Tag Archives: Firearms

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.

Springfield XDs vs M&P Shield

My XDs going to be gone tomorrow. Feels ike the end of an era.
My XDs is gone tomorrow. Feels like the end of an era.

It’s always an exciting day when I get a new firearm. The urge to go out and test it is really the only thing that runs through my mind until I can satisfy it. It’s also a sad day for me today because I’m losing a member of my collection. As I stated in my last post, I am changing my concealed carry setup. When I received my XDs back from the recall the trigger wasn’t the same as before and it had lost one of the qualities that I loved about it. I had been contemplating moving completely to a 9mm anyways (my main carry is a Glock 19). So I put the XDs up for sale. It was easy to sell since I had a bunch of accouterments that I basically threw in for free. This freed up the funds to purchase the 9mm replacement. Luckily I don’t have to hand over the XDs until tomorrow so that gave me the opportunity to do a comparison.

M&P Shield-Photo Credit
M&P Shield-Photo Credit

I decided to go with the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. There are several reasons why. To me the Springfield and the M&P are in the same category. Both are highly reliable, similarly sized, striker fired, quality handguns. You really can’t go wrong with either. What it really boils down to is features. It just so happens that my decision was made on price since I really couldn’t decide. The military discount that Smith and Wesson offers is pretty incredible.

XDs vs. the M&P Shield
XDs (left) vs. the M&P Shield (right). Size is almost identical.

There are several other handguns in this same “class” that were not considered for one reason or the other. The Ruger LC9 has a double action only trigger that I absolutely hate. The post recall XDs is bad enough… The Remmington R51, the new kid on the block, has had some serious quality control issues. I kind of loved the idea of the R51 but after reading more about it I don’t think I could ever buy one. The Beretta Nano is just, well… I don’t like the lack of external controls, but that could be a good thing. I’ve owned Khars and again double action trigger. I’ve never been a fan of Whalter’s. Some people love them, I just, meh. Other contenders were either prohibitively expensive, not a proven brand, or had one of the afore mentioned gripes. This left me with the M&P and the XDs9.

Looking at them both it’s easy to see that they are quality handguns. Most parts, like the slide rails and slide release, are machined rather then stamped (here’s looking at you Glock…). I’ll break it down by what I consider the important categories.

  1. Size-It’s a tie. They are almost Identical.
  2. Aesthetics-I have to give this one to the M&P. The XDs looks like the chunky ugly friend.
  3. Trigger-You can probably guess where the vote goes here. M&P.
  4. Trigger Reset-Tie. Both are audible and tactile without being obnoxious like my Glock.
  5. Safeties-The XDs. Both have trigger safeties but I much prefer the XDs palm safety to the M&P manual safety. I need to see if I can get that thing removed.
  6. Sights-XDs. A front fiber optic sight standard? What? The sights on the M&P are standard three dot. Not bad just nothing to write home about.
  7. Adjustability-XDs. Interchangeable back straps. Luckily the M&P fits my hand quite nicely but it could be a problem for someone with larger hands.
  8. Caliber-XDs. A pocket .45 wins hands down. However, I don’t feel underpowered with the 9mm. Don’t get me started on the M&P in a 40. I’ve shot one and it was one of the worst shooting experiences of my life.
  9. Capacity-Technically a tie since the XDs is also offered in a 9mm and the standard magazines are both 7 rounds. The XDs does offer a 9 rounder but the M&P only offers an 8.
  10. Ease of Takedown-Tie. They both takedown in exactly the same way.
  11. Cost-M&P. With my military discount it was just over $300. The XDs with a military discount is still about $450. Add about $100 to both for consumer prices.
  12. Comfort-M&P. Holding it is just like it’s big brother, which I feel is the most comfortable handgun ever. It has enough grip without being obtuse like the checkering on the XDs. The checkering on the XDs works well but feels a little to aggressive.
XDs left)
XDs (left) M&P (right). Looks like I need to clean off that end plate before I give it away.

I will update this blog when I get it out to the range. I’ve shot one before and loved it and I don’t feel like that it going to change. It’s unfortunate I won’t be able to do a side by side shooting. I don’t feel like this would be an accurate representation since the calibers are so different. What I would like to see, however, is how much the slightly higher bore axis effects the Shield.

Did I miss anything? Please feel free to email or comment.

Primary Arms 1-6X ACSS 7.62X39/300AAC Scope Review Part One

This is my first product review so bear with me. This review is going to be an initial unboxing review a full range report will come later. I had been drooling over the ACSS for some time. It essentially had everything I wanted in a scope for my 300 Blackout. I wanted a 1-4 or 1-6 power illuminated scope that had bullet drop compensating and range estimating. Oh yeah, I didn’t want to pay a lot for it either. That narrows the field down quite a bit. Essentially narrowed it to the Primary Arms. The only problem? It was never in stock.

It was an exciting day I got the email that the Primary Arms 1-6X ACSS 300AAC scope was in stock. I had been waiting for a while. Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Primary Arms. I have several of their scopes, red dots and flashlights. I hate paying big money for scopes. It’s funny because dropping cash on a firearm is no big deal to me but when it comes time to put a scope on it my wallet gets a little tight. That’s where Primary Arms comes in.

ACSS 300AAC box and scope mounted in a basic Primary Arms mount.
ACSS 300AAC box and scope mounted in a basic Primary Arms mount.

So I placed the order on a monday morning. I got an email that afternoon saying that it had shipped. Not that a ticket was created like some companies. It was on it’s way. I couldn’t believe it. Two days later it arrived. My first impressions? This thing is nice. It’s also a lot smaller than I had thought it was going to be. I have the 1-4 illuminated scope and the ACSS is tiny by comparison. Usually when scopes have higher magnification they get bigger, not the other way around. It also feels like it weighs half as much.

Primary Arms 1-4X on top 1-6X ACSS on bottom
Primary Arms 1-4X on top 1-6X ACSS on bottom both mounted in basic Primary Arms mounts

Something that jumps out at me right off the bat; the illumination turret, while a little tight, is awesome. The scope has six illumination settings. Level one would be great for low light or dusk. Level three is bright enough to make out during full light. Level six is just plain bright. The best part about the turret? It has off settings between every level of brightness. The 1-4X scope has 11 settings but if I’m at level five I have to turn it all the way to zero. On the 1-6X all I have to do is switch it one. It’s a nice touch.

The Pros:

ACSS mounted on my 300 Blackout
ACSS mounted on my 300 Blackout

The scope is exactly what I have come to expect from Primary Arms. Fit and finish are excellent. The glass is clear. The turrets have positive tactile and audible clicks when adjusting. Eye relief is right in the sweet spot. The best part about the ACSS is of course the reticle. At six power it lets me range and bullet drop compensate all in one. It even has wind and lead adjustments. Some extra benefits are the fact that it’s so small, especially for a 1-6X, and the off stops in the illumination turret.

The Cons:

ACSS Reticle
ACSS Reticle-Photo Credit

Of course there has to be some things lacking with a $250 scope. However, with this scope they are probably more like gripes until I get it out onto the range. I would have preferred that it be first focal plane so that the compensation and ranging worked at any magnification. Second, the 1X is not a true one power. There is a little parallax but thanks to the brightness of the reticle I feel like this isn’t going to be an issue shooting both eyes open. I would also prefer that the adjustments be 1/4 MOA instead of 1/2 MOA but I’m sure 1/2 will be fine. Lastly the reticle seems a bit small. What I mean is that when looking through the scope, there’s so much empty space and that sweet reticle looks like a tiny dot in the middle. I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing yet. I’ll have to get it out and shoot it to see.

Overall I’m really happy with the scope. I usually hate reading reviews on Primary Arm’s products because the author usually ends up with some comparison to a high end optic and them saying that they would never put it on a serious weapon. I’m here to tell you I’ve beat the snot out of my micro dot and it has help up just as well as my other high end optics. Primary Arms offers a lot of scope for the money. If you’re in the market I would highly recommend them.

Check back in a while for part two and the range report.

How to Choose a Reloading Press

There comes a point in every shooter’s life where they contemplate reloading. Whether it’s at the store buying $30 boxes of rifle rounds (like me) and you know someone who loads the same round for cheaper. Or it’s when you’re at the store and Obama has just been on the news talking about gun control and there simply isn’t any ammunition to buy. It may be when you’re at the range with your friend and his groups are half the size of yours and he’s gloating about it (like my friends :P). I’m not an experienced reloader by any means, but I’m not inexperienced either. I get asked quite often what equipment to buy when first starting out in the wonderful world of reloading. There are a couple of things to consider.

The first question you need to ask yourself is: why are you reloading in the first place? Are you trying to save money? Do you want better accuracy? Are you looking to stockpile components in case there is another ammunition shortage? Other questions you need to ask yourself have to do with budget and time. How much equipment can you afford? How much time do you have to invest in reloading? The answers to these questions will determine what equipment you should buy.

There are a couple basic items you’ll need to begin reloading. The first is the press. This is where most of your budget will be allotted for equipment. The most basic type is a single stage press. The Lee Classic was my first press.

Lee Single Stage Press
Lee Single Stage Press-Photo Credit

It’s very simple to use and very cost effective. The downside to the single stage press is that it is slow. This press is best for someone looking to save money and doesn’t care about the time investment. A single stage press is also preferable for me when I am loading highly accurate rifle rounds. I feel like I have better control over the process than with the other types of presses. This is not for those of you looking to do volume. Forget about reloading pistol rounds. Just go buy them.

The next type of press is a turret press. The benefit of a turret press is that the top of it rotates so that every time you pull the lever it rotates a new die into place. This replaces having to change the dies for each stage of the process.

RCBS Turret Press-Photo Credit
RCBS Turret Press-Photo Credit

The number of stations you have, the number of pulls it takes to reload a complete cartridge. This speeds up the process immensely. Pull the lever it sizes the die. Pull it again and it dispenses the powder. Pull it again and it seats the bullet. The downside is of course cost. A turret press costs more than a single stage but can be a happy medium for those looking to save money and reload in volume. A good turret press won’t break the bank.

You can even buy accouterments for a turret press like automatic powder dispensers and bullet feeders to speed up the process. You can still have the feel and control of the single stage but can produce significantly more. Everything you automate though will include a margin for error. That automatic powder dispenser isn’t going to be as accurate as you hand weighing charges.

The big daddy of presses is a progressive. This is for the volume shooter. The difference with a progressive press is that it holds all of the dies for the process but when you pull the lever it moves the cases around to each station. So every pull of the lever completes a cartridge. Watch a video of how a progressive press works:

Dillon 550 Progressive Press-Photo Credit
Dillon 550 Progressive Press-Photo Credit

The downside of a good progressive press? You guessed it, again it’s cost. The Dillon 550 seen here will set you back $440 before any of the additions to make it truly fast like the trays and the powder thrower. It takes a lot of reloading to recoup that kind of costs. Typically with a progressive you’re going to be reloading something like pistol rounds in volume where the costs savings isn’t very much, on the order of about 10-20 cents a round. For the average shooter I don’t recommend something like this. If you’re looking to get into a progressive without tons of dough, Lee offers a value priced progressive press. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the quality of the press but for the price it could be worth it.

I’ve had my share of experiences with all three types of presses. For my needs I currently use a turret press. I feel like I still have control over the quality of the ammunition but I can certainly pump out some volume when I need to. Reloading 9mm isn’t a chore like it is on a single stage, but there’s times I definitely dream of that Dillon. If you need any tips or advice, or have any tips or advice please feel free to contact me. I’m always looking for a trick or two.

Gun Control-Do it for the children

I hear it all the time. Gun control. If it can save the life of one child we should do it. I’m going to ignore the basic repugnance of trampling the rights of millions of Americans “in order to save the life of one child” and take people that say this as if they truly mean it. Let’s talk about saving children’s lives.

If you’ve ever said this in reference to the Second Amendment and meant it or done something about it, your life must be exhausting. I mean if you’re advocating for the loss of rights for millions in order to save the life of a child due to firearms you must spend at least that much time on other causes of deaths for children that are greater right? All those moms demanding action for gun control couldn’t just be against guns right? They’re really in it to save the children, right?

Mom's Demand Action Poster Redone-Photo Credit
Mom’s Demand Action Poster Redone-Photo Credit

I’m going to ignore all of the “natural” causes of death like SIDS (2,063) or Malignant Neoplasms (1,262). In 2010 there were 369 child deaths ages 1-14 due to firearms according to the CDC. There were 3,037 accidental deaths. Even if you assume that all 369 firearm deaths were included in this, there are still 2,299 other preventable child deaths. 390 children ages 1-14 died of drowning in 2010.

Where are all the moms that demand water safety in america? Where are the mayors against illegal swimming pools? Where are the lawsuits against swimming pool manufacturers? When is the president going to speak out against drowning deaths? When is Congress going to pass legislation outlawing swimming?

This isn’t about “saving one child’s life.” If you’re not out there championing against swimming pools and you’ve used the phrase “if it saves just one child’s life” you’re a hypocrite of the worst kind. Children are being used as pawns, the great red herring in an effort to trample your rights. Come out and say it. Don’t hide behind them with your emotional pleas. Tell us what you really want. At least then I can respect you. At a minimum let’s have an honest conversation. Fell free to leave a comment if you want to have one.

How to pick a carry gun

I get asked all the time what is the perfect concealed carry firearm. I give the same response all the time. Pick the biggest gun that you will carry. Not can carry, will carry. People always want to talk about calibers for stopping power, size of the hand, carry location, etc. While all of this is important, I find that all of those factors are for nothing if it’s at home in the safe. My list of importance in characteristics in a carry gun are as follows:

  1. Carry the biggest gun you will – If you won’t then don’t get it
  2. Carry the biggest gun you can – You still have to be able to conceal it
  3. Reliability – Preferably a modern striker fired polymer pistol
  4. Shootablilty – Usually this means a controllable caliber (The reason why I don’t recommend a .40 S&W which will probably be the subject of another blog post)
  5. Capacity – Carry the most rounds that you will and can

I would love to carry my Springfield XD45. To me it’s the perfect handgun for everything besides concealed carry. It’s perfectly reliable, extremely accurate, holds a good number of rounds in an excellent, proven caliber and I shoot it better than any other pistol I own, but I would never carry it. It’s just too big. I’ve tried, and I dreaded putting the thing on in the morning. I contemplated taking it off halfway through the day because it was just way to uncomfortable and heavy. I also felt like everyone could tell that I was carrying around 3 pounds of metal and plastic.

I had the realization that I would never carry that gun again. So I got a smaller gun. I went too small. I got a Taurus .380ACP. I hated it and promptly sold it. Sure I could conceal it well and I didn’t mind carrying it, but it was horrible to shoot. I never wanted to practice with it and couldn’t really hit anything with it. This more than anything forced me to sit down and really evaluate what was important to me in a carry gun.

First and foremost you shouldn’t hesitate to want to carry it. If it’s too heavy and you leave it at home then get a smaller gun. Like the old saying goes,”A .22 in the pocket is better than a .45 at home.” While I don’t advocate for carrying a .22, if it came down to that and nothing I would take the .22 everyday. I’ll break down a couple of my carry guns and why I chose them.

Glock 19 Gen 4:

To me the Glock 19 is the perfect carry gun. I’m not the only one that thinks so. It’s small enough to conceal but big enough to fight with. It holds 15 rounds of 9mm and is smaller than similar capacity pistols . I can carry it all day. Glock’s are infamous for reliability. I love to shoot it and it’s extremely accurate. I cannot say enough good things about the Glock 19. While this is the perfect carry pistol for me, my wife would never be able to get away with carrying it nor would she want to.

Springfield XDs45:

While the Glock is definitely a gun that I will carry it’s not always a gun I can carry. When those cases arise I turn to my XDs. The XDs is a single stack pistol which makes it extremely thin. It’s comfortable to carry and disappears under my clothes. It has become very popular as a concealed carry gun. I purchased the XDs45 before Springfield came out with the same in 9mm. The 9mm would add two more rounds. I may be switching sometime down the road to the XDs9 when they come down a little in price.

The Springfield does come with a heftier price tag that other firearms in this size range. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend pistols like the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield or the Ruger LC9. Both are great guns and are reliable but have features that I do not care for such as external safeties and double action hammers. Merely a preference and in no way am I speaking ill of them. I’ve shot both and the Shield in 9mm is an excellent shooter.

Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380:

There are times when I am unable to carry even the XDs or I just want a deeper level of concealment. It’s those times I turn to the Bodyguard .380. I have a love/hate relationship with this pistol. It has all of the features that I said I didn’t like about the LC9, like an external safety and a double action hammer. It even has a worthless built in laser that I don’t like. However, for some reason it just shoots right. It doesn’t feel like a toy in my hands like most .380s.

Because it so small I can carry it when I am dressed in more formal attire or performing an activity. I like to take this with me when the family goes on a bike ride or to the park. With the Bodyguard I don’t run the risk of flashing it to all of the other parents at the park while I’m chasing my kid on the equipment. I would like to avoid that as much as possible.

Some of my pistols. Top left is the Springfield XD45. Top right Glock 19 Gen4. Bottom right Springfield XDs45 and on the bottom left is the Bodyguard 380.
Some of my pistols. Top left is the Springfield XD45. Top right Glock 19 Gen4. Bottom right Springfield XDs45 and on the bottom left is the Bodyguard 380.

As always no matter what pistol you chose always carry effective modern defensive ammunition. If you have any questions or would like to discuss my choices please feel free to email me or contact me on twitter.