Thursday, December 31, 2009

Aussie rocker Steve Lee sings "I Like Guns!" and I do too

I have no clue who Steve Lee is, presumably an Aussie musician, but he's got a serious case of gun-nut fever. I do too, of course, so sit back and enjoy the music and the boom, boom, boom...

Wish I could get me a few of his serious goodies, like those RPGs, grenade launchers, machine guns, and he's even got a 105mm recoil-less cannon. (H/T to my gun-nut buddy Steve Sheffield)

Amazing but true discoverery: I'm a .45 and .44 kinda guy

A funny/strange not funny ha-ha thing happened while I was in Pittsburgh for Christmas.

I went to an indoor range with some shooting buddies up there and the range rules forbid shooting at targets any closer than 25 yards, which meant running the targets all the way to the backstop.

I normally vary my distances, but mostly shoot from 7 to about 15 yards, only occasionally shooting longer distances with handguns.

So anyway, I took the Para Ord P12-45 along to show off to my Pittsburgh buddies and after they tried it out, I shot a magazine of 12 at a full-size-man silhouette target at 25 yards. All were in the black, but a few strayed out of center mass. Even though I was trying to slow down and shoot a good group to show off to my buddies, I still hurried a few shots.

That P12 trigger is so sweet it's hard to shoot slow.

Then I loaded up my Charter Bulldog Pug with 5 .44 Special Cowboy loads and shot them double-action at the same target.

You couldn't tell the .45 holes from the .44 holes, but lo and behold, there were no new holes out of center mass. Obviously, I shot all five in the "kill zone" even shooting double-action.

It certainly increased my confidence in carrying the Bulldog .44, which I did in a shoulder harness for the trip up and back, as well as my usual Kel-Tec PF-9 in my pants pocket.

And though I still love my other carry handguns, 9mm, .357 Sig and 10mm pistols and .327 Magnum, .357 Magnum/.38 Special and .44 Magnum revolvers, I got a sneaking suspicion I'm gonna be carrying the P12-45 and the Bulldog .44 as the two leaders of the pack.

I guess I knew all along I'm a .45 and .44 kinda guy, but to find I shoot those two favorite calibers as well and perhaps even better than the others certainly supports my preferences.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gun Trivia Question: World's first polymer DAO striker pistol?

Working at home today listing guns on gunbroker so the sweet wife and I can leave as planned next week on our Christmas trip to Pittsburgh.

Gun Trivia Question of the Day: What is the world's first 9mm production pistol that is striker-fired, double-action-only with a plastic frame?

Glock 17? Steyr GB? Nope to both.

It's the HK VP 70Z, also IMHO the world's ugliest pistol.

I have also heard it has the world's worst DAO trigger. I haven't tried every DAO trigger on the planet, but I tried this one and it's pretty bad. Matter of fact, it's pretty awful. It might be that "first" also.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Combat Handguns accepts my article about armed robbery attempt

It's my blog, so I can repost an earlier post if I want to. And I do. I just found out my submission to Combat Handguns magazine's first-person feature series It Happened To Me has been accepted and will appear in the March 2010 issue.

After 30-some years of having my news and feature stories and photos being published in newspapers during my journalism career, you'd think I wouldn't get excited about getting published any more. But I still do. Here's the article I submitted to Combat Handguns.

The incident didn't really happen to me, but it did happen to Billy and Dorothy, second and third from left in the photo above, along with the rest of the gun shop crew. At left is Wes, Jennifer and Jonathan are in the center and that's me at the far right (both politically and geographically).
Sticking up a cop bar or a gun store has got to be two of the worst armed-robbery selection choices any hoodlums could make because it's certain both places will have armed people who will not be willing victims. But believe it or else, there are at least two hoodlums dumb enough to try to rob a gun store.

It happened recently at the gun store where I work when the senior two of the family of shop owners, Billy and Dorothy, were there alone one Saturday night about 9 p.m.

Billy learned the hard way several years ago the important lesson about always being aware of what's going on around you. An armed robber got the drop on him and held him and Dorothy at gunpoint, at one point forcing them into the trunk of a car. Billy and Dorothy survived that event and Billy has said since that no one will ever "get the drop" on him with a gun again. He said he used to think a .38 in his back pocket was sufficient but has since upgraded to a Glock .40S&W.

The gun store had been closed this recent Saturday as the crew was working at a gun show. Billy and Dorothy returned to the shop after the gun show closed to load up some extra guns to take back to the gun show for the next day. Billy was unlocking and locking the door as he loaded boxes of guns in the back of his truck. The store was obviously closed at 9 p.m., but two hoodlums tried to barge in anyway.

As he went in and out of the door, locking it each time, Billy said he had noticed two males sitting on the hood of a car in a parking lot on the other side of the highway from the shop, watching him. Then as he put some more guns in the truck, he spotted them sprinting across the highway, circling behind his truck where they thought he wouldn't see them, heading for the door. He quickly went back inside but decided he didn't want to be caught fumbling with the keys as they arrived, so he left the door unlocked and retreated inside while drawing his Glock and turning to face the door. The two hoodlums opened the door and came in with the one in front not showing a gun, his hands raised in the air as he saw Billy with his Glock.

Our video surveillance system, which we played back the next day, showed the hoodlum behind the one in front started pulling his shirt front up and starting to draw a pistol from his waistband while hidden behind the one who came in first with empty hands raised. But the second hoodlum suddenly froze in mid-draw when Billy greeted the two with his Glock .40 and a few choice words. They suddenly decided they had urgent business elsewhere. They turned around quickly and left even faster than they arrived.

We told law enforcement about the incident the next day and provided them with a video recording of the attempted robbery. Law enforcement identified the pair as two local hoodlums, 18 and 19, who were out on bail after being charged with a home-invasion robbery in a nearby community. When we got a copy of the local newspaper with the pair's mug shots, Billy identified the two also. As I write this, the two have yet to come to trial for the home-invasion robbery and are still free.

Since that incident, Billy has upgraded his Glock .40 with a Crimson Trace Lasergrip and all of us who work at the gun store never work without being armed, some of us wearing a backup handgun as well as a main carry. Even Dorothy, who hasn't been armed before, has been practicing with a Crimson Trace .38. And we're all a lot more vigilant than we were before.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

.44 Special Hollow-Point Testing: Speer Gold Dots the clear winner

There's a big problem with carry handguns with fixed sights. If you can't adjust the sights, you have to find an ammo combination that fits the sights.

It helps if you know what the manufacturer had in mind when the fixed sights were set up at the factory and in the case of common cartridge/pistol combinations, it's easy. For instance, Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolvers, particularly the older ones like the Model 10, are set up at the factory for 158-grain lead roundnose bullets.

I had that point illustrated quite well at a recent N.C. Concealed Handgun Permit class. One of my students was using a S&W 10 .38 Special, the original Military & Police model, and when he started firing the first set at 3 yards, I told the students to aim for a head shot, right between the bad-guy-target's hairy eyeballs.

I figure if they can't make a head shot at 3 yards, there's not much point in asking them to do it at the increasing distances for the qualification firing, 5, 7 and 10 yards.

So this guy starts firing away at the target and I hear this loud clanging noise and sparks start flying. We stop the shooting and take a look and his rounds are hitting the target clamp a few inches above the BG's head.

Thank God the clamp was heavy duty at the local National Guard Armory range because no damage was done.

But I dug into my range bag and came up with a box of .38 Special 158-grain LRNs to give the guy and immediately he started drilling holes right between the BG's hairy eyeballs.

In the first outing with my new-to-me Charter 2000 Bulldog Pug .44 Special snubby, (top photo and at top in 2nd photo) I discovered the good folks at Charter set up the iron sights for full-house-load 240-grain bullets.

I had a box of Cowboy Load 240-gr. ammo which is certainly no wimp at 760 FPS, classic numbers for .45 ACP .230-gr. FMJs.

But the Charter's iron sights placed the Cowboy Loads about 2-3" low on the target. Then I tried some full-house-load 240 gr. SWCs and they were exactly what the iron sights liked, right on the bull.

So the next step in using the Bulldog for a carry pistol is to find a jacketed hollowpoint load that will line up with the iron sights.

I never did find a JHP load that lined up with the iron sights of my Charter Patriot .327 Magnum (bottom pistol in 2nd photo), so I had to get a set of Crimson Trace Laser Grips to enable it to hit where I'm aiming.

I suspected that might be the case with JHPs for the Bulldog Pug. I had four JHP loads to test. Top left on the target board, standing two-handed at 25 feet, are some 200-grain Georgia Arms Gold-Dot JHPs. Printing low and with a lot of muzzle blast and recoil. Not pleasant. The three clustered at 6 o'clock about 3" low are mine, the other holes are by the sergeant at the Armory, whose rounds drifted even lower and to the left. All the rest of the holes in the other targets are mine. Three of the GA Gold Dots were all the sergeant wanted to try. Can't imagine why.

Top right target are some CCI steel-case JHPs, probably 200-grain but they were some loose rounds we had at the gun shop with no box, so that's just a guess. Even hotter and more unpleasant to shoot than the GA Gold Dots and though still low, closer to the bull by a bit.

Then bottom left are five holes with Winchester Silvertip 200-gr. JHPs, much more pleasant to shoot and getting pretty close to the bull.

Finally, bottom right is the clear winner, five rounds with Speer Gold Dot 200-gr. JHPs, right on the money and also fairly pleasant to shoot. I am delighted to find a carry load so easily and not to have to add CT Lasergrips for the Bulldog. I may still add some grips later, but not right now when I've got other pistols to buy hopefully in my near future.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sarah Palin also 'Going Rogue' as comic-book Superhero

The so-called mainstream media is so scared of Sarah Palin they've all got wet panties, and with good cause. She's gonna be the best man for the job of leading this nation back to sanity in 2012.

How do I know this? Because Sarah's new biography is selling like hot cakes, continuing as Numero Uno on the Noo Yawk Times book list for the past two weeks, and now she's even being featured in a comic book.
SARAH PALIN is sparkling big-time sales of not only her memoir, "Going Rogue." The former Alaska guv has also meant serious business for the comic-book company Bluewater Productions.

Bluewater says its releasing its fourth printing of its Palin bio comic this month. The new "Female Force: Sarah Palin, Going Rogue Edition" updates adds artwork and features a new cover, by Vinnie Tartamella.

"People just can't get enough of Sarah Palin," says Bluewater's prez, Darren Davis, who notes that his company has never issued four printings for a single bio.

I bet if Sarah would pull her blouse open a bit, you'd see her Superwoman suit underneath.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

America's Christian heritage, a vision lost that must be retold

America: The Untold Story. Take a 2-minute break and relearn some forgotten history.
Winner of the coveted Angel Award, America: The Untold Story is now available as a DVD presentation. The talented video team at American Vision has transformed this best-selling audio drama into a visually-stunning video for the whole family. Based on documented historical facts, this fully-dramatized video is designed to open the eyes of American citizens so that they can see the miraculous and providential hand of God in our nation's history.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

.38 Special vs. .44 Special vs. .327 Magnum: Look at the numbers

Decided to see what .44 Special , .38 Special, .45 ACP, .327 Magnum and .357 Magnum numbers compare in terms of ballistics. From the Federal and Speer ammo pages, here's a comparison.
Caliber Grains Type Mfg. FPS Muzzle Ft.Lbs. Muzzle
.44 Special 200 SWCHP Federal Champion 870 336
.38 Special 110 JHP Federal Hydra-Shok
980 235
.38 Special +P 129 JHP Federal Hydra-Shok 950 258
.327 Magnum
100 JSP American Eagle 1500 500
.327 Magnum 85 JHP Federal Hydra-Shok 1400 370
.327 Magnum 115 JHP Speer Gold Dot 1380 486
.357 Magnum
125 JHP Speer Gold Dot 1450 584
.45 ACP 230 JHP Federal Hydra-Shok 900 414

Any questions? After testing all three of the available .327 Magnum loads I settled on Speer Gold Dot for my carry load in the Charter Patriot revolver, which is very close to Speer .357 Magnum in both fps and ft./lbs. of energy delivered on target.

And comparing Federal Hydra-Shok .45 ACP to Federal Champion .44 Special Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Points also shows speed and energy delivered in the same ballpark ballistically.

And of course, neither .38 Special or +P is anywhere near any of the others in energy on target.

When it comes to carrying a revolver, for backup or sole carry, I feel a lot more comfortable with my .327 Magnum or .44 Special Charter pair than with any .38 Special or +P. With the Bulldog .44, it's like having a .45 and with the Patriot .327 Magnum, it's like having a .357 Magnum.

I've always been a strong believer in more is better. And .44 is definitely more better than .38.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, here's a couple of graphs on ballistics of pistol ammo.

The first is a comparison by Winchester of their Ranger JHP ammo, which is IMHO the class of the industry. I carry Winchester Ranger or their new PDX Bonded, the replacement for Ranger, in 9mm, .45 ACP and .357 Sig with total confidence that it's quite simply the best.

But the interesting thing about their graph is how similar all the loads are, with the exception of .380 ACP, which just ain't got enough zip to get the job done. That's why I don't carry .380.

And last is a handgun gel penetration and expansion chart, which shows that as long as you pick a serious caliber, you'll get serious results, assuming you can hit what you shoot at. And that's a very big assumption. In pistol shooting, the most important three things are the same three things that any realtor will tell you is the key to success in real estate: Location, location, location.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Charter Bulldog .44 blows away Colt Cobra .38 at the range

Does a Bulldog beat a Cobra? A funny thing happened to my plans to buy a new-to-me Colt Cobra .38 Special snubby at the gun shop.

I almost had the Cobra paid off when what should come from the last gun show? A stainless Charter Bulldog Pug 2.5" barrel .44 Special snubby.

The first snubby I ever bought is a Charter Patriot .327 Magnum, shown at right at bottom with Crimson Trace Laser Grips, so adding a Bulldog, at right top, is pretty much a no-brainer.

They're built on the same stainless-steel frame, the only difference being caliber and round count, six .327 Magnums vs. five .44 Specials in the cylinder.

I can even swap the CT grips to either of the two Charters should I want to.

But after shooting the Bulldog on Saturday at the range, I doubt it will ever wear CT grips, unless I buy a second set for it.

I started out shooting 240-gr. Cowboy Loads, rated at 761 feet per second at the muzzle. You can call that a Cowboy Load, but it sure ain't light ballistically speaking.

Those numbers are classic 230-gr. .45 ACP ballistics, which is generally about the same speed and nobody ever calls .45 ACP a "Cowboy Load."
Anything hit with a 240-grain chunk of .44 lead moving at 761 FPS is going to be in a serious load of hurt.

The Cowboy Loads were mild recoil and easy to shoot, but patterned about 3" low of the bullseye. After putting three in the same hole, I pretty well established the point-of-impact for that load.

Then I switched to some 240-gr. Semi Wad Cutter full-house loads, not marked for velocity but I'll assume about 100 fps faster, say 861. And those patterned right on the bull for the iron sights.

So that's what this Bulldog likes best, 240-gr. full-house loads. I've got both SWCs and Plated Flat-Nose 240-gr. loads so either should work just fine for carry.

I've also got some 200-gr. Gold Dot Jacketed Hollow Points but I haven't tried those yet to see where they hit. We've also got some Winchester Silvertip JHPs at the shop, so I'll probably pick up a box of those to see what the Bulldog does with them too.

But it's definitely a keeper, so I'll keep the Bulldog and let the shop have the Colt Cobra back to sell.

When it comes to whether I want a .38 or a .44 for a backup, my math skills ain't too good but not only is .44 bigger than .38, 240 grains is also heavier than 158 grains.

And I don't have to go look up the ballistic tables to know that comparing the two in foot-pounds of energy delivered is no comparison whatsoever. And IMHO, ft./lbs. is the real payoff when it comes to ballistic matchups, the closest statistic we have to the fabled "knockdown power."

If you've got speed but low grain weight, you gotta have a lotta speed to make up for that handicap to build up ft./lbs. That's how .327 Magnum is such an impressive revolver round, not much weight, 100 grains for the American Eagle load we shot Saturday, but a smoking hot speed of 1500 fps. That delivers ft./lbs. just shy of classic .357 Magnum stats.

And if you've got good weight but low speed, you come up short again. With classic .38 Special ballistics, you've got 158 grains but slow speed, so you don't get much in the way of ft./lbs. or penetration either.

But like 230-gr. .45 ACP loads, a big ol' hunk of 240-gr. .44 lead at slow speed, 761 fps, adds up to impressive ft./lbs. of energy and penetration.

So it don't take a rocket surgeon to figure out a Bulldog .44 beats a Cobra .38 every time.

I spent the rest of the day at the range playing with my Para Ordnance P12-45 with my friend Jerry and his son Austin. Nothing's more fun that shooting with friends.

I'm the old guy who needs a haircut. Jerry's the younger guy who don't need a haircut. And Austin is the kid who had enough sense to wear a knit cap on a cold, rainy day.

The rain stopped long enough to let us shoot in relative comfort, but with a high in the low 40s, it was a bit brisk, as least for this thin-blooded ol' Southern redneck.
Austin also has a cool phone with a multi-exposure photo function and he took a series of photos of me working on my shoulder-holster draw and double-tap shooting. Thanks Austin.