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Taurus Announces New PT-92 Pistol Models with Walnut Grips

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 05:00

Taurus says the new grip options add classic styling to the full-framed PT-92 series. (Photos: Taurus)


Brazilan gunmaker Taurus this week announced they are adding two new models to their long-running PT-92 pistol line, complete with walnut grips.

The guns, clones of Beretta’s 92 series of 9mm pistols, have been a staple of Taurus since the Brazilain company acquired the Italian firearm manufacturer’s Sao Paulo facility in 1980. While the current bright natural anodized and black anodized PT-92s come standard with black synthetic grip panels, the two new models will sport grips crafted from Brazilian walnut.

Taurus says the upgraded furniture has “rich variations in the wood’s tone, depth, and distinguished grain patterns” to give each pistol a “unique, custom look and aesthetic finish.”

Did you say, walnut? Besides the black anodized finish shown here, Taurus also markets the PT-92 in a what they call a “Natural” bright finish.

Other than the grips, the new PT-92 models will still have the same features and specs of the legacy pistols including drop-hammer-forged alloy frames with steel slides featuring 5-inch barrels and a 17-round magazine capacity. Overall length is 8.5-inches with an unloaded weight of 34-ounces. The guns ship with two magazines.


In related news, Brazilian-made Taurus models could be in the rearview in the future for buyers in the States as the company’s U.S branch has officially begun low rate production on firearms in their Bainbridge, Georgia facility. The company announced this week the first “Bainbridge” marked gun has rolled out.

Big news out of the @TaurusUSA site this morning as they announced production is underway! While construction is not 100% complete, we are excited that the first gun marked "Bainbridge" has been rolled out! #industrialdevelopment #economicdevelopment

— Bainbridge Georgia (@BainbridgeCity) August 12, 2019

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Categories: Gun News

A Pilot’s Best Friend: WWII Remington Rand M1911A1

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 04:00

This 1943 Remington Rand M1911A1 is striking. (Photo: Richard Taylor/


One of the more interesting guns that have come through the Vault in recent months is a World War II-era Remington Rand M1911A1. The gun came to us from the family of a man who was reportedly a B-17 bomber pilot during the conflict. While the golden rule in used firearms is “buy the gun, not the story,” this Government Issue .45 certainly has a lot to say just by looking at it.

Remington Rand, not to be confused with Remington Arms, was a business machine company formed in a merger between the Remington Typewriter Company and Rand Kardex Corporation during the Roaring Twenties. However, as with other gadget and widget makers, during WWII they retooled to help crank out the Arsenal of Democracy and win the war.

For Remington Rand, this meant making M1911A1 pistols, the standard U.S. military handgun since 1926. The company received drawings, gauges and tooling from the Army’s Springfield Armory, which had been previously used to manufacture M1911s and converted their “C” Division typewriter plant and warehouse in 1942 to war production.  While Colt, Ithaca, railway equipment maker U.S. Switch & Signal, and even the Singer Sewing Machine company would produce over 1.8 million of these iconic handguns during the conflict, it was Remington Rand that delivered the most to Uncle Sam.

With a serial number that dates to 1943, the Remington Rand in the Vault has what collectors consider Type 3 slide markings, a very crisp “FJA” Ordnance inspector’s mark of Col. Frank J. Atwood, an Ordnance Department wheel, and U.S. Property marks.

Lt. Col. Frank J. Atwood was the U.S. Army Ordnance officer in charge of war production in the Rochester district of New York from 1942 to 1946 and both the Remington Rand and Ithaca factories were under his control. M1911A1s accepted during that time from those makers will have his FJA mark. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Remington Rand’s M1911A1 factory was located on Dickerson Street in Syracuse, New York, which is now a parking lot. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

While the M1911 was adopted before WWI, the “A1” series became standard in 1926. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Note the U.S. Property marks (Photo: Richard Taylor/

U.S. Army Ordnance Corps wheel is one of the oldest insignia designs used by the U.S. Army. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Note the condition of the grips and parkerized finish as well as the “P” proof mark by the magazine release and lanyard ring. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

When it comes to the barrel, this M1911A1 has one produced by High Standard as denoted by the “HS” mark on the lug. This is correct for late model Remington Rands as the typewriter and adding machine maker did not produce their own pistol barrels. High Standard, on the other hand, produced 5-inch M1911 barrels during the war for not only Remington Rand but also for Ithaca and US&S.

(Photo: Richard Taylor/

As for why the gun looks so minty, the story is that the gun was issued to said B-17 bomber pilot who only shot it to familiarize himself with it and returned home with the gun after the war, where it spent the rest of its life largely in storage.

Why would a pilot have a gun?

U.S. Army Air Force B-17 bombers flying through flak on their way to a target in Europe. At 25,000 feet, the temperature could drop below -60 degrees Fahrenheit but the Germans had their own way to keep things very hot for American aircrews. (Photo: U.S. Air Force photo)

This week marks the 77th anniversary of Mission #1, the first heavy bomber attack on Nazi-occupied Europe by the U.S. VIII Bomber Command, the England-based unit that was to grow into the mighty 8th Air Force. While that initial raid only fielded 18 B-17 bombers on a strike in occupied France, by Mission # 84, the famed Schweinfurt–Regensburg Raid — which was 76 years ago this week and coincides to the “born on” date of our Remington-Rand — the 8th Air Force sent 376 B-17s deep into Germany itself. By Mission # 817 in February 1945, the 8th Air Force was putting an amazing 1,437 bombers into the air over Berlin.

Over the course of the war, the 8th Air Force alone lost a staggering 4,145 bombers on missions over Europe. While aircrew were limited as to what they could bring along on their high altitude flights — for instance, most liquids were banned due to the likelihood of them freezing in the unpressurized aircraft — they were issued basic survival gear such as a special extreme cold-weather uniform, life vest, parachute and a pistol in case they had to “hit the silk” and try to escape and evade Axis patrols to make it to friendly lines, often with the help of local resistance groups.

While Navy aviators had to make do with various revolvers, Army Air Force aircrew were typically issued standard M1911A1s. The U.S. Air Force Museum has an example of one such gun on display carried by a WWII B-17 gunner that caught a piece of German flak on a mission.

The Remington Rand in the Vault came from its owner complete with its 1943-marked Boyt M3 shoulder holster.

The U.S.-marked leather holster that comes with the M1911A1 is marked “Boyt 43” (Photo: Richard Taylor?

The M3, sometimes referred to as the “flyer” holster by militaria collectors to set it apart from later “tanker” holster models, was often issued to USAAF aircrews and occasionally to Army paratrooper officers.

“England. A crew of the 91st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, relax beside the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Klette’s Wild Hares. They have just returned from a bombing attack on enemy territory.” Note the M1911 pistol and holster of the crewmember to the far right. (Photo: U.S Army Air Corps via National Archives)

In the end, while you can easily pick up any variety of 1911 clones, few are the real thing carried by the members of the Greatest Generation. Even when you do, military surplus 1911s are often “mixmasters,” with their parts swapped out over the years by military armorers and arsenals, leaving such pistols with a lot of character but little in the way of being all-matching. Meanwhile, this Remington Rand has escaped relatively unscathed and intact.

If only guns could talk.

History is just a clock away. (Photo:


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Categories: Gun News

ToughTested Releases Ranger: Ear Pro for Todays Shooter

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 03:30

The Ranger promises hearing pro with modern amenities (Photo: Scott Gara/

New Jersey based ToughTested has released a new water-resistant Bluetooth earbud aimed at the outdoor and shooting industry, aptly named the Ranger. They say it’s built to withstand the most demanding environments while providing outstanding audio clarity.

Product highlights include Kevlar reinforced wires and noise isolating ear tips. It’s proprietary EQ Voice advanced technology delivers state of the art noise control with advanced audio optimization, eliminating background noise while enhancing music and voice communications.

“In developing the Ranger, ToughTested focused on improving every technical aspect found in traditional earbuds to deliver over the top sound features that will withstand the elements demanded by those who spend a lot of time outdoors,” said Tom Buske, vice president of sales and brand strategy for ToughTested.

EQ-Voice Digital equalizer is pre-programmed to switch from balanced music to clear voice for phone calls and no app is necessary. Adding to its functionality, the Ranger is weatherproof and sweat proof. The Ranger has a five year warranty but should prove durable due to the Kevlar-reinforced cables.

Enhanced Bluetooth 4.1 offers extended range and its workhorse battery offers eight hours of play time and seven days of standby power. A rechargeable power stick provide an additional 32 hours of playtime. That’s a lot of juice for the squeeze, speaking of which, these retail for an MSRP of $89.99.

Stay tuned to as we put the Ranger through the paces and compare it to other popular choices for hearing protection for shooters.

The contents of the package (Photo: ToughTested)

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Categories: Gun News

Team USA Turns out Top Notch Performance at IPSC World Rifle Shoot

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 23:30

The World Rifle Shoot held in Sweden saw a number of competitors from all over the world. (Photo: IPSC)

Team USA turned out an impressive performance at the IPSC World Rifle Shoot in Örebro, Sweden Aug. 3 to Aug. 10 with the ladies of Team USA coming out on top.

Lena Miculek pulled out a winning performance earning a victory in the Ladies Open Shootoff. Miculek went head to head with teammate Ashley Rheuark in the Individual Open Semi Auto division. After a fierce match between the two shooters, Rheuark ultimately pulled ahead to take the win. Miculek earned silver with Lanny Barnes securing the bronze resulting in an American sweep of the podium.

“Words cannot describe my feelings from last night,” Rheuark said in a post on social media. “The last day was some of the most stressful shooting I have ever done and my nerves were at an all-time high. But I remembered the fundamentals, prayed to God and shot a phenomenal last day.”

Rheuark took home gold in the Ladies Individual Open Semi Auto Division. (Photo: Ashley Rheuark via Instagram)

The Ladies Open Team, consisting of Miculek, Rheuark, Barnes and Becky Yackley, also defended their Team World Title taking first place in the teamed stages leading ahead of Russia, who took second and Finland who took third.

Lena Miculek wasn’t the only member of the Miculek clan to take a win. Her father, Jerry, secured the Open Semi Auto Super Senior division victory. Junior shooter Riley Kropff took the top youth spot representing the U.S. as the gold medal winner in the Open Semi Auto Junior division.

In the men’s team shoot, Finland took first while the U.S. secured the second place win with Russia placing third. The men’s team consisted of Tim Yackley, Scott Greene, Joe Farewell and Brian Nelson. “At the end of the day, it was a tremendous honor to represent the USA and push our team to a silver medal,” Farewell said. “Each of my teammates performed well, but we won’t be satisfied until we get the gold.”

Youth shooter Riley Kropff took first in the Junior Division. (Photo: IPSC)

The IPSC World Rifle Shoot consisted of 30 courses of fire over five days of competition with 650 athletes from 37 countries. Stages were run by 60 international range officers in addition to 47 national range officers representing 10 regions, according to the IPSC. The city of Örebro, 142 miles from Stockholm, hosted the event at the Villingsberg shooting range.

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Categories: Gun News

Popular Rifle Builds for Cloners

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:00

Maybe you have heard of a group of individuals in the firearms community known as “cloners.” Cloners build rifles that resemble actual service rifles. Sometimes these clone rifles very accurately represent the actual platform. Each component is carefully selected to build the most authentic looking rifle. Other times they are simply an informal example of an actual military rifle and are just an inspiration for a unique project. It all depends on the cloner’s end goal.

The three most common clones are the M4, MK12, and MK18. These frequently copied models have not only been used in recent wars but are also seen frequently in the entertainment industry such as movies and TV shows. All are proven platforms with their own iconic look and characteristics. It is not all for show though. The military have designed these platforms to fulfill specific roles.

These frequently copied models have not only been used in recent wars but are also seen frequently in the entertainment industry such as movies and TV shows. (Photo: Ben Brown/

The M4 needs no introduction. This is a standard issue service rifle for many soldiers and the model has gone through a number of reiterations. Branches of the military have elected to choose a variety of their own parts such as stocks, fore-ends, lights, lasers, etc. but for the most part the M4 is traditionally built on a Colt receiver with a 14.5-inch barrel and fixed front sight post. Iron sights, red dot (Aimpoint or EOTech) or ACOG will usually be the sighting system on top. This is a rifle that can fill almost any role and is a good beginner project for a first-time cloner.

For some cloning is a challenge to build a rifle that is exactly to spec but for others it is a fun way to remember our history and maybe put their own personal twist on it. (Photo: Ben Brown/

Sometimes you want a rile with precision. The MK12 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) was designed to be more effective at further distances. This rifle chambered in 5.56 is often cloned but does use some unique parts that may require some in depth searching if you want an accurate clone. It has gone through a number of variations but usually you will find these tack drivers with 2.5-10x variable scopes, 18-inch free floated barrels that sit under a 12-inch handguard. A great place to source MK12 components is from Precision Reflex Inc.

All are proven platforms with their own iconic look and characteristics. It is not all for show though. The military have designed these platforms to fulfill specific roles. (Photo: Ben Brown/

The most popular of the three clones right now is the MK18 chambered in 5.56. Since the MK18 uses a 10.3-inch barrel you will find clones that are in “pistol” form but if you are looking to be as authentic as possible then you will need to build an SBR. A Daniel Defense MK18 is a pretty easy way to knock out a large portion of a MK18 clone. These guns were originally desired for “close quarter battle (CQB)” but have also been found in other roles because of their compact size. These shorties receive a lot of publicity due to a large portion of the Special Operations Community using them.

For some cloning is a challenge to build a rifle that is exactly to spec but for others it is a fun way to remember our history and maybe put their own personal twist on it. I would recommend if you start a clone build to not get wrapped up in the specifics of every piece. Some of these components can be extremely rare and take years to find. Above all else, have fun with it and build something you will enjoy shooting.

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Categories: Gun News

Cap & Ball Revolver Redux: Remington New Army v. Ruger Old Army

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 05:00

The top revolver is a circa 1865 martially-marked Remington New Army while the “identical cousin” below it is a 1999-produced Ruger Old Army. (Photo: Chris Eger/


While some argue that Sturm, Ruger’s Old Army cap-and-ball revolver is a modernization of the Civil War-era Remington New Army, they aren’t totally wrong.

The Original “New” Army

In all, the Federal government contracted for no less than 18 different revolver types during the Civil War with the two most numerous being the six-shot Colt Army .44 (129,730 purchased) followed by Remington’s New Army (125,314) in the same caliber. This impressive number doesn’t take into account the thousands of handguns purchased by private soldiers and officers. The iconic Remington wheel gun had an 8-inch barrel and, unlike the Colt, a solid top strap, making it one of the most powerful and rugged performers of its day.

An unidentified cavalry soldier in Union frock coat with Remington New Model Army revolver. Please excuse the poor trigger discipline. (Photo: Library of Congress)

Firing a 260-grain projectile over a 30-grain black powder charge, it remained popular on the commercial market well into the mid-1870s when cartridge revolvers became all the rage. Still, other copies were sold to purchasing agents working for the armies of the Tsar, the Mikado of old Japan, the King of England, and the Republic of Mexico.

The Rebooted “Old” Army

Building on the success of his line of single-action cowboy guns, such as the Blackhawk — which in itself was a revamped clone of the Colt 1873, Bill Ruger took the proven Blackhawk action and rolled it into the company’s first black powder revolver. Dubbed the Old Army, the updated hogleg looks a lot like the common Civil War-era .44 smoke wagon but internally is very different. Even looking past the cosmetic similarities between the Old Army and its New Army predecessor, the modern Ruger ditched Remington’s brass trigger guard and wonky mid-19th Century ironwork metallurgy for an all-steel construction. This makes the Ruger perhaps one of the strongest black powder revolvers to ever make it into production.

If you look closely at the Old Army, you will note that it has the flat-top and three-screw arrangement such as the original Ruger Blackhawks. Also, the Ruger uses a rounded barrel with much better sights rather than Remington’s octagonal barrel. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Note the difference in thickness between cylinder walls on the Ruger, left. While Ruger recommends that Old Army users start with a 20-grain load of FFFg black powder when firing a pure lead .457-inch diameter ball, others often step that up or down a bit. I prefer to use a 30-grain load over a 143-grain Speer .457 ball. When swapping the black powder cylinder out, aftermarket conversion cylinders by companies such as Kirst Konverter and others allow the more modern wheel gun to fire .45 Long Colt and .45 Schofield black powder “cowboy” cartridges. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Other safety enhancements on the Old Army included the ability to be carried safely with six rounds in the chamber as the Ruger has safety recesses between each chamber for resting the hammer. Further, as the hammer nose is designed to clear the uncapped nipples, it can be dry fired.

Note the safety recesses and stainless steel nipples set deeply into the massive cylinder on the Ruger Old Army model, left, compared to the vintage Remington New Army, right. This helps prevent bits of fired percussion caps from working their way into the mechanism or behind the cylinder and creating a jam. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The top straps of the Old Army, left, and New Army, right, are very different, with the Ruger having rear sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation. While a fixed sight Old Army model was produced, zeroed at 25 yards, the adjustable sight variant is more common. Both guns are exceedingly accurate, with the Ruger having a distinct advantage when it comes to sights. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Note the extra steel present in the frame of the Old Army, right, versus the Civil War-era New Army. (Photo: Chris Eger/

While the original Remington cavalry revolver sported an 8-inch barrel, most Ruger Old Armies use a 7.5-inch barrel, with an overall length in both cases pushing well-past the one-foot mark. Some Old Army’s were made with a downright snub-nosed 5.5-inch barrel but they are not as popular. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The sturdy loading lever/ramrod assembly on the Ruger is much beefier than the setup used by original New Army. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Ruger used the rear frame, sights, coil mainspring, and trigger system of his already proven Blackhawk series single-action revolver, while roughly everything from the cylinder forward was new design drawing inspiration from the classic Remington of yesteryear. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Regardless, both models fill the hands and are akin in size to a Ruger Super Redhawk. Weight on the Old Army as shown is 50.5-ounces, while the Remington goes 44.6-ounces even with a marginally longer barrel, a testament to the extra steel used in the Ruger. (Photo: Chris Eger/

While the author’s Old Army is blued, among the most common models are stainless examples which shrug off the soap-and-water cleanup required by black power guns much better. Odds are, if stainless models would have been made available to Gen. Grant in 1863, he would have chosen them.

Ruger kept the Old Army in steady production from 1972 through 2008, a 36-year run. This makes those big Ruger smoke generators increasingly collectible — another trait shared with the more vintage New Army series.

We currently have a selection of certified used stainless Ruger Old Army models in the Vault, all with 7.5-inch barrels and adjustable sights.

This Ruger Old Army dates to 1986 and is in good condition with aftermarket faux ivory steer head grips.

This circa 1990 model Old Army has the original rosewood factory panels.

This 1995 model Old Army also has the standard rosewood grips and comes with the original box.

No matter which Old Army you choose, know that you are getting one of the most superb black powder cap-and-ball revolvers ever made. Also, if you have one to sell, we are always looking.


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Categories: Gun News

Smith & Wesson Brings Back Model 648 .22 Magnum Revolver

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 04:30

The Model 648 has been out of production since 2005 but is now back and ready for work. (Photos: S&W)

Massachusetts-based Smith & Wesson on Tuesday announced they are bringing back a celebrated rimfire magnum, the Model 648 revolver, to their catalog.

The K-frame .22WMR-caliber Model 648 first appeared in Big Blue’s lineup in 1989 sporting a full-lug barrel and stainless steel construction. Retired since 2005, the newest generation of the model still brings a 6-inch barrel to the party, which translates to a very commanding 11.1-inch overall length. Weight is 46.2-ounces in the eight-shot .22 Mag, making the gun attractive for both those looking to fill pots and smoke targets.

“Built on the medium K-frame, the Model 648 is back in production to satisfy the needs of handgun owners who are looking to achieve greater distance while hunting or target shooting,” said Jan Mladek, GM of Smith & Wesson brands.

While Smith & Wesson makes a variety of .22LR revolvers, such as the Model 317 Kit Gun as well as the very similar Model 63, the Model 43 snub, the Model 17 Masterpiece and the vaunted Model 617, the 648 is the company’s only K-framed .22 Magnum wheel gun.

MSRP for the Model 648 is $749 and it comes standard with a Patridge front sight and adjustable rear, as well as synthetic finger groove grips.

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Categories: Gun News

Ammunition: From Rimfire Rounds to Centerfire and Everything in Between

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 10:00

There are several types of ammunition styles designed for various purposes.(Photo: Jacki Billings/

Looking at a shelf full of handgun ammunition can feel like a cryptic message — .45 ACP 200-grain SWC, 9mm PARA 115-grain HAP, .357 Mag 158-grain HP+P, FMJ, LRN, FMJ just to name a few. Knowing what to look for can change the quality of accuracy and firearm function.

Firearms companies, like the military, employ acronyms and abbreviations as descriptors to fit on boxes. With so many different calibers, bullet styles and load combinations, it can boggle the mind. What is necessary for home protection? At, we can help with that enigma stigma of ammunition to help maximize handgun potential.

Rimfire Rounds

The .22 Long Rifle rimfire is one of the earliest forms of self-contained smokeless cartridges. One of the oldest cartridge options, it was developed by J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company in 1887. This simple little cartridge has been the jumping platform into the shooting sports for many.

Design-wise, the rimfire’s priming compound sits in a minuscule space in the interior rim of the cartridge. When the hammer or firing pin strikes the edge of the rim, it crushes the rim and ignites the compound. This results in the firing of the powder charge. Bullet options for the .22 LR are varied with uncoated lead, copper-coated lead and hollow point variations. Bullet weights start at 20 grains up to 60 grains in the subsonic.

.22 LR is a staple among many gun owners’ collection. (Photo:

Small and affordable, rimfire brings with it low velocity, low recoil and low muzzle report making it a great option for new shooters. Highly regarded as a competitive cartridge, it is used in national, international and Olympic competitions.

Aguila Ammunition offers a neat little take on the .22 LR platform with a round called the Colibri. With a snail’s pace velocity of 420 feet-per-second, it works well for stealthy dispatch of bird feeder burglars. Other .22 LR options are subsonic and will have a decent sound report without a suppressor. Standard velocity, hypervelocity, CB, short and target grade options are all seen in the .22 LR line up.

Centerfire Cartridge

Uncoated or bare lead ammunition is not just for the .22 LR, enter modern centerfire cartridge ammunition. Unlike the rimfire cartridge, the centerfire cartridge uses boxer style primers placed in the middle of the case head. When the hammer or firing pin of the firearm strikes the primer, it crushes the primer wall against the anvil in the middle of the primer. This action causes a flame igniting the powder.

There are advantages of a boxer-primed centerfire cartridge. Capable of being reloaded multiple times after the first firing, centerfire pistol ammunition comes in a plethora of calibers. Most common are the 9mm, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .40 S&W, .45 Long Colt, .45 ACP and most recently 10mm to name a few.

Centerfire rounds can be found working alongside many modern pistols. (Photo:

Pistol shooters will most often find uncoated or bare lead bullets in centerfire cartridges. These come in many different styles and can be purchased most commonly in lead round nose (LRN), lead wadcutter (LWC), lead semi-wadcutter (LSWC) and lead hollow point (LHP). Lead ammunition is generally the most affordable of pistol ammunitions making for great plinking and hunting ammunition. Often this style ammunition is used in Cowboy Action, IPSC and USPSA events as the soft lead splatters nicely on steel targets and cuts through cardboard with little resistance. Powder-coated and copper-coated lead bullets are also gaining steam among gun owners with the coating offering protection to the barrel rifling with little to no leading. It’s worth noting that coated bullets react similarly to targets as bare lead bullets.

Wadcutter Ammunition

Wadcutter ammunition or WC is a great round for target applications. The squared edges help to cut the paper cleanly giving clear marks for maximum scores. It is also used in heavy bullet combinations like magnum caliber pistols for maximum energy dispersion and penetration in game.

This style of bullet can be problematic for some semi-automatic pistols, though. The sharp edge of a full wadcutter tends to catch and not feed properly in the chamber. An alternative for the wadcutter for semi-automatic pistols is the semi-wadcutter bullet or SWC. This style bullet is used for target, cowboy action, IPSC and USPSA competition because it offers great accuracy and feeding from a magazine of a semi-auto pistol. The SWC has a rebated cone shape from the full diameter of the bullet and atop the cone is a blunt flat point.

Semi-wadcutter bullets come in full metal jacket and jacketed soft point bullets that work great for hunting as well as hollow points in both jacketed and semi-jacketed.

Full Metal Jackets

Full metal jacketed bullets, or FMJ, are most commonly used in bulk ammunition. Designed in 1882 by Swiss Colonel Eduard Rubin, the FMJ offers better feeding characteristic when used by firearms with auto loading and repeat loading abilities. This style of jacketed round comes in all caliber types both in rifle and pistols. Most come in a round nose style or round nose flat point.

FMJ ammunition proves great for plinking and target practice and is also beneficial when trying to breach a hard target within the capability of the bullet’s design. The drawback to the FMJ is over-penetration. If you are using the FMJ for home defense and hunting purposes, be sure of your backstop.

FMJ, left, and JHP right. (Photo:

Hollow Points

The hollow point bullet, or HP, is a bullet created for maximum damage with minimum penetration making it a great option for home defense. Once the bullet penetrates the intended target, it rapidly expands dumping all of it speed and energy in the target.

HPs are accurate and also come in many variations such as jacketed hollow point (JHP), semi-jacketed soft point hollow point (JSP HP) or an all lead hollow point. For competition purposes, some companies take it a step further offering their own branded ammo specifically for serious competition use, like the Hornady Action Pistol ammunition.

+P, +P+

With interest in handguns for hunting and home protection increasing, more powerful rounds have been created to meet this demand. Many a military man complained when they dropped the .45 ACP for the 9mm with concerns raised as to the 9mm’s “knockdown power.” +P and +P+ options for pistols became viable options for those concerned about power.

These ammunitions use higher pressures for greater velocity. +P and +P+ were both designed for home defense. Word of caution, only use +P and +P+ ammunition in handguns designed to shoot it. Not all handguns are created equal.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right ammo ensures a better time at the range. (Photo: Jeromy Knepp)

With the implementation of legislation in certain state’s regarding the use of lead bullets, ammo companies have been forced to adapt to the needs of citizens in anti-lead states. This has resulted in offerings of solid copper and brass projectiles for handguns. These rounds are can be used for hunting and target purposes, but they are often more expensive than traditional lead rounds.

While this list is not all-inclusive, it should get any gun owner confused about the ABCs of pistol ammunition pointed in the right direction.

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Categories: Gun News

Taylor Organizes the Biggest 3-Gun Events in New England

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 06:30

Taylor Thorne didn’t grow up with guns. She only got her first gun at age of 22. “I’d just moved out into the sticks of New Hampshire with no neighbors and no police department. I decided I wanted a gun to protect myself,” she said.

She asked a friend who worked at a gun shop what kind of gun he recommended. He suggested a Glock 17, or a Beretta 92FS. Thorne tried both, and went with the Glock. “Mainly because it was proven to be reliable, simple and well-rounded,” she said.

Her first gun was an introduction to something bigger. She started to shoot at her local range Pioneer Sportsmen in Dunbarton, New Hampshire. To her surprise, she really enjoyed it.

A few months later, she shot a shotgun for the first time, which she loved. That winter, she participated in a sporing clays competition, which proved to be fun. And finally, she came across 3-gun competition. It blew her mind.

She started binge watching 3-gun videos on Youtube. She desperately wanted to compete, but there were almost no 3-gun matches in New England. “That was something that absolutely bothered me,” she said. So, she decided to do something about it.

Her job gave her a volunteer day to go out into the community and volunteer. She heard about a charity called Aiming for Zero. They put on events to raise money to help prevent veteran suicide, and assist military families.

Thorne contacted the charity and asked what she could offer. They told her she could volunteer at one of their existing shooting competition, or come up with something entirely new. “Within three days, I knew I wanted to run a 3-gun match,” she said. She had never done anything like it before, but she was determined to make it happen.

“We were skeptical at first,” said Kevin Anderson, one of the board members at Pioneer Sportsmen, the club where Thorne planned to do her 3-gun event. But Thorne’s determination and ability to mobilize people changed his mind. “She’s a firecracker. She is a take-charge and full of energy. She organized, got sponsors and planned everything out,” he said.

Thorne’s first Aiming for Zero 3-gun match was a USPSA recognized multi-gun event that took place in 2017. The match filled up within hours of opening registration. Competitors raved about it. Thorne hoped to raise $8,000. After it was over, she recalled counting the money. “My hands were shaking because I counted eight, nine, ten, eleven — twelve thousand dollars. It was the most money the club had ever raised in its history.”

Taylor was given the go-ahead by the club’s board to do as many 3-gun matches as she wanted. Each year they got bigger, and this year’s event is to be the biggest and best.

The event is called Aiming for Zero Great Nor’easter Multigun. It takes place from Sept. 13-15 at Pioneer Sportsmen in Dunbarton, New Hampshire. Registration is open through Practiscore. There is also a Facebook page if you have questions.

Thorne hopes her story inspires other people to get into the shooting sports and organize events in their areas. “It’s one of those things where if you build it, people will come,” she said.

Taylor Thorne and Chris Shanks at the 3-gun match Taylor organized at Pioneer Sportsmen in Dunbarton, New Hampshire on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Aiming for Zero on the shirt of a competitor. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

“Remove Before Pew Pew” (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Lee Cabana preps his shotgun. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

A competitor choosing his line and preparing to shoot a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Hunter Manson’s old school shotgun shell caddy. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Taylor Thorne chooses her line and preps for a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Shotgun shell caddy on a competitor. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Guns waiting their turn to shred the next stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Sean McClure’s t-shirt sums it up. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Shredding a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Ivan Bjornlund shredding a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Guns at the ready. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Bob Blake shredding a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Matt Cotton shredding a shotgun stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Guns at the ready. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Chris Shanks gets ready to shoot a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Guns at the ready. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Ivan Bjornlund with his guns at the 3-gun event at Pioneer Sportsmen on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

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Categories: Gun News

For the Love of the MP5: Roller-Locked 9mm Clones

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 06:00

The PTR 9KT, a semi-auto send-up of the HK MP5K. What’s not to love? (Photo: Chris Eger/

The Heckler & Koch MP5 is a thing of enduring beauty but their rarity on the consumer market has left a void quickly filled by dozens of clones.

Developed in the 1960s as HKs Maschinenpistole 5 by a team led by Tilo Möller, the team essentially started with the company’s proven G3 battle rifle and, in many ways, just downsized the 9-pound 7.62x51mm weapon to a much smaller 5.5-pound, creating a 9x19mm chambered squirt gun.

Both guns share the same basic roller-delayed blowback action. The roller lock design, invented by Dr. Werner Gruner and used in WWII on the very successful MG42 machine gun, creates a durable and effective lock-up that is as efficient as it is reliable. The blowback action fundamentally treats the cartridge case itself like a piston to work the closed bolt, with the gas of the recoil being transferred through a fluted chamber.

A staple of military special ops types and counter-terror teams for decades, the MP5 today evokes the same sort of old-school cool common in Cold War-era SEAL teams.

SEAL Team 8 wielding the iconic H&K MP5 submachine gun in 1991 (Photo: U.S. Navy via National Archives)

Although a few pre-1986 transferrable select-fire MP5s are floating around, and others are hopefully headed to the market as LE teams are increasingly replacing their HK room brooms with M4-ish guns, their cost is upwards of $25K — not including stamps. Semi-auto variants produced by the German gunmaker — the SP89, and the SP5 — are more affordable but almost as rarely encountered at affordable prices. This opens the field for clones.


South Carolina-based PTR has continued to expand their MP5-style offerings in recent years by introducing the very handy 9KT earlier this year.


The American-manufactured semi-auto pistol is an NFA-compliant version of the classic HK MP5K (Kurz = short), a storied SMG that was a favorite of various international balaclava-clad SF types in the Tom Clancy-era. Announced just prior to SHOT Show 2019, the 9KT runs just 13.38-inches overall, largely due to the 5.16-inch, three-lug barrel.

The company splashed into the MP5 clone market in 2018 with the 9C series pistol and 9R series rifle.

The 9C sports an M-LOK compatible aluminum handguard and 8.86-inch 3-lug barrel with push-button and paddle-style magazine release while the rifle has a stock and a 16.2-inch barrel. (Photo: Chris Eger/



Zenith markets over a dozen ZP5 series pistols and rifles (Photo: Chris Eger/


Located in Virginia, Zenith Firearms imports a wide array of roller-locked designs produced in Turkey by MKE-K, a company set up in cooperation with HK decades ago to make such guns for the Turkish military. One of their cooler new offerings is the Z-5RS, a braced pistol with an 8.9-inch barrel and a classic style forearm and the Z-5RS SBM4 which sports a Picatinny rail and slimline forearm.

Our very own Chase Welch recently reviewed another one of Zenith’s pistols, the Z-5P.

Other makers

Besides PTR and Zenith, who account for a huge market share when it comes to MP5 clones, there are a host of smaller shops that specialize in the platform. These include Pennsylvania’s Black Ops Defense, Brethren Arms in Utah, Dakota Tactical in Michigan, and TPM Outfitters in the Lone Star State. Like the MKE-K guns brought in by Zenith, the Pakistani Ordnance Factory (POF) ships semi-auto MP5ish clones to the states which are brought in by several importers. Finally, Palmetto State Armory has been promising their own domestically made model for the past couple years, so that is on the horizon.

And of course, HK still makes them for the LE and military market, the restriction in place due to the Hughes Amendment. In short, the platform that its original maker describes as “the most popular series of submachine guns in the world,” has a lot of life left in it.

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Categories: Gun News

Gun Review: Kriss Sphinx

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 05:30

I’ll be honest with you. I have had the opportunity to shoot the Kriss Sphinx on multiple occasions over the last six years. It’s an outstanding handgun. The newest 9mm compact version I recently had the chance to handle continued to exceed my level of expectations. You will not hear from me that the Sphinx’s $1,000 price point is not justified or that it is just a glorified CZ. Compared to other “production handguns,” the Sphinx has pound for pound some of the best craftsmanship available.


Kriss Sphinx

The construction of the Kriss Sphinx has a level of excellence that you may find in a custom shop, but most likely not out of any other factory. Both the slide and upper portion of the frame are precision machined from a solid piece of billet material. As if that was not good enough, Kriss decided to finish off the slide and frame by hand fitting them together. This ensures tight tolerances and strength between the frame and slide.

From a distance the Sphinx looks like a double/single action hammer fired CZ of some type. Let us take a closer look how it operates. The rails of the slide ride inside of the frame allowing for a smooth action and a low bore axis. The mechanics of this make recoil an after thought. Inside the handgun all the internals are polished. This improves reliability and makes the action on the trigger smooth like a calm lake.

You will not hear from me that the Sphinx’s $1,000 price point is not justified or that it is just a glorified CZ. Compared to other “production handguns,” the Sphinx has pound for pound some of the best craftsmanship available. (Photo: Ben Brown/

I think CZ’s have some of the best ergo’s when talking about handguns. So it would make sense that the Sphinx which is based off the design of the CZ 75 would have that same great feel in the hands. Only I think Sphinx feels better! The high beaver tail and the swap-able rubberized grip panels provide an excellent foundation for a variety of hand sizes. This 28 ounce handgun is on the heavy side, but shoots like a dream!

Kriss did not skimp on the accessories for the Sphinx either. It comes in a hard case with custom cut foam to hold the gun, two 15 round mags, three different size grip panels, cleaning kit, and mag loader. Kriss also provides the customer with options to add a threaded barrel (1/2×28 thread pitch) and 6 different cerakote colors to choose from. You can certainly tell that Kriss went the extra mile to deliver the finished product to the end user.

Final Thoughts

It will be hard for another hammer fired handgun to take the place of the Sphinx as my favorite. Other shooters have compared it to a well built Swiss watch, not only because of its origins but because its craftsmanship is very evident when shooting it. Although maybe a bit large for concealed carry, the Sphinx will delivers the goods when it comes to a high performance handgun.


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Categories: Gun News

Gun Control Advocates Pile on to Derail Supreme Court 2A Case

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 05:00

A case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court could see a New York City gun restriction knocked down, setting what gun control advocates fear could set a precedent. (Photo: Chris Eger/

This week saw a flurry of activity as lawmakers and gun control groups weigh in on a case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a New York gun restriction.

Over a dozen new legal briefs were posted Monday in the case brought by gun owners challenging the constitutionality of the Big Apple’s “premises permit” scheme, a local New York City law that drastically restricts the ability to leave one’s premises with a firearm. The new filings come from five Senate Democrats — Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as 139 Dems in the House, with the lawmakers taking New York’s side.

“Legislatures, from the municipal to the national, should be free to adopt common-sense solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic that do not infringe core Second Amendment rights, without limiting those solutions only to the ‘least restrictive’ means or the most historically analogous method,”House Democrats argue in their brief.

Similar filings came from the states of New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia as well as anti-gun groups such as Everytown and March for Our Lives, all angling to insulate the city from a ruling which could prove to be a huge victory for Second Amendment advocates.

While the city’s restriction on taking firearms from an owner’s licensed premises to a second home or shooting range outside of the city was previously upheld by lower and appellate courts, the Supreme Court agreed in January to hear a further challenge to the law — the first such move by the court on a major gun case since 2010. This triggered a response by New York City officials to try to short circuit the case while local and state lawmakers repealed the restriction, arguing that the subject was moot.

Nonetheless, the nation’s high court has remained steadfast and kept the case on their docket, setting the stage for the challenge to continue. Since then, 120 Republican GOP members of Congress have filed a brief in support of the gun owners, followed by another brief submitted by the allied attorneys general or governors of 24 red states. Add to this are separate briefs from dozens of gun rights groups ranging from Gun Owners of California and the Firearms Policy Coalition to Black Guns Matter, the Liberal Gun Club, and the Pink Pistols.

Importantly, the U.S. Justice Department has also gone on record as being against New York’s gun restriction with the office of Noel Francisco, the U.S. Solicitor General, saying, “The ban all but negates the textually protected right to bear arms, and interferes with the right to keep arms as well.”

The Supreme Court has distributed the case for their October conference.

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Categories: Gun News

What Does ‘AR’ Stand For?

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 07:00

AR-15 by Springfield Armory. (Photo:

While many are quick to point fingers at the anti-gun demographic for uninformed firearm jargon mis-labelling AR, plenty gun-friendly folks are guilty of it, too. Common misconceptions are that AR means “automatic rifle,” “assault rifle,” and on the rare occasion “absolutely radical.” But the truth is the abbreviation represents the company that designed the platform.

AR stands for Armalite Rifles, the name of the company that designed the rifle in the 1950s. The Armalite company’s design and subsequent ties to the military M16 rifle has led to endless confusion with AR-15 rifles. In fact, civilian sporting rifles like the AR-15 and AR-10 are mistakenly associated with their military counterparts based on looks alone rather than very different operation.

Neither colors nor furniture nor features make AR-platform rifles any more or less dangerous than other rifles. The designation refers simply to semi-automatic, magazine fed rifles that are most often centerfire, but can be rimfire as well. AR-style rifles are sold at American gun stores every day and used for hunting, shooting competitions, and just general range time merriment.

With debate over AR rifles at an all-time high, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group, has tried to correct the confusion by introducing the term modern-sporting rifle into the discussion. The phrase means ARs and other similar platforms. The NSSF estimates there are more than 16 million MSRs in civilian hands.

While ARs share aesthetics and many features, the biggest difference separating them from an assault rifle is a select-fire option. ARs are semi-automatic only, so a single trigger-pull equals one shot. Full-auto, which covers a burst option, can fire continuously by holding the trigger down.

Since ARs function like any other semi-auto rifle – one trigger pull, one shot fired – they’re regulated that way as well, so any U.S. citizen of adult age can purchase one from a gun store after they pass a background check.

Check out the great selection of handguns, rifles and shotguns inside the Vault and collection of Certified Used Guns.

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Categories: Gun News

Bill to Require Those Wanting Body Armor to Get FBI Permission

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 04:30

Under Schumer’s measure, those who aren’t law enforcement would need to get a green light from the FBI to get body armor– and show a reason why they need it. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Legislation promised in the U.S. Senate would make the legal sale of body armor a “may issue” process signed off on by federal law enforcement.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, announced his legislation on Sunday to require FBI permission before anyone except law enforcement could buy what he termed “sophisticated body armor,” setting a bar that would require a clear purpose, such as an occupational requirement, for the buyer to seek the safety equipment.

“The bottom line here is that the ease by which one can acquire wares of war demands the FBI sets reasonable regulations on who can get it,” said Schumer, who plans to introduce his bill after the current Senate recess.

Even if Schumer’s proposal does not make it into law, it is already against the law for criminals to add body armor to their toolkit. Since 2002, it has been illegal under federal law for convicted felons to possess body armor of any sort. This has been prosecuted in U.S. courts even in states that do not criminalize the possession of body armor.

According to Schumer’s office, one study found that 5 percent of a group of 110 active shooters between 2000 and 2012 used body armor.

“Shockingly, with the click of a mouse, the scroll of a thumb or the dialing of a phone, just about anyone can order-up the kind of advanced armor or tactical law enforcement gear we see used in wars or all-out law enforcement raids, and that is unacceptable and needs to change,” said Schumer.

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Categories: Gun News

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes 3 Gun Control Bills

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 04:00

Sununu told lawmakers the bills would have little to no effect on crime but would violate the “constitutional rights of law-abiding New Hampshire citizens.” (Photo: Chris Eger/

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday kept his promise to New Hampshire’s Democrat-controlled state legislature that gun control isn’t on his to-do list.

Sununu scuttled a trio of anti-gun proposals sent to his desk that would have required background checks on private firearms transfers, expanded “gun-free zones” around schools, and created a waiting period on gun sales. Describing them and “anti-second amendment bills” and pointing to the state’s low crime rate, he spilled veto ink on all three.

“These bills would not solve our national issues nor would they prevent evil individuals from doing harm, but they would further restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding New Hampshire citizens,” said Sununu.

Of the measures, HB 109 would bar private firearms transfers in most cases without a background check performed by a licensed dealer.

The second bill, HB 514, would tack on an extra three days to the time between a gun purchase and its transfer. The time excludes weekends and holidays.

The third bill, HB 564, was sent to Sununu last week and aims to further narrow who can bring legal firearms on school grounds. Lawful gun owners with a firearm in their vehicle — New Hampshire is a constitutional carry state — would be subject to a class “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,000 fine, should they step out of their car with a gun, even while picking up a student.

The three-bill package was opposed by state and national gun rights groups while anti-gun organizations such as Giffords supported the measures.

None of the proposals passed the legislature with enough support to override a veto.

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Categories: Gun News

Elizabeth Warren: Hike Gun, Ammo Taxes to as much as 50 Percent

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 03:30

Warren wants to raise the current federal excise tax to 30 percent on firearms and 50 percent on ammunition, a move that she says will both shrink the number sold every year and levy funds for more gun control efforts. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren over the weekend announced her gun control platform, which includes bans, licensing requirements and a big jump in taxes.

The senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts lifted the curtain on her sweeping 3,500-word gun control initiative while speaking at Everytown’s “Presidential Gun Sense Forum,” alongside other candidates for the 2020 nomination. Besides the increasingly standard raft of promising to restart the federal assault weapon ban, mandating universal background checks, establishing “red flag laws” and raising the minimum age to purchase guns to 21, Warren promised to move on several other restrictions as well.

“As president, I will immediately take executive action to rein in an out-of-control gun industry — and to hold both gun dealers and manufacturers accountable for the violence promoted by their products,” Warren said.

A big stick the former law school professor promised to bring against the firearms industry is to raise the longstanding Pittman-Robertson Act excise taxes paid by gun and ammunition manufacturers. Since the 1930s-era tax was established, guns made or imported into the country for commercial sale are taxed at 10 percent while ammunition intended for the consumer market is levied at 11 percent. These funds are channeled through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to state conservation agencies in line with the number of hunting licenses to pay for such things as hunter’s education, public shooting ranges, and animal habitat.

“It’s time for Congress to raise those rates — to 30 percent on guns and 50 percent on ammunition — both to reduce new gun and ammunition sales overall and to bring in new federal revenue that we can use for gun violence prevention and enforcement of existing gun laws,” Warren said.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, for the first quarter of 2019, 628 manufactures and importers forked over $155.6 million in Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET). Since Pittman-Robertson was enacted, the firearms industry has paid more than $12.5 billion to Uncle Sam in addition to other regulatory taxes and fees.

“Firearms and ammunition manufacturers already pay an excise tax on every rifle, shotgun, handgun and each round produced,” Mark Oliva, director of public affairs with the NSSF, told “That excise tax is what funds conservation. Sen. Warren’s anti-capitalism animus is combining with her disdain of Second Amendment liberties for one of the most anti-businesses and freedom-killing proposals on the campaign trail yet.”

Oliva said that if Warren were serious about addressing crimes committed with firearms, she would insist on bringing up the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act which would strengthen penalties for those who commit burglaries and robberies of gun retailers.

“We would encourage the senator to address the criminals who commit the crimes, not the law-abiding gun owners and lawful manufacturers who provide the means to exercise Second Amendment rights,” said Oliva.

Gun licensing, rationing and dumping the filibuster

Moving past bans, taxes, background checks, and gun seizure laws, Warren promised to quickly move forward with further anti-gun legislation that she would “sign it into law within my first 100 days.” This would include a mandatory one-week waiting period for all firearm purchases and capping gun purchases by individuals to one per month.

Citing the defeat of a renewed federal assault weapons ban and several rounds of rejected expanded background checks proposals due to the inability of Democrats to cough up 60 out of 100 votes in the Senate to overcome a conservative filibuster, Warren said the political procedure would be tossed. A tactic seen in the chamber going back to the 19th Century to block legislation that was not overly popular, the current 60-vote benchmark has been in place since 1975, adopted by the Democrat-controlled 94th Congress who at the time controlled 61 seats.

According to poll aggregator Real Clear Politics, Warren is polling in second place across the crowded Democrat field, just behind former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Categories: Gun News

FN America Debuts New FN 509 Pistol in Full FDE Finish

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 04:30

The new FN 509 FDE pistol has a suggested retail price of $679.00 and is shipping now (Photo: FN)


Complementing the FN 509 Tactical, FN announced Friday they will also be offering the standard 509 in a Flat Dark Earth (FDE) variant as well.

While the Virginia-based company’s staple handgun lines are produced in matte black finishes in their South Carolina plant, full FDE schemes up until this week were offered just on the FN 509 Tactical, FNS-9 Compact, and FNX-45 Tactical. Introduced in 2017, the striker-fired 9mm 509 was designed originally as the company’s entry into the Army’s Modular Handgun System competition.

Overall length is 7.4-inches and the FN 509 tips the scales at 26.9 ounces. (Photo: FN)

Based on their FNS Compact platform, the 17+1 capacity handgun was beefed up to meet rigorous military requirements that saw more than 1 million rounds fired in reliability, ammunition compatibility, and durability testing. Changes to the legacy design, in addition to the improved internals, include enhanced grip textures and cocking serrations, guarded controls and a recessed target crown on the 4-inch barrel.

Since its introduction, the 509 family has been expanded to include Midsize and Tactical offerings as well as the new optics-ready Midsize MRD which was introduced earlier this month.


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Categories: Gun News

The Art of Revolver Cleaning and Maintenance

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 04:00

This cross-section of wheel guns covers five manufacturers across three continents and includes a little bit of everything — but they can all generally be cleaned the same. (All photos: Chris Eger/

For those with questions on how to clean a revolver, has answers to keep that wheel gun ticking like a clock. The neat thing about modern cartridge revolvers that use smokeless powder is that, in general, they can all be cleaned and maintained in roughly the same basic manner. This holds true for both single-action wheel guns and double, centerfire and rimfire, and those with removable, swing-out, or break-top cylinders. With that being said, let’s get started.

First, make sure the revolver is safely and completely unloaded. To be sure you have all the ammunition accounted for, inventory the number of rounds you remove and account for any that are missing. This is important as revolvers can sometimes fail to extract all the rounds from the cylinder — I’ve seen it happen. Remove all brass and ammo from the room in which you are cleaning the revolver to ensure it doesn’t somehow wander its way back into a cylinder before you are ready.

You won’t be needing these while cleaning

Next, visually ensure that there is no brass or ammo in the area you are cleaning the revolver in. Be sure to do your maintenance in a reasonably clean area that is well-ventilated and away from distractions and little wandering animals or humans. A cleaning mat with a non-slip and solvent resistant pad is a good idea but not absolutely required.

Remember, no brass or ammo while cleaning

Speaking of solvent, I’m here to talk to you about guns, not sell you someone’s new Wonder Product and in general, as long as the gun juice you choose is something made and marketed specifically for use on firearms, you are good to go. Steer away from non-gun miracle products. On said product, be sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines on its use. With that, if it is billed as a solvent, use it as a solvent. If it is billed as a lubricant/protectant, use it as such. If it is a CLP type of product billed as good for both aforementioned applications, hey…

Pick your poison, so to speak, just make sure it is something that is meant to be used on firearms

Once you have your unloaded revolver and solvent/CLP of choice, apply a tad to the barrel bore and cylinder and knock away the fouling and debris with a brush. Repeat this anywhere you find a build-up. Nylon or plastic brushes of all sizes and strength are your friend while some advocate copper or brass. Stay away from steel bristles. Wipe away the accumulation of schmutz with a rag or cloth that is at least less dirty than the gun you are working with. This is why my wife has never had to throw away old socks, t-shirts or drawers of mine so far this century.

Brushes, brushes, brushes. They are cheap so stock up on various sizes and types

A persistent nemesis of revolvers–especially on stainless or chromed guns– are burn rings on the cylinder face of a revolver or the inside frame and the cylinder throat. This is where some solvent such as Hoppe’s No. 9 and a green scrubby pad can come in handy.

When it comes to the barrel, some purists will argue over unwashed and permanently stained coffee cups that many gun owners overclean their barrels, hitting them both too often and too hard. A rule of thumb is that, unless I plan to store the gun and not reuse it any time soon, the barrel can be skipped until next time so long as you can still see rifling when holding it up to the light or if using a bore light. For those who are more fastidious, clean that barrel every time you clean your roscoe. Do this via running a patch soaked with solvent from the muzzle to cylinder, followed by clean patches until they come out clean.

Nylon cleaning rods are safe, although brass rods are also popular

Brass or nylon cleaning jags or brushes of an appropriate bore size can help dislodge extensive lead or carbon build-up in the barrel.

I like to use an $8 stainless medical instrument tray for dirty patches, brushes and the like, so their greasy funky contents don’t pollute the general area or the cleaning mat. You can always go cheaper than that by just using a plastic shopping bag or shop towel.

Be sure to safely dispose of dirty patches and clean your brushes after each use and don’t be too cheap to buy new ones. I’ve seen guys try to use the same worn-out teeth brush (you have more than one tooth, right?) for decades to the point that it is more of a stick with a dirty tuft of plastic than a brush.

Pay close attention to the revolver’s cylinder and make sure you have cleaned out each chamber in turn, paying attention to the clear under the ejector star as well as its rod.

Once you have accomplished the bulk of your cleaning, move on to inspecting the revolver to make sure you don’t have any festering wounds that can ruin your day in the future. This includes checking that the cylinder-to-barrel gap is not exaggerated, or the forcing cone is cracked. While this area doesn’t have to be solid, it should still be tight enough that you would have a hard time sliding even a fortune cookie paper through it.

Your cylinder lockup should be tight and with minimal movement while the gap between the cylinder and barrel should be too narrow to easily slide anything more than a piece of paper through.

Similarly, check the timing of the cylinder to make sure the chambers line up with the barrel properly. If you find that your revolver is shaving lots of lead at the range — you will see little specks of metal all over your arms and clothes — this is a warning sign. If you have lots of revolvers in the same caliber, buying a $20 range rod to ensure this alignment may be a good investment. Check the lock-up of the cylinder when secured in the frame by trying to rotate it and push it back and forth inside the frame. While a tiny amount of play is acceptable, a lot of movement is not.

On swing-out cylinder revolvers, with the cylinder kicked out, spin it slowly while watching to make sure the crane and ejector rod is still straight.

This rod can get warped over time when users “cowboy” or slap the cylinder shut like is often seen in the movies, which is less than ideal.

Finally, check that your plate and grips screws are tight. Avoid the impulse to open the lockwork and start goobering around with springs and sears unless you know what you are doing. This is sailing far past basic cleaning and maintenance and can soup sandwich a perfectly functional revolver fast, requiring a shameful trip to the local gunsmith who is often backed up fixing other failed mods.

With the cleaning and inspection complete, lubricate your revolver. In this, the prospect of “less is more” shines through. Lightly apply the lubricant/CLP strategically to areas you have noticed wear and to dynamic working parts that move a lot with metal-on-metal contact. Stay away from soaking the gun to the extent that you see running or dripping lube.

If storing a gun not in use, do so safely with the revolver unloaded and the action immobilized. Single-action revolvers, where the cylinder is easily removed, can be stored in two parts. If your gun did not come with a lock, check out Project Childsafe to find out how to get one free.

If not loaded and accessible for home or personal defense, or otherwise in use, remember to secure it.

If storing a firearm not in use for an extended period, especially in a safe, avoid the impulse to swaddle them in gun socks, zipper cases, mummy wraps and the like as these can often trap or hold moisture. I’ve seen fine classics proudly produced from the old pleather bags in which they have been stored for decades in the back of humid closets only to be shocked with finishes that were nothing but rust. Talk about avoidable tears.

Speaking of rust, before you store that finely blued revolver, give it one final rub down with a rag to remove any lingering fingerprints. These dirty human oils, if left behind on a gun for months or years, can eat away at the bluing.

Don’t forget to get those last fingerprints off

Once cleaned and put away, be sure to revisit these guns regularly to inspect, check for issues and reapply lubricant as needed.

This old snubby picked up in a trade with a friend had been cleaned and put away in a desk drawer for a decade, where it picked up some creepy crawlies.

In the end, remember that there are plenty of firearms still floating around that are over a century old that are still in excellent working condition. This came from proper care and storage, not by accident. Do your part to maintain your revolver and it can easily do the same.

Since you came this far, be sure to check out our always changing inventory of new and used revolvers in the Vault. You never know what kind of deals you may find. 

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The ‘Skeeter Skelton’ .44 Special Custom Revolver

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 00:00

This Ruger revolver made as a tribute to the late great gun writer Charles “Skeeter” Skelton has a special place in Boge Quinn’s heart. “This six gun means more to me than any gun that I own,” he said.

Quinn explained that Skelton was his favorite writer growing up. “He was a gun writer but he was much more than that. He wrote about life and he wrote about friendship and relationships and he wrote with a lot of humor and a lot of historical accuracy,” he said. “I just can’t overstate the impact that Skeeter Skelton had on me and a lot of people in my generation.”

The old model Ruger Blackhawk was equipped with all the characteristics Skelton desired in a revolver. Particularly, the gun was converted from .357 to .44 Special, a cartridge Skelton had popularized.

Bill Grover, of Texas Longhorn Arms, wanted to produce the gun as a tribute to Skelton while Skelton was still alive, but Skelton died before he completed the job. So, the gun ended up going to Skelton’s son, Bart. In all, Grover made seven Skeeter models.

Quinn acquired serial number six in 2009 as a gift from his friend, Terry Murbach, who later passed. “It’s one of my most prized guns, for both its intrinsic value and for the memory of my great friend Terry Murbach,” Quinn said.

One of only seven ‘Skeeter Skelton’ .44 Special Custom Revolvers. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

One of only seven ‘Skeeter Skelton’ .44 Special Custom Revolvers. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

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Retro Revolver Vibes with Kate Spade New York

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 23:30

The Taurus 650 in a Can Can Concealment Garter Holster. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Every once in a while a girl just wants to shake up her style with a classic retro vibe. Away from the hustle and bustle of smartphones, tablets and tech, I opted for a simple red lip, a Taurus 650 revolver in a Can Can Concealment Garter Holster and a whole lot of attitude.

For this styled shoot, I decked out from head to toe in one of my favorite designers — Kate Spade New York. This fashionable design house creates unique, funky and often retro-looking staples perfect for any girl who likes classic with a twist. With a Kate Spade Blaire Flamingo Dress ($200) and a simple pair of black kitten heels ($20), I dressed the look up with accessories.

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

Donning my favorites, the Kate Spade Moon River Earrings in black ($50) and Marietta Cat Eye Sunglasses in gold ($100), I added a wisp of technology in the form of the Scallop Smart Watch ($200). A girl can’t give up all her tech, after all. I finished off the look with a Kate Spade Shea Manor Place Clutch in black with my favorite shade of Urban Decay lipstick, Sheer F-Bomb ($22.50), stowed inside.

Accessories like the Marietta Sunglasses and Scalloped Smart Watch elevate the look. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Kate Spade Moon River earrings in black and Marietta Cat Eye Sunglasses. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

That wasn’t all I was packing though. I paired my classic look with a classic firearm — a revolver. In this case, I grabbed the Taurus CIA 650 ($539) and slipped it into a Can Can Concealment Garter Holster ($36.40). This holster fits around the thigh and can attach to a Can Can Concealment Garter Belt ($22) to hold it better in place. For dresses and skirts, the Can Can Concealment Garter proves to be the perfect option and a better alternative to purse carry.

Take a look into these self-portraits to see how the look came together.

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

The Kate Spade Blaire Flamingo Dress and Can Can Concealment holster work together to provide flawless concealment. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Soaking up some sun with a Taurus Revolver at the ready. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Kate Spade New York Shea Manor Place Clutch and Taurus 650. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Kate Spade Marietta Cat Eye Sunglasses add some glittery flair. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

Kitten heels and revolvers? Yes, please. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

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