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With 45 Presidents since 1789, many had a solid interest in fine firearms and often maintained and used extensive collections. Here are some of the more interesting ones we have found.
It should be noted that at least 29 Presidents served in the military including four of the first five. Speaking of which, the Father of the Country, George Washington, served not only as a colonel in the Virginia militia but of course also led the Continental Army and, while in office, commanded troops yet again during the Whisky Rebellion. His collection included at least seven sets of pistols recovered from Mount Veron after his death as well as numerous rifles.
As noted by Monticello, Founding Father and primary author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his 15-year-old nephew, Peter Carr, concerning what he considered the best form of exercise:
“… I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independance to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of your walks.”
The 7th President, Andrew Jackson, like Washington had also served in his state militia as well as the Continental Army and the U.S. military, where he rose to the rank of major general. He also reportedly engaged in as many as 100 duels in his lifetime.
President James K. Polk served as a militia major in the 1830s and for years his house in Columbia, Tennessee showed off one of his Colt revolvers on the mantle.
Serving in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War, Abraham Lincoln knew firearms and famously test-fired the Spencer carbine on the White House lawn during the Civil War. An 1860 Henry rifle, engraved “Lincoln/ President/U.S.A.” was presented to Honest Abe during the conflict. However, the Army, in the end, ordered far more Spencers than Henrys.
As President and popular war hero, Theodore Roosevelt– who earned perhaps a greater legend as a hunter and conservationist than any other American– had by 1903 led the New York City Police Department, been governor of the Empire State, was Assistant Secretary of the Navy and had famously helped recruit and lead a regiment of volunteers up San Juan (Kettle) Hill in the Spanish-American War. At age 42, he became the youngest president in history– a record that remains today, after already filling the position of vice-president.
It should be no surprise that Teddy moved to buy a specially-modified M1903 from Springfield Armory while in the White House, and actively used it in hunting for years.
TR’s nephew Franklin D. Roosevelt, while Assistant Secretary of the Navy during the Great War, was photographed several times shooting rifles while visiting military ranges. A Democrat who liked guns, his wife Eleanor maintained a New York pistol permit for years and in 1935, after he became President, he established a pistol range in the basement of the Treasury Building for White House Police and started an annual shooting competition that ran until the 1960s.
During WWII, FDR would visit Springfield Armory and shake hands with John Garand while the First Lady would open the doors of the West Wing to Soviet Red Army sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko, with the two reportedly becoming friends.
FDR’s Vice President, Missourian Harry S. Truman, had fought in the Great War and had two handguns with him in France, a Colt M1911 .45ACP semi-auto, as well as a Colt M1917 revolver, both of which he kept when he was mustered out of active duty in May 1919. When Mr. Truman first went to Washington in the 1930s as the junior Senator from the Show-Me State, he brought another pair of handguns with him– reportedly once owned by the outlaw Jesse James.
Remaining in the Army Reserve until 1953, he eventually was promoted to colonel, even writing to Bess Truman of having to requalify with handguns while at summer training. He also had a curious habit as President of inspecting the small arms of his military escorts.
Following on the heels of Truman, former Supreme Allied Commander and 5-star General Dwight D. Eisenhower had long been a member of the gun tribe outside of his military service. He reportedly carried a small .38-caliber revolver everywhere he went during WWII, maintained a pistol permit, shot STEN guns and M1 Carbines with Winston Churchill and Omar Bradley, and established a skeet range at Camp David which proved popular with many Presidents since.
While in office, Springfield Armory issued Ike a presentation M14 rifle, serial # DDE2, and Smith & Wesson crafted him an early Chief’s Special.
While a Democrat, JFK was also a life member of the NRA as well as a sports shooter and firearms collector. As a Senator, the WWII Navy hero purchased an M1 Garand from the Army. Once he moved into the White House he was later presented a vintage Spencer Carbine, serial number 44066, because of his fascination with the Civil War, by a delegation from the Springfield Armory, which is now in on display at the JFK Presidential Library.
A fan of giving guns as well, JFK also arranged for a Winchester Model 21 shotgun to be presented to the head of Pakistan, then a vital ally in the Middle East.
President Gerald Ford, who was in office during the Bicentennial in 1976 and who’s father reportedly slept with a revolver under his pillow, received a beautifully engraved .30-30 Marlin 336. He had earlier been presented with a Bicentennial musket by Ivy Moore, a Daniel Boone descendant, while on a trip through North Carolina.
President Ronald Reagan, who served as a cavalryman in the California National Guard while clocking in as a Hollywood actor, owned a personalized Colt Single Action revolver. He later accepted a presentation flintlock in the Oval Office in 1982, famously posed with a bolt-action hunting rifle on Air Force One, and later accepted a Colt AR15 from the American Shooting Sports Council at his ranch in California after he left office.
The post Happy President’s Day: Let’s Take a Peek at Their Guns appeared first on Guns.com.
Powering through widespread opposition, lawmakers in New Mexico last week forwarded anti-gun legislation to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The measure, SB5, squeaked through the Democrat-controlled state Senate earlier this month in a 22-20 vote while the state House greenlighted the bill 39-31 on Thursday. The proposal would adopt an Extreme Risk Fiream Protection Order program in the state, a so-called “red flag” bill that would allow courts to order temporary gun seizures for up to a year– a move that some argue is unconstitutional. In fact, 30 of the state’s 33 sheriffs opposed the bill.
Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton reportedly told people at a Eunice City Hall meeting Monday he would rather go to jail than enforce the law. This prompted Lujan Grisham to say local law enforcement “swear an oath and they don’t get to be policymakers,” defending the measure she intends to sign.
A former Congresswoman, the Democrat repeatedly co-sponsored proposals to restart the federal assault weapon ban and expand background checks while in Washington and even brought the head of New Mexico’s Moms Demand Action chapter to President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address. An assortment of gun control groups to include Everytown and Giffords have publicly endorsed Lujan Grisham and her efforts to enact new firearms restrictions in the Land of Enchantment.
National gun rights groups like the NRA are not impressed with the red flag bill, saying it “requires individuals to surrender firearms to law enforcement based on uncorroborated evidence that they are dangerous — further, the measure still allows for ex parte petitions, providing NO initial hearing for these individuals before a judge and NO access to mental health services or treatment before they lose their constitutional right to own a firearm.”
In many instances where such laws are adopted, gun owners have to spend big bucks to fight an uphill battle to get their Second Amendment rights restored. The Naples Daily News found that some 80 percent of those subject to red flag orders in Collier County, Florida had to face the legal system alone without the counsel of an attorney, which costs upwards of $2,500 in such cases. In Colorado, where a red flag law was just adopted, a woman filed a seizure order against a police officer who killed her son in a justified use of force incident in 2017.
At least 17 states and the District of Columbia currently have red flag laws of one sort or another on the books.
The post New Mexico Firearm Seizure Bill Heads to Anti-Gun Governor appeared first on Guns.com.
The Remington 700 CP (chassis pistol) is a new twist on an old classic. This new offering from Remington brings with it many opportunities for hunters and recreational shooters alike.
The 57 was an unexpected evolution for team Ruger and hit like a shockwave when it was released. I, for one, was also absolutely stunned by what Ruger has built-in terms of features and quality.
Despite some wind noise issues, Champion’s Vanquish Pro Elite is a great option if you’re looking to step up your ear pro game. The acoustic foam and sound suppression keep your ears comfortable all day, the speakers and microphones provide clear feedback about your surroundings, and the 6x amplification is handy in the tree stand.
Quality has never been higher and prices for a truly custom gun have never been lower. Build your dream
The post Beyond the Roland Special: Custom Precision with Nomad, Trijicon and Grey Ghost appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.
Weapons of Mass Destruction are nukes and chemical warfare agents. Machineguns are really just good tools to help you run out of ammunition quickly. The unjustified stigma attached to these typically forbidden tools is driven by the media and remains quite powerful.
I would label the Light Super line of shotguns as "budget" options. However, this does not mean that Silver Eagle sacrificed quality or attention to detail in order to meet this criteria! The Light Super is packed with high quality characteristics that make this shotgun an incredible value.
The post Silver Eagle’s Light Super 20 Gauge Over Under gets Field Tested: Full Review appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.
The purchase of a new gun is an exciting day. However, the shopping rarely ends with the weapon alone. A protective case for your new handgun or rifle is a necessity for traveling and transporting your weapon. Whether you are flying with your weapon, or simply transporting it to the range, the best cases for […]
GunsAmerica is partnering with our friends at Vortex and the Fisher House to benefit wounded veterans and their families.
The post Auction Alert! Bid on Vortex Razor HD Gen III To Benefit Fisher House (Homes for Injured Vets!) appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.
Today, polymer pistols are some of the most popular handguns carried in holsters across the nation. Lightweight with capacity options ranging from slim single stacks to double-digit double stack magazines, polymers have captivated concealed carriers due to their capacity, ease of use, modular designs and, most importantly, affordable price.
To be fair, perhaps the first production handgun that used lots of “plastic” was the Remington XP-100, a single-shot .221 Fireball-chambered bolt-action pistol based on a Model 40X short-action rifle but held in a DuPont Zytel stock with a funky one-piece grip and stubby 10-inch barrel. Debuted in 1963, it appeared on the market about the same type as Big Green’s Nylon 66 rifle. Of course, the barreled receiver is the actual serialized “firearm” in this case, and you can slip it in any other stock you want, so the XP-100 cannot be said to be the first polymer-framed handgun.
True polymer pistol history begins back in the disco era when bell bottoms and platforms were all the rage. More than a decade before Glock became almost synonymous with polymer pistols, Heckler & Koch had its finger on the pulse of plastic.
Launching the first production polymer handgun in 1970, HK’s VP70 — or Volkspistole — landed in the hands of Germans navigating the turbulent waters of the Cold War. With a striker-fired, straight blowback design, the VP70 came in a military version, the VP70M, or a civilian variant, VP70Z. Both offered a length measuring 8-inches and a 4.6-inch barrel.
Weighing 28.9-ounces, the OG polymer pistol packed 18-rounds of 9mm. The VP70 brought an impressive capacity to many used to the somewhat limited capacity of 1911s and revolvers. Even better, the military version brought select-fire into the equation with a 3-round burst option delivering a cyclic rate of 2,200 rounds per minute. Despite its notoriously long and heavy trigger, the VP70 marked the beginning of the plastic age — an era that would soon be met with its biggest name.
Ten years after the VP70 marked the introduction of serious polymer-framed pistols into the firearms industry, an Austrian engineer by the name of Gaston Glock launched a blocky semi-automatic, striker-fired handgun called the Glock 17. Chambered in 9mm, the G17 measures 7.32-inches with a barrel length of 4.49-inches. With a pebble-finished frame and lightweight build, weighing 32.12-ounces, the Glock also offered a 17+1 round capacity at a time when many law enforcement were still sporting standard-issue wheelguns.
Slowly introduced to the military and law enforcement market, it wasn’t long until Glock and his designs began capturing the attention of the concealed carry and open carry consumer markets. With an ever-expanding inventory of pistols in nearly every size — from the full-size Glock 17 to the midsize Glock 19 and even down to the Baby Glock, the Glock 26 — the company has maintained its familiar look while tweaking the design for new consumers.
Throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, Glock dominated the polymer pistol industry and it wasn’t long before other manufacturers jumped onto the plastic fantastic train. From Ruger, who launched their first polymer build, the P95, in 1996 to Smith & Wesson’s Sigma– the latter instantly dubbed “the SWock” in the gun community– nearly every handgun manufacturer now offers a polymer option with gun makers continually tweaking the builds to offer more functionality and features. Glock, who pushed polymers into the mainstream nearly 40 years ago, went so far as to unveil a new model, the Glock 44 in 2019, complete with a hybrid polymer-steel slide.
Innovations in polymer pistols don’t show signs of stopping as consumers continue to look to brands for their plastic fix.
Thinking about upgrading to polymer? Check out Guns.com’s inventory of new and used pistols!
With a fully-adjustable stock, integral bedding block system and a threaded bull barrel, the new Ruger American Rimfire Long-Range Target is here.
Billed as bridging the “gap between traditional wood stock rifles and full-featured chassis rifles,” the new rifle is described as exceptionally accurate due to the combination of a cold-hammer-forged 22-inch free-floating barrel and other features. Said enhancements include the Ruger’s in-house Marksman Adjustable Trigger which can be tuned from three-to-five pounds, and a Power Bedding system.
The speckled two-tone laminate target stock, similar to what is seen on the company’s Hawkeye Target line, has a two-way adjustable comb, adjustable length of pull with soft rubber buttpad, QD attachment points, and flush-mounted M-LOK accessory rail. The platform uses the commonly-found 10/22-style BX-1, 10-round rotary magazine, which means extras in a wide array of choices are available.
Threaded with a 1/2x28TPI thread pitch, the Long Range Target is suppressor-ready and has a factory-installed one-piece aluminum scope rail. Built for the use of optics from the ground up, the 60-degree bolt is designed with ample scope clearance in mind.
When it comes to specs, the rifle has an overall length of 40.5-inches without a suppressor attached and weighs in at 8-pounds.
Suggested retail on the Ruger American Rimfire Long-Range Target is $599.
The post New for 2020: Ruger American Rimfire Long-Range Target appeared first on Guns.com.
South Carolina-based FN America beat out a crowd of other vendors to land a whale of a military contract for new M4s.
The company was awarded a $119,216,309 firm-fixed-price contract for a mix of two 5.56 NATO-caliber weapons– the M4 Carbine, NSN: 1005-01-382-0973, and M4A1 Carbine, NSN: 1005-01-382-0953. The contract, awarded by Picatinny Arsenal on behalf of Project Manager – Soldier Lethality (PM SL), was made public on Thursday and stemmed from a March 2019 solicitation for which six bids were submitted.
As detailed by the solicitation, “The M4/M4A1 Carbines provide the Department of Defense with compact, lightweight weapons that fire NATO 5.56mm ammunition from a 30-round magazine, mount the latest generation of fire control accessories and enablers, and provide increased protection and firepower in close quarters.”
The guns must be manufactured exclusively within the United States or its Territories, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2025.
To see how FN makes M4s for the military at their Columbia, South Carolina facility, check out our recent factory tour below. At the time of our visit, FN said they made roughly 500 M4s every day. After they’re test fired, they’re disassembled, cleaned, then reassembled and given a 101-point inspection. Then, they’re literally dipped in preservation oil and packaged 50 rifles to a large wooden crate.
Gonna be a lot more crates over the next several years.