1911 Fans Commence to Drooling

Knives with interchangeable 1911 grips.

Not the best shape for a knife handle, but it sure looks cool.

Robb’s new gun has granite countertops

Robb shows off his latest gun:

Now, for those of you who say “Robb, that looks more like a kitchen”, you’d be depressingly right. I wanted a Kriss… Instead I got a leak in the sink that destroyed the counter and thus had to replace the entire kitchen instead.

Yep. Last year I spent a 1911 on new gutters. Last month I spent an AR-15 with a nice optic on scheduled maintenance and brakes for two cars. This month I spent a Glock on new bathroom floors.

Heck, I still don’t own an AR-15. I was telling someone the other day that every time I have a thousand dollars of disposable income rolling around I wind up buying camera gear. With work and family obligations I’d shoot the AR-15 a couple times a year, versus using the camera gear at least once a week. If the zombie hoards arrive tomorrow they’ll have to settle for being shot with a $125 SKS.

LuckyGunner Shoot Semi-Autos: Coonan, S&W M&P, Kel-Tec PMR, RFB and KSG

The Luckygunner shoot was mostly about fully automatic weapons, but there were plenty of interesting semi-autos to shoot.

Yesterday: 7 Full Auto Videos from the LuckyGunner Machinegun Shoot 2011
Today: Video and Notes for non-Full Auto Guns
Thursday: People Pictures and Some More Guns

Kel-Tec PMR-30 Pistol .22 Magnum

Of the three Kel-Tecs I liked the PMR-30 pistol the best. It’s the second coming of George Kellgren’s Grendel-30. As with the Grendel, Kellgren followed up the pistol with a rifle that shares the same magazines.

Chris Maynard with the Kel-Tec PMR-30 Rifle

Chris Maynard with the Kel-Tec PMR-30 Rifle

With its plastic frame the PMR-30 pistol is amazingly lightweight – just 14 ounces without a magazine. If I’m dreaming up a backwoods survival scenario I’d much rather have one of these than a silly AR-7.

Even with the light weight it was easy to control on rapid fire. The green and red fiber optic sights are easy to see even in bright sunlight. I wasn’t crazy about the heel-mounted magazine release, but with 30 rounds in a magazine I didn’t need to use it very often.

Kel-Tec RFB Rifle .308 Winchester

I liked the RFB (Rifle, Forward-Ejecting, Bullpup) second best. The RFB is another example of George Kellgren designing something out of the ordinary that a lot of people found compelling.

It was compact and easy to shoot. Noisy, but it’s a .308 with an 18 inch barrel so I guess that comes with the territory.

Kel-Tec KSG 12 gauge

Gun boards all across the Internet lit up when Kel-Tec announced the KSG (Kel-Tec Shotgun).The KSG has two 7 round tubular magazines under the barrel and a switch to select which barrel is feeding the gun. You have 14 rounds total, with the option to load each magazine with different types of ammo – birdshot, buckshot, slugs, or specialty rounds.

The KSG is interesting, but finicky. It was balky to load compared to any pump or auto shotgun I’ve ever used. As I was scraping rounds into the tubes I dreamed of a nice, slick, chrome-plated shell lifter. Likewise, the magazine selector switch is about as smooth as a corn cob in an outhouse.

One advantage of a pumpgun over an autoloader is that it works with a variety of shotgun shells. Not so for the KSG. The specimen on display jammed repeatedly on the load we were shooting, locking up the action.

The KSG is an intriguing design, but the execution seems finicky and not ready for primetime. I’d rather have a sleeker, lighter pumpgun with better ergonomics and no ammunition hangups. I’d only get the KSG if I desperately needed the two 7-round tube magazines and could train with it enough to compensate for its quirks.

Coonan 1911 .357 Magnum

The Coonan is pretty much what it says it is – a 1911 that fires .357 Magnum. Some of the parts are 1911 standard and some aren’t, but if you’ve shot a 1911 you’ll feel right at home with the Coonan.

Last year I gave the Coonan 1911 in .357 Magnum some ribbing. I got to shoot one this weekend. It shot fine. Recoil was very manageable, as you’ll see in the video below. Are they supposed to slidelock after the last shot? This one never did on three magazines.

Me Shooting a Coonan 1911 in .357 Magnum:

They’re OK guns if you just gotta have a 1911 that fires .357 Magnum, but I just don’t see the point. With that barrel length you can get near-.357 Magnum factory load performance out of a .357 SIG or 9mm +p+. In return you’ll get a much larger selection of guns with double the magazine capacity and a grip that’s shorter from front to back. Or if it’s a classic 1911 you want there’s .38 Super.

To me the Coonan only makes sense if you’re handloading something much hotter than factory loads. Even then, you’re just getting an extra round in the mag +1 in the chamber vs. a revolver and you’ll have to swap springs when you change loads. I’ll stick to my revolvers when I’m shooting .357 Magnum. 1911-philes may of course feel differently.

S&W M&P9

With all the cool kids buying M&Ps I wanted to shoot SayUncle’s S&W M&P9. I had shot an M&P before, but hadn’t given it much consideration. The grip does feel a little better than a Glock. What I was really curious about was the LaserGrip option.

I love LaserGrips. One gripe I’ve had about Glocks has been that there wasn’t a great way to use a CrimsonTrace LaserGrip. The wraparound units seemed kludgey and enlarged the grip. The new LaserGuard that attaches to the rail seems better, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your holster.

With the M&Ps there is a non-kludgey way to attach a CrimsonTrace LaserGrip that doesn’t increase the grip diameter or limit your holster selection. The M&P LaserGrip goes in the replaceable backstrap. No muss, no fuss. I had wondered if activating the laser with your palm would be awkward, but it wasn’t. It just worked with my normal grip and I never had to think about it. Win.

Glock vs. 1911

“A Glock is like that son that goes to college, gets a decent paying job, and is just a normal person. That kid that always does the right thing, doesn’t ask for much attention, and you sometimes don’t show enough attention to because it isn’t very exciting. But that’s why you love it, you know it’s fine and you did a good job picking it out.

A 1911 on the other hand… that’s the son that acts out in school, doesn’t make it through college, never holds a good job, and never really acts right. He might even dress different, have his own style, and be more refined in appearance than the other 1911 sons. You still love it, even though it is a pain in your butt most of the time.”



Guns and cameras, together again

Dr. Strangegun has an illustrated post on detail-stripping a 1911. The camera part is his light rig, which is amazingly practical. I think I have that same tripod (it’s a Sunpak, right?) and I have a basically similar clamp-on worklight I used in my pet scorpion’s aquarium. Looks danged handy.

P.S. Once upon a time I started a Guns and Cameras category, but it stalled out after a few posts and I nuked it. Now thanks to tags I can do something similar without committing to a new category. I’ve been having way too much fun playing with tags lately.

Bought a gun at Wal-Mart for the first time

Next month I’m attending an Appleseed shoot in Manchester, TN. None of my guns is quite right for an Appleseed shoot, and the 10/22 is their recommended gun barring anything else appropriate.

Friday I strolled into the sporting goods section at Wal-Mart to look at .22 rifles. I was glad to see L. manning the counter. (Doesn’t everyone know their Wal-Mart gun counter clerk by name?)

I asked to see the Ruger 10/22 in the rack. L. said he loved his. I mentioned why I wanted it and he had heard of the shoot I was going to, and we swapped stories about travelling that part of Tennessee on Interstate 24 between Nashville and Chattanooga. Another customer came by and endorsed the 10/22. He had replaced the barrel and stock on his with custom parts. (The 10/22 rifle along with the AR-15 rifle and Colt 1911 pistol is one of the most accessorized and customized guns in America. You can replace every single part on those gun with a different part made by someone other than the original manufacturer.)

To buy a gun in the United States you have to provide a photo ID and fill out an ATF form 4473. I’ve done it more than a few times, but Wal-Mart was by far the most exacting about it. As L. told me, “You’ve probably filled out one of these before, but it’s a little different at Wal-Mart.” He cautioned me that Wal-Mart doesn’t accept abbreviations. I’d have to spell out Tennessee and Street, Avenue, etc., and that I’d have to give the year of my birth in four digits.

When I finished the the 4473 I was asked to put N/A in spaces I had left blank, such as my Social Security number, which is optional. The form went to NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) for approval. A little while later NICS came back an approval number. An assistant manager and co-manager came to the gun counter to verify the paperwork and to make sure the serial number on the paperwork matched the serial number on the gun.

After I paid one of the managers escorted me to the exit. He carried the gun, not me. On the way to the exit he told me I’d need my receipt. At the exit he asked the greeter to check my receipt, even though he had watched me pay. Lots of folks are unhappy about Wally World’s rules for buying guns, but I guess they feel the need to protect themselves from potential liability. I knew what to expect and it didn’t bother me.

Ruger makes several dozen variations on the popular 10/22. The one I bought isn’t listed on Ruger’s Web site because it’s a Wal-Mart exclusive. It has a 22″ stainless steel barrel, a little nicer stock than the standard Ruger 10/22 Carbine with checkering and no barrel band, a longer length-of-pull better suited to an adult than a youth, and standard sling swivels. Price was $238 before tax.

The Appleseed folks recommend folding down the 10/22’s standard folding sight and instead using a TechSight brand aperture sight. That works for me – I much prefer aperture sights to open sights. The Tech-Sight extends the sight radius another eight inches and is easier to adjust for windage and elevation than the 10/22’s standard sight. For sixty bucks or so the TechSight is a square deal.

“Put down that walnut-gripped 1911 sissy pistol and getcher self a Glock”

PDBTupperware Jihad:

In all that faggoty advertisementese is no objective explanation why I would choose this gun over, oh, say, a Glock 17, which happens to cost half as much, hold twice as many rounds, weigh half as much, shoot just as accurately, run more reliably out of the box, and is assembled from armorer friendly parts that do not require skilled fitting. The last point bears repeating: There are no parts on a Glock that cannot be changed in about 30 minutes by a user who has a hammer, screwdriver, and a punch.

Stick, meet hornet’s nest. Hornet’s nest, meet stick.

Glock vs. 1911 Shootoff

Via The High Road. Here were the rules.

1. If you pull the trigger and your gun does not go bang, you are out of the match.
2. There is no maintenance on any gun after the match starts. You can’t lube the gun and if your sights fall off, either you quit or you shoot without sights, but you don’t get to put them back on. You don’t get to tighten screws or tap back in pins that have “walked” during the match.
3. A gun may not be hand cycled after chambering the first round of the day. You can sling shot or mag release to send the gun into battery after a reload, but you cannot cycle a gun already in battery in order to feed a new round into battery.

Note that last rule. If the slide fails to lock back after the last round the pistol was out of the running. And here are the results, from lowest to highest round count.:

Pistol Model Factory # of rounds Cause for Failure or Reloads
Glock 21 R 2 Slide lock with mag
Glock 17 R 2 Failure to Feed
Kimber Tac II F 6 Double Feed
Wilson 1911 F 7 Failure to Lock Back
Colt 1911 F 8 Failure to feed
Glock 22 F 8 Stove Pipe
Glock 17 R 8 Mag failure to lock in
Glock 35 R 49 Failure to Feed
10-8 NY 1911 F 279 Failure to Feed
Glock 17 F 344 No Slide lock on Empty
Glock 21 F 977 Failure to Lock Back
Glock 17 F 980 Sight off
Colt 1911 F 1008 Finished course of Fire
Glock 17 R 1073 Finished course of Fire
Glock 17L R 1167 Bad Primer

So out of the 17 guns seven conked out in the first magazine. Two other guns not listed above- one Colt Government and a Glock 17 – had no failures.

I don’t know how much to draw from this. Not oiling a gun for 1000 rounds isn’t very realistic, for instance. But it’s interesting to see what the failures were. One person’s Glock failed when the aftermarket stick-on sandpaper grips blocked the slide release, for instance. Conclusions from this and other Glock vs. 1911 shootoffs here.

The Wrong End of a Gun

The killing spree at Virginia Tech has prompted discussion about what the students might have done. Some of it is sensible, but some of it is second-guessing, chest-pounding naïveté. Mark Steyn, a columnist I respect and frequently agree with, wrote an awful piece of agenda-injection decrying the VA Tech massacre as an example of what he calls a “culture of passivity.”

Some bloggers and others are describing what it was really like to find themselves being robbed at gunpoint. It’s probably a good idea to read those accounts before forming an opinion about how a person can be expected to react.

Rich Hailey was robbed when he worked as a convenience store night manager.

He waited until the only other customer in the store left, then he approached the counter and pulled a gun. It was a small revolver, and he pointed it at me and demanded that I give him the money in the register. As I started to pull out the money, he changed his mind and told me to hand over the drawer. I did, and as he went to pull the money out, he set his gun down on the counter between us.

Now the adolescent hero boy that lives in all of us immediately speaks up.

“Wow! If I were there, I would have grabbed the gun and got the drop on him. And if he even twitched wrong, BANG! I’d a dropped that sucker in his tracks. Yessirree bubba, that’s what I’da done.”

No you wouldn’t have.

I thought about it. The guy was high on something and moving slowly. I would have had a good chance of grabbing the gun and being a hero, and only a small chance of missing and winding up dead. Well, let me tell you folks something. When you’re looking at a gun, death is there in the room with you, and it’s close, and real, and you have a completely different perspective. I believed that if I went for his gun and missed, he would kill me. End of story. Whether that belief was accurate or not is irrelevant; it’s what I believed at the time. I figured that my best chance of avoiding that big ugly thing called Death was to cooperate and not give this guy any grief.

Nashville Knucklehead recalls being held up when he was bartending at a Nashville O’Charley’s.

I have read things from people questioning the bravery of the victims at VT. Things like, “If three of them had rushed the gunman, maybe they could have save dozens of lives.”

If you think that, you are a total fucking idiot.

I remember it like it was last week. I was laying on the floor in the dining room while the gunman was in the back. I could have gotten up and run out the door and gone next door and called the cops. But I didn’t. Why? Because the motherfucker HAD A GUN. He could have come out as I was leaving and shot me in the back. Or come out after I left and said, “Where’s the dude with all the hair?!?” and started shooting all my friends. What if I had saved my ass at the expense of my co-workers? Would that make me a hero? When someone has a gun, you don’t act like a hero, you do what he says. I’m a big motherfucker. I’m a brave motherfucker. You know what? Little dude HAD A FUCKING GUN!

Rich and Jim didn’t have guns, but Flatiron on the 1911 forums did. He was armed and mentally ready to use a gun, but got caught by surprise at a storage center.

I carry in a load and when I come out a young punk is standing there with a ski mask on, black baggy pants, black baggy coat and it actually takes me a few seconds to realize he has a 9mm black Glock pointed right at my chest.

I put my hands up and say “be cool bro” and at that he says “give it up” and I say “be cool” again at this point he starts getting all excited and cursing and saying stuff like “you think I’m playing %$#@&”

I pull out my wallet and say this is all I have. He snatches it with the gun pointing at my face now.

Now I would like to point out that I am never unarmed and because I was working in my backyard I had sweat pants on and sweatshirt and hooded zip up jacket and I had my Kel-Tec .380 in a pocket holster in my right front pocket.

He is about about 3 feet from me with the gun now pointed at my chest. For one second I contemplated knocking his arm away and rushing him but you know what… when the gun is aimed at you it’s a whole different story.

We can always learn lessons from people’s experiences. Once we know what could happen we can come up with new plans. After 9/11 passengers know better than to assume that a hijacking will end with a safe landing, and can adjust their mental posture. Likewise, we can admire the passengers of Flight 93 who learned what happened to theo ther planes and overpowered their attackers, or professor Liviu Librescu, the 76 year old Holocaust survivor who sacrifice his own his life at VA Tech to give his students time to escape.

At the same time, I think a wise person should be reluctant to second-guess the split-second decisions ordinary people make in life or death situations. That’s particularly true when those ordinary people are facing the long odds of being empty-handed on the wrong end of a gun.

The Smith &Glockfield Excuse-O-Matic 9000

Why do some people refuse to call a jam a jam? From a thread on The High Road:

I’ve got a 4-inch Service model . . . .it’s had about 2852 rounds through it. (Give or take 2 rounds). It is 100% absolutely positively boring in that it never jams, fails to fire and rarely misses the target.

Sounds good, but here’s his next paragraph:

I shoot tons of 200 Gr. LSWC ammo in my 1911’s and when I tried to use it in the XD45 it would digest maybe 100 rounds and then start jamming on every 5th-8th round. I tried about everything I could think of reloading wise and was never able to get it to run more than 100 rounds without a jam of some sort. My best was 99 rounds.

Hey, lots of autos don’t like semi-wadcutters. That’s fine. And if the gun shoots without jams using the ammunition you use, that’s fine, too. Just say so in the first place.

Link Party USA

Akamai studyE-commerce Pages Should Load in Under 4 Seconds.

Megan McArdle“What would nationalised health care look like here?”. That first item shouldn’t be underestimated.

Hell in a HandbasketGuns of “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. I’m working on a massive post for “Guns of Unforgiven” I need to finish one day.

McSweeney’sSubmission Guidelines for our Refrigerator Door. “We are open to all types of media as long as the work is light enough to be affixed to our refrigerator door by no more than six alphabet magnets.”

Seasonshot.comShotgun ammo. With flavor! I’m assuming this is a joke.

Xavier BreathCut-away pictures of the 1911 thumb and grip safeties in action.

“Only One Gun”

Anarchangel has an interesting variation on the “only one gun” theme: which gun would you choose for each of these categories?

1. Rimfire Handgun – I don’t have much passion on this one. My Browning Buckmark would be fine, but so would a Ruger Mark II/III with a good trigger job or replacement trigger. (Countertop has a Mark II with an amazing trigger.) I’m tempted by a K-frame S&W .22 revolver.

2. Rimfire rifle – My Winchester 170. It’s not necessarily the best, and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to choose it, but it was my first gun and I don’t ever plan on selling it.

3. Centerfire hunting rifle – No strong feelings here, either. I’d probably sneak in the Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine.

4. Centerfire carbine (either hunting or defensive) – Probably an AR-15, if I could think of a reason I’d use one. I tend to think the cheaper Kel-Tec SU-16 has more practical uses, and it uses the same ammo and magazines.

5. Shotgun – My Mossberg 500 pump in 12 gauge suits me fine, and I’ve got both a slug barrel and trap/field barrel for it. The only reason I’d want anything else is if I took up skeet and wanted to be competitive with the guys running $10,000 over/unders.

6. Battle rifle – M1 Garand. As with the AR-15, I don’t have much practical use for a gun like this, but the Garand has historical value, and many clubs sponsor Garand matches that are beginner-friendly. This is on my near-term buy list.

7. Milsurp rifle or handgun – Probably a 1911 (I’m sort of cheating it in here), but my SKS is an awfully handy and inexpensive trunk gun. A trunk gun would a good 10th category.

8. Pocket gun/Concealed carry handgun – My S&W 642, a small, snub-nosed, 15 oz .38 revolver.

9. Open carry handgun/service pistol/general duty sidearm – Probably my S&W 686 .357 revolver, though I’m tempted to go with something shorter than its 6″ barrel.

UPDATE: I forgot that I was supposed to pick one gun if I could only have one. I’d go with a .357 Magnum revolver with a 3″ barrel. Powerful, versatile, and it’ll fit in a pants pocket if it has to. My 3″ 64 .38 Special is almost there, but I’d probably swap it for a 3″ 66 in .357 Magnum with adjustable sights.

The Intangible Part of Shooting

Uncle, back from the Gunblogger Rendezvous in Reno, writes:

I had an epiphany of sorts in Reno. No matter what I do, how hard I try, or what I know: I just don’t like AKs. Period. Can’t help it.

I have a nice AK (see pics here) and I should like it. … But I don’t. I don’t like how they feel. I don’t enjoy shooting them. It has nothing to do with them not being fine weapons. I guess, my dislike of it is more aesthetic/ergonomic in nature. I’ll probably unload it at the next gun show.

In comments, I told Uncle how he feels about AKs is how I feel about Glocks. I’ll concede intellectually that Glocks are incredibly reliable and durable. They’re also remarkably corrosion resistant, not unfairly priced, lightweight, available in a huge assortment of frame sizes and calibers, and have an embarrassment of aftermarket parts, accessories, and qualified gunsmiths who know how to work on them. Despite all that, and despite having shot eight or 10 different Glock models, I’ve never bought one because they just don’t move me. The only one I feel like I shoot well with is the model 30.

The handguns I like – S&W revolvers, 1911s, CZs, SIGs – are guns with great triggers, sights, and ergonomics that keep me hitting the X ring. If a gun can’t do that – and make me enjoy it – I won’t buy it. Townsend Whelen captured it, in part, when he said, “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” Only enjoyable guns are interesting, maybe. There’s a reason the almost-century old Colt 1911 is still going strong – a gun with great pointability, great balance, and a great trigger is still a great gun, in any century.

This will be anathema to people who aren’t part of the gun culture, but part of the appeal of shooting for some of us is pleasure. Shooting a well-designed, well-crafted gun and shooting it well is pleasurable. Some people will find that idea shocking. Others will nod knowingly.

New Springfield Armory EMP (Enhanced Micro Pistol) 1911


This is interesting. It’s a 1911 made specifically for short cartridges (9 mm, .40 S&W, .45 GAP) and sized to match. The picture above shows the EMP compared to a comparable short-barreled 1911. From The High Road.

Bonus!This Kimber is a wicked CCW gun, with no hammer or sights to snag on.

Weekly Gun Nuttery

ArtooOnPatrol2.jpgGullyborg has the Carnival of Cordite 55, with lots of links to Anarchangel’s recent spate of high output, excellent stuff.

Cowboy Blog rounds up the gun bloggers Buy a Gun Day purchases. Late addition: Tam’s 1883 S&W top break. Some other interesting old guns: Denise’s WWII Japanese Nambu pistol, Mostly Cajun’s 1910 Canadian Ross straight-pull, and Heartless Libertarian’s WWII Remington-Rand 1911. If you missed it, here’s my 1944 British Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine.

Gunner notes that Wal-Mart is discontinuing gun sales at some of their stores.

Jeff has the weekly check on the bias, his roundup of gun coverage in the media.

SayUncle fisks an article about Columbine and refutes some gun control myths that have grown up around it.

GeekWithA45 reviews the new CrimsonTrace LaserGrips model 405 for J-framed Smith &Wessons. I have the same 305-equipped S&W 642 as the Geek and R2 there, and I think I’d like the new mid-sized 405 as much as the Geek does.