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USPSA Classifier breakdown: CM99-42 Fast’n Furious

Unlike IDPA, which uses a fixed 90 round course of fire as the classifier, USPSA uses a rotating array of classifier stages.  Usually one classifier stage will be inserted in every club match, and a shooter needs to shoot a minimum of four classifiers in one division to achieve a USPSA classification.  From time to time, clubs will hold special “classifier matches” where the bulk of the stages will be classifiers, which allows shooters who are unclassified to quickly get classified.

Classifier stages themselves are broken down into “skill tests”, and while shooting a classifier well doesn’t mean that you can shoot a 32 round field course well, it does mean that your shooting fundamentals (such as sight picture, trigger control, etc) are generally solid.  Most classifiers will also test your ability to reload, which is imperative for pretty much every division except Open and Limited.  To help with that, we’re going to break down CM99-42 Fast’n Furious.


Fast’n Furious is a very simple classifier stage that can cause a lot of problems for shooters.  Right off the bat, the shooter is faced with a choice – start on the weak hand side of the barricade, or the strong hand side?  I personally choose to start on the weak hand side of the barricade.  While this slows down my draw slightly, it speeds up the reload as it’s much faster for me to reload as I move back to my strong side.  So for decision number 1, I recommend starting on the weak-hand side.

Decision number 2 is “Steel or paper first?”  Once you’ve picked which side to start and finish on, you have to decide whether or not you’re going to shoot the poppers or the paper targets first.  For Revolver and Single Stack shooters, the choice is clear cut: steel first.  If you’re running a revolver, you cannot afford a miss here, but in the off chance that you do it’s better to engage the steel first so that you’ve got enough rounds to get them down.  In a perfect world though, you don’t miss the steel and shoot exactly six rounds on each side.  Production/L10 shooters (and of course Limited and Open) could shoot either first – if I was running L10 I’d draw and shoot the paper first, because I can get a faster presentation on a paper target than I can on the steel popper.  So decision number 2: which targets first is steel for SS/Revo, and paper first for everyone else.

Once you make your decisions on how to shoot it, all that’s left is execution.  The critical parts of this classifier are 1) not missing the steel, 2) sticking your reload, and 3) getting good first shots on your draw and after your reload.  If you can do all that, you’ll post a great score!

AR Rifle Beauty Contest

Wanna show off your AR style rifle? Want to win some free stuff? Of course you do!

We’re holding our first ever Firearm Beauty Contest. That’s right, just submit a photo of your AR style rifle to our Facebook Page and you could win a $50 gift certificate from Cheaper Than Dirt! This contest is open to any AR platform, including piston guns, AR pistols, and non-standard calibers and configurations such as the AR-10, LR-308, R-25, etc.

Here are the rules:

  • Post an image of your AR-15 based rifle to our Facebook Wall.
  • In the description make sure you have the phrase “AR-15 Beauty Contest”
  • Have your friends click “Like” on your photo
  • The fan photo with the most “Likes” at the end of the month (Contest ends April 30th) will win a $50 Gift Certificate from Cheaper Than Dirt!
  • One entry per person, please!
  • Keep all entries “Family Friendly” please! If you wouldn’t want your own mother to see it, it’s probably not appropriate for our contest.

That’s it! We’ll continue to have monthly contests, with each month featuring a different type of firearm, so if you don’t own an AR, don’t worry, you’ll get a chance to show off your firearms at a later date.

History of Mauser Firearms

The company which would later become known as Mauser was started on July 31st in 1811 when Friedrich I of Wurttemberg founded a weapons factory in the small hamlet of Oberndorf deep within the Black Forest of Germany. Commissioned as a royal weapons forge, the factory opened the next year with 133 employees.

The forge was moderately successful throughout the 19th century. Then, in 1867 Wilhelm and Paul Mauser devised an ingenious rotating bolt system for breechloading rifles. Their new system was extremely simple to operate, making it much faster and more reliable than comparable systems of the same era. The advantages of such a system were soon made evident. By 1871 the most recent version of the bolt system was utilized in the standard issue German battle rifle. Designated the Gewehr 71, the rifle was chambered for a massive 11x60mm blackpowder cartridge. In 1888 the Germans adopted the 7.92x57J cartridge which, with minor modifications, would later become the well known 8mm German cartridge around which almost all Mauser rifles were later designed. Improvements to the rifle included a box magazine introduced by Vetterli, and a newly modified extractor that did not rotate with the bolt and which helped to prevent double feeds.

With the introduction of the Model 93, a smaller cartridge was introduced: the 7x57mm. Stripper clips were used to quickly load the five round box magazine of the M93. The 7mm Mauser as it became known was widely adopted by Spain, Chile, Argentina, and a number of other Latin American countries. The rifle made its claim to fame in the historic battle of San Juan Hill where 700 Spanish soliders held off an attack of over 15,000 US troops for more than twelve hours. Naturally, the United States recognized the inherent advantages of the Mauser design and incorporated many of its characteristics into the 1903 Springfield.

The Americans weren’t the only ones who noticed the incredible performance of the M93 Mauser. Soon after the Cuban battle of San Juan Hill, militaries throughout the world began flooding the Mauser factory with orders for the rifle. More versions of the rifle were quickly developed for Turkey, Brasil, South Africa, Iran, China, and Sweden. The South Africans again proved the worthiness of the Mauser design in their confrontation with the British during the Boer war, prompting the United Kingdom to develop what would eventually be the SMLE – the standard of British infantry units until the 1950s.

But rifles weren’t the only arms manufactured by Mauser. The company pioneered the autoloading pistol market with their “broomhandled” Mauser pistol. The C96 as it was designated was produced between 1896 and 1936 and saw action throughout World War I and II. By the time it was discontinued, over 1,000,000 pistols had been produced. The Mausers were finally given control of the factory in 1897, naming it Waffenfabrik Mauser AG.

Finally, in 1898, the most famous Mauser design was released: the M98. This design was the pinnacle of Mauser rifle design and included all of the previous improvements that had been made to earlier models. The German military adopted the rifle designating it the Gewehr 98. Carbine models of the M98, the K98, were brought online in the beginning of World War I, but saw little service and are still rarites that are highly sought after by collectors. An extremely short carbine referred to as the Karabiner Kurz (short carbine), or K98k, was used as the primary German infantry weapon from 1935 through the conclusion of World War II.

At the end of World War II the Mauser factory was seized by Allied forces and eventually placed under French control. The factory was completely dismantled and all records destroyed. Mauser engineers Edmund Heckler and Theodor Koch along with Aled Seidel recovered what they could and later founded German arms manufacturer Heckler and Koch. Allied forces maintained control of the Mauser factory until 1952 when Mauser was finally allowed to resume manufacturing firearms. Mauser continued to manufacture military rifles with varying degrees of success. A focus on NATO heavy arms soon became their new focus. In 1999 SIG purchased a stake in Mauser, and the civilian firearms porion of the company was spun off to form Mauser Jagdwaffen GmbH

J.R. of Lone Wolf Distributors Discusses Custom Pistols

We unveiled a custom built .40 caliber pistol assembled from Lone Wolf’s Timberwolf frame and USPSA Open division legal Werewolf slide and compensator. No sooner had we released this little sneak peek than we became inundated with people wanting to know where they could acquire their own Glock based competition race gun.

We called up J.R. from Lone Wolf Distributors to talk about the gun and learn more about Lone Wolf’s custom division.

Cheaper Than Dirt Lone Wolf has been manufacturing aftermarket products for Glock pistols for some time now- 

J.R. Since 1998.

Cheaper Than Dirt What were some of the first products that Lone Wolf got started manufacturing?

J.R. We started out with basic items actually. I used to run with the crew from Aro-Tek, and at the time I was doing a TV show called “Sportsmen of the Northwest, it was a cable access show and we were doing all things that go bang. Our motto was “We’ll go fishin’ when we’re out of ammunition.”

I hooked up with the Aro-Tek crew, and that was about the time that Glock first came into the US. With Aro-Tek and Glock being synonymous in parts, I got hooked up with the Glock crew directly and ran with them on all of the early tournaments during the inception of the GSSF (the Glock Shooting Sports Foundation).

Cheaper Than Dirt It’s the aftermarket parts that are your main bread and butter, right?.

J.R. Yeah, we cater to the guy who owns a hot rod and wants to tweak his engine and put on headers and mag wheels. Our customers usually own multiple Glocks and tweak them all of the time. They want to do the best that they can, and that comes down to equipment sometimes.

Cheaper Than Dirt How do you go about developing these various parts? Do customers come to you and request various items?

J.R. Sure. Of course it used to be just mass quantities of alcohol and we’d just dream something up *chuckles*

No, I actually have a background as an action pistol shooter and also ran the cable access program, and we used to team up with these guys and listen to them and what they wanted in a gun. Being an innovator is just an act of listening.

People would say “You know, if this part did this, it would be better, and you could make an improvement over here too,” and I knew the right people in the industry who could do those things and bring them to market. Now with our status in the industry where it is at, I have people come to me all the time with ideas and suggestions for new products or improvements to existing products.

Cheaper Than Dirt What about concealed carry and defensive pistols? Can we expect to see more parts that are aimed at competitors in IDPA?

J.R. Yes, in fact I have a few plans to get into that. For IDPA, you need to produce 2,000 units per year to qualify for certain divisions, and they’ve got some regulations in there that make it difficult for a new gun manufacturer to get into.

Cheaper Than Dirt Lone Wolf has experienced rapid growth over the years, moving from basic parts and aftermarket accessories into becoming a full custom gun shop.

J.R. The custom gunworks that we have going is still in its infancy. We’re not actually releasing the completed guns just yet. We’re still doing them as custom builds for the customer. Some of the guns that you’re seeing, including the one that you tested, are project guns that we’re doing. Patrick Kelley’s is one of those. He helped us develop these pistols.

Here’s the thing though: If we began building custom guns using the parts that we have now, as soon as we build more than 50 guns we fall into the higher BATFE tax rate of 11% for firearm manufacturers. Once that happens, the price has to go up. Right now we’re just selling cheap parts.

Cheaper Than Dirt So there is a bit of a regulatory hurdle you’ve got to overcome if you make the decision to move into building actual firearms instead of just selling parts.

J.R. I full well plan on overcoming that hurdle, probably some time within the next year. I’ve got some concept designs that I’ve sent out to the USPSA and asked them where we need to be to meet their requirements and make 500 units. I could produce 500 units tomorrow, but it’s the additional 11% tax that the ATF charges and once you get that on there the cost of the custom guns we would be building goes up by that amount.

Cheaper Than Dirt Can we expect to see any “bare-bones” custom guns produced by Lone Wolf? Something along the lines of an STI Spartan maybe?

J.R. Right now I can get you into a bare-bones Timberwolf frame pistol with everything, all Lone Wolf parts, for around $700 I think.

Cheaper Than Dirt Team Cheaper Than Dirt! member Patrick Kelley helped develop one of your Timberwolf based race guns, and we got to take it out for some range time just the other day.

J.R. What you may not know is that Pat Kelley and I have been friends for, well, forever it seems like. I’ve squadded with him time and time again at numerous shoots, helped promote different shoots with him, so we have a lot of history together. What you may not know is that I bounce a lot of projects off of Pat and he gives me his input.

Like I said earlier, I rely on a lot of input from my friends in the shooting industry. We’ll bring in a new project and I’ll get their input and they may come up with 15 changes that they would like to see made, and we may incorporate 10 or 11 of them. It just makes it a better system all the way around.

Cheaper Than Dirt So the gun that we’re featuring here, is that just a standard Timberwolf frame with a Werewolf upper?

J.R. Actually I built that gun years ago when we were putting some ideas together, and Pat took a photograph of it in a low-light situation and we named it “Flash” because through that photograph we could see that we were achieving 100% gas dump. That compensator is really, really effective. Phenomenally effective.

The whole idea was that we could develop a system that could dump everything and keep it within 2-inches. If you look at the high speed photograph that Patrick took you can see that there is no bounce, that the red dot sight doesn’t move. That gun is going to be fast.

Cheaper Than Dirt You’ve virtually eliminated all of the muzzle rise.

J.R. Yup, it’s a beauty. The development of that gun has only been inhibited by access to a dot sight. I’ve gone to virtually every micro-dot sight manufacturer and tried getting them to cooperate and lower the price of the optic.

The Optima, and before that, the C-More, was the brainchild for all modern micro-dot sights. Ira K., when he introduced the C-More at SHOT Show, I was there when that happened and that was the biggest thing that had happened to the shooting industry in some time.

Tasco got involved and they brought in the Optima. When it was first introduced the Optima was $300 and that was just unacceptable. I bought the Optima for $300 and was incorporating it into our handgun designs even then. Fortunately for us, when Tasco went out of business after they ran into financial problems and went belly up, I was getting Optimas for $99 and then we could retail them out for $125 and add a base. Now you’re talkin’.

But we were doing dot sights way back then, and incorporating them into our designs. I was selling 100 of them a month.

Cheaper Than Dirt You’ve been machining slides to take these micro-dot sights for some time then.

J.R. Yes, for many moons. The problem was, when the Optimas ran out, nobody could bring them in. I actually tried to buy it, and of course everybody is familiar with the Doctor sight, but that was still $300-$400. I couldn’t get anybody to work with me, so we scrapped the whole project.

Cheaper Than Dirt At least until the Burris FastFire came out.

J.R. Burris jumped right on board actually. The Burris guys were out there and I had seen one of their samples. I had to meetings with them, made a few suggestions, and they made a couple of changes, some of which they were going to make anyway. Next thing you know we were able to introduce it as an OEM part, and that really pays off for the consumer.

Cheaper Than Dirt Some people express concern about the FastFire holding up to the recoil of the slide…

J.R. It’s just going to hold together. It’s solid-state, it holds together just fine. Nothing can happen.

The best thing is that Burris really wants to work with us. We were able to work together, bring the price down, and put it into an affordable package

Cheaper Than Dirt We’re Cheaper Than Dirt, and our customers are really bargain conscious, so it’s always great to see an affordable package like that be made available. Not everyone has thousands of dollars to throw away.

J.R. You’ve hit the nail on the head. IPSC and action shooters aren’t cheap, but they do need to maximize their dollars. If they’ve got $100 they want the most that they can absolutely get for that $100.

Cheaper Than Dirt What you’ve done then is take Glock’s parts interchangeability, their reliability, and take it the next step forward and push the envelope until you’ve created a fantastic race gun that can be assembled by almost anyone with a basic knowledge of the firearm.

J.R. Right. In the early years we were pretty much ignored by Glock because the majority of people just wanted a stock firearm that went bang every time. We were off into the race gun scene however. We were finding ways to make the gun run faster and faster.

Cheaper Than Dirt And make it faster you did. Most race guns are like finely tuned F1 cars that take a lot of maintenance and a lot of fine tuning and tweaking to run reliably. How does Lone Wolf overcome that?

J.R. We deal with it. When you see a high speed photograph of Pat Kelley with 5 empties rolling off his knuckles, most people look at that and marvel at the fact that there is no muzzle rise and comment that “He’s got to be the fastest shooter in the world.”

I look at that photo and I’ll tell you, that gun is riding right on the verge of failure to eject. The thing is, it can run on that edge all day long and that’s what makes it as fast as it is.

Cheaper Than Dirt So part of what you do is find that edge, push out and find just how fast you can go.

J.R. There you go. You find that edge, you find that point where the gun is running right at the point of failure, and then you pull back just a bit to make it reliable. It may take just a hairs’ breadth to tip that gun over the edge and have a failure to eject or some other malfunction, but we keep the gun running just on this side of that line.

Cheaper Than Dirt And that’s just what you manage to do is find that edge, pull back a hair, and then put the finished product into production and into the hands of shooters.

Now we’ve heard some rumors that, in the next few weeks, customers are going to be able to build and order their own custom guns online. Is there any truth to that?

J.R. Where we are at now, I’ve got a full time IT guy who writes code for me, and where we’re taking this is that you’ll be able to pull up the components you need and put it together online.

We’ve got a brand new facility, a million dollar facility. Right now we’re at 4,000 square feet but we’ll be moving up to 8,000 square feet. We’ll have a custom assembly line right there and in-house refinishing. Right now we contract out some of that, but things are changing big this year. Especially with the introduction of our new AR platform built all around Glock.

Cheaper Than Dirt Tell us a bit more about that.

J.R. It’s based on an AR, but it takes Glock magazines and it will run 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .45 GAP on one platform, and then we’ve got .45 ACP and 10mm on the other platform. We’ve built both receivers already. Once we do the 10mm we can do all of the custom wildcat calibers on it.

It’s a great short range carbine, perfect for law enforcement. We’ve got ones in full auto now too. I don’t know if you had the opportunity to see the newest one at SHOT Show, but it created a lot of buzz. We’ve got a lot of AR manufacturers who want us to license it through them also.

Cheaper Than Dirt Any plans to do that?

J.R. We can’t. I just want to make sure that it’s done right. At the end of next month we should start releasing them, and I want everyone to know that they came from Lone Wolf.

This has been a three year project, and we’ve had very limited production of the G9 for now. We just want to make sure the quality is there and that the firearm is done right.

Cheaper Than Dirt It’s really been a pleasure talking with you and learning more about how you make these fantastic firearms, and I can’t wait to see these pistol be put into full production. You’ve got some really exciting products coming out now.

J.R. We do, and we can’t wait to get them out to you.

Put your gun away

“No one ever won a match by getting their gun in the holster first.”

For whatever reason, people often seem enamored with speed re-holstering.  If you’ve ever shot an IDPA/USPSA match, you’ve likely seen this guy: he shoots the course of fire, and then does his “unload and show clear” at Warp 5, rapidly thrusting his gun back in the holster almost as fast as he took it out at the start of the stage.  This guy also shows up at training classes, where he’s even more dangerous because he might now be trying to speed-holster a loaded gun. Like it says at the top: no one ever won a match or a gunfight by being the first to have his gun put away.

The second major holster gaffe is not having a “good” holster. What makes a holster good? Two primary things: that it’s designed to fit your gun, and that you don’t need two hands to re-holster the pistol. “Universal” is holster code for “won’t fit your gun well”, and flappy nylon or leather holsters that you need to push open with your support hand are dangerous.

Blackhawk Serpa for Springfield XD

One example of a “good” holster is the Blackhawk Serpa holster, pictured here for the Springfield XD. Because the SERPA is made from a rigid polymer, it’s not going to “squish” shut like you see a lot of low quality nylon or leather holsters do, which means you can safely re-holster the gun without having to drop your support hand down by the muzzle to “help.” There are leather holsters that also fit this bill, but you have to work a little bit harder to find them. Make sure that if you buy a leather holster, it’s made for your gun and is not a “universal” holster. The big problem with “universal” leather holsters is that because they’re not sized for a specific pistol, they give up retention and proper fit in exchange for fitting a wide variety of guns.

Once you’ve picked a good holster, it’s time to take a look at the act of re-holstering the gun itself. Many professional trainers teach the concept of a “hard stop”: after you finish shooting, but before you put the gun away, pull the gun into a high retention position, take a deep breath, relax, and then slowly re-holster. I do this during matches as well. Once I’ve completed the stage, I’ll take a deep breath and consciously think “relax” before I proceed to unload and show clear. Then, once I’ve shown the RO a clear chamber and gone hammer down, I’ll take a more calming breath as I holster the gun.

In a match, you win the match by being the fastest out of the holster, and the fastest and most accurate through the course of fire. Don’t risk a DQ or injury by trying to jam your gun back into the holster super fast. Get a good quality holster, and then take your time putting the gun away.

Introducing the MasterPiece Arms .380 Premium Protector

MasterPiece Arms has unveiled their newest addition to the Protector line, the .380 Premium. With fully machined aluminum grips and a hard anodized frame, this is a dress gun you can feel comfortable slipping into a suit pocket or clutch purse.

From the press release:

MasterPiece Arms new Protector Model, the MPA380P, is a US manufactured conceal carry pistol built on a fully machined 4140 stainless steel lower receiver and upper slide. Demonstrating MPA’s central philosophy to build only high-quality, precision engineered firearms, the new MPA380 “Premium” subcompact, semi-auto pistol sports fully machined aluminum grips with a bead blasted finish protected by a clear anodize coat. The MPA380P pistol is a Double-Action-Only with a 5+1 magazine capacity, plus the extended magazine pad for added shooting comfort. Every MPA pistol comes in a lockable case with one magazine and an owner’s manual, plus the additional relief of knowing your MPA comes with a Lifetime Warranty. MSRP is $345.90 and the pistol is available now at Cheaper Than Dirt! 

Installing an AR-15 Selector and Pistol Grip

Once again we’re continuing our series on assembling your own AR-15 lower receiver. The next step in the process is the installation of the selector, detent and spring, and pistol grip.

To begin the installation, first cock the hammer. Do not let the hammer fall and strike the lower, as it may cause damage.

Insert the selector through the hole in the left side of the receiver.

Flip the receiver over and insert the selector detent with the pointed side toward the selector. Insert the detent spring into the pistol grip. Install the pistol grip onto the receiver. Ensure that the detent spring does not bind as it is placed into the detent hole.

Install the grip screw with washer.

Check the selector for proper operation. Move the selector to safe and pull the trigger. The hammer should not fall. Move the selector to fire and, with your finger over the hammer, pull the trigger. Make sure to catch the hammer as it is sprung forward to prevent it from striking the lower. Keep holding the trigger back and then cock the hammer. It should be engaged by the disconnecter when the trigger is released. Flip the selector back to “safe” and repeat this process.

Team Cheaper than Dirt Match Report

Last weekend as part of tuning up my match skills, I shot a USPSA club match at Paul Bunyan Rifle Club in Puyallup, Washington. Here’s the gear rundown:

I actually shot very well at this match. There was another revolver shooter there, an “A-class” shooter running a 625 that feeds off moonclips. I won 4 out of 6 stages, however I had a total disaster on stage 6 that cost me so many match points I didn’t win the match. Check out the match video, and on stage 6 you’ll see my complete distaster.

A simple mistake. My foot hit the outside of the box, and when I planted it to start shooting, I wasn’t in the box. Without those 9 procedurals, my hit factor on the stage would have been 4.48, thanks to the 9 procedurals it was 1.17. That’s a HUGE difference, and it was bad enough to cost me the match.

That brings me to the point of today’s post, which hopefully will be the last time this year I have to talk about it. As a competitive shooter, I learn much more from my losses than I do from my wins. Watching that stage 6 replay is hard for me, because I made a mistake that a rookie should have known better than to do. But it’s also beneficial for me, because I’m not going to make that same mistake again. You can bet that a ton of my practice time is going to be spent on getting in and out of shooting boxes and setting up in shooting positions in a hurry. A simple error like that can be the difference between winning and losing.

Which then brings us ’round to another good point – match performance isn’t all about shooting. I shot my gun very well. My reloads were good, my shooting was excellent – I only shot one Delta the entire match. But on one stage, the mental game faltered. You have to be mentally prepared for each stage. During a match, I’ll close my eyes and shoot the stage through in my head before I shoot. That allows me to have a clear picture of what I need to do so that when I’m actually shooting, I don’t have to “think” about it, I just execute my plan and observe my shooting. On stage 6, I didn’t do that, and the lack of mental preparation cost me dearly.

The moral of today’s story? Identify your weak spots. Self-analysis isn’t always pleasant, but it’s the most useful tool to develop as a shooter. When you see your mistakes in 720p HD, you can’t brush them off. Accept what you did wrong, and train to not do it again.

Season Totals
Combined Club Match Wins: 2
Rounds fired: 6108
Next upcoming Major Match: Missouri Pro-Am

Kahr Releases More Information On The New CM Pistol

Kahr has long been known as a manufacturer of high quality pistols. High quality usually doesn’t come without an equally high price tag. But advances in manufacturing technology and stronger materials have opened the door and allowed Kahr to begin making more affordable pistols that retain the same level of reliability and attention to detail that Kahr has earned the reputation for.

The new CM9 uses less expensive MIM (metal injection molding) and takes less machining operations to produce. Kahr cut costs even further in other ways such as only including a single magazine instead of two or three. MSRP is expected to be $565, although actual dealer prices my vary.

From their press release:

Kahr Arms is pleased to kick off their newest series of Kahr pistols, the CM series. The new line begins with the Kahr CM9093 which is based off of Kahr’s most popular 3″ barrel 9mm model the PM9093. 

The CM Series takes the value priced features from Kahr’s CW series (3.6″ Barrel 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP models) and incorporates these features into a smaller 3″ barrel package. The CM9093 has the same external dimensions as the PM9093 which make it ideal for concealed carry by licensed civilians and law enforcement personnel. The CM9093 is chambered in a 9×19 caliber, has a 3.0″ barrel and an overall length of 5.3″, with a height of 4.0″. The pistol weighs in at 14 ounces plus 1.9 ounces for the 6 round stainless steel magazine. Differences between the CM models and PM models are that the CM9093 has a conventional rifled barrel instead of the match grade polygonal barrel on Kahr’s PM series; the CM slide stop lever is MIM (metal-injection-molded) instead of machined; the CM series slide has fewer machining operations and uses simple engraved markings instead of roll marking and finally the CM series are shipped with one magazine instead of two.

Kahr’s seven patents are incorporated into the CM9093 resulting in benefits not available in other compact semiautomatics on the market today. The black polymer frame features patented 4140 steel inserts molded into the frame in the front and back for added rigidity and strength which can withstand firing thousands of rounds. Kahr’s incomparable cocking cam trigger system employs a patented cam to both unlock the firing pin block (passive safety) and complete cocking and releasing of the firing pin. The system provides a “safe-cam action” and unbelievably smooth double action only trigger stroke, fast to fire in critical defensive situations. Many lower cost compact semiautomatic handguns on the market today did not have firing pin blocks in their design.

Kahr’s two patents covering the offset recoil lug and the trigger bar attachment allow Kahr’s barrel to fit lower in the frame and since there is no hammer the shooter’s hand is further up the grip resulting in less felt recoil and quick follow-up shots. The CM9 boasts real sights which are drift adjustable in the rear and a pinned-in polymer front sight featuring a white bar-dot configuration. Finally the slide does lock back after firing the last round – another feature missing on a number of lower cost compact semiautomatic pistols.

The CM9 slide is only .90-inches wide and is machined from solid 416 stainless stel with a matte finish. Each gun is shipped with a single 6 round stainless steel magazine with a flush baseplate. Magazines are made in the USA, plasma welded, tumbled to remove burrs, and feature Wolff Gunsprings. The magazine catch in the polymer frame is all metal and will not wear out on the stainless steeel magazine after extended use.

Kahr offers the CM series at a great value price but did not compromise on the features, accuracy, or reliability found in all Kahr pistols.

Kahr CM9 Specifications

Caliber 9mm
Capacity 6+1
Action Double action with Browning style recoil lug
Overall Length 5.3″
Overall Height 4″
Slide Width 0.9″
Overall Weight 14 ounces (unloaded)
Finish Black polymer frame, matte 416 stainless steel slide
Sights Drift adjustable white bar-dot combat sights

Range Gear

It pays to be well equipped for your trip to the range, and that means having spares. Batteries go dead, mounts come loose, and things can and do break. Obviously you’re going to have your firearms, ammunition, and spare magazines, but when it comes to stocking your range bag what other parts and equipment should you pack?

Notebook and Pen/Pencil I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone ask to borrow my pen at the range. Toss one in your bag! Inevitably you’ll want to mark a target or take notes on certain loads or configurations. Sharpie markers and paint pens are also very useful for marking bad magazines.

Stapler/Thumb Tacks These items are indispensable at most outdoor ranges for hanging your targets. I prefer staples, and while tacks are reusable, they can get hit and destroyed by an errant round or forgotten and left in the target holder.

Targets You’re going to want something to shoot at, right? Embarrassingly enough, I have on occasion shown up at the range only to realize that I forgot and left my targets at home.

Masking Tape/Dots Useful for hanging targets as well as pasting over holes in your target.

Tools It’s always a good idea to check the tightness of your scope or red dot before heading to the range. But, optics and mounts can come loose, so having a few Allen keys is very useful. Along the same lines as the Allen wrenches, a decent screwdriver set is useful for tightening down loose screws.

CLP and a Cleaning kit I keep boresnakes and cleaning rods in my range bag. In addition to being able to run a snake through a dirty bore, I’ve found cleaning rods are necessary should someone have a squib or a brass case jammed. A selection of brass brushes can also be used to extract brass that has suffered case head separation.

Batteries A red dot scope isn’t much good without good batteries. The same goes for flashlights. I keep a spare set of AA, AAA, and CR123 batteries in my range bag.

Towel Things get wet and dirty at the range. I keep a shop towel in my bag for wiping things down.

Ruler Great for measuring group size.

Extra eyes and ears Lose an ear plug? Break a set of eye protection? No problem, as long as you’ve got a spare set with you.

Gloves I don’t always use gloves when I shoot, but I do keep them with me in the range bag. When firearms heat up, whether it’s from use or just lying in the hot sun, you’ll find you’re glad to have packed a decent pair of shooting gloves.

Water It gets hot out on the range during the summer, but proper hydration is important no matter what the weather. Make sure you have a bottle or two of water to stay hydrated.

First Aid Kit Along with a basic first aid kit, I also carry a blowout kit in my bag. Accidents can and do happen, so it pays to be prepared. Also, don’t forget to toss in a bottle of sunscreen.

Let us know if we left anything out. What’s in your range bag?


Malfunction clearance

One of the worst things that can happen in a match is to have your gun break during a stage. A malfunction cost my buddy JJ Racaza a National title once, and if not properly managed can send not only a stage but an entire match down the tubes. There are two major tricks to keeping a malfunction from ruining your match. The first is to address it immediately – don’t stare thunderstruck at your gun wondering what happened, take immediate action. Get it cleared and get back to shooting.

Eric Anderson: Horseman, Marksman, Top Shot

Eric Anderson carried on the tradition begun by horseman Denny Chapman by representing Cowboy Mounted Shooters with his appearance on the second season of Top Shot. While his true love is horsemanship and riding, he’s no slouch when it comes to marksmanship either.

On this week’s episode of Top Shot, viewers watched as Eric struggled with a .45 caliber 1911 pistol during the team challenge, and then saw him eliminated in a head to head competition against Jamie Franks shooting a Razorcat 1911 style race gun outfitted with a holographic dot sight.

The next day Eric gave us a call to talk about his background as a horseman, his history in the shooting sports, and his experience as a contestant on Top Shot.

Cheaper Than Dirt Did you grow up shooting? Did your family hunt or shoot when you were a kid? 

Eric Anderson Absolutely. When I was young, we used to shoot off of the rock wall near my grandmother’s house. She lives on the Puget Sound up in Anacortes Washington.

Cheaper Than Dirt That’s a beautiful area up there.

Eric Anderson Oh yeah. There’s a bluff there, and we would set little cans out there off the rock wall, and we would shoot from the rock wall.

I can remember as a kid, 5 and 6 years old, I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to shoot and shoot with the family. Finally when I was 7 I got to shoot the rifle for the first time and got explained sight alignment and sight picture, and all the intricacies of getting your round down range and hitting your target.

I started rather young.

Cheaper Than Dirt Did you do any competitive shooting when you were younger, or did you just stick to plinking?

Eric Anderson Just plinking and playing around. Later on, when I was allowed to go duck hunting, I took the hunter’s safety course, and I would do duck hunting. It was a family time to go on the outings, and we would harvest ducks and then have them for dinner. It was the whole gambit: Appreciating your animal, your harvest, cleaning it and taking care of it, and then cooking it. It was a family tradition.

Cheaper Than Dirt You paint quite the picture of a family affair, more bonding and spending quality time together than focusing on shooting and marksmanship, though I’m sure that was a part of it as well.

Eric Anderson Right, absolutely.

Cheaper Than Dirt At what point did you first start getting interested in competitive shooting?

Eric Anderson Competitive shooting was probably in the Marine Corps. We would go to the rifle range, and for Jar Heads it’s just the way we are. We’re always competing at something. We’d go out the range, on qual day, and see who could shoot the best, and then that person either had to buy drinks or buy dinner. It could be so much as a bet on cleaning somebody else’s room.

It was all about good fun and shooting.

Cheaper Than Dirt If I can ask, how did you qualify in the Marines?

Eric Anderson I was expert, both rifle and pistol, and then later on became an instructor.

Cheaper Than Dirt Obviously your time in the service bred some familiarity with the M16 and M9 platforms, once you got out of the Marine Corps did you already have some experience as a horseman, or did you get into shooting first?

Eric Anderson The horsemanship started out when I got involved with team penning. Three people ride into a big arena, and out of 30 cattle they cut 3 out. Cows are numbered 0-9, and there are 3 of each number. They will call your number and you go in and you get those 3 cows out, get them to the other end of the arena, and then put them in a pen. You do this with a team of 3 people and 3 horses.

There are 6 brains there that are trying to do the same thing. I got into mounted shooting because it was just my brain and the horse’s brain, and we would get together, the two of us, as a team. It was kinda like going duck hunting with your Labrador. That bonding that you feel with that animal, when you succeed, is just phenomenal.

Cheaper Than Dirt Had you done competitive shooting before becoming an accomplished horseman?

Eric Anderson Just in the Marine Corps.

Out in Arizona, in Flagstaff, there was a gun dealer who would sponsor a weekend shoot. What they would do is they would set up different targets, little competitions, and you would shoot a bowling pin with a shotgun, and the next station you might shoot a target with a .22, maybe a metal target, and then the next station you would have to shoot it with a rifle.

The people who would there would all put in $5 and they would compete, and it was just a jackpot shoot. I got into a few of those when I was in Arizona but, other than that, no real competitive shooting.

Cheaper Than Dirt We talked to Denny Chapman, and he’s a horseman and mounted shooter who appeared on Top Shot Season 1. Did you know Denny before he was on Top Shot?

Eric Anderson Yes. Denny and I, we shoot in two different clubs together. We shoot in the SASS mounted shooting club here in Florida, and we also shoot in the CMSA. Denny is a great competitor, great guy, and really is fun to be around.

Cheaper Than Dirt Did he talk to you about going onto Season 1 when he first started putting together his audition package?

Eric Anderson I knew that Denny was going on Season 1 when he came back. We traveled up to the Easterns together, and he had just come back from Top Shot. Of course, he couldn’t say a single word and, I want to tell you, if there is ever somebody who was tight lipped, it was him.

He just said “You know what, you really need to try out for Season 2. If you get the opportunity, do it.”

On his recommendation I put a video together and sent it off to Pilgrim.

Cheaper Than Dirt Was it a surprise to you to discover that you were selected for the final casting call?

Eric Anderson I can’t say that I was surprised. I didn’t think I was a shoe-in, but I can’t say I was surprised. I was just like, “Wow!” I thought it was neat.

Cheaper Than Dirt You learned the fundamentals of marksmanship during your time in the military. Top Shot incorporates a lot of challenges that require you to adapt to a new weapon very quickly. Did you do any practice with weapons that you may not have had previous experience with?

Eric Anderson I really did not. I know I talked to Daryl, and he said he tried everything they did on Season 1 at his house. I fired a few rounds out my back door at a target, just making sure I still had what it took. You know, sight alignment, sight picture, breathing and relaxation, the squeeze and follow through, all of those things, and put them together.

The one thing I did notice was that my eyesight wasn’t what it used to be. You know, I’m 46 years old now, and you’ve got to do the reading glasses thing. In the shooting that I’m used to, you focus on your front sight tip. As long as I could see that, I felt like I was good to go. It’s paid off for me in the past.

The gun that got me off the show was something that I had never seen before, except in a video of Athena Lee, and I think that was even after the show. That young lady can rock and roll. Her, Maggie, myself, Jay, and Kyle, all got together out on California, and I shot one of their matches.

My goodness. That is high-speed low-drag.

Cheaper Than Dirt They are incredibly fast when you put a race gun in their hands. The guns you shoot on Cowboy Mounted Action Shooting are quite different. You’re not actually shooting ammunition at all, they’re just blackpowder loads.

Eric Anderson That’s right. In a single stage in a match, we shoot two pistols loaded with 5 rounds each. They leave an empty cylinder for the firing pin to rest on for safety purposes. During the period, you didn’t have the blocks for the firing pin.

You shoot 10 targets with 5 rounds each out of each of your revolvers, and it’s kinda like barrel racing, only you have 5 targets of one color and 5 targets of another color, and then a prescribed pattern that you must ride it in. And then you ride for time. Every balloon you miss is 5 seconds. When you get into the big matches, missing one balloon can put you completely out of it, and there are a lot of missed balloons.

Cheaper Than Dirt If I understand the sport correctly, the emphasis is more on time than on accuracy. Accuracy is obviously still important, but it only takes a single burning powder grain to burst one of those balloons.

Eric Anderson Well, just the muzzle blast a lot of times will pop that balloon. I think what you’re getting at is the actual accuracy however. It’s more like a shotgun blast. The explosion opens up as it goes out.

Cheaper Than Dirt Do you feel that a lack of experience with precision shooting affected your performance on Top Shot?

Eric Anderson I don’t believe so. I’ll tell you, my inability to adapt to something new, which was the race gun, was probably it. If you’ll notice when we were shooting the Police Positive, a small barreled gun, short distance from front sight to rear sight, gosh I dinged all 3 of my targets.

Cheaper Than Dirt That was the paintball challenge…

Eric Anderson Right. With the rifle, I shot one time and hit my target with no problem. The difference between what Denny and I do as a sport and actual marksmanship is the difference between shotgun shooting and shooting a precision firearm at a still target.

Cheaper Than Dirt There is a lot of movement in shotgun shooting, and there is a lot of movement in Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Many experienced precision shooters have no idea how to properly lead and shoot at a moving target. You’ve got experience duck hunting along with your experience shooting from a moving horse. When you went into the elimination challenge with the Razorcat, did your experience dealing with a moving target help you in any way?

Eric Anderson I’ll tell you where my problem lay, in the way you hold the firearm, I felt like that to get the acquisition of the dot on that firearm, I felt like I was almost pointing my muzzle towards the ground the way I was holding hit. Traditionally, when you bring a pistol up in your hand, you almost have your natural point of aim as you’re drawing that firearm out. On the gun I was firing, and I don’t know if I had J.J.’s or whose pistol it was, but I felt like I had to lean my wrist forward and down to find that dot.

When it came into the heat of the battle, with muscle memory and old habits that are hard to break, I kept looking for this dot, and I had to search for it and then find my target and shoot.

Cheaper Than Dirt I see. That’s something many people who have never shot a handgun with an optic don’t realize. It does set up very high above the bore, whereas traditional handgun iron sights are very low and close to the bore.

Eric Anderson Right. The way it set in my hand, if I grabbed that pistol the way I would normally hold a pistol, the dot was nowhere to be found. I truly had to lean my wrist way forward to find that dot.

Cheaper Than Dirt Let’s back up a bit and talk about the beginning of the series for a bit. When the teams were first being picked, it seemed to me, and to many viewers as well, that Chris Reed tended to choose all of the competitors with military experience for the Red Team. It seemed to be the active and former military guys versus the experienced competitive shooters.

Eric Anderson That is the way it turned out, I don’t know if that was by design. The people that Jay chose were people that I felt he was comfortable with, and most of them were civilians in the beginning. I don’t know if that because he was intimidated by the military fellows, or if during his interviews he just felt more comfortable with the civilians. Chris Tilley was his first pick. I noticed Chris Reed picked military guys up front first.

I was really surprised that I did as well as I did, seeing how the action shooters or the Cowboy Mounted shooters didn’t do as well last season. I think that Chris was truly putting together a team that he felt like was going to be successful, and I think we were.

Cheaper Than Dirt Getting into the team dynamics, it seemed that the Red Team was really able to pull together as a cohesive unit while the Blue Team struggled to find their rhythm.

Eric Anderson First thing, Chris Reed was a former United States Marine. Joe Serafini was a former United States Marine. Brian Zins was a former United States Marine. I was a former United States Marine. George is United States Air Force sniper instructor. Jaimie was, I believe, a rescue swimmer, Athena was our civilian, her and John Guida.

So we had two civilians on our team, and they were absolutely a part of our team right from the beginning. They just fell in and rolled with the flow. I would say that the camaraderie, the “Esprit de Corps,” that was brought together with that team was unparalleled.

You see it a lot in the beginning, with the Blue Team, they had some rocky times. I’m not going to say it was because they were civilians, but they just didn’t have the discipline that we had on the Red Team.

Cheaper Than Dirt Let’s back up for a bit and talk about the team challenge taking on the plate racks with the 1911-A1 pistol. Walk us through what happened with your performance there and what lead up to your nomination for the elimination challenge.

Eric Anderson It was really windy, it was blowing. We were under the impression, and then I don’t know what the hiccup was. I know that I felt like I didn’t step up as well as I should have.

I didn’t feel like I stepped up as well in the bow competition. If Blue Team had just said something to Maggie about the peep sight, it’s very possible they would have beat us in that challenge, and that was all my fault.

That, coupled with how I shot with the .45, I felt like I needed to be the one going up for elimination. There was a suggestion that each of us shoot at a different target and let Colby draw names out of a hat, but I pulled the Marine card and said “Gunny, Chris, Joe, I expect you guys to shoot my target. That’s the way it is, that’s the way I feel it needs to work, and if I come back from elimination I come back and, if not, that’s the way it was meant to be.”

At that point I felt like I was the weak link in the way I performed. I felt like I needed to go to elimination. That’s the way we roll.

Cheaper Than Dirt So it wasn’t just that particular challenge that led to your conclusion, it was your performance on the previous challenge as well.

Eric Anderson Right.

Cheaper Than Dirt There certainly were some personality conflicts early on with the Blue Team, but the Red Team didn’t seem to be immune either. This most recent episode it seemed to be the Corps versus everybody else. Is that an accurate description of the dynamic in the house at that time?

Eric Anderson I’ve heard here recently that a lot of people thought George was a Marine. George is United States Air Force, he just has a tremendous amount of military bearing, and he’s just a great guy.

I also want to say this: Jay is also a great competitor. I think that he has been misunderstood. The words that he is saying are absolutely true, it’s just the way he says it that leads people to believe that he is cocky. I don’t think he realizes a lot of times that you just don’t know how you’re perceived because you haven’t had a chance to step back and take a look at yourself.

Chris didn’t try to run our team at all. He was just part of the group. It was a group run team. I can’t ever remember him saying “This is what I want to do.” It was always Gunny, George, or myself and all of us who would discuss things.

Jamie alienated himself quite a bit. He did it to himself.

Cheaper Than Dirt You say that he alienated himself, but during the team meeting, we didn’t hear much discussion center around him. Still, once his name was brought up, it seemed like everyone just pounced on him as a candidate for nomination.

Eric Anderson Well, the first thing we had to get over in that meeting, and bear in mind that you didn’t see all of the meeting there on that episode, was the fact that I said that I was going, and I had to call out the Devil Dogs on that.

George said “I’m not voting for you, I think Jamie needs to be up.”

I think when he made his statement and expressed the way he felt and why he felt that way, the rest of the fellows said “You know, you’re right. Jamie hasn’t been performing.”

He took two shots with the rifle. I don’t know that he hit a target when we were shooting at bottles, and he hadn’t done a whole lot for the team up to that point. He felt like he shot the .45 fairly well. I can’t tell you either way, but Gunny was sitting so he got to see it all. Gunny wasn’t impressed with his performance either.

Jamie felt like he had a target on his back, like he was being picked on. I do not feel like that was the case. I’ve even tried to step back and take a look at it from his point of view. I don’t see that he was being picked on.

Howling winds and blowing dust made the speed pistol challenge incredibly difficult.

Cheaper Than Dirt Well, whatever the reason, it came down to you and Jamie, and I know a number of us were sad to see you go. Now that you’ve been off the show for a while however, have you taken the opportunity to get involved in some of the action pistol sports like USPSA?

Eric Anderson Well, I teach marksmanship for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In the Hunter’s Safety course, one of the things we do explain is marksmanship. I truly enjoy marksmanship. I enjoy mounted shooting more because you have that camaraderie with your animal. You’re competing against people who all have the same sort of attitude. They all love their horses, and they all love to shoot. That’s what I truly enjoy.

As far as shooting competitively, I probably won’t go out tomorrow and buy one of those race guns. I got an opportunity to see what a used one was, it was $3,500, and that’s a good horse right there.

To answer your question, as far as shooting goes, I love to shoot. I feel that I’m a really good shooter. I understand shooting, I understand consistency, and I understand putting in the black, but I’m not going to go out and buy a race gun.

Currently my sport that costs me all my money is mounted shooting, and I really enjoy that. I do the mounted rifle shooting and the regular mounted shooting. That’s what I like to do. That’s not to say that later on in life when I get too old to ride a horse that I won’t go out there and try race guns, because that is a lot of fun. Like I said, we did it in California here about 2-3 weeks ago, and it was a blast.

Cheaper Than Dirt Given the chance, if you had the chance to do all of this again, would you take the opportunity?

Eric Anderson Absolutely, without a doubt. This is truly one of the coolest things I think I’ve ever done. The people that I had the opportunity to meet, the experience was phenomenal. This makes a trip to Disney World look like getting stuck in the corner with your nose in a circle. Truly it was a blast.

Don’t give me any of the crap that it takes 5 years to become friends. I can tell you that was the fastest 5 years of my life. We’ve got friends that will last forever. Athena flew over here. She came out and tried mounted shooting in my arena.

Cheaper Than Dirt That’s great! How did she do?

Eric Anderson She rode a horse and she shot a gun from a horse.

Cheaper Than Dirt And we’re just going to leave it at that?

Eric Anderson That’s exactly what we need to do. *laughs*

Ashley is going to be here, he’s going to come to the house and shoot, and anybody that was on that show is welcome to come to my house and bring their family and shoot and ride. Come to Florida and goof off.

This is truly a great bunch of people. The most valuable player in my world, the way I figure it, is the casting. Those folks did a phenomenal job of finding quality people to represent the United States of America.

Cheaper Than Dirt On that not, let’s get some insights from you. We’re all big supporters of the 2nd Amendment and proponents of responsible gun ownership. Top Shot has done a great job of finding quality people, putting them on television, and showing the entire world just how responsible American gun owners are. What more can we do to help bring gun ownership and the shooting sports back into the mainstream?

Eric Anderson Let me tell you this first of all: Safety is number one. We all believe in safety being number one. The other thing is that you’ll notice that every single night when we got back to the house and that flag hit the wall, we stood and did a pledge of allegiance, sat down, and had a prayer. Now there may have been some folks there who weren’t religious and didn’t even believe in praying. But out of respect for the rest of the people at that table, they would bow their head. We all held hands, and we said a prayer.

These were quality folks. Folks who believe in the United States of America. One nation under God. We had men there who were prior military. We had three active duty at the time: George, Ashley, and Jamie; active duty military who next week could be in Afghanistan giving their life for our freedoms.

These are the quality of people that they had on that show. If the American people don’t have enough respect for themselves to understand that this country is founded on our freedom, that’s their problem.

Cheaper Than Dirt Very well put. Before we let you go, I want to thank you again for your time, and for your service in the past. We were all sad to see you leave the show.

Eric Anderson I was truly blessed to be on that show, and blessed to be with the people I was with. All of them were fine competitors and great people.

Eric makes his home with his wife Sharyl near the town of Webster in Central Florida where they both train horses and riders. Learn more about them at their website Xtreme Horsemanship

Listen to Team Cheaper Than Dirt! member Caleb Giddings interview Eric Anderson on Gun Nuts Radio, or download the mp3 here.

Cheaper Than Dirt! Exclusive!

We’ve got an exclusive sneak peek at this new pistol from Lone Wolf Distributors. Developed with the assistance of Team Cheaper Than Dirt! member Patrick Kelley, and USPSA Open division compliant, this .40 caliber race gun is one of the nicest we’ve seen.

Keep a close eye on this blog for more details as we’ll go over all of the go-fast goodies this pistol comes with and bring you more photos and videos in the next few days.