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.

Pics of those $200-300 S&W revolvers at J&G Sales

by Will, who likes his. They look darned nice.

Will writes:

I picked up my J&G model 10 from my ffl this afternoon. I couldn’t be happier with the pistol, I chose the “very good plus” graded model and they really delivered. Here are some pictures:

The gun has a nice deep blued finish with a small amount of wear on the muzzle and around the grip. Everything else is in excellent shape with little to no wear. The cylinder drag mark is very light, leading me to believe that this gun has seen little use. The bore is bright and shiny with crisp rifling and the lockup is tight. The trigger is phenomenal in both double and single action. Overall I’m extremely pleased, I’m actually tempted to pick up one of the heavy barrel models before they are gone.

PreviouslyS&W Model 10 and 64 Revolvers $200-300

S&W Model 10 and 64 Revolvers $200-300

At J&G Sales. Sweet deals on used Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolvers.

The Model 10 is blued steel and the 64 is stainless steel. Otherwise they’re identical – .38 Special, six shot, K frame (S&W’s medium frame), with fixed sights that can’t snag or break. These are guns that can last a lifetime without any problems.

Some of the 64s they’re selling are DAO (double action only) models with bobbed hammers. Better for carry, less good for target shooting because you can’t cock the hammer.

Stainless, y’all

I’m a stainless-loving Philistine, so I’d choose the 64. In fact, I already did. I’ve got two 64s, one with a 3″ barrel and one rare .357 Magnum model in 4″. I’ve also got a 3″ 65 (essentially the 64 but in .357 Magnum) and a 3″ 66 (the 64 but in .357 Magnum and with adjustable sights).

With stainless there’s very little worry about corrosion, but that isn’t the only reason to choose it. Like wood, stainless is a continuous material – it’s the same on the outside as it is on the inside. If it gets worn you can polish it or bead blast it to renew the surface. Scratches are less noticeable because the inside is the same material and same color as the outside.

Via comments at Caleb’s.

Drop-in trigger replacement for S&W J frame revolvers

This sounds pretty awesome.

How is Smith & Wesson selling the Governor so cheap?

Caleb reports that Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for Smith & Wesson’s new .410/.45 Long Colt/.45 ACP Governor revolver will be $599. Checking S&W’s Web site, they’re saying $679. Either way, how the heck are they selling it that cheap?

For comparison, the 329PD Alaska Backpacker in .44 Magnum has an MSRP of $979. The Model 325 Night Guard in .45 ACP has an MSRP of $1,049. Like the Governor, those are large frame guns with scandium-aluminum alloy frames that are lightweight, yet strong enough to handle a stout cartridge.

The only cost-cutting measure I can see on the Governor is non-adjustable sights. On the flip side, it has a tritium front sight. (And they may have had to tool up to make a new cylinder size. Not sure.)

Couple theories:

  • S&W is using a new fabrication method or lockwork to reduce production costs, a la the Bodyguard. Has anyone removed the sideplate and eyeballed the lockwork?
  • S&W is worried enough about Taurus that they’re drastically dropping their price to compete with the Taurus Judge, which sells for about that same MSRP.
  • Whereas most S&Ws sell well below MSRP, this one will sell very close to list, though by itself that wouldn’t be enough to explain the low price.
  • Someone at S&W goofed and we’ll find out the $679 isn’t the correct MSRP. The different MSRPs that have been reported would tend to support this theory.

Hey, if they can really sell the gun that cheap it’s great news. Make another version with a shorter cylinder (that can’t fire .410 shells) and it would be a bargain for a .45 ACP/.45 Long Colt revolver. I hope they can make some other frame sizes and calibers that cheap. I’d just like to know how they’re getting the price so low.

Gun Links

Video of the Kel-Tec KSG shotgun being fired. It doesn’t look bad at all for a 12 gauge. Muzzle flip seems pretty mild. The inline design probably helps there.

Chris Byrne looks at 1000 yard rifles and what it costs to run 10,000 rounds through them when you include the rifle, reloading components and barrels. .338 Lapua and .50 BMG are expensive, bubba.

New S&W Bodyguards. Major re-design with plastic frame, completely new assembly procedure, ambidextrous cylinder release and integrated laser. Yee haw.

S&W Governor six-shot .410/.45 Colt/.45 ACP. Smith & Wesson must want some of that sweet, sweet Taurus Judge money, though Tam makes a good point:

I don’t mean to cast aspersions on any certain demographic, but in my experience, the Venn diagram of those who are willing and able to dump a kilobuck on a brand-name Scandium alloy revolver and those who think a .410 revolving shot pistol is the bee’s knees contains very little in the way of overlap.

Meanwhile Taurus ups the ante by showing off a 28 gauge Taurus Judge. So .410 is roughly 64 gauge. Going from .410 to 28 gauge is a pretty big step. Shotgun shell revolvers aren’t my cup of tea, but I’ll bet this will rekindle interest in 28 gauge guns and ammo. I always like seeing old cartridges make a comeback, so I see the 28 gauge Judge as a good thing.

Top Shot Season 3 is casting. Thanks to Andrew for the tip.

Illustrated S&W Revolver Disassembly & Assembly Instructions

Smith & Wesson Revolver Disassembly

By Sylvan Forge, who put a lot of work into it. Instructions are for a Model 10, but they should be applicable to most any K, L, or N frame Smith & Wesson. You may have to register to see the embiggened photos.

Pocket Holsters and Gun Pants

SayUncle isn’t crazy about pocket holsters. It’s true that drawing from a pocket isn’t as fast as from a belt, and it’s hard to draw from a seated position, like a car.

I mostly pocket carry because it fits the way I dress. With any kind of belt carry you have to conceal the gun and holster. I don’t walk around with an untucked shirt, which seems to be the major solution to concealing. I’d feel goofy wearing a vest all the time. It’s too warm in Tennessee to wear a coat most of the year and then once you’re inside you have to remove the coat.

Pocket Carry Gun

For me shoving a gun in a deep pocket with a pocket holster is the only way to fly. The gun I carry most often is a Smith & Wesson AirWeight 642. It’s a small, five-shot .38 Special revolver with a two inch barrel. For pocket carry you want something light that won’t bang against your thigh all day. The 642 has a stainless steel barrel and cylinder but an aluminum frame, which keeps the weight to just 15 ounces. The aluminum and stainless steel construction translate to minimal worries about rust.

My carry load is the Remington version of the FBI load – a 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint (LSWCHP) in .38 Special+P. That load has a long history of both good penetration and good expansion, even out of snubnose thirty-eights. I use Safariland Comp 1 speedloaders to reload the 642.

The one weak point in the 642 and other J-frame Smith and Wessons is the small sights. I make up for that by using Crimson Trace LaserGrips. When you hold the LaserGrips in a normal position your middle finger naturally presses a button which projects a laser dot onto the target. I use the 305 model. If I were buying today I’d get the newer and slightly smaller 405 model.

Pocket Carry Pants

I like Columbia ROC pants for pocket carry. The pockets are deep with wide openings that make it easy to remove the gun. There’s a second pocket on the right side behind the regular pocket where I carry the snubnose .38. Like the main pocket the extra pocket it’s deep and wide. I use the front pocket for carrying a lockblade folding knife that I can open with one hand. Currently that’s a Benchmade Griptilian.

The Columbia pants are business casual and good-looking. My only complaint is that the material wears out faster than I’d like, but they fetch for less than 30 bucks, so I won’t complain too much. I buy mine at Belk’s, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shop, or the Mast General Store.

Pocket Holsters

I always use a pocket holster. It keeps the gun in the right position, so when I grab the gun I get the grip and not the barrel. The holster also blocks the trigger guard for safety so you don’t get a surprise vasectomy, keeps lint out of the gun, and spreads the gun’s weight across a larger area so the pocket doesn’t wear out.

What I want most is a holster that stays behind in the pocket when I draw instead of coming along for the ride. If it disguises the shape of the gun that’s nice, too, but it’s secondary to actually being able to fire the gun once it comes out of the pocket.

The first pocket holster I tried was an Uncle Mike’s. It was inexpensive, but it wore quickly around the seams. Because it’s small and slick-surfaced it didn’t always stay behind when you pull the gun. It also didn’t do much to disguise the shape of the gun. I don’t recommend it.

The Desantis Nemesis is better made and has more surface friction to hold the holster in place. It’s wider, too, with a hook design below the trigger guard that grabs the inside corner of the pocket to keep it from coming out on the draw. You see a hook on the corner of a lot of pocket holsters and it does seem to help. You’ll also see leather holsters with the rough (suede) side out to grab the pocket lining and that helps, too. The pocket holster for my NAA Black Widow uses both of those tricks, and it’s a surprisingly good holster.

I mostly use the affordable but great Mika holster. It has a rubbery mesh band that grabs the pocket so the holster stays in the pocket and the gun pulls free. The sides bow out, so it’s especially good for pockets with lots of volume.

P.S. Here’s Jay G’s video demonstration of drawing from the pocket using a Smith & Wesson 360 and Desantis Nemesis. He’s fast. If you carry a revolver and want to know which speedloader to use read his post here and watch the videos.

The economics of custom guns

Tam and Chris have great posts about the economics of customizing guns. Bottom line: custom build a gun if you plan on keeping it and using it. Don’t imagine you’ll ever get your money back out of it. If you want a high end gun, buy one to begin with. You’ll be more likely to get your money out of it when time comes to sell it.

Small customizations – like trigger jobs or bedding jobs – can make the piece better. You won’t get all of your money back out of it when it’s time to sell, but you won’t lose your shirt, either. I’ve never regretted paying for a trigger job or custom trigger, even for the one time I later sold the gun. The sights and the trigger are the two most important parts of the gun’s user interface. You can’t be happy with the gun if you aren’t happy with those two parts.

What about buying customized guns?

The reverse of Tam and Chris’s advice is that buying customized guns can be a bargain. You get a lot of value for very little money, assuming the gun is what you want.

Here’s a customized Smith & Wesson 686 I bought through Gunbroker five years ago. The previous owner was an attorney in Grapevine, Texas who had the gun customized to shoot NRA Silhouette. I’m going to brag on it, in the interest of illustrating a point, natch.

The red dot electronic sight and mount are obvious extras, but not really customizations per se. The Elmer Keith Bill Jordan grips are cut to fit the scope mount. (FWIW, the grips didn’t work for me. Way too big. Elmer Keith Bill Jordan apparently had enormous hands. I like Jerry Miculek grips much better for S&W revolvers, or just plain old rubber Hogue monogrips.)

The removable Jarvis underlug beneath the barrel adds 10 ounces out front to reduce muzzle flip. To accommodate the Jarvis underlug and red dot sight the owner had a custom Prezine leather speed holster made. The holster is a gorgeous work of art that had to cost the previous owner several hundred dollars, but he threw it in as part of the deal.

Dallas gunsmith Lynn Patton did the trigger work. The double action pull is 9 pounds, 3 ounces and the single action pull is 2 pounds, 9 ounces. The chambers have been chamfered for quicker reloading.

How much did all of this cost me? I’d rather not say, since I may want to sell this one day, but the price I paid is about what a run of the mill used 686 would normally cost. Even in 2004 that was less than the cost of a new 686 and many S&W fans prefer the parts and workmanship in these older models.

Geez, I need to go shoot it. It’s been too long.

Mark Twain's Smith & Wesson

“My brother had a Colt’s Navy revolver, which he carried uncapped for safety. Mister Beemis had an Allen pepper-box revolver. And I was armed to the teeth with a pitiful little Smith and Wesson seven-shooter, which shot a ball the size of a homeopathic pill. It took all seven to make a dose for an adult.”
Mark Twain, “Roughing It”

That little Smith & Wesson No. 1 is the subject of Tam’s Sunday Smith & Wesson.

Pennsylvania, Delaware Inventors Develop Apparatus for Automatically Analyzing Patient’s Biological Fluids

US Fed News Service, Including US State News August 5, 2008 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 5 — William Jackson Devlin Sr. of Lincoln University, Pa., Daniel Bernard Eichinger of New London, Pa., Thai Huynh-Ba of Newark, Del., and Timothy Patrick Evers of Wilmington, Del., have developed a cuvettes inventorying magazine. go to site lincoln university pa

According to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: “A magazine for releasably inventorying a plurality of reaction cuvettes to be used in an automatic clinical analyzer, the magazine comprising a generally rectangular storage cell having curved front and back surfaces, and a number of storage chutes therein, each chute sized to hold reaction cuvettes stacked one atop another therein.” The inventors were issued U.S. Patent No. 7,402,281 on July 22. site lincoln university pa

The patent has been assigned to Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc., Deerfield, Ill.

For more information about US Fed News federal patent awards please contact: Myron Struck, Managing Editor/US Bureau, US Fed News, Direct: 703/866-4708, Cell: 703/304-1897,

Call 800/786-9199 (in the U.S. or Canada) or 703/308-4357 for assistance from a U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Customer Service Representatives and/or access to the automated information message system.

Smith & Wesson trivia

When I used “breathalyzer” in this post my Spidey sense told me it was probably a brand name that I should capitalize. I looked it up and sure enough, it’s  a proper name that should be capitalized. The surprise was that it was originally a Smith & Wesson product.

A breathalyzer (a portmanteau of breath and analyzer) is a device for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. “Breathalyzer” is the brand name of a series of models made by one manufacturer of these instruments (originally Smith and Wesson[1], later it was sold to National Draeger), but has become a genericized trademark for all such instruments.[citation needed] In Canada, a preliminary non-evidentiary screening device can be approved by Parliament as an approved screening device and an evidentiary breath instrument can be similarly designated as an approved instrument. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a “Conforming Products List” of breath alcohol devices approved for evidentiary use, [2] as well as for preliminary screening use.[3]

I sort of doubt S&W manufactured it in house since it’s pretty far away from their competency. On the other hand I’m not surprised at all they would have marketed and sold it. With their reach into the law enforcement market S&W has marketed all sorts of things over the years with their brand name, from handcuffs to identi-kits for creating police sketches of suspects. Again with the Wikipedia:

Smith & Wesson markets gun accessories, handcuffs, safes, apparel, collectibles, knives, tools, air guns, and myriad other products under its brand name, including cologne and handbags.

In October 2002, Smith & Wesson announced it had entered into a licensing agreement with Cycle Source Group to produce a line of bicycles designed by and for law enforcement. These bicycles feature custom configurations and silent hubs ( for ‘stealth’ cycling ), and are available for purchase by ‘civilians’.[17][18]

Smith & Wesson flashlights are available to the general public. They are designed and produced by PowerTech, Inc, in Collierville, Tennessee. Smith & Wesson also has a line of wood pellet grills. They are named after various pistol cartridges, such as .22 Magnum, .38 Special, .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, and .500 Magnum.

Smith & Wesson has entered into a licensing agreement with North Carolina based Wellco Enterprises to design and distribute a full line of tactical law enforcement footwear.[19] The Smith & Wesson Footwear range is available in the UK exclusively via the police and security equipment supplier, CopShopUK Ltd.[20]

That’s what the world needs – Smith & Wesson cologne.

Cool mooning/demooning tool

Since I sold the S&W 625 I no longer have a revolver that uses moonclips, but if I did I’d have to try one of these.

Demooning video here.


In Tennessee, Even Our Beauty Queens Pack Heat

WBIRNewly crowned Miss Tennessee packs heat:

She’s a daddy’s girl. But don’t think this year’s Miss Tennessee is a pushover.

Ellen Carrington, 21, who was crowned Miss Tennessee on Saturday night, has a concealed weapons permit. “I have a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber,” Carrington told reporters on Sunday, “(with a) silver top and black body.”

A Jackson native and senior at Union University, Carrington decided to get the permit because she was spending a lot of time traveling to and from Nashville at night. She said spending time at shooting ranges with her father, Pat, helped create an even deeper bond between the two.

Hat tip to Katie Granju.

Tam’s Guns – As Seen on TV


If you watch the show Crime Wave on the History Channel tonight, you will see my vintage Smith & Wesson M&P and my Remington Model 11 riot gun (I think they borrowed my .38 Regulation Police, too) being used by the good guys and baddies alike. Also visible will be some hot BAR action.

If anybody has mad frame grab skillz, email me a piccie.

My only TV claim to fame is having one of my spiders on a PBS spider documentary back in my biologist days and getting filmed for a news story on local TV about Macintoshes during my Mac guru days.

FS: S&W 625JM .45 with Trigger Job, Accessories SOLD

LATER: It’s sold.


I’m selling my Smith & Wesson 625 Jerry Miculek special. It’s an N frame S&W in .45 ACP with a 4″ barrel, Jerry Miculek wood grips, frosted stainless steel finish, adjustable rear sight, and gold bead front sight that’s removeable without tools. (The front sight is way cool, and I wish more Smiths had it.)

It’s had a professional trigger job at Coal Creek Armory with reduced weight Wolf springs and a high mass firing pin, and with chamfered charge holes.

Gun is in 99% condition. Has had about 700 rounds fired through it. Comes with original box, papers, and S&W steel moonclips.

– Screwdriver-type demooning tool from
– 10 steel moonclips from
– 10 Rimz plastic clips (which is what I used almost exclusively since they didn’t require a demooning tool)
– 50 rounds or so of fired Georgia Arms .45 Autorim brass.
– 100 rounds or so of .45 ACP brass if you want it

$635, which is less than the new price, and this is with a trigger job and the accessories. I’ll be walking this around the gun show in Knoxville Saturday morning. If it doesn’t sell there I’ll put it up for sale on The High Road and Smith & Wesson Forum next week, or will ship to a reader’s FFL. Email me if interested. I’ll also have the FS: Lee-Enfield Pseudo No. 5 Jungle Carbine for sale at the show.

See also:
Homer’s Range Report for His New Smith &Wesson 625

Bonus! – And if you’re wondering who Jerry Miculek is, he’s the world’s fastest pistol shooter. In the video below he’s shooting an S&W 625 when he fires six shots, reloads, and fires six more shots all in 2.99 seconds. Miculek is so crazy fast it looks like he’s pushing the bullets out of the gun. He has to use a revolver because the cycling time of a semi-auto slows him down.

P.S. – Those wood grips were designed by Jerry Miculek, and are what he uses on his guns. I have to say I was really warming up to them. They don’t have checkering of fingergrooves, but they work really well because of the shape and low-gloss finish. The other revolver I was shooting Wednesday night had classic S&W fingergroove wood grips with a high gloss finish. The Miculek grips were more comfortable and controllable shooting .45 ACP than the S&W grips shooting .38 Special +P. I think Jerry’s on to something with that design. Now if only Hogue or Pachmyr would offer a low cost version in rubber.