Author Archive

Dark gray Taurus 85 .38 Special with a black grip on a white background.

Taurus 5-Shot Revolvers – The Model 85 and More

When it comes to personal defense, the snubnose revolver is so handy, lightweight, easy to manipulate and simple to operate, it is widely used. Even those who carry a heavier firearm as a matter of course often deploy the snubnose as a backup or hideout. The backup gun may be a lifesaver in the case of a malfunction of the primary. The snubnose handgun must be used by a skilled shooter (meaning someone willing to practice).

SIG SAUER Scorpion – Modern Battle Pistol with a Sting

SIG SAUER’s new Scorpion handgun takes the 1911 pistol a notch higher in performance and brings proven combat ability into the new century. The Scorpion is a far different pistol than the blue steel and walnut 1911 handguns many of us deployed in the past. The SIG looks different, performs differently and leaves little to be desired. It is definitely a 1911 to the marrow. The new SIG features a rugged corrosion and wear-resistant Cerakote finish. Cerakote is a proven ceramic finish that is low maintenance, resists wear and requires little lubrication.

A dark gray and silver LW frame .45 with a wood-grained grip lying on a gray blue background with a box of ammunition.

Taurus PT 1911 Range Report

Well into 100 years of service, the 1911 handgun is going strong and more popular than ever. When the 1911 was designed, intensive skilled labor and machine work was less expensive. Today high-end 1911 handguns are often prohibitively priced for many of us. Affordable 1911 handguns, with a forged frame and slide, are few and far between.

Hand guiding the speedloader into a black pistol against a mottled brown background.

Speedloading — How to Quickly Load a Revolver

About half of the students in my training classes use a revolver. The revolver is not immune to malfunctions, and a good quality revolver is as reliable as a machine can be. The subject of revolver speed loads comes up often, and most of the time the speed load is done half right or incorrectly.

What follows is the proper way.

Shotgun laying across a target with Winchester PDX shells in posed position

PDX, Winchester’s Buck-and-Ball Loads (AND MORE!)

During the era of musket warfare, there were times when the musket was loaded with multiple projectiles. As an example, during the Boston massacre the British muskets were loaded with buck-and-ball loads. These loads were common during the 19th Century. Buck and ball is simply a mix of large and small shot.

Walther P22 perched in crook of a tree

Range Report: The Walther P22

For many years, almost every .22 caliber rimfire self-loading pistol was a single-action design. Most did not use a hammer. Instead a firing pin in a bolt was utilized. An exception was the seldom seen, but very desirable, Walther PPK in .22 LR. While a good pistol, the Walther was expensive and sometimes finicky concerning ammunition and reliability. The subject of this report is a modern polymer frame double-action first shot pistol that is also desirable but affordable. The double-action first shot pistol has many good attributes for general use, particularly for outdoors use and personal defense as a house gun.

A black SAR 9mm with a box of PowerStrike Ammunition against a background of gray boards.

Allegiance Ammunition PowerStrike

For most of my service career, I was interested in a handgun load with a good balance of penetration and expansion. Penetration is the single most important factor in wound potential. Without adequate penetration, we have nothing. During the majority of this time, I also worked in rural areas.

Five AR-15 magazines with a gold-toned one on the left and four others in shades of gray on a white background.

Magazine Maintenance

In times of shortage, it isn’t only ammunition that is difficult to find. Parts and accessories become difficult and expensive as well—when found. A magazine isn’t an accessory; it is a necessity and so are spare magazines.

Chiappa 1911-22 pistol with two magazines

Chiappa’s Affordable 1911-22

Sometimes you just have to have fun. The handgun covered in this report is among the all-time fun handguns to cross my path during the past 50 years of shooting.  It works, cracks off with every shot, is accurate enough for meaningful practice and would not be out-of-place hunting small game. That’s right, taking game. The .22 handgun is a great game getter. And just because the piece says ‘1911’ doesn’t mean it is a purely defensive and tactical handgun—far from it. The .45 ACP 1911 has taken its share of game animals and the 1911 .22s are well suited to outdoors use as well. While their primary use is recreational, do not short change a good .22.

two Lightfield Home defense rounds

Lightfield’s Rubber Ball Loads

I have often stated that the shotgun isn’t just a weapon, it is a weapons system. The new Home Defender products from Lightfield ammunition underscore this statement. The shotgun will digest birdshot, buckshot, slugs, bean bags and all manner of munitions.

Hungarian 7.62x54 Mosin Nagant rifle with original boxed cartridges.

Shooting the Russian 7.62×54

Over the years we have seen a steady progression in rifle performance, and the modernization of rifle powder. Black powder rusted the metal almost as soon as it was fired. Modern rifle powder, such as Varget, is very clean. Corrosive primed ammunition isn’t something to be avoided, and the powder burn is often clean. You simply have to follow a few steps to fire and use this affordable ammunition.

Right side of the Mosin Nagant with a wood slat fence in the background

The Mosin Nagant — A Must Own Rifle

My first center fire rifle was a Mosin Nagant. I think quite a few of you may be able to say the same. The rifle cost $65, and it was a poor example of the type having suffered the indignity of having the original military stock cut short and an odd-looking pistol grip nailed to the stock. However, in 1970 money, the Nagant cost more than a nice example costs today.

Smith and Wesson revolver with chamber open and wood grain grip, pointed downward on pale yellow background with partial wording showing.

Magnumitis: The .357 Magnum Cartridge

A Rifle on the Hip

You won’t find Magnumitis in the dictionary. The term, coined as a derisive nickname for the tendency of shooters to go for broke in the pursuit of power, simply implies a shooter who has succumbed to Magnumitis places power above accuracy.

A black Ruger .22/45, barrel pointed down, with 2 boxes of ammunition against a wooden background.

Why Buy the .22 Long Rifle Cartridge?

A proven resource in creating a marksman is the use of inexpensive .22 caliber ammunition and .22 caliber firearms. The rimfire offers little or no recoil, minimal report and good accuracy. It is recognized that the rimfire is a good training aid for pure marksmanship, that is trigger control and learning sight alignment and sight picture. In today’s tight economy, we see both .22 caliber conversions and dedicated .22 caliber firearms pressed into service in training. With the high, and increasing, costs of training, .22 caliber conversion units and .22 caliber firearms appear to be a good buy.