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The Best Rifles for Hunting Big Game

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 06:30

The best big game hunting rifles is capable of firing a cartridge big enough and powerful enough to kill an animal weighing several hundred pounds at various ranges. While there are many solid options, the following are all proven and will not disappoint in the field.

Savage 110 – $900

Savage’s reputation continues to grow for building affordable, factory production rifles that often shoot as accurately – if not better — than custom rifles costing twice the price. Hunters in the market for a big game rifle should look to the Savage 110 family of bolt action rifles, which are available in many specialty models, including the Predator, Bear Hunter, Hog Hunter, Long Range and many others.

An absolute favorite among the 110 actions is the new High Country. The features – spiral fluted bolt, fluted barrel, threaded muzzle, AccuTrigger, AccuFit system, and AccuStock — are all geared toward increased performance, comfort, and accuracy.  The thing literally looks as good as it shoots.

Henry Long Ranger – $825

While not many hunters may immediately think of a lever action in a top list for big game rifles, Henry is changing things with the advent of the Henry Long Ranger line of rifles. They are filling a gap in the hunting market for a lever action capable of shooting longer ranges with modern calibers.

When Henry introduced the Long Ranger lever action rifle in .223, .243, and .308, hunters were quick to embrace the platform for everything from varmints to medium sized, or even big game. With the addition of the 6.5 Creedmoor chambering this year, the hot just got hotter. Henry’s Long Ranger is the best lever action for hunting medium-to-large game at ranges only dreamed of with older lever guns.

Weatherby Mark V – $1,800

Sometimes hunters desire something just a little bit different than a regular old rifle or caliber, and Weatherby has things covered in that area. The immediately recognizable, glossy, high-grade Claro Walnut stocks with skip-line checkering define the refined Weatherby Mark V bolt-action rifles. Partnered with a potent Weatherby magnum chambering like the .257 Wby Mag, .300 Wby Mag, or 6.5-300—though standard calibers are also available – set the Weatherby apart.

Of course, the family-run American company builds numerous synthetic stocked models, as well as a pair of very appealing women’s rifles in the Camilla duo. The new Mark V’s come with hand-lapped barrels, an adjustable trigger, and a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee.  The six or nine-lug bolts, depending upon caliber, are some of the strongest in the business. Plus, Weatherby just completed their move out of California and into a stunning new facility in gun-friendly Sheridan, Wyoming.

Winchester 70 – $1,200

Few bolt action rifles are as instantly recognizable by both name and appearance as the venerable Winchester Model 70. The pre-64 actions, with their controlled round feed and especially noteworthy quality, always fetch a premium on the used market. The Winchester rifle has remained in constant production for decades, and most any of these bolt guns, however, will be a shooter and ready hunting companion. There are many new models available, from stunningly beautiful to completely utilitarian, in just about every big game chambering a hunter could want.

Browning BAR – $1,400

Autoloading rifles seem to summon strong feelings of love or hate among hunters. For those who love them and the rapid follow-up shots they allow, it’s nearly impossible to beat the Browning BAR. The gas driven rifles use a seven-lug bolt to handle everything from lighter calibers on up to the hard-hitting .338 Win Mag and numerous short magnums as well. Their detachable box magazine is a nice choice for hunters.

These rifles remain in full production today by Browning, though the earlier Belgian-made rifles are hard to beat on the used market. The BAR has been around for a hundred years, and if you can’t trust that kind of lineage in a rifle, then perhaps a semi-auto is not your first choice.

For a selection of great rifles, handguns and shotguns, check out the Vault and collection of Certified Used Guns.

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Categories: Gun News

San Diego Votes to Jail, Fine Gun Owners Over Unsecured Firearms

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 06:00

The measure is supported by local and national gun control advocates (Photo: Chris Eger/

The San Diego Council this week voted to pass a bill backed by gun control advocates that would require gun owners to lock up their firearms at home.

The Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance, introduced last month by City Attorney Mara Elliott, passed the Council 6-2 on Monday, setting it up for a final follow-up vote. The move could hand firearm owners found in violation of the regulation as much as six months behind bars and fines topping $1,000.

“This law will prevent life-altering accidental shootings by reminding gun owners that they are responsible for securely storing their guns for the protection of those around them,” said Elliott, a Democrat running for re-election who has made her push for strong gun laws a focus of her campaign.

The measure requires people who keep firearms in their home to store them in locked containers or disable them with a trigger lock. There is an exception for guns on their person or “in the immediate control of the person.” The potential prosecution of violators would be waived in cases of a lost or stolen firearm if the gun owner reported its loss to local authorities within five days of the discovery.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association is on record opposing the measure, submitting statistics showing that mandatory storage laws do not keep people safe and are ineffective in curbing gun accident, suicide or crime numbers. Further, the Second Amendment group argues the ordinance would prevent some from gaining quick access to their firearm when they need it most.

While similar mandatory gun lock bans have been the subject of legal challenges on constitutional grounds all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, they have been upheld, a fact that Elliot’s office pointed out to the Council.

The proposal was championed by Giffords and San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention, the latter a group of local and vocal anti-gun advocates that have been involved in the drive to bar the local publicly owned fairgrounds from hosting otherwise popular gun shows.

As for Elliott, since taking office she has spearheaded efforts to provide training to police agencies throughout California on the use of the state’s Gun Violence Restraining Orders. Such orders allow prosecutors, the police or family members to ask the court to suspend an individual’s gun rights for a year if they think that person could be a threat to themselves or others. Elliot’s office in the past 17 months has obtained 175 GVROs to seize guns under California’s “red flag” law.

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Categories: Gun News

Taurus TX22 Brings Plinking Fun to the Whole Family

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 05:30

The Taurus TX22 is a .22LR platform with some nice features. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

I have long wanted a .22LR pistol if nothing else just to have some cheap shooting fun for myself and the kids. It’s hard to beat the .22 platform when it comes to teaching kids the responsibility that firearms demand. The Taurus TX22 brings a .22LR design to the table and after a glance at a trade show event, I knew I wanted to find out whether it truly could be a family-friendly pistol.

Taurus TX22

The Taurus TX22 pistol caught my eye at SHOT Show in January 2019. I immediately fell in love with the feel of the .22LR pistol. It felt like a full-size gun in my hand. The well balanced and lightweight TX22 felt much like the Smith & Wesson M&P or maybe the Sig Sauer P320.

Another feature the TX22 possessed was 16 round magazines — two of them, in fact. Most .22 pistols are built as single stacks with 10 round magazines. It was refreshing to see that barrier broken. Having those 16 round mags prolongs shooting time, reducing the amount of time you’d spend stopping to reload. The magazines themselves feature a small circular pin through the follower that pulls down slowly rounds are added to the feed lips until it is full. A handy feature for easier loading.

The TX22 comes with adjustable sights and the ability to toss on a suppressor. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

The sights are adjustable, another welcome feature. There are two screws to adjust with a micro flat blade screwdriver — one for elevation adjustment and the other for windage. The TX22 also features an ambidextrous safety, with familiar positioning and function. Up for safe, and pulling down with the thumb puts the gun into the firing mode. For the many patrons to the NFA, adding a suppressor to your favorite pistol is a must. Rounding out its features, the TX22 even accommodates this with an adaptor collar needed to mount a suppressor.

On the Range

Shooting the Taurus TX22 suppressed. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

When I picked up my TX22 from my FFL, I had a box of ammo and suppressor in hand ready to head immediately to the range. A quick stop by my local shooting spot armed with 100 CCI Mini Mags was just enough to wet my whistle. It was the fastest five minutes of my life, if I recall. Those 100 rounds burned through the TX22 like grain through a goose. I was now addicted.

I departed from the range to pick up two important things — more .22LR ammo and my son. I knew he would love this thing as much as I did. Junior and I purchased an assortment of ammunition, a pretty good spread in my estimation. I wanted to try everything, from the cheapest bulk ammunition to the ritzy high-end stuff. I even bought a couple of different boxes of subsonic ammunition to see how the TX22 would handle.

The next few hours of shooting turned out to be some of the most fun we’ve shared. We tried every brand of ammunition I brought and went through magazine after magazine of plinking fun. I was ecstatic with the performance, after shooting 600 to 700 rounds, we experienced no major failures and little issues — other than some cycling issues with the 730 fps subsonic.

Junior taking the TX22 for a whirl. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

The pistol ran flawless — suppressed or not. There was, of course, a bit more back-pressure when shooting suppressed, which caused the gun to foul a little more aggressively, but that is no real surprise. The TX22 is balanced perfectly and fit me so well. The very mild recoil of the 22LR is soaked up nicely by the recoil spring, the gun barely moves in the hand when fired. Follow-up shots were easily made. It’s worth noting, the striker-fired TX22 trigger is very clean with resets pretty short as well.

The TX22 has a single magazine release, though it can be switched to either side to accommodate left or right-handed shooters. I initially found the magazine release to be a bit small and perhaps difficult to purchase with my thumb; however, I quickly withdrew that observation after shooting the gun. At no point during my shooting did I find it to be a problem. Mag changes were done quickly and without any issues.

The TX22 functions well as a varmint plinker. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

Speaking of the magazines, though I enjoyed the larger capacity the design is not without its faults. As I removed the mags from the box, the floor-plate of both was easily pushed off. The first time resulted in my magazine guts shooting out across the floor. When I tested the second magazine for the issue, I found it to be the same. The floor plate retainer seems to not include an anchor keeping them in place. Oddly enough, though, the problem never reoccured.

When loading the magazines, it is easy to shove the follower down well ahead of the cartridges feeding into the lips. This can cause cartridges to tilt inside the magazine resulting in an obvious malfunction requiring that the magazine be emptied and reloaded. This problem is easily remedied by simply pulling the follower down to allow the next cartridge to be fed into the magazine, one at a time until all 16 rounds are loaded.

Final Thoughts

The TX22 is a solid .22LR platform. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

As it turns out, the Taurus TX22 is everything I hoped it would be when I first held it in a Las Vegas casino. It shoots well, handles well and its function matches its handsome looks. It also brings some great features that were long overdue on the .22LR platform. The Taurus TX22 is a fantastic pistol all around, simply done right. The Taurus TX22 retails for $349.

For other great handguns, rifles, and shotguns, check out the Vault and collection of Certified Used Firearms

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Categories: Gun News

Colt at 205: The Best Pistols and Revolvers of Colt Firearms Over the Years

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 05:00

In honor of Samuel Colt’s 205th birthday this week, looks at some of the most enduring and iconic handgun designs to come from Colt’s Firearms over the years.

Samuel Colt was born July 19, 1814, in Hartford, Connecticut. By the time he died just 47 years later, his was a household name that endures today. At age 16, after being sent to sea by his father to learn to be a mariner, Colt crafted his first revolver and later credited seeing the sailing ship’s capstan in action as the inspiration for his landmark work on wheel guns. After many trials and tribulations, the 21-year-old Colt filed for his first revolver patent in 1835, and the rest is history.

Samuel Colt’s “Improvement in fire arms” patent drawing (Photo: National Archives)

From the early Colt Paterson, a distinctive folding-trigger design with a five-round cylinder that today is one of the most collectible of all rare black-powder revolvers, Colt continued down the path to producing the giant Colt Walkers which were utilized by the Texas Rangers, followed by the Model 1848 Dragoon, and Model 1855 Sidehammer models as well as the lesser-encountered Model 1855 Carbine. His two most prolific six-shooters– the Model 1851 Navy .36-caliber and Model 1860 Army .44-caliber — were both produced in numbers that reached past the 200,000 mark.

These  Colt Model 1851 Navies were fit for a king– or an Emperor. The set of .36-caliber cap-and-ball revolvers were made for Napoleon III of France. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Following Samuel Colt’s passing in 1862, his company continued in Hartford and eventually switched from cap-and-ball revolvers to gate-loaded cartridge guns such as the 1871 Open Top. The now-famous Model 1873 went on to be become best known as the Peacemaker or Single Action Army due to its adoption by the Wild West-era U.S. Army. Perhaps one of the most recognizable “Old West” six-guns, the 1873 SAA has gone on to be made in both modern rimfire and centerfire clones by the hundreds of thousands including the Ruger Vaquero and Blackhawk series.

This 1913 production Single Action Army is chambered in 32-20 and is in the Vault– looking for a collector to bring it home.

By the late 19th Century, Colt had moved from single-action revolvers to doubles and the Colt 1892 Army and Navy, followed by the Colt New Service, introduced in 1898. The latter proved so popular that over 350,000 were made through World War II in everything from old black powder “cowboy” loads like .38-40 and .44 Russian but the newer .38 Special, .357 Magnum and .45CAP, the latter being used in moon clips in the Colt M1917 revolver, an offshoot of the New Service.

This Colt New Service up for grabs in the Vault dates from the 1900s and is chambered in .45 Colt, what else?

Then, of course, are the Colts that came from the company’s relationship with John Browning.

Between 1900 and 1915, Browning teamed up with the Prancing Pony to deliver the Colt Models 1900, 1902, 1903, the Pocket Hammerless (in both .32 and .380ACP), the tiny .25ACP Vest Pocket, the rimfire benchmark Colt Woodsman and, of last but not least, the M1911 Government Issue which started shipping in 1912.

This blued Colt Gold Cup National Match from 1982, among the several in the Vault, shows the everlasting beauty that is John Moses Browning’s M1911 design, which has been a staple of for Colt for over 100 years. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

But of course, Colt is king of the revolvers going back to 1835, and they kept on top of their game in the 20th Century with the Colt Detective — one of the first great true concealed carry guns. Introduced in 1927, the Dick Special predated S&W’s J-frames by decades and spawned a series of handguns that later evolved into the Agent and Cobra.

This circa 1970 Colt Detective Special is available in the Vault.

Upsizing from the Detective Specials, which were arguably pocket guns for those with big pockets, the Colt Police Positive and Service models gave way to the “snake guns” such as the Colt Python, Anaconda and King Cobra.

The Colt Python was considered by many to be the Cadillac of the company’s wheel guns– and we have a wide selection. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Today, Colt continues its handgun line with staples like their assorted 1911/1991s, Mustangs, and Defenders while signaling they are returning to their original roots. In the past few years, they have rebooted their revolver line to bring back familiar old names like the Cobra and King Cobra, a move which Mr. Samuel Colt would surely agree with.

Happy birthday, sir.

For these and other Certified Used and New Colts, head on over to the Vault

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Categories: Gun News

How Does a Rifle Scope Work?

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 11:00


At the root of it, a rifle scope serves one major purpose: magnification of the target for more accurate shooting. Similar to looking through binoculars, a riflescope makes the target – be that paper or a game animal – appear larger, clearer and in greater detail than seen with the naked eye. This magnification allows shooters to place a shot with a much greater degree of accuracy, especially at extended ranges. Rifle scopes are especially popular for serious target shooters and big game hunters.

To oversimplify things, riflescopes work very much like telescopes with light passing through a series of lenses. Generally speaking, the more expensive the scope, the higher quality the components used to build it, and ultimately, the clearer and better the optic will be. Unlike a telescope, however, riflescopes have a reticle, also sometimes called crosshairs. That reticle, which is traditionally a “plus” shape superimposed over the target, is essentially the aiming point on the target when the shooter pulls the trigger. Riflescopes are mounted on the rifle using available mounts to fit the particular rifle or handgun, and then adjusted – or zeroed – to shoot at the chosen distance, most commonly 100 yards.

Different Types of Scopes

Any respectable gun shop owner will be able to help even a beginning buyer choose the correct scope for their rifle. The best way to start is to handle and look through some scopes. Observe the different types of reticles. Look at the turrets, the dial adjustments on both the top and side of the scope that allow adjusting the impact point for both elevation (up and down) and windage (left to right). While riflescopes with a 1-inch tube diameter — the measurement of the body of the scope — are most common, 30mm tubes or even larger are growing in popularity for their perceived increase in light transmission.

Scopes have many different power settings, and again, these are best decided by the type of use the shooter anticipates. While there are fixed power scopes with a single magnification, the vast majority use a power ring for shooters to adjust the magnification lever. For instance, many deer hunters will select perhaps the most common magnification, which is a 3-9×40. That particular scope will allow the hunter to see targets anywhere from three- to nine-times closer than they actually are. The “40” measurements refers to the size of the objective lens as measured in millimeters. Longer distance shooters may opt for something with greater power, like a 6-18×44.

There are scopes built specifically for hunters, others for target shooting, some more tactical than others, and still more ideal for handguns or even rimfire plinkers. Regardless of your skill level, there’s a scope that will serve you well. Though this has been just a very basic explanation and riflescopes get infinitely more technical in nature, this bit of information on how and why riflescopes work will set you on the path to more accurate and enjoyable days on the range.

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Categories: Gun News

Gun Retailers Take Illinois to Court over New Licensing Scheme

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 05:00

A group of small gun shops and the ISRA argue the new Illinois dealer licensing scheme has little to do with safety (Photo: Richard Taylor/

A group of firearm retailers are suing Illinois officials over a duplicative new state gun dealer licensing program the shops call expensive and unneeded.

Eight small gun shops, allied with the Illinois State Rifle Association, filed the legal challenge in a Sangamon County court on Tuesday, naming the state attorney general and director of the Illinois State Police as defendants. The plaintiffs argue that the controversial gun dealer licensing law signed by Democrat Gov. JB Pritzker earlier this year will increase costs past the breaking point for many and supercharge the price paid by the gun-owning public to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

“There is no need for this law,” said Richard Pearson, ISRA’s executive director. “The federal government already licenses gun dealers. All this does is create more red tape and increase the cost of doing business. We said we would challenge this law in court when it was signed, and today we are keeping that promise.”

The new plan requires FFLs in the state to fork over between $300 and $1,500 to the state for a three-year license. This compares to the federal cost of $150 for a three-year ATF Type 1 Dealer’s license which has a $90 renewal.

To be eligible for the new state certification, retailers must meet a long list of requirements for employee training, security and storage systems that meet the approval of the State Police as well as maintain an electronic-based record system. Now subject to inspection by state officials, dealers are also on the hook for fines of up to $10,000 for being out of compliance in addition to the loss of their certification if the sometimes-fuzzy guidelines are not met.

As such, nearly half of the FFLs in the state have reportedly pumped the brakes on seeking the new Illinois license and some have pulled stumps for other states or gone out of business altogether. Of the 2,351 federally licensed firearms dealers in Illinois, only 1,140 have submitted applications for the additional certification process to the ISP, reports The Center Square this week. The deadline was July 17.

“This law was never about public safety,” Pearson said. “It was always intended to have a chilling effect on the firearms industry, and it is working. There are now more than 1,200 local businesses no longer in business thanks to this law. It is a blow to the 2nd Amendment and to the Illinois economy.”

The lawsuit filed this week seeks a judgment that finds the new licensing act unconstitutional and unenforceable, siting the prohibitively expensive cost of compliance, the vagueness of the state’s enforcement of potential violations, and other arguments.

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Categories: Gun News

How to Make the Most Fun for a Family Range Trip

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 04:30

A home range gives you access to some pure American family fun, but there’s more to consider before setting up some empty soda cans and grabbing an old plinker. So, I invited Chris and his son James to demonstrate how to operate a home range.

At 12-years-old, James was more safety-conscious than most shooters. While he’s more involved in the shooting sports than most kids, his dad introduced gun and hunting safety to him at an early age.

Chris explained that he wanted to give James the same experience that he had when he was a kid. Chris’s dad taught him to shoot as well. “I started shooting when I was 10. I got my first BB gun and it was the greatest gift I ever got, so I wanted to start James along that path,” Chris said.

So, when James turned eight and got his first BB gun, they started on gun safety lessons. Then, he became more proficient with his BB gun, Chris decided James would be ok handling something with a little more power and accuracy. “I have a CZ 452 that I really love and I searched around and found him a CZ 452 Scout, so it’s just like mine but kid sized,” Chris said.

James showed off his first “real” rifle, this youth sized CZ bolt action .22LR gifted by his father Chris. Not only did James demonstrate proper safety in loading, muzzle direction, and firing, but he shot with incredible accuracy, ringing the steel and punching out bullseyes at 50-yards! (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

“I got it for my (ninth) birthday and it was probably one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever gotten,” James said.

With the new rifle, they hit up the range and practiced the fundamentals. “He wanted a scope right away and I told him ‘no,’” Chris said and explained he wanted James to learn how to shoot with open sights first.

From age 9 to 12, James practiced with open sights. As promised, though, Chris gave him a scope after he mastered the basics. “So, I lost my scope and we put it on his rifle,” Chris said. “We’ve had a lot of fun shooting with open sights and with scopes.”

“When I started with the open sights, it was funny, because I would look at targets from a long range and just — they would disappear — and I was like ‘where are they?’” James said, recognizing the need to master the fundamentals before upgrading equipment.

James bears down with the Ruger Mark IV Target pistol in .22LR. His practice with a proper pistol grip and knowledge of iron sights helped him ring the steel. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

For this demonstration, we set up a mix of reactive and paper targets, but a benefit to a home range is that it doesn’t always need such an organized set up.

Using a scope, Chris and James pickoff staged clay pigeons, quarters or whatever is available. “We have some competitions and contests. I can usually come out ahead, but on a good day he can take me down,” Chris said.

“It’s kinda fun,” James added.

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Categories: Gun News

Thompson/Center Grows T/CR22 Line with Truetimber Camo Pattern Option

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 04:00

The new Truetimber stock brings the number of standard variants of the T/CR22 to at least six since the rimfire semi-auto was introduced. (Photo: T/C)

Thompson Center continues to expand their T/CR22 rimfire rifle series by adding an option that comes factory standard with a Truetimber Strata camouflage pattern stock.

The newest T/CR22 sports the camo lightweight Magpul composite stock with a built-in Picatinny-style rail. Also standard are a green fiber optic front sight with an adjustable rear peep and a 17-inch button-rifled barrel with a threaded muzzle ready for the use of a suppressor or other muzzle device right out of the box.

The new stock choice brings the number of standard variants of the T/CR22 to at least six. T/C debuted the rifle last May, pitched to plinkers and those new to shooting. The company soon followed up with camo stock options geared to hunters and performance models while lifting the curtain on a traditional hardwood and Magpul composite FDE stock options earlier this year.

Compatible with most aftermarket 10/22 accessories, the modular design on the T/CR22 boasts an oversized bolt handle for easier manipulation and crisp trigger pull.

MSRP is $419, but we generally beat that here at For more information on the line as a whole, check out the below.

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Categories: Gun News

Young Guns: When to Teach Kids to Shoot

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 09:00

Working in the gun industry, people often ask me when they should introduce their kids to guns. What I’ve learned over the years teaching my own kids about the subject is that it’s different for every child. Through trial and error, I found that certain lessons help more than others. While introducing shooting to kids early helps, so does taking incremental steps so they learn and appreciate the sport.

Teaching (and Re-Teaching) Safety

For each one, I set clear boundaries. I stressed that guns are not toys and that they should neither discuss nor show them off to their friends when they visit our home. I made very clear — and never tried to hide — the destructive power of a firearm. At the same time, I taught them that guns were nothing more than tools. I didn’t just have one conversation with my kids about gun. I kept reminding and enforcing gun safety rules. I did this even with their Nerf guns so that when they had an actual firearm the behavior was second nature.

Give Them a Choice

After safety lessons, I let my kids dictate if they even wanted to shoot. I learned early on, especially with my daughters, that making them shoot or watching me shoot never really made them more interested. So, I’d always give them the option. Sometimes they were very excited to go but other times they weren’t.

I let them dictate whether they wanted to shoot or not. I learned early on, especially with my daughters, that making them shoot or sit there and watch us shoot if they didn’t want to never made them more interested. (Photo: Noah Alkinburgh/

Just like with sports and music, I found it best to let them choose. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. With that said, my oldest daughter has very little interest in shooting, my oldest son is interested up to a point, my youngest daughter loves to go to gun shows but not the range, and my youngest boy enjoys it a lot.

Use Caliber-Appropriate Firearms

When the child wants to shoot, make it an enjoyable experience. I find this lesson might be the most difficult to follow. When I finally have some time to shoot for fun, I want to shoot fun stuff for me, but my 12-year-old does not do well with a 4-foot long Mosin chambered in 7.62x54r or a shotgun. I learned this lesson the hard way with my oldest two.

My parents were in town and we went to the range and my dad and I decided to shoot some clay pigeons. My daughter was probably 8 or 9 years old and my son was a year younger. After watching us shoot for a bit, my son wanted to try. I explained shoot a 12 gauge was not like shooting the .22 and how to hold it and he shot it. He didn’t like it much but he was ok.

At this point, his sister wanted to try. I knew she wouldn’t like it but I didn’t know how to keep her from trying. I explained it all to her just like I had her brother. It did not go so well. It really hurt her. To this day, I wish she hadn’t shot it because she hasn’t shown any real interest in shooting or going to the range again. I don’t know if I did the right thing letting her shoot, but after that I was much m ore careful about the guns I let my kids shoot.

22’s are fun for everyone, you can get different styles, they are inexpensive to shoot and you can really work on the fundamentals of shooting rather than worrying about recoil impulse and noise. (Photo: Noah Alkinburgh/

Again, each child is different and will respond differently to different types of firearms and calibers. With that being said, .22s are a safe choice. They come in different styles, inexpensive to shoot, easy to use for teaching the fundamentals of shooting, have light recoil and aren’t the loudest. They’re just fun for everyone.

I can’t stress the variety, though. Take the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22, for example. The controls are identical to an AR in .223/5.56 but the rifle is nearly half the weight and is much quieter. Since my youngest son can keep better control of .22-caliber AR, he can do drills like I do.

Then, he also enjoys the Ruger 10/22. This rifle helps him practice positive long-range shooting skills. Shooting the lever or bolt gun .22’s is just fun and can be used to hunt in our state (where it’s not legal to hunt with any semiauto .22). Lastly, probably one his favorite guns to shoot is the Browning Buckmark, especially since I made all the upgrades.

This doesn’t mean he can’t or doesn’t shoot some of my other guns like a .243, or my .308 bolt gun, or normal AR pistols, but those guns do limit him to much more confined shooting. He likes to have fun. That’s the point, after all. And that brings me to my final lesson.

When using guns like the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22, the controls are identical to using an AR in .223/5.56 but at nearly half the weight, and much quieter. (Photo: Noah Alkinburgh/

Make Shooting Fun

Make it fun by picking targets that provide immediate feedback. Since some ranges frown on some of these things, try to find ranges where you can shoot fun stuff like steel targets. You hear the ding and know you hit it. But there are also more economical options.

Blasting tin cans from your recycling bin always brings a smile. Exploding target can be a real blast (dad joke intended) but I only use them occasionally. One thing I found that was fun was taking helium filled balloons out to the range, weighing them down and shooting them. It’s more challenging than you might think when they blow around in the breeze. Last but not least, full soda cans. Seeing them explore will bring a smile to almost anyone’s face.

Just be creative. Work within the confines of your range and think outside the box. When I was a boy I’d shoot milk bottle tops with my BB gun. Just don’t make your kids sit and shoot paper all the time. Some of them may really like the paper, but I promise if you get creative, they will enjoy it even more.

My son also enjoys the Ruger 10/22 and this rifle helps to teach positive long range shooting skills. (Photo: Noah Alkinburgh/

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Categories: Gun News

From the Vault: Mosin-Nagants Deals of all Flavors!

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 07:00

Over 37 million Mosin-Nagant rifles have been made on at least three continents since 1891 and, while we don’t have that many in stock, this super collectible bolt-action is a staple in the Vault of Certified Used Guns. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Probably the most prolific firearm ever made, the Mosin-Nagant is a military classic that has been around for over a century and we have a broad selection in the Vault.

Developed by Russian Imperial Army Captain Sergei Mosin and Belgian firearms wonk Léon Nagant, the M91 Vintovka Mosina  was a steel and arctic birch-clad beast that stood as tall as the Ivan who carried it – especially when topped by its always present no-nonsense spike bayonet. Designed to equip the largest army in the world at the time, the humble Mosin uses a strong turn-bolt-action fed from a five-round internal box magazine that could be charged with stripper clips and was innovative in its day, coming only a few years after the revolutionary M1885 Remington–Lee rifle.

The Mosin was an instant hit, replacing the Russian Army’s single-shot .42-caliber Berdan rifle systems and even older Krnka pattern guns adopted just after the Crimean War.

Chambered in 7.62x54R, which was also developed in 1891, the original Mosin-Nagants utilized Imperial Russia’s old Tsarist measurement system, with sights calibrated in “arshins” rather than meters, feet or yards, and the caliber measured in “liniyas” rather than millimeters or fractions of an inch. As such, the M91 was originally described as the “3-line rifle,” after its chamber bore.

How about this 1922-produced Izhevsk model, showing off an early hex receiver. May want to grab it now. (Photo:

With the first guns made in France by Chatellerault (makers of the Lebel rifle) in 1891, the gun later went into production in at least three factories in the Motherland. During the Great War, with the Tsar’s legions swelling from 3 million to 15 million men, domestic production fell hopelessly behind and millions of additional Mosins were ordered from Westinghouse and Remington in the U.S. — of which few were delivered before the Bolsheviks came to power and pulled Russia out of the conflict.

American-made Mosins were used by U.S. troops for training and, as seen with these Navy personnel, during the 1919-20 Intervention during the Russian Civil War.  Many went on to equip ROTC units and military schools through WWII. (Photo: National Archives)

Still, the Mosin, with its first world war behind it, was revamped into the more modern and easier to produce M91/30 model in 1930, with new production guns crafted to the updated specification and legacy models in Soviet armories upgraded to the same standard.

The most common Mosin-Nagant variant: the M91/30 (Photo: Richard Taylor/

This is the rifle that the majority of Stalin’s “frontoviks” carried with them from the gates of Moscow to the streets of Berlin during what the Russians still term the Great Patriotic War, known in the west just as WWII.

The M91/30 Mosin-Nagant model, which first went into production in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and was retrofitted to older guns in the Red Army’s arsenal, is among the most common Mosin that we have in the Vault, with over a dozen typically in stock at any given time. They are easily identified from the older M91 models as they have sights graduated in meters and a round receiver rather than the older octagonal or hex receivers.

Most Mosin-Nagant 91/30s and follow-on M44s have round or cylindrical receivers, and we have a selection to choose from (Photo: Richard Taylor/

There is a lot of variety in Mosin-Nagant models (Photo: Richard Taylor/

In the tail end of WWII, the Soviets again updated the then 50-year-old M91 Mosin-Nagant design, making the short M44 series rifle. Whereas the M91/30 originally had a 29-inch barrel, the M44, a carbine-length rifle, had a 20-inch barrel and carried a side-folding spike bayonet.

The M44, fielded in the last days of WWII. (Photo:

Most collectors in the U.S. are familiar with the M91/30 and M44 carbines, however, there are many other variants such as Sniper models, Dragoons, Cossacks and the M38 carbine out there as well.

Can you say, Enemy at the Gates? (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Another variant that has been making its way to U.S. shores is the M91/59, which are typically older M91/30 rifles that were given the M38/M44 treatment sans the folding bayonet. These are called “KGB” guns as their use and design, created in 1959 — long after the Soviets had gone to the Kalashnikov series rifles — is somewhat shrouded in mystery but is thought to have been used by KGB border guards.

The M91/59 are one of the more elusive models in circulation, but we typically have a few up for grabs in the Vault. (Photo:

With over 37 million assorted Mosins cranked out since 1891, the guns have been produced everywhere from France, Russia and the U.S. to Poland (by Radom), Finland (by Sako and VKT), Hungary (by FEG), Romania, and elsewhere. In Communist China, the gun was adopted as the Type 53 before the People’s Liberation Army went SKS and AK.

The Type 53 was made in state factories in Red China and equipped the Chinese military and provincial militias into the 1970s, with many given as aid to North Vietnam. Navy Arms and other imported thousands of these into the U.S. in the 1980s.

Still regularly encountered around the globe from parades in Red Square to Third World hotspots in the Middle East and Latin America, the Mosin remains in factory production in Russia by Molot for sporting purposes. Here in the states, even though the days of cheap crates of 91/30s fresh off the boat after a recently thawed Cold War seem to be in the rearview, the “Nugget” has proved popular with collectors and shooters.

History is just one click away. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

To check out our selection of Mosin-Nagant rifles of all sorts, head on over to the Vault and find a Nugget or other Military Classic of your very own.

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Categories: Gun News

NJ Dealers Must Carry ‘Smart Guns’ Under New Law

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 06:30

The new law requires gun dealers in the Garden State to carry a “smart gun” model should they become available. (Photo: Chris Eger/

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Tuesday signed a law requiring gun dealers in the state carry so-called “smart guns” in what some say is an effort to create a market for the technology.

New Jersey has had a smart gun law in place since 2002, requiring licensed dealers to only sell handguns with user recognition technology, but it has been in suspension as there are no such firearms on the consumer market. The bill signed this week by Murphy, a Democrat, replaces the dormant law with one that requires gun dealers to carry at least one model in their stores should they become available in the future.

“This legislation gets New Jersey ready for the increased development and availability of childproof handguns,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen, a sponsor of the new bill. “It ensures handgun owners have access to personalized firearm options that would be available in other states.”

The bill, sent to Murphy by the Democrat-controlled state legislature last month, scraps most of New Jersey’s 2002 smart gun law and replaces it with a requirement that the state Attorney General continue to report to the governor and legislature every six months on the commercial availability of the devices in the country. Once the AG approves a production model, every firearms wholesaler and retailer in the state would be obligated to carry at least one example for sale in their inventory within 60 days and have it on display in their salesroom, with visible signage referencing its features.

Second Amendment groups argue the move is a drive to create a market for technology that the average gun buyer isn’t interested in — one recent survey found that just 5 percent of gun owners who knew about smart guns were likely to purchase one.

The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs is critical of the measure. “The new smart gun law signed by the Governor swaps one legislative mandate for another,” the group said, adding that it’s an “obvious ploy to temporarily roll back the 2002 ban long enough to force an artificial market for the technology, before re-imposing the conventional handgun ban.”

As for the gun industry, trade groups have long had a position that they are not opposed to authorized user recognition technology being applied to a firearm or to the further development of smart guns – if it is not made a requirement by lawmakers. In addition, they argue the tech is immature and prone to failure

“First and foremost, there are significant concerns about the reliability of a smart gun, especially if the battery that powers the technology runs out of power,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president for government and public affairs to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “In one scenario, when the battery fails, the firearm would revert to a default mode where it can be fired by anyone, not just the authorized user. In this case, not only is the entire point of the technology defeated but it would also expose the manufacturer to serious lawsuits for a defective product.”

Meanwhile, national gun control organizations such as Everytown and Giffords hailed Murphy’s signature on the smart gun mandate as a victory.

New Jersey @MomsDemand volunteers stood with @GovMurphy today as he signed sweeping new gun safety legislation into law. The Governor’s bold, comprehensive gun safety agenda – including smart gun technology – has made the state a national leader in the fight against gun violence.

— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) July 16, 2019

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Categories: Gun News

Erma ET-22 Navy is a Great Collectible or Heirloom Pistol (VIDEO)

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 11:00

The Erma ET-22 combines the controls of the classic Luger pistol design and the fun of a plinker. Produced from 1967 to 1969, relatively few ET-22s still circulate within the market. While this gun could easily be a collectible or heirloom, it makes an even better range toy.

The Erma ET-22 ate through all the Aguila .22 Super Extra I fed it. The large gun combined with the small round made for a highly enjoyable performance. The trigger has a quick uptake and a nice clean break. The action was buttery smooth. The ergonomic grip paired with the fore-end made an extremely accurate pairing, even with just a front blade sight.

This Erma ET-22 is the perfect companion for any collector who is in need to a small varmint gun that could also be displayed proudly on the wall. For the full history on the Erma Navy ET-22, check out the write up here.

For the Erma ET-22 and other great options, check out the Vault and collection of Certified Used Guns.

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Categories: Gun News

From the Vault: Police Trade-In Remington 870P Shotguns

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 06:30

These 12 gauge 3-inch 870P Police Magnums all feature rack numbers from their former careers. Sadly, they did not come with donuts.

Likely not long removed from the trunk of a Crown Vic Interceptor comes a small batch of hard serving Remington 870P Police Magnums, now in the Vault.

For a generation, this model was the standard for many law enforcement agencies nationwide, from small-town municipal cops to rural sheriff’s deputies, big city police in densely populated urban areas, and highway-bound state troopers. Coming to from an Arizona police distributor, there are no indications of what department they originated from, but Remington says their serial number range dates from October 1997.

A decade ago, Big Green proudly announced over 10 million assorted 870 models had been manufactured since the pump was first introduced in 1950, calling it the most prolific shotgun in history. Today, Remington says this number has surged past the 12 million mark. With that being said, 870Ps are different from your classic wooden-furniture Wingmaster field guns and Express-series entry level guns. They use a shortened Speedfeed style forend rather than the typical oversized grip that most 870 sporting guns have installed. They also utilize a more rugged all-metal police trigger group, fewer MIM parts, and were produced with an extensive QC process. The 870P series typically use a parkerized finished.

Each 870P has a receiver that is machined from a single billet of ordnance steel and, due to its “Magnum” style, has a larger ejection port. Inside the receiver are double ejection bars that are ready to cycle through just about any 12-gauge factory hull you can stuff into the gun. While several 870P models were and are currently made with short barrels that require an ATF Form 4 to transfer (or tax-free Form 5 for LE), these trade-ins currently in the vault have 18-inch barrels with 4+1 round magazine tubes. While some 870Ps run rifle sights, these cylinder bored models have a simple steel bead front.

Another part of the allure of these police riot guns is that, although they were introduced in 1994, for most of their production run they have been restricted to LE and military sales through Remington Defense only — although the company says that may change for some models in the future. That means most 870Ps floating around are police trade-ins, a source of guns that is getting smaller every year as progressive city and county governments are increasingly mandating their local agencies send surplus guns to the shredder rather than try to pass them on to licensed dealers for resale.

Still, while these trade-ins aren’t pretty, they have a lot of character (did we mention the rack numbers?) and honest wear but still function fine enough to bust some watermelons around camp or tap in for home defense. Polyester pants, PR-24s, Motorola HT600s, and copstaches not included.

If these classic cop guns aren’t your thing, keep in mind we also have tons of other Remington shotgun models in the Vault in both new and used condition

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Categories: Gun News

White House Hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand Debuts Gun Ban, Control Plan

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 06:00

Gillibrand’s plan would ban many semi-auto firearms and their magazines, expand background checks, and institute “red flag” laws among other proposals. (Photo: Chris Eger/

New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, trailing in the polls among Democrats running in a 2020 Presidential nomination bid, debuted her sweeping anti-gun plan this month.

Polling near the bottom of the pack of more than 20 Dems looking to make a move on the White House next year, the lawmaker who took over Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat in 2009 recently showcased her gun control platform. In it, Gillibrand promised a mix of executive actions and a legislative push to get tough on guns.

“As president, I’ll issue an executive order directing the Department of Justice to prosecute gun trafficking through conspiracy charges,” she said, before expanding her advocacy for universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers as well as a ban on many semi-auto firearms and their magazines, saying, “Weapons of war don’t belong on our streets.”

Gillibrand also stood behind a move to repeal legal protections adopted by Congress in 2005 to shield the firearms industry against frivolous lawsuits as well as the Tiahrt Amendment, which maintains controls on firearms trace data. Police lobby groups in the past have supported Tiahrt, arguing that releasing such data may jeopardize ongoing investigations, could be biased and violate confidentiality laws.

Other facets of Gillibrand’s plan would establish national “red flag” gun seizure laws which allow for individuals to lose their firearm rights for a year or more following a request by the police or family members to the courts. Second Amendment and civil liberties groups have opposed such laws on the state level in recent years over constitutional due process concerns.

Gillibrand’s announcement was applauded by national gun control groups.

“We’re grateful Senator Gillibrand has come out with a strong gun violence prevention policy plan,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.

According to the latest poll aggregators, Gillibrand is polling at about 0.4 percent, placing her in a four-way tie for 21st place among the declared Democrats in the hunt for the 2020 nomination.

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Categories: Gun News

Glock Adds All-Black Factory Finish to G43X, G48 Models

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 05:30

Glock’s G43X and G48 will now be offered with a black nDLC finish on the slide. (Photo: Glock)

Glock announced on Monday that their newest slimline pistol models, the G43X and G48, will soon be available with an all-black factory finish. The models, which were originally introduced in January, have only been available in a two-tone format with a stainless top-half up to now.

Chambered in 9x19mm, both handguns feature what Glock terms as a compact Slimline frame with a built-in beavertail and short trigger reset. The slides on the new models will feature a black nDLC finish and a 10-round magazine capacity.

Introduced earlier this year, the G43X and G48 were originally released with a two-tone stainless slide over a black polymer frame. (Photo: Chris Eger/

“The Slimline series of pistols have been very popular in the commercial market and as a backup option for law enforcement,” said Josh Dorsey, Glock’s VP. “With the launch of the silver series, demand for a black version increased and we began to receive requests from various law enforcement agencies. We always value the input of our consumers and are excited to deliver on their request.”

Gen 5 pistols, the G43X, and G48 feature Glock’s Marksman Barrel (GMB) and are offered with standard (polymer) sights, Glock Night Sights, or Ameriglo BOLD sights. The new offerings will be available after July 22.

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Size matters. Apparently color does too. #ComingSoon #GLOCKperfection #BlackSlimline

A post shared by GLOCK Inc. (@glockinc) on Jul 15, 2019 at 11:30am PDT

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Categories: Gun News

Range Bag Essentials: What to Pack When Headed to the Range

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 05:00

Range bags should always stock a few handy items to make the trip a successful one. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

There’s nothing worse than rolling up to your shooting spot with all the wrong supplies or worse having to borrow some from neighboring shooters. Gun owners who know the essential supplies to pack before heading out can get the most out of a range trip. A well-stocked range bag can really turn a range trip from the ordinary to the extraordinary. This list will cover the must haves for any range bag.

Hearing and Eye Protection

Hearing and eye protection are vital components of any range bag. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Safety gear is a must and it all starts with hearing and eye protection. A somewhat obvious choice for range bag essentials, it never fails that at least one or two shooters show up to the range without this gear. Luckily, most ranges stock extras but donning a pair of glasses and earmuffs previously worn by someone else might not be your cup of tea. Therefore, it pays to stock your own pair in your bag.

A necessity to protect both eyes and ears from the effects of shooting, hearing and eye pro come in many shapes and forms. While foam inserts will certainly do the trick and offer an affordable means of protection, electronic earmuffs do an even better job to prevent that all too familiar ringing after a couple of hours on the range. Despite their improvements, electronic earmuffs do suffer a fatal flaw in the way of batteries, so don’t forget to pack a spare set just in case.

Eye protection, like hearing pro, comes in a variety of styles, to include various lens colors. The upside to this is gun owners can customize what looks and feels best for them. For those of us sporting regular glasses, prescription range glasses by SportRX offer a prescription-based alternative to standard, everyday glasses. Alongside eye protection, it’s worth it to throw a few packages of eyeglass cleaner into the bag to keep lenses clean from oil, dust and grime while on the range.

Guns, Ammo and Spare Mags

Proper ammunition should always be packed in with guns and gear. Here, the Glock 19 is ready to go alongside Federal Premium’s Train & Protect in 9mm. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

With safety gear packed, it’s time to throw in the fun — guns, ammo and spare mags, of course. You can’t really go shooting without them. Many prefer to store their guns unloaded inside a case, which protects the guns from scratches, dirt and debris. A space saving technique, though, is keeping spare mags inside the case as well. Using a single storage container saves time, too, since you won’t have to dig through the bag for the magazine.

Ammunition is also a must. Most gun ranges stock plenty of ammo, but often with a higher price tag. Save a few extra bucks, buy ammo ahead and pack it. Use a best estimate on how much to use and then add another box or two just in case.

Portable Cleaning Kits and Multi-tool

A cleaning kit is a great way to take care of gun emergencies on the range. A boresnake, CLP, brush and multi-tool allow for tweaks and fixes in the field. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

While most people aren’t cleaning their guns immediately after coming off the firing line, a small, portable cleaning kit comes in handy when things go wrong. Packed with cleaning rods and brushes, a cleaning kit can take care of minor issues like dirt and debris in the action. Paired with a small bottle of gun oil, a cleaning kit ensures that the gun runs smoothly during fire and if it doesn’t, well, you can get it back up and running.

In addition to a cleaning kit, a multi-tool is also a fantastic item to have on hand. Sporting a variety of useful tools in a compact package, multi-tools like Leatherman or Gerber provide shooters with the means to tweak accessories or even cut packaging while on the range.

First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first aid kit should include all the essentials in addition to a CAT tourniquet. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Every range bag should absolutely come with a first aid kit. Decked out in orange or red for easy visibility, the first aid kit should be readily accessible in case of an emergency. A good first aid kit should always include the following supplies: band-aids of various sizes, gauze pads, medical tape, gloves, antiseptic wipes, first aid cream, CPR mask, Tylenol, Ibuprofen and tourniquet.

In addition to stowing the first aid kit in your bag, make sure you know how to use it. First aid classes are readily available and inexpensive. It’s worth the Saturday and a few bucks to get trained so if an accident occurs, you’re prepared.


Supplying your own targets, and a stapler if you’re headed outdoors, cut down on costs at the range. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Targets are easy to come by and a must-have if you intend to keep track of where you’re shooting. Again, most ranges stock these but you can often save some money by bringing your own. Additionally, supplying your own targets means that you can customize them to your shooting preferences. From zombies to silhouettes to shapes, there’s plenty of variety in the world of targets. However, if you prefer to save even more money, there are templates online you can print at home. Colored paper and/or paper plates also make great DIY targets on the cheap.

When shooting outdoors, and with the permission of the range master, other household items can be used as targets to spice up a practice. Aside from water bottles and fruit, which make an impactful display when shot, balloons are also an excellent way to get outside the paper target routine.

Bonus: UpLula, gloves, holsters, mag pouches, belt

The Uplula by Maglula is a must have for gun owners who frequent the range. (Photo: Jacki Billings/


Above are the basics and anything more should aid in efficiency, comfort or fun. The UpLula by MagLula is a great addition to a range bag, helping shooters easily and quickly load magazines. Additionally, a pair of shooting gloves protects hands and for long days at the range may be a welcomed reprieve from aggressive stippling.

Bringing along a sturdy gun belt, holster and mag pouches to also spice up practice if drawing from holsters is allowed at your home range. These accessories give shooters the opportunity to practice drawing and concealment drills. At the very least, mag pouches come in handy to keep spare magazines at the ready.

Time to Pack Your Bags

Though we here at compiled this list based on commonly needed items at the range, it’s important to remember that our list is not all-inclusive. Based on your shooting location you might also need to tote along sunscreen, bug spray, hat, etc. Study up on your location and arm yourself with the items you might need while plinking at the range.

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Categories: Gun News

The 5 Best Shotguns for Home Defense

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 12:00

A pump-action shotgun is a popular choice for home defense. While some argue it’s because the sound of working the action will strike fear in the heart of a home invader, a more grounded explanation is that it’s an intuitive design. Just yank back on the pump, point it in the bad guy’s direction and the next move is on him. He’ll say goodbye one way or another.

Another argument to favor shotguns for home defense, though, includes price and variety. Sure, you can find a lot out there with tactical furniture and large magazine capacities, but those features run up the final bill. If that’s your preference no argument here, but a plain Jane pump action is a tried and true design and will do you just fine.

Remington 870

When talking about pump action shotguns, there are two that must be mentioned. The first is the Remington 870. With decades of manufacturing and variants adding up, there are more than six million Remington 870s in circulation, according to the gun company.

The home defense 870s are available in 12 gauge and with wooden and synthetic stocks, a matte finish or a special stainless steel version for out at sea, an 18.5-inch barrel, a single bead sight, and a magazine capacity of either five or eight shells. Additional features like pistol grips and tactical furniture are available.

And the Remington 870 doesn’t stop there. In the past couple of years, the design has be adjusted for a stock-less version, the Remington Tac-14, that, while isn’t categorized as a shotgun, it still fires shot shells. Additionally, the design — in the DM version — is also available with a detachable magazine. Price range is in the $300-$400.

Mossberg 500

The Mossberg 500 is the second. When it comes to pump action shotguns, you’re either in this camp or the other (well, it’s not really that divisive). Mossberg offers the model 500 in a variety of tactical models. These usually feature a synthetic stock, 18.5- or 20-inch barrel, and a blued finish. Additional features like pistol grips, tactical furniture and a variety of sights are also available.

Mossberg shotguns have their own level of quality that you can trust. Maybe you like how the actions glides or how the gun is balanced, but some might say they prefer the tang safety. Unlike the Remington 870, the manual safety on the Mossberg 500 is on the back of the pistol grip where the thumb naturally falls.

Lastly, Mossberg offers its own short-barreled gun, the Shockwave, that shoots shot shells as well as models with detachable magazines, the Mossberg 590M. Price range is in the $300-$500.

Winchester SXP

Credit for producing one of the most iconic pump action shotguns around goes to Winchester Arms. The Winchester 1897, otherwise known as the trench gun, became infamous among enemy combatants during the first World War. That’s because U.S. servicemen could quickly unload five deadly shots by simply holding the trigger and pumping.

Over the years, the design was updated and evolved. Now, the only way to get a Winchester 1897, or M97, is to buy used or find a replica. However, a more affordable option for a Winchester home defense shotgun is the SXP.

The Winchester SXP comes in a number of variations, but the Defender model has the essentials for home defense. The Defender features a non-glare finish on the both the metal and composite parts, an 18-inch barrel, and an open choke. Designed to fire both buckshot or rifled slugs, the magazine tube holds six shells. Price range is in the $200-$300.

Maverick 88

Maverick shotguns are attractively priced Mossbergs. Think of it as buying generic aspirin instead of name-brand Tylenol. At less than $200 new, it’s a working man’s gun. The Maverick has all the essentials to make the shotgun work as it should and nothing more. Price range is under $200.

Ithaca 37

The Ithaca Gun Company has taken a number of cues from other historic gun makers. The Ithaca 37 has characteristics of early shotgun designs by Remington and Winchester. However, unlike other gun makers, Ithaca has maintained production of the model 37 — or close to it — since 1933.

The Ithaca 37 home defense model is available with a 18.5- or 20-inch barrel, synthetic or walnut stock, chambered in 12 or 20 gauge, and with a magazine capacity of either five or eight shells. Price is around $800.

For more shotguns, check out the Vault and collection of Certified Used GunsFor more information about our home defense recommendations, check out  A Beginner Guide’s to Home Defense.

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Categories: Gun News

Springfield Armory brings M-LOK to SAINT Rifles

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 06:00

If you were holding back on ordering a Springfield Armory SAINT because it lacked M-LOK compatibility, that excuse just evaporated. (Photos: SA)

Illinois-based Springfield Armory this month announced Magpul M-LOK handguards as an option on new models of their SAINT series rifles.

Using Bravo Company PKMR slim profile handguards with an internal aluminum heat shield, Springfield’s four new SAINT options will add to their existing models which feature Key Mod. The new M-LOK compatible rifles are made in two principal variants — the first with a pinned Picatinny railed gas block shipped with a low-profile flip-up front sight and the second with an A2-style front sight/block. Each has a rear dual aperture flip-up sight.

Both of the 5.56mm rifles feature the same BCM Gunfighter Mod 0 adjustable butt stock which allows the overall length to vary between 32.25- and 35.5-inches. Receivers are forged 7075 T6 aluminum with a 16-inch CMV barrel which gives the rifle a 6.75-pound overall weight. The gun features a GI-style charging handle and mil-spec receiver extension along with an HPT/MPI Carpenter 158 steel bolt.

The rifles ship with a 30-round Magpul PMAG Gen M3 magazine and a soft case.

For those behind the lines so to speak, Springer also has California-compliant models with a Black Strike Industries featureless grip on a fixed Magpul MOE stock. These ship with a 10-round capacity and sport a muzzle brake.

Both the Pic gas block and A2 gas block models of the Springfield Armory SAINT also come in CA-compliant models (Photos: Springfield Armory)

MSRP is between $942 and $972 depending on the model, but you can expect that to be lower in the Vault.

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Categories: Gun News

Certified Used Guns and What Sets Them Apart

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 05:30

This Beretta is a nice example of the quality of firearms that come through the Certified Used Guns program. (Photo: Chris Eger/ is leading the charge in phenomenal deals on great used firearms that are looking for a forever home through the Certified Used Guns program.’s Senior Buyer Mark Sims discussed the advantages of the company’s initiative to sell not just good used guns, but great ones.

“There is more value in the Certified Used Guns and that’s because they are fully inspected by the professional staff at,” he said, explaining that when used guns arrive into inventory they go through a full checklist to confirm that they are operational, not in need of repair, and fully functional. Then they are put through a condition certification to determining what condition we would place them in.

Certified Used Guns in the Vault are inspected and checked by professionals. (Photo: Chris Eger/

“So, you get the full inspection by professionals,” Sims said. “You get certified documentation based on that which really is something new to the gun industry in used guns, somewhat like a certified pre-owned car. That documentation can follow the gun and if at any point in time that you felt like that you might want to sell the firearm, you have that certified documentation that says at some point it went through and here’s what they said it was operationally and conditionally. I think that adds some value to the gun, too, just for the gun’s history.”

Backing it up

While many shops or dealers can take a stab at inspecting or grading a firearm, Sims explained that a lot of what sets program apart is that they stand behind their offerings with a 14-day mechanical warranty, something that is hard to find in the industry.

“Go shoot it,” he said “Go make sure it works. Go make sure it operates properly the way it should. And if for some strange reason it doesn’t, you’re covered.”

If in the rare occasion you have an issue, has the customer support staff available seven days a week. Sims explained the support line is not your typical call center and is instead staffed with people who are not only familiar with firearms but love what they do, enjoy the shooting sports and are ready to take ownership of an issue. Further, that support is only a click or call away.

“It’s on the paperwork that we send and it’s also on the homepage, top right corner, customer support,” Sims said. “You click on it and then you get phone numbers, emails. In no way, shape, or form are we not fully disclosing our customer support because we are very proud of that. That’s a huge service to our customers that we feel is important.”

Selectively picking from the best

The true hidden gem of the Certified Used Guns program rests in the nature of the way’s buyers work. Eschewing poorly maintained guns, Sims explained, very few guns are brought in that aren’t in excellent condition to start with.

“We work hard at buying really high condition guns in the beginning but then we confirm that condition upon inspection and guarantee that for the owner,” Sims said. “Think about all the guns that you’ve owned that maybe you’ve only had the opportunity to go hunt with at one time or you bought it and you stuck it in the corner to the gun safe, or for home protection and never touched it again. And then you decide, ‘You know what? I’m interested in something’ else,’ or, ‘I didn’t enjoy that gun quite as much as I expected I would.’ Well, we are buying those guns every day, all day. And so just think about those used guns that are out there that are in fabulous, like-new condition, that you’re able to enjoy because they’re much more affordable the second time around.”

How affordable? Sims said the average difference between new and used models runs often anywhere from 20 to 30 percent, which can mean huge savings for smart consumers.

On the used gun side of, there are not only lots of examples of firearms in like-new condition but there are also lots of rare and unusual guns or models that haven’t been made in many years. Guns that maybe you always wanted and never got around to buying or couldn’t find. Looking for a pre-loved Barrett .50 Cal? Got it as well as its smaller M99 .416 half brother. How about a classic Browning Auto 5 Light Twelve? Got em. A Colt Python? How many you want? Been looking for a Cogswell and Harrison Light Tout SXS? Look no more.

A Cogswell and Harrison Light Tout SXS, from the Certified Used Guns selection inside the Vault

“We make a point to intentionally search out for the rare and unusual firearms and we buy those guns when we see them,” Sims said.

Besides the individual guns purchased daily through the site’s “We Buy Guns” process, which includes a pre-labeled custom fitted box for firearms sent in for evaluation, buys a lot of private collections, estate collections, and auction collections.

“And because of our process and how easy it is we’re able to buy a lot of those guns and we’re very fair in our pricing of those collections, customers are giving us high accolades in the regard,” Sims said. “They’ve all been extremely happy with our process and how it works.”

If you’re interested in buying a Certified Used Gun, check out the collection inside the Vault.

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Categories: Gun News

Reading the Wind for Better Marksmanship

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 05:00

Making adjustments for wind doesn’t have to be a headache with the right tools and know-how. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

Anyone who has shot in the wide-open spaces in the plains states knows that wind is an old nemesis for marksmen. Wind is one element that’s ruined more than a few shots over the years for many shooters. Therefore, a better understanding of this gusty adversary could help put more hits on the scorecard.

Wind deflection refers to the physical effect of air currents that a bullet is forced to combat as it travels towards a target. Wind can come from any direction and the effect on the bullet can vary greatly depending on air density, humidity, temperature and other atmospheric conditions.

Though shooting in the wind can be intimidating it becomes a simple a matter of familiarity. Instead of sticking to fair weather shooting, shooters are better off forcing themselves to get out there in the breeze and learn from it. Let’s take a look at the wind’s effects and address some tips on what you can do to counter it.

What Is Windage

Adjusting windage means making small changes to the point of aim. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

Windage refers to the correction for the effect of the wind. Rifles should be zeroed to the center of the Point-of-Aim. Then, wind is the obnoxious character that blows bullets away from that POA. Adjusting windage comes down to making small changes to your POA depending on how far away from the POA the wind pushes the bullet. For instance, if the wind blows your bullet 3-inches to the right of POA then you would aim 3-inches left of where you want to impact the target.

The effects of wind and other air currents are exacerbated with more exposure time. Simply put, the longer the bullet travels, the more the wind will affect its trajectory. Based on this concept, it’s important to note that bullets traveling faster will be less affected by wind than slower bullets, all else being equal. Regardless of velocity, however, the further away from the target the shooter is, the more shooters will have to account for the wind.

How to Determine Windage

Apps and charts can help shooters determine windage and offer measurements to correct for wind. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

Bullets drift with the air they are flying through. A marksman’s job is to know how much deviation they will encounter at a given distance or angle. There are many ways to calculate or estimate those offsets, including apps and charts designed to make the process easier.

Downloadable ballistic computing apps installed on smartphones and tablets offer a great means of predicting wind corrections in most scenarios. Some require hardware such as a wind-meter like a Kestrel, but then it’s as simple as inputting data to access corrections. Additionally, there are wind charts that offer estimates for specific bullets in a given set of conditions. Keep in mind they are estimates, and results may vary.

Calculating windage isn’t just about the speed of the wind, but also the direction. A wind coming at 90 degrees will have a greater wind deflection on the bullet than one that comes at a 45-degree angle. A wind coming from straight behind will cause the shot to hit high while wind coming head-on will cause it to hit low. When you compound the effects by the wind coming from strange angles it can get a little tricky and, to be honest, the best way to get better at it is to shoot and observe the results. Soon, you will realize that some shots require both a windage and elevation corrections.

Another thing to watch is multiple wind effects. The wind blowing from your shooting position might be different than one downrange. The wind up close could be blowing right to left, whereas 400 yards away it may be blowing left to right at different speeds. Again, sometimes the only way to know for sure is to make an estimation and just shoot. Be ready then for a quick follow-up shot that includes a better wind correction.

Holding or Dialing for Wind

Holding for the wind allows is the author’s preference when it comes to dealing with wind. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

There are a couple of ways to correct windage, the first and probably more common is to hold for it. If the wind is blowing from right to left, then hold aim right of the target and the wind will carry it into the target. The other common way to correct is dial a wind offset into the riflescope. If the wind blows a foot left of the target, then dial the equivalent of a foot to the right and then aim dead on. Much like leading a shot on a bird when shooting a shotgun, shooters must aim shots into the wind if the target is in a cross-wind.

Some people like to hold wind corrections using the reticle in the scope, while others prefer to dial the wind correction into the turrets of the scope. Which is better? Well, wind is fickle and always changing. Even between shots there can be significant switches in the wind. Using a good reticle with wind offset marks allows shooters to hold a precise value into the wind. Should that wind slow down or change, shooters can adjust simply by holding a different point on the reticle. Alternatively, dialing the wind into the scope turret requires shooters redial every time there’s a shift in wind. Often time, it’s easier to hold for current wind conditions.

Final Thoughts

Windage should be taken into account in almost every shot taken. When shooting even a .22 LR even the lightest of breezes could potentially blow the shot off the target. Distant shots are especially subject to the wind. During distance shooting, a slight breeze can blow your magnum rifle off the POA at significant distances.

Before shooting, take a good look at the conditions downrange. If there are signs of wind, such as blowing grass, it is good practice to analyze it before sitting down to shoot. This would be the point when a wind meter and ballistic app is helpful to determine how much windage to correct.

Whether shooters prefer holdover or dial, assess the wind by observing conditions or use apps, shooters need to be students of the wind. Pay attention to conditions and if a shot is missed or hit, learn from it.

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Categories: Gun News