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Getting Up Close with some Rarely Seen Military M1911s

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 03:26

The U.S. Army first adopted what is typically described as the Government Issue .45 in the year 1911 and it remained standard through 1986, although for many it will never be replaced. (Photo: Springfield Armory National Historic Site)

While John Browning’s venerable M1911 .45ACP design has shown it has the strength to endure, there are some of these guns that are much rarer than others.

Besides commercial production which had gone on at a steady pace for over a century, the U.S. Government ordered over 2.5 million M1911/M1911A1 pistols between 1912 and 1945, with wartime production in the Great War and World War II accounting for most of those contracts.

While there are lots of Colt-produced military M1911s floating around…

This U.S. Property-marked Colt military M1911’s serial number is 15639, dating it to 1912, the introductory year for the model, and it is unconverted to the later A1 standard. This old veteran is looking for a good home.

There were also M1911s produced by a host of other stateside manufacturers. In the Great War, this included the U.S. arsenal at  Springfield Armory, ammo maker Remington-UMC, and slim few made by North American Arms of Quebec.

Fairly common World War II GI .45s include those made by Remington Rand. The company received drawings, gauges and tooling from the Army’s Springfield Armory, which had been previously used to manufacture M1911s and converted their “C” Division typewriter plant and warehouse in 1942 to war production.

The typewriter company produced an estimated 900,000 M1911A1s during WWII and we usually have several available to choose from.

Then came guns made for the military by Ithaca. The firearms maker famed for their shotguns produced some 400,000 M1911A1s during the war.

Like other “war baby” M1911A1s, some Ithacas filtered out to the civilian market after the war while others remained in service with the U.S. military and overseas allies well into the 1980s. This wanderer is seeking an eager collector

Tell me of Union Switch

Much less common WWII military contract M1911A1s were made by railway equipment maker Union Switch & Signal company of Swissvale, Pennsylvania. Of the 1,878,742 Government Issue .45s produced between December 1940 and September 1945, US&S accounted for just 50,000 guns making them one of the rarest and most sought-after variants.

This excellent specimen in the Vault was made during WWII by Union Switch & Signal and is incredibly collectible. Serial number: 1091372. Manufactured between 1942-43. The only U.S. 1940s era M1911 that is harder to find is from an experimental run of 500 guns made by the Singer sewing machine factory under an “Education Order.”

Union Switch started production in late 1942 and by January 1943 the first guns of a planned 200,000-unit contract were being accepted by government inspectors. However, the company’s order was trimmed significantly due to the needs of the services, and, as they switched to production of M1 Carbine parts, US&S halted pistol production by November 1943. Noted for their exceptional quality control, more than 600 machine actions were needed to produce a single pistol and reportedly not a single US&S M1911A1 was rejected by government inspectors.

This US&S sidearm up for grabs in the Vault truly is a piece of history. Manufactured between 1942-43 its serial number is 1063520.

Overseas Travelers

Besides U.S. military M1911s, there is also, of course, a cornucopia of guns made either overseas under license or produced here in the States for foreign contracts. Before the U.S. entered the Great War, M1911s went “Over There” in the holsters of Canadian troops while the British military placed a large order for guns chambered in .45.

“Colt .45 Calibre Automatic Pistol” owned and carried by Canadian Capt FFM Brown of the 35th Battalion, CEF, a unit of replacements which was mustered in Toronto in 1915 for service overseas in France. (Photo: Canadian War Museum)

The Tsar of Imperial Russia placed a huge contract to help equip his 14 million-man army and about 51,000 were made before the country went Red. In a twist of fate, at least one was present at the execution of the Tsar’s family in 1918.

A Cyrillic-marked Tsarist contract M1911 in the Kalashnikov collection. The Russian marking, curiously enough, reads Angl zakaz, or “English Order” (Photo: Kalashnikov)

Argentina ordered 1,000 “Model 1916” pistols that proved popular enough for them to pursue making some 88,000 licensed “Sistema Colts” of their own starting in 1927.

Oslo’s Finest .45

Speaking of rolling their own, the Scandinavian country of Norway in 1914 started production of a Colt-endorsed M1911 clone with a few minor changes– such as a distinctive extended slide release. Manufactured by the Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk defense concern, the “11,25 mm Colt automatisk pistol M/1914” was a distinct model that remained in low-rate production through 1947 for both the domestic military and consumer market.

This Kongsberg Colt in the Vault, like the rest of their kind, is marked 11.25 m/m AUT. PISTOL M/1914 on the slide. Its low serial number– 8293– points to a production date of about 1925 during Norway’s idyllic peace between the wars.

When the Germans occupied the country in 1940 during WWII, they kept the line moving to crank out pistols for their use, often complete with dirty bird acceptance stamps– proving that the M1911 pattern handgun saw service on both sides in the conflict. Others, deemed “Matpakke-Colts” or “lunchbox Colts” were smuggled out of the factory for use by Resistance groups. Still, fewer than 33,000 M/1914s were produced.

This beautiful Kongsberg Colt looking for a new home has a later serial number, 22766, which is correct for a 1941 production date– the very year the Germans invaded Norway in what they termed Operation Weserübung. If only this gun could talk.

There just seems to be something about an old military M1911. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.


Interested in rare and interesting guns like these? Check out our Collector’s Corner for a carefully cultivated selection that is often steeped in history.

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Categories: Gun News

Proud American Gun Owners and their Firearms Vol. 2

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 06:46

From 2012 to 2016, I toured America to photograph some of the millions of legal gun owners who proudly exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. These photographs were published in my book called We The People.

In some cases, I was fortunate enough to make short videos with the folks in the photographs. Check the details below the photos for more info and corresponding videos.

Frank DeSomma, president of Patriot Ordnance Factory, and his son Cody photographed in Phoenix, Arizona. Frank sports a POF-USA 10.5-inch P416. Cody sports a POF-USA 12.5-inch P-308. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Scott Wolford photographed in Long Beach, California sporting his ArmaLite AR-50A1 and Trijicon scope.
(Photo: Ben Philippi)

Tana Leggo photographed in Louisville, Kentucky sporting her WASR-10 AK-47 rifle. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Anthony Edwardi and his brother Frankie photographed in their game room in Sea Isle, New Jersey. Anthony sports his .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum revolver. Frankie sports his Saiga-12 12-gauge shotgun. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Jimmy Miles and his son Destin ‘Smile’ Miles photographed in Amoret, Missouri. Jimmy sports his 1931 Davis 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun with an 18-inch barrel. Destin sports his Remington 20-gauge semi-auto. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Dominic Capone and Staci Richtler photographed in Lockport, Illinois. Dominic sports his Ruger SP101 .357 revolver. Staci sports her Walther PK in .380. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Craig DeLuz photographed in Sacramento, California sporting his Glock 17C. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Doug Giles photographed in Miami, Florida sporting his Luxus Arms 9.3×74R double rifle. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Regis Giles photographed in Miami, Florida sporting her 1895 Winchester chambered in U.S. .30 Gov’t. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Charles C. W. Cooke photographed in Greenwich, Connecticut sporting his Smith & Wesson model 686 .357 magnum revolver. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Blaine Anthony photographed in Benton, Maine sporting his POF-USA P-308 with Hawke Optics scope and Freedom Reaper scope mount. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Charlie Blackmore photographed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin sporting his Springfield XDM 9mm Compact with a Crimson Trace trigger guard laser. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Richard and Kathy Scheidel photographed in Sandusky, Ohio. He sports his Browning 1919A4. She sports her Walther MPL in 9mm with a Sionics suppressor. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

CJ Grisham photographed in Austin, Texas sporting his DPMS Panther AR-15. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Fabrizio Vianello photographed in Illinois with his Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and his dog Peanut. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

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Categories: Gun News

Great Gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 04:15

With Mother’s Day rapidly approaching, some may be scratching their heads and wondering what to get mom for her special day. With spa days a little iffy and jewelry overrated, why not get the gun-toting mom in your life a gift that speaks to her 2A side.

1. Bags

The Asfaleia Tote is primed to help carriers interested in a more fashionable approach to off-body carry. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Moms tote a lot of stuff for their household so why not get her bag that can pull double duty? Asfaleia Designs offers a bevy of fashionable designer-style handbags that can easily go from PTO meetings into the boardroom. Even better, some models come with a ballistic insert, allowing her to stay safe in non-permissive environments, like schools, where she has to leave her gun behind.

If Asfaleia is a little out of your price range, invest in a nice backpack or range bag for mom from 5.11 Tactical. With plenty of pockets to stow essentials and velcro to showcase her favorite patches, bags come in a variety of fun colors.

For the sporty mom on the go, a Ukoala bag is another great option — especially for women who concealed carry. With a handy, dedicated pocket for your gun and the ability to mount a Velcro-backed Kydex holster, she can stay safe but still be functional.

2. Holsters

A solid holster will certainly make mom happy. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

For concealed carry loving moms, now might be the time to upgrade her holster. Moms that love Glocks, Sigs, or Smiths for appendix carry will dig Dark Star Gear holsters. Fitted with a Dark Wing attachment, the holster makes it super easy to carry AIWB-style. While you’re on the hunt for an AIWB rig, also check out Phlster and Keeper’s Concealment for solid options.

If Hybrid is her thing, take a look at Crossbreed Holsters, StealthGear USA, or Hidden Hybrid Holsters for a wide swath of options at various price points. Finally, if she prefers the look and feel of leather, Galco provides an array of leather options for a variety of gun models.

3. Training, Range Time or Both

A class or some range time will be much appreciated. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

I know it’s tempting to take mom to the range and teach her how to shoot but, unsurprisingly, women tend to learn best from instructors who aren’t related to them. Instead of causing headaches for you and her, why not invest in a class or private tutoring with a local, qualified instructor.

Alternatively, if mom has a class or two under her belt already but craves some “me time” grab her a range pass from her favorite range. (If you want bonus points, pair that with a gift card to her favorite coffee or smoothie shop, so she can grab a sweet treat on the way home.)

4. A BUG to Accompany Her Primary EDC

The Sig P238 features a nice, smooth trigger. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

So the mom you’re shopping for already has a chosen EDC. Why not grab her a good secondary option as a backup? Some of our favorite backup guns include the Sig Sauer P238 and P938, Beretta Nano, Glock 42, Ruger LCP II, or Smith & Wesson 642. While we fully support mom carrying as big of a gun as she feels comfortable and can conceal, sometimes that Glock 19 just doesn’t work with a little black dress and that’s where a backup gun shines.

5. Accessories

When all else fails, top mom’s guns off with some sweet gear to kick it over the top. Items like light/laser combos, handguards, spare magazines, bipods, upgraded sights, and barrels, or even a nice red dot or scope will trick out her gun and make her feel extra special.

In need of a gift for mom, check out what has to offer the favorite woman in your life.

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Categories: Gun News

What is Eye Dominance?

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 04:00

Determining which of your eyes is dominant will improve your accuracy. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

If you’ve stuck around the gun world long enough, you’ve no doubt heard the term “eye dominance” but what exactly is eye dominance and why does it matter to shooters?

What is eye dominance?

To put it simply, eye dominance references the eye that does the heavy lifting when it comes to human optics. It’s the eye that is preferred and has greater input when relaying information to the brain — specifically in regards to the location of objects.

“To state it differently, the two eyes do not affect the visual consciousness with equal force. One eye leads the other, and this leading eye is called the dominant eye,” Dr. Walter Fink said in a 1938 study on the dominant eye. “Just as the two hands are unequal in response, both from a motor and from a sensory standpoint, so are the eyes. Just as a person may be right-handed or left-handed, so he may be right-eyed or left-eyed.”

Humans can be either right-eye dominant, left-eye dominant, or cross-eye dominant. Most commonly, right-eye dominant individuals are right-handed while most left-eye dominant individuals are left-handed. For some, their dominant eye is not “in-line” with their dominant side which is known as cross-eye dominance. A cross-eye dominant shooter might be right-handed but favor their left eye when it comes to vision or vice versa.

Eye dominance plays a major role in aiming and knowing which eye is dominant can help you troubleshoot aiming issues.

How do I find my dominant eye?

The triangle test is one way to determine eye dominance. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

There are two ways to go about discovering which of your eyes is dominant. The first is the triangle method. To begin:

  • 1. Extend your arms out and place your hands together so they form a triangle in front of you.
  • 2. Place an object within the triangle and focus on that.
  • 3. Slowly bring your hands, still in the triangle, towards your face — always keeping the object in focus in the triangle.
  • 4. Your hands will naturally move towards your dominant eye.

Another easy way is to simply point at an object and see which eye your finger falls inline with — we tend to align our pointing finger to our dominant eye.

If you are right-handed and right-eye dominant or left-handed and left-eye dominant, congratulations. The hard part is over. If, however, you find you are a cross-eye dominant read on to get some tips on improving your aim.

Pointing at an object in the distance is another means to determine which eye is dominant. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Tips for shooting if you’re cross-eye dominant

So you’re cross-eye dominant. You might have already noticed that it can make shooting a tad more difficult as your dominant side and dominant eye duke it out on opposite sides. Often those who are cross-eye dominant experience blurry sights or difficulty in focusing on the sights when aiming. That’s normal as your eyes are duking it out for dominance. There are some ways to overcome this, clear up the blurriness and get back out to a successful range session. Different shooters prefer different methods.

Closing the weak eye is an option when shooting, though it eliminates your peripheral vision. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

  • 1. Close the weak eye — In a plinking session or competition, closing the weak eye might be the easiest means to get the job done as it eliminates input from the non-dominant side; however, it does limit your peripheral vision. In the context of simply plinking, this might be a non-issue but, if you train like you fight, closing one eye will prevent you from seeing oncoming threats from the side.

A little tape on shooting glasses over the weak eye keeps both eyes open but eliminates the distraction of the weak eye. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

  • 2. Place masking tape over your shooting glasses on the weak eye — Again, this tip is best used for competition shooters or plinkers. If you prefer to train with both eyes open a simple square of masking tape over the weak eye will do the trick. It allows you to maintain peripheral vision while also preventing the weak eye from interfering with sight acquisition.

Moving the gun so it aligns under the dominant eye keeps both eyes open. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

  • 3. Move gun so it aligns under dominant eye — Keeping both eyes open, simply move the gun ever-so-slightly so the gun aligns with the dominant eye. It seems simple enough but it does take some practice — especially on the draw — to ensure you are getting a good alignment.

While slightly exaggerated for demonstration, a slight turn of the head allows both eyes to remain open. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

  • 4. Turn your head to align dominant eye to the gun — For this method, the gun remains centered where you naturally draw but requires you to turn your head to align the dominant eye to the sights. Again, this allows you to shoot with both eyes open but negates the influence of the weak eye on the sights.

Regardless of the method, make sure you put in the time to practice both on the range and at home during dryfire. While you’re at it, check out some tips from the pros below:

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Categories: Gun News

CZ Announces New Redhead Premier Over/Under in 16 Gauge

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 03:01

Once upon a time the 16-gauge shotgun was the top choice for upland hunters and recreational shooters and is making something of a comeback. (Photo: CZ-USA)

Blending today’s double gun technology with the venerable 16 gauge bore, CZ-USA is bringing a new Redhead Premier model to market.

Long CZ’s flagship series of over/under shotguns, the Redhead Premier has only been offered in 12- or 20-gauge so the 16-gauge offering is new, with the company acknowledging, “the last decade has seen a resurgence in this do-it-all shotgun chambering.”

As with the rest of the series, the 16-gauge Redhead Premier features a one-piece CNC receiver and Turkish walnut furniture. It is intended as an all-purpose O/U shotgun with uses ranging from shooting trap and clays to clocking in on long dove hunts.

Other standard features include auto ejectors, a single selectable trigger, and 28-inch barrels with an 8mm flat vent rib and fixed IC/MOD chokes. It has a Bradley-style white front bead and a 2.75-inch chamber. Weight is listed as 8-pounds.

The MSRP on the CZ Redhead Premier Over/Under in 16 Gauge is $988, a price that will probably be closer to $888-ish at retailers.


16 Gauge?

Here at, we have long been preaching the versatility of the 16 gauge shotgun and it seems both gun and ammo makers are responding to increased demand for the vintage hull. For instance, last year Stevens announced a line of new Model 555 over/unders catering to 16-gauge fans.

Today, dozens of 16-gauge field loads are in production by Browning, Estate, Federal, Fiocchi, Hevi, Kent, Remington, Winchester, and others including those loaded with alternative steel and bismuth shot rather than traditional lead.

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Categories: Gun News

Proud American Gun Owners and their Firearms Vol. 1

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 05:00

From 2012 to 2016, I toured America to photograph some of the millions of legal gun owners who every day proudly exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. These photographs were published in my book called, We The People.

In some cases, I was fortunate enough to make short videos with the folks in the photographs. Check the details below the photos for more info and corresponding videos.

Rusty Humphries photographed in Phoenix, Arizona sporting his Winchester 1899 rifle. He rests up against his 1966 Chevy Impala. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Scott Wolford photographed in Long Beach, California sporting his twin M1919 Browning machine guns next to his pool. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Alan Gottlieb photographed in Bellevue, Washington sporting the commemorative 1911 produced by American Legacy Firearms honoring the Second Amendment Foundation’s victories in protecting freedom. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Dave Romero, LEO, photographed in Chicago, Illinois, sporting his LMT AR-15 rifle. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Dominique Carmen Bear photographed in Butler, Missouri with her daughter Xandra D and her High-Point 9mm.

Ivan Bjornlund photographed in Waterbury, Vermont sporting his Sig Sauer P320 Xfive Legion. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Mark Serbu photographed in Tampa, Florida sporting the gun that made him famous, the Serbu Super Shorty 12-gauge shotgun. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

David A. Clarke Jr. photographed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin sporting a Smith & Wesson M&P15. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Greg Wohler photographed in Las Vegas, Nevada sporting his AR-15 SBR that he customized at his company Valkyrie Combat. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Marty ‘Lefthand’ Holder photographed in Locust
Grove, Georgia sporting a Troy Industries M7A1 PDW with an X-Products X15
50-round magazine. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Tildon Bullard photographed in Denton, Texas sporting his Hawken
.50 cal cap and ball muzzleloader mountain rifle made by The Austin and Halleck Company. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Cain Grocox photographed in Mount Pleasant, Michigan sporting his Sterling submachine gun. Click on the photo to see the video. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Todd Causley photographed in Chicago, Illinois sporting his Sig Sauer 556 Swat Classic. He sits atop his 1975 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Bill Stojack photographed in Las Vegas, Nevada sporting his Swedish K SMG. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

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Categories: Gun News

A Look at a Beautiful Early-Production Named 1860 Colt Army

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 05:00

John Russell is an avid Civil War collector who brought a very rare and collectible 1860 Colt Army with him to a Texas Independence Day Party in late February. The Colt Army was used extensively by both sides during the conflict with some 200,000 produced of which more than 129,000 were ordered by the Union Army alone.

With a serial number of 10,095, this particular Colt is all-matching, including the wedge.

A nice closeup showing the Colt’s patent mark. (Photo: Don Summers/

The Colt still has traces of the cylinder seam and a strong address on the barrel, with all signs leading to a collectible firearm. Owned by Capt. Samuel Starr of the 3rd Missouri Infantry Regiment (Union), it is a four-screw Colt meaning it was set up to take a shoulder stock attachment.

Starr fought at the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs and The Battle of Arkansas Post, among others during the war and died of illness during the conflict. The Colt revolver is complete with Starr’s holster which was engraved, “Samuel H. Starr – Co. D – 3rd MO Inf  – Lyon Bagd – 1862.”

A nice impression showing the designer and manufacturer of the revolver. (Photo: Don Summers/

While this vintage named revolver is not up for grabs at any price, if you’d like your own collectible Colt head on over to our Collector’s Corner where history is just a click away.


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Categories: Gun News

Going Gray: The New Ruger American Compact Pistol

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 03:36

Ruger’s American pistol, in its compact version, had previously just been offered in black and FDE. (Photo: Ruger)

Featuring a Gray Cerakote slide and matching grip frame with black surface controls, the Ruger American Pistol Compact is headed to market.

The new gun is a welcome aesthetic diversion from the typical Ruger American Pistol which was just available in black or in a limited run of flat dark earth models. Standard features include Novak LoMount Carry three-dot sights and a frame-mounted MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail for lights or lasers.

Tested for sustained +P ammunition use, the new gray models are only available in a .45 ACP-chambering with a 7+1 capacity. It is unclear if a 9mm version is inbound.

The compact uses a 3.75-inch barrel which gives the handgun an overall length of 7.25-inches. Height is 4.65-inches while weight is 28.6-ounces.

Two variants exist for the same price, one with a manual external safety lever and the “Pro Model” without one. (Photo: Ruger)

The Gray Ruger American Compact Pistol in .45 ACP has a $579 MSRP and ships with three nickel-Teflon plated steel magazines as well as medium and large grip modules.


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Categories: Gun News

NICS Gun Sales Figures up 69 % Last Month, Best April on Record

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 02:15

Last month saw the highest number of FBI NICS checks processed during April in the agency’s history. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The month of April 2020 was the highest April in terms of federal background checks for gun transfers since the system was established.

The unadjusted figures of 2,878,176 checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System in last month is a 24.9 % jump from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,305,136 in April 2019.

While those numbers alone are noteworthy, when the data is adjusted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation by removing figures for gun permit checks and rechecks by states which use NICS for that purpose, the number of checks stands at 1,678,223 which is an increase of 69.1 percent compared to the April 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 992,642.

When stacked against previous Aprils going back to 1999, last month set a record by far. (Graph: NSSF)

While the number of adjusted background checks outpaced those of the previous year for the past 11 months running, the past two months have seen a dramatic climb in firearms sales.

March 2020 saw exponential growth in sales as suggested by a huge jump in firearm background checks, with the month setting an all-time record for not only the month but also the highest volume day and week since NICS was established.

With that being said, the true number of guns sold across the country is likely higher than what NICS figures suggest. The data does not include private gun sales in most states or cases where a carry permit is used as alternatives to the background check requirements of the 1994 Brady law which allows the transfer of a firearm over the counter by a federal firearms license holder without first performing a NICS check.

Over 20 states accept personal concealed carry permits or licenses as Brady exemptions.

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Categories: Gun News

3 Tips for Buying from an Online Gun Auction

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 05:00

Online gun auctions are places where you can find some incredible deals on collectible firearms you’ve always wanted. There are certainly upsides to shopping through gun auctions. If you’ve done your research and you know how to bid, you can walk away smiling and satisfied.

That’s why we put together a list of tips for getting the most out of your online auction shopping experience.

Do Your Research

For starters, you should know the value of the firearm, not only the manufacturer’s MSRP – if that is relevant to the type of firearm you’re purchasing – but also the “real-world” value of the gun. Often times the MSRP of a gun is much higher than what you can find on the shelves of brick and mortar gun shops and online retailers.

Knowing the real-world price will make you a more informed buyer and ultimately helps keep you within your budget. When it comes to antiques and collectibles, you might find yourself digging a little deeper than just the manufacturer’s website — especially in dealing with guns with a significant history behind them. There are many great books for collectors of all types, though, that will help determine the value of antiques.

Auction Day

A quality auction house will have plenty of photos available for buyers prior to the actual action. Additionally, a reputable auction house will also allow potential buyers to call for more information about the condition and any other significant markings or data related to the gun.

While you can score some great deals on auction day, it’s also where things can go awry. It’s easy to let adrenaline take hold and when the thrill of getting that one gun you’ve been researching overrides logic, your wallet could be hurting. That’s why it’s important to come in with a game place and set a price range you’re willing to spend. Define the floor and ceiling price of each gun you’ll be bidding and, most importantly, stick to it.

Read the Fine Print

Auction houses often have many hidden fees and fine print. For example, a buyer’s fee which can tag on as much as 15% to the final purchase price of the firearm. Other considerations to keep in mind are typically credit card fees, and shipping and handling fees. All of this can result in hundreds of dollars tacked onto the actual price of the gun. Prior to buying, know what fees you face so you aren’t blindsided after it’s said and done.


Backed by research and armed with a game place, you can be successful at gun auctions. That being said, if you’re looking for an easy way to nab some used or antique guns, check out the Certified Used Guns in the Vault. We put all our Certified Used Guns through a rigorous review process — plus we offer a no questions asked return policy.

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Categories: Gun News

Leupold-L3Harris Submit Optic Prototype for Army’s Next Gen Squad Weapon

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 04:12

It is now confirmed that a device made by the team of L3Harris and Leupold will face off against a new Vortex optic for the fire control system to be used on the Army’s planned Next Generation Squad Weapon (Photo: L3Harris Technologies)

L3Harris Technologies, teamed with Leupold & Stevens, have garnered a multi-million dollar prototype optic agreement that could replace the Army’s direct-view small arms optics.

While the information was slim on the specifics of the optic system, L3Harris announced on April 22 they would provide 115 production prototypes for the Next Generation Squad Weapon Fire Control (NGSW-FC) targeting solution. According to the company, the device provides both ballistic computation and environmental sensors to cut the time needed to engage a threat.

The systems aim to be used on the planned NGSW, an innovative 6.8mm-chambered firearm platform intended to replace the 5.56 NATO M4 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in front-line service with the Army in coming years.

“L3Harris is proud to offer the U.S. Army a revolutionary fire control solution that will increase soldier lethality and enhance situational awareness,” said Lynn Bollengier, President, Integrated Vision Solutions, L3Harris. “Our solution leverages nearly 30 years of expertise in fire control technology, enabling faster identification and target acquisition, ensuring soldiers achieve overmatch capability on the battlefield.”

The company, a giant publicly-traded defense contractor that owns EOTech among other subsidiaries, has partnered with Oregon-based Leupold to use the latter’s optical assemblies and “high volume, domestic manufacturing capabilities,” as part of the project. Notably, Leupold recently won a contract from the Army to provide a version of their Mark 5HD 5-25×56 scope for the service’s new Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program, separate from the NGSW initiative.

“Leupold is excited to be teaming with L3Harris to deliver the highest-quality optical solution to the U.S. Army. We are the top manufacturers in our respective fields,” said Bruce Pettet, President and Chief Executive Officer for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “Leupold brings more than a century of optical expertise and unrivaled domestic manufacturing capacity to the table, and L3 has a proven track record of performance with high-volume government contracts for night vision, electro-optics, and laser aiming devices.”

Competing against the L3Harris/Leupold team is Wisconsin-based Vortex Optics. Vortex’s entry to the NGSW-FC program is a 1-8x first focal plane optic with an integrated rangefinder and overlaid display.


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Categories: Gun News

CZ Expands Competiton Pistol Line with New Optics-Ready Shadow 2

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 03:05

The CZ Shadow 2 OR, as noted by CZ, “is hand-fit for exceptional accuracy, reliability, and longevity.” Did we also mention that it is red-dot-ready– a factor that should prove interesting to Carry Optics competitors (Photo: CZ-USA)

CZ-USA last week announced they now have an optics-ready model of their Shadow 2 series of competition pistols.

The new Shadow 2 OR comes standard with a fiber optic front sight and a HAJO rear that is click-adjustable for elevation, drift adjustable for windage but the groovy part of the new model is that it has a slightly different slide profile to allow for its red dot optic plate system. The file image released by CZ shows the pistol with a Trijicon RMR but the company says they have a variety of plates available.

“With the Shadow 2 reigning as the gun of choice for most competitors in Production Division, the Shadow 2 Optics-Ready is poised to do the same in USPSA’s Carry Optics division,” said CZ in a statement.

Like the rest of the Shadow 2 line, the OR model is an all-steel pistol with a nitride finish and aluminum grips. The 19+1 capacity 9mm has a 4.89-inch cold hammer-forged barrel and an overall length of 8.53-inches. Weight, unloaded, is 46.5-ounces.

Other features include a swappable mag release with an adjustable, extended button that has three settings to allow shooters to figure out their sweet spot on the control. Using what CZ bills as new trigger components, the Shadow 2 line “give smooth DA and crisp, clean SA while drastically reducing trigger reset.”

MSRP on the CZ Shadow 2 OR is $1,549.


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Categories: Gun News

Canada Bans “Military-Style Assault Weapons” – Effective Immediately

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 12:57

As of today, guns such as this Ruger Mini-14, cannot be operated in Canada. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a gun ban today on 1,500 different types of “military-style assault weapons.”


Although there will be a two-year amnesty period to allow people to comply, the firearms included in the ban cannot be used anywhere as of today. “The market for assault weapons in Canada is closed,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. “Enough is enough. Banning these firearms will save Canadian lives.”

Trudeau has announced a gun-buyback program that will provide “fair compensation” to people who already own these kinds of firearms. The cost of the buyback program is estimated to be $250 million, but many say it will be much higher. Firearms owners may return the firearms to the manufacturer or export them as part of a sale between now and April 2022.

The ban will be enacted through an order-in-council from cabinet — not through legislation. Trudeau suggested that the government was prepared to announce the ban months ago but the COVID-19 outbreak delayed it. Further bans, possibly on handguns, may be next.


Radio-Canada obtained a list of some of the 1,500 different types of “military-style assault weapons” that are banned. They are:

  • AR-15 and AR-10 style rifles. There are an estimated 83,572 in Canada.
  • Ruger Mini-14s. There are an estimated 16,859 in Canada.
  • SIG SG 550s. There are an estimated 1,342 in Canada.
  • M14s. There are an estimated 5,229 in Canada.
  • VZ-58s. There are an estimated 11,593 in Canada.
  • CZ Scorpion EVO 3s. There are an estimated 1,813 in Canada.
  • Beretta CX4 Storms. There are an estimated 1,513 in Canada.
  • Sig Sauer MCX and MPXs. There are an estimated 1,000 in Canada.
  • Robinson Arms XCRs. There are an estimated 1,834 in Canada.

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Categories: Gun News

Checking in with Our Favorite Influencers

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 09:00 checked in with a handful of our favorite influencers and our own ambassadors to see how they’ve been handling the Coronavirus lock-down.

Vaughn, The Man Spot

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I always sleep better knowing a 4 legged missile is on patrol. @innovativek9 @ruffswag #mansbestfriend #maligator #maligatorsofinstagram #malinois #pup

A post shared by I LOVE MY C͙O͙U͙N͙T͙R͙Y͙ (@themanspot) on Apr 27, 2020 at 4:01pm PDT

You are now quarantined and must spend time inside. At this point, you feel like you’ve organized the refrigerator and your sock drawer one too many times. When life was normal we wished we had more time at home to do the things we needed to do. Life gets busy and sometimes we don’t prioritize things that should be a huge priority. The good news is it’s not too late. This quarantine has shown us that our movements, work and even commerce can change. Now that we have seen this happening in front of us, what should we do now to be prepared?

There is an old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Making plans does not cost money. It simply takes time. At the end of the day, you are responsible for yourself and your family — not the government.

22 Plinkster

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New video is up on the new Savage B22 Precision rifle. Link in my bio

A post shared by 22plinkster (@22plinkster) on Feb 25, 2020 at 1:39pm PST

As for my family and I, things have been pretty chill. We have plenty of toilet paper, Dr. Pepper, and meat to last us a while (not to mention frozen pizza…. I’m a sucker for frozen pizza). The most difficult part for me is finding quiet time to work.

With my wife being off of work because she’s school teacher, and my 2 girls at home, things have been a little noisy. With so many people being in quarantine, I feel obligated to put out content more often than usual. People get bored real quick, when they just can’t get up and go to the mall, movies, or sporting events. It is my job to try and bring a little bit of education and entertainment during this time.

Jon Patton, The Gun Collective

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Hey everyone! Come and see how good we look! @beyond.the.unknown and Felix the Wonderdog make me better looking be association. I love these two.

A post shared by The Gun Collective (@theguncollective) on Nov 19, 2019 at 3:15pm PST

Genevieve and I took the time to take inventory of what we had on hand, and grab not only things we knew we needed but also things we knew we would want during this weird time. Making sure we take care of our mental health and morale is JUST as important as our physical health.

We are also fortunate that whenever we see a good deal on ammo, we tend to grab some so running low on that isn’t really an issue. It’s all about keeping the right mindset during the good times to make sure you are in good shape during the rough times.

John Lovell, Warrior Poet Society

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Our Warrior Poet Society aims to make good men better, and better men, dangerous. . . . Follow @warriorpoetsociety Follow @johnlovell_wps Follow @warrior_poet_designs . . . #warriorpoetsociety #warriorpoets #trainhard #trainsmart #alwaysready #beprepared #protectors #defenders #freedomfighters #warpoets

A post shared by Warrior Poet Society® (@warriorpoetsociety) on Apr 25, 2020 at 9:11am PDT

We’re really just enjoying family time together — games, books, walks outside, frisbee, etc. We have prepared well enough that we really don’t need to go to the store for a long time.

Take time to accomplish some goals. Read some books. Brainstorm business ideas or angles. Enjoy this forced season of rest. You may need it more than you realize.

Eli Duckworth, 1776_Duck

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The KP-9 continues to impress. 3k rounds, no cleaning. The past 500 rounds have been with disgusting Winchester Forged steel-cased 9x19mm, again no malfunctions. Also, I want to note that the accuracy I’m getting from the steel-case is pretty wicked, way better than what I was expecting. This gun has been a blast. • • @kalashnikovusa KP-9 with @zenitco_official furniture, and a @farrowtech adaptor with the @gearheadworks Tailhook Mod. 1 brace! • • @spiritussystems rig looking HOT with that NC patch from @pathfindergear, both awesome North Carolina companies. • • #nc #northcarolina #localbusiness #northcarolinaliving #northcarolinaoutdoors #spiritussystems #spiritus #flag #tactical #m81 #woodland #godsplaid #pitvipers #pitviperbabes #pitvipersunglasses #kalashnikov #kalashnikov_hub #kalashnikovusa #kp9 #vityaz #pewpew #rangeday

A post shared by Eli Duckworth (@1776_duck) on Apr 17, 2020 at 9:40am PDT

One important lesson I’ve learned: scared people are more troublesome than any virus can be. With that being said, one of the most important pieces of preparation for disasters is having a network of trustworthy and capable friends/family that can work together to support each other.

In these times of uncertainty, it’s difficult to prepare for everything. Pray for the best but prepare for the worst. Your mental health and preparedness is as important as your physical and tangible preparedness. At the end of the day, you’re responsible for your life and when the defecation hits the air-moving device, you’re your own first responder. Be prepared for anything, mentally and physically, and become adaptable to those conditions forced upon you!

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Categories: Gun News

Are John Browning’s Best Known Kids Still Up to Muster for EDC

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 06:37

Some things, like an M1911A1 GI, a Browning Hi-Power, a Swiss Army knife or a P-51 can opener, have been augmented by more modern offerings but that doesn’t mean they stop working as designed. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Utah firearms genius John Browning was something of the Thomas Edison of American gun development, but are his best-known pistols still up to snuff for EDC use today?

With that in mind, after using and, yes, occasionally carrying these guns off and on for the past several decades, here is my take.

The M1911

Developed from a string of designs across the early 20th Century to compete in a variety of U.S. Army trials for a modern handgun that didn’t have a revolving cylinder, the Model of 1911 proved popular enough that Uncle Sam kept it around as the GI standard sidearm for a solid 75-year run. When you think of the National Match handguns, tough-guys like Lee Marvin or Humphrey Bogart, or the leather holsters hanging on the side of every pistol-carrying American Marine or Soldier in WWI, WWII, Korea or Vietnam, it is the M1911 that comes to mind. They have been loved and carried by those as diverse as Hank Williams, Jr. and William S. Burroughs. A pistol with a universal adapter, if you will.

With millions of these guns produced by a score of companies around the globe– just about every modern handgun maker in the U.S. cranks out a version of the M1911A1– these guns have been standard in many families for use in home defense or carry in times both strange and familiar, and were often kept around, “just in case.” The “old .45” thus became a proxy member of the tribe, handed down from generation to generation. For those skipped or who missed out on inheriting the heirloom, the appeal of reaching back to the same 39-ounce piece of mind via a new M1911 is often a stepping stone to restore that lost piece of the family puzzle.

There is a reason that this 109-year-old design is still in full-speed production. It is an icon.

The M1911 platform lends itself to accuracy, such as this entry-level Auto Ordnance BKO with period-style sights and bulk ammo offhand at 25 yards (Photo: Chris Eger/

These pistols have, on the flip-side of the coin, often gotten the short shrift as “boomer guns” or “jam-a-matics” and have been eschewed by many modern shootists who prefer things more polymer-framed, striker-fired and modular. Further, single-action and Condition One is a learning curve that, when compared to a Glock, is comparable to figuring out how to drive a stick-shift: if you have someone to show you, its no big deal but left to figure it out on your own it can be hairy.

To be fair, an M1911 is heavy by comparison to today’s less-vintage designs, is often a bit tricky to field strip and maintain for those inexperienced with them, and frequently still require a manufacturer-suggested “break-in period” of several hundred rounds to function reliably.

Speaking of reliability, poorly made clones, guns of questionable background, an enduring glut of homebuilt kit guns going back to the Reagan-era, and worn-out military surplus mixmaster pieces that would make Frankenstein look like a genetically perfect super soldier, are often to blame for the bad wrap.

The rub: a guy who has never fired a M1911 shoots his buddy’s gun, has a bad experience due to a mixture of causes, then gets soured on the entire platform– no matter who made the gun– declaring from that point on that, “1911s suck, man.” The same can be said about ARs or AKs, other examples of good designs that have had inherent flaws magnified by production in great quantity and of mixed quality. If you have a bad experience with one, it could jade you on the platform as a whole, which is a fundamental mistake. There are dozens of firms cranking out quality builds that are unfortunately lumped into the general “type” and don’t belong in that category.

Further, with the widespread availability of M1911 parts and those who are skilled at fitting them, the likelihood is high that an M1911 that does get cranky can be rectified so long as the frame and slide are intact. Likewise, with so many companies producing these guns, there is any number of chopped down Commander and Officer-sized models with 3-inch barrels, as well as those tweaked for carrying. Want rails? They are out there. Want a 9mm, 10mm, or .38 Super instead of .45ACP? You can bet they are out there as well. Want more capacity? There are double stacks and 2011-style guns.

More upscale M1911A1s, such as this Kimber Rapide in 10mm Auto, bring a host of enhanced features including better sights, triggers, and ergonomics. John Browning’s ghost could likely come across this gun today and still recognize his design. (Photo: Chris Eger/

To be sure, carrying an M1911 is different from a Sig P365, but people have somehow been pulling it off for over a century. With the right holster, it is not hard. For concealed carry, an easy search of Kydex IWB holsters will bring pages of options including some from decent makers like JM Custom and Keepers Concealment. With a good holster and belt, move into ammo selection and make sure it all works together through practice. This premise works with all M1911s from $350 Rock Islands through Wilson Combat guns that cost more than a good used Toyota Hilux.


But what of the Hi-Power?

Ahh, so if you waded this far, you may ask about the viability of the classic Browning/FN Hi-Power or possibly its clones by Charles Daly, KBI, Tisas, FM, Arcus et. al. After all, the BHP came a full generation after the M1911, is almost twice the capacity–especially when using today’s excellent updated Mec-Gar 15-round flush-fit mags, and has a simpler take down due to the deletion of the M1911’s barrel bushing.

For sure, the BHP saw a more widespread adoption outside of the U.S. than the M1911, probably because it was the first production 9mm semi-auto with a detachable double-stack mag. Employed by something like 40 different countries, there are still lots of Hi-Powers in active military service around the world today, such as with the armies of Australia and Canada.

For use as a carry and home defense gun in the U.S., it should be noted that the BHP was the king of the hill in the capacity game from the 1940s through the mid-1970s when the S&W Model 59, Beretta 92, and CZ 75 finally caught up and arrived with the trump card of being double-action. Sadly, perhaps, the Hi-Power never morphed through the same cornucopia of variations that the M1911 did, although Browning/FN did produce some in .40S&W as well as the double-action BDA, among other models.

To be sure, customized carry BHPs by Novak, Nighthawk, Wilson Combat, and the like are functional art pieces, but with European production of the base platform ended a few years back, the well has run dry. Further, Hi-Power rail guns are a unicorn.

Nonetheless, with millions of Hi-Powers floating around of all grades ranging from rare collectibles that will (and should) remain safe queens to beat-up milsurp and former police guns imported from overseas, there are undoubtedly several still being used as carry pieces today. If they work– and if the springs are swapped out as needed they likely will continue to for decades–why not?

Comparing 1930s tech with today’s best, the FN Browning T-Series Hi-Power on the right brings 15+1 rounds of 9mm to the party with a Mec-Gar mag and is reliable with modern JHP rounds. The G19X, a Gen 5 Glock, has a 17+1 capacity as shown and comparable dimensions. The weight difference, with both guns fully loaded, shows the G19X to be just 4.7-ounces lighter, although it does have the benefit of better sights, a tougher option on legacy BHPs. In the Browning’s court is the fact that it can take any number of aftermarket grip panels, a non-factor for the Glock. (Photo: Chris Eger/

In the end, probably the best school of thought on if a handgun can work for you as an every day carry piece is that you A) shoot it well enough to be accurate with it, B) find it reliable enough with defensive ammo to stake your life on and C) can find an effective carry method.

If your pistol meets those guidelines, arguing online or at the gun shop counter against someone willing to die on their hill of choices with wholehearted conviction is a waste of time that you will not get back– not to mention, it takes away from your time at the range.

Mr. Browning’s best-known kids can still deliver– if you get to know them. (Photo: Chris Eger/


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Categories: Gun News

One of America’s Most Patriotic Houses

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 04:52

A few years ago, while researching patriotic themes to photograph for my book We The People, I came across a photograph of a house painted with the stars, stripes, and colors of the American flag. It was located in Cambridge, Maryland.

I got in contact with the fellow who owned it, Branden Spear. I told him about my book project and he told me to stop by. I asked if he was a gun owner. “Of course I am,” he said. A few weeks later, I was photographing Spear in front of his patriotic house. in his hands was his trusty Mossberg 930 semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun. I got a great photo of him for my book.

Branden Spear sporting his Mossberg 930 12-gauge shotgun in front of his patriotic house in Cambridge, Maryland. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Afterward, he told me about the house. As a contractor, he set out to restore it but the local historic preservation organization insisted that he follow very strict codes “They tell you basically what building materials you can use to remodel a house, which most of the time, seem ridiculously expensive and totally unaffordable. It would have cost one-third of the restoration budget just to install windows,” he said.

So a frustrated Spear started studying the codes and realized they said nothing about what colors the old Victorians could be painted. In an act of protest, he went ahead and painted the house with an American flag theme. “It took between 15 and 20 cans of paint,” he said.

Almost overnight, the house became a sensation. It is arguably one of America’s most patriotic houses. The house was featured in Forbes magazine as one of the most colorful homes in America. It has also been on the cover of a book and made the pages of several others. Tourists from all over the world come to photograph it. “They told us the idea of the historical commission is to bring tourists here. So, I gave them exactly what they wanted,” said Spear.

What do you think of his house? Would you live in it?


The patriotic house in Cambridge, Maryland attracts lots of tourists and attention. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

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Categories: Gun News

Fun Friday: Hunting Word Search

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 04:00

Try your hand at’s hunting inspired word search! (Photo: Jacki Billings/

In an effort to help you beat the inevitable isolation boredom, we at are bringing you a variety of fun, entertaining content to beat the boredom blues. For those word gurus out there who want to pass the time, check out our hunting inspired word search.

Head HERE to work on it electronically, or, if you’re an iPhone user you can save the image above and play locally on your smartphone, just follow the instructions below. Sorry, Android fans, you’ll have to stick with the link — we’re still working on a local solution for you.

iPhone Users:
1. Long press the Word Search image and when prompted save image to your phone or tablet.
2. Open Photos, find the Word Search and click the Share button.
3. Scroll to the end of listed apps and tap “More.”
4. Scroll until you see “Books” and tap that button.
2. Open “Books” app and you should see the Word Search in your recents.
3. Open Word Search by tapping on the image, then tap on the pen button at the top right to bring up the highlighter.
4. Drag your fingers across each word as you spot it to highlight words as you go.

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Categories: Gun News

Original Glock 17 Patent: Now 39 Years Young

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 04:35

On April 30, 1981, Gaston Glock filed for his 17th patent, centered on a forward-looking pistol with a host of innovations. The gun at its heart is today’s Glock 17. 

While Mr. Glock today has over 50 patents to his name, with some filed as far back as 1953, he was 51 years old when he filed the original patent in Austria for his G17 handgun. The polymer-framed striker-fired pistol would be adopted first by his country’s army before going on to become what could best be described as a wild global success across the consumer, law enforcement and military markets.

Filed from a Vienna address, (Siebenbürgerstraße 16-12, A-1220) the final patent application included almost 40 drawings, making nearly a dozen separate claims.

The patent application spanned several pages and was filled with figures to detail the design features new to the market

The new handgun had largely been designed and prototyped by Glock, working out of his workshop next to his home garage in the small town of Deutsch-Wagram, just North of Vienna, where he first founded his company in 1963. Prior to his handgun, the engineer had patented and sold an entrenching tool and field knife to the Austrian Army as well as lending his talent to design grenade casings and machine gun belt links.

As detailed by GLOCK:


Mr. Glock was building the pistol for the Austrian military and law enforcement, which meant it had to be ready to fire at a moment’s notice in life-threatening situations. To address this critical need, Mr. Glock designed his pistol with three internal safeties – the trigger, firing pin and drop safeties – to ensure that the pistol would perform consistently while providing the best protection against accidental discharge.

Mr. Glock met additional requirements of the Austrian government by including a high-capacity magazine, lightweight materials, consistent trigger pull, and a hammer-forged barrel. Mr. Glock understood that reliability resides in simplicity, and therefore, he designed his pistol with as few parts as possible, minimizing its complexity. Today, the GLOCK pistol is made from an average of only 35 parts, which is significantly fewer than any other pistol on the market and makes it more durable, reliable, and easier to maintain.


On this side of the pond, the original G17 patent was approved on Sept. 10, 1985 and issued Patent Number 4,539,889.

In 1986, GLOCK opened its U.S. headquarters in Smyrna, Georgia, with what we would call today 1st Generation G17s showing up in ads in national gun magazines that July with the tagline, “Put the Future in the Palm of Your Hand.”

The original 1st Gen G17 in its two-piece box (Photo:

Today, the G17 Gen 5 MOS is the latest version of the gun in production. They come standard with a Marksman Barrel, recessed barrel crown, nDLC finish on the barrel and slide, an ambidextrous slide stop, and the same 17+1 capacity that the original did. Moreover, the profile is unmistakable from the original pistol as depicted in the patent drawings from 1981.

Today’s optics-ready Gen 5 Glock 17.


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Categories: Gun News

Colt, FN Compete for M16A4 Contract Orders Worth $383 Million

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 02:06

U.S. Marine Corps small arms technician with the Armory, Service Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, inspects an M16A4 rifle at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., Oct. 25, 2016. (Photo: USMC)

The Army Contracting Command on Wednesday announced that two of the country’s biggest M16 makers will compete for slices of a potentially huge military rifle contract.

Colt’s Manufacturing in West Hartford, Connecticut, and FN America in Columbia, South Carolina will vie for each order of an up to $383,311,941 contract to provide new M16A4 rifles for Foreign Military Sales to overseas allies.

The guns will go to Afghanistan, Grenada, Iraq, Lebanon, and Nepal. A bid notice posted last September for the award lists a maximum quantity of 215,000 5.56 NATO rifles along with accessories and magazines.

The FN M16A4. The rifle is the fourth generation of the M16 series (Photos: FN)


While the U.S. Army is currently evaluating their Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) to field an advanced new 6.8mm-caliber platform to replace the current M4 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon shortly for front-line units, recent contracts announced by the Pentagon made it clear that the M4 at least will continue to soldier on in U.S. service in some role for years to come.

Meanwhile, the M16A4 platform is a more vintage platform when compared to the M4, and was developed for the Marine Corps in 1998. Fundamentally an improved M16A2 with a removable carry handle, a Picatinny top rail to allow for optics, and short rails on the handguard for accessories, the M16A4 has a fixed stock and utilizes a 20-inch barrel with a 1-in-7 RH twist rate. It is three-position (safe-semi-burst) select-fire.

Note the size difference between the compact M4 Carbine, top, and the full-length M16A4 rifle, bottom. (Photos: Department of Defense)

Of note, Colt last year was awarded an FMS contract by the Army worth as much as $41 million for M4/M4A1 Carbines intended for Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, the Federated States of Micronesia, Hungary, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Palau, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Tunisia.

The current M16A4 contract at play has an estimated completion date of April 28, 2025.


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Categories: Gun News

Holster Makers See Uptick in Sales, Especially Among Women

Wed, 04/29/2020 - 23:49

Holster purchases are on the rise with women buying at an increasing rate. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Gun and ammo makers saw a drastic increase in sales after the Coronavirus shuttered services in cities raising concerns about what would come. Gun makers aren’t the only ones to see more consumers during this time, though, as holster makers are also reporting an increase in sales, especially among women.

Dark Star Gear, a preferred holster maker for many AIWB fans, reported a slight increase in sales overall for March, noting that female shoppers were among those purchasing.

“We’re certainly seeing more female customers,” Dark Star Gear told

Dark Star Gear isn’t the only holster maker seeing a rise in interest. Tactica Defense, a holster maker almost solely dedicated to women’s concealed carry, reported an increase in female shoppers after safer-at-home orders began rolling in. Sandi Little, President of Tactica Defense, told that business has been booming in the age of Corona.

“We are definitely seeing a huge increase in women shoppers at Tactica,” Little said. “We’ve seen a huge increase in nurses and doctors buying the Belly Band. They’re in scrubs all day and feel threatened going outside, so they are concealing that way.”

The Tactica Belly Band. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Little said sales of the Belly Band have quadrupled in the past few weeks and the company has even begun to receive more and more dealer requests from shops looking to stock more female-friendly concealed carry gear.

“Lots of dealers are putting in big orders. They are suddenly wanting orders and they want them here now,” Little added.

March was a record month for buying as guns and ammo flew off the shelves. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System reported unadjusted figures of 3,709,562 background checks in March 2020 — representing a 42.4% jump from unadjusted FBI NICS figures in March 2019. Handguns accounted for 1,392,677 NICS checks — a majority of gun purchases.

“A lot of conversations through customer service have come from new gun owners asking what holsters to choose and how to carry,” Little explained.

For just under $70 gun owners can grab the Reckoning holster that can theoretically ride anywhere you want to place it. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Crossbreed Holsters has also seen increased interest, driving production time from 7 to 10 days to 3 weeks on its holsters. Communications Manager Jenn Jacques told that the drastic increase in sales came after stay-at-home orders were issued and law enforcement agencies began to adapt protocols. During this time, Jacques said female traffic on the site increased 5% over the same period last year.

“In these uncertain times, Americans are realizing that they truly are responsible for their own protection and taking the steps to ensure they’ll be able to successfully defend themselves and their families if necessary,” Jacques said. “Knowing prisoners were being released from correctional facilities, law enforcement may not respond unless a situation is dire, and seeing some of the panicked responses from citizens put the situation further into focus.”

Crossbreed updates its customers on current production times. (Screenshot:

Jacques said though orders are taking slightly longer than normal, Crossbreed is committed to providing holsters to consumers as quickly as possible.

“Like every other company in the firearms industry we’ve had to make adjustments, but we are passionately committed to getting orders out the door as quickly as possible because as responsibly armed citizens, we understand the importance of having your firearm on you when you need it most,” Jacques added.

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Categories: Gun News