  I don't care if the pistol in my hand is a revolver or an automatic.  It doesn't matter if I shoot a 9mm, a .357 magnum, a .45 acp, or a .380 auto.  I don't have problems with ghost ring sights, buck-horn sights, blade sights, peep sights, or even glow in the dark sights.  I can shoot through a scope, irons, holographic sights, and at times using no sights.  As far as the average Joe is concerned, I'm a skilled shooter.  Ironically, as far as the average shooter goes, I'm still an average shooter.  That being said, I carry with me a wealth of technical knowledge as well as practical experience with guns of many types and I'm not afraid to use either to my advantage or to help someone out with a question, such as "What kind of gun should I buy for protection?"

Let's face it.  Most people who are interested in buying a gun for concealed carry are probably going to wind up with a compact pistol or snub nose revolver.  In most cases, I recommend that the average guy buys a revolver if the gun is for concealed carry.  Why?  They are so damn reliable, that's why.  The average Joe doesn't have the skill set to run a failure drill in the middle of a shooting session, much less do so under pressure.  A lot of good shooters, myself included, rely on revolvers for a good portion of our concealed carry needs because wheel guns have an amazing track record of going "BANG" when you squeeze the trigger.

Let's talk about the guy who isn't interested in carrying a gun on a daily basis.  I talk to a lot of folks that are interested in only having something in the bedroom closet to use in the event their home is invaded in the middle of the night.  This guy may not be an avid shooter or gun enthusiast like me, but he is concerned for the safety of his family, and his right to protection is just as valid as the man who spends his life shooting guns.

For this guy, I recommend the following: buy a shotgun.  Don't just buy any shotgun though.  Even though the learning curve with a shotgun is very shallow, there are different types and different gauges to consider.  Rather than bore you with the technical details of all kinds, I'm going to get straight to the point.

Buy the following: A 12 gauge pump-action shotgun with an 18 inch barrel  and a 5-7 shot capacity.  That's it.  It doesn't matter which brand you buy.  Get a Remington 870, or get a Mossberg 500 or 590.  You can even pick up a used Winchester 1300 Defender like the one pictured above (I bought mine new). 

12 gauge refers to the size of the barrel.  It is about .73 of an inch inside diameter.  The higher the gauge number, the smaller the barrel.  12 gauge is the largest practical shotgun diameter you can get, and it is the most common.  A pump-action shotgun is a gun with a pump handle as a fore grip.  To "rack" the shotgun (that is to bring a shotgun shell into battery), you vigorously pull the handle back and then push it forward.  After each pull of the trigger, you "pump" the handle to eject the spent shell and bring a fresh one into battery.  An 18 inch barrel is as short as you can legally get without special licensing.  Most home defense shotguns have a barrel that actually measures 18 1/4" long so you are absolutely certain it is legal.  You wouldn't want to be arrested by an overzealous BATF agent with a faulty tape measure.  Shot capacity in a home defense gun is critical.  You don't want to have any less than 5 shots available before you have to reload.  You don't know how many thugs you could come up against and you don't know if you will miss the first shot.  In the world of weapon capacity, more is better.

Okay, so what do you load it up with anyway?  The answer is simple: shotgun shells.  Now, there are a lot of different varieties of shotgun shells, different load types and power ratings.  I'm not going to go exotic on you.  When you go to the average gun shop or the local Wal Mart for shotgun ammunition, you will see three basic types: bird shot, buck shot, and slug.  Which is better for home defense?  Bird shot is for shooting, well... birds!  You could use it for home defense, and it may provide enough power to disable the threat, but after more than a few feet, the very tiny pellets that comprise a bird shot round don't account for much.  Buck shot is the more desirable self defense round.  Even buck shot comes in a variety of flavors and it will be up to you to research and find the one that works for you.  Buck shot rounds are typically sized from 0000 (quadruple-ought) to 4 buckshot.  Each shot size will have a different amount of small lead balls, called pellets.  I have a handy chart below:

Size Nominal diameter Number of Pellets


0000 ("quadruple-ought") .38" (9.7 mm) 5
000 ("triple-ought") .36" (9.1 mm) 6
00 ("double-ought") .33" (8.4 mm) 8
0 ("ought") .32" (8.1 mm) 9
1 .30" (7.6 mm) 10
2 .27" (6.9 mm) 15
3 .25" (6.4 mm) 18
4 .24" (6 mm) 21

Due to the risk of over penetrating Sheetrock in a home defense scenario, I personally like to load my self defense shotgun with a 4 buck sized load.  With 21 .24" pellets, they are not only smaller and less likely to over penetrate, but there are also more of them to ensure a hit instead of a miss.  Shooting a shotgun, as opposed to shooting a rifle is akin to throwing a handful of rocks at a target verses throwing a single rock.  In a home defense situation, throwing more lead at a time is favorable.

As an aside, many shotguns come with various "choke tubes" which screw into the end of the barrel.  These allow you to choke, or constrict the shot pattern as it leaves the barrel to affect how the shot pattern will group on target at various ranges.  For a home defense shotgun, a cylinder choke (basically no choke) will work fine.  You don't need uber tight groupings in the house.  In fact, you are looking for a good wide spread for close quarters, which will increase your chances of hitting your target instead of missing.

Other rounds, called slugs, are simply one big chunk of lead that usually weighs an ounce.  Shooting a slug at someone would be like driving a small car into the target rather than tossing some rocks.  You can buy different types of slugs, including rifle slugs, deer slugs, and sabot slugs.

By now, you may be thinking to yourself, "this sounds like an absolutely devastating weapon."  You'd also be correct.  Readily available and inexpensive, a shotgun is a lot of weapon for the money.  For close quarter encounters in the home, there is no substitute for a good solid pump-action shotgun with the shortest barrel you can legally get.  Plus, the pump-action shotgun has that distinct "click-click" when you rack a round into the chamber.  Thanks to the movies, nearly every person in America knows what that sound means and will probably run like hell when they hear it.  The reputation that precedes the shotgun is amazing.

Shotguns are versatile.  With different load options, choke configurations, and different stock configurations, you can essentially build or buy what you need for your situation.  They do have their drawbacks though.  They are not long range guns, and they are slower to reload than magazine fed rifles/handguns.  They also kick rather hard and despite having an 18 inch barrel, they tend to be a little on the long side.  You can overcome these drawbacks easily though.

They don't have a lot of range, but then again you have to ask yourself, "how big is my house?"  If the answer is less than 50 yards from room to room, then the shotgun is still ideal for you.  The largest room in my house is about 20 feet long, with about the longest distance I could shoot (3 rooms long) being nearly 50 feet.  That's perfect shotgun territory.

The hard kick can be overcome by a few things.  You can buy "tactical load" shot shells which have a little less powder charge and will kick less.  You can also buy compensating stocks or slip on rubber butt pads, which will do a good job at absorbing felt recoil.  You can also have your shotgun barrel ported to reduce muzzle rise.  The best method though, is to shoot the gun at the range until you are comfortable with it, and then keep training with it until you are proficient with it.  Then keep training with it because it's not only fun, but it's essential to know and understand your firearm inside and out.

Shotguns are long, but that isn't the end of the world.  Practice in your home.  Find locations in your house, like room thresholds and hallways/stairs that impede your ability to sweep the gun barrel around (gun unloaded and finger OFF the trigger of course).  Train with house clearing methods adopted by SWAT by either buying training videos or attending a class.  You will find that the length of the shotgun is easily manageable with a little time invested in training for your situation.

Think training is overkill?  Chew on this.  Police, SWAT, military, and other para-military organizations train for their roles constantly.  That's the only way they are as good as they are at whatever it is they do.  Taking some time to train yourself to handle your gun at your home, and on the range is not asking too much of the self defense shotgunner.  If you won't take the time to train, then you shouldn't take the time to buy the gun.  If the goal you have in mind is to protect you and your family, then the time invested to teach yourself to shoot, teach your wife to shoot, teach your kids to shoot, and develop safe handling habits is part of that deal.  Plus, if the situation ever occurs that you must use your shotgun to defend yourself/home/family, you will have a foundation to fall back on and experience with the weapon instead of fumbling in the dark with a gun you aren't as familiar with as you should be.

Despite the fact that I have a collection of pistols and rifles at my disposal, I keep a 12 gauge shotgun in the house.  Pistols are great for personal defense, but as the old saying goes, "pistols are used to fight to rifles" or in this case, shotguns.  My pistols are last ditch effort weapons, ideally suited for situations where either shotguns are impractical (concealed carry) or when you've run out of ammo and need to just do a New York reload (which is to drop the big weapon and pull the handgun out).  For home defense, the shotgun wins every time.

-James

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SIR 9

1st magazine of the day

I know what you are thinking. "This guy is obsessing over his Ruger SR9." You know what? You're right. This gun is the most exciting firearm I own at the moment. I had the fortune of going to the woods and blasting yet another 100 or so rounds from it without a single hiccup. So far, I've put over 325 rounds +- with 100% reliability.

Each time I squeeze the trigger, the gun goes BANG and the round goes where I expect it to go. You can't ask for more in a self-defense pistol, especially at the price point I got this at. Slow fire, rapid fire, this gun doesn't care. It always goes off when I ask it to.

I had the opportunity to show it off to a couple people from church, and they both agree that it is a great firearm. They, like I, enjoyed the low recoil, the lightweight, and the ever-increasingly smooth trigger.

2nd magazine

I decided to name my Ruger SR9 a very appropriate name, as it has come to earn my respect in the last month or so: SIR 9. Those who I respect, I address as Sir. The Ruger SR9 is no exception. I also thought about calling the SR9 short for Super Reliable 9mm, because that what this weapon is.

After getting the weapon back home today, I once again stripped her down and removed the striker for inspection. I have made it a point to do this each time to make sure all is well with this gun. Aside from some wear on the end of the slide hood from firing, the gun is in perfect shape. I'm a happy camper.

I have been monitoring the trigger on this gun because a lot of people complain about how crappy it is. I've found no such problem with the trigger itself. Instead, I could hear grittiness in it when I held it up to my ear during dry fire. Don't worry, the gun was unloaded. It turns out that the grittiness was left over carbon buildup and grease from the manufacturing and assembly process. I let the gun soak in CLP for a bit and removed a lot of the buildup from the striker cavity. The trigger squeeze smoothed up and the grittiness has gone away considerably. What I need to do now is blast it with high pressure brakekleen to blow any remaining particles out.

I still have another 175 or so rounds before I get to 500 rounds on this gun. I can't wait!

-James

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ruger SR9 Second Trip to the Range

I've been on vacation for 9 days now, and it seems that I should get some shooting in before my time away from work is over. So, my wife, my father in law, and I headed to the Lee Kay shooting range with a trunk full of firepower. Among the usual suspects was my wife's Ruger 10/22 CRR and Henry Golden Boy .17 hmr as well as my Beretta 92 FS, Ruger SR9, and Ruger SP101.

I love shooting with two 9mm handguns. It's very fun to see how each gun shoots side by side. It's also fun to see just how different my shot groups are with each gun. It's interesting to feel the different shooting characteristics of each gun. Though they shoot the same ammo, have similar magazine capacities, and are similar in size, each one is as individual as a person's fingerprints. As such, each gun shoots completely differently.

Now, I'm not going to go over the boring details about my Beretta 92 FS. Face it, I'm a solid shooter with that gun because I've been shooting it for the last 8 years. The really exciting gun of the day was my Ruger SR9.

My father in law really digs the SR9, and for good reason. It's very comfortable to shoot. Once you have the gun figured out, it is very accurate, and it is consistent. The price point is also favorable too.

Okay, I'll admit something here. I'm not the greatest shooter in the world. Surprised? It takes me about a full magazine to warm up when I'm at the range. The reason? I don't shoot everyday, so I need to find my rhythm before I can put down tightly spaced groups. After I find it, however, I do pretty well. All my groups are tight enough to be kill shots no matter what gun I'm shooting.

The SR9 already had 100 rounds through it prior to this shootout. This trip, my father in law and I put about 125 rounds through it. Lindsay even fired it once! The trigger this time around felt pretty good. It feels like it keeps getting smoother and better the more I shoot it. The trigger is deliberate with a clean let off with absolutely no overtravel. I couldn't be happier with that. Each shot fired was a clean shot. All primer strikes were solid and dead nutz center.

We were shooting at targets 15 yards away. I hadn't shot this gun at that range before, but was happy with my results thus far. It seems my groups were about 6 inches at that range off hand. When I supported the SR9 on the bench, the groups tightened up to about 3". That's good enough for me. I thought the SR9 may have been shooting low until I benched it and shot all 17 rounds through the bulls eye.

Recoil was completely manageable. Gosh, I love the low bore axis on this gun! Even my father in law experienced extremely low muzzle rise, and he hasn't shot a handgun in years! His groups were pretty decent as well, and was hitting the target every time, and consistently. Of course, that's probably more the shooter than the gun, but the SR9 is a great gun for beginning shooters and those who are more familiar with handguns.

After getting the gun back home, I pulled it apart to check and see if there was any of the dreaded "peening" that some complain about. None. All the moving parts are wearing nicely. As of this report, there are 225 rounds on the gun.

My SR9 is a keeper!

-James

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Never Leave a Child Unattended!

While sitting in the local Chic-fil-A restaurant today, I noticed that two kids were left by their parents. The place was packed to the rafters with parents and children and the atmosphere was like a huge birthday party for toddlers.

Out of nowhere, some woman came in with an infant in an infant seat. She set the child down on a table and walked away to place her food order. The kid must have been left unattended for a full 3 minutes!

The second unattended kid was walking through the restaurant yelling "MOM!" He'd walk up to each aisle and yell "MOM! MOM!! MOOOOM!!!" I watched him walk up one end of the store and the other screaming for his mom. He was getting desperate and started crying "MOM!" He must have been scared out of his mind. He was in a loud place with a ton of people, and his mother was nowhere in site. It turns out she was in the bathroom and then ordered food. Only after about 5 minutes did I see the kid find his mom, who looked completely clueless and oblivious to the fact that while she was in the restroom taking a dump or whatever, her kid was running around not knowing just where in the hell she was!

Now, I don't care where you are or how safe you think you may be, DON'T LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED... EVER!!! Personally, I never leave my kids out of sight. I always keep them where I can see them and never so far that I couldn't run to them in less than 2 seconds. In a hectic restaurant, I wouldn't let my kid go more than an arm's reach from me.

I can understand leaving your sleeping infant in a carrier, on a table (close by and within line of sight), and going to get your order... in an empty restaurant, but I wouldn't even do that. I'd place her on the ground next to me. If that's too inconvenient for some parents, then too bad. If you can't take care of your kids, give them up for adoption!

Both of these two kids could have easily been kidnapped and no one would even know or care. The place was so busy, it was impossible to tell who's kids were who's and who's parents were who's. And call the police all you want. Despite there being 100 witnesses, 3/4 of them were kids under the age of 5 and the rest of the adults were too busy tending to their own kids to see if anything bad may have happened.

I'm sure these clueless parents probably thought that it was okay because there were a lot of people around. Maybe because we were in Salt Lake they thought they could trust the mass of people there, most of whom were probably LDS as well as them. After all, they drop their kids off in nursery when in church - why not Chic-fil-A?

I'll tell you why. If I was a crazy person who wanted to steal a child, what better place to do it than a really busy restaurant with a bunch of people completely tuned out to the rest of the world? They are all focusing on their little universes. They aren't thinking about the possibility of someone bad coming by and stealing a child. Haven't we all read and watched about women who have miscarriages and can't have children of their own coming and stealing them? People can become desperate.

In an area where Elizabeth Smart was taken from her over trusting family, you'd think the masses of sheep would be a little more cautious when they take care of their children. Kidnappings happen everywhere. Just because you live in an area where you feel relatively safe doesn't mean there aren't predators out there just waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of your carelessness.

Maybe I'm just over-reacting. Perhaps I'm paranoid. Maybe I'm spending too much time thinking of the unthinkable and focusing too much on what bad things can (and do) happen on a lazy Tuesday afternoon. Or perhaps instead, I'm tuned into the reality of the world. The reality is that no matter where you are or what you are doing, interacting with people is unpredictable.

Maybe I'm just hell bent on keeping my children safe because getting them here wasn't easy. Lindsay and I spent a long time trying to get our first child to come into this world, and maybe I don't want to lose that which we struggled and sacrificed for. Maybe I get anxious about keeping my baby girl safe because the thought of losing her to some deranged crackhead or weirdo crazy lady makes every muscle in my body tense up with anger.

Maybe I don't want to deal with the fact that letting my guard down could get my children into big ass trouble and maybe I don't want to feel the guilt of my children being overly frightened or hurt because of my own stupidity. How terrible did the father of Elizabeth Smart feel to know that his over trusting of a complete stranger made his daughter's disappearance turn into national headlines? As much empathy I have for the family and the daughter, the father was a chump. Sadly, his daughter paid the real price. I won't be a chump. Parents who leave their kids completely unattended without being able to see or hear them are chumps.

Don't be a chump. Never leave your child unattended!

-James