Friday, December 24, 2010

Steyr M-A1 and compact S-A1 get some well-deserved kudos

 My favorite Austrian striker-fired polymer pistol that hardly anybody ever heard of is the cover article of Combat Handguns March 2011 issue.
In August 2010, Steyr announced the new M-A1 and compact S-A1 pistols. The new models feature several significant design upgrades from the original pistols. The A1 series continues to be a polymer framed, double-action-only, striker-fired pistol that is designed for military, law enforcement, and the civilian market and is available in 9mm or .40. I recently had an opportunity to try out a full-size M40-A1 and compact S40-A1 for myself. The new models have retained the distinctive profile of the original design. The angle of the grip to the frame is 111 degrees. When combined with the high grip backstrap,the design places the center axis of the bore lower than with other designs. The design also gives the M a very natural point of aim and reduced recoil and muzzle rise.
 IMHO, the triangle/trapezoid are the best combat sights ever devised by man.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Story of a WWII Medal of Honor: 1911 .45 pistol vs. Panzer tank

The latest issue of American Rifleman chronicles the use of John Moses Browning's 1911 .45 in the hands of winners of the Medal of Honor, including one from World War II that I have written about.
In December Cpl. Henry F. Warner of the Big Red One used a bazooka and his Colt to stop a German armored thrust. Warner’s citation says he won a pistol duel with the commander of a panzer threatening to overrun his position. The tank withdrew but the gallant North Carolinian was killed the next day.
It was not a bazooka Henry Warner used until it jammed, but a British 57mm anti-tank gun, vs. Panzer tanks.

But since it's my story, I'll just quote myself on the details of this heroic soldier who won the MOH.

1911 pistol vs. Panzer tank: 1911 wins

By John Myers, Internet Photojournalist

The Medal of Honor
1911 .45 ACP
The Medal of Honor is our nation's highest military award and a surprising number of those who earned it since its introduction just prior to World War I did so with the help of a 1911 .45 ACP Government Pistol or a 1911-A1 model.

Perhaps the most famous of these was Sgt. Alvin York in WWI.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 32 machine guns, killing 28 German soldiers and capturing 132 others during the U.S.-led Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France.
He was made even more famous by Hollywood in the 1941 movie, "Sergeant York," which York allowed to be made on one condition, that Gary Cooper play the lead role.

But as usual, Hollywood got the details wrong, particularly in regards to the weapons York used.
The movie shows York/Cooper using a captured German Luger pistol in addition to his rifle to kill and capture a host of Germans.

Wrong! He used a Government Model 1911 .45 ACP pistol.

Also, the movie shows York with a Springfield 1903 rifle but he actually used a M1917 Enfield rifle. Wrong again! Similar rifles, both are 30'06 bolt-actions, but different models.

Everybody's heard of the famous Sergeant York, who actually was a corporal when he earned his medal of honor.

But I ran across another familiar name while reading a July 2000 American Handgunner article by Barrett Tiliman, The 1911 And The Medal Of Honor.

As I was reading through the pantheon of heroes, I found a familiar one most Americans never heard of, another corporal who took on the Germans with a 1911, this time in World War II.
Tillman writes that in the 75 years from 1918 to 1993, at least 55 Medals of Honor were presented to men carrying the .45 ACP.

This includes 20 known in World War II, a dozen in Korea, seven in Vietnam and, finally, two in Somalia.
The exact total, however, is unknown, as most citations only refer to "pistol" or "revolver" and some famous events do not mention sidearms at all.

As Tillman listed the WWII MOH winners who used 1911s, that familiar name surfaced:

Medal of Honor winner Cpl. Henry F. Warner
"Not only infantrymen used the service pistol in Medal of Honor actions. Two tankers were decorated for their exploits in France that October, and in December Cpl. H.F. Warner of the Big Red One used a bazooka and his Colt to stop a German armored thrust.

"Warner's citation says he won a pistol duel with the commander of a Panzer threatening to overrun his position; the tank withdrew."

Back in the early '90s, while I was working as a weekly newspaper editor, I interviewed the brother of Medal of Honor winner Cpl. Henry F. Warner of Troy, NC, who told me about how this hero died.

57 mm M1 anti-tank gun of the 44th Infantry Division in France, 1944.
Tillman got one detail wrong, Warner didn't use a bazooka along with his 1911 Colt against the German tanks. He used a 57mm anti-tank gun, a design we "borrowed" from the British, a notoriously underpowered artillery piece which was also prone to jam.

This weapon also offered scant protection for the gunner, who stood out in the open to fire it, the only "protection" being a single sheet of metal to duck down behind when taking fire.

His brother showed me Henry Warner's detailed Medal of Honor citation, which noted that his accurate fire with the 57mm gun was able to knock out the heavily armored German tanks only by hitting their one vulnerable spot as he maneuvered the small artillery piece like a squirrel rifle.

In the end, his refusal to retreat as he kept trying to clear his jammed 57mm while a German Mark IV Panzer tank attacked is what cost him his life.

1911 vs. Panzer tank: 1911 wins

Tillman accurately describes the famous 1911 episode on Dec. 20, 1944, when Warner knocked out two German tanks with his 57mm before his anti-tank gun jammed. The commander of a third tank saw Warner's gun was jammed and elected to finish him off personally with his pistol. Bad mistake.

Warner outshot the German in a pistol duel, killing the officer with his 1911 and forcing the tank to withdraw.
Here's a short version of Warner's Medal of Honor citation which covers his heroic fight during two days' actions in the Battle of the Bulge.


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Antitank Company, 2d Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Dom Butgenbach, Belgium, 20-21 December 1944. Entered service at: Troy, N.C. Born: 23 August 1923, Troy, N.C. G.O. No.: 48, 23 June 1945. Citation: Serving as 57-mm. antitank gunner with the 2d Battalion, he was a major factor in stopping enemy tanks during heavy attacks against the battalion position near Dom Butgenbach, Belgium, on 20-21 December 1944. 
In the first attack, launched in the early morning of the 20th, enemy tanks succeeded in penetrating parts of the line. Cpl. Warner, disregarding the concentrated cannon and machinegun fire from 2 tanks bearing down on him, and ignoring the imminent danger of being overrun by the infantry moving under tank cover, destroyed the first tank and scored a direct and deadly hit upon the second. A third tank approached to within 5 yards of his position while he was attempting to clear a jammed breech lock. Jumping from his gun pit, he engaged in a pistol duel with the tank commander standing in the turret, killing him and forcing the tank to withdraw.
Following a day and night during which our forces were subjected to constant shelling, mortar barrages, and numerous unsuccessful infantry attacks, the enemy struck in great force on the early morning of the 21st. Seeing a Mark IV tank looming out of the mist and heading toward his position, Cpl. Warner scored a direct hit. Disregarding his injuries, he endeavored to finish the loading and again fire at the tank whose motor was now aflame, when a second machinegun burst killed him. Cpl. Warner's gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty contributed materially to the successful defense against the enemy attacks.

Warner's brother showed me Henry's grave in Troy and told me about his childhood, growing up poor, just another country boy who could hit anything he could see with a squirrel rifle, putting meat on the table for his family, much like Alvin York.

There's a lot of confusion among the current generation as to just who or what is a hero. My generation, the baby boomers, didn't have that problem, we had the WWII vets for heroes, like Henry F. Warner. One of my boyhood heroes was Major Dick Bong, the "Ace of Aces" who shot down 40 Japanese planes during WWII in the Pacific.

It's a telling sign of our times that the men and women fighting and dying for their country in Iraq and Afghanistan are not considered heroes by many today. Even the cop on the street, protecting our lives daily, gets little or no respect, hardly seen as heroes.

Another of my boyhood heroes was my "Uncle Howard" Jordan, who really wasn't a relative at all, just a childhood friend of my father's who treated the five kids of our family like his own. He and his wife Lena had no kids, but they often had all five of us kids stay overnight at their home.

And I remember "Uncle Howard" showing up at my school in the first grade and telling the principal he was "Johnny's uncle" and had come to pick me up early. And then we'd go fishing. I remember sitting on a wooden bridge over Drowning Creek, not catching any fish, just having a good time with Uncle Howard. I didn't even know he was a WWII vet, he was just Uncle Howard to me and he was one of my heroes.

Last time I saw him was when I was about 10 and we visited Uncle Howard in the VA hospital. He was in a wheelchair and looked so frail and tired. That's when I learned he was a WWII vet. Not long after, he died.
My dad told me that Uncle Howard had to bail out of a damaged airplane over the desert in North Africa in WWII and landed in a huge cactus patch. He wasn't rescued until several days later, still trapped in the cactus. One of those cactus spines finally worked its way into his heart many years later and killed him, my daddy told me. He also told me that every now and then after the war, Uncle Howard would go "barking mad" and howl at the moon. But he never hurt anybody. Uncle Howard never won the Medal of Honor, but he was a hero to me.

One of my favorite preachers, Ravi Zacharias, tells the story of a 3rd grade teacher who asked her class of 8- and 9-year-olds to list three people who were their heroes. One listed Michael Jackson, Madonna and Boy George (which Zacharias notes "covers all three sexes.")

But a disturbingly high number listed themselves as their own hero. Such is the result of the current educational trend to boost "self-esteem" as the most important classroom goal. Perhaps that's why there's such a strange set of heroes for the current generation.

Why do I love Sig pistols? Reliability, ease of operation, great triggers

I've been asked a question about "My short history with Sig pistols" that I think deserves elevation from a comment to a new post.
Kansas Scout said... I keep reading all these enthusiastic comments from Sig owners. I have not shot one yet. Being a fellow lefty, I assume they work well for you in that way. Tell us why you like them so much. I would like to know specifically what it is that makes folks like them so much.
Short answer is the Sig Sauer motto: "To hell and back reliability!" I have owned to date five Sig pistols, a P226 and two P229s, one plain and one Custom Shop, all in .357 Sig; and two P220 .45 ACP Single-Action-Only models, one full-size and one compact. And to date with hundreds of rounds fired in each of them, I have yet to have a single malfunction. Zero. A record of 100% perfect performance is the ultimate in reliability.

I have had pistols that were 99.5% reliable that I either got fixed or I sold. I will not carry a pistol I cannot depend on 100% of the time. All of my carry pistols have to meet that standard or they are gone.

No. 2 reason, my Sig pistols are simple to operate, even for a lefty like me. In the case of the P229s which are traditional double-action/single-action, chamber a round, decock the hammer, then holster it until needed. Then draw and fire. If time and circumstance allow, I will cock the hammer upon drawing to make the first and all following shots single-action. But if not, that first double-action trigger pull is smooth enough to make an accurate shot. I practice drawing and firing two shots, one DA and one SA.

With my two P220 SAO .45s, they both have ambi safeties that allow me carry them safely cocked. Draw, flip safety down just as on a 1911 and shoot. And an added feature of the P220 SAO is the safety does not lock the slide like a 1911. When I want to check to see if there's a round in the chamber, I can press-check the slide with the safety still on.

Number three I've already covered, great triggers. The Sig DA triggers are great and my P220 SA triggers are not only the equal of my good 1911 triggers, they're actually superior. Don't ask me why but I can shoot either of P220s with factory 5-lb. triggers better than any of the custom triggers of 3 to 4 lbs. in the 1911s I own. Maybe it's the legendary inherent accuracy of P220s, I don't know. I just know it works for me.

Ease of operation, great triggers and 100% reliability. What more do you need in a carry pistol?

Lessons learned with a gun: Growing up in a family of hunters

I learned my first lesson with a gun before I ever owned my first one. I grew up on a tobacco and cotton farm in central North Carolina at the head of Drowning Creek, near the little town of Candor. The woods began just outside our back door.
I tagged along behind my dad and older brother George when they went hunting from the time I was knee high to a tadpole, long before I was old enough to be trusted with my own gun.
One day I was tagging along with my dad, older brother and a few others during rabbit season when rain forced us to take shelter for a while under the roof of one of my dad's tobacco barns.
I was no more than 7 or 8 at most. As we stood under the shelter waiting for the rain to stop, I was standing next to one of my dad's friends, who was showing off his brand-new Browning 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun. She was a beauty and I was all eyes.
The man saw my look of wonder and asked me, “Son, would you like to shoot it?” I imagine he expected me to say no, but I didn't. “Sure,” I said, hardly believing he was serious.
Maybe he was serious and maybe he wasn't, but when I agreed, he showed me how to hold it, pointed up to a clump of mistletoe in the top of a tree and said “Shoot that.” Then he flipped the safety off.
I raised up the shotgun to aim and found my arms were too short to put the butt to my shoulder. So I just tucked the butt under my armpit, sighted and pulled the trigger. “Boom!”
Next thing I know, the shotgun butt is on the ground and I'm holding the barrel in both hands.
My dad's friend gingerly took the still loaded-and-ready-to-fire-again shotgun from my hands and flipped the safety back on. Then everybody had a good laugh, including me. He didn't ask me if I wanted to shoot it again, but I would have. I didn't have enough sense to know that 12 gauge auto was more gun than my little jaybird behind could handle.
No. 1 Lesson Learned With A Gun: Don't shoot more gun than you can handle. (Or as Clint Eastwood said in one of his Dirty Harry movies, “A man's got to know his limitations.”)
No. 2 Lesson Learned With A Gun
Maybe my foolish bravado with a borrowed 12 gauge Browning auto convinced my dad I was finally ready for my first gun. For whatever reason, I started the next hunting season with my very first firearm, a .410 bolt-action, single-shot shotgun.
Whatever happened to that beautiful little gun I haven't a clue. My dad's gone now, and all the firearms he left included an old double-barrel 12 gauge Stevens and a Winchester .22 semi-auto rifle that I've got and a 20 gauge Winchester semi-auto that my older brother has.
But I learned from that .410 that if you aim true and don't shoot too quick, you can hit what you're shooting at. It took a pretty good while, but I finally learned how to hit a rabbit on the run.
It's one of those skills you have to learn by trial and error, mostly error. My dad told me how to do it, but saying it and doing it are two different things. I missed a lot before I finally figured out how to lead a running rabbit, not too little, not too much, but just enough. Easy to say, much harder to do.
I also learned that two .410 shotguns loads will pretty much ruin a rabbit. My younger brother James was born five years after me, but he got his first shotgun, also a .410, a couple of years earlier than I did. (He was always daddy's favorite, the baby of us five kids. Just one of those facts of life you learn to live with in a large family. And as it turned out, James was more like daddy than either my older brother George or me in more ways than one.)
Anyway, on opening day of James' first rabbit season with a gun, we both spotted the same cottontail at the same time.
Boom-da-Boom!” He claimed he shot first and I claimed I did. But we both hit that poor rabbit. When we skinned that poor critter, he had so much lead in him that he fell apart. We cleaned him anyway and ate him along with the other rabbits killed that day.
But we had to chew even more gingerly than usual or we'd bite down on one of those several lead shots still hidden in the meat of our double-dead rabbit.
But I just couldn't let my little brother beat me to the shot and he felt exactly the same way.
No. 2 Lesson Learned With A Gun: Two loads of .410 shot is one too many for one rabbit. (Or, if you shoot in haste, be prepared to eat the consequences.)
No. 3 Lesson Learned With A Gun
My next gun was a 16 gauge Remington pump. I could never get off but one shot with the .410 when bird hunting and at least for me, one shot at a rising covey of quail always resulted in one miss.
So daddy took pity on his poor-shooting middle son and got me the pump.
I had already learned the hard way that shooting an automatic shotgun from the left side meant getting a face full of burnt and still-burning powder. A pump is the answer for the problem with powder burns for a lefty.
Now if I could only learn how to hit a quail. At least for me, it is much harder than a rabbit on the run. And rabbits don't explode from under your feet with an always surprisingly loud thunderous beating of little wings. No matter how many times I'd heard it, it always scared me half to death.
Even with a bird dog frozen on point and hunters walking slowly abreast in a line to flush the birds, I was never ready and always surprised when the covey burst into the air with that familiar fluttering roar.
Shotgun up to shoulder, flick off safety, pick out one bird and draw a bead, “Boom!” Miss. Jack another shell in the chamber, “Boom!” Another miss. Jack another shell. “Boom!”
First bird I ever hit was the third shot and I never got much better though I hunted for 30 years.
My older brother George was a bit better at hitting quail than me, but not a whole lot. But if Mr. Bob White wanted to die that day, all he had to do was get up in front of my dad or my little brother.
They both shared the same dead-eye-Dick shooting skills with a shotgun and the same deep love of the outdoors. George and I both loved to hunt and fish. But James really lived to hunt and fish, just as my daddy did as long as he was able.
And almost from the beginning of James' bird hunting, he and daddy would almost always get a bird on the first shot and often would bring down a second on the same covey rise. Seldom did either ever fire a third shot, while George and me were emptying our guns with no results most of the time.
No. 3 Lesson Learned With A Gun: Some shooters have got it, some don't. Do what you're good at and don't waste a lot of time worrying about what you can't do. But don't quit trying.
No. 4 Lesson Learned With A Gun
I never did get very good with a shotgun, though I kept trying to hunt with one for 30 years or more. But I took to a rifle better and fairly quickly got to where I figured I could hit anything I could see. At least with a rifle, I could shoot better than my little brother.
My first rifle was a Winchester .22 bolt-action single-shot. A box of 50 Long Rifle .22 shells was less than 50 cents way back then, so having enough shells was not a problem.
But with a single-shot rifle I learned to hit what I shot at the first time, because there seldom ever was enough time to reload and get a second shot.
So I learned to “still hunt” for squirrels. Pick a good spot at the trunk of a tree with a good view of trees where squirrels are likely to hang out. Sit down and shut up. Don't move. Don't even blink. Wait.
Then wait a while longer. Don't twitch. Don't fidget. Don't move nothing but your eyeballs.
After slightly longer than forever, the birds will start chirping again. After another forever, the squirrels will come out again. But don't shoot at the first one you see. Wait for a good shot. It's probably the only shot you're going to get, maybe for all day.
And while you're sitting there seemingly doing nothing, waiting on a squirrel, you learn that God really does know what He's doing in this big old world. You can think deep thoughts, even for a kid.
Many long years before I ever became a Christian, I learned to “Be still and know that I am God.”
And if you sit there long enough, and are patient enough to wait for a good shot, you might just also learn the value and the rewards of patience, which is worth infinitely more than a squirrel stew.
But while you're thinking deep thoughts, don't forget to keep your eye on the ball. Daydreaming when the SHTF can get you in a whole lot of trouble, the least of which is no squirrel for supper.
No. 4 Lesson Learned With A Gun: Be ready for whatever comes at you. Far better to surprise what you're shooting at, than to be surprised when you're shot at. Squirrels, rabbits and quail don't shoot back. But as I learned in later lessons with a gun, bad guys do shoot back, and will shoot first, if you're not ready. So hit what you aim at the first time. You might not get a second shot. That lesson learned in the woods with a gun paid off for many a good ol' country boy in the Vietnam War, including this one.

My short history with Sig pistols in .357 Sig and .45 ACP

I'm an old fart in my 60s and I made an incredibly dumb mistake when I bought my first Sig pistol in 2007. I had a Steyr MA1 .357 Sig pistol that I really loved and decided it was time to buy my first Sig Sauer .357 Sig. I went shopping and found a pair of used .357 Sigs in a gun store, a really nice P229 with what I later learned was a set of beautiful wood Elite grips. And they also had a plain Jane black P226 in .357 Sig. Both were good guns at about the same price, so I decided bigger was better and went for the P226.

Then a year of so later, I went to work at a gun store and starting carrying daily. I also got my instructor's license to teach N.C. Concealed Carry Handgun classes for the store.
Attached Image: 22slide-P229s.jpg
And between carrying every day and teaching about concealed-carry handguns I finally got it through my thick skull that bigger is not always better. In fact it's almost never better when it comes to concealed carry. So I sold off my P226 at the store and ordered my first new Sig, a golly whomper. I bit the bullet and went for the P229 SAS Gen2 Two-Tone in .357 Sig with the Sig Anti Snag treatment, night sights and the Short Reset Trigger. And it was love at first double-tap with the quick handling and the SRT.

I liked it so much I later added a plain Jane CPO P229R in .357 Sig, got a pair of P229 Elite grips for the SAS Gen2, a set of Hogue Pau Ferro grips for the P229R and a .22 slide conversion kit for the P229R.
Attached Image: 45-P220.jpg
Later the gun shop took a trade-in of a Sig P220 Single-Action-Only Rimfire Classic. It has ambi safeties, so it was a natural for this left-hander. And after I bought it, why not get the caliber conversion kit for P220 SAO .45 ACP? When the conversion kit arrived, I learned why I've heard and read so many raves about the P220. I have three 1911s, two Paras, P12-45 and P-14-45, and a Llama IX-C, also a double-stack .45, and all three are the easiest to shoot pistols in my collection. That is until I shot the P220 SAO .45. First day at the range, I was monotonously ripping up the X-ring at 10 yards with never a flyer. The P220 SAO makes me a much better shooter than I was.
Attached Image: P220-Nill-left.jpg
And why settle for the plain Jane black grips for the P220 when the price dropped below $200 for a set of Nill grips? So the P220 gets to dress up a bit, too.
Attached Image: 220-45-desantis.jpg
Then later when I saw a CDNN special on a Sig P220 SAO Compact Elite for only $600, how could I resist? Guess what? I shoot it almost as well as the full-size P220.

And now I'm anxiously awaiting another special order from Sig, a P239 .357 Sig SAS Gen2 Two-Tone. My aching back is ready for some lighter, smaller concealed carry.
Posted Image
I've already got a beautiful set of Hogue checkered Rosewood grips and a pair of extra magazines that I ordered from Midway that arrived before the P239 gets here.

C'mon Sig Santa, hurry up with my P239 or you're gonna be too late for Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My poor excuse for not much blogging lately -- the bug from hell

My apologies for the lack of content over the past few days. I've had the bug from hell. Even missed church yesterday with all the big Christmas music, plays and supper. Feeling somewhat closer to human today.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The real story of Christmas: Mary, Joseph and Jesus flee into Egypt

Matthew 2:13-23 (New American Standard Bible)

Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him."
So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.
He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my Son."
Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.
Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more."
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, "Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child's life are dead." So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adventures in .22 Magnum land with AMT, Winchester, Kel-Tec et c.

We've had a scant few of the new Kel-Tec PMR-30 .22 Magnum pistols in stock at the gun shop where I work, but they disappeared so quickly I hardly got a peek of one. It's supposed to be at long last that elusive unicorn of a semi-auto pistol, a .22 Magnum that won't jam.
I had a brief fling with an AMT AutoMag II .22WMR, the compact 4.5"-barrel version, and found out why they have a reputation as a Jam-A-Matic. That's it at the bottom of the next photo.

The other two handguns are also now departed from my fold, at left is a Steyr M357-A1 that also had a slight case of jam-itis. I have zero tolerance for pistols that are not 100% reliable. This is my life we're talking about here when it comes to carry handguns.

At right is my former S&W 1076 10mm, which I traded away for a much more carry-friendly Glock 29 10mm subcompact, which has been 100% reliable so far. The big Smith was just too ... big.

I also had a Winchester 94 lever-action .22 Magnum that I foolishly traded away years ago. It was a great shooter but alas, I was young and oh, so foolish.

Now Oleg Volk give us a peek of the Kel-Tec RMR-30, a carbine based on the PMR-30 pistol.
It's still under development, so be patient. This is going be even hotter than the PMR-30 or the RFB-18 .308 semi-auto rifle. Speaking of the latter, we've finally been able to get a few of those and keep it in stock at the gun shop. Oops, spoke too soon, out of stock again.

And I've already picked out my next carry pistol after my long-awaited Sig P239 .357 Sig compact arrives from Exeter, Mass., where it's been on special order for about a month.

It will be a .22 Magnum single-action mini-revolver from North American Arms they call the Black Widow.

Mark Walters at Guns & Patriots recently rated a NAA .22 Magnum mini at the top of his list of Top 10 Carry Pistols. And I've decided he's right.

I had a 4"-barrel NAA model called The Earl on layaway at the shop briefly before I had second thoughts. It's a neat pistol, but just a shade too long of snout for easy pocket carry.

So I took another look at the NAA models and chose the Black Widow. This will have to be a special order also as we currently have no Black Widow models in stock at the gun shop.

I want the conversion model with adjustable sights which comes with two cylinders, .22LR and .22WMR.

We've got several NAA mini-revolvers in stock at the shop but they all have either 1" barrels or 4" barrels.

As Goldlilocks said, the 2" barrel on the Black Widow is "just right," not too short, not too long. It fits in the pocket of any garment I might ever wear. Please don't even try to imagine my large posterior wearing a speedo. It would not be a pretty sight. Shudder!

Tangolio T755 9mm Stainless Compact "Governement Model"?

How do you spell "Government Model" in Italy? If it's supposed to be in English for the U.S. market?
Ain't it embarrassing to misspell a word when it's stamped in steel for all eternity, or at least until the very last Tangolio T755 9mm Stainless Compact is ground up for scrap metal? Other than that, it ain't a bad looking pistol and it's listed on gunbroker for a mere $325, so this spelling mistake can be yours.

ISSC Austrian president corrects my mistakes about link to GSG

I got a Dear John email from the head honcho at ISSC (I get a lot of those).
Dear John:

Just wanted to correct a few statements that appeared on your blog about the ISSC M22 pistol.

    1.  There is no connection whatsoever between ISSC and GSG.  We are not part of anyone's stable.  Our guns are manufactured entirely in our own factory in Austria. They are designed by Wolfram Kriegleder who previously worked for Walther and designed the P22.

    2.  The settlement with Glock does not stop us from importing the M22 pistol and our price reduction had nothing to do with any legal issues with Glock or anyone else. The price reduction is a reflection of the general slowdown in firearms sales and price reductions in competitive guns, particularly the Walther P22.

Otherwise, thank you for the free publicity.


Mike Weisser
President, ISSC, LLC
Nice to know somebody's reading my humble blog. I don't recall where, but I saw a website that combined GSG guns and ISSC guns, perhaps one of their distributors? Whatever, I was obviously mistaken to link the two companies together. And I still might have an ISSC M22 in my future, particularly at the lower price.

The real story of Christmas: Wise men come seeking King of the Jews

Matthew 2:1-12 (New American Standard Bible)

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him."
After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The real story of Christmas: Angels proclaim Jesus birth to shepherds

Luke 2:8-20 (New American Standard Bible)

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
"This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The real story of Christmas: Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem

Luke 2:1-7 (New American Standard Bible)

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The real story of Christmas: Joseph is visited by the Angel of the Lord

Matthew 1:18-25 (New American Standard Bible)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us."
And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The real story of Christmas: Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel


Luke 1:26-38 (New American Standard Bible)

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."  But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."
Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God."
And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

What did Mary know about her Baby Boy, the Lord Jesus Christ?

"Mary, Did You Know?" By Mark Lowry (with David Phelps & Guy Penrod)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Drastic price cuts offered for Glock-copy ISSC M22 .22LR pistols

I predicted some weeks ago that my next .22 pistol would be the ISSC M22 Austrian-made Glock copy.

It hasn't happened yet as I've found other handguns I wanted more than another .22 pistol. But the time may be at hand. J&G Sales is offering a drastic price cut on the M22 for only $199.95. My gunshop is selling the basic black model for $300 and even with an employee's discount, I couldn't touch the J&G price.

ISSC in Austria is part of the GSG stable of firearms manufacturers and I read the other day in one of the gun magazines that an out-of-court settlement has been reached with Glock to stop importing the M22 and redesign it to look a lot less like a copy of Glock pistols. GSG was sued by Heckler & Koch for their copies of the MP5 submachine pistol in .22LR and reached an agreement with H&K to stop the import of those and redesign it to be a lot less like a copy of the MP5.

This latest agreement between GSG/ISSC and Glock means no more importation of the M22 until it is redesigned. Hence the price drop as the U.S. importer, Austrian Sporting Arms of Ware, MA, unloads it's inventory of M22 models. The price cut is a great deal if you're looking for a Glock training pistol so if you're interested you better act now. When the importer sells out, there won't be anymore Glock-copy M22s.

A brief interlude of relief from the frosty days here in the Sunny South

Winter may not officially begin until Dec. 21, but it sure feels like it's already here in the Sunny South.
The frost has been on windshields in the mornings and in my sweet wife's backyard garden for the past several days. But they don't call it the Sunny South for nothing. Yesterday the sun was shining and it was nice enough to smoke a cigar on the patio during lunch break in our backyard for the first time in at least two or three weeks. Yet another reason I love working at home posting gun sales pages on the Internet.
Today's high is supposed to be 52 and sunny again with 50s predicted through the weekend. But then Monday and Tuesday are predicted to be down in the low 30's again. Oh well, the sun don't always shine on the same dog every day. But this ancient scribe is getting more cold-natured as the years advance. It's not even officially winter yet and I'm already longing for spring.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inside The Gun Locker: Carrying A Glock 10mm - Guns & Patriots

I love it when a gun "expert" agrees with me, as Robert Boatman at Guns & Patriots does. He writes about the virtues of that little-known pocket rocket, the Glock 29 subcompact 10mm, as the ultimate concealed-carry handgun.
Inside The Gun Locker: Carrying A Glock 10mm - HUMAN EVENTS

My G29 got a custom makeover by a Glock armorer in Kansas for a previous owner, who swapped it to me for my S&W 1076, an all-stainless 10mm that's written about in the above article. The 1076 is commander-size with a 4.25" barrel but it's a brick to carry around. My G29 holds more rounds, 10+1 vs. 9+1, and it's much more carry friendly, as well as a great shooter.

It's got a stippled frame with a grip reduction to the 1911 angle, a chromed slide, Trijicon night sights, a 3.5-lb. trigger and HD springs set up for Double-Tap 10mm ammo. It's about as good as a Glock can get, IMHO. I bought a full-size G20 10mm after I got the G29, but I seldom carried it so I sold it later.

If I was heading into Grizzly Bear country, my S&W .44 Magnum and my G29 would certainly go with me. And when I'm feeling like going loaded for bear down here in the flatlands, I carry my G29.

Top 10 Concealed Carry Guns - Guns & Patriots

Mark Walters at Guns & Patriots lists his top 10 for concealed carry and I bet you'll be surprised to read his No. 1 choice.
Top 10 Concealed Carry Guns - HUMAN EVENTS
Here's my favorites, but I won't rank them or some of my handguns will get jealous and start bickering. It's hard to keep peace in the family when you're trying to decide what to carry at work at the gun shop or at play.

The one I carry most often at the gun shop is my Para P12-45, heavily customized by Cylinder & Slide. In addition having a great trigger it has several other custom features that make it a joy to shoot. And a really good single-action trigger cures my tendency to pull my shots a bit to the right, being a lefty shooter. No matter how good a double-action trigger is, a great single-action trigger is still better. And if 12+1 rounds of 230-gr. Winchester Ranger or PDX-1 won't get you out of trouble, you just ain't shooting straight.

My next most-often carried handgun is also a single-action .45 but of a slightly different stripe, unlike the P12-45, it's a single-stack with only 6+1 capacity. It's my Sig P220 Compact Elite SAO. Once upon a time I wasn't interested in single-stack pistols, but when I began to consider weight with daily carry, the trade-off for rounds vs. comfort started looking a whole lot better.

And an interesting thing happened when I shot my first P220 SAO, a full-size pistol I bought before I got the P220 Compact. I discovered I actually shoot tighter groups with better control than with any of my 1911 .45s, compact or full-size. The Sig P220 has a 5-lb. trigger pull vs. 3.5 to 4 lbs. for my three 1911s, but I just shoot the full-size and the compact P220s better. Don't ask me to 'splain it, it just is.

I also have a pair of Sig P229s in .357 Sig, one plain and one fancy, and I shoot both of them pretty fair, too, with their double-action/single-action set-up.

The first one I bought is a Sig P229 Two-Tone SAS Gen2 .357 Sig with the Short-Reset Trigger. I liked it so much I bought a plain P229R and I carry it more than the SAS, cause it's just too pretty to get skint up.

Then there's the revolvers I carry when I'm feeling like a wheel-gun kinda guy. My absolute favorite is a S&W 65 stainless .357 Magnum with the slickest double-action trigger I ever met, courtesy of the S&W Performance Shop. It's a K-frame with six holes in the cylinder, more than adequate for most social affairs.

My Charter Arms Patriot .327 Magnum with Crimson Trace Laser Grips also holds six potent rounds that are nearly the equal in ballistics of the .357 Magnum and it's get its share of carry duty.

And then there's my two .44 Special carry guns. I quite often carry them together at work. My S&W 396 Night Guard 5-shooter with front night sight usually gets main carry position in a left-hand holster.

And my Charter Bulldog stainless .44 5-shooter resides in a Galco small-of-back holster for access to my right hand, should the left be otherwise occupied.

And even if the left is not out of play, what's the quickest way to reload after you've shot one handgun dry? The late-great NYPD Detective Jim Cirillo dubbed it "The New York Reload." Shoot one dry and pull another one.

And I haven't even mentioned my two Steyr 9mm pistols, MA1 and SA1, the best striker-fired pistols from Austria that nobody ever heard of, or my Ruger LCR and Charter Southpaw .38 Specials, or my CZ P07 Duty 9mm, or my Glock 29 10mm subcompact, or my S&W M&P Compact .357 Sig, or my Kel-Tec PF9 9mm subcompact with Crimson Trace laser grip, which gets carried off-work as main and at-work as backup. So many choices and only one me to carry them all. See why I try not to play favorites so I can keep peace in the family of carry guns?

Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1968 was a "Twilight Zone" experience

I was in Pearl Harbor early on the morning of Dec. 7, 1968, serving in the U.S. Navy on board the USS Mullinix (DD-944) on the way to Vietnam when a very strange "Twilight Zone" event happened.

It was a Twilight Zone kind of experience that got even weirder years later when I learned the Mullinnix actually was filmed in an early 1960s episode of the TV show.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gun Q&A: Should I buy an old High Standard Victor .22 Target Pistol?

Guess I've started a new series as I keep getting questions about guns. Might as well do another Gun Q&A.
Q: I enjoy your writing and the straight forward responses you have for the various guns and purchases.  I need your objective advice before I spend $$$ on an old Victor High Standard .22 in 98% condition and 4 clips. It is a good looker. Many of the reviews on it list mag feed issues, lack of repair services, and warnings against high power ammo.

What do you know of these HS Victor target .22’s? Would the $500 be better spent on a new Ruger III Hunter? I like my old Colt Woodsman and SW K-22 for target shooting. 
A: High Standard Victor models are rare and $500 is a good price. If you're looking for a collector .22 that may have some problems as a shooter, buy it. Any competent gunsmith should be able to fix any common ailments, such as spring replacements and perhaps even magazine springs or followers. But anything requiring manufacturer's parts could be an issue.
High Standard has a new owner selling guns under the HS name, but finding parts for old guns will always be a problem. You probably have some experience in that area having work done on your Colt Woodsman, which is also long out of production. But there are a few sources for hard-to-find parts, Numrich Gun Parts is one.

If you're looking primarily for a reliable shooter that can handle high-velocity ammo, a new Ruger Mk III or S&W 22A-1 would be a better choice. I would also add a Browning Buck Mark onto your list to consider for new .22 hunter/target pistols. Use should be your standard.
But speaking for myself, I doubt I'd pass up the chance to get an old High Standard Victor in good shape for $500. It's one of the great .22 target pistols of all time and was used for championship bullseye competition from Camp Perry to the Olympics.

High Standard under new management has brought the Victor model back into production with an MSRP of $800. Ouch. Patrick Sweeny reviewed the new HS Victor for Guns & Ammo Handguns magazine and he liked it a lot. And Sweeny points out the new HS Victor magazines also fit the old models. Nice to know.

Sweeny looks at the price tag for the new model Victor and asks:

Why would you want a Victor? In a world where you can buy any number of plinker-grade .22 LR pistols for half the cost of a Victor or less, why spend more than what it costs to get the basics? Because you get more, that's why.

You get more accuracy than you can shoot, more reliability than you can believe, a link to the past and incredible durability--a pistol that even if you won the lottery tomorrow you could not afford enough ammo to wear out. It's a pistol, like so many others that have been seen on the line at Camp Perry, you can leave to your heirs in your will.

If that's not enough of a return on your hard-earned cash for you, then I don't know what to suggest.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cats do not have self-esteem issues -- Ego thy name is kitty

Pickles 12/03

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Taking Your Own Personal Safety Seriously - HUMAN EVENTS

Taking Your Own Personal Safety Seriously - HUMAN EVENTS
The sad fact is that criminals and predators enjoy the holiday season as much as the rest of us. They love the fact that we are distracted by our surroundings and many are lying in wait for us to make that one mistake that they can capitalize on...

The point is to prepare yourself, by being aware of your surroundings and avoiding any and all confrontations at all times no matter what by using your eyes and your brains. Prepare yourself by purchasing a gun, training with it and obtaining the necessary state weapon/firearm permits. Embrace it, get to know it intimately, love everything about it, the way it looks, the way it feels, its beauty in design and engineering, its disassembly and reassembly, its features and accessories. Carry it with you and never be afraid to use it to defend your life or that of your family and loved ones.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A fool and his money keep getting parted with handgun excesses

I'm a latecomer to wheel guns, as some call revolvers, but I'm growing more and more fond of them daily.

My first revolver was a S&W 19 .357 Magnum that I acquired almost by accident. I had some work done on a shotgun and when I picked it up at the gunsmith's shop, I asked him almost offhandedly, "Ever get any used guns to sell?" He looked at me sorta funny and said, "Matter of fact, I've got one right now. This guy brought in a S&W to get some work done and never came back to get it. It's been here so long, I've decided to sell it." It had a pinned barrel and recessed chambers and was in great shape. I knew less then than I do now about guns but I knew enough then to know it was a great buy.

I bought it for a song, $225, and like a fool later sold it for $300. It had a 6" barrel so really wasn't great for concealed carry, at least that was the reason I let it go. But it was a great shooter and I shoulda kept it.
My second wheel gun was close to another accident. I was in a pawn shop browsing and found a S&W 29 .44 Magnum with a 4" pipe, the famed Dirty Harry model. It was also priced too low to pass up, $450, so I bought it. And I fell in love with my first .44. That one I've kept and always will.
I added a .44 Magnum single-action 6-shooter with a 6" barrel later just because I love .44s. It's a Hy Hunter Six-Shooter, a copy of the Colt Single Action Army, made in West Germany during the Cold War by J.P Sauer & Sohn. That's the German company that later merged with the Swiss arms maker Sig in the '90s to form my now-favorite pistol maker, Sig Sauer.

It's my fun gun, not suitable for carry but a lot of fun at the range. I suppose I could carry my Model 29 like Dirty Harry did, but I'm not as much of a man as he supposedly was. It's heavy.

Since I started working at a gun shop and carrying daily a couple of years ago, I've acquired other wheel guns in .38 Special, .357 Magnum and .44 Special, all with short barrels for carry, from 2 to 3".

And now I've done fell in love with another wheel gun, a S&W Performance Shop Model 327 .357 Magnum which some fool bought brand new and then traded it in at the gun shop. It's in perfect condition for a mere $925 on gunbroker, about $150 less than the new price.
It's made of ultra-light materials, Titanium and Scandium, so it's perfect for carry at only 21 ounces empty.

But who's going to carry it empty when it's best feature is that it holds eight rounds of .357 Magnum?
If this gently-used beauty hangs around the shop long before somebody buys it, I may have to find an excuse to add one more wheel gun to my arsenal. Somebody stop me before I commit handgun excess ... again.

Charge of the Chiappa Rhino

Charge of the Chiappa Rhino

American Rifleman has tested the Chiappa Rhino .357 Magnum revolver, the first review I've seen. I took photos of one at the gun shop where I work and got a chance to play with it a bit and as I posted earlier, I was underwhelmed. The grip is a bit small for my large hands and the first impression I got was not a good one. Maybe when I get a chance to fire one, the second impression will be better. It's a great concept for a revolver.

I was for Sarah Palin before it was cool to be for Sarah

True genius is revealed when the general public begins to come around to your way of thinking. I don't know who said that, so I'll take credit for it. I was for Sarah Palin before it was cool to be for Sarah, since the day John McCain pulled her out of his magic hat during the 2008 campaign. And everything that has happened since has strengthened my conviction that she's like what they said about Maggie Thatcher running as the first woman prime minister of England, "She's the best man for the job." Run Sarah run!