Just Right Carbine

jrc2I’m in love with pistol caliber carbines. They are a very special product in my book. They fit the role of home defense and general defense firearm better, for some people, than a centerfire rifle caliber carbine does but for some reason are overlooked by many. You gain a lot of positives when you run one as a defensive firearm. Commonality of magazines and ammunition is a pretty huge plus to me. You also gain a fair amount of velocity and energy increase from the longer barrel on a pistol caliber carbine, well into the 1100FPS territory for the .45 ACP model I tested. There are a few options on the market for those looking for a pistol caliber carbine (PCC). Kel-Tec and Hi-Point make a couple of the most popular and highest selling PCC’s out there, both are also about as ugly as original sin. There are also a few makers of AR patterned carbines that make pistol caliber versions which will run you a few bucks for sure. Today however, we are going to focus on the Just Right Carbine.

Just Right Carbines is an American manufacturer located in New York. They are producing a pretty exciting and innovative product, the JR Carbine. The JRC is a totally ambidextrous and modular firearm that allows for a fair amount of customizing. The ejection of the shell casings can be changed from left to right as well as the bolt handle. You can change caliber and magazine used with very minimal effort as well. Calibers offered are 9mm .40S&W and .45 ACP (there are no plans for them to make any other calibers) All models but the .45 also exclusively use Glock magazines currently. The model I got my hands on was a .45 ACP version that fires from Glock 21 magazines. The .45 offering also is able to be converted to use GI patterned 1911 magazines.

photo 1You will notice two things when you have a JR Carbine in your hands, first thing is the very familiar controls and form factor. The manufacturer went to great lengths to make this carbine very easy to use for those that are intimately familiar with the AR platform, although the magazine release is not where you would expect it. It is located on the left side of the carbine and magazine changes are effected by depressing the mag release with your left thumb and removing the magazine. The second thing you’ll notice is the weight of the thing. The JRC is a blowback operated semi-automatic which is the standard for PCC’s. When things are blowback operated, mass of the bolt is what’s used to counteract the force of the round being fired from the carbine, as opposed to using some of the gasses and spring pressure to cycle the bolt through a gas tube that is connected to the barrel towards the muzzle, like in an AR-15. One of the things I preach constantly to anyone that will listen to me is that lightweight is key. If a firearm is simply too heavy to carry around then you won’t carry it. The 17 inch barrel is very thick on these and from my shooting, it affords very acceptable accuracy, although with it being a 17 inch barrel the velocity of rounds isn’t as spectacular as it could be if the barrel was shortened by just one inch. Powders that propel pistol rounds are very fast burning, when the powder is all burned up in the barrel and the round still has some distance to cover it will start to slow down from the friction against the rifling in the barrel. This is less than ideal.

The particular model I shot had a few aftermarket features installed on it by the owner that should be mentioned. It had Magpul MBUS sights (which I hated so much, they made me want to kick puppies) and a Lone Wolf muzzle brake as well (Which was very cool on this carbine). The model I tested was also finished in a digital desert camo. The finish was nice and well applied, I am however not a huge fan of camo patterns on firearms. The stock was also replaced with a Magpul ACS.

The owners manual tells you a couple things that you will need to know about this carbine. There is no last shot hold open, which isn’t uncommon with a PCC. The JRC is also sensitive to over insertion of magazines and resting the carbine on the magazine. There is no mechanism to stop the magazine from being over inserted other than the magazine release itself, so they specifically inform you to not slap the magazines in place like you would on an AR. The buffer tube on the JRC is going to look very familiar to those of you with AR platform rifles. Do not under any circumstance try to use AR buffers or buffer springs in this carbine, also make certain to use the rubber bumper and nylon disk in place in the buffer tube as well. You will damage the firearm if you don’t follow this instruction.

photo 4The JR Carbine was a joy to shoot. Recoil was extremely manageable (read non-existent) making controlled pair shooting and follow up shots very easy. The controls and pistol grip are straight from an AR (as is the entire trigger group from what I understand) so it was a very comfortable and familiar firearm for me to shoot. The trigger wasn’t anything special, about what you would expect from an off the rack AR. The trigger reset was very short which made follow up shots very quick. One thing to mention is that since the carbine is ambidextrous, it has a channel cut on the left side of the receiver for the reciprocating bolt handle to ride in. This channel also is fairly efficient at blowing gasses into your face. Don’t let this sour you on this great carbine though, it’s not that bad at all. The carbine is sold without sights on it which allows you to choose your own or run glass of some kind. This carbine also uses a standard AR barrel nut which allows for using aftermarket free float AR handguards. Disassembly is not very easy with this carbine, actually it’s pretty involved and requires removing screws. Pistol ammo does tend to run dirty so you will become intimately familiar with the disassembly procedure. As I said in the first paragraph, this carbine is very easy to customize. It is sturdy and runs well. I feel as though this carbine has made a very nice place for itself in the PCC category. They can be found pretty easily for sub $700 and the abundance of Glock magazines on the market makes for easy access to feeding devices(JRC recommends factory Glock magazines). Pistol ammunion is generally cheaper than rifle rounds and is easier to find than most rifle calibers are as well. If you are contemplating a purchase of  a carbine of some sort and haven’t made up your mind yet, the JR Carbine is certainly deserving of your consideration. One is definitely in the running for a spot in my gun safe.


What’s Your Major Malfunction?

Common handgun malfunctions and how to clear your weapon:

Dummy Rounds

Dummy Rounds

If you shoot a handgun, it’s only a matter of time before you experience a malfunction. It may be caused by your weapon, your ammunition or even you (the shooter). How you handle these malfunctions can mean the difference between life and death in a real gunfight.

By taking the time to buy dummy rounds and simulating malfunctions you can be prepared when the moment of truth comes. This isn’t something that is difficult to do, so go train!

Type I: Failure to fire/feed

The shooter pulls the trigger and the gun goes “click” instead of “bang”.

Causes:

  • The shooter forgetting to chamber a round
  • The magazine not being fully seated
  • A bad magazine, bad round, or broken firing pin.

Malfunction drill:

  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force

Type II: Stove pipe

Stovepipe

Stovepipe

This is the failure of the expended round to clear the ejection port before the slide comes forward. The result is a case sticking out of the ejection port looking like a stove pipe.

Causes:

  • Limp wristing is one of the primary causes.
  • A worn extractor can also cause this to occur.

Malfunction drill is the same as above:

  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force
Double Feed

Double Feed

Type III: Double feed

The round in the chamber is not extracted and the nose of the next round in the magazine is pressed against the rear of this chambered case.

Causes:

  • A broken or worn extractor is the most common cause.
  • This can also be caused by a bad magazine.

The Type I & II malfunctions drills will not clear this.

Malfunction drill:

  • LOCK – the slide to the rear
  • RIP- the magazine out of the weapon. The magazine spring is putting pressure on the top round, which is being pressed against the chambered case by the slide. Locking the slide takes off the pressure, however the magazine will not drop free, which is why you grasp it and yank it out of the weapon.
  • RUN – the slide several times to make sure the chambered case is extracted.
  • RELOAD – a fresh magazine back into the weapon.
  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated.
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round.
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force

All of these malfunctions take a lot of training to learn how to clear. It takes repetition to build muscle memory. We are very happy to help you learn these skills in the training we offer.

 

Choosing the Best Handgun for You

For the ladies, and the guys too: Deciding which gun is best for you.

How many times have you walked into a gun shop only to be greeted by a gun store Rambo with too much testosterone and not enough common sense? It’s happened more than once to my wife and I. Most of the time they have a personal agenda and try to steer you to this gun or that gun regardless of how it fits you personally. If you want a compact gun it has to be this Glock or Sig Sauer and if you want a full sized gun it has to be this 1911 or a Heckler & Koch. This may be because they have the most mark up on this weapon and get more cash when they are sold or it may be because they just prefer this brand or that the other. The truth is far too few people know or understand the basics of purchasing a weapon for a specific use.

English: A Smith & Wesson Military & Police ha...

Smith & Wesson M&P(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My wife and I recently purchased her first handgun. We looked for a very long time and to be honest, I got rather frustrated doing so (one of the reasons for our consulting service). She is tiny and wanted a tiny gun to go along with her tiny frame. The problem is that she also wanted an effective fighting sidearm that would protect her and our family. Things got difficult very quickly when she had her heart set on several guns that simply didn’t fit her. We looked at a lot of guns from sub compact Glocks to smaller caliber guns like the Walther PPK and PK 380. Nothing seemed to fit her and accomplish the end goals we both had in mind.  One of these guns was a Walther PPQ. This is a great gun, but it didn’t fit her hand well and the ergonomics of the frame didn’t disperse the recoil well through her upper body. It was actually painful for her to shoot it. She went through a few others and even shot my Beretta 92 several times. This process turned into several weekend trips and visits to almost every reputable gun shop in the Raleigh/Durham area.

Credit: LampostCCW

Credit: LampostCCW

One thing that most first time buyers don’t consider is that the smaller the gun the more recoil it has, even in a smaller caliber. It’s simple physics, and a compact .380 will have as much or more recoil than a larger 9mm on a full sized frame. The smaller the gun, the less ammunition it will also carry. So think about the purpose of your handgun. My wife is of the same mind as I am. If either of us has resorted to using a gun, then the situation has gone terribly wrong and we want as much firepower as possible. So after shooting many guns and having several long discussions with both myself and the owner, Rob, at Clayton Guns, she ended her search with a Smith and Wesson M&P Pro in 9mm. Yes this is a full sized gun, but with careful consideration it can be concealed easily.  Fortunately, after dealing with the general bravado from many gun shops, we met Rob who is a wealth of information and had no agenda other than to get my wife the right gun for her.

This brings me to my first point; find a shop you can trust and have someone with you that really knows  their stuff when it comes to the basics of handgun manipulation and control . Just because a gun looks cool and comes highly recommended by a magazine article doesn’t mean it will fit you and be the best gun for you.  Shoot or at the very least hold as many guns as you can to test fitment to your hand. Many of the newer polymer guns have interchangeable back strap panels. Try them out and get a feel for the guns.

Then decide on the purpose of the gun. Are you carrying it in a holster, purse or pocket? Do you open carry or do you always carry concealed? Will this be your only gun or will you have multiple guns for multiple situations. Only after you decide how you will use the gun can you purchase a weapon that will fulfill its main purpose.  You then need to make sure it isn’t what I call an orphan gun. Orphan guns are more unusual or unpopular guns that don’t have huge aftermarket support. If you buy one of these guns then accessories will be difficult or impossible to find. In the best case scenario you will pay top dollar from a custom holster maker so that you have equipment that fills your needs. The only other option is to build your own holster system with Kydex or use a one size fits all nylon holster that isn’t what you really want or need.

9mm-357sig-40sw-10mm-45acp-45gapThe caliber of your gun is the next thing that you really need to decide on. For the guys, buying the largest caliber possible to compensate is just plain silly and really dangerous. Male or female you need to choose a caliber that you can easily control, especially if you are not an experienced shooter. If you can’t make quick follow up shots or you need to adjust your grip after shooting several rounds, then it isn’t the gun for you. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, there is no magic caliber. The “one shot stopping power” of a particular round is somewhat a fallacy that causes people to make decisions that hinder their ability to learn the basics and become competent marksmen. I’m a really big guy and can handle anything you put in my hand, but I choose to carry a 9mm due to the fact that I am at my best when shooting this round. I can cut the 10 ring out of a target and transition between multiple targets quickly and it has more than adequate stopping power when using modern ammunition.

So now you have a gun that fits you, you know how you intend to use it, and you’ve decided on caliber; what’s next? Now it’s time to train, try different holsters and modes of carry. Make your weapon an extension of your body. Your life depends on your ability to be proficient with your new purchase, so get to work!

Holsters on a Budget 101

OldFaithful-Empty2

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…my gear, my way.

It’s kind of humorous if you ask me, but people want the “right” gear so they look cool at the range, while carrying concealed or during training. While I can absolutely understand this feeling, this isn’t high school people! This is real life and what works well for one person may not work well for you. Body types, personal styles and budget vary and you have to do what is right for you. Mr. Ingersoll touched on this a few posts ago and pretty much said that what you can afford and works for you is what you should buy. I’m just expanding upon his observations in this post and sharing my personal set up. I’ll share links for the makers of my gear and let you look around for yourself.

My personal preference is to have a holster for each specific purpose when carrying my Beretta 92FS. To this end I have two outside the waistband holsters (OWB), one inside the waistband holster (IWB), and one trigger guard style holster. Mr. Ingersoll has at least that many holsters for his Beretta 8040 to include a Safariland duty holster and a few others. I personally prefer a paddle style holster over belt holsters as they are easily removed when needed and are very stable on my frame. Speaking of frames, I’m over 6ft and pushing 300lbs. I am a very big guy, so my set ups may not be the perfect set up for you.

blackhawkYou may ask why I have two different OWB style holsters. That’s a good question and I will explain my logic and how it came to be. The first holster is an Uncle Mike’s paddle set up with no retention of any kind other than friction. I have had it for years and it was cheap. I have used this holster for concealed carry and training only because it has no retention level protection in case of a gun grab situation or fight. The second OWB holster I have is a Blackhawk! SERPA.  I carry in this holster in situations when it’s appropriate to open carry. The SERPA is an affordable holster with lots of options. It comes with both a paddle and belt attachment when purchased and it’s designed to work with both a shoulder rig and tactical thigh rig with no modifications, just a few screws. There is a lot of bang for your buck with this holster. Is it the end all, be all holster that some say it is? Not by a long shot, I would definitely prefer several others but just can’t justify spending the money. It ‘s a level 2 retention holster where a button must be depressed to release the handgun and the tension is adjustable so it meets my need for open carry. It’s minimal protection, but it is protection from someone walking up and pulling your gun out of the holster or it falling out during a struggle.

OldFaithful-Empty2When it comes to inside the waist band (IWB) carry I carry an Old Faithful that I built from a kit. This is a hybrid style holster that has a leather backing against the skin and one side of the gun combined with a Kydex shell on the other side. It makes for a very durable and comfortable holster. There are quite a few of different companies that are making this style of holster these days since it gained so much popularity in the CCW crowd. I’m not sure who started the design but certainly the first one I heard about was the CrossBreed Supertuck however, this is a far more expensive and their lead time is fairly long. So by buying this easy to assemble kit form Old Faithful, I saved a ton of cash and now have an intimate understanding of my gear. Without a doubt I recommend trying the kits on the market.

Now I may have failed to mention this, I carry every holster in the appendix or modified appendix position. So make note of that if you plan to order a similar holster. This particular holster is cut for that positioning and is very comfortable for all day wear with only slight adjustments when sitting or getting in and out of a vehicle. Some people may ask why I carry in this position when so many other positions work well and  are more comfortable. The answer is simple, I don’t want people to see my gun (if it is printing) when I can’t see them. In other words if you know I have a gun, I want to know that you know! Secondly I have much more control over the weapon in this position during a struggle or just in general.  I even carried in this position while on duty as a police officer and kept the duty holster tension screws on my belt loose enough to adjust the location as needed.

Credit: Aegis Armory

Credit: Aegis Armory

The final holster I have for my Beretta is a trigger guard style holster from Aegis Armory. This an absolute minimalist style holster that only covers the trigger so that it isn’t engaged accidentally.  This is my T-shirt, shorts, and flip flop gear. You basically stick it in your waistband and go, another word for this is “Mexican carry” but with this holster there is some retention on the firearm. It comes with a lanyard that you attach to a belt or belt loop. When drawn the holster just pulls away because it is only held on with a small amount of tension. On a smaller weapon this would be a great pocket holster or even a neck holster. This also makes a great “car carry” holster. Wrap the lanyard around your emergency brake handle or whatever you have available and tuck the pistol between the seats.

So there you have it, my gear for my needs and on my budget. Would I love to have several Raven or G-code holsters? Oh yes I would, but I just can’t justify buying the high dollar gear when what I have fits my needs rather well. I’ll upgrade one day but for now I definitely don’t care what others think about my choice of holsters or even my beat up old Beretta. The guy wearing all the latest gear and shooting the H&K SOCOM 45 at the range the other day couldn’t hit the ten ring to save his life. I on the hand tore one big ragged hole with 50 rounds in the target.  Buy what works for you and save the money for ammo and training!

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The Case for a Full Gun Safe

Just how many guns do you need?!?!?

Has your wife ever asked you, “Just how many guns does one man need”? A couple of mine have, yes I said a couple. They weren’t at the same time, don’t judge me, I was a cop! Well I am going to make my case to you that every man should have a minimum of five guns, based on legality and needs, to protect his family and home.

Gun Wall
Gun Wall (Photo credit: Mike Saechang)

Guns are tools of the trade just as a mechanic has a tool chest or any other tradesman has what he needs to accomplish a myriad of jobs that may come his way. I’ll start off with a great analogy I once heard from a good friend. If you were going to plant flowers you wouldn’t go out and buy a back hoe, or if you were going to dig a drainage ditch you wouldn’t attempt to do so with a garden spade. Why in the world would anyone feel completely protected with only one gun in all situations?  

So how many guns does one man need? I say at least one for every need you have, depending on your location and budget. For me that would consist of two handguns (one full sized and one compact), a shotgun, a carbine, and a long range rifle, not all at the same time though. Each weapon has a specific job that it is created for and does best. So I will discuss those jobs and how I have come to this conclusion and stellar argument for buying more guns.

English: modern revolver Ruger SP101 cal .38 S...
English: Ruger SP101 cal .38 Special (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always need a very small compact gun for those times when deep cover is needed. The .357 J frame S&W is my all-time favorite. Why a revolver? My answer is simple, and it’s because this gun’s primary use will be as a backup to my primary weapon. If I have gone to my back up, then something very bad has happened. Either I have run dry with my primary weapon or it has had a catastrophic failure of some sort. A revolver is as close to fail proof as a gun can be. From 0 to 25 yards a 2inch revolver is very accurate and extremely effective. The ultra compact 9mm handgun has come into great popularity lately, as well as the .380 ACP models as well. It’s hard to beat a Kel-Tec PF9 or a P3AT for the money and concealability. We generally don’t recommend going below a .380 ACP but if your needs can only be met by a .32 or smaller round, there are some other excellent options in these calibers as well.

Beretta 92FS
Beretta 92FS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to my primary weapon I prefer a quality gun with plentiful parts availability. If the need should arise I want to have the ability to rebuild this gun at a moment’s notice without any issues. Hence my personal choice of a 92 series Beretta or Glock chambered in 9mm. Both guns are reasonably priced and there is huge parts markets to repair of improve them. Semi-auto handguns are extremely complicated and have many parts. One spring or small part can cause a failure. It only makes good sense to be prepared. Not to mention both of these guns are easy for novice owners to repair even if they have no prior gun smith training (please note I don’t advocate disassembly of your gun if you aren’t trained). Any duty sized handgun is made to be accurate out to 25 yards and beyond, so it is a must have in your personal arsenal of weapons. In fact, this category is probably the most important one. A full sized handgun can be concealed and with their accuracy at range will fill most defensive needs.

Mossberg M500SP
Mossberg 500 (Photo credit: mr.smashy)

One of my favorite short to medium range weapons is the 12 gauge shotgun. You just don’t get any more all American than a Remington 870 or Mossberg 590. Pump guns are definitely my preference as they will feed almost any ammunition you throw in them and the sound when you rack one into the chamber is unmistakable. That sound alone gives you an advantage over your opponent because of the psychological effect it will have on them. Shot guns can also be used as door breaching tools or even crowd control. Properly outfitted a shotgun can be the best choice all the way out to 100 yards. They really are a do it all gun. Another firearm to put in the back of your mind in this category of short to medium range is the pistol caliber carbine. There are a few well reviewed and durable carbines in most common pistol calibers, some have the capability of using the same magazines as your chosen duty style handgun, which makes things much more simple when it comes time to purchase ammo and magazines.

AR15
AR15 (Photo credit: Section_Eight)

A short, quick handling centerfire rifle or carbine is a must have for everyone.  From hunting small game to being used as a defensive weapon they are good for everything. For those of you that have been around firearms for the last decade or so it’s become very apparent that an AR-15, Kel-Tec SU-16C or Ruger Mini 14 are super great choices. All three are extremely accurate and affordable. Equipped properly they can even be used to clear a house or short range sniper work. Again, they are great all around weapons that have a ton of uses. The AR platform has endless possibilities and can be converted for many uses and calibers can even be changed relatively easily. An AK variant  falls into this category beautifully as well and would provide a lot of power to quickly end the fight. For that matter an AR platform can be used all the way up to a .458 SOCOM round. That’s the reason everyone love an AR-15, they are so customizable based on your needs. All the way out to 200 yards any centerfire carbine will get the job done, so it is a great medium to long range option for protecting your family. This category isn’t limited to the “black rifles” though. The venerable lever action carbine from almost any maker has proven itself over it’s very long history to be a perfectly adequate defensive tool as well as a hunting arm and is certainly worth your consideration.

English: The US-made Remington 700 .308 Winche...
Remington 700 .308 Winchester. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For long distance work, a Remington 700 in 308 or 300 Win Mag is my weapon of choice.  There is no smoother action on the market for the price in my opinion.  There are endless choices that this gun can be outfitted with from the factory and the aftermarket is flooded with anything you could ever want. Are there other options? Of course there are, the Savage model 10 and Winchester 70 are both fantastic choices for a long range precision rifle. Honestly just about any quality hunting rifle will do the job neatly. When it comes to this type of rifle, you can spend as little or as much as your heart desires, but remember, you get what you pay for. No amount of geegaws that you attach will turn a crap rifle into a long range beast. You don’t become a sniper overnight, and a ton of training is needed if you intend to pursue any type of long range shooting. Depending on the gun this type of weapon can be a show stopper into quadruple digit distances. If the truth is really told, you can go to Wal Mart and purchase a $300 Ruger American or Savage Axis in .308 and it will exceed your abilities for a very long time to come and serve as a great way to learn the art of long range precision shooting.

So there you have it, my weapons of choice and why I NEED them in my gun safe. The best part is you can double the number of guns just by explaining to your wife how she needs to be out fitted in case something were to happen to you. What mother doesn’t want to protect her children, right? As for now stay safe, train and have a good un’

 

 

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The Modern Mosin-Nagant

The Mosin Nagant series of rifles. List goes t...

The Mosin Nagant series of rifles.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So why in the world am I writing about a rifle designed in the 1890’s and why is it interesting to you? Because it’s cool!!, and after all these years it’s still a relevant and useful firearm in today’s world. I just saw an amazing report earlier this week that the Mosin-Nagant is in current use in the fighting in Syria. Who would have thought that after all this time the rifle that defended Stalingrad against the Nazis would still be in use in 2013 as a “military” arm?

When someone mentions a Mosin-Nagant, they could be talking about any one of the many variations that have existed since it was adopted by The Imperial Russian Army in 1891 as the Model 1891 interestingly enough. Most commonly encountered in the United States however, are three models: the 91/30, M44 and, The Chinese Type 53. The Type 53 and the M44 are both almost identical to each other with the major difference being the country of origin. The most common of these three models is the 91/30. The M44 and Type 53 are both carbine models which have a much shorter barrel than the 91/30 and an attached side folding bayonet. All variations are bolt-action and have a 5 round integral magazine that can either be loaded one round at a time or by stripper clip. There are so many different incarnations of Mosin-Nagant that were produced, it’s not worth me going into great detail here as there are so many great resources out there. When I refer to the rifle here, I’m talking about the three models listed above. If you’re curious about the history of this rifle your best bet is to head over to 7.62x54r.net. There you can find the entire documented history of the rifle and all the different models produced.

Enough with the history lesson. How is this old Russian rifle relevant to me? Well, frankly there are a few good reasons but in my opinion the most important of all is that it is a dirt cheap and accessible firearm. This rifle can be had for sub $200 all day for a 91/30, even in today’s strange gun climate. The other two models come in at a little under $300 usually. What that gives you is a completely usable and reasonably accurate rifle out of the box with decent iron sights. What’s almost as good as the rifle itself being cheap is that the ammo is also cheap. A tin of 440 rounds of surplus ammo can be had for under $100. New manufacture commercially made ammo is decently priced as well. These old rifles have proven themselves to be adequate hunting arms for quite some time now and have put literally tons of meat on the tables of families all over the world. Hunting is by far the most common use for this rifle other than being a range plinker since it can be fed so inexpensively and the cartridge is powerful enough to take down nearly anything on 4 legs in North America.

I wanted to breathe a new life into this rifle though. Now if you’re some kind of purist and you feel that the Mosin-Nagant is deserving of being a collectable firearm to be kept in it’s original form, turn back now. I do not consider myself a purist at all. This rifle is immensely common and it lends itself very well to modifying or sporterizing. The Russians took rifles that would be considered fairly valuable today and re-arsenaled them, modified them and covered them in cosmoline and stuck them in a warehouse in Siberia somewhere and they have turned into the rifles that we see being imported today. There are rare models and I feel as though they shouldn’t be touched, if you’re not sure whether or not you’ve got a rare model please head over to 7.62x54r.net and double check.

As I stated before, you could leave the rifle alone in it’s completely stock form and have a completely serviceable and useful rifle with only a few tweaks and adjustments to the iron sights but I’m incapable of leaving good enough alone. I suppose I’ll start by addressing the things about the Mosin-Nagant that I personally don’t like so much. The total length of the 91/30 is about 48.5″, that’s just over four feet long and the bayonet isn’t even a part of that. That’s a ludicrous length for a rifle to be useful in the woods but that can be remedied. You could either hold out and get a M44 or Type 53 which is totally a rational work around or you could have a gunsmith shorten the barrel. The Mosin-Nagant is also a heavy rifle, not ungodly so but at a little over 8lbs it’s hefty enough to be a little difficult to chuck around in a hurry, particularly at full length. To put weight into perspective though, it’s not entirely uncommon for AR-15‘s with rails and optics and various other toys to tip the scales at over the weight of a loaded Mosin-Nagant. I’m also not a huge wood stock person. Thats not to say that I can’t appreciate them, I just tend to be hard on gear and a synthetic stock just makes more sense for me. I guess that’s about it for the “dislikes”.

Each of the above listed “problems” is easily changed to more suit personal need. Since the Mosin-Nagant has established itself as a sturdy, reliable and reasonably accurate rifle, I’ve found that it lends itself well to becoming a scout rifle. Scouts are essentially lightweight rifles around 36″ in length and under 7.7lbs with a forward mounted low powered scope in .308 or equivalent. Col. Cooper specified a specific sling to be used, the ability to use iron sights, detachable magazine feeding or reloading with stripper clips. I chose to transform the Mosin-Nagant into a scout rifle because of the all around utility of the concept. It makes a handy and capable hunting rifle, a great brush and recreation tool as well as a defensive tool if necessary. To accomplish the task of turning this ancient battle rifle into a modern scout rifle isn’t a very difficult one. There are quite a few readily available aftermarket parts that allow for an easy transformation.

So here we go, the Mosin-Nagant is going to become a scout rifle. We will need a new stock, optic mount, optic, a little gunsmith work to cut down and re-crown the barrel, and a way to reattach the front sight. What follows is a list of parts that I think further suit this useful rifle to modern use.

  1. ATI Mosin-Nagant Stock.
  2. Brass Stacker Scout Scope Mount
  3. Brass Stacker Front Sight Adapter Ring
  4. Stripper Clips
  5. Ching Sling
  6. Sling Swivel Studs

This certainly isn’t an all encompassing list of what you may need for the conversion, or you may choose to use different parts to suit the rifle to your individual purpose and needs. There are a lot of nice products from Rock Solid for Mosin-Nagants that are outstanding and very high quality and trigger modifications to tame the beast so to speak as well however, if you follow the guidelines you will end up with something similar to the rifle pictured below. It is now a handy and lighter rifle with a hard hitting and fairly accurate and cheap round that is well suited for hunting and any other purpose a handy rifle like this can fill.

Credit: "Pirate" from XDtalk.com

Credit: “Pirate” from XDtalk.com

So if you’ve got an old Mosin-Nagant sitting in the gun safe or you don’t have one yet but are in the market for an inexpensive but versatile rifle,I hope I’ve offered you some inspiration. As for now train, stay safe and have a good un’.

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Caliber Considerations for CCW

Beretta 92FS

Beretta 92FS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s post comes to you from Dave Windham again. Dave’s knowledge and experience with concealed carry, firearms implementation and associated equipment is a valuable asset.

What’s in your pants???

Did that get your attention? Good, now please read on so that you understand the question.  I’m really exhausted of (primarily men) purchasing the largest caliber gun possible because it’s the manly thing to do while ignoring the basics of firearm handling and simple logic. They ignore the simple fact that despite their manliness, they may not be able to effectively control a large bore handgun. I’ve seen people purchase guns that don’t even fit their hand so that they have a “45” as opposed to any other caliber handgun.

Let me start by saying I don’t advocate or consider mouse guns an option. I don’t even like these mini guns as back up weapons. Personally a .38 +p or .380 is about as small as I feel is an effective caliber in any gun fight and many folks in the industry agree. What I am addressing is 9mm, through 45ACP. Many novice or inexperienced shooters just don’t consider 9mm as being a good round in a gun fight and think that bigger is always better. Let’s look at the evidence, and you make up your mind.

The chart above shows the penetration of the handgun rounds that we are discussing, while the page linked to next shows the expansion of the said rounds upon penetration.  Please note that manufacture and bullet type, weight, etc. do cause dramatic changes in these findings.  Do your own research or study the research of professionals to make your own choice and reach your own conclusions.

As you can see, there isn’t a clear and simple “best round” or “magic bullet”.  With different manufacturers or slightly different bullet styles the results are almost identical from 9mm all the way up to 45 ACP.  With this knowledge there are several other factors that you need to consider.

The first factor is what really happens in a gun fight. A real life gun fight isn’t anywhere close to static marksmanship practice on a range or even competition shooting. Your body goes through all sorts of changes when lead starts flying in your direction. Your heart rate rises, your motor skills are significantly decreased, and your vision is greatly affected.  Now ask yourself, do you want a smaller amount of ammunition and all the recoil you can handle or do you want something easily controlled that you are a very good marksman with?

To get the feeling of what it feels like to be in a critical incident, try this. Run around the block twice in all your gear, fully clothed in the middle of summer, then drop and do 25 push-ups and then 25 sit ups. Now stand, draw your weapon and engage multiple targets at multiple ranges running between cover and concealment points. Make sure you have to reload so that you make a magazine change and experience all aspects of your loss of motor skills. If you can, even induce a feeding malfunction during this drill.

Ok, so now that you know that your 3 inch groups at 10yrds on the range don’t amount to a hill of beans in real life you now have to consider what really ends a gunfight. Almost all accounts of these incidents and personal accounts from police and military personnel, as well as personal experience I know that hydraulic failure is what normally ends the fight. That’s just a nice way of saying the aggressor has bled out and can no longer function.  Do you really think that .12 of an inch in expansionor a fraction of an inch in penetration is going to make a huge difference?  The truth is that it really doesn’t. What’s far more important is shot placement.

In my opinion having a gun that I can make extremely quick follow up shots with, and that carries several more rounds only makes sense. Both I and my wife carry full sized duty style weapons in 9mm. She carries a bone stock M&P Pro with a 4.25in barrel and I carry a slightly customized Beretta 92fs that was once my duty weapon with two police departments. I have 20 rounds on tap while she has 17 rounds at the ready if needed. Now you may ask, is it concealable? The answer is hell yes. It’s all about holster choice and clothing choice. I’ll discuss some of my holsters in a post at a later date.

The point of this is to make you think. Why do you carry what you carry? Is it the best choice or a compromise? Could you be more effective with a different gun? Your life truly depends on your choices for your ccw defensive firearm, so take the time to do some research and make solid decisions.   Happy training and be safe!

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The Beretta/Stoeger Cougar

Good Day All,cougar

Today I’m going to tell you about a firearm that is near and dear to my heart, the Beretta Cougar my first handgun. This Particular handgun was brought to the market in 1994 and received a slightly less than stellar reception. This can be attributed to two things in my opinion, Beretta‘s famously understated advertising and the Glock craze that was going on at the time and still continues today. Don’t get me wrong, the Glock is a fine firearm, but it is far from the only game in town.

English: This is a picture of the rotating bar...

Beretta Cougar Rotating Barrel Lockup (Credit: Wikipedia)

The Beretta Cougar was brought to market with several different models (F, G, and D) and calibers (9mm, .40S&W, .357Sig and .45ACP). Those of you familiar with Beretta’s more commonly available models the 92/96/M9 the Cougar will have a very familiar form factor and controls. The profile from the operator perspective of the handgun is identical to the 92 making it a very comfortable pistol choice for prior military personnel like myself. The cougar operates on a rotating barrel locking system where the barrel does not tilt up like on most other pistols. The barrel instead rotates to unlock the barrel from the slide when it recoils then extracts the spent cartridge and loads the next into the chamber. This method, in theory, is more accurate than the other more common system that is used in most other handguns. It keeps the barrel on the same plane throughout the entire operation cycle. Personally I’m not aware of any other firearms that use this same system other than the successor to the Cougar, Beretta’s PX4.

The Beretta Cougar holding it's own next to more "modern" handguns in a large round count class.

The Beretta Cougar holding it’s own next to more “modern” handguns in a large round count class.

I purchased the .40S&W model from a fellow police officer friend of mine quite a few years ago who had bought it and never shot it. I have put several thousand rounds through it since, without much issue other than replacing the extractor and extractor spring as they had worn out after a significant period of time where I was shooting hundreds of rounds on a weekly basis. When you shoot a lot, parts tend to wear out. This is true of any firearm even the precious Glock.  This pistol conceals as well as any other large frame semi-auto with the correct holster selection and is as reliable and rugged as its bigger brother the 92FS/96FS/M9. Shortly after returning from my second tour to Iraq I signed up for a class from a local training group. The class was a one day defensive handgun class with a 600 round count for the day. My Beretta was pitted against Glocks, Springfield XD‘s, S&W M&P‘s, and of course the expensive and very awesome Sig. My Beretta did not experience any malfunctions other than the ones we purposely induced for training purposes. I definitely had the most different handgun on the line that day and it performed flawlessly. Later on I wound up using my Cougar as a duty weapon while working a private security job with the NCDOC, I shot a perfect 100 on both day and night qualification and later as a police officer I qualified with it again as an off-duty gun and shot 100 day and night. This pistol in my hands is far more comfortable and accurate than the Glock 23 I was issued as my duty weapon as a police officer.

English: Beretta 8040 Cougar Pistol disassembl...

English: Beretta 8040 Cougar Pistol disassembled to show parts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several things are important to consider with this particular pistol. It is a little lacking in the accessory department. Holsters are available but usually require special order, the choice of sights are a little limited but both Trijicon and Meprolight night-sights are available. Grips are available from Hogue in the aluminum and wood variety and of course you have the option of using the universal grip sleeve from Hogue as well. Another important note is that Beretta is no longer manufacturing this pistol, it is now being made by their subsidiary Stoeger. Stoeger is based out of Turkey and makes mainly shotguns similar to the models already made by Beretta and Benelli. Stoeger does not manufacture the .357Sig model, but I personally don’t really see this as a great loss. The .357Sig cartridge is an expensive and difficult to find round and as far as I’m concerned the merits of it’s ballistics don’t outweigh it’s cost and difficulty to procure. It is also important to note that the .45ACP model is actually a larger pistol than the .40S&W and the 9MM models so holster selection is made a bit more difficult for that particular model. The offering from Beretta did not have an accessory rail available on this pistol. I don’t see this as a shortcoming personally. Adding a light/laser on a handgun makes it bigger and harder to conceal. I carry a Flashlight with me all the time anyway and I have trained using my support hand to use a flashlight in low-light shooting situations. There are Stoeger models that do have an accessory rail on them if that is a necessity for you. The best part about this pistol? you might ask, well it’s very budget friendly. My father and brother both just bought Stoeger Cougars in .40S&W and 9MM respectively. The total bill for both handguns came in at under $900 out the door from a local dealer here in NC, and that is during the current buying frenzy going on. I’ve given you quite a few things to consider here, take the knowledge and run with it. As always stay safe, train and have a good ‘un.

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FrogLube CLP a Natural Alternative

Hey Folks,

I used to use this for my Beretta mostly.

Shooter’s Choice Grease. It works very well but it’s expensive for what you get.

Today I’m going to get going on a category that is near and dear to the hearts of all shooters everywhere.  Cleaning and lubricating products. For years I was an uncommitted user of many different products to clean and lubricate my firearms. I’ve used many different options, from the standard CLP (Cleans,Lubricates,Protects) from my military days on up to using automotive greases and some purpose made lubricant greases for firearms. I will say that everything that I’ve used works and works fairly well. I certainly can’t complain about any of the products that  I’ve used because they all work. Each lubricant used is purpose made to lubricate machinery or engines or of course firearms in particular.

Ed's Red made from several different automotive lubricants.  Works well and cheap, but you don't want to breathe it.

Ed’s Red made from several different automotive lubricants. Works well and cheap, but you don’t want to breathe it.

Perhaps one of the cheapest solutions I came across in my research of cleaner/lubricants was a homemade option known simply as “Ed’s Red”. This product is a concoction of several different automotive lubricant products all put together to create a very large amount of homebrew gun oil. I have a supremely large amount of it still sitting in my garage ready for widespread use on lots of guns for a long time. All of these products have a flaw however, if you can really call it that. Everything I’ve used is all petroleum based and toxic (albeit in large amounts) which as I get older and spend more and more time with my 4 month old son isn’t all that desirable. For 8 years I used solvent tanks and copious amounts of Gov’t issue CLP with bare hands and often times I would take my chow break… or more likely at that point in my life, a smoke break without washing my hands to clean off these hazardous chemicals that had been absorbing into my skin for the last couple hours. I never gave this a second thought frankly and I shudder to think about all the chemicals I’ve ingested over the years. Don’t worry though, there is another option.

FrogLube 4oz tub $9.99 from www.amazon.com

FrogLube 4oz tub $9.99 from www.amazon.com

Today we’re going to go over a fairly new product simply known as FrogLube. This is a CLP product that is made from an all natural and non-toxic compound of plant material.  I initially dismissed this product to be honest. I thought to myself that there is no way this could be as good as my old tried and true methods. I can report today that my initial thoughts were incorrect. I had done some more research on the product and found it to be a very interesting idea and my mind went back to those days sitting on a bench cleaning tons of M-4’s without gloves and the idea of a non-toxic, non-petroleum based product was looking very good. I bit the bullet and ordered a 4oz tub of the paste variety of the FrogLube. I was excited to try this stuff out so since I had just purchased a new firearm I thought that this would be a perfect platform to test this lubricant. FrogLube is a product that requires seasoning of the metal, kinda like a cast iron skillet. You heat up the metal gun parts and apply the FrogLube all over and let it sit for about a half hour to an hour and once cooled you simply wipe it off. When the firearm is shot and warms up, the FrogLube leeches out of the pores in the metal creating a liquid barrier for the friction points. This allows you to run your firearm “dry” or with only a very thin film of lubricant applied to the friction points. The paste variety of the FrogLube will melt its way into all the nooks and crannies of your firearm, making it pretty easy to apply. In my research I found that it is recommended to apply two treatments of this product initially for optimal performance. I broke down my Kel-Tec SU-16C and began the cleaning and treatment process. Using my wife’s hair dryer I heated up the metal parts of the rifle and began to apply the FrogLube. The application process went very quickly and easily as this rifle was brand new and only required minimal cleaning as I went. After the parts cooled I wiped off the excess lubricant and found the parts to have a very slick feeling to them, almost as though they had been well broken in from hundreds of round of shooting. The very next day I treated the rifle with FrogLube a second time and the results were similar to what they were yesterday. There was a very nice slick feeling to the metal parts which as I have discovered is also a water resistant protective coating as well. The next day I took the Kel-Tec to the range to break the rifle in. This particular rifle is noted in the owners manual to require a 200 round break-in session to ensure subsequent reliability. Since treating with the FrogLube the rifle ran flawlessly only having a double feed malfunction, I wasn’t the shooter during that string of fire and can’t comment on that malfunction and after it was cleared there were no more hiccups with the rifle. I got this rifle very hot and after it cooled down and I brought it home I broke it down to clean and it simply wiped clean without scrubbing or excessive effort.

froglubeMy final impressions of this product are that I’m excited about it.  It’s a Non-Toxic U.S. made product from a veteran owned business that has a fantastic wintergreen smell to it.  You can apply it with your bare hands safely (be cautious though since the parts you will apply it to are going to be very hot). Very simply this product works and works well. Since my test at the range the other day I have since treated two of my pistols and my daily carried CRKT M-21 knife. The CRKT is prone to rust from moisture and sweat from wearing close to the skin in my pocket. I haven’t seen any rust on the blade since FrogLube was applied. If this product meets the criteria that you are looking for, I have no reservations recommending it to you for whatever use you can find for it. As for now stay safe, train and have a good ‘un.

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The Kel-Tec SU-16C

AR-15

AR-15 (Photo credit: robscomputer)

Ok folks, today I’m going to get us started off with perhaps one of the most widely adopted weapons platforms in the U.S., the 5.56mm/.223rem semi-automatic sporting rifle/defensive carbine.  When most think of this platform, they immediately jump to the AR-15 series of rifles.  These are a battle proven design that I carried for many years in the U.S. Army and placed my life on the line with on more occasions than I would have liked.  The AR-15 today is one of the most reliable and adaptable platforms known to man.  There are pistol variations and sniper variations and everything in between.  Perhaps the most widely used is the 16″ barrel model which is the shortest legal barrel length for a rifle under the National Firearms Act, that is without paying for a $200 tax stamp and registering it as an SBR (short barreled rifle) but we will get to that another day.

This is a common work around for the “dirty” gas impingement system.

The AR platform is of course not without it’s drawbacks.  First and foremost is that they are generally expensive.  It’s not uncommon to see rifles on the rack at your local dealer with a base price of over $1,000.  Now I don’t know about you but  I don’t really have a grand sitting around that’s really all that disposable for a firearm purchase.  The other problem with the cost is that generally that $1,000 will only get you a base rifle with no bells and whistles that are so popular today. They also work off of a direct impingement gas system which is a fairly dirty way of doing things.  This system uses a tube from the gas block to vent hot gasses and carbon from the barrel back into the upper receiver to push the bolt carrier group back against the buffer and recoil spring.  This causes a buildup of carbon and fouling inside your upper receiver and in your trigger group in the lower receiver as well.  There are short stroke gas piston models that utilize a piston to drive the bolt carrier group instead of the hot gas along which certainly run cleaner.  I myself have zero experience with this particular system as it was not adopted by the U.S. Military and they are cost prohibitive for me to own (take that $1,000 price tag for a base model and jack it way up).  There are also conversion kits to a gas piston system for the AR-15 which seem to be well received.

English: Kel-Tec SU-16C with stock in folded p...

Kel-Tec SU-16C with stock in folded position. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enter the Kel-Tec SU-16C.  At $575(Price paid, MSRP is listed at $770) this 4.7lb firearm is a long stroke gas piston operated carbine with a 16″ threaded barrel.  It accepts the same reliable magazines that feed the AR-15 platform which range in capacity from 5rds on up to 100rds and any muzzle device that the AR platform accepts.  This firearm is constructed of a glass reinforced polymer known as Zytel where possible and steel where necessary to save weight and reduce cost.  It sports a parkerized finish on the steel and the barrel is chrome lined (earlier versions were unlined and newer versions I’m told, will be salt bath nitride treated).  It has an integral picatinny rail on the upper receiver for optics mounting and the fore end converts to a bipod to stabilize longer shots.  The “star” bolt will look familiar to those of you who know the AR platform.  This model also has the underfolder stock that permits the carbine to be fired while folded, and stored very compactly.  The front sight was borrowed from the AR platform as well.  The operating system for this rifle however, is pure AK-47.

Just last week I took my SU-16C to the local range to put it through it’s paces.  Prior to my range time I took the time to fit the carbine with an A2 flash hider.  Ammunition used was 55gr American Eagle Tactical 5.56mm.  The owners manual very clearly states that the carbine requires at least a 200 round break in and that you may experience a few malfunctions during this process.  I experienced none, although in full disclosure my buddy that went to the range with me experienced a double feed during his string of fire.  The double feed was cleared and no other malfunctions were experienced.  Being as my local range is an indoor facility, the range only goes out to 25yds, so that is the distance to which this carbine was zeroed.  Sight adjustment is simple and straight forward.  If you shoot high adjust the front sight post up.  If you’re shooting right, adjust the rear sight to the right.  I was able to get a good zero in 9 rounds.  Kel-Tec includes a tool to adjust the windage, they do not include a tool to adjust the front sight elevation, so I was left to make adjustments with a pick from my OTIS cleaning kit and a Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool.  You can buy a tool to adjust both windage and elevation from Kel-Tec for around $15.  This kinda bothered me though.  If they are going to include a tool to adjust one sight, why not include the ability to adjust all of them?  One issue I experienced was heat.  This carbine does get hot, although so does an AR when you put 200 rounds through it in fairly rapid succession.  If you intend to do a fair amount of shooting I highly suggest a good pair of shooting gloves and judicious hand placement.

My final impressions of this little lightweight carbine are quite favorable.  Accuracy is on par with any AR type rifle I have fired.  This carbine is well suited for outdoor use when you’ve got miles to cover and weight is a concern.  It also makes a pretty outstanding truck/ranch gun.  The durability remains to be truly seen as I’ve only done the initial break-in on this rifle but it’s looking promising.  Just prior to writing this review I did notice upon a teardown and cleaning that just in front of the hammer, it appears as though the hammer had impacted an area of plastic in front of the trigger housing group and has caused some stress to the plastic.  A phone call to Kel-Tec support left me with the answer that this is a common wear point on the SU-16 series of rifles and will not impact the performance of the rifle in any way.  I will however be keeping a keen eye on this and make any updates necessary.  All in all I’m satisfied with this carbine and look forward to using it for years to come.  As for now stay safe, train and, have a good ‘un.

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