Handguns are the weapons of opportunity. Not as powerful as a long gun, they are portable and may be carried with us at all times. The handgun demands plenty of practice to master. The rub is that handguns kick a lot—in some calibers and in lightweight models. Until the laws of physics are changed, this is a reality. It is also a reality that the more powerful cartridges have greater wound potential and are more likely to stop a felonious assault with a minimum of well-placed shots.
We probably have more handgun calibers than we need. Some should be allowed to die a quite death. Just the same, during my career I remember scrambling to locate and actually fire such oddities as the 7.65 French Long, .32 Rimfire, and the .41 Rimfire. Quite a few old numbers might be useful even in modern times. Then there is the family heirloom that we just may want to fire.
With Christmas just days away, there is still time to buy that perfect stocking stuffer or additional gift for under the tree. Typically, the problem is deciding what to get. Here are 10 shooting-oriented ideas. The best part? Each of these presents will fit inside a Christmas stocking or fill that last hole under the tree with a guaranteed smile on Christmas morning.
Les Baer handguns are legendary 1911s with more than a little hand fitting, and a vial of the maker’s sweat included. They are built, rather than assembled, and offer topflight performance for discerning shooters.
Transform your MSR 15. Loaded with the 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, the all-new .224 Valkyrie provides less wind drift and drop than all other loads in its class and stays supersonic past 1,300 yards. The cartridge is the new choice for both long-range target shooters and hunters. Here is the full release and promo video from Federal Ammunition.
It is notable that while modern defensive ammunition has received a great deal of development—and competition is fierce—we are still using the same old lead and jacketed bullets as we have for the past 120 years or more. The high degree of reliability inherent in modern manufacturing by Federal Cartridge Company has crossed over into practices lines such as the Federal American Eagle, but by and large the same, jacketed bullet is used. Federal recently finished a years long development of a new practice load, and the American Eagle Syntech is well worth your time and effort to obtain and use.
I have always loved the .410. At a young age, I was introduced to it as an alternative to the .22 long rifle for rabbits and squirrels. Due to the shot pattern, it was easier to harvest the fast moving little critters. Later, I was introduced to bird hunting and quickly realized those old men were not shooting the .410 to gain an advantage. Instead, it was a show of skill on fast-moving Bobwhite’s. However, it was when I was first introduced to the .410 for self-defense that I gained a respect for the cartridge.
Over the past century, many gun makers have offered their own branded ammunition. Among the most successful have been Remington and Winchester. A few makers have offered ammunition made by outside vendors, including Smith and Wesson and Taurus. In these cases, things did not go as well. Browning, however, is another story.
Most feel the .38-44 set the stage for the .357 Magnum revolver—and it did—but the .38-44 is more than a footnote in history. This is a fine revolver that is useful on its own merits. Buffalo Bore is famous for first-class loads that maximize the caliber, and this is no exception.
Cartridge testing is complicated by any standard. Research and development must end at the ballistic lab with bullets being fired into gelatin when personal defense and service use is the goal.
If there is one way to get folks talking off the cuff, it is to broach the subject of deer rifles and calibers. Everyone has a favorite their dad, granddad, or aunt used to tame the Wild West and deplete the Elk herds in downtown Burbank. The problem is what works for one doesn’t work for the other, at least it doesn’t work as well.
After training hundreds of individuals and doing considerable research on handguns and cartridges, I have come to realize that many shooters do not realize the work a handgun cartridge must do. There has been considerable research and intensive testing during the past two decades—more so than the previous 100 years. The FBI set the need for penetration, expansion, and diameter forth after expensive and extensive testing, but how many shooters truly understand caliber, ballistics, and bullet choice?
A solid marketing scheme or cool packaging will do little to stop an attacker, but the right ammunition can. However, there are far too many people who can tell you exactly why they chose a particular firearm for self-defense, but have little to no idea why they chose the ammunition they loaded into the gun. This article reviews bullet construction, “stopping power,” and a handful of top choices to get you on a path to effective self-defense.
We’ve chosen the sometimes twisting path to becoming handloaders because we want to improve on-target results. The difference between a handloader and a reloader? My wise-crack answer, which is honest, is that handloaders start with new brass… We’re not about to shoot factory ammo.
California’s Proposition 63 requires individuals who wish to purchase ammunition to first obtain a permit. The measure then mandates dealers to check this permit before selling ammunition, and will halt the mail-order sale of ammunition to California residents. What does this mean for California gun owners? Do you have a plan to stock up before Prop 63 goes into effect?
Ruger has expanded its line of 1911 handguns considerably since the introduction of the original SR1911 a few years ago. There is a steel frame Commander version, lightweight Commander .45, and now an SR1911 9mm Commander. These handguns have proven to be reliable, accurate, and a good value. They are service grade and deserve the attention of anyone interested in a quality 1911 handgun.
Recently, SIG Sauer broadened its line of defensive ammunition with two big bore revolver loads. The .44 Special V-Crown and .45 Colt V-Crown offer good choices for personal defense. Before we look at the performance of each load we should look at the cartridges. The .45 Colt is the older cartridge, introduced in 1873. The .45 Colt has been loaded with different weight bullets but traditional performance is a 255-grain conical load at about 850 fps in most revolvers.
Federal Premium Ammunition’s Personal Defense HST offerings have become synonymous with concealed carry and home defense. While the most popular loads are obviously the first to leave the factory, short-barreled wheel gun enthusiasts can now feel secure with the release of Federal Premium Ammunition’s Personal Defense HST Micro in 130-grain .38 Special +P. Here is the full release.
Federal Premium Ammunition’s Personal Defense HST Micro loads fuel peak performance from subcompact, concealed-carry handguns. For 2017, the HST Micro line has been expanded to include a 130-grain .38 Special +P load with a deeply seated bullet that eliminates excess air space in the case. This results in the most consistent velocities and terminal performance. Shipments of the new loads are now arriving at dealers.
Like all HST Micro rounds, the new load provides reliable expansion, optimum penetration and superior terminal performance with a bullet weight and propellant optimized for the most efficiency and accuracy in subcompact handguns.
“By combining the HST bullet design with the unique seating depth, we’ve created the most consistent .38 Special personal defense load on the market,” said Federal Premium Handgun Product Lane Director Jason Nash. “We’re proud to give those who carry a .38 Special the most effective possible option for the platform.”
Features & Benefits
- New .38 Special +P load for micro-size concealed carry revolvers
- Deep bullet seating eliminates inconsistent powder burn rates
- Law enforcement proven HST bullet design
- Expanded diameter and weight retention produce the desired penetration for personal defense situations, without over-penetrating
- Clean-burning, low-flash propellants
Part No. / Description / MSRP
P38HST1S / .38 Special +P HST Micro, 130 grain / $30.95