Saturday, January 2, 2021

New Year: Time to tune up the gear!

 Greetings Gundivas,  Happy New Year!

Its a new year.  2020 has turned 21 and is probably on its way to start a wild year of blackout binge drinking. (Not like it hasn't already been doing that)

Since that is not my cup of tea, I decided to shake off the cabin fever and take a couple of my target rifles out to tune them up and verify all is well.  You should do this if your firearm hasn't been used in a long while or if you change something (mount a new scope, change triggers, etc)

It was a good day.  Both rifles are doing great by the end of the session.  One was spot on with no adjustments needed, the other was off.  It was 3 inches low and required fine tuning.  This is why you need to verify your gear before you hit the field.

First up was the Remington 700 LTR.

- Stock Remington 700 LTR (medium weight barrel)

- .308 Winchester

- 20 inch barrel

- KRG X-ray Chassis

- Burris XTR II 4-20 Scope

- Thunderbeast Ultra 7 Silencer

- Shooting Federal Gold Metal Match 175 grain

The Remington was still on and required no additional adjustment.  It pulled a little low.  I think this was bad trigger control on my part than the rifle itself.  The Remington is good to go to the next match or class.  All groups were inch and better.


Next up is the Tikka T3X.

- Stock Tikka T3X CTR (medium weight barrel)

- 6.5 Creedmoor

- 20 inch barrel

- KRG Bravo Chassis

- Steiner T5Xi 3-15 Scope

- Thunderbeast Ultra 9 Silencer

- Shooting Hornady 143 ELD-X Precision Hunter

As you can see, the Tikka started out 3 inches low at 100 yards and needed a little fine tuning.  I'm not sure what caused the zero to shift.  Maybe switching from the Ultra 7 to Ultra 9 silencer did it.  Or I  did something the last time before I put it into the safe.  I don't know.  All groups were inch and better. (After adjustment)



This is why you verify your gear before you hit the field.  

Let's make 2021 a great year.  Get out there, verify your gear is good to go and let's go shooting.  (If we can find ammunition)

-Gundude Mez

January 2021

Friday, January 1, 2021

Challenge Yourself

I didn't realize until it was posted on Facebook that my best friend had taken the above photo of me shooting his Stacatto (formerly STI) C2 9mm 2011 at a range of about 55 yards. We were out at his property for the first get together since too long before COVID came along and ruined everyone's year shooting a little bit of everything. He brought along his brace of very nice 2011s (3 Stacattos and a Chambers Custom), and I brought along some .22s and my Glock 30. We had been shooting mostly at 10-20 yards just knocking the rust and cobwebs loose. Somewhere along the way, he decided to walk things back a good bit. I decided "Why not?" I had never, to my recollection, attempted serious target shooting with a handgun at ranges beyond 25 yards. 

Much to my surprise, I was ringing the green, half sized, steel silhouette target without any real trouble at all with both my Glock and his Stacatto. To be honest, getting hits with a commander sized 9mm 2011 can be done more consistently and easier than with a compact .45 ACP Glock, but it CAN BE DONE! Even though I have had access to ranges longer than 25 yards for many years, it had never occurred to me to practice at distances longer than that. I mean, I've read articles about it. It just never dawned on me to give it a try for myself. 

So, why would anyone in their right mind want to try and shoot a handgun at that distance or further? Well....1) 'cause 'Merica dang it, 2) as far as 55 yards sounds, it's still close enough to be "in imminent danger and in fear of your life" in the self defense context should someone point a weapon in your direction with intent to do you harm, 3) handgun hunting is a thing or so I am told, 4) the math.

I think shooting on public ranges (indoor or outdoor) tends to ingrain certain limitations on our perceptions about what is/is not possible with a certain firearm. So, this year, I intend to make a concerted effort to step outside my comfort zone and stretch the boundaries of my thinking and abilities when it comes to firearms. I may never have a chance to drop a deer at 600 yards with a ,44 Magnum (as Elmer Keith claimed to have done), but it'd be nice to be able to say that I COULD make that shot if it presented itself. 

What are your goals for the new year (besides finding ammo)?

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Student Account of 7/12/20 Basic Pistol class

(GunDiva note: this was written by a student in our Basic Pistol class. I've been doing this long enough to know that I'll get some hate about her wanting a .22 for self-defense. A .22 that she can shoot well and confidently is better than no gun at all. My first carry gun was a Beretta Bobcat in .25 cal; as I got more confident, I moved up in caliber. If you can't say something nice in the comments, don't say anything at all. We're about welcoming and empowering students of all levels, not scaring them off.)

So there I was in February 2020, minding my own business, letting the cobwebs grow on my Glock 45 9 mm. I’d had a conceal carry permit in 2014, never used it and stopped going to the gun range to shoot. This is what GunDiva refers to as a “perishable skill.” Oh, it perished all right. If a thief had broken into my home in the last six years, I would have grabbed my Glock and thrown it carefully at his head before begging for my life.

This is not the life I aspire to.

Then the so-called pandemic hit. Then the shutdown of entire states happened, along with businesses closing, people losing jobs, losing homes, losing money. This tends to make humans a tiny bit irritable. People started wearing masks everywhere. I couldn’t tell if they were smiling or getting ready to bite me. Riots happened. People were killed. Police politely suggested we might want to know how to defend ourselves.

So, I visited Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply and traded my Glock for a Smith and Wesson: M&P 9 Shield EZ (I had to go look that up just now). And since I didn’t want to protect myself by throwing my M&P at a burglar’s head, I signed up for Double Tap’s Basic Handgun tactics class.
There were 11 of us in a room all day learning basic handgun tactics. What could possibly go wrong? Well, nothing actually, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t prepared for an errant bullet or blood spatter by lunch. Before going to class I inventoried what gun paraphernalia I actually owned: holster, head phones, a couple of magazines, bullets, shell casings (???), 2 different gun cleaning sets which were also gathering dust.

I sat up front in class as we went over gun safety, the NRA golden rules and watched a video of a cop shooting himself in the foot. (Ha! errant bullet!). We learned the difference between revolver and single action and double action semi-automatics (cylinder vs. magazine), we went over ammunition (powder charge, primer, bullet, case) and how 9mm ammo is hard to get right now due to panic buying. I imagined buying a reloader and setting up my backyard studio shed as a reloading operation. I could pass pleasant afternoons listening to gun podcasts and making bullets. There are worse ways to spend your day. (“Are there though?” asked a friend).

I learned the difference between bullets that penetrate and those that expand. (Full metal jacket vs. hollow point). I scribbled a note to myself: build my own gun. Reader, I’m nothing if not ambitious. I learned that while I own a holster, a belly band for conceal carry might be more appropriate for me. And DON’T GET AN ANKLE HOLSTER! It’s the slowest, worst draw. We discussed the OODA Loop when responding to a threat. I know you know all about that. Who doesn’t know about the OODA Loop? (“Like loop the loop what airplanes do?” asked a friend. No. Not like that.)

It was disheartening to discover there are more than 20,000 laws relating to firearms. If you can’t prove the attacker had ability, opportunity and intent to harm you, you could end up in jail for defending yourself. I imagined myself in the prison crafts center, chatting with other felons about how we had shot someone in self-defense and ended up sharing a cell with an inmate named Bertha. We’d rail against the system, exchange lawyer’s names, I’d tell them about my backyard reloading operation and then we’d go stand in line for our institutional dinner. If I spent as much time speaking to my neighbors as I do practicing imaginary conversations in prison craft centers, I’d have more friends. Obviously.

A simulator was used in the afternoon. These are video simulations that we could participate in and practice how we’d react in a real time scenario. The first one involved a bank robbery where the criminal shot the teller in the head. (Ha! Blood spatter!) Classmates successfully shot the bad guys which was comforting. And the last exercise of the day was to shoot different guns at the gun range. I discovered that I loved the .22 I shot and was good at it and hated the larger guns, including the revolver. I plan on using my M&P for home defense and buying a .22 for conceal carry. And to go to the gun range faithfully, several times a month.

And that, dear reader, is how a woman and her unused Glock joined the shooting community in Colorado. You might be too young to remember this, but there once was a time when nobody used the word “pandemic” and masks were only used by surgeons in hospitals.

I know. Right?

(Deborah Coyote is a local psychotherapist who lives with her rescue dog and her albino parakeet who has an excellent vocabulary. Her parakeet’s favorite mimicked phrase is: “Oooops! Sorry!” ergo the need to take gun safety training.)

Monday, May 25, 2020

VR80 - After market stock issues

This is a follow up on our initial reviews of the VR80 semi-auto shotgun from Rock Island Armory.  
A few readers had a question about wether aftermarket stocks would fit or not. 
Unfortunately the short short answer is no.  Not without modifications.
The saving grace is, the VR80 shotgun does have a mostly standard carbine style buffer tube under the factory stock, and you can slip on a standard carbine stock if the factory stock is not to your liking. 

Here is a short video to show why aftermarket stocks may not fit your VR80 shot gun.

YouTube: VR80 - Aftermarket stocks

May 2019

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Open letter to first time gun owners!

Here we are, 2020 with a new global disaster.  Everyone is freaking out.  There is no toilet paper to be found anywhere and everyone is buying guns.  The month of March saw the largest amount of guns sold in any single month ever.  Not even the panic buying under the Obama years matched the quantity of guns sold in the past month.
What made this different from previous years was not the volume of firearms sold, but that approximately 70% (maybe as high as 80% in some areas) were first time gun buyers.  This is unusual to see this many first time gun owners at one time. 

We the gun community, welcome you to the wonderful world of gun ownership.  But there are several things you must know and understand now that you have chosen to own a firearm.  What you see in the Hollywood movies does not prepare you for firearm ownership. 

First up, understand that a gun is not a magic talisman that will ward off evil because you possess it.  A gun is just an inanimate object that does nothing unless you the operator take action. 
Just having a gun does not make you safe.  Just pointing a gun at evil may or may not make evil go away.  Yes, evil does exist.  And sometimes evil comes wrapped in the package of a true psychopath who has no fear of you or of your gun.  You need to mentally, physically and emotional prepare yourself that you may actually need to use your gun as intended, as a deadly weapon. 

Which brings me to my next point.  Because a gun is a deadly weapon, this means the use of a gun falls under the category of a martial art.  You do not become skilled at any martial art by watching Hollywood movies or YouTube videos.  And no, shooting the .22 down on Grandpa’s farm a few times when you were a kid does not count either. 
In order for a gun to truly be useful,
Yes, you can self teach, but you will be better and safer in the long run with professional training.

I know obtaining training now is difficult as everything is shut down.  So in the mean time, do the following;  (this should include everyone age appropriate in your household)
1.    Read the instruction manual that came with the gun you purchased.   It will teach you how to correctly operate your firearm.
a.    If you didn’t receive an instruction manual, most manufacturers have them posted on their websites that you can download.
2.    Learn the safety rules and live them.  Guns are not toys.
a.    Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
b.    Do not point your firearm at anything you do not want to destroy.
c.     Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.
d.    Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. (Yes, bullet do go through walls)
3.    Use the power of the Internet and research and learn as much as you can about your specific model of firearm and even on how to use your firearm.
a.    Yes, I know I said YouTube is not a substitute for hands on training.  But giving the current circumstances, it may be all you get until we get past this issue. 
4.    Start dry fire practice. 
a.    In short, dry fire practice is where you practice aiming your firearm at a target and pressing the trigger.  This is done while the gun is unloaded.
                                               i.     DO NOT USE LIVE AMMUNITION FOR DRY FIRE PRACTICE.  Don’t even have it in the same room. 
                                             ii.     The use of plastic Snap Caps is acceptable. 

To wrap this section up, you must learn how to correctly and safely use your gun.  Go get professional training as soon as you are able.  Do not stop at reading books, Internet articles or YouTube videos.

Next I want to cover some miscellaneous topics that you may not be aware of.
1.    Do you have a place to lock up your firearm when not in use?  A heavy safe or locking steel cabinet that is bolted to the wall? 
a.    Yes, your gun came with a simple cable lock if you purchased it new.  But it can still be stolen.  Go buy a safe or locking cabinet you can bolt to the wall.
b.    There are now biometric lock boxes you can bolt to the wall yet have rapid access to your gun and keep the curious from accessing it.
2.    Did you buy a cleaning kit to clean and lubricate your firearm?
a.    Guns are mechanical objects that must be cleaned and lubricated from time to time to work properly.  Think of it as changing the oil in your car on a regular basis. (You do change your cars oil regularly right?)
b.    Your owners manual will teach you how to clean and lube your firearm.  Or someone has made a YouTube video about it.
3.    Did you buy proper safety equipment? 
a.    Specifically eye and ear protection?  This is important to protect your hearing and eyesight when practicing.
4.    Have you found a shooting range near you that you can practice at?
a.    Along with training you need to practice the skills you learned regularly to keep your skills sharp. 
5.    If you bought your gun to be carried concealed outside your house.
a.    Do you have the proper permit?  Many states require a permit and there is a process for it.  Your local Sheriffs office can help with this.
b.    Did you buy a good holster?  The $20 nylon gun sock is not adequate.  Do spend the money for a quality holster. 
c.     Do you actually know how to properly draw your gun from the holster?  This is one area where professional training is a great idea. 
6.    Are you aware of the laws of when you can lawfully shoot someone? 
a.    If you purchased your firearm for self-defense this is important to know.  You cannot just shoot someone because you felt scared.  You need lawful just cause, which can vary from state to state.

Finally, the political side of guns.  Unfortunately when you talk about guns, you get a large barrel of politics to go with it. 
I hope everyone of the first time gun buyers have learned a little bit about why the gun community fights so hard against more gun laws.  That most of the guns laws are stupid and unnecessary. 

That no, you cannot just buy a gun off the Internet.  No, you cannot pay extra to waive the 10 day waiting period before you take your new gun home.  That background checks already exist.  Yes, these are real questions asked by some first time buyers who where shocked these laws existed.
I guess politicians and anti-gun political activist don’t always tell the truth do they?  
Remember, when you felt the need to buy a gun for protection, politicians shut down many guns stores were sued by the gun community to reopen them.
I hope this experience has opened your eyes on why more gun laws are not needed.  And many of the existing laws need to be repealed.  And I hope you change your voting habits and stop voting for more gun laws and the politicians that try to take away your rights.

I’ll wrap this up with the following.
Again, welcome to the gun community.  I hope it is a positive experience.  That you get the training you need.  That you enjoy the shooting sports and maybe find a competition you enjoy and participate in as part of your practice sessions.
Welcome to a whole new world, I think you will enjoy the gun community and gun culture.  

-Gundude Mez
April 2020

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Trying Something New

Each night after SHOT Show, the GunDudes and I did a brief Facebook Live video. I've had deaf and hard of hearing friends most of my life, so I try to be inclusive when I can. I knew my friend Rachel would want to watch the videos, but wouldn't be able to because I didn't know how to close caption a live video.

I texted her with a crazy idea and she supported me, so I'm going to try something new. From now on, all of our videos (including FB live once I figure that business out) will be closed captioned (CC is not the crazy idea) and I'll be signing (that's the crazy idea). She was very supportive, which gave me the courage to really step out of my comfort zone.

We don't post a lot of content on our YouTube page, but from now on, any video I make will be done in sign, along with CC. My hope is to make shooting more accessible to my deaf and HoH friends. Maybe, with enough practice, next year's SHOT Show end-of-day videos will also be done in sign.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Industry Day

SHOT was difficult for me this year. As usual, I looked forward to the trip, to seeing the new products, and to seeing people I only get to spend time with once a year. But I just couldn't muster much enthusiasm. If you watched out live feeds, it was readily apparent that my heart wasn't in it this year.

For the life of me, I can't figure it out.

Nonetheless, I had a good time and got to put my hands on some really cool things.

GunDudes Jay and Mez, me, and GunDude Robbie

Industry Day started out nicely, as I got to shoot the new Mossberg 940 JM with none other than the Master himself, Jerry Miceluk.

I'm not gonna lie, I fell in love with the shotgun. But it is a bit out of my price range. It's well-thought out and Mossberg is doing a good job of listening to the Miceluk family as the end users. 3G folks are going to be falling over themselves to pick up this shotgun.

We also shot the much talked about Glock 44. I wanted to hate it, because I feel like Glock has been resting on their laurels when it comes to innovation. They were ground breaking in the 80s, but haven't been doing much in the way of innovation since. Yes, what they had worked, and changed the gun industry with their fantastic plastic. But ... they haven't done much since. They were very slow to market with single stack versions (G42 and G43), despite people clamoring for them. To be so late to turn out a .22 trainer is almost unforgivable, so I really wanted to hate this gun.

Turns out. I kinda liked it. A lot. Maybe not enough to buy one yet, but I do see that it has a place in my gun safe as a teaching gun. There have been some reported issues with the polymer on the slide cracking, and some feeding issues, but I'm not convinced it's as big a problem as some writers would like you to believe. I'll wait until this has been on the market a year or so before I made a definite decision whether or not to buy one.

Another highly anticipated gun was the Colt Python. I loved it. So much fun. However, my carpal tunnel syndrome did not like it. At all. We were only shooting .38 Specials, so nothing that I shouldn't have been able to handle, but after only ten rounds my carpal tunnel was flared up for two days afterward. I also managed to tweak my thumb and am now suffering from tendonitis. I think between the carpal tunnel syndrome and the tendonitis in my thumb, it's a clear indication that this gun does not fit my hand and isn't the gun for me.

The trigger was so nice and smooth. I'm not an expert in revolvers, but I know that pretty much every revolver I've shot has had a "crunchy" trigger. This new Colt did not. Other than the flaring up the carpal tunnel and giving myself tendonitis, I had so much fun shooting this gun.

Despite my love for fire power, I have an almost equally deep love for crossbows. GunDude Jay bought me one a few years ago for Christmas and I do love that crossbow.

It's awesome, but there's one itty, bitty problem with my Christmas Crossbow: I'm both too short and too weak to cock it. I've been threatening for years to buy an aftermarket crank, but those things are expensive!

Luckily, GunDude Jay loves me and would do the heavy lifting when I wanted to shoot, but that's hardly being self-sufficient. Imagine how happy I was to see the Mission Crossbows Sub-1 Lite. Not only is it compact and light-weight, but I can run it by myself without an issue.

With a price tag of $1,399.99, it's going to be a while (or never) before I can afford one of these beauties. I can buy a lot of personal training sessions to get strong enough to use my Christmas Crossbow for $1,399.99. 😂

Of course, I had to go by the knife/axe/shovel/star throwing (AKA Buckmaster) tent and throw pointy things, something I also really enjoy. I had left the boys to at whichever booth piqued their interest and wandered over to throw sharp, pointy things, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures, but I do have some fond memories.

Being Industry Day, we shot so many guns they've run together in my mind. Mez took good notes about each gun he shot, but I only jotted down notes on the ones I was interested in, so this is what you get from me.

Eventually, everyone else will get around to posting their impressions of what we saw at Industry Day.