Author Archive

Man coaching a woman holding a 1911 pistol in a home defense drill

Review: Colt Gold Cup 1911 .45 ACP

Someone said there are two types of artists, the revolutionary and the plagiarist. While this is a little harsh, there is some truth in the statement. The revolutionary is the one who ushers in a major change in the field. There are artists and inventors who stand head and shoulder above the rest. Samuel Colt built on very little that came before him. This solidly set his legacy as a pathfinder.

Taurus 9mm semi-automatic handgun

Do you need adjustable handgun sights?

During a recent range session, I brought along two of my favorite handguns. The six-inch barrel Colt .357 and SIG Sauer 1911 each feature fully adjustable rear sights. These sights allow the shooter to account for windage and elevation, and to fine tune the sights to the individual loading. There are many different bullet weights in each caliber, and they do not fire to the same point of aim.

Blazer 9mm ammunition box with Glock pistol

Review: Blazer 9mm Ammunition

CCI is a branch of the Vista Outdoor Company that also owns Federal Cartridge Company and Speer. These are heavy hitters with an excellent reputation in the firearms world. CCI is best known for its success with first-class .22 rimfire ammunition, while the 9mm is simply awesome for range work.

Winchester USA Forged Ammunition box

Review: Winchester Forged 9mm

Some time ago, the inexpensive ammunition market was flooded with foreign-produced steel-cased ammunition. This ammunition was not always consistent, but it was always cheap. Winchester set out to develop an American made loading, offering American powder and bullets with inexpensive steel-cased cartridge cases.

Shooting a pistol with four cartridge cases in the air

Drills for 3 Gun

I have been shooting, training, and training others a long time. I am not a top competitor at 3 Gun. However, I recognize 3 Gun as a shooting sport that is a lot of fun, especially for those who love to shoot. That must come first.

right profile AR-15 rifle with Elftman stock

AR Rifle Upgrade— Making Good, GREAT!

I began this review by taking notes on the features of triggers I have written about in the past. I wanted to be certain I had a clear idea of what makes a good trigger and perhaps what makes a trigger good for the money, as well as trigger features that favor tactical or personal defense shooting. Being able to qualify claims for a fast lock time is more difficult than testing the trigger action and pull weight.

Colt .357 magnum revolver right profile

Range Report: The Colt .357

The revolver illustrated in these pages is a rare piece with only 15,000 made from 1951 to 1961. It is more rare than any Colt Python variation but doesn’t command the prices the snake guns do. Yet, the Colt .357 is perhaps as accurate as the Python and offers a shootable piece of history for less money than the snake guns.

SIG Sauer 1911 handgun with Federal Syntech ammunition

Review: Federal Syntech .45 ACP Ammunition

A few months ago, Federal Ammunition announced American Eagle Syntech—a new concept for range use. While there are many highly-developed loads for personal defense, seldom has much effort been expended in developing range ammunition. American Eagle Syntech is the first range-specific ammunition designed to reduce fouling and extend barrel life with a high-tech polymer bullet coating.

3 people shooting a pistol

Getting Started in 3 Gun

Some like golf; I prefer filling a page with words. Others like baseball, and I like the shooting sports. While IPSC and IDPA are interesting, 3 Gun is the one discipline that challenges shooters with all three firearms—the rifle, shotgun, and pistol. Shooters are good folks to spend time with, and keeping sharp with your shooting skills is important. If you want to win, you have to start somewhere. If you have shooting experience and good quality (but standard type) firearms, then you are good to go for 3 gun. If you have tactical firearms with optics then you are ready as well.

CZ 75 pistol with a Ziplock bag of handloaded bullets

The General Purpose Handload

I get many calls, emails, and letters asking about the ‘best’ handgun load. Unfortunately, many correspondents fail to share the intended mission of the load. This has an influence on the desired bullet weight, velocity, and penetration. As an example, I am perfectly happy to run the .44 Special or .45 Colt with a 255-grain SWC at 700 fps for cowboy action or target practice. If hiking in country in which the big cats or bears may be more than a nuisance, I will run the same bullet up to 1,000 fps.

Hornady ammunition with car windshield with bullet hole

Hornady Critical Duty/Critical Defense

There are few subjects as prone to create an argument as personal defense handguns and calibers. Some have a “devil may care” attitude and deploy anything, stating most are the same, while others go into great, even minute detail, in their testing and choices. I think that everyone should master the personal defense handgun of their choice.

The pistol features good workmanship and proved reliable.

Review: Phoenix HP25A — Useful or Useless?

The pistol reviewed invites cliché. As long as it begins with “four” has been a strong motto for most of my handgunning life, but then I am a great believer in the .357 Magnum. The .22 LR is a fine recreational caliber, but the .25 ACP was designed purely for personal defense. The jacketed bullet and centerfire case are more reliable than the .22 rimfire with its heel-based bullet. A 50-grain FMJ bullet at 650 fps isn’t an impressive loading. But then, the best gun is the one you have with you,

Model 15 revolver right

Going Old School

I am not a collector but an accumulator. A collector owns a collection of firearms with the many models carefully cataloged. Some are more common and others, and the key pieces are often quite rare. My firearms are what interests me. The only ones represented in numbers are Colt 1911 pistols and Smith and Wesson revolvers.