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The 6 Best Handguns for Home Defense

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 09:30

Handguns are the most logical choice for home defense. By design, they’re easy to maneuver in enclosed spaces, engage targets at short distances, and control with one hand, which makes the other available to hold a phone and call 911. Deciding on your go-to home defense gun, especially for first-time gun buyers, can be difficult, though. There are dozens of top-tier brands and literally hundreds of models between them. So, how do you narrow your selection?

If you ask, we recommend that you start by exploring duty pistols. Service weapons used by law enforcement and military. To procure such items, these organizations run the guns through their paces and test them under real world conditions. However, when selected a company gets much more than a steady stream of revenue. They also get bragging rights. A title to declare and results to show they earned it.

Today, duty pistols all share similar characteristics. Typically, they’re full-size polymer framed handguns chambered in 9mm or .40 S&W. Features generally include a passive trigger safety, three-dot sights, ambidextrous and/or reversible controls, an accessory rail, and a magazine with a high capacity.

Under these conditions, has selected six models as the best choice for home defense handguns. These include the Glock 17, Glock 22, Sig P320, Sig P229, Smith & Wesson M&P, and Springfield XD.

Glock 17

Glock is the pound-for-pound champion when it comes to service pistols. The Glock 17 is not only the Austrian-gun makers first design, but also number one contender. A variation of the fifth generation Glock 17 is the service weapon for agents in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the premier law enforcement department in the U.S. In terms of firearms, what the FBI selects sets the bar for other federal, state and local agencies.

In 2016, the FBI awarded Glock a contract valued up to $85 million over a 10-year period. While the price may seem excessive, the price covers service weapons for thousands of agents in other federal law enforcement agencies. Yet, the news here wasn’t that the FBI went with Glock — the company had been servicing the FBI for decades prior — but rather the agency return to 9mm after 20 years of carrying .40-caliber pistols.

Among shooters, the FBI made a clear statement about cartridge choice. The agency argued that 9mm offered greater benefits than .40 S&W. Their testing revealed that agency-approved self-defense 9mm ammo outperformed most .40- and .45-caliber ammo while offering more control. In other words, agents with a Glock 17 could make more accurate and effective shots.

Sig P320

Sig Sauer is the current heavyweight champ of service pistols. In 2017, the U.S. Army selected the Sig P320 as their official handgun. The $580 million contract would replace a 30-year supply of the Army’s Beretta M9 pistols. Much like the FBI, the Army sets the bar for other branches of the military. However, Sig’s design is also becoming popular among local police departments across the country.

The P320 design made for the military, the M17 and M18, are equipped with a polymer frame and manual safety. However, unlike Glock pistols, which are equipped with standardized controls and features, the Sig P320 is available with a variety of features and calibers. Still, no matter the variant you select, the performance will match across the board.

Glock 22

You shouldn’t pooh-pooh .40-caliber Glocks. The FBI trusted the Glock 22 for nearly 20 years and only switched back after newer and better 9mm ammo became available. Federal agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and many large departments across the country like Los Angeles Police and Illinois State Police still carry the Glock 22. A Glock in any caliber will perform like a Glock.

Compared to the Glock 17, the Glock 22 uses a 15-round magazine instead a 17-round magazine. That’s because .40 S&W is slightly bigger in diameter than 9mm. But also the Glock 22 is not yet available as a Gen 5 model. The most noticeable difference between Gen 4 and Gen 5 is that the Gen 4 still has finger grooves on the grip.

Sig P229

Like the Glock 22, the Sig P229 is a strong contender. Several agencies within the Department of Homeland Security — like the Secret Service, Air Marshals, Coast Guard — use the Sig P229. The chambering varies by agency, but it’s offered in the civilian market in 9mm, .357 SIG, and .40 S&W. Unlike the polymer frame and striker-fire system found in most duty guns, the P229 is a hammer-fired pistol with a double- and single-action trigger and an all-metal construction.

Smith & Wesson M&P

With more than a century in business as a gun maker, Smith & Wesson offers some of the best handguns around. But it’s their Military & Police pistols that fit the bill for this list. Some of the country’s biggest police departments — Detroit, Los Angels Sheriff’s Department, and Colorado State Police come to mind — list M&P handguns as an approved carry pistol.

If you’re accustomed to the workings of a Glock pistol, using a Smith & Wesson M&P should be a cinch. In many cases, some fans prefer the design over Glocks and will accept nothing less. The polymer-frame design is available in a variety of calibers, and with or without a manual safety.

Springfield XD

Police departments in big cities like Chicago and Houston approved the Springfield XD design to be carried by their officers. The XD is another design that some say has improved upon the striker-fired design popularized by Glock. The standard XD comes with a host of calibers and features, such as an optional thumb safety. Outside of service, the XD series has become so popular among civilian shooters that Springfield released lines of pistols ranging from duty to concealed carry to competition.

The Best Home Defense Handgun

The handguns in this list are battle tested options proven by dependable sources. However, if you pose the question to others, answers will certainly vary. In many cases, the basis for such an answer comes down to personal preference. While these are reliable options, no doubt, use this list as a guide for your purchase. Most, if not all, of these options are available for rent at ranges across the country. During a visit, try these pistols out and get a feel for what you like and don’t like.

Check out the selection of handguns inside the Vault and collection of Certified Used Guns. For more on home defense guns, check out A Beginner’s Guide to Home Defense Guns.

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Categories: Gun News

Dems look to take Massachusetts-style Gun Licensing Nationwide

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 08:00

Massachusetts is one of the few states that require a license to own any firearm, including a permit-to-purchase which is needed to buy a handgun and a 6-year license that is needed to maintain possession. A bill would help expand the program nationwide. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Democrats on Capitol Hill this week unveiled a program to use taxpayer dollars to help bring Massachusetts-style gun control laws to the rest of the country.

Massachusetts lawmakers U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, along with U.S. Reps. Joe Kennedy III and Ayanna Pressley on Monday introduced their Making America Safe and Secure (MASS) Act. The move would use federal grants to incentivize states to adopt the same gun-licensing standards used by the Commonwealth, which are some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the nation.

“By creating stricter guardrails around firearm purchasing and enforcing stronger gun safety laws, the MASS Act actively curbs the public health crisis that is gun violence,” said Pressley, a Boston-area progressive who won her seat last year with the help of national gun control groups. “Here in Massachusetts, we regularly put forward bold, activist legislation and I am proud to join in partnership with my fellow Bay Staters to say enough is enough.”

Filed in the Senate as S.2014, the bill would establish a U.S. Justice Department grant program open to eligible states that adopt and maintain licensing standards for gun owners. The guidelines would include that gun owners maintain a license, issued by their local chief of police or sheriff, for the entire time they legally possess a firearm. Licensing would include a thorough background check that could include an in-person interview and character references. First-time applicants would have to show proof of firearms training and the agency would have the ability to deny, suspend or revoke a license if they deem the applicant unsuitable.

The MASS Act was introduced with the approval of national gun control organizations to include the Brady Campaign.

Only 14 states have some sort of licensing or pre-certification requirement for the purchase or possession of firearms. The laws themselves are often controversial.

The first state to adopt mandatory gun licensing, New York, did so under the Sullivan Act, a 1911 law that requires anyone desiring a firearm small enough to be concealed to obtain a license. Even a century later, the law has been subject to legal challenges from those who hold licenses can be elusive, with applicants often waiting years or denied outright. In New Jersey in 2015, the case of a woman killed in her front yard by her ex-boyfriend while she was still waiting for her application for a firearm permit to be granted made national headlines. Meanwhile, critics of North Carolina’s Pistol Purchase Permit argue the practice was adopted in that state in 1919 as part of Jim Crow laws to strip minorities of their Second Amendment rights.

The MASS Act had been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Meanwhile, Kennedy and Pressley intended to introduce a House version in their chamber later this week.

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Categories: Gun News

Sig Sauer Steps Up P320 Game with XFive Legion Pistol (VIDEOS)

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 08:00

The latest installment in Sig Sauer‘s ever-expanding P320 pistol series is the XFive Legion competition pistol complete with a tungsten-infused grip and match bull barrel.

The new exclusive Legion Series pistol features what Sig bills as the first-of-its-kind TXG tungsten/polymer XGrip module which helps translate to an unloaded weight of 43.5-ounces. The heavier grip module with a removable magwell translates to what the New Hampshire-based company says is a substantially reduced felt recoil and muzzle flip, cutting them in half.

Other upgrades include a Legion Gray PVD slide with lightening cuts, 5-inch match grade bull barrel, and a lightened and skeletonized trigger– the latter of which reduces pull weight by up to 30 percent. To beef up the internals, the P320 XFive Legion has a one-piece stainless-steel guide rod and a 14-pound 1911-style spring. Optic-ready right out of the box, the pistol is compatible with a ROMEO1PRO or a standard DeltaPoint Pro and features Dawson Precision fiber optic front and adjustable rear sights.

The 9mm Sig Sauer P320 XFive Legion comes with three 17-round magazines with aluminum Henning Group base pads– or 3×10 round mags in states with limits. (Photo: Sig)

“We are really excited about the introduction of the Sig Sauer P320 XFive Legion to the market because it embodies the forward-thinking Sig Sauer mindset when it comes to product development,” said Tom Taylor, the company’s chief marketing officer, going on to describe the newest gun in Sig’s stable as “changing the game for competition pistols.”

Optics-ready, the pistol is compatible with a ROMEO1PRO Optic or a standard DeltaPoint Pro Optic and features Dawson Precision Fiber Optic front and adjustable rear sights. Note the lightening cuts on the slide. (Photo: Sig)

The pistol, which has an overall length of 8.5-inches with a roomy 6.8-inch sight radius, comes with three 17-round magazines with anodized aluminum Henning Group base pads. Like other Legion series firearms, upon registering their gun with Sig, owners receive a complimentary case, a challenge coin matched to the firearm, exclusive access to Legion gear and merchandise, and receive exclusive communications from both the company and the Legion. MSRP is $899.

For those who would like the full-sized XFive P320 but without the Legion add-ons, those models are also available in both black and coyote finishes with an MSRP of $850– although we beat that significantly in the Vault.

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Categories: Gun News

GunBlast: America’s First Gun Reviewers (VIDEO + 21 PICS)

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 07:30

When GunBlast started in 2000, Jeff Quinn and his brother Boge Quinn didn’t realize the success they would have, much less that they’d influence the gun industry.

It all started with a sincere interest and identifying a growing demand. In 1999, Jeff decided to pursue gun writing as a hobby because he found gun magazines to be too contrived.

“Some of them are good (and) some are just fluff. It’d be an article on a piece of crap gun and across the page is a full-page ad for the same gun,” said Jeff.

So, he pitched to his more tech-savvy brother Boge: “If I could write about the gun, can you put it on the internet thing?” Boge agreed and GunBlast was born.

At first, their reviews focused on the guns they owned. But then they attended their first SHOT Show, the gun industry’s biggest annual event.

Jeff’s braided beard and leather biker cut were a stark contrast to the suits and polo shirts normally worn by attendants at SHOT.

“They looked at us like we just crawled up out of the woods or something and they never heard of this Internet thing,” Boge said of the exhibitors at the show.

Then, with online advertising still in its infancy, many companies hesitated except for two. Industry giants Sturm, Ruger & Company and Smith & Wesson took a chance.

“They were the first ones to figure out that the internet wasn’t just an overnight sensation,” Boge said. That got the ball rolling. Over time more gun companies contacted GunBlast for reviews.

“When we first started, I didn’t know how big the internet was, but Boge told me one day that we hit 8,000 hits that day and I thought ‘can’t get any bigger than this,’” Jeff said.

Boge added: “It’s funny to think about it now but it was a big deal back then because we’re up into the millions everyday now.”

After nearly two decades of publishing gun reviews, the GunBlast channel has garnered more than 64 million views. With the ad revenue coming in from the steady flow of traffic, both Jeff and Boge can work on GunBlast full time.

“I started GunBlast as a hobby, just because I was interested in guns and wanted to do it,” Jeff said. “I never imagined at first that it was going to make us any money.”

Despite their success, they said they try to remain humble. “GunBlast worked well for us for the last 18 years. I plan to keep doing this as long as I can.” Jeff said. “As long as my eyesight holds up and I can keep pulling triggers, I’m going to keep going.”

Jeff Quinn with his every day carry gun, a Smith & Wesson E-Series 1911 from the Performance Center. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Boge Quinn with his every day carry gun, a Kahr CM9. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Jeff Quinn at his ‘office’ next to his house where Gunblast films many reviews. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

A closeup of Jeff Quinn’s every day carry Smith & Wesson E-Series 1911 pistol. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

A Second Amendment sign that hangs proudly at Quinn’s house. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Jeff Quinn watching his granddaughter shoot her S&W M&P 15-22. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

The custom license plate on Jeff Quinn’s Harley Davidson. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Jeff Quinn attends SHOT Show in the early 2000s. (Photo: Gunblast)

Jeff Quinn loves Harley Davidson motorcycles. He’s owned 16 of them. (Photo: Gunblast)

Jeff Quinn and his wife on their Harleys somewhere in America. (Photo: Gunblast)

Jeff Quinn with his Ford Mustang Mach 1. (Photo: Gunblast)

A zen Jeff Quinn in his cornfield. (Photo: Gunblast)

Jeff Quinn on his tractor. (Photo: Gunblast)

Boge Quinn is a decorated musician. He plays mainly stringed instruments. (Photo: Gunblast)

Boge Quinn with a patriotic Kel-Tec KSG pump action 12 gauge shotgun. (Photo: Gunblast)

Jeff Quinn with Charlie Daniels and Anthony Imperato. (Photo: Gunblast)

Jeff Quinn’s 1901 Colt Bisley chambered in .38 WCF caliber. (Photo: Gunblast)

Jeff Quinn raises Texas Longhorns. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Jeff Quinn raises Texas Longhorns. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Dover, Tennessee is the site of the Battle of Fort Donelson. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Dover, Tennessee is the site of the Battle of Fort Donelson. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

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Categories: Gun News

Ruger Goes Patriotic with New Flag Series Firearms (PHOTOS)

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 05:00

Just in time to celebrate Independence Day, Connecticut-based Ruger has announced the first entries in their Flag Series, which come complete with patriotic finishes.

The new release, which includes offerings in the company’s otherwise standard AR-556 MSR, AR-556 pistol and Ruger PC Carbine lines, sport painted flag Cerakote and flag camo dipped finishes.

Along with a factory-standard SB Tactical SBA3 pistol stabilizing brace and free-float handguard with Magpul M-LOK attachment slots, the AR-556 Flag Series Pistol runs an American flag Cerakote scheme. MSRP is $949. (Photos: Ruger)

With an 18-inch 1-in-8-twist barrel, free float M-LOK handguard and MOE SL collapsible stock, the AR-556 Flag Series MSR, complete with red, white and blue Cerakote pattern, runs $949.

Featuring interchangeable magazine wells for use of common Ruger and Glock mags, the Ruger PC Flag Series Carbine has an American flag camo across its synthetic stock and aluminum free-float handguard. MSRP on the 9mm pistol caliber carbine is $779.

“We are very excited about the introduction of the Flag Series,” said Shawn Leska, Ruger’s VP of Sales. “This new lineup of firearms is our most patriotic yet and we hope our customers will feel a sense of pride owning a pistol or rifle from this American-made series.”

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Categories: Gun News

Ed Brown releases new model in EVO series, EVO-KC9-LW

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 04:30

The KC9-LW6 brings a lightweight build to concealed carry. (Photo: Ed Brown Products)

Ed Brown Products continues its custom handgun EVO lineup, debuting a new model into the series with the EVO-KC9-LW. The KC9-LW features a lightweight aluminum construction weighing in at just 27-ounces. Chambered in 9mm, the gun utilizes a 4-inch barrel on an overall 7.5-inch length frame.

The handgun boasts a Bobtail housing with Snakeskin treatment for “just the right amount of grip” while also providing a snag-free design. The pistol is also decked out with a seven-top custom slide cut and special front and rear serrations. The KC9-LW is topped off with a Tactical Edge rear sight, easy to change front sight and flat wire recoil system. Slim grips round out the total package.

The KC9-LW6 features slim grips. (Photo: Ed Brown Products)

“What a great team we have here, to be able to envision and execute so quickly – it’s just another example of Brown Family’s commitment to excellence, and that commitment is how we can offer our customers such value and quality at the same time. We continue leading the way! If you have not looked at Ed Brown in a while, it is time to look again,” Sales and Marketing Director John May said about the latest EVO addition.

The EVO series aims to bring consumers a more custom feel with modern designs and small custom batch processing that brings a more reasonable price to the concealed carry table. The KC9-LW is available with an MSRP of $2,295.

The pistol also offers a 4-inch barrel and slide serrations. (Photo: Ed Brown Products)

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Categories: Gun News

Pennsylvania Sunday Hunting Expansion Bill on the Move

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 04:00

The Sunday hunting bill is endorsed by conservation officials, game clubs and pro-sporting groups who argue the expansion will help with hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation efforts. (Photo: Pennsylvania Game Commission)

A bill that does away with a historic ban on Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania and opens at least some days to sportsmen has passed the state Senate.

The legislation, SB 147, was approved 36-14 last week and now heads to the Pennsylvania House for further consideration. The move would legalize hunting on at least three Sundays throughout the year — which is three more than what the Commonwealth has currently.

The bill, supported by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, stipulates the three Sundays would include one day during deer rifle season, one day during deer archery season and another day designated by the Commission. Anti-trespassing provisions coupled with the proposal increase penalties for a hunter who has entered and remained on posted lands or has been personally contacted by the landowner to either not enter or leave.

Pennsylvania is one of just three states, along with Maine and Massachusetts, that continue to have a total prohibition on Sunday hunting, an enduring remnant of old puritanical “blue laws.” A state legislative report concluded that allowing hunting to occur on Sunday would positively contribute to the Commonwealth’s gross state product through increased game license sale and an uptick in sporting goods purchases and hotel lodging.

Endorsed by Keystone State game clubs as well as Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association, pro-sporting groups argue that the expansion, if successful, will help turn around flagging hunter numbers. According to the Game Commission, Pennsylvania saw 885,632 licensed hunters in 2017, the lowest number in a decade that began with 924,448 hunters in 2007.

“Many hunters are prevented from introducing their children or friends to hunting because it is difficult to find the time and opportunities to hunt outside of the work or school week,” said the NRA in a statement. “Countless hunters stop hunting because of this lack of opportunity. Senate Bill 147 seeks to increase Pennsylvania hunters’ ability to enjoy our hunting heritage and will improve hunter recruitment and retention efforts.”

As noted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sunday Hunting Coalition, at least five states have moved away from colonial-era hunting bans since 2014. In 1970, according to NSSF, half the country still had such laws on the books.

Pennsylvania SB 147 has been referred to the House Game & Fisheries committee.

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Categories: Gun News

Winchester Ammunition Debuts 10mm Pistol Loads

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 05:30

Winchester adds 10mm to its standard white box full metal jacket series. (Photo: Winchester)

Winchester Ammunition adds 10mm to its lineup of full metal jacket and Defender loads, bringing more variety to 10mm pistol fans.

The FMJ load ships in the all too familiar white box with 180-grain flat nose full metal jacket 10mm loads nestled inside. Winchester says this load was designed for target practice and competition bringing both “superb performance and a great value” to the table.

Winchester’s Defender series sees the addition of 10mm. (Photo: Winchester)

Following the FMJ, Winchester also announced the 10mm will also appear on the Defender self-defense and hunting line. The 180-grain bonded ammunition sees the jacket welded to the lead core bringing consistency in penetration as well as increased weight retention. Winchester says the bullet design, originally created for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was developed to introduce both consistency and reliability to pistol shooting.

The FMJ and Defender ammunition are available now, shipping in boxes of 20. The FMJ retails for $24 while the Defender in 10mm is priced at $30.

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Categories: Gun News

Robert Reese, Springfield Armory, Inc. Founder, Passes at age 87

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 05:00

Reese was a life-long firearms enthusiast who became junior trap shooting champion as a teen and went on to start his own gun company in 1974. (Photos: Springfield Armory, Inc)

Robert “Bob” Reese, the founder of today’s Illinois-based Springfield Armory, Inc, passed away last week at age 87.

Reese, who was born in 1931 in Moline, Illinois, became junior North American trap shooting champion at age 17 and went on to serve in the U.S. Army National Guard in the 1950s. After leaving the military, he settled down and becoming a farmer, agriculture equipment salesman and dealer of Army surplus with a store in Geneseo.

In 1974, Reese acquired the Springfield Armory name from Texas gun maker Elmer C. Ballance and shifted operations to the Land of Lincoln where they greatly expanded and continue today.

The iconic brand stems from the federal Springfield Armory arsenal established in Massachusetts in 1794. That facility, which designed and produced legendary rifles including the M1903, M1 Garand and M14, was shuttered by the military in 1968 due to budget cuts.

Robert, his wife, Carol, and their son, Dennis were the first employees of the “new” Springfield Armory. Reese’s M1A, a semi-automatic rifle patterned after the U.S. M14, put the company on the map and is still in steady production 45 years later. SA’s commercial line spread to include, at various times, M1 Garands, M6 Scout rifles and M1 Carbines as well as imported Mauser 98, HK91 and semi-auto FAL variants.

Breaking into handguns, Springfield Armory has long been a household name in the 1911 world and has imported increasingly popular XD series pistols from Croatia. In the past, the company also imported CZ-75s from the Czech Republic, which were dubbed the Springfield Armory P9, as well as German-made Omega 1911s.

Reese is survived by his wife, three sons and daughters-in-law, seven grandchildren and their spouses, and two great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the VFW or the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).

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Categories: Gun News

Yeet Cannon: Hi-Point Bows to Crowd-Favored YC9 Handle for new 9mm Pistol

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 04:30

Yeet, a word that has crept into acceptance in the past few years, is generally employed as a multi-use exclamation and has been chosen for part of the name of Hi-Point’s new YC-9 pistol (Photos: Hi-Point)

Ohio-based Hi-Point firearms have announced their new 2nd generation 9mm handgun will be dubbed the YC9, after an online public poll.

The company, known for budget handguns and carbines over their 25-year history, has this year moved to bring a modernized handgun series to market. The new gun, a seriously updated version of Hi-Point’s staple C9 series blowback action pistol, was the subject of a “Name the Nine” contest which soon saw “Yeet Cannon” proposed and quickly surge to the top of the list of suggestions.

Abbreviated as YC9, Hi-Point said nearly 96 percent of the 326,722 votes cast in the poll went for the Yeet.

“YC9 is the winner!” said HI-Point on social media over the weekend. “Not that anyone here is really surprised. What is surprising was that almost half a million votes for YC9. Way cool. The Yeet is strong!”

In addition to the new pistol series, which has a threaded barrel and updated ergonomics, Hi-Point says they have a C9 “Yeet Cannon G1” edition underway, with the legacy gun now available with the moniker laser engraved.

Engaging their fans wholeheartedly, Hi-Point has not only named their new Gen 2 C9 as the YC-9 but has also announced a limited run of legacy C-9s with “Yeet Cannon G1” laser engraved on the slide.

As for the YC9, the new pistol is set for a late 2019 delivery date.

“This has been an awesome ride, and pretty sure this is the first time EVER that a gun company has let the internet name a firearm,” said Hi-Point on social media. “Thank you, everyone.”

For a closer look at what Hi-Point has been showing off on the YC9, check out the below where we caught up with company reps in Las Vegas in January.

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Categories: Gun News

Concealed Carry Trail Hiking with Ukoala’s Yukon Bag

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 11:00

The Ukoala Yukon brings a functional off-body solution to day hikers and urbanites in need of a concealed carry holster setup. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

For adventurers who don’t want to trek miles into the woods but enjoy smaller, minimalist-style day trips into the wilderness, carrying a gun can sometimes prove challenging as day hikers often must turn to alternatives in order to successful pack a gun. Ukoala, a holster maker with an unconventional approach to concealed carry, has just the option for minimalistic hikers and even urbanites searching for a more discreet mode of off-body carry.

What is Ukoala?

Ukoala, pronounced you-koala, brings an innovative approach to the concealed carry conundrum, offering an off-body carry mode… of sorts. A compact bag meets thigh rig, the Ukoala hooks around the hips of the carriers as well as the thigh, securing to the wearer. The bag features a compartment specifically meant for firearms with Velcro lining allowing a Crossbreed Holsters Kydex shell to rest inside. The firearm slips into the holster, riding securely.

The bag also benefits from converting from a thigh style into normal bag. Slipping around the body, cross-body style, this option opens the door for gun owners not keen on the thigh rig setup. In addition to a firearm pocket, the Ukoala offers multiple pockets for storing other accessories and necessities like a wallet, keys, spare mags and a tourniquet.

The Ukoala acts as a sort of thigh rig, securing around the wearer. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

The bag itself comes in different styles and colors, giving concealed carriers plenty of options when it comes to the “look” of the Ukoala. The bags also come in standard sizing or compact, depending on how much room you need to stow carry guns and gear. The standard measures 10-inches by 12-inches while the compact comes in at 9-inches by 11-inches. For this review I checked out the Yukon style.

Carrying with Ukoala

I’ll admit, I didn’t quite know what to make of the Ukoala when I first encountered the brand. Suffering from what sounded like an identity crisis, the Ukoala blends off-body with on-body using a bag-like design that attaches to wearers. Realistically, how well would this wannabe thigh rig work in real life?

Surprisingly, well, as I found out. As usual, I paired the Ukoala with my Glock 19 – a hefty midsize gun that isn’t always the easiest to conceal due to its larger size. Equipped with a Crossbreed Holsters Kydex Shell, the holster attached to hook-and-loop on an interior pocket of the Ukoala. The hook-and-loop offered a sturdy enough platform that the gun did not flop around and paired with the Kydex shell, I felt the semi-automatic handgun was both well retained and protected inside the bag.

The Ukoala can also transition into a traditional shoulder style or cross-body bag as well. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Perfect for short jaunts into the woods or even adventures in urban areas, the Ukoala’s unique blend of off-body carry meets thigh rig is its greatest advantage. Attaching the bag to the gun owners ensures the bag does not leave the owner’s sight and wards off potential accidents due to carelessness or forgetfulness. It does some getting used to as I, personally, am not accustomed to carrying bags or really anything around my thigh; but the design is comfortable and doesn’t rub or irritiate the thighs.

The Ukoala’s design also lends itself to function offering multiple pockets, on top of the firearm pocket, to stow other accessories. It also has spots to place IDs and cash, turning it into a full-blown purse for those that need it – all the while keeping the gun securely and safely stowed.

The Ukoala features pockets that are functional in addition to offering a dedicated firearm pocket. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

With any off-body solution the trade-off is access and the Ukoala is no different in this department. To get to the gun, the exterior flap must be raised, and zippers undone before the grip is exposed. Of course, if you feel a need you can stage the bag with zippers already opened so that the exterior flap is the only barrier. With this setup, as with any, it’s important to practice and train so you know how to efficiently use it.

Final Thoughts

The Ukoala benefits from its versatile design and non-gender specific looks. Capable of packing nearly any sized handgun, the Ukoala brings a unique means of concealed carry to day hikers that can’t always pack a gun IWB. With its ability to effortlessly flow into any other concealed carry activity, the Ukoala is a must have for gun owners in frequent need of non-belted carry options. Well worth its price tag, the Ukoala starts at $128.

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Categories: Gun News

Hiking in Style with Opie in the Smokies (PHOTOS)

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 06:00

Opie in the Smokies takes on a hike alongside 5.11 Tactical, Magellan Outdoors and The North Face with the help of the Glock 19X. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Being a gun owner shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the great outdoors. In fact, a gun can be an essential part of hiking gear. Carrying on the trails doesn’t relegate gun owners to oversized wardrobe options or out of fashion wear though, as several companies offer clothing that is both fashionable and functional. met up with patch connoisseur Opie in the Smokies to tackle the East Tennessee mountains. We tried out gear from 5.11 Tactical, Blackhawk, Magellan Outdoors and The North Face. Opie was outfitted first in the Magellan Outdoors Arnasas Pass button-up in Medium Blue, 5.11 Tactical Apex Pants in Battle Brown, Blackhawk Trident boots, 5.11 Tactical Havoc 30 backpack and Glock 19X. After a little trekking, we changed the shirt up to offer a brighter look with The North Face Hammets shirt in Garden Green Ash Plaid.

To see out how the clothes looked on the hike, check out our pics of Opie in the Smokies below.

Opie in the Smokies clears some brush with the Glock 19X at the ready. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

The Magellan Aransas Pass in Medium Blue. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

The Glock 19X at the ready alongside the Magellan Outdoors shirt. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Blackhawk Trident boots in coyote with 5.11 Tactical Havoc 30 backpack. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Opie in the Smokies patch on the 5.11 Tactical backpack. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

The North Face Hammets shirt in Garden Green Ash Plaid paired well with the 5.11 Tactical Apex pants. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

The North Face Hammets shirt in Garden Green Ash Plaid. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

The Glock 19X accompanied Opie in the Smokies and on the trails in a 12/21 Designs holster. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Blackhawk Trident boots and 5.11 Tactical Apex Pants in Battle Brown. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

(Photo: Jacki Billings/

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Categories: Gun News

Versailles at 100: The Guns of the Doughboys

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 05:30

Men of the U.S. Army’s 16th Infantry Regiment in maneuvers as part of the Army of Occupation, Otzingen, Germany, in 1919 while the Treaty of Versailles was being negotiated. The victorious Allies would continue to occupy parts of Germany after WWI ended through the 1920s. Note the M1903 Springfield rifles and a newly-issued M1918 BAR (Photo: Library of Congress)

With the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, there is no better time to remember the Americans who served in the trenches of World War I and the guns they carried.

The U.S was keen to stay out of the Great War, which was generally seen as a conflict among two different spheres of European powers. Then, on April 6, 1917, America formally declared war on Imperial Germany and joined Britain, France, and Russia in the global conflict.

By June 2017, the first U.S. troops were on the ground in France and, by the following October, some 2 million Soldiers and Marines were serving “Over There.” By the time the war finally ended, and Germany signed a final peace treaty at Versailles, France, on June 28, 1919, some 50,000 of them had lost their lives in combat. The personal weapons carried by those men into the trenches varied.


The M1903 and its M1903A3/A4 descendants would go on to serve through WWII

The U.S. Army and Marines entered the conflict in 1917 with their standard infantry rifle being the M1903. First put into production in 1907, the .30-06 caliber bolt-action rifle was produced at Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal to a design very close to that of the DWM Mauser Model 1893. Using a five-round integral box magazine that could be rapidly recharged by a stripper clip, the standard 10-pocket cartridge belt carried by a GI or Devil Dog of the era held 100 rounds, a canteen, field dressing, and bayonet. Using a 24-inch barrel, the M1903 weighed in at 8.7-pounds and went 43-inches overall. The design would continue to see service in WWII as well as, in lesser use, as a training, line throwing and drill rifle decades after.


The M1917 Enfield, seen in an exploded display at Eddystone in 1918, was made by the millions in the Great War (Photo: Library of Congress)

While the M1903 was an excellent weapon, the entire U.S. arsenal amounted to just 800,00 of those standard rifles when the country entered the war. To help outfit the millions of men drafted and rushing to recruiting offices from Brooklyn to Petaluma, the War Department turned to Remington, Winchester, and Eddystone to produce a substitute rifle. Based on the British Pattern 14 Enfield and redesigned to the U.S.-standard .30-06 cartridge, the new weapon was designated “U.S. Rifle, Model of 1917, Caliber .30” but was more commonly known as the M1917 Enfield or American Enfield. Some 2.2 million of these guns were produced in a very short time, and, in the end, more Americans carried an Enfield into combat than an M1903. After the war, Remington continued to make the M1917 as a commercial hunting rifle, the M30, for decades. Not bad for a substitute.


This M1911 Colt WWI commemorative model recreates the standard GI .45 of the Western Front, right down to the United States Property rollmarks

Typically considered to be John Moses Browning’s most enduring legacy, his Model 1911 Government Issue semi-automatic handgun had been adopted by the War Department three years before “the lamps went out all over Europe.” Using a 7-round single-stack magazine, the single-action long slide was first produced by Colt for the military and commercial market and Canadian troops carried them into combat in 1914 even before the Americans entered the war. With a 5-inch barrel and long sight radius, the M1911 proved well-liked and continued to serve until it was replaced in 1986 by the M9, a military version of the Beretta 92F 9mm. Today, some 98,000 M1911s are still held in the Anniston Army Depot, enduring winners of two world wars.

M1917 Revolver

Both S&W and Colt made .45ACP revolver models for the war effort as well, as part of the drive to knock out the Kaiser

As with the case of the Springfield shortage and Enfield substitute, numbers of Colt M1911s were not enough in 1917 to provide the rapidly expanding U.S. forces with sidearms. This sparked both Smith & Wesson and Colt to provide revolvers to Uncle to help fill empty holsters. Colt revamped their 1909 New Service Model revolver while Smith & Wesson updated their Hand Ejector revolver to accept rimless .45ACP cartridges using three-shot “half-moon” clips. Both guns, while very different internally, were dubbed the Model of 1917 by the War Department.

In remembrance of the servicemen lost to the Great War, the anniversary of that conflict’s Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918, is still carried forward today as Veteran’s Day. The last known American veteran of WWI, Frank Woodruff Buckles, died in 2011 at age 110. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery very near the grave of General John J. Pershing, who commanded the U.S. Army in France during the war.

A student officer at Fort Sheridan in 1917 maintaining his M1903. Of the more than 4 million Americans that served in the conflict by the time the Treaty of Versailles was signed, 53,402 would die in combat. (Photo: Library of Congress)

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Categories: Gun News

NASA Looking for a few AR-15s with the Right Stuff

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 05:00

The south gate at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center (Photo: NASA)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration this week filed a solicitation for a small quantity of AR-15s, with Smith & Wesson mentioned directly. The notice asked for a lightweight, 5.56mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated semi-automatic rifle. However, the details include a host of features that paints a detailed portrait of Big Blue’s M&P-15 line.

The requirements include generic commercial AR specs such as a 16-inch chrome lined barrel with a 1-in-9-inch twist, a 35-inch overall length, and a six-position collapsible stock. Weight is not to exceed 107-ounces (6.68-pounds) while the rifle is to come with an adjustable A2 front post and adjustable dual aperture or folding rear sight. Accessories are to include single point slings with a bungee and a 30-round polymer magazine in flat dark earth.

Specs detailed in the space agency’s notice are for the S&W M&P15 as a “Brand Name or Equal to” requirement. (Photo: S&W)

Getting more specific, the synopsis says the barrels should be made of 4140 steel and have an Armornite finish, the latter a proprietary and trademarked Smith & Wesson process. Suggested products, detailed in the notice, are for the M&P15 or M&P15X.

The quantities mentioned are small, with just 16 units, with a total price not to exceed $15,000, desired. The rifles are intended for NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Located in a rural area along the banks of the Pearl River the facility is the location of the Rocket Propulsion Test Complex, the agency’s largest rocket engine test facility, as well as dozens of other federal agencies.

To secure their facilities nationwide, NASA contracts a variety of protective forces and maintains Emergency Response Teams while the agency’s Office of Inspector General has armed special agents who refer their findings from investigations to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

NASA also maintains various firing ranges.

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Categories: Gun News

A Beginner’s Guide to Home Defense Guns

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 10:30


Home defense is the literal act of defending your home against a threat. When we say “home,” we mean the physical property and the people and possessions inside it. What threatens a home could be a lot of different things: burglars, rapists, jackboots, wolves, bears — whatever you may encounter. The ideal home defense gun can address them all but primarily the threat most likely to occur.

The best gun for home defense is one that, when handled safely and competently, provides peace-of-mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s a handgun, shotgun or rifle but there are certain qualities that benefit a home defense gun more than others. This article will detail what to look for in a home defense gun and we’ll use brands and specific models to illustrate examples.


Glock 17

Handguns are by far the most popular choice for a home defense gun because they’re the most plausible choice. Given their size and range, most handguns are intended to engage targets at short distances. They’re also highly maneuverable in enclosed spaces like inside a hallway or turning through doorways.

While the implied argument here is “smaller is better,” let’s nip that in the bud right now. Smaller is more comfortable for concealed carry, but the answer for concealed carry isn’t always the same for home defense. If you’re comfortable handling a hand cannon like a Smith & Wesson Model 500 or Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum, so be it. Let that be your home defense gun. This is America.

But a more practical solution is to consider what’s carried by those who put themselves in harm’s way every day as they patrol our streets. In the last century, law enforcement officers carried full-size .38-caliber revolvers with double- and single-action triggers.

For the time, the limited capacity and cartridge was proven reliable for the threats at hand, ie criminals with comparable weapons. Under the same conditions — which will likely be the case for a mugging or burglary today — the design is still effective. Many people trust revolvers because of their reliability: the cylinder will rotate with every pull of the trigger — never a failure to feed. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Starting in the 1980s, though, Glock paved the way for what now serves as the duty weapon for law enforcement across the country. The Austrian-company built a gun that directly addressed expressed needs of military and law enforcement leaders. They needed a lighter gun that could hold more bullets. So, Glock introduced the Glock 17, a full-size polymer-framed handgun chambered in 9mm.

The appeal to the design was that it’s lightweight, easy to use, and has a magazine that holds 17 rounds. Over the decades, a host of companies have adopted these characteristics of a duty weapon and offered their own, and in some cases, improved versions.

Today, the most up-to-date duty pistol is chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. It features a polymer frame, an internal safety rather than manual thumb safety, interchangeable grips, ambidextrous controls, a Picatinny rail for mounting a light or laser, and the slide will be optics-ready. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.


Remington Tac-14

The second-most logical choice for home defense is a shotgun because they’re easy to use to address a threat. Unlike a handgun or rifle, shotguns don’t require precision accuracy to hit a target. A shotgun fires shot shells instead of a single projectile. The shot is comprised of small pieces of metal that look like ball bearings. As they fly through the air, the spread covers a large area with a tremendous amount of energy like a small net of death.

While there are multiple shotgun actions, the most common for home defense are of the pump-action variety. While some argue that’s because the mere sound of working the pump strikes fear in the hearts of home invaders, the more plausible explanation is they’re easy to use, easy to maintain and inexpensive.

Then, shotguns are also versatile. You’ll have a better chance of fending off a wild animal from a medium distance with a shotgun than with a handgun. Practically speaking, a home defense shotgun functions the same as a hunting shotgun. More to the point, a plain Jane pump scattergun will serve just as well as one decked out with tactical features. But, if those tactical features give you peace-of-mind, so be it. America is a free country, after all.

The drawback to home defense shotguns is limited maneuverability. Without proper training and practice, a shotgun is difficult to safely handle in an enclosed space. According to federal regulators, the shortest barrel available for a shotgun, to keep it under the mandatory 26-inch overall length, is 18 inches. However, gun makers have found ways to make a shotgun feel shorter than it really is. By changing certain characteristics of the design — like removing the stock and shortening the barrel — it can become a 12- or 20-gauge firearm instead of a shotgun. Maintaining that mandatory minimum length allows the design to be sold like any other firearm.

Another drawback to shotguns is limited magazine capacity, which is often tied to the length of the barrel, or more precisely the tube that rides beneath the barrel. Typically, the feature only allows for five 12-gauge shells and require a somewhat time-consuming reloading process. To address that issue, gun makers have started offering shotguns with detachable magazines or they’re applying novel feeding designs.

In 2011, Florida-gun company Kel-Tec introduced the Kel-Tec Shotgun, or KSG, to the U.S. This shotgun featured a bull-pup design, meaning the action was placed behind the trigger. This allowed designers to utilize two magazine tubes with an expanded capacity of seven rounds a piece. Now, a variety of gun makers, all trying to keep pace with one another, are offering features to expand magazine capacity.

Today, there are plenty of opportunities to find a maneuverable shotgun design with a capacity that could stop a threat two-times over. But if you’re comfortable with a good-old fashion pump with a five-round tubular magazine, that works, too.


Springfield Armory Saint

At last, we get to rifles for home defense. A rifle will send a projectile through the air with greater velocity, distance and accuracy than a handgun or shotgun. These attributes make a rifle the best option to engage faraway targets but also a less practical option for close range.

While a rifle’s long barrel limits maneuverability, a key argument against rifles for home defense is over-penetration. The fear being a rifle round, if discharged inside a house, could pierce through drywall and hit an unintended target. But this is America where the AR-15 is considered a modern-day musket. A symbol that reminds the government that U.S. citizens have an inalienable means to stand up to tyranny. So, if you’re trained and that’s what you prefer, there’s your answer.

However, there are reasons to prefer an AR-style rifle for home defense than just a sense of civic duty. They’re dubbed the “modern sporting rifle” because of their broad appeal. They have standardized controls and are highly modifiable. A standard AR-15 chambered in .223/5.56mm is easy to use, has very light recoil and uses a magazine that holds 30 rounds. Plus, you could attach just about every range toy and trinket available.

Unlike shotguns, there’s no workaround barrel length and the stock cannot be removed. If either are done, the act legally makes it a different type of weapon. The former makes it a short barreled rifle, which is highly regulated, and the other turns the design into a pistol. As of a few years ago, however, a compromise was found.

Circa 2012, Florida-based gun accessory maker SB Tactical introduced a stabilizing brace for the AR-style pistol. While the device was intended to fit around your forearm, there’s a general understanding — that’s been reviewed and approved by federal regulators — that you might shoulder the brace.

Since then, variations of the design have been released. Some of which are referred to as a flap rather than a brace. Nonetheless, since the firearm is classified as a pistol, there’s more flexibility with length and in turn maneuverability. With everyone wanting a shorter AR, gun makers have taken to extending their AR line up to include an AR pistol equipped with a tactical brace.

The Best Home Defense Guns

Walk into any gun store or gun forum and you’ll hear arguments advocating the merits for every type of gun, action, caliber, and brand. But at the end of the day, the best home defense is the one that you can handle safely and competently. Do those specific characteristics matter? Certainly. But treat them as guidelines rather than gospel.

For a great selection of firearms, check out the Vault and collection of Certified Used Firearms

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Categories: Gun News

Forgotten Woods Gun: The Marlin Camp Carbine

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 06:30

The Marlin Camp Carbine debuted in 1985 just in time for the company’s 115th Anniversary. By 1999, it was put out to pasture.

Now entering the 20th anniversary of their retirement, Marlin‘s handy little centerfire pistol caliber Camp Carbine models still deliver even as they become more collectible.

First introduced in 1985 with the Model 9, Marlin’s neat little 9mm semi-auto rifles were pitched as durable and compact guns that were ready to tag along to the field.

With styling that gave a nod to the military surplus M1 Garand and Carbine, the Model 9 had what was billed as a Garand-type safety and a one-piece walnut finished press checkered Maine birch stock.

Using a 16.5-inch Micro-Groove barrel and a machined steel receiver that was sandblasted to prevent glare, the gun’s overall length was 35.5-inches while it tipped the scales at around 6.75-pounds– very near the size of an M1 Carbine.

Shipping with a 12- or optional 20-shot detachable magazine, the Model 9 was augmented by the .45ACP-caliber Model 45 starting in 1986, and both were marketed as Marlin’s “Self-Loading Camp Carbine.”

Drilled and tapped for a scope and fitted with adjustable folding rear leaf sights with a ramp front, later generations of the Camp Carbine came standard with a high-viz orange front post covered by a Wide-Scan cutaway hood.

The action included a manual bolt hold-open with an automatic last-shot bolt hold-open and a loaded chamber indicator. The stock came standard with a rubber rifle butt pad and swivel studs.

Of note, the magazine of the Marlin Model 9 could be swapped out for S&W Model 59 double stack pistol mags, which are common. The Model 45 used a 7-round M1911-style single stack. In 1990, Marlin discontinued the optional 20-rounder and began shipping the Model 9 with a four-shot magazine before settling on a 10-round mag in 1995.

Price in Marlin’s 1999 catalog, the last time the gun was carried, listed the Camp Carbines in both models with a retail of $459. By 2000, the guns were discontinued as Marlin ceded the pistol caliber carbine market to Ruger and Hi-Point.

Today, Marlin, which was acquired by Remington in 2007, no longer makes a centerfire semi-auto but continues to market their seemingly everlasting Model 60 and 795 rimfire self-loaders.

For more, check out the product listing for the Camp Carbine and other Marlin firearms inside the Vault and collection of Certified Used Guns.

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Categories: Gun News

Ohio Permitless Concealed Carry Bill Advances

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 06:00

A bill dropping the permit requirement for concealed carry in Ohio is on the move (Photo: Chris Eger/

Lawmakers in Ohio on Wednesday gave initial approval for a bill recognizing the Second Amendment as all the permit needed to carry a concealed handgun in the state.

The measure, HB 178, eliminates the state’s concealed weapons license requirement and codifies the right of a person who is 21 or older and not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm to carry a handgun without first getting a CWL. The bill won the 7-4 approval of the House Federalism Committee this week.

Under current law, Ohio residents must pay a minimum of $67 for a background check when applying for a carry license and show proof of having received at least eight hours of firearm competency and safety training. Sheriff’s Offices in the Buckeye State last year issued 69,375 new licenses and renewed 98,927 existing ones, the latter a record.

HB 178 would keep the current permitting program in place but modifies state law to stipulate it is not a crime to carry a concealed handgun without having such a license.

Among other tweaks, the bill would eliminate the current requirement to notify law enforcement when a person is carrying a weapon. Currently, a violation of the notification requirements is a first-degree misdemeanor which can lead to six months in jail or $1,000 in fines and results in suspension of the licensee’s carry permit.

House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, intervened last week to delete a requirement as part of HB 178 that would have mandated new gun owners receive a pamphlet on state gun laws, saying he was urged by Ohio Gun Owners to drop the requirement over fears about confusing language.

The measure now heads to the chamber’s criminal justice committee for further review. Currently, permitless carry, also referred to as constitutional carry, is the law of the land in 15 states in one form or another with a 16th, Kentucky, joining that club next month.

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Categories: Gun News

DRD Tactical Wins Award to Supply Uppers to U.S. Ally

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 05:00

DRD Tactical, known for their CDR-15, M762, Paratus, and Kivaari rifle systems, will be supplying new uppers for an unnamed Asian country to upgrade their M16s. (Photo: DRD)

Dallas, Georgia-based DRD Tactical has announced they have been awarded a fixed quantity-fixed price contract for M4 uppers to a U.S. allied country in Asia.

According to DRD, the undisclosed end user is upgrading their older M16 rifles with the company’s billet uppers, M-LOK compatible handguards, 14-inch M4 barrel, front and rear flip up sights, and carbine stock assembly kits.

When it comes to answering just which country the uppers are headed to, the Philippines seems like the most logical answer. Between 1974 and 1986, a local company, Elisco Tool Manufacturing Co. cranked out 150,000 M16A1s for the Philippine military under license from Colt. In recent years, these guns have been refitted with A2 style handguards to replace the old Vietnam-era type. As such, well-used ETM M16s “in the white” are commonly seen in the islands.

The country has been fighting a dedicated insurgency driven by Islamic radical groups for decades and is in the process of rebuilding its military through a blend of foreign contracts and domestic tenders.

Of other key U.S. allies in the region, Thailand also has a large supply of vintage M16A1s but Bangkok is in the process of replacing them with a combination of IMI Tavor TAR-21 and M16A4 rifles. Meanwhile, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea have their own indigenous rifle production. New Zealand recently upgraded their infantry rifle to LMT-made AR platforms.

As for DRD, they are perhaps best known for their Quick Takedown System which is offered in all their CDR-15, M762, Paratus, and Kivaari rifle platforms.

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DRD Tactical CDR-15 Quick Takedown System

A post shared by DRD TACTICAL (@drd_tactical) on Jan 5, 2018 at 8:33am PST

The company in the past has filled overseas orders for CDR-15s with 11.5-inch barrels.

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11.5” CDR-15s packed and headed overseas. #guns #gunsdaily #drd #drdtactical #drdcdr15 #gunsofinstagram #pewpew #firearms #america #2a #rifle #photography #madeinamerica #2ndamendment #cdr-15 #556 #magpul #sbr

A post shared by DRD TACTICAL (@drd_tactical) on Jul 18, 2018 at 2:13pm PDT

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Categories: Gun News

Alps OutdoorZ Creates Hiking and Camping Packs for Great Outdoors

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 06:00

The Commander X and Commander + Pack from Alps OutdoorZ offer hikers a means to carry whatever they need on the trails. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

Perhaps you’ve made the decision to carry a firearm for your hike. Maybe you want to ensure an effective means of self-defense, or maybe you want to be ready for an impromptu hunt once you get to camp or the morning after. Either way, you will need a pack that can easily accommodate a firearm and I just happen to have two in mind that work very well for the task — The Commander + Pack and Commander X Pack from Alps OutdoorZ.

The Commander + Pack

Between the Commander being big on space and the Savage 64 Takedown being small on size, it’s easy to take a lightweight rimfire along a multi-day hike. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

Once you decide to take a gun on your journey it’s not a bad idea to check out hunting packs as your first option. Hunting packs are built with special accommodations for your favorite shootin’ iron and often make hauling one more comfortable to boot. The Commander + Pack rig from ALPS Outdoors is featured on their hunting line and comes in the Briar color. Its generous 5,250 cubic inch main compartment grants enough room for all gear as well as a compact rifle. The external frame is the ultimate in lashing options and is the most rugged system on the market, with the whole pack weighing just over 7-pounds.

This specialized hunting pack comes with a meat hauler that can be removed if hunting isn’t your primary purpose. The waist belt on this pack also lends the most utility for the pistol shooter. This area includes loops to clip a holster to for either a right or left handed shooter, or a cross draw if that’s your preference. The incorporated pockets are also large enough for a compact pistol like a Ruger LCP, Taurus Spectrum or similar sized pocket pistol. In addition to the waist belt, the depth of the main compartment can easily accommodate a rifle that employs a takedown design.

Hunting packs take into account that you might be packin’ heat. Both of our test packs have loops to clip a holster. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

Commander X

If external racks aren’t your bag, the Commander X system quickly becomes the go-to for the hiker who doesn’t intend to enter the deep woods unarmed. The massive 6,000 cubic inch main compartment, available in coyote brown, is supported by an attached polymer weight dispersion system. The Commander X weighs in at just over 5-pounds. With this amount of internal storage, the Commander X can fit many carbine rifles right between the rack and bag.

Both the Commander and Commander X have pockets built into the waist belts that are large enough for subcompact pistols. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

The star on this pack system, however, is the included gun hauler that can hold a full-sized rifle or even a bow. The rear pocket is made of an elastic material and is complete with a locking buckle to hold even the largest of pistols. I’ve had mine packed on the trail with a Desert Eagle L5 with a Bushnell Red Dot. For smaller pistols the Commander X also has the same waist belt pockets as the original Commander should you wish to carry something small and light-weight in lieu of a thunderous hand cannon.

Final Thoughts

Want to do a little hunting while you’re on trail? The Commander X has a drop down pocket to carry a full sized rifle or even a bow. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

Deciding to carry a gun on trail when hiking comes with an array of concerns and responsibilities. Remember, even though it’s not on your hip a gun in a bag is still considered concealed carry in most jurisdictions. Be sure to follow all federal, state and local laws as they pertain to carrying a gun. Contacting the county sheriff where you intend to hike will likely save you a legal headache.

Local law enforcement will also be able to point you in the right direction for any permitting that might be required. I also recommend a call to the local game warden, as they can tell you what is in season as well as if any dangerous predators have been spotted. Making the right calls and the right gear choices beforehand will go a long way in ensuring that you have a successful, comfortable hike!

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Categories: Gun News

Arizona Moves to Ban Predator, Varmint Hunting Contests

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 05:30

Contests to hunt varmints and predators such as coyotes could soon come to an end in Arizona. (Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Arizona conservation officials are moving to join other states in an effort backed by anti-hunting groups to ban predator hunting contests. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission last week voted 4-0 to approve a proposed rule that, if given a final green light by the if the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, would outlaw a variety of predator or fur-bearing animal hunting contests.

The rule, first proposed in March, would define a “contest” as any sort of competition where participants register or record their entry and pay a fee to enter an organized hunt, and prizes are awarded to successful hunters. The move would lower the boom on contests organized by clubs in the state that take aim at predators and varmints ranging from coyotes, bobcats, foxes, and skunks to weasels, raccoons, beavers, badgers, ringtail cats, muskrats, otters and bobcats.

Kurt Davis, a Commission member, said the rule came after public pressure which could possibly undermine the wider sport of hunting itself in the state. “Regulated hunting fundamentally supports wildlife conservation efforts in North America,” he said in a statement. “The loss of hunting would equate to a measurable loss in conservation efforts and would represent a failure of the Commission to fulfill its duty to conserve wildlife for the beneficial use of current and future generations.”

An engine behind the social concerns over the contest, pushing public comments to the Commission, comes from anti-hunting advocacy groups, such as California-based Project Coyote and the Washington, D.C. based Humane Society of the United States, who have campaigned nationwide to end formally organized and publicized predator and varmint hunts.

HSUS President and CEO Kitty Block called the news from Arizona a “wonderful development” going on to say that, “tens of thousands of animals will be spared needless suffering and death in the future, and we’ll be the better for it.”

The Arizona Game and Fish Department said that coyotes in the state typically average about 20 pounds but can grow as large as 35. Describing them as “Arizona’s most common predator,” the agency said coyotes prey on pronghorn and deer fawns in the wild while in urban areas pets such as domestic cats, and small dogs are sometimes on the menu. Hunters in the state typically take between 30,000 and 40,000 coyotes a year.

The rule now must be approved by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s review council and, should that body concur, would become effective Jan. 1, 2020. So far, groups like HSUS have been successful in obtaining coyote contests in California, New Mexico, and Vermont while lawmakers in Oregon and Wisconsin have considered such a prohibition.

The nation’s oldest advocacy group for traditional hunting ethics, the Boone & Crockett Club, earlier this year fired back at animal rights organizations who are seeking to protect the nuisance predators. “Allowing coyotes to negatively impact other wildlife and people because of a moral judgment that killing them is wrong is irresponsible,” said Mark Streissguth, chair of the Club’s Hunter and Conservation Ethics Committee. “Coyotes, which are prolific breeders, are expanding their range into more states where conflicts with people and other wildlife are increasing. Their numbers will have to be managed, with or without contests.”

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Categories: Gun News