Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Concealed Carry Training for Parents with Babes-in-Arms

Melody Lauer, a relatively new contributor to the Gun Nation Podcast is an instructor from Iowa. She recently put together a brilliant training session geared for parents who carry both a handgun and a baby. This is a vital training topic for concealed carrying parents who also have babes-in-arms. I hope she brings this training to a wider audience!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Gun World, Why Do You Do This?

Gun World has let loose with another special edition on concealed carry which is full of errors once again.  The monthly Gun World magazine is a respectable periodical penned by writers experienced in both written prose and in firearms (I was going to try to make-up a new word, firearmology, but came to my senses).  However, when they put these special editions out I can only assume that they are assembled by unpaid college journalism interns who know nothing about firearms and are hoping to get a job with the New York Times after graduation.

Now, to be fair, this edition is not as chocked full of mistakes as past editions but the ones that snuck by are pretty prominent.

The first major article in the special edition is about a firearms trainer.  The interview is OK, the information is sound although the trainer mostly talks about what kind of training you should get and fully vetting your trainer rather than imparting any tactical training tips.  All in all his points are valid and the article is well written.  However...
Is he carrying an inside the waistband holster outside of the waistband?  He also might want to cinch his belt in one more notch.

Following this article we are shown seven pages of Guns World's suggestions for "SEMICOMPACT REVOLVERS" deemed good enough for concealed carry.

For years I have suffered under the false impression that James Bond carried a Walter PPK Semi-Automatic pistol only to be corrected by Gun World and shown that it is actually a SEMICOMPACT REVOLVER.

And for the fourth year in a row Gun World recommends the Taurus DT40 despite the fact that Taurus never manufactured this pistol.
Taurus introduced this pistol at the 2011 SHOT SHOW but never put it into production.  It soon disappeared from their website and was not included in their 2012 catalogue but in the mind of Gun World this plucky little pistol soldiers onward.   Psst...Gun doesn't exist.

In the revolver category they recommend the Ruger Redhawk in .44 Magnum.  A bit large for concealed carry but
Even worse, to illustrate the Ruger Redhawks they chose an image of a Taurus revolver.

I could go on further, such as the fact that they list every flavor of the Charter Arms .38 snub-nosed revolver (the pink one, the lavender one, the gold one, the red one, etc.) even though they are all the same bloody revolver just anodized a different color.  But what's the point?

Attention Gun World, for a thousand bucks I will proof read your special editions before they go to print and save you some grief.

To the rest of the world, please don't go out and buy their Concealed Carry edition.  I bought it so that you don't have to.  And with my participle dangling I bid your Adieu.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

CZ's Ultimate Carry Pistol, The Pro-Tek I

I have to be honest; I have coveted the pistol that I now hold in my hands for several years and now that I have one I don’t think the descriptor “exquisite” is too much praise for this handgun turned out by the wizards at the CZ Custom Shop.  The instant that you wrap your hand around the grip you know that this pistol was built for speed.  This is the Ferrari (or substitute whatever luxury speedster you prefer) of handguns.

The Pro-Tek 1 began life as a CZ 75 Compact D PCR pistol.  Once it is turned over to the custom shop in Mesa, Arizona the transformation begins!  They completely de-horn the pistol.  They chuck the standard, but excellent, rubber panels and blend a set of textured aluminum grips into the frame so that the fit of the grips is perfect.  This lessens the width of the pistol from 1.34 inches in its original PCR configuration to 1.14 inches in the Pro-Tek version.  The slimmer grip frame seems to accentuate the curve of the backstrap as it melts into your hand and forces you to calculate if you can make it to the range before they close.

The slide is given an octagonal cut with a flat top and this completely changes the lines of the pistol giving it a streamlined appearance.  This pistol also has three-dot night sights (Heinie Straight 8 sights are now available as well).  The rear sight is a low profile wedge type that is adjustable for elevation by means of a large screw atop the sight.  
There is no manual correction dial for changing the horizontal point of impact but don’t worry, the Pro-Tek will shoot dead center for you.  The decocker has been cut back to make it less obtrusive without sacrificing its function or ease of manipulation by the shooter.  CZ’s competition hammer is also installed on the Pro-Tek models.  The slide is given a glossy polycoat finish and the aluminum frame is anodized in a Bronze/Gold color and all in all it is a very attractive pistol.  The Bronze/Gold used to be the only option for the frame color but the Pro-Tek is also being offered with a black frame and SHOT Show scuttlebutt reports that the CZ Custom Shop is looking at other colors for the frame such as gray.  I look forward to seeing what colors are ultimate determined.

A short reset trigger has been added and the trigger has been worked over giving it perhaps the best pull I have ever experienced.  My Pro-Tek breaks cleanly at 3.3 pounds in the single action mode and 7.2 pounds when fired double action.  The firing pin block has been left intact but has been smoothed and polished.  Whether it is the trigger, hammer or slide to frame fit I dare say you will have a hard time finding a smoother operating pistol.

All of the controls (decocker, slide stop lever and magazine release) on the pistol are in easy reach of your right thumb.  The magazine release button is slightly extended but smooth and deburred; when it is activated the magazines fall free.  The magazine well has been beveled to augment the process of recharging the pistol with a fresh magazine.  All in all there is very little they didn’t think of to attain their goal of making the Pro-Tek the ultimate carry pistol. 

As wonderful as this pistol is to hold and look at, the best experience comes once you hit the shooting range.  Whether I was shooting standard or +P loads the Pro-Tek handles recoil beautifully.  The grip frame spreads the recoil evenly across the web of your hand and between the textured grip panels and the beavertail the pistol stays centered in your grasp.  Between the recoil handling aspects of the pistols and the short reset trigger making accurate follow-up shots is far from difficult. 

As far as accuracy goes, if you like all of your rounds to produce one gapping hole in the target then you will like firing the Pro-Tek.  I fired 200 rounds of American Eagle 115-grain full metal jacket ammo and 50 rounds of PMC 115-grain ball ammo with no feeding or ejecting issues.  This was also my experience with defensive ammo including 124-grain Speer Gold Dot Hollow Points, Federal Premium 124-grain Hydra Shok ammo and 105-grain Federal Guard Dog cartridges.
 14 rounds of American Eagle 115 grain FMJ ammo fired at 30 feet.

5 rounds of Speer 124 grain Gold Dot Hollow Point ammo fired at 30 feet.

5 rounds of Federal Premium 124 grain Hydra Shok Hollow Point Ammo

10 rounds of Federal Guard Dog 105 grain ammo fired at 30 feet.

It is difficult to find any fault with the CZ Custom Shop’s Pro-Tek 1.  This is what a custom pistol should be; the design is well thought out, the execution in crafting the pistol is first-rate, and handling the end result is an absolute joy.  As I described it at the beginning, the Pro-Tek is “exquisite”.  These pistols are not easy to come by but be persistent with your dealer, be patient and yours too will arrive. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Walther CCP

The much awaited 9mm Walther CCP has finally arrived on dealer's shelves and I couldn't wait to get my hands on one.  I'll cut right to the chase and tell you that the pistol is accurate and completely reliable however, there are a few irritations with the design and I'll address those in short order.

First of all let's start with the operating platform of the pistol.  It is a gas delayed blowback pistol with a fixed barrel. The slide rides on top of the frame without any rails on either the slide or frame.  Fixed barreled blowback pistols generate a lot of recoil, which is why you don't normally see them chambered for anything hotter than the .380 ACP or the 9X18 Makarov.  The most popular way to make a fixed barrel blowback work with the 9X19 Luger cartridge is to employ a gas delay system by putting a small port in the bottom of the barrel that bleeds some of the gasses into a frame mounted under barrel cylinder.  As the gasses fill the cylinder they slow a slide mounted piston as it enters the cylinder thereby dissipating the recoil.  This is the same operation used by the excellent HK P7 and the short-lived Wilson Combat Advanced Defense Pistol (ADP).  Walther calls this operation their "Softcoil" system and yes, it does dampen the recoil but let me put that in perspective so that the proper expectation is set.  It lessens the recoil compared to similar sized pistols.  It does not have less recoil than a larger, heavier pistol such as the Beretta 92.  The end result is that because of the gas delayed blowback system the CCP does not need a complicated recoil spring system and because of the fixed barrel design the CCP does not need a guide rod either.  This allows for one large recoil spring to be used which rides around the barrel.  This makes the slide very easy to rack.  Those with hand injuries, arthritis or other ailments will probably find this slide action much to their liking.

As to other specifications: the CCP is 6.41 inches in length with a 3.54 inch barrel.  It is 5.12 inches high, with a width of 1.18 inches and a weight of 23.5 ounces.  There is a safety mounted on the left side of the frame.  You push the safety up to engage it and down for disengagement.  There is also an accessory rail beneath the forward frame should you wish to mount a light or laser and the sights are of the three dot variety.


The rear low-profile sight is adjustable for windage and the pistol comes with two additional front sights.  One is shorter in case the pistol shoots low for you and the other one is taller so that you can make an adjustment if the pistol is shooting too high.

One of the true design highlights are the pistol's ergonomics.
The underside of the trigger guard is generously undercut to allow you to get your entire hand on the grip with the highest hold possible.  The shape and texture of the grip is near perfect for helping you attain a firm grasp that keeps the pistol from shifting in your hand during recoil.  It does this without employing an aggressive waffle pattern that is seen on the grips of some of the other sub-compact handguns on today's market. All of the controls: magazine release, slide release and safety are in easy reach of your right thumb.  

When Walther first announced this pistol about a year ago many shooters, myself included, thought that this would be a smaller, single stack version of Walther PPQ M2.  While that is certainly what the appearance of the CCP conjures up there are vast differences.  The PPQ is not a piston driven gas delayed blowback operated pistol, there are slide and frame rails, and the PPQ does not have a safety.  There is also one additional profound difference: the CCP does not share the same light, smooth trigger pull and quick reset of the PPQ.  The trigger pull on the CCP has a weight of 5.5 pounds which is fine for a self defense pistol but it comes out of the box with a long, gritty pull and the trigger must but let out to its original position in order for it to reset. There is some good news however; after firing a little over 200 rounds through the pistol the trigger pull has smoothed out considerable.  This will probably continue to get smoother but it will likely not improve the lack of any type of an enhanced reset.

Disassembling and reassembling the pistol is also slightly disconcerting at first.  To field strip the pistol you must first remove the magazine and triple check to make sure there no live round lingering in the chamber.  At this point you need to locate the supplied take-down tool.
1. You then push the this tool in toward the metal tab at the top of the circle on the rear of the slide.
2. When the tab is depressed you push the entire tool into the rear of the frame as far as it will go.  
3.  Keeping the tool depressed in the slide you then retract the slide about a quarter inch, pull the rear of the slide up until it clears the fixed barrel and then push the slide off of the barrel.
4. Pull the recoil spring off the front of the barrel and you are ready to clean the pistol.

Here is the pistol disassembled for cleaning:

Reassembly is completed by merely reversing this process except you must align the piston, mounted inside the front of the frame, with the gas cylinder under the barrel.

The assembly/disassembly process takes a little time to master but once you have the knack you can do it pretty quickly.

The pistol is also accurate as shown by the targets below:

The first four targets were all shot with American Eagle 115 grain FMJ ammo at the distances noted on the targets.  The last three targets were shot at 21 feet with the defensive ammo noted on the image.

Upon my first encounter with the CCP the trigger pull and disassembly/reassembly process gathered worried me.   I am glad to say that I am now an expert with the disassembly and reassembly process and the trigger pull has smoothed out nicely.  Add to that the excellent ergonomics and great accuracy and I give this pistol a thumbs up.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ruger GP100 Wiley Clapp TALO Edition .357 Magnum

Ruger introduced the GP100 in the mid 1980's as a replacement for their Security Six/Police Service Six. The revolvers they replaced were built in the traditional Ruger "tough-as-nails" style.  While they were robust enough they came standard with rather small grips which required after-maket replacement to make them easier and more accurate to shoot.  The GP100 also went head to head with Smith & Wesson's "L" framed models, most notably the model 586 and 686.  The standard GP100 was produced in the tried and true .357 magnum chambering along with a very deep blue-black finish.  These were revolvers which were not only tough but impressively good looking.

The Wiley Clapp GP100 was a collaboration between veteran police officer and gun writer Wiley Clapp, Ruger and TALO a distributor that specializes in limited edition firearms.  This bullish revolver is produced in matte stainless steel with low mount Novak fixed rear sights and Novak green fiber optic sights up front.
These sights are perfect for people such as myself who suffer from aging eyes.  Lately when I stare down a front sight I frequent see two of them except firearms with a fiber optic front sight.  This sight arrangement is a life saver for those of us who are getting older.

As for other specifications the revolver has my favorite barrel length of 3 inches which makes it small enough to carry easily and large enough to shoot well.

The WC GP100 has an overall length of 8.5 inches, is affixed with black rubber grips with beautiful textured rosewood inserts and weighs 36 oz.  This is not a lightweight polymer revolver.  This baby is all stainless steel and weighs enough to make .38 Special +Ps a cream puff to shoot while making full powered .357 Magnums very manageable.

I found that this revolver likes the heavier bullets as shown on the targets below which were shot with Remington 158 grain lead hollow point .38 +P rounds  and Speer 158 grain Gold Dot Hollow Point .357 Magnum ammunition.

Here are three targets shot with the Remington .38 +Ps at 21, 30 and 35 feet.

And here is the Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point 158 grain .357 Magnum ammo shot at 21 feet.

Here's a final photo of the WC GP100 in a Galco holster.

For any revolver fan the WC GP100 is an exciting addition to the revolver market.  It has a very smooth operation, great sights, and superb accuracy.  This is a limited (but fairly large) edition that is tuned up before leaving the factory and is much less expensive than anything coming from the Performance Center associated with their major competitor.

Whether you are looking for protection from two legged miscreants or the four legged predators that inhabit the woods and mountains of most of the U.S., the Wiley Clapp GP100 provides the power and accuracy to solve your protection problem.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ruger LC9s in 9mm and the LCR in .22 Long Rifle

It wasn't all that long ago that Ruger wasn't really interested in producing handguns for defensive concealed carry.  Those days are over and began with Ruger's entry into the pocket pistol realm with their .380 ACP caliber model LCP.  This has since become staple in their line-up and it's popularity has yet to wane.

Today we're going to take a closer look at two more defensive handgun entries by Ruger; the LC9s in 9mm and the LCR revolver in .22 Long Rifle.

Let's address the elephant in the room first: am I out of my mind calling the .22 caliber LCR a defensive handgun?  Here's my response:

1.  I had my choice in shooting the LCR in .38 Special and .22 LR.  There have been a multitude of reviews on the internet and in the print media of the .38 Special LCR so I wanted to try something different.

2.  Although I would not recommend a .22 LR as a defensive handgun it is successfully used for that purpose many times each year.  Sometimes it's employed in a defensive capacity because the owner can't afford the more expensive centerfire ammunition, sometimes it's employed because the owner has an injury or other ailment that prevents them from using a larger caliber and sometimes it's employed in a self defense scenario because it was what the owner had with them when they came under attack.

Let's start by examining what Ruger gives you with this little revolver. You get a Hogue Tamer synthetic grip which may just be the best small revolver grip you'll find on the market.  It may be a little much on a handgun chambered for the low recoil .22 Long Rifle cartridge but it's a big help on the LCRs chambered for centerfire ammunition.  It's still a benefit in the .22 revolver due to the fact that it is a hand-filling grip that keeps the little revolver well positioned in your hand.  It will not move around when you pull the trigger like a handgun with a smaller grip.  While mentioning the trigger, Ruger designed a patented friction reducing cam for their LCR line-up.  The double action pull on this specimen measured a very smooth 11.6 pounds. 

My only complaint on this LCR is that the front sight is plain black.  It gets very fuzzy on my aging eyes and I could use a big fiber optic red pipe up front.  

As for the rest of the specifications, the barrel is 1.875 inches in length, the overall length is 6.50 inches and the height is 4.5 inches.  It weighs a mere 14.9 ounces meaning it weighs next to nothing.  The MSRP is $545.00 but you should be able to find it for much less that than.

The revolver is very easy and fun to shoot.  Below are two targets shot at 21 and 30 feet.

Please keep in perspective that these targets are only 3 inches in diameter.  That's pretty good accuracy for a barrel length of less than 2 inches.

Next up is the LC9s.

The original Ruger LC9 was a hammer fired pistol with a rather dismal trigger pull.  This past year Ruger redesigned the pistol with a striker-fired system and the trigger pull was vastly improved.  This striker-fired pistol is the model LC9s.  Ruger has also recently produced the LC9s Pro model which is the same as the LC9s but without the manual safety on the left side of the frame.

The LC9 series of pistols are manufactured with a glass-filled nylon frame and a steel slide and barrel.  It has a barrel length of 3.12 inches, an overall length of 6 inches, a height of 4.5 inches, a width of 0.90 inches and a weight of 17.2 ounces.  All of this makes it an easy-carrying pocket pistol.  You get a capacity of 7 rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber.

A much appreciated bonus are sights that are actually useful. This is not always the case on pocket guns.
The rear sight can be drifted right or left for horizontal adjustments. The MSRP on the LC9s is $545.00 but again you should be able to find it on your dealer's shelf for less.

This pistol is easy to carry and easy to shoot as you can see from the targets below.  The top target was shot at 21 feet and the bottom was shot at 35 feet.
Again, these targets are 3 inches in diameter and the accuracy in the LC9s will provide you the ability to adjust the attitude of any miscreants who misidentify you as a helpless target.

Ruger has many other offering for defensive carry and you can rely on the Ruger name for quality, reliability and value.  Now, go get one!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ruger LCRx 3 Inch Barrel

The Ruger LCR format has been around for several years and had been a hit with those looking for a feather-weight revolver for self defense or a great packing handgun for the trail.  Up until this past year the LCR line-up have all been produced with a 1.875 inch barrel and chambered in .22 LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum.  In the later portion of last year their new LCRx with a 3 inch barrel began hitting dealer's shelves.  For those wondering about the difference between the LCR and the LCRx it is all in the hammer, or lack thereof.  The original LCR  was produced with a concealed hammer while the LCRx was manufactured with an exposed hammer that allows the shooter to manually cock the hammer and fire the revolver in single-action mode.
The first thing I noticed when I saw this LCRx in the display case were the rubber stocks.  Their appearance reminded me of Bill Jordan's Trooper stocks.
Bill Jordan Trooper Stocks

Regardless of whether the resemblance is intentional or coincidental the result is greatly appreciated by the shooter.  A .38 Special +P can really bark out of a light-weight revolver.  But thanks to the Jordan-esque Hogue Tamer grips the bark has no bite.  These grips fill my hand and provide a proper reach to the trigger.  These may be the best out-of-the box revolver grips I have ever handled.  As the name-sake of the grips implies the recoil is greatly tamed.  
The second think I noticed when handling the LCRx was the weight.  At 15.7 ounces it weighs next-to-nothing.  The weight and the Hogue Tamer grips contribute greatly to the appeal of this revolver.  The shooting public is always looking for a compromise between light weight hardware and recoil management.  The 3 inch LCRx provides this compromise perhaps better than any other revolver on the market today.
The sights on the LCRx consist of a replaceable, pinned front sight with an adjustable rear blade sight.
Adjustable rear sights are not common on small framed 5 shot revolvers.  This is a nice touch as it allows the shooter to fine-tune the sights to match whatever load the shooter prefers.
Other specifications for the revolver are height of 5.80 inches, a length of 7.50 inches and a width of 1.28 inches.  The LCR series of revolvers also contains a patented cam that reduces friction and stacking when the revolver is fired in the double action mode.  The patented cam also practically eliminates "stacking" at the end of the trigger pull giving the shooter one continuous, smooth trigger pull.  The double action trigger pull on my revolver came in at 10.11 pounds while the single action was a mere 6.15 pounds.
Once of the features that I have always liked on Ruger's double action revolvers is their push-button cylinder release.  I have always preferred this to the forward sliding cylinder release on Smith & Wesson's revolvers as I find the push button on the Ruger to be very precise and intuitive to use.
In terms of accuracy, the LCRx gives proper defensive accuracy as shown in the 21 foot and 35 foot targets shown below:

The 15 rounds shown above and fired at 21 feet all hit center mass and would have quickly ended the attack.

The 10 rounds shown above and fired at 35 feet again would have provided the accuracy and punch needed to stop an aggressor.
One of the challenges to carrying the LCRx 3 inch barreled model is finding a proper holster for it.  The tall rib on the top strap and high profile of the sights do not allow this revolver to fit into holsters designed for the SP101 or similar small framed revolvers.  After much trial and error I found this DeSantis holster for a Smith and Wesson "L" frame revolver to fit quite nicely.

I prefer revolvers with 3 inch barrels as I find they provide a better balance and offer a little more accuracy than their 2 inch barreled counterparts.  
If you're looking for an easy-to-pack revolver that is smaller than a service-sized handgun but still large enough to shoot well then you need look no further than the Ruger LCRx with the three inch barrel.