Friday, December 28, 2012

Let's Talk Money

With all of the talk of proposed gun bans and compulsory buy-backs, I've yet to hear anyone address the economic impact.  Not that it hasn't been addressed, just that *I* haven't run across it yet, so while talking to Jay today we tried to figure it out in our noggins.

That was super hard to do in our heads, so once we got home, I started digging.  I, of course, did it the hard way.  And then, I ran across the NSSF Industry Economic Impact Report.  I don't know why I didn't think of just looking there in the first place, as I'm a member.  Colossal brain fart on my part.

First, though, let's look at the proposed "Compulsory Buy-Back".  There are an estimated 310,000,000 guns in America.  On the low end of the proposed "payment", they're talking $200/gun.  On the high end, $500/gun.
  • 310,000,000 x $200 = $62,000,000,000
  • 310,000,000 x $500 = $155,000,000,000
I don't know about you, but that's a whole lot of damn money.  Money that we, as a country, don't necessarily have.  But don't worry, the government will just print more. Never mind that it will further devalue our already weak dollar.

Now, let's look at the worst-case scenario - that eventually the "Assault Weapons Ban" gets passed and gradually increases to encompass all guns, so that we are a gun-free nation.  What does that do to our economy?  Obama's got to consider that, because he's already in the hot seat for our unemployment rate.

From the NSSF Report:
Companies in the United States that manufacture, distribute and sell firearms, ammunition and hunting equipment employ as many as 98,752 people in the country and generate an additional 110,998 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. These include jobs in companies supplying goods and services to manufacturers, distributors and retailers, as well as those that depend on sales to workers in the firearms and ammunition industry. [1]
These are good jobs, paying an average of $46,858 in wages and benefits. And today, every job is important. In fact, in the United States the unemployment rate has reached 8.2 percent. This means that there are already 13,430,000 people trying to find jobs in the state and collecting unemployment benefits. [2]
That's over 200,000 people employed in the firearms-related industry.   200,000+ people who are not collecting unemployment, who are contributing their hard-earned money to help support our country.

The Economic Impact numbers boggle my mind (again from the NSSF Report):

And the taxes paid:

Looking at these numbers actually calms me down.  Why?  Because it doesn't make business sense to cripple our firearms industry.  No matter the emotions involved, I would expect that the political advisors would take into consideration the economic impact this would have for the country.  Go ahead, call me overly optimistic, but at this point, I think we need all of the optimism we can get.

Just over two weeks until SHOT Show and I can't wait to hear what Mez has to report from the State of the Industry Dinner.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I Am Done Hiding

For years, unconsciously, I 'caved' to the anti-gunners by defending my gun ownership under the guise of 'sporting'.  I'm certain I'm not the only gun owner who has opted out of the anti-gunners' arguments by not engaging in a discussion, by simply saying, "you know, I compete with my gun".

I've been open here on the blog about the reason why I own my guns, about the reason why I train the way I do.  But I haven't been so honest in my daily life, mostly because I don't want to be perceived as a "gun nut" or "paranoid".

You know what?

Screw that!

I'm a gun owner because it's my Constitutional right.

I'm a gun owner because shooting is fun.

I'm a gun owner because I am 5' 1/2", female, and not physically strong enough to overpower someone bigger and heavier than I am.

I compete with my gun, not for sport, but because it's the best way I know to practice with my gun.  Standing at a line and shooting in a bay at paper targets is not practice for self-defense. 

Defensive pistol matches - THOSE are excellent practice for self-defense.  Or as close as you can get for practice.  Moving, drawing from concealment, learning to use cover and concealment. Engaging multiple targets while not "killing" any good guys, learning to distinguish between shoot/no-shoot targets.  (The best practice ever would be to train regularly with simunitions, but that's difficult training to come by, at least in our area.)

So the next time, in real-life, someone asks why I own guns, they're going to get the honest answer, not the politically correct one: I use my guns in "sport" to practice for self-defense.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Colorado is getting one heck of a Christmas present according to my friend, Southern Belle.  She emailed me a couple of weeks ago about a new range that's going to be opeining up.  So, like I did to Daddy Hawk, I gave her an official "GunDiva Assignment".

Without further ado, here are Southern Belle's thoughts on the new range.

“Come on let’s go to the gun show.”  My husband was standing over me.  I looked up at him with total exasperation, “I can’t.”   I was in the middle of four projects and as a wife and mom the time to get things done is few and far between.  Don’t get me wrong, throw the word gun into any activity and I’m always going to be down for it.  I gave my husband about ten different reasons why I couldn’t go but he wanted out of the house for a little bit.  I set everything aside and we headed out to The Ranch.  Same ole,  same ole was what I kept thinking as we walked around, but it was time together away from the kids and the house.   Then I saw a banner on the back wall about a NEW World Class Range. 

Grabbing my husband we immediately went over to investigate.  I need to say, I love my range time.  I hate that the only gun club that had openings when we moved here wasn’t exactly close or convenient to the house.  Hey you do what you have to do, right? 

Walking up to the table we were greeted by Ron and Bob from Second Amendment Firearms Experience (S.A.F.E).  In talking to them we found out that in the very near future (summer 2013) they are opening a gun range that is unlike anything I have seen.  (I need to add here that they talked to my husband and I equally.  There is nothing that upsets me more than men who talk down to me just because I am a woman in the world of firearms.  Especially since I’ve had a gun in my hand since I was five.)  

The more we talked the more I wanted to hear.  This was going to be a fully covered range that can be used year round.  “Indoor?”  I asked Bob.  “No, it’s outdoor with a cover” was his response.  He pulled up their website so that I could get a better handle on what we were talking about.  This thing is going to be massive, seven complete shooting bays with more than 80 shooting positions.  All of it outside completely bermed, but with the cover they will be shielded from the elements.   It is going to be 65,000 sq. ft. with short 15-25 yard bays all the way up to 50 yards.  They are talking about the ability to run over 150 shooters at a time with a variety of target types (stationary and moving).   There will be 25-100 yard uncovered outdoor bays with longer ones in the works.  This facility will serve both Law Enforcement as well as the public.  I asked Ron if we were looking at having times blocked out that the public couldn’t shoot due to possible law enforcement trainings.  His answer blew me away, “No, we are going to set up two of everything so that our members won’t have to work around blackouts.”  Are you kidding me?  I was pumped.

Then Bob and Ron started speaking my language.  A 6,000 sq ft club house, with classes, and a Law Enforcement Training Simulator that runs over 700 different scenarios.  Classes, camps for kids, then throw in the FFL dealer operation, pro shop, gunsmith, and coffee bar.  It’s a country club for gun owners!  I was doing the happy dance.  (I wish I could say figuratively here….it wasn’t pretty)

After going home and checking out their website we pre-registered for a family membership.  I did the math; we would come out way ahead on money and time by going to the S.A.F.E. range verses our current one.  Pre-registering doesn’t obligate us, and there was no money down so why not?  This is going to be a place where men, women, youth, beginners to advanced can come together to train and develop safe and effective skills.  If this turns out even half as good as it looks then we are looking at something pretty special.  If you have questions I would encourage you to drop them an email.  I hope to see y’all at the range!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let's Protect Our Children

Just in case you missed the podcast by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, take some time (an hour), settle in and listen to this.  It is excellent and well worth the time spent.

Listen to internet radio with The Shooting Channel on Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Some Thoughts from Mrs Mom

 **This was originally posted on my other blog, Oh HorseFeathers.

This post is probably not going to be what most of you were expecting from me.

I am not going to fire away on the increasingly heated debates flying back and forth over our Second Amendment Rights. For those of you who understand the phrase, MOLON LABE and know what the three percenters are, you already know my stance. No further words need be spoken.

I am not going to dabble in the ever deepening waters of the conspiracy theorists either.

I am not going to ask why the incident in CT happened. Nor the one in Portland, nor any of the other events spaced over the years. 

I am going to TRY to provide you with some education. Note the *try* part there please, as one will only learn what one wishes to.

I am going to point out some facts.

And I am going to try and help you understand how to protect yourself and your loved ones. And no, I am not going to jump up and down screaming that you need to run right out and purchase a firearm- that is a decision that only YOU can make for yourself.

For your initial consideration, I'd like to point out that Cain slew Abel with a rock.

Yes- once again I have brought up religion. I know- horrible, isn't it?

The point though, is that Evil Resides In The Heart Of Man. Not an inanimate object. It takes the hand of man to make the inanimate object perform his desired task. If Man has designs to hurt, maim or kill you, he will. End of discussion. We do not, nor do I think we ever will, know or understand what drives some people to cause such drastic, horrible harm to others. Dwelling on that seems to be an exercise in futility. Instead, grieve for those we have lost in recent times and times gone by. Pray for those affected by this latest tragic act.

Next on the list for your consideration, I offer this:
Pertaining to the CT incident ONLY:
- Glock is NOT an assault weapon. It is not an automatic. They do not offer an automatic option, nor do they make a rifle platform.
- Sig-Saur is not an assault weapon. It is also not an automatic, and they also do not offer a rifle platform.
- The .223 caliber round is a small round, generally intended for hunting small game.  The Bushmaster used was not an assault weapon.
 It is also NOT an automatic. 

An automatic firearm- in layman's terms- is one that when you press the trigger, the firearm will continue to fire until you either run out of rounds or you remove your finger from the trigger.

A semi-automatic firearm requires the trigger be pressed for each shot.

The amount of screaming by people I have witnessed recently classifying all of the above as "assault weapons" and automatic weapons is sickening. Yes, yes, you most surely do have the right to express yourself-- but please, you might wish to educate yourself before spouting off. (The worst offenders? Politicians. Of course.)

The next bit is a question that is being asked over and over. I have been asked countless times in the past several days- that being, "What do we DO if something DOES happen?"

The answer, for the most part, is simple. 
(A video can be found here: Run. Hide. Fight. It is a bit cheesy, but you will get the point.)

Look, not everyone out there has the Sheepdog mentality.
Not everyone is willing to carry a firearm, and some that do carry are not willing to use it.
But I don't know very many people who wish to stand like a deer in the spotlight and be handed up for the slaughter.
Which is where RUN, HIDE, FIGHT comes into play.

Your responsibility is to stay safe and protect your loved ones. Parents, when you are out with your children, your duty, in MY opinion, is to keep them safe. Period. The kids MUST Be Safe.

If you are out, and if an incident occurs where you know there is an active shooter, RUN. Haul ass and get out of the danger zone. Once you are clear, and you and those with you are safe, call for help. 

If you can not run, you HIDE. 

If you can not run and are discovered where you have hidden, DO NOT GO GENTLY INTO THAT GREAT NIGHT.
You Fight.
Fight for all you are worth. Throw things, use a pocket knife, use a pen, use anything and everything in reach- but you FIGHT. Never give up.

This post could have gone in any number of directions- but its intent was to teach. If you wish to discuss things further in a different vein, please feel free to email me.

Until next time, when hopefully my heart will be lighter and we can move back to discussing horses and happy times like Christmas, I say to you:


~Mrs Mom

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What *Is* The Answer? Part II

Part I

I don't have the answer, but I do have some thoughts.

Most pro-gunners are preaching to arm the teachers.

I have a slight problem with this.

Our public school teachers are already expected by society to raise our children in addition to teaching them.  Yes, when we send our kids off to school, we have a reasonable expectation that our children are safe while in the care of the school.  Yes, I can absolutely understand why parents, especially pro-gunners, want to arm our teachers.  WE, gunnies, are comfortable with guns, gun handling, and the thought of using our guns defensively.  Teachers are teachers because that's who they are.  If they wanted to grow up to be gun-toting cops, they would have.

Not only do I not think it's fair to put teachers in that position, I worry about the safety of my children if their teacher is *required* to be armed, but not comfortable with it.  We've all been out on the range with someone who isn't very good with their gun.  Not only are they a danger to themselves, they're a danger to everyone on the range.  I don't want to put my children in that kind of situation.

Are there teachers out there who are gunnies and who *want* to be armed?  You bet.  I'm one of them.  In my real life, I'm a college instructor.  If I wasn't forbidden from carrying while at work (we're privately owned and our corporation forbids it), I would carry.  But shooting is something I take very seriously and train for.  I have a lot of time and money in my training.  I didn't just take some four-hour concealed carry class and call it good.  I know in my heart that I could kill someone if the situation called for it.  Is it fair to ask our teachers to make that decision - a decision that will change someone's life forever?

In law enforcement and the military, everyone on the team has their job and they are expected to do it.  There is a clear chain of command, this ensures that every job gets done and nothing is missed.  Our teachers' job is to teach. 

In our society, we've tasked to police with helping to protect us.  If their job is protection, why don't we allow them to protect our children?

Rather than arming teachers, let's actually utilize the police.  A lot of school districts already have School Resource Officers, let's use them.  One (or two) armed, POST-certified SROs per school.  All day, every day.  Not one assigned for five or six schools.  One for every school.  On site, every day.

Not some minimum-wage doofus that we slap a uniform and a badge on.  And not the old, about-to-retire, broken down police officers who are put out to pasture at the schools.  Specially trained, top-of-their-game LEOs.  Personally, I'd like to see SWAT-trained LEOs inside the schools.  That way, if the school goes into lock-down, there is someone on the inside who can coordinate with the LEOs on the outside (and hunt down the bastard if they need to).  Hell, make all SWAT (or SERT, depending on what your department calls them) members rotate through the schools.

Or, as I saw on Facebook last night, let's put some of our out-of-work vets to work protecting our kids.  We have an abundance of already trained vets who need the work and who would be thrilled to be tasked with protecting our children.

I want to be clear: I'm not saying to not arm teachers, but they should have the choice and fully understand the responsibility choosing to be armed brings.  I fully support teachers who choose to carry; who choose to obtain and maintain the proper training.

They should also not be the first line of defense.  Their job during an active shooting should be to make sure the children in their classroom are secure, not to go hunting down the shooter.  I don't want them to hesitate if they're called to protect our children.

Should a teacher choose to accept the challenge, ideally, they should be trained in conjuction with the SROs, just like SWAT Medics are trained - as part of the team.  However, I don't see that happening, so it is absolutely essential that the teachers who choose to go armed: 1) develop a good defensive mindset; 2) get good, quality on-going training, and; 3) practice, practice, practice to increase their skill set.

Like I said, I don't have the answer, but these are my thoughts.

Monday, December 17, 2012

What *Is* The Answer? Part I

I've spent the weekend thinking about what happened on Friday, reading a lot of what has been posted, taking into consideration the sources.  I've also gone back to sources that I absolutely trust and respect.  I've tried to tune out the rhetoric - and Lord knows there's a lot of it out there right now.

My heart is breaking for the families, friends and community of Conneticut.  It's a terrible tragedy that can't easily be solved.

From the antis, we're hearing, "Ban Guns!"

From the pro-gunners, we're hearing, "Arm Teachers!"

For what seems like the first time ever (or at least since I've been a shooter), the antis and the pros agree on one thing: Mental Health availability needs an overhaul. (Now, if we could just get the politicians to effing listen to us!)

Teachers, neighbors, even parents (who aren't in denial) are able to pick out children who are going to be a problem.  Not "oh, little Johnny's a handful" problem, but "oh, this kid's going to grow up to be a mass-murderer" problem.  However, even if those children are identified, there is nothing as teachers that can be done about it.  Parents have no resources to help them.

Fifty years ago, when children like this were identified, they were institutionalized.  However, in our kinder, gentler society we want to do everything we can for our children, which I completely understand, having three of my own.  But there are some members of our society - juveniles - who are just "wrong" and "dangerous".  As a society we acknowledge them, sort of.  Otherwise there wouldn't be the TV show "Killer Kids" on Biography, or "Kids Who Kill" on the Crime and Investigation (History) channel.

On one hand, we're fascinated by them and say, "wow, I'm so glad my kids aren't like that!".  On the other hand, how many people actually think, "oh shit, we need to do something!"?

Until we figure out what to do with the kids who are identified as dangerous, and start offering support to the families who are trying to deal with these children on their own, nothing is going to change.


You can take guns away from law-abiding citizens (hypothetically, let's not get crazy here).

You can arm teachers.

But until we address the root of the problem, we're not going to see any change.  We're still going to have mass killings.

If it means locking up dangerous children, then by God, DO IT! This namby-pamby, touchy-feely stuff is killing innocent children.  I know people are afraid of locking up a child who might not be dangerous, but, honestly, I'd rather take that chance than have to see another massacre like we had Friday.

Even if we don't go so far as institutionalizing dangerous children, we need to have resources available for teachers and parents.  Something other than a patronizing pat on the head by the mental health professionals and a script for yet another medication.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gun Range Review: Eagle Gun Range, Lewisville, TX

**cross posted at Daddy Hawk's Toy Box**

Way back about a month ago (November 16 actually) I received an email from GunDiva asking me if I lived in the Dallas area; and, if I did, would I be interested in checking out a new gun range. My response was 1) yes, I live in the area; 2) Dallas is a big, freaking area; and 3) did you say guns??? Why, yes. I am interested.

GunDiva gave me a link to 2A Mama’s November 5 blog post blegging for Dallas area bloggers to come by and check out her place of employment, Eagle Gun Range in Lewisville, TX.

Before moving on with the actual review part of this, I need to expand upon the concept of the size of the Dallas/Fort Worth area for those of you who live elsewhere (bless your heart). It’s actually relevant to part of the review as you will see shortly.

I consider the Dallas/ Fort Worth area proper (us locals call it the Metroplex) to be everything you can reach continuously without running into rural land between towns. Give or take a little that means you have an area running about 57 miles north/south from McKinney to Midlothian and about 56 miles east/west from Seagoville to Benbrook. That’s 3192 square miles of area. I’m pretty sure we can fit a sizeable chunk of New England into that space. The point is, being in the area is a relative term around here and getting anywhere in the area is going to take you a little time.

Eagle Gun Range is roughly located on the north central part of the Metroplex in a suburb more towards the Dallas side of things as opposed to the Fort Worth side of things. According to MapQuest, it is supposed to take 38 minutes/31 miles to get from my house on the south central side of the area to Eagle Gun Range. Time and distance from the downtowns to the gun range are 42 minutes/34 miles from downtown Ft. Worth and 32 minutes/26 miles from downtown Dallas. That’s assuming no traffic. Dallas/Fort Worth is notorious for bad traffic. Not L.A. or Houston bad, but bad enough. TXDOT seems to think that right now is the perfect time to have every major highway in the area under some form of construction for the next two to five years.

So, anyway, back to our review. After accepting my assignment, emails were exchanged with 2A Mama. She gave me name and location information. Turns out, I had run into the Eagle Gun Range folks at a gun show sometime last year. They had a booth set up to promote the range in advance of their opening. They were handing out cards good for one hour of free lane rental. The cards had their website information and claimed a spring 2012 opening. I kept their card in my desk drawer and bookmarked their webpage in my web browser intending to check them out when they opened.

Well, the best laid plans never survive reality…for me or them apparently.

Fast forward to October of this year, and Eagle Gun Range finally had their opening on October 16…a full season at least later than planned. I was busy with work by then and had forgotten about their card. Then, GunDiva’s email arrived. It took me a little bit due to Thanksgiving, work and a vehicle impairment issue involving my inlaws’ horrible car mojo, but I finally made it out to the range after work here recently for a little looksee.

Before going any further, please allow me to make a brief FTC Disclosure. Aside from the previously mentioned 1 free hour lane rental card which was obtained long before I ever knew I was going to do this review, I neither asked for nor did I receive any payment, gifts, gratuities or compensation in the past, present or future of any kind for this review. I am not a member, employee or owner of the range nor am I related to anyone who is. I have no personal interest whatsoever in the financial success or failure of Eagle Gun Range. The nice folks at Eagle Gun Range gave me a tour of the facility and answered my stupid questions. Beyond that, I got nothin’. So, keep on walkin’ Mr. Government Man.

I went on a recent Monday night because 2A Mama optimistically said that it should have the least amount of customer traffic. Of course, the moment I showed up, it seemed like all of Lewisville had turned up to get some target practice done. In reality, it was only five or six people checking in at the same time, but that’s still a good sign that business is that good on a “slow” night at a place that still has that “new range” smell.

So, without belaboring the review any further than I already have, let’s discuss what Eagle Range has to offer and what I think of it.

The first, and arguably most important, thing I want to talk about is safety. How many of you have been to a range and someone got their full retard on trying to clear a jam with their booker hook on the bang switch while doing the hokie pokie and turning all about? Eagle Range has gone out of their way in my opinion to minimize the potential for disaster resulting from the Idiot of the Month Club breaking all four of The Rules simultaneously.

How do they do that? Well, for starters, there is at least one ranger officer in the range at all times. His job is to keep an eye on things and make sure no one commits an egregious party foul. The night I was there, they had two on duty for 12 active lanes most of which were in use. Now, for the sake of argument, let’s say the RO is busy chastising one fool while his twin brother is five lanes away trying to puzzle out the squib round that just plugged up his gat like a bout of constipation waiting for a bean burrito laxative. Should Bonehead 2.0 manage to push another round through the pipe while the muzzle is pointed towards his neighbor, there is an inch and a half of armor between lanes. Assuming standard pistol ammo, the only casualty should be a pair or two of soiled underwear and maybe a perforated bonehead.

But wait, there’s more. Before Bonehead 2.0 even has a chance to do something incredibly stupid, there is an additional layer of safety built into each lane. Each lane has a small surveillance camera pointing at it so that the folks at the front desk can keep an eye on things as well. If they spot something about to go horribly wrong, they can radio a warning to the RO for them to give the situation their undivided attention.

So, picking your nose with your booger hook, while potentially gratifying, is not recommended. Just sayin’. And don’t even think about a light snack of nostril oysters. One word…YOUTUBE.

Moving right along, let’s talk about the actual place where you can shoot stuff. Eagle has 24 lanes split between two bays. All lanes are 25 yards deep backed by armor and ballistic rubber. The range will allow firearms up to .50 caliber as long as you forego tracer, incendiary and armor piercing ammo. They will also allow shotguns as long as you use slugs. They have this thing about you possibly damaging the target carrier system with buckshot. I can’t imagine why. Full auto, rapid fire and double taps are verboten for the same reason.

Let’s talk about lighting. How many of you have been to ranges that were lit about as well as a kidnapper’s basement? Not so here. In a word, the range lighting at Eagle is outstanding. Lighting duty is handled by standard, overhead florescent tube fixtures and is bright without being harsh or blinding. There were no major dark corners or shady spots anywhere on the range. If you miss, you won’t be able to blame the lighting.

The range is also has a lot going for it from a creature comfort point of view. I’ve been in ranges that were freezing cold or blistering hot sometimes with both conditions existing in the same bay. Outside air temps were in the 40s the night I was there, but the temperature in the range was even and comfortable. The range also employs an air circulation system that is claimed to completely change out the air in the range every 87 seconds. I have no way to independently verify that claim as I write this; however, I can say that the air in the bay was very clean smelling despite most of the lanes being in use. I’d be interested to see someone shooting a black powder rifle or dirty hand loads to get a visual sense of how well the system deals with the smoke. But, that will have to wait for another time.

The range is also quite roomy. The lanes are about five to six feet wide giving a shooter plenty of elbow room to work. The area behind the shooters is about 15 feet deep and empty with the exception of folding tables along the back wall. The back wall is covered in sound absorbing tiles that did an admirable job of mitigating the noise both inside the range and out in the shop area. One more note on the back wall, there are no “fish bowl” windows between the range and the shop. 2A Mama confirmed that there is additional ballistic protection in the back wall, and she commented that having windows there would have caused stacking of customers in the retail area watching shooters on the line. Personally, I agree with her comments and have no problem with the lack of a fish bowl. Honestly, I think it enhances the overall safety of the range.

Finally, the target carriers and retrieval system are a cut above the ubiquitous toggle switch operated line and pulley systems. I didn’t take good notes on make and model (shame on me); but, based on my Google Fu, I think they are using Action Target’s STC-1 Smart Pad system. The system has a carrier mounted on a rail similar to what you see on a garage door opener. The controller is a key pad that allows for programming of preset distances as well as manual operation. Pressing and releasing the forward/back buttons moves the target carrier a half a yard. Holding down the buttons gives continuous movement until the button is released at which point the carrier stops dead in its tracks.

Moving right along to the rest of the establishment, Eagle Gun Range’s facilities are at least on par with other ranges in the area. The shop area is well laid out and clean. I really like how the new firearms are displayed in shadow box cases mounted to the wall as opposed to the traditional counter/display cases commonly seen. For a tall guy with bad knees like me, not having to bend down so much to peruse the selection is a big plus.

They offer two class rooms which are well laid out and actually look like classrooms as opposed to another range in the area that I’ve been to lately. They are currently offering CHL Licensing (new and renewal) as well as Pistol I and II training courses. 2A Mama indicates the instructors are all DPS/NRA certified with military or law enforcement backgrounds. Other classes are planned; however, 2A Mama was not in a position to give specifics until the details are finalized.

I did not inspect the bathrooms, but I would anticipate them being as clean as the rest of the place implies they should be.

There is a lounge/waiting area off to one side. It’s long and narrow compared to the rest of the facilities, and somewhat sparsely furnished considering the capacity of the range. I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, that there was a couch, a chair, vending machines, a buffet cabinet and a flat screen TV. Having said that, it is better furnished than some of the other ranges I’ve been to recently. There was a coffee pot set up on the buffet cabinet; however, there was no coffee set out when I was there. Even if there had been, I wouldn’t be able to comment on the quality of the coffee as I don’t drink the stuff unless there is Irish Whiskey and cream involved.

Eagle will rent you one or more of over 40 firearms for the very reasonable price of $5.00 plus ammunition for handguns. I am told that they are intending to expand the number of rental offerings as additional inventory is received. They are focusing on getting in the newer, harder to get guns right now. Look for a Springfield EMP and more revolvers in the near future according to 2A Mama. You can even rent an M1 Garand or a 1943 Mosin Nagant. Although, I have question the wisdom of allowing the rental of the Bolshevik Flame Throwing Spear of Death when you have a ban on incendiary ammunition. To each their own I suppose. If you don’t know what I am talking about, let me just say it’s almost worth the $100 or so bucks to buy your own Mosin and light a round off at dusk to see the fireball that puppy belches. It’s a Kodak moment for sure.

Last, but not least, Eagle offers a respectable assortment of new firearms, gun cleaning supplies, holsters, ammunition, optics, cases and other accessories for sale. Many are pink. They even have pink Daisy Red Rider BB guns for sale. I’m not making that up either. Apparently, the owner’s wife is very big on pink and making the range accessible to female shooters. At least the ones that are fond of pink.

They also sort and package used brass for sale to reloaders. When I was there, 2A Mama commented that it had not been moving as well as they had hoped. For example, they had a bag of 100 .45 ACP cases marked for $20.00. She and I discussed that, and I suggested that they were priced a little high for the market. In our subsequent email exchange, I provided her with some pricing examples from online vendors and she responded that they have since revised their pricing. I take that as a good sign of good business sense that they are open to constructive criticism and willing to make changes when it makes sense.

As you would expect for a brick and mortar store, pricing is higher than you would see on the internet or at a gun show. I am not up to speed on the current street price of all firearms; however, I have been eyeballing several polymer framed handguns for possible acquisition in the near to not too distant future time frame. As such, I have a fairly good grasp of the MSRP and going street price for those particular items. I was a little disconcerted to see a Ruger SR9 with a price tag listing its MSRP and no other figures recognizable as an asking price.

In our post visit email exchange with 2A Mama, she conceded that pricing is higher than you would see at other brick and mortar stores. However, she indicated that this is balanced by a higher level of customer service. Being the thrifty (read cheap) person that I am, high level customer service is not as much of a priority for me as some people. BUT, I will admit that I would prefer excellent customer service to indifferent customer service. Or worse…a know it all mall ninja telling me how awesome the H und K Blastomatic (that he has probably only ever used in Call of Duty 54: Tacticool Mall Ninja) is as opposed to my Sig 1911. So, like anything else, it’s a tradeoff. 2A Mama promises that even their “old school” guys will still listen to the customer and make recommendations accordingly even if they “seem to recommend revolvers over and over to women.” Her words not mine.

Like most stores, if they don’t have it…they will order it. They will accept firearm transfers; however, they currently will only do so for CHL holders and charge $50 for the privilege. Again, the tradeoff of service over price. They will accept trades and buy used firearms. 2A Mama indicated that they acquired some of their rental guns this way. They do not have a gunsmith on staff; however, 2A Mama indicated that a couple of the employees can perform basic work such as sight installation, etc. For anything they cannot do themselves, they can put you in touch with a qualified gunsmith.

Lastly, pricing for lane rental and memberships appears to be on par with other ranges. One benefit I don’t recall seeing at other ranges is an in and out privilege subject to lane availability. Also, Monday through Thursday, active military, veterans, law enforcement and EMS shoot for 50% off.

How would I rate Eagle Gun Range on a one to five star basis (five stars being the best)? For purposes of this rating, I am basing my opinions on personal use of four other local indoor ranges in the last two years (DFW Gun Range, Winchester Gallery, Bullseye Range and Great Southwest Range) as well as one outdoor range (Elm Fork). I’ve used other ranges in the past, but some of those no longer exist or are in other cities, etc. I’ve also perused the websites of at least a half a dozen others, and I have visited but not utilized one of those. So, let’s take a look at several categories that would be of interest to most shooters.

Four and a half stars. To be perfectly honest, there is nothing lacking at Eagle Gun Range that I have seen offered at other gun ranges. However, I can’t help but feel that there is something missing. Maybe more seating in the lounge area or some kid oriented entertainment while mom or dad shoots. Again, I’ve not seen that at other ranges.

Five stars. There is only one range in the area (On Target) that even comes close to Eagle in terms of the facilities and equipment. The air circulation system and HVAC system are above par. The target retrieval system…above par. Roominess…above par. D├ęcor…neo classical firearm with overtones of sterile environment. In short, they’ve covered most of the walls with guns and most of the floor space with gun related stuff. Don’t like it? Then why are you at a gun range? You’re here to shoot stuff not look at how well the interior decorator coordinated the wood paneling with the couch pillows and the curtains.

Four stars. For me, it’s a bit of a hike to get there especially measured against the fact that I have an indoor range less than a mile from my house (that I don’t use because I don’t like them); but, it’s only two miles further from my house than my normal work commute. So, it’s not horrible. Could it be more centrally located? Yes. Ergo, the loss of one star. Is it in the middle of nowhere? No. It is less than one mile off of an interstate highway and close to at least two other major thoroughfares. Bottom line, you can’t be close to everyone. Your mileage may vary.

Four stars. Lane rental is $20 per lane, all day with in and out privileges as mentioned earlier. That’s a little higher on a per lane basis than other ranges; however, you get the benefit of come and go as you please. Tradeoffs again. As indicated above, retail sales are a little higher, but you are paying for better service.

Four and a half stars. I am reserving a half a star simply because a place where there are firearms with live ammunition in use can never be 100% safe. Having said that, I cannot think of any one thing that they could do differently to enhance the safety of the range. Having ROs in the shooting bays puts them a cut above all the other indoor ranges I’ve been to recently. The armor between lanes is also a plus. The range is also in a relatively nice, well lit area (it’s an industrial area, but it’s close to a major highway) unlike some of the other ranges I’ve been to. Bottom line, you will be hard pressed to find a range safer than this one.

Four and stars. The only way you can get five stars in this category is to offer one of each from every manufacturer. As it was, their selection of firearms was good considering they had only been open for about six weeks when I went in to visit, and inventory was still coming in. Also, being primarily a range as opposed to a gun store, you shouldn’t expect to see the same selection you would at a gun show.

Four Stars. I would like to have seen a gunsmith on staff which other ranges have to one degree or another (I’ve not sampled the work of those ‘smiths…I just know they exist). Otherwise, the range staff was courteous, attentive, patient and helpful. As I said earlier, there was a brief crush when I came in. At one point, one of the employees (2A Mama’s husband I think) was unsure who was next, and he did what I would expect him to do. He looked at everyone standing around and said “Who’s next?”

Overall Rating
Four and a half stars. If you live in the area, you will be hard pressed to find a better, publically accessible, indoor range. If you live elsewhere and come here to visit, this range is well worth your money for a place to shoot.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Went A-Visitin'

Momma Fargo asked me to do a guest post for her. **

I agreed.

Three months later, I finally got the post written.

However, I feel like it's one of the better posts I've written, so click on over to Momma Fargo's place and check it out.

**If you've not visited her blog, you're missing out. She has a unique ability to find the humor in her job and share some of her most memorable encounters with us. I'm lucky to get to call her a friend, even if she tells everyone I tried to kill her.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kitchen Counter Customizing

The urge to modify physical items from their stock configuration into something that stands out from the rest of the crowd seems to be endemic to the human condition. I mean, for crying out loud, we can’t even leave ROCKS (or the stray Kia Soul) alone without thinking they need to be jazzed up with a few dabs of paint and a name to make them “pets”. While I am not hopelessly addicted to customizing things to the point of absurdity, I am not immune to a desire to express individuality through tailoring objects to my particular taste and personality.

When it comes to firearms, not unlike cars, custom is just a question of how much money you want to spend. Who among us has not gazed upon a finely crafted piece of hardware and mumbled “If only I had the money…” while drooling like a Saint Bernard with a mouthful of Novocain? But, that’s not the point of this post.

I’m talking about customizing on the cheap. And not swapping out the grips panels on the 1911 cheap either. We’re talking loose change from the sofa cheap here.

Our project for the day: color filling the roll marks and stampings on an AR lower (this same process can be used on any firearm roll marks/stampings with the same results).

Total project cost: less than $10 (assuming you didn’t already have the necessary tools in your home)

First, we need some tools. With the exception of a couple of paper towels, everything you will need for this project is pictured right here.

Isopropyl Alcohol (preferably 91%)
Enamel Nail Polish (in the color[s] of your choice)
Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover
Paper towels

Now, for some instructions. For you visual learners, there is a YouTube video out there which was the inspiration for this little project.

One small detour before moving on, this is what the lower looked like at the beginning of the project:

Step one, dip a Q-tip in the alcohol and swab the area to be filled. This removes any oil and residues that might interfere with polish adhesion later.

Step two, once the alcohol has evaporated, take the nail polish, shake it thoroughly, and dab it liberally over the roll mark/stamping to be filled. Don’t worry about coloring inside the lines. This ain’t kindergarten, and we’ll clean up our messes in the next steps.

Step three, before the polish has a chance to dry, blot/wipe excess nail polish from the surface with a clean paper towel.

Step four, using another clean paper towel with some nail polish remover soaked into it, wipe any remaining excess nail polish from the surface around the roll marks/stampings. It may take a couple of passes to get all excess off the surface. You can see in the photos below that there is a little bit of “clouding” left that I need to go back over. I blame bad eyesight and lighting.

Lather, rinse and repeat as necessary until you achieve the results you desire. The roll marks on my AR lower were fairly deep and only took one coat to get a crisp, white fill which I what I was looking for.

Here is the finished product:

It should be noted that Spike's Tactical offers customers the option to have the markings filled for $10 or $30 depending on if you just have one mark filled or all marks filled. But, their lowers are currently on backorder, and adding the color fill adds to the delivery time.

Or, you can do it yourself. Total time start to finish...less than five minutes. You decide.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bob Costas - Off Target

In 90 seconds during the Cowboys VS Eagle game, Bob Costas told us about how guns don't make us safe, don't settle arguments, and take lives. You can hear it for yourself here.   He blamed the "gun culture" for tragedy that befell the Kansas City sports franchise and prophesied that our "gun culture" would be responsible for future escalations and deaths over small things like loud radios.   Bob used his media position to directly communicate to millions of Americans with no rebuttal.   Bob didn't mention the domestic violence issues and the faltering marriage.   Bob did not mention pain killers, the alcohol  the injuries, but you can read more about those here.  These facts tarnished the memory of Jevon Belcher and were left out of Bob's soap box theater.  There are many things that contributed to the death of this young athlete and his wife, but the gun was merely the tool, but through Bob's filter the co-conspirator.

I've seen, and I'm sure you have too, a quote attributed to Col. Jeff Cooper.

In a tragedy that left many hurting, the gun is blamed for the death of a star in Bob's world.   However, when good men use guns to stop the bad, it's the man that gets credit and not the gun.  This juxtaposition of gun and gun wielder is an interesting double standard.

Some among your circles believe, like Bob, that guns should be abolished and that with this act, crime and violence will abate.   Look back to your history and you know this is not the case.   King Leonidas at the battle of Thermopylae would certainly disagree - for firearms were still a future invention.   Genghis Khan rode into Mongolia without the benefit of firearms to wipe out many thousands of victims.   History only tells us that man has killed man since the dawn of recorded time.  The gun more often has been used to protect the few from the many and has evened out bad odds for over a couple 100 years.  The gun has given rise to independence and freedom to the many for they no longer half to rely on the lords for protection.

The gun culture that I know is far from the uncaring and crass culture that Bob sees but does not participate in.   The culture I am involved in is one that cares about the safety of their families.   The culture I see takes responsibility for their actions and does not blame inanimate objects for the deeds of the owner.  The gun culture I know is not looking for the Government to fix their problems.  The culture I am involved in believes in constantly improving their skills while hoping to never need them.  If Bob's media culture were more like the gun culture, political correctness would be a foot note in some forgotten text.  If Bob's media culture were more like our gun culture the Jevon Belcher shooting would be portrayed as domestic violence, and Mr. Belcher as a murderer.  We in the gun culture have our eyes open, we see the double standard.   We see the threats to freedom not only posed to our guns, but to the larger threat made against our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness when events like this are politicized.

I guess it's obvious I prefer the gun culture.

Shoot Straight,