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Training for Concealed Carry with Style

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 23:30

Training isn’t synonymous with slouchy. Step up range day attire for a classier approach to drills. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

As important as it is to carry a gun for personal safety, it’s equally as important to put in the time to train and practice. While most gun owners prefer to roll to the range in either tactical gear or rags lying around the house, there’s no reason gun owners can’t look snazzy while running concealed carry drills.

Cris Crannigan donned some fun duds from Brooklyn Cloth Mfg. Co, Broken Threads and Tailored Recreation Premium. In addition to some brightly colored attire, Crannigan carried a Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm model in a Hidden Hybrid Single Clip Strong Side/AIWB holster then later switched over to the larger, midsize Gen. 4 Glock 19 in a Bravo Concealment Torsion 3.0 Holster. Both feature a hardshell design with an inside-the-waistband approach for ultimate concealment.

Running through the drawing drills, Crannigan demonstrated draws from t-shirts as well as a looser overshirt, proving that you don’t have to be tacticool to concealed carry. Scroll through the pics to check out Crannigan in action alongside the fun, summery looks.

Crannigan starts his training session in a t-shirt with the Smith & Wesson Shield and Hidden Hybrid Holster. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

Crannigan ran through several drills with the Smith & Wesson Shield. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

The Hidden Hybrid Holster can be worn IWB or AIWB. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

The Glock 19 paired well with patterned shirt. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

The Glock 19 in Bravo Concealment Torsion 3.0 Holster IWB. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

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Categories: Gun News

Alabama Gun Permits No Longer Alternative for Background Check

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 08:00

Alabama concealed carry permits no longer qualify as an adequate substitute for a federal background check for those buying a firearm from a licensed gun dealer. The ATF announced the change Monday in a public safety advisor issued to all Alabama federal firearm licensees. The change follows a federal review of the state’s permitting system that found instances in which individuals received permits without completing a check.

According to the advisory, the state issued permits to an unspecified number of prohibited persons who then successfully used the permit to buy a firearm from an FFL. The ATF determined in 2016 that Alabama’s carry requirements after Aug. 1, 2013 qualified as an alternative to a NICS check. However, a federal review found routine errors and incomplete background checks therefore the state’s enforcement fo the standard fails to meet those set by federal law.

The Brady Act of 1993 set the mandate for the federal system, dubbed the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Before buying a gun, the buyer must complete a form and the FFL submits the information to NICS, which compares the info to multiple databases. Once the buyer is cleared, the FFL can then transfer the firearm to him or her.

While states must submit documents to the NICS system, they can also add additional requirements or alternatives that adequately substitute a check. Obtaining a concealed carry permit, which requires a background check, may serve as an adequate substitute.

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Categories: Gun News

Concealed Carry Pistols for Dedicated Concealed Carriers

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 05:00

There are countless articles written about the best concealed carry firearm. These articles delve into round count, shootablity and price, but there’s a fourth dynamic to concealed carry pistols that are often left out — the minimum firearms knowledge needed to consider carrying and owning one of these firearms.

Minimum firearms knowledge centers around the knowledge a novice shooter needs to have in order to operate, deploy and fire the pistol successfully, as well as cleaning, caring for and maintenance of the weapon.  It’s important to remember that choosing the right firearm isn’t just about pulling the trigger. It is a commitment to understanding and safely using a firearm.

I’ve employed the help of experts like Instagram influencer Baret Fawbush, otherwise known as Truexodus, and Benghazi hero Dave “Boon” Benton, who is a former Ranger and current weapons and tactics instructor,  to give their take on some popular semiautomatic concealed carry options.

Glock 43 – $450


Released in 2015, the Glock 43 is Glock’s flagship for subcompact concealment. The polymer single stack is slim and small. Measuring slightly larger than the Sig P365, the Glock 43 provides adequate surface space for even a slightly larger handed shooter to get a solid grip and accurately put rounds on target.

The safety systems can be a sticking point for a novice shooter, though. Despite forgoing a traditional manual safety, the Glock is equipped with three safety mechanisms. It can be scary for someone new to concealed carry, though. It’s important to remember that nothing is more valuable or more important when it comes to choosing a concealed carry firearm than training with and shooting it. Any pistol can be a great choice with the proper training and thousands of rounds through it.

In the end, Fawbush and Benton agreed that for the novice shooter, the Glock 43 is a great choice. “It’s easy to conceal, easy to maintain,” Benton said.  Fawbush added, “The 43 has never let me down and has more of a balanced recoil management.” Coupled with a great price point and a plethora of holster options, the Glock 43 rates very high for the novice and experienced concealed carry shooter alike.

Glock 19 – $500


From magazine capacity to concealability, to maintenance and price point, the Glock 19 checks all the boxes. Now in fairness, this is not a subcompact like a Glock 43, Sig P365 or Shield. And as Benton points out we’re “not necessarily comparing apples to apples;” however, the Glock 19 is one of the most common carry choices and with good reason.

The Glock 19 earns a top spot on the illustrious conceal carry pyramid because it is the most consistent handgun on the market. God forbid you should ever need your firearm in a self-defense situation, you want to know that your tool of choice will perform as intended. Fawbush has put 45,000 rounds through his Glock 19 carry gun without any issues. When you pull the trigger, it goes boom.

At a $500 price point, the novice shooter, intermediate concealed carry shooter, and expert tactical operator can’t beat it. As far as negatives to the platform, cheap out of box sights and crunchy trigger — that’s all we could come up with.

As for what makes the Glock great, Benton offered his take. “The high magazine capacity, easy to maintain and (it) requires less lube between round counts. It’s a good compromise for concealment and control when firing fast accurate shots.”

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield – $250


Easy to clean and maintain, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is available in a variety of calibers. Shipping with or without the thumb safety the small and compact Shield might prove difficult for newer shooters due to the design of its trigger.

The trigger pulls up and into the gun which makes it very difficult for the novice gun owner to consistently get rounds on target. Benton said the “heavy pivoting trigger” and low magazine capacity made this one of the more difficult carry guns.

Fawbush agreed. “Because of the thin frame and where the trigger breaks. It isn’t set up to aid a shooter in the fundamentals,” he said. Unless you have very small hands, the M&P Shield might be a more challenging choice for the novice shooter.

Sig Sauer P365 – $499


Sig Sauer’s answer to the Glock 43, the Sig P365 provides concealed carry civilians with another great option for the Sig brand lover. What sets it apart? The magazine capacity at 12 rounds!

Both Fawbush and Benton alluded to the magazine capacity as one of the biggest advantages to carrying this pistol in a civilian defense application. Being able to put a lot of rounds down range as a beginner is a big plus.

The P365’s ease of use is also a bonus for this platform. The P365 requires far less maintenance than the 1911s of the world, with any rookie shooter capable of field stripping and cleaning this firearm. Even better, it is highly concealable. Smaller than the Glock 43 and with more rounds, the P365 also sports a rail for accessories like lasers or lights. For those not interested in tossing on a light/laser combo, the night sights also stand out. “If you’ve ever picked up a Sig P226 or P229, it has a similar feel,” Fawbush commented. “It is a combat sight picture.”

It’s not all roses for the P365, though. Fawbush calls the recoil “snappy.” The handgun doesn’t shoot as smooth as other models on the market. Some shooters have also reported feeding issues with their gun, sending them back to Sig for repair. Despite its quirks, the Sig P365 is a quality subcompact firearm with a high capacity magazine that is extremely concealable, even in a t-shirt and shorts. You can’t miss with this one.

Wilson Combat EDC-X9 – $2,995

(Photo: Wilson Combat)

The Wilson Combat EDC-X9 is the crème de la crème of the EDC/concealed carry firearms world. “This gun shoots itself. Mechanically, it’s the easiest gun to shoot in my collection,” according to Fawbush. This firearm holds 15 rounds in the magazine, which gives it a leg up in capacity from some of the other options on our list or comparable compact or subcompact options on the market. Despite being a double stack, the EDC-X9 still maintains manageable proportions. Overall height of this pistol is just 5.24-inches and width at the base of the grip is 1.4-inches, just slightly wider than most single-stack 1911s. Aesthetically, it tops our list.

“The sliding lightweight trigger is more forgiving of poor trigger management,” according to Benton. One of the benefits of the X­frame design is that it’s smaller in size than most 1911 grips, yet it contains the same controls. The mainspring housing, front strap and front and rear slide serrations offer the Wilson’s X-TAC crosscut diamond texturing. The G10 grips feature a starburst design and pewter WC-logo medallions.

But let’s talk about the drawbacks, particularly for the novice or new shooter. “It requires more maintenance than modern designs, and more lube and cleaning [every 300-500 rounds],” Benton said. Additionally, carrying a firearm with the hammer back can be intimidating for some novice shooters. If you’re an experienced shooter, and you’re looking for the custom 1911 feel with a great trigger the EDC-X9 from Wilson Combat is pretty epic; however, the EDC-X9 isn’t the best choice for a carry gun for newer shooters, even if you can afford it.

Final Thoughts

Some will disagree, perhaps choosing another firearm that we haven’t even discussed. At the end of the day, the best semiautomatic concealed carry firearm for you is the one that you shoot the best, can carry the safest and can maintain the easiest.

If you’re on the hunt for concealed carry firearms, check out’s full inventory of new and certified used handguns.

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Categories: Gun News

Beretta Expands 92X Series with Four New Pistols

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 04:00

The four new Beretta 92X pistols all use the “thin” Vertec profile frame, but are still backward compatible with legacy 92 parts. Top left to right: the railed Compact; Centurion; (rail-less) Compact, and, bottom, is the 92X Full-Size (All Photos: Chris Eger/

Beretta on Thursday expanded the 92X Performance series by adding four new handgun models, each one tailored to fit modern shooting needs. The new 9mm 92X guns, in Full-Size, Centurion, Compact and Compact Rail configurations, are intended to be an ideal fit for those who need a handgun for dynamic shooting or defensive purposes.

Built on the Vertec profile frame with a straight backstrap and updated grip options, the guns all feature a round trigger guard, beveled magazine well, chrome-lined barrel with a recessed target crown, front and back cross checkering on the grip frame, and combat sights with dovetailed fronts. The guns use a steel trigger and mag release.

To understand where the new handgun line falls inside Beretta’s expansive Model 92 line, the 92X series is loaded with features and upgrades not found in the more vanilla 92FS/M9 pistols while coming in at a price that is more affordable than the M9A3 and the semi-custom Langdon Tactical/Wilson Combat 92G series guns.

As such, the 92X series have full backward compatibility with all 90-series magazines and railed accessories while the front sights and grip panels are compatible with M9A3 models. Internal components are compatible with legacy 90 series parts of similar size while the double-action/single-action types (F/S, G) can be swapped.

The 92X Full-Size uses a 4.7-inch barrel to produce a pistol that is 8.5-inches long overall with a 6.22-inch sight radius. It comes with three 17-round magazines (with 10 and 15 round mags available to meet state limits) and weighs 33.4-ounces. Like the rest of the series, it comes with newly redesigned grip panels as well as a set of branded wraparounds with aggressive texturing. MSRP is $899.

The texturing on these new polymer grips is very aggressive and can always be toned down with an application of sandpaper should the user desire less purchase. Beretta also has optional G10 wraparounds available and any M9A3 panels will work.

The 92X Centurion is fundamentally a Commander-sized companion to the Full-Size with a shorter 4.3-inch barrel length that translates to a 7.75-inch overall length and a sight radius that is 6-inches flat. This trims the weight down to 28.5-ounces while keeping everything else on the Full-Size models, including the $899 MSRP.

The 92X Compact, offered in both an M1913 railed model and one with a classic smooth dust cover for those who aren’t looking to add accessories, has the Centurion-length slide and barrel on a shorter frame (5.25-inches high, versus the standard 5.4-inch) to produce a handgun more suited for concealed carry. Due to the chopped down frame, the Compact has a smaller mag capacity — 13 rounds– but also comes in a little lighter, hitting the scales at 27-ounces.

The Beretta 92X Compact with the classic smooth dustcover

Beretta tells us the Compact is backward compatible with standard and extended capacity 92-series mags, they just won’t flush with the bottom of the mag well. MSRP on the railed 92X Compact is $899 while the one with the smooth dust cover is $800.

92X Full-Size compared to the 92X Compact with a smooth dust cover.

The sights as standard on these 92X guns are a high-visibility orange front sight on a Vertec dovetail with blacked-out combat rears.

“Beretta USA is proud to introduce the new 92X family. This new line of pistols add to the long and rich heritage of the 90 series line. The new 92x family is a true combat-proven, modern classic,” said Erik Stern, Tactical and Pro Shop Product Manager.

The four new models complement the 92X Performance, which was teased at trade shows earlier this year. Coming in at a hefty 48-ounces due to its steel frame and heavier Brigadier slide, features Beretta’s new Extreme-S trigger mechanism which decreases trigger reset by up to 40 percent — down to just millimeters of travel back from the wall. MSRP on the 92X Performance is $1,399.

The very sweet 92X Performance was on hand at Beretta’s Pistol Summit this week in Virginia, sporting pre-production grips. To give an idea of the difference between the aluminum-framed 92X cousins and this steel-framed comp gun, the Performance is 1.25-pound heavier.

It also ships in a very nice lockable branded case

As for availability, Beretta tells that the four Bruniton-finished (black) 92X models are in stock and will begin shipping to dealers this week while the Nistan-finished 92X Performance is expected to be available in October. Of note, the Performace is produced in Italy while the rest of the 92X series is all-American made in Beretta’s Gallatin, Tennessee facility.

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Categories: Gun News

Select-Fire: Diamondback Firearms Factory Tour

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 09:30

On this episode, we tour the Diamondback Firearms facility in Cocoa, Florida to learn about the company’s phenomenal growth. Many know Diamondback for their DB9 pocket pistol or DB15 rifles. Despite having a small catalog, Diamondback is one of the most prolific gun makers in the country. The company has grown 100 percent every year for the past four years. Diamondback is a small gun maker with big ideas. Check them out on Select-Fire, where we travel around to see gun-smiths, -shops and -shooting.

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Categories: Gun News

IWI Shipping the New Masada, a Striker-Fired and Optics-Ready Pistol

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 08:30

Pennsylvania-based gun maker IWI US announced that the new Masada optics-ready pistol will ship out to stores starting Wednesday.

“This is our first entry into the striker-fired pistol market and we are very pleased with the results,” said Jeremy Gresham, IWI US director of sales and marketing. Priced at $480, Gresham called the Masada “a serious contender for civilian and government customers.”

According to the company, the IWI US Masada was developed under modern battlefield requirements and the gun’s features were selected based on input from military, law enforcement, and shooters.

By the numbers, the Masada, chambered in 9mm, is equipped with 4.1-inch cold-hammer forged barrel with a 1-in-10-inch right-hand twist. With an overall length of 7.4 inches, the handgun weighs in at 1.43 pounds. And, it comes with either a 10- or 17-round magazine.

The gun features ambidextrous controls, multiple interchangeable back-straps, a low-bore axis for reduced felt recoil, and a built-in trigger safety set with a 6-pound pull.

Making it more competitive, the Masada is out-of-the-box optics ready and includes interchangeable mounting plates for the Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point, Sig Sauer Romeo 01, and Vortex Venom.

Additionally, the frame is built from high-strength, impact resistant fiberglass reinforced polymers and uses a modular, serialized trigger mechanism housing group.

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Categories: Gun News

Tactica Defense Fashion Answers Call for Concealed Carry Clothing

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 04:30

Tactica Defense Fashion offers fashion-forward concealed carry clothing, gear and holsters to women. (Photo: Tactica Defense Fashion)

Working in the fashion industry for over 20 years, Sandi Little knows a thing or two about style, trends and all things fashionista. The mom of three now puts her talents and know-how to use as the President of Tactica Fashion — a new concealed carry apparel and accessory maker housed under the Alien Gear Holsters family banner.

Tactica Defense Fashion could just be a spot for women to shop for concealed carry gear but Little has bigger plans for the company, looking to bring female gun owners together in a supportive, encouraging network. sat down with Little to talk about Tactica Defense Fashion, its mission and what sets this concealed carry focused company apart. Give me a little backstory on the company and how you got involved.

Little: Alien Gear Holsters obviously has been one of the leaders in concealed carry for many years. They’ve been trying to break into the women’s market, but the team consisted of a lot of guys. I have been in the garment and fashion design business pretty much my entire life. Also, I am a pro-2A person, so when they reached out to me I decided to put that fashion industry background to use with the gun industry to launch this company. We want to help women really find a solution for carrying without giving up their fashion sense. It seems like you guys are moving right along. I learned about you back at SHOT Show in January and since then I’ve seen more and more items creep up on the website.

Little: That was just us dipping our toes in. The actual garment and fashion side are about to be launched in about a month. We have a huge release coming out for fall. I have spent the last year in development figuring out what is comfortable and fashionable without sacrificing safety.

President Sandi Little has a background steeped in fashion design. (Photo: Tactica Defense Fashion) It’s interesting that you mention that because there are a lot of so-called women’s products out there that are borderline unsafe and obviously focus on the aesthetic rather than safe carry. How do you balance that at Tactica Defense Fashion?

Little: With our clothing, there is no concern that if you run or move or carry a child that the gun is going to fall over. Being a manufacturer of holsters, safety is always going to be our first concern. From there we branch out to comfort and fashion.

With every design, I am focused on first of all is it safe? Does it conceal? Is it fashionable? All of our clothing has to have all of those things. A lot of our clothing has built-in trigger guards — all patent-pending designs. We also have an entire garment collection designed to work around our Belly Band, so you can draw from that hard shell Belly Band through your clothing.

The company offers innovative designs that cater to women. (Photo: Tactica Defense Fashion) I actually have the sweater that works with the belly band and I have to say, it’s a pretty unique concept. I don’t think many other manufacturers, if any, are really doing this kind of full integration. Do you think this is what sets Tactica Defense apart from other concealed carry companies?

Little: Absolutely! We are feminine, but there’s no frou-frou in what we’re doing. It’s just simple concealment. When I first got into this, I heard people saying “just put a scarf around your neck and no one will look at your hip area where your gun is.” That’s not a solution for me. If you look at what I went for, I went for solid colors which are notoriously the hardest colors for concealment. I’m launching most of my clothing in solid colors. There will be prints in the future, but I really want to show how to conceal without having to wear prints. Is there anything else you think our readers should know about Tactica Defense Fashion?

Little: I think we have a great product and I’m proud of the products we are creating, but I am also really about creating a community. I want to build a like-minded community for women. I am finding that social groups for women that are like us are really far and few in between. I want to fill that void.

We just did our first lunch here last week where we had a powerful group of 35 to 40 women in our office. We had an instructor come talk about safety, concepts on carrying and just overall what it’s like as a woman carrying. I want women to have a forum in every state to gather and talk and ask questions. It’s one of my big missions.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy what I am doing!

Building a community of like-minded women is just as important as the products, Little says. (Photo: Tactica Defense Fashion)

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Categories: Gun News

Exclusive: U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group Adopts STI 2011 Pistols

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 04:00

“Who wouldn’t want a pistol that holds 21 rounds and can shoot super-fast, flat and accurately when you’re on duty?” (Photo: STI)

While there has been lots of speculation about the latest handgun program underway for the U.S. Marshals Service, got the rest of the story direct from the horse’s mouth.

The buzz over the new USMS pistol initiative cranked up in earnest when Leupold and Dawson Precision issued a joint statement late last month that the agency had chosen the respective company’s DeltaPoint Pro optic and DUO/Perfect Impact co-witness sights, alluding to the “STI SRA Pistol project.”

As in the same Texas-based STI Firearms which is renowned for their high-end competition guns often seen in the hands of the fictional John Wick, not necessarily their law enforcement offerings.

This announcement ignited internet gun groups with discussion sourced mainly from Wikipedia pages, Tommy Lee Jones movies and basic cable shows based on Elmore Leonard books, but the truth is a little different animal. While today’s Marshals Service fields some 5,000 operational and administrative employees charged with duties ranging from court security, prisoner transportation, witness protection, and fugitive apprehension, the new STI guns will be used solely by the agency’s secretive Special Operations Group, stationed in Camp Beauregard, Louisiana.

“SOG deploys to enhance the tactical capabilities of the Department of Justice and the USMS operations, domestically and internationally,” Drew J. Wade, chief of the Marshal Service’s Office of Public Affairs, explained to Wade elaborated that SOG missions include a lot of specialty high-risk operations such as providing support for trials involving terrorists, moving high-threat prisoners and witness security members, and responding to national emergencies.

The unit, unlike rank-and-file Marshals, has “extensive training in the operation of single-action pistols, which they feel best meets their tactical carry requirements,” said Wade, with SOG operators having previously carried Springfield Armory pro-rail 1911 .45ACP platforms for the past 16 years. “Only SOG will use the STI pistols,” he said.

USMS SOG with their new STI pistol platforms. (Photo: USMS)

The group has been actively researching double-stack 9mm 1911-style systems for at least four years, with various models tested. This included lots of talks with STI.

“All of the stuff that shooters want for competition carries over into what a law enforcement officer would want to carry on duty,” Buck Pierson, Director of Law Enforcement and Military Sales for STI Firearms, told “Who wouldn’t want a pistol that holds 21 rounds and can shoot super-fast, flat and accurately when you’re on duty?”

The STI Staccato-P-DUO, as used by the Marshal Service’s SOG (Photo: STI)

Pierson said STI has responded to increased interest from big-name LE tactical teams who are looking at their 2011 platform for the same reason pro-shooters have been running them for 25 years: lighter recoil, a higher magazine capacity than a 1911 single-stack, incredible accuracy, and reliability. While SOG evaluators put somewhere over 15,000 rounds through their evaluation pistols, Pierson said some agencies that are testing STI guns have far exceeded that, with positive results.

The model the USMS has selected was developed as a result of feedback from law enforcement users, specifically SOG itself. After evaluating various 5- and 4.25-inch rail gun models, Pierson said changes needed to be made.

“The guns just had solid black sights. They didn’t have ambidextrous safeties on them. They didn’t have tactical mag wells on them, and they were blued,” said Pierson. “With the Marshals’ guys specifically being in Louisiana, the humidity out there were getting the guns to rust from being outside for multiple days.”

The solution was a durable Diamond Like Carbon finish on the whole gun — barrel, slide, frame, and small parts — everything — along with Treebark stipple grips, a slim tactical mag well, and a 4.15-inch bull barrel.

Then came the sights. With the Marshals and other agencies already set on Leupold’s Delta Point Pro, they needed a co-witness back up sight solution. That’s when Pierson said Dave Dawson with Dawson Precision came in and developed the DUO (Dawson Universal Optic) rear sight that fit the bill. Coupled with a Dawson Precision Perfect Impact front sight, the new model became the STI Staccato-P-DUO.

And the gun has been a hit. “As we sit right now from the development of that gun that was done jointly with the Marshals and other guys, we’re now in over 60 departments in 19 states selling that model specifically,” said Pierson. “So, what we ended up developing for [the USMS] as their go-to-gun has now been our primary production model for all of law enforcement.

Note the mag plate emblem. SOG continues to research holster models to carry the STI pistols. (Photo: USMS)

Interestingly, although the platform is offered in both .45ACP and 9mm, most agencies have elected to go with the latter. In addition to the optic-ready DUO guns, Pierson said they have also made a carry version of the same pistol that was non-optic bearing, by request. “So basically, we took a Staccato P and we put a shorter carry grip on it,” he said.

The optic-free carry version. (Photo: STI)

To date, USMS has purchased 160 STI pistols for SOG operators.

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Categories: Gun News

Beth Alcazar Defines Living the Concealed Carry Lifestyle as a Mom

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 09:00

Before Beth Alcazar was a Senior Staff Writer for USCCA, before she became a sought-after voice in the concealed carry movement, she was a mom. “I still love describing myself as a mom with a gun because ultimately that’s what I am, I’m a mom,” said Alcazar. Her job duties as a mom range from counselor to alligator wrestler, she told us with a laugh, but her ultimate job responsibility is that of protector.

It came with the program

Alcazar started writing for the outdoor industry almost twenty years ago to learn more about PR, marketing, and to ultimately get her feet wet in a professional writing career. “I wasn’t pursuing something with shooting, it just sort of came with the program, if you will,” she said. Along the way she met many interesting people and came to appreciate the business and industry as a whole. Everything seemed to be moving in the right direction until it all came abruptly crashing down upon her.

Tragedy turned triumph

At 37 weeks pregnant with her third child she was abruptly fired. She was facing a c-section with no insurance, wondering how she would get through it. That’s when she decided to reach out to one of those contacts she had made in the outdoor industry, Kevin Michalowski, now the Executive Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine. Even though Michalowski gave her a shot she didn’t know if there was a place for her to write, she didn’t see herself as an expert yet.

“For the longest time I didn’t feel like I had a voice to offer… I said I’m just a mom with a gun, I don’t know if that has a place,” Alcazar said. The USCCA and Michlowski assured her that it not only had a place, it was desperately needed. Next she had to take a deep dive into the world of concealed carry firearms.

Igniting the passion

“I realized that yes we have guns, we use guns, but I don’t know enough. I need to know more. I need to know everything there is to know about these guns,” said Alcazar. Her passion for firearms has grown. Now she is a certified instructor in several disciplines. “It became more than just a passion for me. I thought now that I know things, and I’ve taken classes and trained, what about everybody else,” Alcazar said. Now Alcazar carries a Springfield XD-S with her everywhere she legally can and she feels confident knowing  she has the ability to use it.

Alcazar has become leading in voice in the concealed carry movement and continues to grow her following, especially among new female shooters. It’s a testament to how she approaches her training and being a mom with a gun. It wasn’t always the case though. When starting to carry she felt the same way that many new shooters feel about concealed carry. “It’s almost like I didn’t know I could [carry a gun for protection]… and I had to pursue the training to prove to myself that yeah, I can, and so can anyone else,” she said.

Today, she still pursues that training relentlessly and will talk shop with just about anybody about guns. Her goal still remains the same though; get guns into hand of responsible citizens so they can learn how to properly defend themselves. She doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

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Categories: Gun News

The Best Handguns for Hunting

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 08:30

As handgun hunting’s popularity continues on a meteoric rise, more options hit the market each year. Whether hunters favor semi-automatic pistols or the more traditional revolvers, there are ample choices for the shopping hunter. Check out any of these that are sure to put the knockdown on game animals.

Nosler M48 Independence – $1,750

The brand new Nosler M48 Independence single-shot, bolt-action handgun represents the best-of-the-best in terms of ultimate accuracy in a hunting handgun. The 15-inch barrel has a threaded muzzle for either a suppressor or brake. The handgun’s exceptional two-stage trigger rivals that of target rifles, and an aluminum chassis-style stock rounds out the package. Each handgun is machined and built from US made parts by the gunsmiths in Bend, Oregon.

The Independence is not cheap, but it exudes all-American quality and easily shoots sub-MOA groups to match. In fact, in the hands of a capable handgunner, the M48 will outshoot many rifles.

Ruger Super Redhawk – $820

Ruger’s revolvers have made solid hunting sidearms for decades. The newer Ruger Super Redhawk wheelguns are no exception.  The top choice here has long been the .44 Magnum, but now Ruger also chambers the Super Redhawk in the more commonly hyped pistol 10mm round as well. The dual-chamberings allow use of two calibers in one, like the .44 Mag/.44 Spl, 10mm/.40S&W, and .454 Casull/.45 Colt. These stainless steel, double action revolvers are attractive, potent, and sure to be passed to the next generation of hunters.

Remington 1911 R1 Hunter – $550


The craze over 10mm long-slide hunting pistols is still booming and the options are many. Not only is the 10mm round more potent for hunters than other common semi-automatic handgun calibers, but the longer barrels and slides mean greater velocities and accuracy with the longer sight plane.

The Glock Model 40 MOS and Springfield TRP with the 6-inch barrel both make solid choices as well, but the Remington R1 Hunter is one of the most popular “tens” on the market today. The 6-inch barrel and longer slide are built with stainless steel, coated in black PVD, dressed in aggressive G10 grips, and topped with fully adjustable sights.

Magnum Research BFR – $990

These hulky Biggest, Finest Revolvers — or BFR for short — are the epitome of the single-action wheelgun hunting handgun market. With calibers like .30-30 and .45-70 headlining the family of American-made revolvers, the Magnum Research BFR can take down most any big game animals in the world. Both long and short-cylinder versions include some of the most potent chamberings to be found in a hunting handgun. Because of its quality all-stainless steel build, recoil is controllable, the handgun is easy to keep on target, and accuracy is quite exceptional whether with iron sights or an optic.  Plus, the cool factor is off the charts.

Smith & Wesson 460 – $1,150


Any number of Smith & Wesson revolvers could be inserted here, including models like the Smith & Wesson 629 or 657 in .44 Magnum and .41 Magnum respectively. But when big game is the name of the game, it’s always better to have too much gun than not enough, and certain calibers extend the effective range as well.  The Smith & Wesson 460 chambered in .460 S&W is one of the most potent revolver rounds and Smith & Wesson does it up right with the power and accuracy for longer distance big game hunting. Smith & Wesson advertises the .460 as having “the highest muzzle velocity of any production revolver on earth.” Look at models like the XVR or Performance Center 460’s for top quality.  If the .460 sounds like too much gun, be assured these revolvers will also fire both .45 Colt and .454 Casull.

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

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Categories: Gun News

Gun Review: Heckler & Koch VP9 for Concealed Carry (VIDEO)

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 07:00

Known as the people’s pistol the Heckler & Koch VP9 is the German company’s answer to the Glock 19 craze. In an already crowded concealed carry market, though, I was curious how the striker fired pistol actually measured up. Spending some time on and off the range with HK’s pistol, I got an intimate look into the VP9 design.

The Basics and Some Winning Features

Chambered in 9mm, The VP9 features a striker fired design measuring 7.34-inches in length and 5.41-inches in height with a 4.09-in barrel. Tipping scales at 25.56-ounces, the VP9 can pack 15 rounds of ammunition in its magazine, offering plenty of rounds for plinking or concealed carry use. The VP9 also sports a small accessory rail for those interested in throwing on a light/laser combo for low-light shooting situations. The rail is a standard in most midsize, concealed carry pistols; but it’s still nice to see on this platform. I always appreciate a concealed carry gun that can double as a bedside home defense pistol.

The VP9, known as the People’s Pistol, is a 9mm chambered semi-automatic handgun from Heckler & Koch. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Outside of the basics, the VP9 boasts interchangeable backstraps as well as side grip panels that easily swap out for a somewhat customizable grip area. Punching out a pin in at the rear of the grip, the backstrap and panels slide out of place. HK provides customers with two other sizes in the back offering three total sizes – small, medium and large. Being a petite shooter myself, I opted for the smallest size. The change was noticeable. I was no longer overcompensating with my grip and the VP9 instantly felt more comfortable in my hands. I love a platform that understands its customers aren’t all built the same and thus provides options to dial in comfort. Versatility is key in the VP9.

The VP9 sports an accessory rail for laser/light combos. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

HK could have stopped with the backstraps and still had a winning design, but it continued its features by packaging the platform with a sweet trigger. Breaking around 5 pounds, the trigger brings a smooth, fluid feel that is easy to fire. Additionally, the trigger comes equipped with an integrated safety device that aims to prevent accidental discharges by not engaging the trigger unless depressed.

Normally, the HK sports 3-dot luminous sights; but in the case of this HK VP9, which I nabbed straight from the Vault, Trijicon Night Sights sit atop its slide. The sights function extremely well in low light situations and are great even in the middle of the day shooting with the sun overhead. If you can scope out an HK VP9 with those Trijicon sights, grab it up. It makes all the difference!

On the Range and in a Holster

On the range, the VP9 performed exactly how I imagined an HK firearm would – perfectly. It ate several boxes of ammunition and saw several hundred rounds of ammunition pass through its barrel with no stoppages. Even the cheap, dirty ammo that I would never run through my good guns proved no match for the VP9 platform. Having a gun that is not ammo specific and can power through any box is an advantage when it comes down to training. Skipping the overpriced stuff and opting for the more affordable ammo opens the door to extended training sessions that don’t break the bank.

The paddle style mag release can be a challenge to learn at first but does prevent accidental mag release. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

While I appreciated the overall design of the VP9 while firing it, there was at least one area that threw me for a loop – the paddle style mag release. Though my shooting journey started a decade ago with a paddle style release by way of the Walther P22, I am so used to push button mag releases a la Glock, that the paddle style seemed foreign. It’s not a deal breaker by any means but it will be a learning curve for those use to push buttons. The upside to the paddle style, though, is you won’t accidentally engage the mag release while gripping the gun – a quality that even Glock perfection can’t escape.

The VP9 uses an interchangeable backstrap and side grip panels to help shooters dial in comfort. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Speaking of Glock, the VP9 offers a size similar to the Glock 19 offering a midsize platform that can easily accommodate concealed carry. Large and heavy enough to make shooting easier, with diminished recoil, the VP9 also works its way into a holster. Like most midsize platforms, you won’t be sporting a Baby Gap t-shirt, but for every day clothes, it works. The larger size means it is easily accessed on the draw, affording owners no issues while drawing.

Final Thoughts

With a 15-round capacity, elevated sights in certain models and an ergonomic design paired with a clean, crisp trigger the HK VP9 is a straight-up winner with the only downside coming down to price. Retailing for $562, it is pricier than other semi-auto striker-fired pistols out there but if you’re willing to throw down some extra dough, you won’t be disappointed. Also, it’s worth noting that you can often find it a little cheaper if you’re willing to go the used route.

All in all, the VP9 is a functional, comfortable 9mm pistol with the makings of a great concealed carry gun for those that want to step outside of the cliched Glock box.

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

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Categories: Gun News

Four Budget Concealed Carry Guns Under $400

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 09:00

As much as we’d like to drop serious coin on tricked out carry guns, sometimes that’s just not feasible. When that’s the case, gun owners must turn to wallet friendly concealed carry models. Diving into guns under $400, I pulled some handgun models from the Vault that would make fine additions to any concealed carry arsenal.

Bersa Thunder .380 – $290

The Bersa Thunder earns the honor of being the only .380 ACP pistol on this list. Brings a small, compact design to the concealed carry world, the hammer fired pistol offers 8+1 round capacity. Designed with concealed carry in mind, the Thunder pairs a lightweight small-frame to the .380 cartridge, which offers little to no recoil. The result? The Thunder proves to be a cinch to manipulate and shoot. During the course of testing, I had no issues with the Thunder firing, feeding or extracting the ammo I fed it.

The Bersa Thunder sports a manual safety that also keeps to its simplistic theme. While I personally am not a fan of manual safeties, as they add an extra step in the drawing and firing process, there are plenty of gun owners who prefer it and the Bersa accommodates.

The Bersa Thunder offers a .380 ACP design on a reliable, lightweight build. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

In total, the Bersa Thunder is a fantastic like .380 model for those in need of a backup gun or .380 fans who want something reasonably priced and easy to carry. The Bersa Thunder .380 retails for $290 with used models coming in slightly lower.

Ruger LC9s – $399

The Ruger LC9S introduces a 9mm design, featuring a striker fired construction. Delivering a capacity of 7+1 rounds, the Ruger LC9S opts for a slim, lightweight build boasting a 3.12-inch barrel length.

The LC9s provides a more rugged feel to the concealed carry pistol world, with a checkered grip frame and steel slide. The trade-off to its compactness? It does bring more recoil to the table than the .380 Bersa Thunder. No surprise there given that 9mm offers some more punch; but if you struggle with grip this gun might prove too snappy.

The Ruger LC9S, Pro modeled pictured, is a little snappy but chambers 9mm in a compact platform. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Concealed Carry wise, the Ruger LC9s’ small build works in its favor, allowing it to nestle inside holsters easily and efficiently, concealing flawlessly in a variety of outfits. The LC9s also sports a few safety features including an integrated trigger safety, manual safety on certain models and magazine disconnect. The Ruger LC9S slides right in under that $400 mark with an MSRP of $399.

Beretta BU9 Nano

Beretta fans get some bang for their buck with the BU9 Nano model, chambered in 9mm. This compact Beretta pistol was designed for concealed carriers, bringing a lightweight build and small size to gun owners looking to pack some heat. The striker-fired Nano features a 3-inch barrel paired with a 6+1 capacity. This particular model review was nabbed from the Vault so it features a Crimson Trace laser – a nice bonus for users wanting a little extra aiming help.

The snag-free aesthetic of the BU0 Nano certainly helps it on that draw, keeping the gun from grabbing onto clothes. The polymer frame aids with the overall cleaning and maintenance process especially during summer months when carriers tend to be the sweatiest.

The Beretta BU9 Nano offers 9mm, a pop of color and a Crimson Trace Laser. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

The BU9 Nano boasts the added benefit of appealing to left-handed shooters with a reversible mag release that can be swapped to either side of the gun. The Beretta BU9 Nano brings a concealable design and, in this case,, a laser package, to concealed carry. Fair warning, we busted our price point with this model, as the MSRP comes in over $400, but used models slip under that price mark which is why it makes this list.

Hi-Point C9 – $199

We couldn’t dive into the world of budget guns and not bring in the most famous of them all — the renowned Hi-Point. With the C9 design, HiPoint brings a 9mm pistol to the wallet friendly table. This gun isn’t quite the most attractive in the room but it certainly gets the job done. Featuring a polymer frame with 3.5-inch barrel length, the C9 packs eight shots in its standard mag, although a 10 round mag is available for purchase.

The gun itself doesn’t come close to understanding the term “ergonomic” with a clunky, odd shaped and heavy construction. isn’t one you buy for its comfortable fit. The heaviest out of all the models on this table, the C9 tips scales at almost 30 ounces — that’s nearly 2-pounds of gun metal – then again, you don’t buy a HiPoint for comfort. I will give it some points, the C9’s heavy build does bring lesser felt recoil. If you can manage to chamber a round that is. The slide is incredibly heavy on this model and it took some time to discover how to sling-slot the slide back in order to chamber the round.

The HiPoint C9 is a crowd pleaser with the lowest price on this list. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

It may sound like I am dragging the HiPoint design, but actually, I had a blast with the C9. In fact, it was my favorite gun to shoot and I ended up buying one. It’s quirky, but there’s a certain fun factor to it. Of course, the greatest advantage to this system is its price. MSRP is $199 but, again, you can find this model closer to the $130 mark used, that is if you can find it used. There’s a reason the internet demanded the newest HiPoint be named the Yeet Canon, after all.

Regardless of what model you choose, there’s plenty of options when it comes guns that won’t break your budget. While I took a look at just a few, has plenty more for your shopping pleasure – both new and used.

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

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Categories: Gun News

Milwaukee Police Chose Sig Sauer P320 as New Duty Pistol

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 05:00

The Milwaukee Police Department has been the latest to adopt the increasingly popular Sig Sauer P320 handgun system. (Photo: Sig)

Police in Wisconsin’s largest city moving forward will be using Sig Sauer’s modular P320 platform as their newest duty handgun.

The Milwaukee Police Department’s over 1,800 officers have been hanging up their current Smith & Wesson M&Ps in exchange for the new Sig. The move continues the P320’s adoption by a number of law enforcement agencies from coast-to-coast, as well as the military who use the series as the M17 & M18 Modular Handgun System.

“We chose the Sig Sauer P320 as the official duty firearm for the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department based on the pistol’s superior performance, accuracy, and dependability throughout our rigorous testing process,” said MPD Chief Alfonso Morales in a statement.

The Chief stressed the ability to swap out the serialized trigger group across numerous grip sizes has been popular with the officers who are fielding the new gun. Due to its modular design, it can be configured in full-size, carry, compact and subcompact models in either 9mm, .357 Sig, .40 S&W or .45 ACP.

“During this transition, we are finding that our officers appreciate the ability to choose their grip size based on the modularity of the P320, and we are seeing the positive effects of this comfort in higher qualifying scores overall,” said Morales. “Our transition to the Sig Sauer P320 has been seamless, and we couldn’t be more pleased with our decision to make it the official duty pistol of the Milwaukee Police Department.”

Milwaukee has reportedly adopted the platform in 9mm. The agency in 2009 chose M&Ps chambered in .40 S&W.

Recently, state police in Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia have chosen the P320 as have municipal departments such as Tampa and Chicago.

For great deals on new and used Sig Sauer P320s, be sure to check out the wide selection available in the Vault. 

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Categories: Gun News

Baltimore Police Sets Goal of 10 Min Response to Emergency Calls

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 04:30

Baltimore’s new police commissioner joined with city leaders to announce a new crime reduction plan for the murder-plagued city that includes responding to emergency calls faster.

Michael Harrison, BPD’s new commissioner, announced the new plan alongside local prosecutors, federal law enforcement, and Baltimore Mayor Jack Young. The plan includes the increased use of technology such as data-driven crime suppression strategies, leveraging partnerships with federal agencies, recruiting more officers and setting a response time goal — something the city currently doesn’t have.

The newly established benchmark for BPD to respond to “emergency calls for service” is set at 10 minutes. “This goal is for the highest priority calls where life or property is in immediate danger,” says the report, noting that the metric will be evaluated over the next year.

“The importance of that goal is that the department has not in the past set a response time goal,” said Harrison in the press conference. “Now, we get to emergency responses– people with lives in danger, crimes in progress and perpetrators still on the scene — we get to those extremely fast, but now we have a written goal that we can work to achieve and then make sure we improve on that goal.”

According to the agency, BPD is the eighth largest municipal police force in the country and is staffed by some 3,000 personnel. The Department’s jurisdiction covers Maryland’s largest city, with a population of over 600,000. According to the Baltimore Sun, the city has suffered 185 homicides so far in 2019. In 2018, the number of murders in the city, 342, outpaced other urban centers such as Detroit and Chicago.

Harrison recently joined the agency after a 23-year career with the New Orleans Police Department, becoming Baltimore’s fifth commissioner since 2012.

The new initiative may take a minute to turn the city around, as the new chief describes it as a five-year plan.

In related news, Deputy BPD Commissioner Daniel Murphy was reportedly robbed at gunpoint Friday night, the day after Harrison’s new crime plan was introduced.

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Categories: Gun News

Mobilize Rescue Systems Offers Rescue for Range Days

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 07:00

The Mobilize Rescue Systems app and Compact Kit come together to keep gun owners safe at the range. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Nothing beats a fun day at the range with family and friends. However, it’s important to ensure you pack the right gear when headed out for some plinking fun. In addition to the usual eyes, ears, guns and ammo it’s imperative that all gun owners also pack a first aid kit and a little know-how in the event of an emergency.

Mobilize Rescue Systems looks to make this packing and first aid process a little easier, offering a unique take on medical training with its Compact Kit and Mobilize App.

Mobilize Rescue Systems Compact Kit

The kit is compact enough to slid into a range bag or attach to the exterior of a MOLLE equipped bag. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Mobilize Rescue Systems takes an innovative approach to the first aid world, merging technology with hands-on first aid kits. On the onset, a standard first aid kit doesn’t seem like much to be impressed with, however, Mobilize is anything but standard.

Upon unboxing the Mobilize Rescue Systems Compact Kit, I was immediately impressed by the rugged, durable bag. Measuring 7.5-inches in length with a 4-inch width and 3-inch diameter, the bag sports a dark gray look with MOLLE support allowing it to be tossed onto any range bag or backpack. The outside sports a hook-and-loop area perfect for patches to customize the look.

The Compact Kit sports a variety of first aid basics to control bleeding. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Diving further into the Compact Kit I found a 4-inch Pressure Dressing, HyFin Chest Seal, QuickClot, SOF-T Wide Tourniquet, gloves, trauma shears, CPR face shield and emergency blanket neatly packed and organized inside the bag. It’s a nice starter for those dipping their toes into the realm of first aid and those who aren’t interested in piecing together their own first aid kid.

Stocked with the basics to manage major issues you might encounter on the range, Mobilize has organized all materials in a means that is intuitive and easy to find – a bonus as you don’t want to dig through your first aid kit during an emergency. Each item is color-coded and labeled to coincide with the app, so items can be found quickly and efficiently. Mobilize Rescue Systems also offers a reordering function on their website, allowing owners to restock easily when needed.

Supplies are neatly labeled and color-coded so the system is intuitive. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Mobilize App

While the Compact Kit itself would be enough to get two thumbs up from me, Mobilize doesn’t just stop there. The company, realizing that not every bystander has medical access or training opportunities, has developed a revolutionary smartphone app that pairs with the kit. Consumers gain access to the app that is a step-by-step triage center all on your smart device.

With the aim of mitigating medical situations until EMS arrives, the app walks users through the stages of assessing a medical emergency offering explicit directions that are easy to follow. Upon booting the app up, it immediately asks whether the victim is bleeding or not. If you select yes, it allows you to choose where the bleeding is on a simulated body then walks you through the appropriate steps to contain the bleeding until help arrives.

The app tells users exactly where to find the supplies in the bag and how to use them properly. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Investigating further, the app also walks users through the steps of helping an unconscious person including how to perform CPR with easy to follow, spoken directions. Even better, it includes an audible tone timed to 100 beats per minute – the rhythm in which CPR should be performed. In addition to audible directions and tones, on-screen demonstrations give novice first aid civilians an opportunity to copy what they see.

The app pairs beautifully with the Compact Kit, working as a whole. On-screen instructions direct users to products inside the kit – clearly labeled so they are easy to find. In this, lies Mobilize’s strength. A perfect blend of practical application meeting technology to better help bystanders in the event of an emergency.

Final Thoughts

I am a huge advocate of first aid training in addition to gun training, but medical classes aren’t always accessible – Mobilize Rescue Systems is. The only downside to the Mobilize System is its price. Coming in at $180, which includes the kit and Mobilize app, some gun owners might find it a bit too expensive to stock; but if you’re looking for a means to tote some first aid knowledge on the go and don’t have the time to take a class, the Mobilize Rescue Systems route is a good way to go.

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Categories: Gun News

The Best Rifles for Hunting Big Game

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 06:30

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

Savage 110 – $900

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

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

Henry Long Ranger – $825

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

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

Weatherby Mark V – $1,800

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

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

Winchester 70 – $1,200

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

Browning BAR – $1,400

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

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

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

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Categories: Gun News

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

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 06:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Gun News

Taurus TX22 Brings Plinking Fun to the Whole Family

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 05:30

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

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

Taurus TX22

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

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

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

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

On the Range

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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Categories: Gun News

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

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 05:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy birthday, sir.

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

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Categories: Gun News

How Does a Rifle Scope Work?

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 11:00


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

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

Different Types of Scopes

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

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

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

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Categories: Gun News