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Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

The World’s Biggest Texas Star Target

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 07:04

During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of downtime. So, my father and I decided to build the world’s biggest Texas star target for shotgun.


Early sketch of the Texas star target.

The idea was to build a Texas Star target roughly 18 to 20 feet in height. We decided to build it mainly out of wood. We fastened five 6-foot 2×2 arms to a five-sided piece of half-inch plywood. We reinforced the middle with 2x4s and then drilled a large hole. Into this, we fixed a 3-inch piece of PVC pipe.

I painted the star black to make it stick out against the sky.

The star has five six-foot-long arms upon which are attached to water containers. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

On a 24-foot high cedar post, we fastened a few 2x4s at one end and drilled a hole. Into this, we fixed a 2.75-inch PVC pipe. The larger piece of PVC pipe on the star section would fit over the smaller pipe. This would act as our ‘rotor’.

I dug a 5-foot hole and we set the cedar pole in it. We lubed up the PVC pipe with some grease and then my father hoisted me in his tractor’s bucket and I put the star onto the post. A bolt kept the wheel from spinning off the rotor. The star spun freely and it worked great. The Texas star target was just under 17-feet tall.

It should be noted that the backdrop of the target was just under 4-miles of fields and forests. We would only be shooting with a shotgun and low power rounds.

Digging the hole to erect the cedar pole stand. Note the Golden Retriever being of no help other than emotional support. (Photo: Ben Philippi/


As you probably know, traditional Texas star targets are gravity operated. They use heavy metal targets at the ends of the arms and, when they’re shot off, the weight change causes the star to spin. I planned to use half-gallon plastic water containers taped to the ends of each arm. When shot, they would explode. However, I was not convinced that the weight loss would cause the star to turn, and if it did, it would be slow and gradual. This would make shooting the remaining targets too easy.

We did a test and our suspicions were confirmed. We had to motorize the star not only to turn it but also because we didn’t want anyone down range turning it when we went “hot.”


The search began for a machine that could turn the star. My father came up with the first idea — an electric drill. He fastened it next to the PVC pipe, inserted a long bolt into the drill, and wrapped a rubber belt around one of the PVC pipes. Running the drill turned the pipe; however, the drill turned too fast, faster than the belt, which eventually began to smoke and caught on fire. So the power drill was a no-go.


We kept looking around and I spotted my father’s old garden tiller in the barn. My father had been tilling the garden recently so we knew it ran. It was very heavy and had a function where it would drive by itself in a straight line. I got to thinking that if we wound a string around a spindle on the back of the star and pulled it with the tiller, the star would turn. All tests suggested this could be a viable option.

My father’s 2-stroke garden tiller. This thing purrs like a cat. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

So we constructed a spindle out of the wood and attached it to the back of the star. We wound a length of string and attached it to the tiller. We lined it up and set it off in motion. It drove away and pulled the string and rotated the star. Success! It was perfect. We had our solution.

The spindle on the back of the star on which string is wound and when pulled spins the star. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

The author with the world’s biggest Texas star target powered by a garden tiller. (Photo: Ben Philippi/


My Mossberg 500 SPX Tactical 12-gauge shotgun. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

It was then time to load up my trusty shotgun. I used my Mossberg 500 SPX Tactical 12-gauge shotgun. I’ve owned it for over seven years and I love this shotgun. It has operated flawlessly and I can run it fast. I loaded up some cheap Winchester #8 birdshot. I can fit five 2.75-inch shells in the tube and one in the chamber. That gives me six rounds.

Upon my signal, my father set the garden tiller in motion and I waited for him to get safe and the star to start spinning. I then let loose. The spinning star was challenging to hit and a ton of fun to shoot. Check out the video at the top of the page. The only issue we had was when I shot the first water bottle, the weight change affected the momentum of the star. For a moment, it slowed down, allowing me to pick off a few water bottles. Other than that, the Texas star target was a huge success and my Mossberg functioned perfectly.

If you enjoyed this, you might like the DIY shotgun course I put together a few months ago. You can see the video of it below.


The high visibility front sight on the Mossberg 500 SPX. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

The adjustable ghost ring rear sight on the Mossberg 500 SPX. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

The adjustable ghost ring rear sight on the Picatinny rail on the Mossberg 500 SPX. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

The ported barrel on the Mossberg 500 SPX reduces recoil. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

The tube on the Mossberg 500 SPX holds five 2.75-inch rounds. (Photo: Ben Philippi)(Photo: Ben Philippi)

The five-round shell caddy and six-position adjustable synthetic stock on the Mossberg 500 SPX. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

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Categories: Gun News

Q&A with Dave Hartman, Director of Training for Gunsite Academy

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 04:00

Dave Hartman has been the Director of Training for Gunsite Academy for the past 10 years. (Photo: Gunsite Academy)

Dave Hartman has over 30 years of dedicated service to this country through the Marine Corps and the Orange County Sheriff’s office. It was a natural fit to move from training police officers to training a wide mixture of people at Gunsite Academy in Paulden, AZ. For the past 10 years, he has worked as the Director of Training for the famed firearms training institute. We caught up with Hartman to talk about Lt. Col. Cooper, gun training during a pandemic, and Gunsite Academy. The first question is about the thing everyone is seeing in the news right now, how COVID is affecting things? How have you guys changed your classes? Have you seen a need to change your classes? Kind of walk me through that a little bit if you will.

Hartman: We’ve dropped about 100 students. Now, that was due to them sequestered, quarantine, the uncertainty of it. What we did was we actually canceled a bunch of our classes along the lines of classes that required close proximity, hands-on, i.e. would be our defensive tactics classes, our close-quarters pistol classes, our edge weapon classes. The classes that combined actual physical hands-on amongst the students and instructors that are going to be in close proximity doing those defensive tactics. So, we took the preemptive strike on canceling those.

Then our regular classes, since the classes were getting kind of small, we had room to space people out in the classroom so we were able to maintain that six-foot distance, spending minimal time in the classrooms. Everybody’s getting their temperature taken, staff and students, every morning. Then on the range, we’re mostly outside so we’re able to spread out a little bit.

Another place where we’re preemptive was in our shoot houses. Normally on the line, our student to instructor ratios is one to four, where I have 12 students on the line, we’ll have three instructors. In the shoot houses, that is one-on-one, so to maintain the distance, what we did, instead of doing live fire, because as an instructor going through a live-fire shoot house, you want to be within touching distance of that student so you can control them in case something goes wrong. So, what we did was, instead of using live ammunition, we went to Simunitions’ marking cartridge, give the students a modified gun and we’re able to maintain that distance in our shoot houses. Once all this is all said and done, then we’ll go back to the live-fire, but that’s the preemptive strikes we’re taking.

Now, we’ve always had a clean facility but our cleaning crew, our cleaning lady, she’s more diligent and wiping things down, cleaning the restrooms twice a day, cleaning the classrooms multiple times during the day, wiping things down.

Live fire shoot houses, such as this one, won’t be part of Gunsite curriculum until COVID-19 passes. (Photo: Gunsite) Sounds great. We’re writing an article on good qualities of defensive firearms instructors. As one of the nation’s premier training facilities what are the qualities that you’re trying to build into your instructors?

Hartman: Let me just back up a little bit on how we hire instructors. All right, so what we ask is credibility. We ask that folks are either retired military and law enforcement or a combination thereof or currently serving, folks that have actually carried guns for a living. It adds credibility to our program. Colonel Cooper, when he started this place, he wanted folks that have seen the elephant, so to speak in his words. So, what we’re looking for is credibility.

All of us instructors, no matter where we came from, if you go on to our instructors list and look at the bios, you’ll see that all these guys came from various military, law enforcement, government units, PHs, etc. All the experience, each and every one of them started at the very beginning, at the 250 defensive pistol, our bread and butter class. They have to take the 250 defensive pistol, 350 intermediate, 499 advanced, and a carbine shotgun class. In all these classes, which are graded have to be scored as a marksman one or above, marksman one or expert, you have to be recommended by one of your range masters to come on staff, saying, “Hey, this guy might have the talent.”

Now, once that’s said and done, you come back and go through, it’s referred to as a provost or an apprentice, and you have to come back and teach three times at your own expense where you’re evaluated by three different range masters. It can’t be the person who recommended you. It’s sort of like going to field training officer program all over again. You’re evaluated for a number of things, your ability to mingle with the students, being able to teach a certain subject on demand, your command presence, your range presence, your credibility, your ability to transfer knowledge, to get deep in the weeds, to explain things. At any given time, one of those three range masters can shake your hand and say, “Hey, thanks but no thanks. You’re not a good fit.”

Then once they get through the third range master, we bring them on as an apprentice instructor, but we’re looking for people who are credible. The integrity thing, you don’t bullshit a student, you don’t buffalo them, we call it MSU-ing, we don’t make shit up. If you don’t know the answer, you ask another instructor or you research it to give the student information. How do you take the intimidation out of training with a firearm? I think a lot of new gun owners have a misconception that defensive pistol training is going to run like boot camp, how do you break down that barrier before they even get to the class and let them know that your training isn’t necessarily going to be like that?

Hartman: Well, a lot of that is your pre-class communication. Like on our calendar, we have a physical exertion of the classes like moderate, medium. And we tell the students up front, when I get a new client calling up here, all of us in the office here, when we get a new client saying, “Well, I’m afraid I’m not going to be up to snuff. I wasn’t in the military, I wasn’t in law enforcement.” No, you don’t need to be. This isn’t boot camp. We’re not going to do pushups, we’re not going to do pullups, we’re not going to do rifle PT, have you run around the ranges. We try to communicate that right up front.

Then when we’re in the classroom, we don’t go directly down range when they get here, especially the introduction classes, the 250 defensive pistol, we’re in there for about two hours with them going through PowerPoint presentation, safety presentation, introducing the instructors. So, during the breaks, these students and instructors have time to mingle and talk with each other. It puts a human touch to it. They meet their instructors before they even go down range. Instructors introduce themselves and give their bonafide, so to speak, introduction.

Then when we go down range, they’re only going to be down range for maybe an hour and a half before lunch. So, once again, the students get to interact with the instructors before we start firing. We’ll put the student on line, inspect their equipment, talk to them about their equipment, ask them how much experience they have, and put a personal touch on it, a personal face on it. Before lunch, they may only go through 20 rounds but we use that as a time for them to get to know us, us to get to know them, to get the nervousness out of the way doing basic drills like up, look, press. Great. Here is your chance to plug Gunsite, why should a prospective student come and train with Gunsite Academy?

Hartman: We’re the world’s first, oldest, largest privately-held defensive firearms training company in the world. We’re the ones that started the firearms training movement, or Lt. Col. Cooper, that started the civilian firearms training movement. We have the facilities, we have the credibility, we have over 60 instructors with real-world experience. So, I would say credibility is the driving point. Are we expensive? Yes, we’re expensive, but you get the training to go with it.

There’s a lot of good instructors out there. A lot of us instructors actually go to other schools but you have to vet your instructor. What’s this person’s experience? What have they done? How long have they been in business for? There’s a lot of folks out there that are hanging a firearms instructor shingle out there, but what do they bring to the table? What are their experiences?

We’ve been in this longest war in U.S. history, there’s a lot of good instructors coming out of this conflict, but they’ve been there, done that. Can they instruct? Can they impart knowledge? That’s one of the biggest debates. I get guys calling all the time saying, “Hey, I’m with Tier One Unit-this, I want to come on as an instructor. I want to send you my resume.” The first thing I’ll say, “I appreciate it but how many times have you been here?” They say, “Well, none.” I say, “Well, you don’t know where to start, you need to start at the beginning with us. All those aforementioned classes that I talked about earlier, then we’ll talk.”

Putting the cart before the horse? Don’t have a gun yet? Looking to add to your collection? Check out the Vault to see the wide selection of Certified Used Firearms we have available.

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Categories: Gun News

Blackpoint Tactical, Viking Tactics Team Up For IWB/AIWB Holster

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 04:00

The VTAC IWB/AIWB functions as either an inside-the-waistband or an appendix IWB rig. (Photo: Black Point Tactical)

Blackpoint Tactical joins forces with Kyle Lamb and Viking Tactics to offer up an inside-the-waistband/appendix holster.

The Kydex holster features reinforced clips with a deep hook that helps stay in place even on thicker concealed carry belts. Ride height and cant are adjustable for a custom fit. The IWB/AIWB is equipped with an ergonomic contour pad that is beveled and user-adjustable. Additionally, the contour pad works to tuck the grip and magwell area into the wearer’s abdomen in the AIWB position, allowing for better concealment especially on larger pistol platforms.

Tyler Johnson, a Principal of Blackpoint Tactical, said the ability to work alongside Kyle Lamb was an honor. “It is an honor to work closely with a legend like Mr. Lamb; especially on a from-the-ground-up project where our collective thoughts and ideas quickly developed into a finished product that we are very proud of, and one our customers will be very excited to use,” Johnson said in a press release.

The VTAC IWB/AIWB offers reinforced clips with a deep hook for better retention on belts. (Photo: Black Point Tactical)

“It has been a pleasure working with the crew from BlackPoint Tactical to develop a holster with the custom features I have been in search of. I’ve used a lot of what’s out there – and modified more than my fair share – and I’m proud to say that we’ve hit it out of the park with not only the form but also the function with this new holster design,” Kyle Lamb, Founder and President of Viking Tactics said.

The VTAC IWB holster will initially launch with support for Sig Sauer’s P365 and P320 Full-Size, Glock’s G19, G43 and G43X, and the Smith & Wesson Shield. The IWB/AIWB holster will also be cut for slide-mounted miniature red dots.

The VTAC IWB features a base price of $109.

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Categories: Gun News

6LB Savage 110 Ultralite Rifle w PROOF Barrel Now Shipping

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 02:00

Savage says the “svelte 110 Ultralite is designed to combat elevation and elements while maintaining the performance of a factory blueprinted Savage 110 action. The carbon fiber wrapped stainless steel barrel and Melonite skeletonized receiver reduce weight, but are equally protective.” (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Savage announced Thursday that their new 6-pound (and under) Model 110 Ultralite rifle, which includes a PROOF Research barrel, is now shipping.

Debuted earlier this year and displayed at SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January, the Model 110 Ultralite features a carbon fiber-wrapped stainless steel barrel mated to a melonite skeletonized receiver inside Savage’s adjustable AccuFit stock. Available in a wide range of eight caliber options, the weight of the rifle is between 5.8 and 6-pounds, depending on caliber, with the overall length running from 42.5- to 44.5-inches depending on the barrel length.


“The 110 Ultralite is a highly refined Model 110,” Jessica Treglia, Sr. Brand Manager at Savage Arms, said in a statement this week. “Our engineers have gone to great lengths to strip weight off the rifle, without sacrificing any of its functionality or accuracy. With the additional weight reduction from the Proof Research barrel, you’ll instantly feel the difference.”

Other features include a spiral fluted bolt and a 5/8-24TPI threaded muzzle with a flush fit end cap. The detachable box magazine will hold either two or four rounds, depending on caliber. Chamberings include: .308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .280 Ackley, .270 Win, .30-06 Spfld, .300 WSM, 6.5 PRC, and 28 Nosler.

The 6-pound and under 110 Ultralite is available in eight popular centerfire calibers. (All Photos: Savage)

The Ultralite features a grey AccuFit stock with adjustable comb height, length-of-pull, and over-molded surfaces.

The PROOF Research carbon fiber wrapped barrel has a threaded muzzle for 5/8-24 devices and suppressors, protected by a flush fit cap. Barrel length varies from 22- to 24-inches depending on caliber.

Note the spiral fluted bolt, user-adjustable AccuTrigger that can be tuned from 1.5- to 4-pounds, and a detachable magazine. Capacity is four rounds on .308, 6.5CM, .280 Ackley, .270 Win, and .30-06 while .300 WSM, 6.5 PRC, and 28 Nosler have a two-round capacity.

MSRP of the Savage Model 110 Ultralite, regardless of caliber, will be $1,499– a price closer to ~$1225 at retailers.


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Categories: Gun News

Gun Review: Diamondback DB15 Pistol After 500 Rounds & Some Gel

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 04:01

In the past couple of weeks, we have put a Diamondback DB15 pistol through its paces and it has delivered. (All Photos: Chris Eger/

We have been kicking around a Diamondback DB15 AR-pattern pistol for the past several weeks and have a report from the field.

Our test model, specifically a 7-inch barreled DB15PDS7B pistol, included a Gearhead Works’ Tailhook Mod 2 brace, which Diamondback seems to be switching to exclusively on their handgun builds. Using 7075-T6 aluminum receivers, this DB15 pistol is chambered in 5.56 NATO (the company also offers 7.62x39mm variants) and uses a heavy 4150 Chrome Moly barrel with 1-in-8 RH rifling.

The DB15 ships with a single Magpul PMAG, but we found that it ran STANAG aluminum jobs as well with no hiccups

It also comes standard with a KAK Industry 1/2-28TPI Flash Can muzzle device– another feature increasingly standard on Diamondback’s new DB15 pistol line.

The gun is handy, being a very compact 23-inches overall with the brace compacted and weighs in at 4.53-pounds, unloaded, with a set of Magpul MBUS sights installed.

Related: Initial Look at the Diamondback DB15 Pistol, Inside and Out 

Shown with sights, a loaded 30-round PMAG inserted, Streamlight 88850 PolyTac, and Romeo 5 red dot, weight is still well under 7-pounds. Muffs are Howard Leight Bolts. Body by Dewars.


Throughout a few range visits, we ran 500 rounds through the DB15 using both aluminum (D&H) and polymer (Magpul) magazines.

While some imported fodder from Wolf Poly and Tula steel case was tested for the sake of confirming the Diamondback would feed that stuff, most of what we shot (400 out of 500 rounds) was good old American-made Winchester 5.56 NATO in 55-grain.

That Winchester ran great.

How many jams were logged across 500 rounds? Zero.

The below video, typical of how the DB15 handled in initial testing, shows 60 rounds of mixed 5.56 ball at work from an older Magpul PMAG D60 drum. No jams. Bolt locked back on empty. No issues. Also, note the limited muzzle flash from the KAK device. The felt blast, while noticeably more than from a rifle with a 20-inch barrel, is not overpowering.


In the past several years, pistol braces have evolved considerably. From the original SB Tactical braces, which blazed a path, to Shockwave Blades, they have become more commonplace on AR and AK pistol builds. The Gearhead Works’ Tailhook Mod 2 brace that came standard with the DB15 pistol was very solid and when used with the hook design around the forearm, allowing the pistol to be fired effectively with a single outstretched arm.

We had no problem placing rounds on target like this out to 50 yards through the combination of the standard GW Tailhook and Magpul MOE-K2+ grip combo that came with the pistol.

The surface controls on the DB15 were standard AR-style controls and worked as expected.

We found that even a 12-year-old could fire the DB15 pistol with ease.

As the 5.56 NATO round is typically used with carbine-length barrels, the light off of unburnt power that remains at the muzzle leads to higher bore pressures on short-barreled 5.56 platforms, often producing a serious, sometimes dramatic flash and serious muzzle blast levels. The KAC Flash Can alleviated this to some extent. Even so, blast from shooting such pistols while in a prone position in sand or gravel could produce a mini dust devil. For those looking to swap out the device or use a suppressor, the DB15’s barrel has standard 1/2-28TPI threads.

The DB15 pistol makes a great companion in a side-by-side around camp.


It is not rocket science. Longer barrels give you more complete propellant combustion which translates to more velocity imparted to the projectile. The more velo, the more energy is carried by the projectile on the impact and the higher ballistic performance. In short, whittle the barrel down and you sacrifice some performance. By way of thinking, the optimal performance for NATO 5.56mm ball, such as M855, is wrung through a 20-inch barrel.

With that in mind, we wanted to check and see just how much velocity we dumped by running a 7-inch barrel.

For reference, the Winchester 55-grain 5.56 NATO FMJ rounds we chose for the bulk of our reliability testing have a listed 3,270 fps muzzle velocity generating 1,305 ft./lbs. muzzle energy. We found that, out of the 7-inch DB15, an average across five rounds hit closer to 2,240 fps, which, using the standard bullet energy formula, translates to something like 619 ft./lbs., or a loss of about a third of its velo and half of its energy.

How effective is that? Well, in 10% gel, the FBI recommends 12-to-18 inches of penetration to be considered an effective self-defense round. In our tests with a 16-inch block of Clear Ballistics 10% gel, we found that every round of a 7-shot test string of Winchester 55-grain FMJ penetrated the entire block and left a significant channel in its wake. Food for thought.

We have a riddled gel block to show for our work but were not able to capture any spent rounds as they all penetrated both sides of the block.

Keep in mind that there are several recently introduced SBR soft-point loads in 5.56 which are optimized to rapidly expand when used from pistol-length AR platforms.

How much does the DB15 pistol cost? MSRP, as shown sans optics and light, is $889 although pricing at retailers is typically a good bit less, down into the high $700ish range. For comparison when it comes to “deals” this stacks up rather good against the competition. About the least expensive PSA AR-15 pistols run about $500 but they use a cheaper Shockwave Blade or SB Brace on a fixed tube rather than the adjustable Tailhook and likewise usually lack the KAK Flash Can, backup sights and M-LOK handguard.

Initial testing has the DB15 hanging like a champ. More to come.

We plan to do some extended evaluations to include accuracy testing, and gel testing at extended ranges with barriers, so stay tuned for those articles in the coming days. As the man says, watch this space.


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Categories: Gun News

How Women’s Clothing Impacts Holster and Gun Choice

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 04:00

There is no doubt concealed carrying as a woman can be difficult. We like to be fashionable, but that doesn’t always translate to functional. With the right holsters, handguns, and some know-how, however, you can conceal carry no problem.

Concealed carry is personal and will slightly differ for everyone based on body type, lifestyle, and clothing preference. There are three basic outfit categories to consider — professional/dress, casual and active.

While there are plenty of great holster options on the market, these are ones I prefer and recommend. For reference, I am 5-feet tall and weigh 100-pounds.

Professional/Dress Attire

Professional attire can be tough as bottoms often don’t come with belt loops and blouses are thin. For beltless pants or skirts, a belly band is a must. Micro adjustments can be made with a belly band allowing you to find the perfect position for concealment and drawing. Couple a belly band with a flowy top or outer layer, such as a blazer, for the best concealment. Bonus tip: Covertly untuck the corner of a blouse to make the draw easier.

If a loose or cover-up top isn’t an option and you’re sporting a skirt or shorter dress, opt for a thigh holster. Depending on the apparel’s fit and your comfort level, either carry on the outer thigh at the 4 o’clock position or inner thigh at 3 o’clock. The length of your skirt or dress is important — too long and your draw will be difficult, too short and the holster might show. Also, be wary of printing or the holster showing as you walk or bend over. Pro tip: The fit on thigh holsters is incredibly important so make sure to size properly.

With a long skirt or dress consider an ankle holster, bearing in mind the most important aspect of an ankle holster is foot attire — ensure the holstered gun doesn’t rub or interfere with your footwear. Depending on fit, the gun can be worn on either the inner or outer ankle. Before leaving home, it’s a good idea to test an ankle holster set-up by walking around to make sure it doesn’t show, and the gun feels secure. Bear in mind, ankle holsters also require a different draw technique, so be sure to train to that if you choose this method of carry.


For casual dress, again, flowy tops, outer layers, and cover-ups work best to conceal a firearm. Keep in mind that shorter shirts may rise and expose your gun, while thinner shirts might print. That’s why it’s always a good idea to test out the outfit before heading outside. Casual wear often means wearers can choose jeans – with most offering belt loops — so inside-the-waistband carry, even appendix carry, with a Kydex holster is an option.

If a larger gun is just not working with tighter clothing, consider moving it to the 5 o’clock position or step down to a micro-sized pistol. Women possess a natural curve that makes for a great hiding place when concealing a gun. Word of caution, though, avoid placing the gun at the small of the back over the spine as this can result in serious injuries to the back and spinal area if you fall.

For cooler temps, casual outerwear presents an issue in terms of drawing. Digging through layers of clothing is not exactly ideal so a pocket holster is a great solution. As always, test out your jacket as pocket angles, closures, and size all affect this carry method.


The best solution I’ve found for hiking and outdoor activities is a belly band. Belly bands work with a variety of bottoms and are flexible when crawling over rocks. They also allow placement that provides easy access and the least amount of interference with your pack.

Concealed carry specific clothing, such as leggings, are also an option; however, it is essential to select an option with a built-in trigger guard or means to prevent the gun from discharging while inside the holster area.

Test Your Gear

Before heading out of the house, I always recommend testing your outfits by moving in a way that might potentially expose your gun. See if the holstered gun stays concealed and/or how it prints. If you need to make adjustments for comfort or concealment, now is the time to do it. Remember, best practice is to first remove the gun from the holster before making adjustments.

Practice and be familiar with your concealed carry guns and holsters. Also, check your state and local laws to ensure you are compliant.

My Gear

Belly Band: Can Can Concealment, Sport Belt Micro. I love this belly band! The quality is superb.

Thigh Holster: Femme Fatale, Garter Holster. This one by Femme Fatale is low profile and comfortable. I will say that on a hot day it has a hard time staying up, though.

Ankle Holster: Not sure of my specific brand, but it is possibly a Femme Fatale.

Concealed Carry Leggings: Girls with Guns Clothing, Eclipse Leggings. Compared to other concealed carry leggings these have a lighter weight material and offer different colors.

Kydex, IWB Holster: ANR Designs, Non-Light Bearing IWB, or Tulster, Profile Holster. Both ANR and Tulster are minimalist holsters who don’t leave extra material to cut into you or create more printing.

Pocket Holster: Mika’s Pocket Holsters, Pocket Holster. The pocket holster works surprisingly well, offering proper trigger coverage and helping to position the gun in your pocket.

Still looking for a gun? Want to add to your collection? Check out the wide selection of Certified Used Firearms from the Vault. 

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Categories: Gun News

Smith & Wesson Model 25 .45 Wheel Gun Extraordinaire

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:32

The S&W Model 25 has been around for 65 years and is an iconic wheel gun (Photos:

Introduced in 1955, the big N-framed Smith & Wesson Model 25 was originally marketed as the “.45 Target Model” and it is easy to see why.

Essentially a modernized update to their old World War I-era Model of 1917— which in turn was largely rebooted as the Model 1950 .45 Army– the .45 Target Model was a big, 5-screw double-action revolver made by S&W to use the .45ACP cartridge with moon clips or the .45 Auto Rim without the devices. Standard features at the time included a target trigger and hammer, a high Partridge-style front sight, and beefy checkered wood grips with a gold S&W medallion inlay. Finished in a deep blue, the guns were originally offered in 4- and 6.5-inch pinned barreled versions.

This early Smith & Wesson Model 25-2 up for grabs in the Vault is both classic and collectible. This revolver is chambered in .45 ACP and features a 6.5″ barrel. Note the Partridge-style front sight. Its “N” prefix serial number points to a production date of after 1969 but before 1977.

S&W’s earlier M1917 had previously been used with “full” or “half-moon” clips that held six or three rounds of .45 ACP, respectively, with the clips providing the rimless cartridge a base for the revolver’s extractor to push the brass from the cylinder. The Model 25, when chambered in .45ACP, still uses the same style clips.

Proving popular with Bullseye competitors, after 1957 the 45 Target Model was officially listed in Big Blue’s catalog as the Model 25– with the Model 1950 rebranded as the Model 22– and soon, other calibers and barrel lengths were added.

To celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary in 1977, Smith issued a limited run of commemorative Model 25s, 25-3 guns, chambered in .45 Colt.

They bore a gold-filled barrel roll mark and an anniversary seal on the side plate. The Goncalo Alves target grips had sculptured medallions while the front sight changed to a ramped red insert style target sight with an adjustable rear.

Moving forward, generational improvements on the Model 25 series typically alternated between .45ACP and .45 Colt versions, with the even numbers going to the former and odd dashes to the latter. For instance, the 25-6 was chambered in .45 ACP while the 25-7 was a .45 Colt.

By 1979, Smith had replaced the 6.5-inch barrels models with a shorter 6-inch variant in production, while retaining the 4-inch models and introducing an even longer 8.375-inch model as well.

This 1980s-era S&W Model 25-5 in .45 Colt is a more compact 4-inch model. They have a reputation for being very accurate and are a great example of Smith & Wesson’s high-quality production. This particular specimen up for grabs in the Vault includes an extra Pachmayr grip set and protective case.

Then there is this 25-5 with the distinctive 8-inch barrel

By 1991, Smith dropped the Model 25 from their regular catalog, leaving it as a special production gun and in 1999 halted even that. After a brief hiatus, however, the big .45 target revolver was reintroduced with the 25-11 series just after the Millenium.

Today, S&W continues making the Model 25 as part of their Classic line of revolvers with a pinned Patridge front sight, Micro-Adjustable rear, and 6.5-inch barrel.

Available as part of the company’s Classics line the Smith Wesson Model 25 is a double-action revolver chambered in 45 LC or 45 ACP. It is built on a large N-frame and is the target version of the Model 22.


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Categories: Gun News

What to Look for in a Quality Defensive Firearms Instructor

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 04:00

Dave Hartman, Director of Training for Gunsite Academy, trains a student on the range. (Photo: Gunsite)

Defensive firearms training is as important – maybe more so – than owning a gun for self-defense. After all, how good is the gun in your hand if you don’t know how to use it, let alone the legal ramifications behind doing so? So, take it seriously when looking for a defensive firearms instructor.

To make sure your money is being put to best use, we reached out to some of the nation’s premier instructors to get their opinion on what to look for in a quality instructor. Despite various backgrounds, there was a common thread that weaved throughout the language. Below, you’ll find some of the best tips we gathered while talking with these experts.

Look for Credentials

Like a Better Business Bureau or Rotary Club sticker lends credibility to a business, industry credentials do the same for an instructor. Endorsements from training organizations such as the United States Concealed Carry Association, the National Rifle Association, and Gunsite Academy, to name a few, add to the credibility of the instructor. More affiliations mean the instructor has likely been exposed to more schools of thought, leading to a better training experience for students.

Research the organizations the instructor has ties to and see if its values methods align with yours. Seeking instructors with similar goals will provide a natural fit for you. While you’re at it, look at the vetting process of the training organizations the instructor affiliates with. This allows you to gauge how instructors are trained and qualified. The tougher the curriculum, the more in demand those instructors are.

Knowing the process for instructor qualification and credentials should give peace of mind that the person you seek has the humility and integrity needed to teach the skills you want.


The old saying “nobody knows everything” certainly applies to firearms instructors as well as students. It’s important to find someone who has both the knowledge to teach as well as the humility to admit when they don’t know the answer.

“The most important thing a new shooter can ask an experienced instructor is ‘What is something you’ve changed your mind about?’ I think the way they answer that question, more than any other, will let you know if you are dealing with someone who is always looking for the best with their student and is willing to evolve,” Rob Pincus, Owner of I.C.E. Training, told

Rob Pincus calls out “threats” and instruction from atop the official PDN truck. (Photo: Team HB)

John Lovell of Warrior Poet Society, says humility allows people to step back and admit when they don’t have all the answers. “The folks that don’t have that ingrained humility, they never know more than about a tenth of what they let on they know. Generally, they don’t have the humility to admit that they don’t know all the answers,” he told viewers in a recently uploaded video.

Beware of know it alls — no matter how many years of experience they have. Humility is magnetic and encourages people to learn. Look for it as a key indicator that the instructor you’ve found is a good one.

They Have Knowledge but Can They Teach?

If you can’t impart knowledge, you’ll be a lousy instructor — no matter what background you have. Think about it this way, Bart Starr was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever touch a football, but he also goes down as one of the lousiest coaches in Green Bay Packers franchise history. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you have the ability to teach it to others.

“We’ve been in this longest war in U.S. history, there’s a lot of good instructors coming out of this conflict, they’ve been there, done that. Can they instruct? Can they impart knowledge? That’s one of the biggest debates,” Dave Hartman, Director of Training at Gunsite Academy told us. Founded in 1976 by the legendary Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, Gunsite Academy is one of the nation’s top training facilities. Subsequently, they also have a stringent process they put their instructors through to become qualified. The teaching, however, always comes back to the basics.

“When our instructors run a class, I tell them, ‘Pretend you’re sitting in that class. Pretend your family member is sitting in that class. Pretend your team member is sitting in that class. Treat them the way you want to be treated.’ We don’t use intimidation to teach,” Hartman said.

How to Vet a Prospective Instructor

Like a job interview, the best way to learn more about a potential instructor is to reach out and get some references.

“I would look for credentials and then get references. Ask around, ask what other people are thinking. I would look for an established curriculum, not something that maybe they built on their own. But if they did, let’s hope they did it over 30 years of trial and error and while they were serving in some sort of uniform capacity,” Kevin Michalowski, Executive Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, told

Put another way, why would you want to learn a skill from someone who can’t demonstrate it themselves? If you’re looking to groom those Extreme Close Quarters skills, finding a retired or current SWAT team member makes more sense than an instructor who primarily teaches basic handgun. Putting in the research ahead of time will save you time and money and ensure you achieve your training goals.

Your instructor should be able to demonstrate all the things they are asking of their students. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Military or LEO Background

While there are plenty of great civilian firearms instructors,  for many new gun owners a decorated service background is a welcome sign and the final assurance that an instructor is worth listening to. Defensive pistol training is as much about how you’re going to control the adrenal stress response as it is the technical shooting aspect. If you’re looking for an instructor who’s “been there, done that” focus on individuals who have served either foreign or domestically.

Dave Young, a Marine Vet, trains service members some ECQ combat techniques. Young also teaches home defense tactics in civilian-based classes. (Photo: Arma Training)

For those committed to the idea of military or law enforcement instructors only, Gunsite Academy should be one of your first stops. All instructors at Gunsite are required to have a military or LEO background.

“We ask that folks are either retired military and law enforcement or a combination thereof or currently serving, folks that have actually carried guns for a living. It adds credibility to our program,” Hartman told us.


Whether you’re looking for beginner classes or advanced tactical training following some of the advice above should get you a good instructor. There are many great instructors and training organizations throughout the country, so get out there, train, and have some fun doing it!

Putting the cart before the horse? Don’t have a gun yet? Looking to add to your collection? Check out the Vault to see the wide selection of Certified Used Firearms we have available.

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Categories: Gun News

New Zealand Gun Shops Forced to Send Rare Rifles to Scrappers

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 02:41

“Few Collectables being taken by the police to be crushed today,” noted Bronco Outdoors, a gun shop in New Zealand. (Photo: Bronco Outdoors)

As part of complying with New Zealand’s arbitrary new gun bun on popular sporting rifles, some rare semi-auto gems are headed to the scrap yard.

The country’s government last year banned a sweeping array of legal firearms, including antiques and collectibles, targeting an estimated 170,000 guns in private hands. Owners who did not choose to hand over their often treasured family heirlooms to authorities– at comparatively paltry pre-set prices– faced five years in jail if they did not comply.

Likewise, gun shop owners have had to hand over their inventory that, frozen in place by the new law, could not be sold. Guns cannot even be donated to museums, an outlet that saved many now-outlawed firearms in neighboring Australia.

“Few Collectables being taken by the police to be crushed today,” noted Bronco Outdoors, a firearms retailer in Tauranga, the fifth most populous city of New Zealand.

The guns included two Browning BAR MKII semi-auto rifles, popular with hunters, and a vintage 1950s Dutch-made Armalite AR-10.

One of the BARs was a 1983-vintage limited edition North American Deer rifle, SN 007 of 600, in .30-06. The FN-made Belgian rifle had a coin-finished French gray receiver and burl furniture along with signed gold inlaid engraving on the receiver. The guns retailed for $3,500 in the U.S. when they were produced almost 40 years ago and typically can go for twice that much at auction today in the States. In New Zealand’s government-mandated “buybacks” last year, the owner of a Browning BAR could have been offered as low as NZ$375 ($246) for the rifle. (Photo: Bronco Outdoors)

The AR-10 is from Armalite’s ultra-coveted licensed production by Dutch small arms maker Artillerie Inrichtingen (A.I.), who produced about half of the original 10,000 rifles before Armalite sold the rights for the guns in 1961. It includes what appears to be an early “waffle” mag, which run about $150 these days by themselves. (Photo: Buffalo Outdoors)

Besides all centerfire semi-auto rifles, the NZ firearm prohibition covers even lever-action, bolt-action, and pump-action rifles if they have a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition, regardless if they are chambered in centerfire or rimfire calibers. This saw many rare old Winchester and Marlin cowboy guns, some dating to the 19th Century, scrapped. When it comes to shotguns, pumps, and semi-autos capable of holding more than five shells are now banned.

In response to the move by the New Zealand national government to ban such a broad category of firearms, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calf, applauded Kiwi lawmakers on “a job well done,” following the statement up with “the U.S. should follow suit.”

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Categories: Gun News

Review: The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a Handy, Reliable and Affordable Carbine

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 06:53

If you’re looking to buy a pistol-caliber carbine, the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a handy, reliable, and affordable option, available in either 9mm or .40 S&W.


Introduced in 2001, the SUB-2000 has proven itself a popular firearm for plinking, backpacking, and bug-out bags. One of its signature traits is the unique ability to fold in half. When folded, the overall is reduced from 30.5-inches to 16.25-inches, making it extremely compact and lightweight. Unloaded, it weighs in at just 4.25-pounds.

When the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is folded in half, it measures 16.25-inches in length.


Folding the gun is simple, as the trigger guard acts as a release lever. Pulling on the trigger guard unlocks it, and the barrel folds upwards and locks into place on the stock. To return the gun to its firing mode, a latch at the top rear of the stock releases the gun from this position and it snaps back into place. There are no tools necessary and is a major selling point of the firearm.


The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 has an overall length of 30.5-inches and weighs 4.25-pounds unloaded.

The SUB-2000 is semi-automatic blowback operated firearm, meaning the recoil of the discharged round compresses a spring located in the tubular stock. The spent shell casing is ejected from the side of the gun and the spring pushes the bolt forward, picking up a fresh round from the magazine and chambering it. The simplicity of the action makes the gun easy to clean and maintain.

The barrel measures 16.25-inches and comes threaded for suppressors, with the 9mm version featuring a 1/2×28 thread and the .40S&W version offering a 9/16×24 thread. A thread protector comes standard. The SUB-2000’s trigger breaks at 9.5-pounds with a nice audible click.

The length of pull and front sight are adjustable, with LOP offering three settings. The charging handle is located on the tube about halfway up and Picatinny rails line both the top and bottom of the barrel, allowing for mounting lights, lasers, and optics. It should be noted that if you do add hardware to the top, the gun will no longer lock into place when folded. The sides of the barrel shroud feature M-LOK slots.

A page from the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 owners manual shows all the bells and whistles.

Magazines are inserted into the grip much like a pistol, and magazines vary based on the SUB-2000 model. So, if you already own a pistol, you will likely be able to use your existing mags in the SUB-2000 — another selling point to this platform. Ammunition capacity varies according to magazines and, of course, state laws.


The advantages of a carbine in a pistol caliber are plenty but the two biggest are the increased sight radius, which aids accuracy, and the longer barrel, which increases projectile velocity. A carbine also allows more points of contact between the shooter and weapon increasing stability.

Shooting a pistol-caliber carbine is a ton of fun. Being able to throw it in a backpack is a nice touch. The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 comes in black, flat dark earth and gray.


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Categories: Gun News

Magpul Announces Line of MP5 Accessories

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 05:21

Texas-based Magpul has announced they are getting into the HK game with a line of handguards, extended selectors, and grips for MP5-style platforms.

The MP5 series SMGs were introduced in the 1960s and since then the guns, along with their semi-auto SP89/SP5 pistol and HK94 carbine offspring, have remained popular to this day– so much so that clones from Zenith, PTR, and others abound.

To help outfit this breed of roller-locked pistol-caliber firearms with more modern polymer, Magpul will be offering both 5-inch (SP89/MP5K) and 8-inch (HK94-MP5) handguards that offer improved ergonomics and a wealth of M-LOK slots for accessories.

Both the 5- and 8-inch Magpul handguards have anti-slip texturing, a muzzle-end hand stop, and M-LOK slots at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. (Photo: Magpul)

Besides the handguards, Magpul is also marketing a range of selector levers for HK polymer trigger housings that are compatible with three-position SEF/SAFE-SEMI trigger packs.

The ESKs will be user-configurable and modular for ambidextrous use. (Photo: Magpul)

Also, a Magpul SL grip module for the MP5 series is reported to be “coming soon.” (Photo: Magpul)

MSRP on both the handguards and ESK is listed at $49.95 and we wouldn’t be surprised if these start showing up on MP5 clones shortly as standard offerings. No price information yet on the grips.

(Photo: Magpul)


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Categories: Gun News

New York City’s Oldest Gun Store Closes for Good

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 00:22

Gone from NYC is the John Jovino Gun Shop, originally founded in 1911. This photo was taken in 2014 (Photo: Ben Philippi/

In business in one form or another for over a century, New York’s famous John Jovino Gun Shop has closed its doors for the last time.

Run since 1995 by Charles “Gun King Charlie” Hu, who retained the branding, the business will not reopen after being shuttered due to Gov. Cuomo’s strict COVID-19 response which made no exception for the firearms industry.

To be sure, local media reports that Jovino’s has in recent years battled rising rents and the increased red tape of running one of the few legal gun shops in Gotham, but the lengthy interruption brought by the coronavirus pandemic was the final nail in the shop’s coffin.

“I’m very emotional right now, as you can see, I am having a rough day. Everything is super sad,” Hu told Stacy Joy with Vanishing New York. Joy posted images of the store’s closing, including Hu’s well-used Beretta 84, on social media.

Located on Grand Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy, the shop first opened in 1911 and is perhaps best known for its revolver-themed sign. The store, which was featured in films including Mean Streets and Serpico, as well as television shows such as Law and Order, is iconic. Crime scene photographer Weegee even lived over the shop in the 1930s and 40s.

We visited Jovino’s and met with Hu in 2014. That interview, below.

As for the sign, it was purchased in a private sale in February and is reportedly headed for California.

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Categories: Gun News

We Spoke to a Medal of Honor Recipient on Why it is Not ‘Won’

Mon, 05/25/2020 - 01:23

Sometimes individuals who have earned military decorations such as the Medal of Honor are described as having “won” the award. This is fundamentally incorrect.

While attending this year’s SHOT Show, we came across Sergeant First Class Sammy Lee Davis, U.S. Army, Retired.

Now 73, as a young 21-year-old cannoneer in a howitzer battery in Vietnam in 1967, Davis was wounded in a pre-dawn attack on Support Base Cudgel by a Viet Cong battalion. Despite his wounds, he manned a machine gun to help suppress attackers inching towards his gun crew in the dark, then manned the burning howitzer alone after it had been hit by a recoilless rifle round, using it in direct-fire mode against the enemy position.

Each time he fired the big gun, he was violently injured by its recoil, but he would stand up, reload it, and fire another round. Remaining at the flaming gun, he continued to work it while mortars rained around him.

Although wounded, he refused medical attention, rescued other wounded men, and later joined another howitzer crew, fighting until the Viet Cong withdrew.

Davis received the Medal of Honor from President Johnson in 1968 for his actions during the Vietnamese attack and also received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. He remained in the service until 1984.

Davis breaks down why there are no Medal of Honor “winners” in the above short video.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, SFC Davis.

His inspiring true-life story, You Don’t Lose ‘Til You Quit Trying: Lessons on Adversity and Victory from a Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient, is available where ever books are sold.

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Categories: Gun News

A Salute to America’s Heroes, Revisiting Arlington Cemetery

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 04:00






These are the words inscribed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The monument is dedicated to deceased U.S. service members whose remains have not been identified.

Placing of the marble monument in 1931. It is the monument that exists today. (Photo: Harris & Ewing Photographs)


Since 1860, Arlington National Cemetery has served as a final resting place for Veterans from the U.S. and 11 other countries with over 420,000 buried within its confines. Nearly 5,000 unknown Soldiers are buried throughout the cemetery and approximately 29 funerals take place every week. More than 3 million people visit Arlington National Cemetery each year to pay their respects.

In 1921, an unidentified American serviceman from World War I was brought back from France and interred at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; however, there was no monument at the time — it was just a stone that covered the opening of the tomb. In 1931, the marble monument that exists today was placed.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, or Tomb of the Unknowns, contains the remains of Soldiers from wars in which the U.S. has fought. More recent DNA testing has enabled the identification of remains and in some cases, these have been returned to families for burial in their plots.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as seen in 2014. (Photo: Ben Philippi /


The tomb has been guarded night and day since 1948 by Soldiers of the United States Army and is considered one of the highest honors to serve as a Sentinel at the tomb. Fewer than 20% of those who apply are accepted for training and only a fraction of those become Sentinels.

Sentinels do not wear rank insignia so as not to outrank the “Unknowns” and there is a meticulous drill that guards must follow. It consists of 21 steps and pauses of 21 seconds. This number was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed – the 21-gun salute. Every hour, the guard changes with movements that are precise and exact.

The guard’s duty is not simply ceremonial. They often stop visitors from crossing the barriers of the tomb or reprimand those who are disrespectful or loud.


The weapons carried by the guards are cleaned daily and are fully functional — though they have changed over the years to reflect those used by the Army. Guards have used the M1903 Springfield and M1 Garand rifles as well as the M1911A1 and M9 pistols. Tomb guards currently carry M14 rifles with high-polished stocks and chromed bayonets while the detail commander carries a specially-made M17.

A Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier carrying a ceremonial, yet fully operational, M14 rifle. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

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Categories: Gun News

Six Solid Youth Shotguns from the Vault

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 04:00 offers numerous options in pumps and semi-autos for smaller-framed shooters getting a start in the great outdoors. Whether you are last-minute turkey scattergun shopping or planning for both bird and clay seasons this fall, we’ve pulled together some options perfect for youth hunters.

Stevens 320 Compact


The Stevens 320 Field Grade pump-action shotgun represents one of the best buys for youth shooters in need of a hunting gun. Priced just over $200, the Stevens Model 320 is available in either 12- or 20-gauge with a ventilated rib barrel, camouflage synthetic stocks, interchangeable chokes, and a fiber optic front sight.

Savage Arms, the parent behind the Stevens’ name, ensures the Model 320 is built with dual slide bars and a rotary bolt head for greater durability. The drilled and tapped receiver means easy optics mounting for chasing turkeys, especially gobbler-friendly in the Mossy Oak Obsession camo. Smaller framed waterfowlers will gravitate to the Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades coverage. There’s even a Muddy Girl option for those youngsters favoring pink camo.


Remington V3 Compact


Remington’s Model V3 line of autoloading shotguns have been popular with hunters for several years, and there’s no reason youth or small-frame shooters can’t enjoy that same action. The V3 Compact uses synthetic furniture with a shorter 13-inch length-of-pull.

This semi-auto cycles both 2-3/4 and 3-inch 12-gauge loads using the company’s proven VersaPort gas system technology. The V3 Compact uses a 22-inch barrel with interchangeable chokes, an alloy receiver, and an overall weight of just over 6-pounds. MSRP on the V3 Compact is $915, with used prices sub-$700.


Pointer Deluxe Youth


While Pointer is not a well-recognized name in semi-automatic shotguns, the Deluxe Youth represents what is probably the most affordable option on the market. Pointer shotguns come via Legacy Sports International, which also encompasses brands like Howa, Lithgow Arms, and Citadel.

The Pointer Deluxe Youth is chambered in 20-gauge, dressed in plain black synthetic, chrome-lined ventilated rib barrel and includes a set of five choke tubes. Prices on the Pointer Youth model shotguns come in just over $300.


Escort M87 Youth


Like the Pointer brand, Escort shotguns were also sold through Legacy Sports International and they represent a low-priced entry point into youth-sized pump-action shotguns. The M87 is available in either 12- or 20-gauge with a 22-inch barrel and abbreviated 13.5-inch LOP.

Interchangeable chokes come standard as does a Turkish Walnut stock fitted to the matte black metalwork. MSRP on the M87 Youth is $350 with used prices occasionally found for as low as $199.


TriStar Viper G2 Youth


Turkish-made TriStar offers proven, budget-priced, semi-automatic shotguns with the Viper G2 coming in many different models. In youth models alone, selections include Wood, Synthetic, Camo, and Sporting — which shows off a brightly anodized finish in either blue or red. The Viper G2 is a gas-driven autoloader with the majority chambered in 20-gauge, though both 12-gauge and .410 bore options are also available.

With a vent rib barrel, fiber optic sight, chrome-lined barrel, and “soft touch” stock and forearm finish, the Viper G2 excels as a youth hunting shotgun with a 13-inch LOP. The Quick-Shot plug removal system means the magazine tube plug can be easily removed in the field and the G2 also uses a manual E-Z Load magazine cut-off. The guns ship with three choke tubes and shim kits. MSRP runs from $580 to $685, depending upon model choice.


Mossberg 500 Bantam


If shooters want one of the most well-known and respected pump-action shotguns on the market, the Mossberg Model 500 sits right at the top. Young shooters can cut their teeth on the 500 Bantam for birds, clays, and even deer with the Combo sets. The 500 Bantam can be had in almost any configuration, including wood, camo, and left-handed. The 500 Super Bantam models, including a Turkey edition, include LOP spacers allowing the gun to grow with the shooter from 12- to 13-inches. The newer 500 Flex models even allow adjustment to the comb height and even greater LOP changes.

The Mossberg 500 Bantam uses dual extractors, choke tubes, twin action bars, and steel-to-steel lockup. One of the nicest features for young shooters using a pump is Mossberg’s EZ-Reach forend so the shooter needn’t reach far forward to cycle the action. Because the 500 Bantam is so popular, both new and used options abound, with prices from $250 to $400.


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Categories: Gun News

Tips for the Best & Worst Ways to Store Ammo

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 01:34

Pretty, right? We have the 411 on how to keep it that way, below (Photo: Chris Eger/

With many investing substantially in lead and brass these days, we are here to answer your questions about safe and reliable ammunition storage.

Where Should You Store Ammunition?

As explained by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, the firearms industry group that standardizes cartridge loading specs, ammo should be stored in a “cool, dry location away from solvents, heat sources, or open flames.”

SAAMI recommends that ammunition should be stored in its original packaging or in packaging designed specifically for that purpose. This helps avoid confusion on just what caliber, load, and vintage the ammo is at a glance. Sure, factory headstamps can be deciphered and should be verified before you load a firearm or magazine, but keeping rounds in their original boxes helps keep you ahead of the curve.

Speaking of safety, it is generally advised to keep ammunition stored separately, and securely, from firearms that are not in use. This can help avoid unauthorized access to loaded firearms.


A good way I like to keep my ammunition cool and dry is in GI-style ammo cans. These can be bought surplus at a variety of places including Army-Navy stores and online in both new and used conditions.

To ensure the cans are up to snuff, I typically check a few things to include that the rubber seal is in good shape, and the can locks up tight. A good test of an unsure can is to put a roll of toilet paper inside, close and latch the can, then put it in a tub of water overnight. If the TP comes out untouched, odds are the can is airtight. A more low-key solution is a tight-sealing plastic container, such as Tupperware.

Be sure to check the seals on your cans. They are often a mixed bag. A good retrofit for old ammo cans is to coat the inside in Flex Seal or some sort of similar rubberized sealant spray coating. (Photo: Chris Eger/

I typically store ammo inside the can with plastic bags– in case of some sort of unforeseen water intrusion– and a desiccant pack. Be sure to rotate/reset your packs as directed. Ideally, keep ammo in its original box inside the can. Importantly, once you close the can, leave it closed, because every time you open it new air, bringing its friend humidity, gets in. (Photo: Chris Eger/

As a side, it is easy to sort ammo by caliber or purpose in different cans. (Photo: Chris Eger/

I log mine with simple Avery type labels so I can tell at a glance what is in each can. When the inventory changes, slap a new label on. (Photo: Chris Eger/

You can also go larger, such as applying stickers or stencils. The left can, for example, has unloaded Magpul mags. The center can, 5.56 NATO rounds, the right can, loaded Magpul mags.

Many manufacturers also sell new ammo loaded in military cans or sealed in rubberized “battle packs.” (Photo: Chris Eger/

Redneck battle packs, done with kitchen vacuum sealers, are also an option, although there is some debate in online forums over the efficacy. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Where Should You Not Store Ammunition?

While ammo cans may help “keep your powder dry,” leaving the can in a hot and leaky outbuilding long enough largely negates that. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The other side of the coin on smart ammo storage is to remember to keep your stockpile away from hot or wet areas. By extension, this means avoiding storing ammunition away from non-climate controlled areas such as garages, barns or outbuildings or places where it may have direct exposure to sunlight. Likewise, storing ammo for long periods in vehicles will subject it to elevated temperatures.

The cooler and drier your ammo is, the better. For example, I have a central closet in my home that does not share a wall with any water pipes or HVAC/water heater components that I have converted to my Bullet Room, complete with a simple dehumidifier, fire-rated door, and high-speed lock.

Another pitfall to avoid is to steer clear of storing ammo in vintage boxes. While super collectible and aesthetically pleasing, they are open to the air and will do little to protect your investment. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Does Ammunition Go Bad?

You open up your safe and reach inside only to be greeted by a waft of long-expired ammo, with flies circling the putrid remains of your once-fresh boxes of cartridges.

No, this is not a thing.

However, over time, the primers and propellants used in the manufacture of ammunition will break down and deteriorate. The guidelines on just how fast this occurs are something that is up for conjecture.

Leading ammunition manufacturer, Federal, notes on their website that, “If stored properly, loaded ammunition has a 10-year shelf life.”

With that, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that ammunition can often last much longer, especially in military surplus loads that have been armory stored with an eye towards future use by later generations.

These vintage military loads, a 1970s Greek spam can of .30-06 and some circa-1954 Norwegian M2 ball, are still relatively fresh and proved reliable in testing. Likewise, the author has shot Turkish 8mm Mauser leftover from the 1950s and Austrian 8×56 Steyr from the 1930s with good results. With that being said, always inspect any ammo before use, whether it is brand new or decades old. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Before using any ammunition, be sure to inspect it for signs of physical damage. This includes corrosion, significant discoloration, dents, and heavy scratches. Never use a cartridge or shotgun shell that shows signs of swelling, splits, or just “feels different” from the rest. Better safe than sorry.

It’s best to rotate ammunition, shooting the oldest of your stock at regular range trips. In law enforcement and security use, typically officers will expend their duty ammo at each qualification, be it quarterly or biannually, replacing it with fresh rounds after they clean their gun. Well, that’s the policy anyway. A good takeaway from that is for consumers who utilize a firearm for personal or home protection to also consider rotating their “good stuff” that is chambered or loaded in their mags. This can help avoid problems such as set-back as well, a subject that is probably best addressed in another article.

In the end, no matter how much you spend on ammo, if you safeguard it through proper storage, it will never be money wasted.


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Categories: Gun News

Following Lawsuit, New Jersey Outdoor Ranges to Reopen Friday

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 06:13

Outdoor shooting ranges in New Jersey are set to reopen Friday for the first time since Gov. Murphy ordered them closed on March 21. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Just a week after a federal lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s closure of gun ranges, the Governor announced they can reopen.

On May 18, Murphy unveiled an Executive Order to allow a variety of outdoor sporting centers to reopen on Friday. The list includes archery ranges, batting cages, golf driving ranges, shooting ranges and tennis clubs, as well as all-terrain vehicle and dirt bike rental outlets. He cautioned that the activities would still have to comply with a variety of COVID-19 inspired social distancing, cleaning, sanitizing and hygiene practices.

Murphy, a Democrat, was named with a host of other state officials in a federal lawsuit filed on May 12 by healthcare worker Delores Ricci, 59, in conjunction with the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs.

Ricci, a first-time gun owner, recently purchased a handgun for self-defense and, having no prior firearms experience, wanted to get familiar with her new gun. However, Murphy’s March 21 executive order closing all ranges in the state due to coronavirus shutdowns, contends the lawsuit, eliminated that possibility.

Unfortunately, Murphy’s latest order does not extend to indoor ranges but the ANJRPC said they “will continue to vigorously pursue the reopening of indoor ranges as soon as possible.”

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Categories: Gun News

A Salute to the Greatest Generation: Colt Iwo Jima Collectible

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 05:00

In honor of all servicemen and women this Memorial Day, reached into the Collectors Corner to show off a patriotic and embellished M1911 — the Colt Iwo Jima Collectible.

In the late 1990s, Colt teamed up with TALO Distributors to offer unique collectible M1911A1s to the world. The collaboration was so successful that TALO is now engraving many other brands. The Colt lineup remains some of its most sought-after guns.

Beautiful hardwood grips make this an attractive gun. (Photo: Don Summers/

The Colt Iwo Jima pays tribute to the Greatest Generation and one of WWII’s bloodiest battles. The Marines landed on the beaches of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, armed with a large swath of guns, including the M1911. On February 23, Joe Rosenthal took his award-winning photo of six Marines planting the flag atop Mt. Suribachi. Sadly, days later three of those men would lose their life on the battlefield.

The raising of the flag atop Mt. Suribachi depicted on side of the slide. (Photo: Don Summers/

TALO pays homage to those men and Rosenthal’s photo on one side of the slide. Behind them, you can see warplanes flying in the sky and battleships on the sea. The opposite side of the slide depicts a jungle scene with four Marines hunkered down. The slide is both brushed and polished and serves as a beautiful tribute to the brave men who fought for over a month to secure the islands. The hardwood grips feature the U.S. Flag engraved into it with a gold Colt medallion in the middle.

Four Marines hunkered in a foxhole. (Photo: Don Summers/

This full-size Government model is number 60 of 300 produced, making it an extremely collectible piece for any patriot or M1911 aficionado. Check out this and other Colt’s like it by clicking the button below.


One of the finest TALO and Colt collaborations. (Photo: Don Summers/

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Categories: Gun News

Oklahoma Governor Signs Ban on ‘Red Flag’ Gun Seizure Laws

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 02:51

Gun rights groups say the new law is a boost to Second Amendment protections. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a bill that would bar cities and counties in Oklahoma from enacting so-called “red flag” gun seizure schemes.

Stitt put his signature this week on Oklahoma Senate Bill 1081, the “Anti Red Flag Act,” which preempts any type of extreme risk protection legislation in the state. The measure was popular with lawmakers, passing the state Senate 34-9 and the state House 77-14.

The measure had the support of state and national pro-gun organizations to include the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association and Gun Owners of America. Such groups argue red flag bills have little impact on crime and instead force individuals to surrender legal firearms to law enforcement based on often uncorroborated statements, then putting those gun owners into an expensive uphill fight to get their rights restored.

“Oklahoma, which recently became a Constitutional Carry state, has been showing the way in restoring and reaffirming the right to keep and bear arms,” said Erich Pratt, GOA’s senior vice president. “At a time when the anti-gun Left and even some on the right are pushing these dangerous Red Flag gun confiscation orders, it’s very encouraging to see a state stand up for the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

While increasingly becoming the law of the land in blue states, red flag bills are often pitched to lawmakers as a tool to be used by police in uncommon circumstances when other tactics won’t fit. However, in states where they have been passed, they are increasingly becoming the routine mechanism of choice to impound firearms from gun owners put in the spotlight. For example, in Florida, where a seizure law was adopted in 2018, the law “has been applied more than 3,500 times,” the AP reports, noting that the pace of orders issued is “accelerating.”

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Categories: Gun News Memorial Day Sale: Save Big and Stock Up Over 5 Days

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 00:11

The Memorial Day Sale runs May 21-25. (Photo: Chris Eger/

With up to 10% off on select used guns and free shipping on orders over $49, the Memorial Day Sale runs May 21 to May 25.

During the sale, much of’s carefully vetted stock of Certified Used Guns will be deeply discounted to include items in our Collector’s Corner, Military Classics, and Hunting categories, among others.

Further, with free shipping on deals $49 and up, you can save more green to put towards essentials such as ammo, magazines, and optics, should you need them.


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Categories: Gun News