Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lookit' that view!!!

Wyoming is some beautiful country (in the summer!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 23rd, Newsletter Article


Model 1911s feel great, can be made superbly accurate, and have a proud and strong heritage.

Other steel-framed guns have been produced that fulfill a need for a great variety of applications.

But polymer, striker-fired, semi-automatics have moved in to be serious contenders in providing the market with tough, reliable, dependable, and accurate combat weapons.

Move Over 1911

Glock has replaced, in many ways, the 1911 as a standard for the modern combat handgun. And now, along with Glock, Sprinfield's XD Series, and Smith & Wesson's M&P series, there are three offerings that the market can depend on for providing serious combat handguns.

There are other polymer-framed striker fired semi-autos that arguably may fit in with this group. But these three are accepted as being predictably effective firearms.

The Best Gun?

One of the questions that you and I are asked by friends and acquaintances, is, "What's the best gun for (fill in the blank)? Most of us are used to answering, "Well that depends"...(and go about determining purpose and physical needs).

While purpose and physical needs are still important criteria, most people are looking for guns to be used for self-defense.

Subsequently, for many of us, the answer may come much more easily. We can pretty much answer, a Glock, Springfield XD, or S&W M&P, and feel fairly secure in our answer. The best, as has been determined by most Law Enforcement agencies, and most gun professionals, winds up being, one of those three.

It's that easy.

But Why?

1. Reliability - These guns have been the subject of more torture tests...it's almost like television guns shows and you-tubers are on a quest to see what else they can do to one (or all) of these three guns. They have been buried in mud, frozen in ice blocks, dropped off of buildings and out of vehicles, run over by trucks, shot with other guns, and even blown up to test the limit of their reliability. Theses guys do much more to their "test" guns than we will ever do to ours, and in most cases, the guns hold up remarkably well.

2. Feed-ability - Like Glock, the XD, and the M&P, seem to chew up all kinds of ammo. Before, semi-autos usually only performed well with a particular type of ammo. But these new guns take just about everything. This puts most self-defense and combat ammo within the reach of us. If we want to use a particular type of ammo, it'll probably run in these guns.

3. Accurate - Out of the box, these combat guns are not necessarily ready for long-range target shooting. But for combat accuracy, or being able to hit, at the ranges in which we will most likely encounter trouble, all of these gun are spot on. They get the job done. And that's what most of us want.

4. Controllable - Even though the sub-compacts can bite a bit into the web of the hand under recoil, it normally is not as bad as many .380s, 9mms, and .38s. It is believed that the frame, being polymer, actually compresses upon firing, and acts a bit like a shock absorber, taming the recoil somewhat. Getting subsequent shots on target is usually fairly easy with these guns.

5. Affordability - At under $800 for most of these, they are in the range of the middle-class. We don't have to spend $3000 to get a gun that does all of these things.

Adding to these five qualities, these guns in their most recent iterations, come with different-sized backstrap inserts. That means we can customize the "fit" of the gun, within three options, to our hands.

Other Opinions

Handguns Magazine has this article comparing the three (and the H&K SP2000).

Jeff Quinn has a great website in which he yaks about all things guns. He provides a practical, and I believe, an objective view of the guns he reviews. Below he reviews:




Clint Smith has been a Springfield XD supporter for a long time. When Springfield began offering a thumb safety on select models you couldn't keep him from sounding off.


It is my, any many other's, opinion that you really can't go wrong with one of these guns. They work very well for most of us.

Finally...an easier answer to which gun is best!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 9, 2012 Newsletter Article


Most gun owners don't seek out training.

They assume they will rise to the occasion.

Unfortunately, that is rarely what happens.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman writes on his extensive research on how people respond to a violent confrontation in his book On Combat. Below is an excerpt.

One police officer gave another example of learning to do the wrong thing. He took it upon himself to practice disarming an attacker. At every opportunity, he would have his wife, a friend or a partner hold a pistol on him so he could practice snatching it away. He would snatch the gun, hand it back and repeat several more times. One day he and his partner responded to an unwanted man in a convenience store. He went down one isle, while his partner went down another. At the end of the first aisle, he was taken by surprise when the suspect stepped around the corner and pointed a revolver at him. In the blink of an eye, the officer snatched the gun away, shocking the gunman with his speed and finesse. No doubt this criminal was surprised and confused even more when the officer handed the gun right back to him, just as he had practiced hundreds of times before. Fortunately for this officer, his partner came around the corner and shot the subject.

Whatever is drilled in during training comes out the other end in combat. In one West Coast city, officers training in defensive tactics used to practice an exercise in such a manner that it could have eventually been disastrous in a real life-and-death situation. The trainee playing the arresting officer would simulate a gun by pointing his finger at the trainee playing the suspect, and give him verbal commands to turn around, place his hands on top of his head, and so on. This came to a screeching halt when officers began reporting to the training unit that they had pointed with their fingers in real arrest situations. They must have pantomimed their firearms with convincing authority because every suspect had obeyed their commands. Not wanting to push their luck, the training unit immediately ceased having officers simulate weapons with their fingers and ordered red-handled dummy guns to be used in training.

Consider a shooting exercise introduced by the FBI and taught in police agencies for years. Officers were drilled on the firing range to draw, fire two shots, and then reholster. While it was considered good training, it was subsequently discovered in real shootings that officers were firing two shots and reholstering--even when the bad guy was still standing and presenting a deadly threat! Not surprisingly, this caused not just a few officers to panic and, in at least one case, it is believed to have resulted in an officer's death. Today, in most police agencies, officers are taught to draw, fire, scan and assess. Ideally, the warrior should train to shoot until the deadly threat goes away, so it is best to fire at targets that fall after they have been hit with a variable number of shots. Today, there are pneumatically controlled steel targets on which photo realistic images are attached. The shooter might fire two rounds and the target falls, or the exercise can be designed so the target is supposedly wearing body armor and remains standing even after it is shot multiple times. To knock it down, the shooter must hit it in the head. Even better, in paintball or paint bullet training, the role players are instructed not to fall until they have been hit a specific number of times. You do not rise to the occasion in combat, you sink to the level of your training. Do not expect the combat fairy to come bonk you with the combat wand and suddenly make you capable of doing things that you never rehearsed before. It will not happen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 26, 2012 Newsletter

This holster accommodates a full-sized 1911. It is available from Blackhawk.

Another Run at Open Carry in Oklahoma

This 2012 Legislative Session

Oklahoma State Senator Steve Russell has again introduced Open Carry Legislation

SB 1092

(a summary)

A. Allows the carrying of loaded or unloaded, shotguns rifles and pistols, open and not concealed without an SDA (concealed carry) license.

1. When hunting animals and fowl.

2. During competition, a class, or sporting event.

3. During participation or preparing for a military function.

4. During participation or preparing for a police function.

5. During practice or performance

6. When:

a. Issued a document from a certified instructor.

(Certification as NRA or Oklahoma SDA instructor). The document attests that:

1. "the undersigned has been instructed and understands the open carry laws of Oklahoma."

2. "the undersigned has been instructed ans understands the safe use and handling of firearms."

(NOTE: This may leave it up to the instructor to determine what standards are to be met for a person to merit a document from him.)

b. The firearm is carried in a holster that is wholly or partially visible or in a scabbard or case designed for carry firearms, and the person is 21 years of age or older.

7. For any legitimate purpose not in violation of Oklahoma Law.

B. A person shall be permitted to carry unloaded shotguns, rifles and pistols, open and not concealed and without a handgun license as authorized by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act pursuant to the following conditions:

1. When going to or from the person's private residence or vehicle or a vehicle in which the person is riding as a passenger to a place designated or authorized for firearms repairs or reconditioning, or for firearms trade, sale, or barter, or gunsmith, or hunting animals or fowl, or hunter safety course, or target shooting, or skeet or trap shooting or any recognized firearms activity or event and while in such places; or

2. For any legitimate purpose not in violation of the Oklahoma Firearms Act of 1971.

C. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit educational or recreational activities, exhibitions, displays or shows involving the use or display of rifles, shotguns or pistols or other weapons if the activity is approved by the property owner and sponsor of the activity.

(If passed and signed into law, this would become effective on November 1, 2012.)



1. I saw nothing to indicate a caliber restriction

2. The holster description only says that it must be designed for carrying firearms. To me, it seems one could argue that a fanny-pack holster, or other side-mount, full coverage holster may meet that definition, as long as the holster is wholly or partially visible.

3. Carrying full-sized handguns will not be a big of an issue.


Download a .pdf copy of the proposed legislation here. Click on "Versions" and then "Introduced".

Monday, January 2, 2012

Newsletter Article, January 9, 2012

Oklahoma's Deadly Force Law

As you likely know, I am not an attorney and have had no education in law.

If you need clarification on any of this information, seek out a qualified attorney for a legal opinion.

Any of my personal opinions below will be parenthesized, italicized, and in a different color or shade.


TITLE 21 § 1289.25 -


A. The Legislature hereby recognizes that the citizens of the State of Oklahoma have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes or places of business.

B. A person or a owner, manager or employee of a business is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

1. The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or a place of business, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against the will of that person from the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or place of business; and

(From what I understand, entry into my place of business, dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, without my permission, constitutes "unlawful entry")

(It's also my understanding that in Oklahoma, breaking the plane of entry into my place of business, dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, is considered "forcible entry". So if I had my doors open, with flies flying in and out of the house, and someone walked in, that could be considered "forcible entry". )

2. The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

(It seems to me, that #2, above, indicates that I don't need to have to actually see them unlawfully, and forcibly, entering. I just have to have a reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry had occurred. What do you think?)

C. The presumption set forth in subsection B of this section does not apply if:

1. The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not a protective order from domestic violence in effect or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person;

2. The person or persons sought to be removed are children or grandchildren, or are otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or

3. The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or place of business to further an unlawful activity.

(So, the way I see it (per # 3 above), if I'm cooking meth in my kitchen, or selling stolen car parts, or engaged in any other unlawful activity in my dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or place of business, I can't use this law. It doesn't apply to me.)

D. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(To me, the above section "D." is where the statute addresses folks who may have to use deadly force and may have a concealed carry license. I notice two things right away:

1. I can't be engaged in an unlawful activity

2. I have to have a right to be there. So even if I'm a licensed CCW holder, carrying in a business which has a "No Concealed Guns" sign, of some sort, means...I am engaged in an unlawful activity and this statute wont necessarily protect me.

One thing that bothers me on this paragraph is where it says the part about "meeting force with force, including deadly force...to prevent the commission of a forcible felony". I am careful about interpreting this too widely. Using deadly force when it is not reasonable or necessary, such as a property crime, might set me up for a bad day in court!

One other thing:

It seems that "D" may apply to someone without a concealed carry license who has to use deadly force to protect themselves or another. But...they can't be involved in an unlawful activity, so they can't be carrying unlawfully. The deadly force instrument must be lawful.

What other instrument may constitute lawful deadly force? I don't know...maybe an improvised deadly force instrument, such as: The bad guy's gun or weapon, or a stick or rock which is laying around and available.)

E. A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle of another person, or a place of business is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

(My impression of "E." is... the law "presumes" that a person who unlawfully and forcibly enters a dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or place of business, is there to commit a crime. Not just any crime, but a crime involving force or violence.

If there were an attorney handy I might ask, "If the law presumes such a thing, doesn't it mean that I can presume that as well?" It seems that way to me. If so, I think this tells me I have the legal right to come to the conclusion that the intruder is there illegally and intending to use force or violence.)

F. A person who uses force, as permitted pursuant to the provisions of subsections B and D of this section, is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force. As used in this subsection, the term "criminal prosecution" includes charging or prosecuting the defendant.

("Immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force". I'm thinking here that if I meet the presumptions in "B" and "D" I can't be charged with a crime and the law won't allow a successful civil suit being adjudicated against me.

You and I know, just about anybody can sue just about anyone else for just about anything. It's my understanding that if this happens, and it is found that I meet the presumptions in "B" and "D", I can't be found "guilty",

And... (according to "H", below) if such a thing should happen, the folks who brought the suit against me can be made to pay my attorney fees and any reasonable expenses incurred in my defense! Yippee!)

G. A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force, but the law enforcement agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

H. The court shall award reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection F of this section.

I. The provisions of this section and the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act shall not be construed to require any person using a pistol pursuant to the provisions of this section to be licensed in any manner.

(When I read this, I think they are saying to me, that I don't necessarily need a concealed carry license to use deadly force. I believe they are saying that this statutes regulates the "use" of deadly force, not the carrying of concealed handguns.)

J. As used in this section:

1. "Dwelling" means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people;

2. "Residence" means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest; and

3. "Vehicle" means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

(If a "dwelling" is not necessarily a "residence" that means it can be other things. In particular, it seems to me, it is a building or conveyance of any kind. A building of any kind describes all buildings, does it not? So, it seems to me that that a dwelling is any building that is designed to be occupied by people. It is not a residence because residence is defined differently.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Newsletter Article December 22, 2011

Used Guns: Tips on Checking 'em Out

NOTE: The following is information that I took from several sources. I am not a gunsmith, just a "gun guy". Your best bet will probably involve a qualified gunsmith looking at your guns for you. When you can't, the following may help.

As in any endeavor with firearms, Safety is the watchword. Before inspecting any gun, make sure that it is unloaded. No rounds should be chambered. Physically and visually check to make sure.

It may be advisable to perform these checks on your guns periodically to get an idea of acceptable tolerances, and to gauge wear. Plus, it's just another excuse to get your guns out and piddle with them!


Initial Look

First, look at the gun, checking the muzzle, the grip, and the hammer for indications that it's been dropped: Marks, dimples, cracks, or other damage. A gun that has been dropped a lot is an indication that other conditions may exist due to the previous owner's reckless behavior. Here's a good example of a checklist for inspection.

Cylinder Gap

Look at the cylinder gap. This is the area between the front of the cylinder and the forcing cone at the back of the barrel. A flashlight or white surface in back of the gun helps see the cylinder gap. The surfaces should be parallel to each other. If the gap is wider at the top, the top strap may have been stretched (sometimes happens with shooting a lot of high pressure loads). When that happens, the gun may shoot, but will likely shave off lead and/or jacket material which can affect the velocity and accuracy of the round.

If there is too much of a cylinder gap, there may be excessive "end shake", or too much movement of the cylinder forward and rearward. This is something you'll need to consult with your gunsmith about.

Normally .006" to .008" is considered fine. If greater than .010", you'd better take the gun to a reputable gunsmith to have it checked.

Trigger & Hammer

Check the hammer. Will it function both in single action and double action? If it doesn't work single action, it may be bent.

When you cock and release the hammer, notice the feel. If you feel the hammer scraping against the body of the gun, again, you may have a bent hammer. (possibly from being dropped)

Dry-fire the gun. Before releasing pressure on the trigger look through the gap at the back of the cylinder. You're looking for the firing pin nub. If you can see it, that's a good sign.

Cylinder Lock-Up

Check the play in the cylinder with the hammer forward and then with the hammer cocked. Too much play can indicate wear that allows the cylinder to be out of time with the forcing cone & barrel. You can take a pencil or wooden dowel to see how well they line up.

With the gun unloaded, you can shine a light into the gap at the rear of the cylinder, and looking down the barrel to see how it lines up. This is, by no means, a precision test, but if there is a noticeable misalignment, you know you have a problem.


The cylinder release should operate surely. It should move without catching both directions. It should fully release and allow the cylinder to swing out. When opening, the cylinder should not bind or catch on the frame, it should be a free and easy movement.

Inspect the face of the front of the cylinder. There should be little to no scrape marking on the cylinder around the chamber. The rear of the cylinder should show no excessive wear with the chambers being square to the face. Some folks bevel their chambers to better facilitate loading and reloading the gun. The edges should be clean and free of scratching, burrs, and other abrasive indications.

Look for peening around the locking slots.

The cylinder should close and lock without forcing it using a moderate amount of pressure, on all chambers. If one or two chambers take more pressure to close the cylinder, the crane (hinge hardware to which the cylinder is attached) may be slightly bent.

The Barrel

Look at the barrel. On single-actions you will likely have to remove the cylinder pin to get the cylinder out. Look inside the barrel. Bad signs are pitting, or a ring or rings somewhere along the barrel. Scratches and abrasions are signs of mistreatment.

A barrel in good condition will have a near mirror finish with the rifling in good shape. The muzzle will be in pristine condition and the forcing cone will have clean sharp edges.

Run your fingers down the barrel feeling for bulges. Sometimes you can feel a bulge that is not easily seen.

A dirty or lead/copper fouling in the bore, it not necessarily a bad sign but it can hide rust or pitting.


Check the frame for damage: cracks, dimples, & chips. Look in the corners of the top strap. Be on the lookout for indications of high heat, stress, or fractures.


Spin the cylinder (single-action)

Shut or open your cylinder with a flick of the wrist (Hollywood style) on swing-out cylinders

Fan the hammer (single action)


Here is a checklist for inspecting the 1911.

The Slide

Check the end of the slide, the magazine well, and the hammer (or back of the slide if no hammer) for signs of being dropped.

The slide should be inspected. Cracks are a bad sign and will have to be replaced.

Rack the slide to see how smoothly it operates. Any binding or grating indicates repairs needed to facilitate reliability.

Brass marking on the rear of the ejection port? A lot of it means that gun has had a lot of rounds through it. That's something to consider.


Operate and test each safety and/or decocker to make sure it does what it is supposed to do. Levers should move smoothly and go into place without forcing.

Some safeties have intentionally been made inoperable, such as by pinning a grip safety on a model 1911. There is not much, if any, advantage to most shooters in having an inoperable safety. A safety that does not work as designed takes away from the value of a gun.


Cock the hammer both manually and with the operation of the slide. The hammer should click into place with no rubbing against the frame.


Check the trigger pull. Trigger pull can vary widely among semi-autos so it's good to have some experience of how it should feel. Trigger movement is very much an individual preference. Generally, single actions have a little "take-up" and then stop... and then with increased pressure will drop the hammer. Double-actions and double-action-onlys have more staging and require more pressure on the trigger pull.

Feed Ramp

On some semi-autos the feed ramp is attached to the breech-end (back) of the barrel. It functions to guide the cartridge into the chamber at the back of the barrel. when the slide strips the cartridge off the top of the magazine.

On 1911s, the feed ramp is in two parts. Part of the feed ramp is a part of the barrel, but below it is a ramp that is part of the frame of the gun. If the ramp is in two pieces (one - part of the barrel, the other - part of the frame), there should bed a bit of a gap between the two (normally 1/32". Right up against each other is not desirable here.

Look at the feed ramp. The ramp should be free of any abrasions or marks. No grinding marks. No rough edges. It should shine.

The Bore of the Barrel

To check the bore, use a bore-light, a flashlight, or a white piece of paper or cleaning patch to reflect light from one end to the other. It should be clean. If it's not clean the fouling can hide pitting or other problems. If the bore's finish is milky-looking, not mirror-finished, it may be in good condition, and just lacking in a good scrubbing.

The muzzle should be in pristine condition. If not, it can adversely affect the accuracy and effectiveness of the ammunition you shoot. The muzzle is the last part of the gun that has contact with a fired bullet. Figure on having a gunsmith repair the muzzle if it is not in perfect condition on a working gun.

Firing Pin

The way to see if a firing pins works on a semi-auto is to point an unloaded gun up, toward the ceiling, cock it and insert a dowel rod or a pencil down the bore. Press the trigger. If the dowel rod/pencil jumps up, the firing pin hits. On some semi-autos the firing pin hits hard enough to shoot the dowel rod/pencil quite a ways up. It could hit the ceiling. Example here.


I learned a lot while researching this article. I hope it will be of use to others as well.

The watchword is safety. In concert with that, that there are things you can look for that will give you an idea of the condition of a handgun.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year!


Here are a few other articles on handgun inspection.

Buying a Used Handgun

Inspection Guide To Used Guns

Revolver Inspection

How-To Guide For Buying Used Handguns

Colt Revolver Inspection Checklist

Shopping For And Inspecting Used Revolvers

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tidbits - November 29th, 2011

In my newsletter is a section called "Tidbits". It contains snippets, normally available online, of things I feel are of interest. Below are some that I have taken from previous issues. (To subscribe go to my website , and click on "Newsletter Subscription" at the bottom of the page.)

Rob Pincus talks about "Understanding Sight Alignment & Sight Picture in the Context of Defensive Shooting". This is available from:

The Oklahoma City pharmacist Jerome Ersland case is evaluated by Massad Ayoob in the Ayoob Files in the 2012 of American Handgunner. It answers a lot of questions.