All posts by schmittychris

The Gun Transcends Politics

Mr Colion Noir himself. Urban gun enthusiast -Photo Credit
Mr Colion Noir himself. Urban gun enthusiast –Photo Credit

One of my favorite commentators on Youtube is Mr. Colion Noir. Most of his stuff rings true with me. I’m also extremely jealous of the weapons he gets to shoot. I was excited when he became a commentator for NRA news. The first video of his that I watched was this one. I remember thinking, “wow this guy has his shit together.” He has a litany of videos dispelling gun myths and hysteria in a way that is both objective and non partisan. He’s also apparently got a ton of hats. Seriously dude who are you a fan of? I count at least seven different baseball team hats. You can’t like both the Red Sox and the Yankees. Anyways, for me his latest video hit the closest to home:

I have one issue with the video in that I don’t really think people are pro-gun. I’m actually quite anti-gun. I mean, I wish they didn’t have to exist. I’m pro self defense. I’m pro liberty. I’m pro freedom. It just so happens that the gun is the tool that protects. The tool that defeats tyranny and ensures freedom. I don’t think that people are against those things; we just have different ideas on how to accomplish it.

It always disturbs me when people try to put me in a box because of my defense of the Second Amendment. I’ve said before that I’m fairly moderate and not religious. However, when I rebuff people’s arguments for gun control all of a sudden I’m a privileged, racist white male. I’m a religious right wing fanatic. Oh, you didn’t think that when when I was arguing on your side in support of gay marriage. Now I’ve come out against the gun control statists and I’m  bad guy. I get it. The strawman argument.

I hate being placed in a political box. I don’t think either side has it entirely right. I think both sides happen to get a couple of things right and a lot of things wrong. I’m all for freedom. As one of my friends on the radio always says, “I don’t care if you think you’re a liberal. I don’t care if you think you’re a conservative. All I care about is that you think.” Think for yourselves people. Don’t let any ultra-anything tell you how you should believe. Get out. Do the research. Especially if someone is advocating for the loss of rights for a hundred million people.


Buying Ammo from Local Companies

Do you buy ammo from local manufacturers? I go back and forth on this. Usually the local companies are cheaper. They are usually small time shops that have little overhead. Sometimes it may even be ran out of someones garage. There’s a local company here in Reno that reloads once fired brass. They run about $250/1000 on 9mm, which is pretty cheap. I’ve never had a problem with any of their ammo. It’s good for training. On the plus side I also get to support a local business. If they sold all calibers of ammo I would probably buy more from them.

On the flip side the large manufacturers have a reputation. They may be more expensive, but since they are a large company and generally produce millions, if not billions of rounds per year, the likelihood of getting a bad round is pretty small. If you buy some rounds from a large company (read reputable) and the round happens to blow up your rifle, you can probably get compensated for it pretty easily. I’m guessing the last thing they want is a lawsuit. It may be tougher for a small company since paying for a rifle that their ammunition broke may mean not putting food on the table.

So I recently branched out and bought some ammo from another local company. I was on armslist, like I am almost every day, and saw and ad for 300 AAC Blackout. It was relatively inexpensive (for 300BLK) after my military discount so I decided to order some. The ad said that if you lived in the local northern Nevada area you could pick it up form their shop. So I decided to place the order for 200 rounds and pick it up. Well after placing the order it turns out that they are not local but almost 75 miles away. So I then decided to have it delivered. They woman informed me that their “delivery” service would be cheaper than Fedex and cost $20. Delivery service it is. Well, there was a miscommunication as the whether or not I wanted it delivered on a certain day so they delivery got botched (turns out the “delivery service” was just the guy’s wife and the “miscommunication” was them saying they didn’t get and email which they responded to). Finally got the ammo and all looked good. Couldn’t wait to go shoot some.

That’s where things went from mildly annoying to disappointing. Upon closer inspection of the rounds it looked like the bullets were not seated correctly and copper was being shaved off the sides when seating. Not that  big of a deal, but it’s something I did when I first started to reload. I was let down to say the least, but they were practice/fun ammo so I wasn’t too worried. That’s when things got dangerous. I loaded five in a magazine and loaded it in my AR. When I let the bolt free the round didn’t chamber. It was stuck. I was able to free and eject the round and noticed that the bullet was pushed into the case. So I tried another. Same thing. I tried the forward assist and the round fully chambered and fired, but the next round was the same thing.

The local company's round on the left mine on the right. You can see that the case length to neck is off.
The local company’s round on the left mine on the right. You can see that the case length to neck is off.

After comparing them to my own handloads it looked like the case sizing was off. I had fired lots of factory and handloads so I didn’t think it was my equipment. I was furious. I had to wait a day to send the email so I could cool down. Not only did I get an inferior product but I could have been really hurt. After I fired off the email, I got a response saying that they were “looking into their stock.” Whatever that meant. A week later I got a call from them. Long story, special needs kid playing around and had messed up the dies. Now I feel bad. I shouldn’t but it’s something like this that could end their business. Who lets a special needs kid play around in an ammunition plant? I know Hornady doesn’t do that. Now another week later I am still waiting for them to come pick up the bad rounds. Apparently they’re going to make me some new ones but they both got sick. I know companies like Remmington and Hornady could still make this work if someone went home sick. I wouldn’t have to wait for new ones to be made and I would probably get more than just the rounds I ordered.

I’m probably not going to order from this company again. The rounds weren’t cheap enough to have to deal with all of this stuff. Have you had any experiences like this? What’s your local ammo source like? Feel free to comment or email.



Where’s all the Ammo? Look in the Mirror…

It’s been all over the gun websites lately, “US Postal Service is hoarding all the ammo!” I have been sent emails with links to the Newsmax story about it with notes like, “can you believe this?” Quite frankly, what I can’t believe is how little ammunition the government is buying. If you do the math on the quantities of ammunition purchased it generally works out to a little under 1,000 rounds per officer per year. That’s a fun weekend for me.

A beautiful pile of ammo... -Photo Credit
A beautiful pile of ammo… –Photo Credit

The Postal Service came out today stating that it is not hoarding ammo. Believe what you want to, but they do have an inspection service that carries weapons and thus requires training. What really concerns me is how little training these professional agencies are performing. According to the Newsmax article, the Department of Agriculture recently purchased 320,000 rounds. Seems like a lot right? However, if they have more than 320 officers that require training I’m a little concerned that they didn’t order enough. I know it’s not what you want to hear. A government conspiracy to hoard all of the ammo and thus creating “back door gun control” is a lot sexier.

So who’s to blame? Well if you’re like me and you currently have more ammo now than before Sandy Hook you’re to blame. You’re the one that’s hoarding. I know I’m to blame. My stocks have gone up as I vow to never be caught with my pants down again. It’s a shame but it’s true. If you couple this with the fact that there are some 15 million new gun owners, all of which want to go shooting, it’s easy to see where all the ammo is going. So I’m going to stop hoarding ammo. I hope that you will too. I look forward to the day when we can go buy a brick of 22LR right before going shooting instead of scouring the internet for it and paying outlandish prices.

My Top Three Budget Handguns

I get asked all the time for handgun recommendations. Usually the questions come from people that have no idea what they want or need. They want a gun that can do it all. The home defense, carry, apocalypse, freedom handgun that shoots magical bad buy incapacitating non-lethal bullets. So I give some advice, some of which has been previously shared on this blog. Then the real question comes, “How much do those cost.” My usual retort of, “How much is your life worth?” seems rather off-putting  so I’ve decided to come up with a list of budget handguns that I would recommend. These are three handguns that I have had experience with and would have no problems using in a defensive situation.

In order to make the cut the handgun has to be reliable, backed by and established company with a good warranty, be able to fill many roles and be under $400. These are handguns that I have owned but for one reason or another just haven’t liked. My budget allows me to be able to afford things that I also “like” to shoot rather than just a defensive tool. Again this is MY budget handgun list based upon pistols that I have owned and I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone looking for an inexpensive quality handgun.

3. Kel Tec P-11

Kel Tec P-11-Photo Credit
Kel Tec P-11-Photo Credit

Kel Tec is an interesting firearms company. They make reasonably priced firearms that aren’t like anything else on the market. Usually when a company is making budget firearms they are copying old designs. Not so with Kel Tec. I owned a P-11 when I was first starting to get into firearm ownership. At the time I was, like most early firearm owners, mostly concerned about budget. I was happy with the P-11 during the time I owned it. I cannot recall having any trouble with it. What I do remember is not being able to hit anything with it because I didn’t want to take the time to truly learn the double action trigger. I had just purchased my first 1911. At the time I was going to be a 1911 fanatic for life and the P-11 couldn’t go fast enough. See Kel Tec’s website for details. The P-11 ends up at #3 because of the lack of capacity. It would make a great carry gun, but in another defense scenario I think there are better options with higher round counts.

2. Sig Sauer SP2022

Sig Sauer SP2022-Photo Credit
Sig Sauer SP2022-Photo Credit

Normally there is no way that this handgun would make the budget list and I’m sure that if you have had any experience with Sigs you’re wondering how it’s on this list for less than $400. Well, Palmetto State Armory has it on sale right now for $390 and it comes in stainless with night sights and a holster. Normally a $700 handgun. Crazy. I know.

I actually owned the predecessor for the SP2022, the P2340. This was during my 40 S&W days. It was a great shooter. I preferred the SA/DA trigger to DA only. I remember trying to make this handgun malfunction and was unable to. I’m talking dirt in the magazines. Not cleaning it for 1000’s of rounds. Limp wristing. It just ate everything. Sig has a reputation for reliability, one that they’ve earned, and the P2340 lived up to that reputation. I’m confident that the SP2022 will as well. Get it in 9mm though. The SP2022 tips the scales a little high for carry use. It holds 15+1, so capacity is there. I’m just not a fan of the SA/DA trigger. I feel like if this were my only handgun it would be lacking.

1. Smith and Wesson SD9VE

My Top Budget Handgun the S&W SD9VE-Photo Credit
My Top Budget Handgun the S&W SD9VE-Photo Credit

I know some are going to scoff at the fact that I placed this ahead of the Sig. This was a handgun that I almost kept. The only reason I sold it was because I didn’t have a role for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love collecting firearms but usually handguns have to have a role, a purpose, to be in my collection. I just couldn’t imagine a scenario where I would chose it over another. My ownership of the SD9VE was recent. I purchased it form a friend that was upgrading to a higher quality handgun (a S&W M&P actually). MSRP for it is $389 and he sold it to me for $300. I wanted to hate it in all of it’s cheap stamped metal, polymer sights glory. I just couldn’t. It ate crappy Russian steel cased ammo like it needed it.

The only fault I could find with the SD9VE was the trigger. Mine broke at a whopping 11lbs. It was gritty like cheap airport toilet paper. It was by far the worst trigger I have ever shot. I was contemplating putting an Apex kit in it but I had to talk myself out of it. I couldn’t keep it. It would just sit in the safe and I would never use it. So I sold it to someone that needed it more than me. The SD9VE hits all of my major requirements for a defensive handgun. It’s striker fired, polymer, light weight, and high capacity. It will fill any role for a handgun, I would just recommend smoothing out that trigger.

Honorable Mention: Ruger P95/85

No longer in production but can be had for a great price. All of the things I don’t like about a defensive handgun. SA/DA, external safety,  crappy trigger, tiny mag release, too big in my hands, etc… Not to mention it’s ugly as sin, but it always worked. You could do much worse for a handgun.

Did I swing and miss on any of these? Let me know! Leave a comment or send me an email. I would love to hear of your budget handguns.

The M&P Shield Post Range Report

I finally had the opportunity to take the little Shield out to the range. I have to say I’m quite impressed. Unfortunately the pictures that I took didn’t turn out too well, but I’ll attempt this blog anyways. I’ve already talked about the Shield in unboxing and a comparison to the Springfield XDs-45 here.

Like all M&Ps it just feels right in my hand. The texturing is enough to be able to handle the recoil but not too aggressive to become painful like when shooting the XD-s. Recoil is minimal despite it size. I thought that the high bore axis might lead to some squirlyness, but it handled quite well. Double taps and rapid fire were easy to keep in good groups for defensive purposes. At longer ranges the Shield is adequately accurate. With factory reloads I was able to produce a nice 5″ group offhand.

My new carry gun and ammo. M&P Shield and Federal HST
My new carry gun and ammo. M&P Shield and Federal HST

I am happy to report that reliability was 100% as expected. It ran about 100 FMJs to warm it up and then tried a couple of defensive rounds. On hand I had some Hornady Critical Defense 115gr, Federal HdraShocks 124gr, Federal HST 124gr, Ranger T-Series 147gr and Fiocchi 115gr hollow points, all of which ran flawless. I will probably be carrying the HSTs. I am also happy to report that the safety wasn’t an issue and I don’t think it will be.

One of the pleasures of shooting the M&P is the trigger. It’s like getting my XDs-45 all over again. The trigger breaks at a good weight, just over 6 lbs. It is smooth and unlike my full size M&P has a great reset. For such a little gun it’s a pleasure to shoot. My only gripe right now is the lack of availability of magazines. It looks like I’m going to have to spend some time this weekend making a holster for it.

For a review of the Shield that is better than anything I could come up with watch this. Man can that old guy shoot. I can only hope to spend my retirement days reviewing firearms at my private range… I digress, please feel free to comment if you have any questions on the Shield.

Women and Guns-Rising Ownership

I read an article recently that states that firearm ownership among women is up. Way up. Good. I am of the opinion that women need them more than men. In a world without firearms, might makes right. However, in a world with firearms, the disparity of force is equalized. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go anywhere I can without one, but I feel like it’s far more important for my wife to carry one than me. Statistically, she’s far more likely to get attacked. Criminals prey on people they perceive as weaker. They always have and they always will. It is this demographic that gets hurt the most by gun control.

Maybe we would have less crime if we had more little old ladies like this! - Photo Credit
Maybe we would have less crime if we had more little old ladies like this! – Photo Credit

It’s unfortunate that more women don’t consider firearm training. It’s really the only thing that can tip the scales in a woman’s favor. I’m not a huge guy, but in a fight with a woman I’m going to get the best a majority of the time simply because of the strength advantage. Martial arts training can come into play, but even then strength can overcome. So why don’t more women train and carry firearms? To me, there’s nothing more empowering for women. I think if more feminists  realized this there wouldn’t be such a stigma.

This should be the last thing every rapist sees - Photo Credit
This should be the last thing every rapist sees – Photo Credit

My guess is that the issue with firearms and women is maternal instincts. Psychology today has some ideas. I imagine being the sex that brings life into this world that it would be tough to consider taking one out of it. When we first started to explore firearm training with my wife, naturally, she was uncomfortable with the thought of taking a life. She had a revolver and our work around was to put snake shot in the first chamber. Her logic was that she would have no problem pulling the trigger with the snake shot to scare and wound. If after that her attacker was still threatening she would know that it was indeed a real threat and would have no problem thereafter.

I know this wasn’t the best scenario, but for me it was better than nothing. After some serious training this is no longer a practice of hers, but it was a way to ease her into the thought of possibly having to take another life in defense of her’s or our child’s, or for that matter mine. I think more women are starting to see how it’s up to them to defend themselves. Some may choose martial arts. Some may choose spray other non lethal methods. However, many are choosing the gun. We need less victims in this world.

Do you have any idea why less women chose armed self defense then men? Let me know your ideas. Send me an email or comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Gun Jargon and Why It’s Important

I find myself repeatedly correcting my fellow Second Amendment advocates. “It’s a magazine not a clip.” “It’s not an assault rifle.” “The AR-15 is not a “high powered rifle.” Usually they just shine me on and laugh. Some use the terms on purpose around me to elicit a response. It’s important for us as 2A defenders to use the correct terms and here’s why; how can you defend something you don’t know anything about? I mean, I know you like your guns and you make statements that you’ll die before you let someone take them, but you sound like an idiot. You’re doing more harm by using the wrong terms and making stupid statements like that.

Photo Credit
This guy should be in jail-Photo Credit

Worse than not knowing what a clip or what an assault rifle is is using the anti-gun terminology. If you’ve ever said “gun show loophole” or “assault weapon” you’re letting the anti-gunners control the conversation. There is no such thing as “the gun show loophole.” It’s a device used by anti-gunners to make people think that some trick is being played that lets people get away with buying a firearm without a background check. It’s called a private party sale, and is legal in most states without a background check. When you use terms like this you are in fact supporting their argument. I know that’s not what you’re trying to do.

The last reason why the jargon is important is; that’s how I win arguments against anti-gunners. When they use the wrong terminology I point out that they don’t know what they’re talking about. How could someone advocate for the loss of rights for almost 100 million people without knowing the subject? It’s irresponsible at best and willful ignorance at worst. The flip side of this is true as well. How can you defend your rights, which people see as something bad, without truly knowing the subject? What’s your basis?

Clip vs. Magazine. Get It?-Photo Credit
Clip vs. Magazine. Get It?-Photo Credit

Let’s take back the conversation. We do this by using the right jargon, the correct terminology. Don’t laugh at people when they correct you and try your best to not undermine the work that is being done to protect your rights.  Above all, stop saying clip when you mean a magazine. Seriously just stop it. If you’re trying to shorten it to sound cool say mag. Please.