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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.22 Training

Hey Folks,

Ammunition

Ammunition (Photo credit: simonov)

Ammo prices have gone through the roof. Gun store shelves are bare as can be. This is most likely a sign of many more things to come. Given new state government regulations in New York and several states to come, it is now going to be very difficult to train or even just enjoy a day at the range. I’m sure most of you have considered this and have already or are planning on taking appropriate actions.  Today I am going to outline why a .22 is going to be such an important firearm in your collection for training and survival.

There are many things to consider when training and above all is whether or not your training has any true value. By this I mean that you should be getting true benefit from it. If you are not benefiting and growing with each day of training you put in. Another very important thing to consider is that you can’t reap any benefits from training if you can’t afford to do it. Ammo in major rifle and handgun calibers is so hard to get ahold of that I myself have just stopped trying for now. I’ve built a very modest stock of what I can carry in a “worst case” situation and that’s been about it. Even now .22 ammo is hard to find but when you can find it, it is still cheap and available in bulk packs of 500 or so rounds for what you’d pay for a 20 round box of 5.56/.223. Firearms in .22 are usually more inexpensive than major caliber firearms with a few exceptions and from what I’ve seen are still widely available. This makes a similar “for training use only” firearm to what you already own a little more budget friendly.

I myself do not own a .22 version of my defensive carbine or handgun, but I do own a simple bolt action .22 that my father taught me to shoot on.  Time with that rifle is spent on the range perfecting the basics of marksmanship (Trigger manipulation, breathing, sight picture and sight alignment). With constant work in these areas it is of great benefit to me in both rifle and handgun shooting.  Not flinching is something that I constantly have to work on as well and I’m certain that most of you have this issue as well.

The topic of the .22 as a survival rifle has been covered by so many others and there is a wonderful wealth of knowledge available all over the internet.  I am not a survival expert, that’s not my training background. I am a self proclaimed firearms expert with much to learn still. Here is what I do know. .22 rifles are quiet, light and you can carry hundreds of rounds in a package about the size and weight of one .223 30-round magazine. This affords you a very portable package that can be packed with you virtually anywhere that will allow you to get small game and extend your life span in a survival situation. So the next time you see that old .22 just sitting on the rack at your local gun shop, give it a serious consideration. That very firearm might be the most important purchase you ever make. As for now train, stay safe and have a good ‘un.

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RV Travel With Firearms

*I am not a lawyer and none of the information in this post is to be construed to be legal advice.*

Recreational Vehicle

Recreational Vehicle (Photo credit: *Grant*)

Afternoon all,

Late last month, my father and I began a discussion about traveling with firearms. My dad has purchased a small RV and was keen to hear my opinions on carrying a firearm while on the road. This sent me on a trip of my own to do lots of research on the subject.  I rarely travel myself so I had to rely on the experiences of others to formulate an educated answer to my dad.

The first thing I did was look through several forums and blogs that are more dedicated to this particular issue. The one thing that I was able to take from them is that research on your destination’s local and state laws is paramount. First and foremost is the importance of the decision to carry a firearm with you in the first place. Carrying a pistol or rifle come with an inherent responsibility that you owe to every single person, place or thing that you encounter. Your decision to carry could affect the lives of many more than just yourself and travel companions. Once that decision is made, the decision on what to carry comes into play.  The primary question here is; what is your perceived threat? Do you spend a lot of time out in more primitive camping areas? Are predatory animals a concern? Do you tend to just pull up to any ole’ parking lot to take a rest for the night? Truck stops? What kind of lockable storage is available in your rig?  These are important questions to ask yourself and making a list of your answers is helpful.

Once you’ve narrowed down your needs then a selection is to be made. One thing to keep in mind is that RV’s are small cramped quarters. Shouldering a shotgun or long rifle isn’t going to be a practical option inside the RV. My suggestion here is to have a couple options on board. A handgun of course makes excellent sense inside a vehicle, I also suggest the consideration of a pistol caliber carbine that shares an ammunition and magazine commonality with your handgun. The same system applies if you’re more of a wheelgun fan, carbines are available in .38spc/.357mag and .44mag.  Of course you have the option to carry whatever you wish but this pairing in my opinion works well for the traveler. Whether you decide to go the route of a two firearm solution or a single firearm is a very personal decision and budget certainly comes into play here however, there are a few budget friendly options in these categories that offer all the benefits at the price of one “top shelf” handgun.

Gun laws are what will be the most important thing to consider after you’ve decided to carry a firearm in the first place.  Different states and municipalities have different laws and ordinances and when you place yourself with a firearm in that area, your ignorance of these regulations will not be a defense to your prosecution if you are discovered armed. These laws can limit the magazine capacity, length, and size of what weapon you can legally possess. There are a few websites that consolidate applicable laws in an easy to find database. handgunlaw.us is an outstanding and very well researched example of one of these. Getting yourself a concealed handgun permit/cwp/chl…whatever your state calls it, is a very advisable thing for you to do.  Many states have reciprocity with other states that allow you to freely carry your loaded and concealed handgun into and through that state, without fear of prosecution.  Be advised though, that these reciprocity agreements do tend to change some, so research immediately before your trip to see if anything has changed. There are also many states that are so called “open carry” states. This means that a loaded firearm can be openly carried without breaking any laws. What this means to the RV traveler is that your firearm can be close at hand provided that it is not concealed from view in your rig.

If you still have any questions after your research is done, a phone call or visit to the attorney general’s website for the state you plan to travel to could help to clear up a lot of things. Many places also recognize the fact that when your RV is no longer moving down the highway and is serving as your “home”, the legal definition of your vehicle changes to a dwelling much like a hotel room is recognized as your dwelling when you’re inside.  This is a good question to have in mind while you’re researching laws or if you call to the attorney general’s office. If traveling through more restrictive states, the federal standard for transporting of a firearm is to have it locked in a secure area (locking storage box or safe) and ammunition is to be locked away separately. I myself have no desire to visit places that would require me to give up my right and ability to protect myself and my family. The important thing to take away from this post is that your own research is necessary and so important to keep yourself on the right side of jail walls. The reason for traveling is to see wonderful sites and enjoy your time on the road. Simply ignoring the laws will result badly for you. Make good choices and train with your chosen firearms. That is what will make the difference if you’re ever forced to use them in defense. Enjoy your travels and have fun. As always stay safe, train and have a good un’.

If you’re looking for more information on the RV lifestyle, I urge you to head over to yourfulltimervliving.com. It is a great resource on the in’s and outs of living full time in an RV and has plenty of information for even the casual traveler.

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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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