Monday, April 28, 2014

Lucky, Lucky Me!

I picked up my Glock 42 this morning and it just so happened that the gun shop had extra magazines!  I can now follow Mez's 3/5 rule.

I'm very excited to have a Glock that actually fits my hand and can't wait to get it out on the range.  Since I have enough magazines, I'll shoot it for the May defensive pistol match - I can't think of a better way to break it in.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - FIVE - magazines!  And a gun :)
The Glock will get a paint job.  I'm thinking a red slide with black overspray.  Similar to the Para, but slightly in-your-face.  Or ... I can make the Glock match Newt and go Alien II (green).  I don't know yet, but I've got some time to think about it.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

How many magazines do you need? The 3/5 rule!

I am often amazed that many shooters only have the one or two magazines that came with their guns.  Not realizing that they will not have time to reload outside of practice at the firing range.  Spare magazines are what you need to carry spare ammunition at the ready.  This applies to self-defense, competition or the zombie apocalypse.   

The big question is how many spare magazines do you need.  The generic answer is enough spares to cover loss and/or damage with enough rounds to cover your needs.  This doesn’t tell you much. 

I want to introduce what I call the 3/5 Rule for magazines.  You need a minimum of 3 magazines, and 5 magazines is highly recommended. 
Three magazines will allow you to have one in your gun, and two spares.  This is enough to allow for lost or broken magazines and enough ammunition capacity to handle most situations. 
The only situation you may have problems with is competition.  Three magazines may not have enough capacity for some competitions, especially if you have single stack magazines with a capacity less then 10 rounds.
I personally recommend five magazines.  This will definitely give you enough spares to cover loss or damage and enough capacity for any need.  Even a zombie apocalypse.  I also see 5 magazines being a lifetime supply for the average shooter.

This same rule can also be applied to rifles as well, especially with military pattern rifles such as the AR-15.  The purpose of these rifles is defeated without spare magazines.  A good lever gun is more useful if you don’t have spare magazines. 
I would even buy a few more for rifles.  Three to five magazines minimum of 20-30 round capacity for self defense, competition and a zombie apocalypse, 2 to 4 ten round magazines for range work and 1 or 2 five round magazines if you hunt with your semi-auto rifle.  This gives you six to eleven magazines for your rifle.

Spare magazines may be expensive, but a needed accessory for your firearm to work properly.  They should be considered a semi-disposable item.  Do take care of them.  They will give you years of good service.  But be aware they wear out, break or can be lost.  Definitely buy spares.  One or two is not enough. 
Three to Five magazines should be enough for the average shooter. 

One last comment, a quality magazine carrier is worth the money.  It is easier to carry your spare magazines and will keep dirt and pocket lint out them, which may cause malfunctions.
Many manufacturers are now including a cheap plastic magazine carrier.  They are cheap in both contexts of the term.  Buy something better as soon as you can.

Hope this information is useful to you and clears up any questions on how many magazines you need.

By Mez

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quality matters!

Todays post will be something usually not found in most firearm reviews.  I will be talking about quality defects.  Most reviews read the same, X firearm is the greatest thing since sliced bread and will outshoot anything produced.  Boring and tells me nothing. 
As firearms are mechanical devices you will once in a while have a defect.  Some are minor and easily fixed.  Others are major and warrant a return to the factory.  No manufacturer can have zero defects.  That is impossible.  But all manufacturers should strive to minimize defects.  Rework costs money and therefore profit.  There is also the hazard of perception.  You many have the greatest product every produced.  But if buyers perceive your product to be of low quality and do not buy it, you are done and your business will fail. 

I understand manufacturers are trying to reduce costs as the economy flushes down the crapper.  Thanks Federal Government for the wonderful mismanagement of the economy.  But there is a point cost cutting must stop in order to maintain quality.  If quality drops too far, people stop buying your products. 
And this drop is quality is what I am seeing across the firearms industry.  The next section will outline the defects I have seen. 


The maker of the must have rifle of 2013, the TAVOR.  Yes, this $2000 rifle had issues right of the box.  It would shortstroke.  Shortstroking is when rifle does not have enough gas pressure to push the slide all the way rearward to pick up the next cartridge from the magazine.  So you end up pulling the charging handle each time you want to fire the rifle.  Very frustrating.
After 500 rounds the problem seems to have self corrected itself.  It cycles fine now with no problems.  I’m not sure what was the problem.  It could be as simple as it needed a break-in period.  But 500 rounds is an expensive break-in.  That is 500 rounds that I did not get to train with and practice my skills.  And luckily I did not need to bet my life on this rifle. 
I will not trust this rifle until I have another 500-1000 rounds through it, trouble free.  This is a serious defect of perception.  Luckily I can afford to own more than one rifle.


I recently purchased a model 650.  This is a subnose .357 revolver.  Taurus’s version of the Smith and Wesson model 640.  Everything looked fine when I purchased it.  But went south the first time I fired it.  It turns out the barrel isn’t installed correctly.  The barrel is not fully seated and is crooked.  Since this is a fixed sight revolver, this means the front sight is canted to the left.  It shoots 2 inches right at 7 yards and 5 inches right at 15 yards.  Again, I’m fortunate to have the means to have more than one handgun.  And I have enough experience to compensate for this sight misalignment if I had to. 

What if this is someones first and only handgun?  What if they need it immediately as there was a potential threat?  Do they have the time to return it for warranty work?  Can they live without their firearm for several weeks while it is repaired?  Do they have enough skill and experience to compensate for the canted front sight?  I see this as a potential life threatening quality defect.  This handgun should not have left the factory.  Especially with an obvious and blatant defect.


I recently picked up a Ruger 10/22.  A fun little .22 rifle.  But when I stripped it to clean it, the recoil spring came off the op rod.  The spring should be a captive spring.  The spring should not fly off.  The factory did not put enough crimp on it.  A minor defect and easily fixed by those of us who are mechanically inclined.  Not everyone is mechanically inclined.  Now they have a useless rifle that requires repair.   

Next up in the Ruger line is a model SP101.  A .357 snubby revolver.  I found 2 items on this one firearm.  First, there was a large burr on the frame that was not removed during the assembly process.  It did not affect function, but should have been removed by the factory.  A few quick strokes of a file and the problem disappeared.  Again, not everyone can do this. 
Next, when I pulled it apart to replace the mainspring (poor mans trigger job), I noticed the machining of the internal frame and trigger assembly was rougher than on older Rugers I own.  This explains why the trigger pull was a bit crunchy.
Again, functionality was not affected.  But, my perception of Ruger has gone down a bit.
I have another SP101, an older model.  And when compared side by side, the older model has a nicer fit and finish.  
Definitely, quality is going down, but has not yet affected functionality.


Yes, the all mighty Volquartsen.  Maker of high quality parts for your Ruger 10/22 and MK3 and MK22/45 handguns has sent me some real lemons.  And serious ones that require the parts to be sent back to the factory for replacement.
I purchased 2 trigger assemblies for my 10/22 rifles.  These were advertised as match grade triggers with a 2½ pound trigger pull. 
Both have serious issues. 

The first one had the following problems:
·                Safety does not work.  It will not engage. 
·               The mounting holes were not machined correctly.  When mounted into the receiver, the     
         fit was too tight and caused the bolt to drag.

The second assembly had the following problem:
·                The mounting holes are machined incorrectly and the assembly cannot be installed.      
         You can even see the poor machining in the rear mounting hole. 

These defects come from a company that has a reputation for quality and precision.  Not only are these functional defects, but my perception of Volquartsen has dropped considerably.  Has Volquartsen gone the route of Kimber?  Lowered the quality level to accommodate mass manufacture and then rely on quality of their name to keep business coming in?  I hope not.  Especially when this trigger assembly costs more than the rifle it will be installed on. 
As a Manufacturing Engineer, if I saw this, I would start pulling samples to see if I have a systemic problem.  It is very rare to get 2 assemblies, in a row, that have such serious problems unless there is a deeper systemic issue. 


Am I saying not to buy from these manufacturers ever again?  No!  Any manufacturer can produce defects.  It happens.  I would by these products again.  Do carefully examine your firearm before you purchase.  And make sure they work correctly before you bet anything on them, especially your life. 

What I am seeing is an industry wide drop in overall quality.  Everyone is cutting costs and it is showing in the end product.  What you are buying today is not as nice as a few years ago.
In my opinion it is almost impossible to get this many defects across multiple products and manufacturers.  Except for the TAVOR, all items listed above have been purchased within the last six weeks from multiple gun shops and online retailers. 

Final comments on quality:

Why quality matters?  Because in todays world, everyone and their brother makes and AR-15, or a 1911 or a precision bolt action rifle.  So whom do you buy from?  One factor is who provides the features you want.  But more importantly, who produces what you want, with the best quality for the best price.  I think quality is the more important of the two.  This also extends to customer service as well.  I will pay more for the same product if I get superior customer service.
And on the flip side, you may have the greatest product ever, but if your customer service sucks, I will not buy from you unless I absolutely need what you are selling and there is no one else. 

Quality matters!

By: Mez

Friday, April 4, 2014

Review Regrets

Back in June of 2012, I wrote a glowing review of a new gun shop.  I loved the place - it became my go-to shop for a few months and then things began to change.  By the time their first year was out, the co-owner, who had become somewhat of a friend had some health issues and was pushed out.  I didn't like the way the shop was going, it was now staffed by a bunch of young wanna-bes who didn't know jack-shit about guns.  My fun shop had turned into a large box store.  However, because I didn't want to hurt my friend, I didn't print a retraction despite desperately wanting to.

The last time I was in the shop, I might have well have gone to Sportsman's Warehouse.  I was ignored and talked down to.  The young bucks didn't have time for a middle-aged woman (who has more shooting experience than the whole lot of them put together).  The positive influence of the co-owner was gone - the store was all about volume and they didn't care how they moved that volume.  But, yet, I held off.

Today, though, the taste of betrayal is strong. And I don't like it.

As most of you know, Colorado is currently locked in a legal battle regarding the gun laws passed last year.  Fifty-five of our sheriffs have filed a lawsuit against the state, and several gun shops have joined.  Here's a link to the original complaint.  Note that USA Liberty Arms is clearly listed as one of the plaintiffs on page two, right under MagPul Industries.

This morning, I read the following on Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply's Facebook page:
I Spent the day at the Federal Courthouse in Denver.

Today John Berrud, of Jensen Arms, and I testified on behalf of the Plaintiff FFL's in our lawsuit against the State of Colorado. Governor John Hickenlooper signed three anti-second Amendment, anti-gun rights, anti-personal freedom bills into law. This lawsuit which seeks to overturn these as unconstitutional, is based on the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

While there were originally 9 FFL holders (gun stores) in this suit, to represent the group as a whole. Only 5 took the effort to compile the necessary data, and submit the necessary paperwork to the attorneys in order to proceed with the suit.

One of the original 9 plaintiffs in the suit, USA Liberty Arms, not only failed to support the lawsuit by refusing to provide data, they were listed on the State Attorney's list of potential witnesses.

In a news article printed in January co-owner David McClelland was quoted as saying they have "managed to adjust to the changes."
"They've also found special magazines that comply with the law."
"They make California-compliant models that take 10-round magazines easily," McClelland said. "Abiding by that law is very easy."

Meanwhile the testimonies of the all the Plaintiff's has gone well, the attorneys are getting in the arguments they have against these laws. Tomorrow starts the testimonies of the defendant. The trial is expected to end late next week. Keep the attorneys in your thoughts and prayers as they proceed.

We are hoping Justice will prevail, and these anti-gun, anti-liberty laws will be declared unconstitutional and thrown out.

Support those in the Industry that are doing their part to protect your 2nd Amendment right.
Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply, Fort Collins
Jensen Arms, Loveland
Jerrys Outdoor Sports, Grand Junction
Green Mountain Guns, Denver
Goods for the Woods, Durango

I've tried looking for the Defense's current witness list, but can't seem to find it (I do not have strong Google-Fu apparently).  I will, until proven otherwise, believe the post by RMSS because they are currently testifying in the lawsuit and have access to all of the court records.

Not so much as one red cent of mine will be spent at USA Liberty Arms.  Not because they're a witness for the Defense, not really.  The reason is that they joined one side of the lawsuit and switched sides. 

I have respect for businesses (and people) who stand for what they believe in, even if their beliefs are different from mine.

I have ZERO respect for businesses (and people) who can't make up their minds.

I just wonder if their switching sides has anything to do with them being approved to build a huge indoor shooting range that previously met a lot of opposition?  Suddenly, their proposal went from "no way will we approve this", to "sure, it'll be good for the area".  Feels to me like there's been a bit of behind-the-scenes horse trading.  (Or I've been spending too much time with my Conspiracy Nutter friends.)