Saturday, December 16, 2017

Review: Desert Technology SRS-A1Precision Rifle

You want to buy a long-range rifle?

So, you want to buy a long-range rifle to shoot 1000 yards or more.  You could buy a Remington 700.  But that would be a generic, boring, and a very pedestrian rifle to buy.  The same rifle everyone else owns.  Yawn!  Or better yet, you could buy a top tier rifle.  Why?  Why not?  You are shooting at 1000 yards and more.  Quality matters when you go out that far. 

Let me introduce you to the SRS-A1 by Desert Technology.  This is a top tier bolt action rifle with a half-MOA guarantee.  This puts the SRS on par with other top tier rifles such as Surgeon, Barrett MRAD and Georgia Precision. 

Scope Mount is by SPUHR (heavy duty industrial mount for hard use)
bipod: Harris

What does one-half MOA look like at 100 yards!  4 shots.
(Please pardon the operator error.  This should be one hole not two)

What makes the SRS unique among its peers is that it is a bullpup design.  The big advantage of the bullpup design is the shorter overall length.  The SRS with a 26” barrel is only 37” in length.  Compare this to 47” in length of a traditional rifle with the same 26 inch barrel.   This allows you to have a longer barrel without increasing the overall length or sacrificing muzzle velocity due to a shorter barrel.    
That extra muzzle velocity matters at long range.  Your round stays super sonic longer increasing your effective range.  Sure, I can shoot 1000 yards with a short 16 inch barrel.  But it is more difficult as the bullet drops to sub-sonic at approximately 800 yards.  Once the bullet goes sub-sonic it is more greatly affected by environmental conditions such as wind.  Making longer range shots more difficult.  A longer barrel in a shorter package is nice to have.  
Another advantage of the Bullpup design is the rifle the rifle easier to carry and maneuver in the field. 

SRS-A1 with 26 inch barrel compared to Remington 700 LTR with 20 inch barrel
Remington 700 LTR specs:
Scope Rings:  Seekins Precision 34mm

SRS (rear) is 2.5 inches shorter in overall length with a 26 inch barrel than a Remington 700 LTR (front) with a 20 inch barrel

Some other features of the SRS:

It has a 5 or 6 round detachable magazine with ambidextrous magazine release. 

6 round magazine for .308 Winchester

It comes with a built in rear Monopod to support the rear of the rifle.  This is a nice feature instead of using a more traditional sand bag to support the rear of the rifle. The Monopod is spring loaded for rapid adjustment and it has a threaded dial that can be used for micro adjustments to your position. 

Rear spring loaded Monopod with find adjust dial

Full length Picatinny rail for mounting your scope or other accessories. 
My rifle has the full length quad rail handguard for mounting accessories such as a bipod.  New models of the SRS have lighter weight handguards where you can add a Picatinny rail section versus having full length rails.  These newer handguards are lighter weight and I do recommend them.   The quad rail on my rifle adds a lot of unnecessary weight.

Hand guard with full Picatinny rails

The length of pull can be adjusted by adding or subtracting half-inch spacers.  This is a really nice feature as you can adjust the rifle to fit you.  If the rifle fits you, you are more comfortable.  When you are confortable you shoot better.  I wish all rifle stocks has this feature. 

Half-inch spacers can be added or removed to adjust length of pull

My rifle does not have an adjustable cheek piece, but the new models do.  I don’t think this feature is needed on the SRS.  Buy the correct height rings and you don’t need an adjustable cheek piece.   

The trigger is absolutely outstanding.  It really does not need adjustment from the factory.  You can have the trigger tuned if you are a trigger snob.  Make sure you find a gunsmith that really knows the Desert Tech. rifles.  Don’t let just anyone work on this rifles trigger. 

Now, for one of the best features of the SRS rifle.  It is designed to have a quick change barrel system.  Five screws and the barrel comes out.  You can swap out barrels and change calibers in less than 5 minutes in the field.  No gunsmithing required.  Go from .308 to .338 Lapua in 5 minutes or less. 
You have one rifle that shoots multiple calibers.  The big advantage to this system is you don’t need to adapt to a new stock, new scope, new trigger or new anything.  The stock, length of pull, trigger, eye relief to the scope, the grip are all the same everytime.  For long range shooting this consistency is useful. 

The barrels are all match grade stainless steel.  Again, Desert Tech. gives you a one-half MOA guarantee. 
Choose the caliber you want.  If you don’t see the caliber you want, call up Desert Tech. and they will machine you a barrel in the caliber you want. 

One note on changing barrels.  Going from .308 to 6.5 Creedmore is easy.  It is just a barrel change.  Going from .308 to .338 Lapua also requires you buy a new bolt and magazine as the .338 has a larger case head diameter. 

Now the downside:

Let me list some of the downsides of this rifle.

  1.         Cost.  Being a top tier rifle you are charged a top tier price.   The rifle, retail new, is about $4500.  So not for your casual target shooter.  The SRS is definitely aimed at customers who are serious about long range shooting or just want the best. 
  2.      Weight.  With the full length quad rail handguard, Scope and Scope mount, my rifle comes in at 15 pounds.  (Desert Tech. list 11.30 pounds stripped on their website)  A bit heavy to hump through the woods for a day.  On the other hand, that weight soaks up a lot of recoil making this a very pleasant rifle to shoot.
  3.      Pistol Grip.  The pistol grip is a bit large and fat.  And it is not changeable.  It is molded into the frame.   You are stuck with what it is.  So get used to it. 
  4.      Not a lot of aftermarket support.  Being a unitized chassis system, there is not a lot you can do with the rifle.  The good news, there isn’t much you need to do to it.
  5.       The rear Monopod is a bit wobbly for my tastes.  It doesn't move a lot.  Most people probably won't notice it.  But I do.  It irritates me.  Mostly a personal preference.    


Overall I love this rifle.  It is a technological beast of a rifle that performs exceptionally well.  Yes, it is very expensive, but you get the performance you are paying for.  It comes standard with a lot of features that cost you extra on many other rifles.   Once you buy one, mount a scope and bipod and go shoot.  No need to worry about aftermarket do-dads.  You probably don’t need any.  Just go shoot. 

If you want a top tier rifle, definitely check out DesertTechnologies SRS line of rifles.  A lot of features and performance packed into a compact package.

One final comment.  If .338 Lapua isn’t big enough for you.  Desert Technologies has there HTI line of rifles in calibers such as .50 BMG, .416 Barret and .408/.375 CheyTac. 

By: Mez


Monday, December 11, 2017

Funny Coincidence (If You Believe in Them)

On December 1st, the day I wrote about shooting left-handed, my brother Deejo blew out his right biceps tendon.

I'm not the only one in my family who believes we should be competent shooting with both hands, though I'm the one who practices the most (and probably the one who needs the most practice).

Knowing he would be off work for a while - it's hard to drive a 36' truck with a manual transmission once you've ruptured a bicep tendon - he called up and asked if we could go shooting. Only in my family would we find an injury reason to hit the range, but his work injury is the exact reason everyone should practice and become competent with their non-dominant hand.

Trust me, he did not go into work on Friday morning looking to suddenly become left-handed, but shit happens and until he's healed up from surgery and finished with his physical and occupational therapy, left-handed he is.

If you've been putting off your non-dominant hand practice because it's "uncomfortable" or "awkward" stop making excuses, get off your butt, and get to the range. This isn't like PE in junior high, where you get hurt, wave your hand, limp off the field, and get left alone. Outwardly injured folks may look even more enticing to a predator; why would anyone just accept that fate? Refusing to become competent with your non-dominant hand puts you at even more of a defensive disadvantage.

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Leftie in the Making

At the beginning of the year, this meme was incredibly accurate. I have always done some shooting left-handed, but very little. 50 - 100 rounds per year over the last fifteen years doesn't add up to much when compared to the rounds shot with my right hand. My best guess would be 1-2% of my shooting was done left-handed since I began shooting.

I knew, when I wrote up my shooting goals for this year that I wanted to increase my left-handed shooting, but it was pretty vague. I just wanted to do it "more". My vague idea of "more" was somewhere around 25%, I figured that would make me competent enough should anything happen to my dominant arm/hand.

I started the year shooting the Dot Torture, so it was easy to plan to shoot it once right-handed and once left-handed. By the end of February, I realized that I was far exceeding my goal of 25% left-handed shooting. I continued to run drills both right- and left-handed throughout the year, and I have averaged about a 50/50 split between both hands.

Some drills, like the Baseline Evaluation, lend themselves very nicely to switching hands. When I shoot the Baseline Evaluation I do it right-handed, left-handed, right hand only, and left hand only. At 50 rounds each, it's easy to run through 200 rounds in a one-hour period of time, so it can get expensive quickly.

I have found an unexpected benefit to all of this left-handed shooting (besides the obvious increase in confidence, etc.). A couple of months ago at work, I was working on my laptop and eating lunch at the same time. About half-way through my lunch I realized that I'd been eating my salad left-handed. With a fork and everything. And I hadn't even made a mess!

As I sat there, in wonder that this miracle occurred, I realized that I've been using my left-hand far more frequently and without thought since I began shooting left-handed. It's a benefit that I never considered, and, yes, I feel dumb for not ever considering it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hand Over Your Weapons

I’ve read the Boston Globe Article “Hand over your weapons” at least 3 times.   Sometimes making it all the way through, sometimes stopping to ponder how a particular aspect of the article might look in America.   Summarizing, the writer of the piece writes about the “epidemic” of firearms deaths in the US, trotting out the tired statistic of 30,000 people being killed (without mention of the suicides), followed by how gutless politicians are for not being  willing to oppose the 2nd amendment, though a brave Obama had hinted at it.   An example of how a mass shooting in Australia lead to the country’s mandatory ban on most firearms, and how the more civilized Aussies endorsed that national feeling of guilt.    Lastly, the gun grabbers here are willing to endorse confiscation, but the NRA is too powerful and well organized (woos me), and those yahoos own too many guns, and a one sentence acknowledgement of mental illness.   I’ve attached a link to the article so you can see if I accurately surmised the article.

I’ve read articles like this for years, but with this article, my mind keeps circling back to “What would gun confiscation look like in the US”?   A compulsory buy back followed by using illegally kept records from database searches, to surprise seizures of paper records from your local gun store?  The next paragraphs are fiction, it’s how my mind sees a possible unraveling of events.

The compulsory buyback component would be the same lame format that some of the big cities have used, and  failed at getting guns out of the hands of criminals.   The money they offer won’t match the value of the guns, because states like NY and CA can’t afford to pay a fair value of the gun.   However, the state will use the threat of prison time, and fines  to attempt compliance.   The resulting inventory of turned in guns will likely mirror the inventories retrieve in Chicago, and Phoenix-old relics, broken 22s,  PVC and wood zip guns, etc…   Look at NY and CA to lead this charge on “buy back” and when that fails, look to them to jump head long into confiscation.

In my imagination confiscation has a couple of different looks, one looks like this.   State politicians would order police to confiscate local gun shop records, some records would be lost in mysterious fires, others would be turned over, computer records, that by law should have been destroyed, will mysteriously be available to cull names, addresses, serial numbers etc.…  Names are regionalized and organized for local enforcement if the agency leadership mirrors the views of the state leaders, else look for state agencies to enforce the state mandate.    Some cases of Blue flu are reported.

The state initiates limited targeting based on the intelligence gathered from gun store records, or family turn coats, or electronic records.  Based on the numbers of teams available for the searches and seizure, CA and NY announce a huge success in the number of illegal firearms seized, increasing numbers of raids are planned.  Illinois polls the questions and contemplates following suit.   The Governors and allies pose for the photo-op that is used as the front cover of every paper in the country.  The Feds remain mum, wanting to see how this plays out.  Republican leadership wants to be able to claim “me too” if the raids are well received by the public.    The state realizes that it confiscated about 8% of the firearms it expected, the press provides cover, gun owners are jailed, jail populations expand, people that had been law abiding have now become criminal because they believe in freedom that the state no longer supports.    The state plans a 2nd round of raids.  Three days later, a second round of raids is met by limited resistance.   In one instance, a 36 year retired policeman knows they’re coming to his house.    He sits behind the door with his Rock River AR-15, 30 round mags loaded with XM855.   Knowing the tactics, he anticipates the proper arrival time, partially barricades the doors, he doesn't expect to live through the ordeal.   The flash bang is ineffectual because the retired patriot anticipates and the partially blocked door allows him to recover in time to head shoot the first 2 men in the stack before being shot and killed by the third.   In his death the older man becomes a rallying cry, “Remember Bob!”   A call goes out for a suspension of the raids but is largely ignored by the gun grabbing media and politicians.   After all, it’s the gun nuts that are being killed by the gun, they brought this on themselves.

Serious push back occurs during the third raid, about 2 weeks later.   Now those people that have been following the reports are banding together and  actually creating defensive plans.   Blue flu attacks 50% of the LE ranks, and teams of “gun free believers” are combined from the remaining operators.  Some gun owners are targeted and caught in the open by changing tactics employed by the state – targeted traffic stops to catch them unarmed, or less armed,   But the raids are still the darlings of the media and the planning is still going strong.   As long as the politicians can get a photo op beside piles of menacing looking guns, they vow to press on.       The third set of raids are embarrassing for the state.   Armed resistance is up, patriots surveilling the police watch the Bearcats rollout and put out the call -1 if by land.  A full 1/3 of the raids are met with resistance, and in some cases are counter attacked.    Casualties are high among the police and the civilian/patriot populace.  Horded tannerite was used to make IEDs  and the homes of politicians, their families and of senor police staff seen on TV are set on fire.   The Governors mansions are fired upon in retaliation and many “suspicious” packages are found through out the parking garages that service the State’s Congressional buildings.   Fire trucks are impeded in route.  The third raid will be the last.  Politicians have no stomach for being involved in the confrontation they endorse.

No politician will be held accountable for the breach in constitutional rights, no guns returned, no apologies are issued.   A week later, a Kardashian is killed in a freak accident.   The body is not found for a couple of days, and a small pack of Chihuahuas partially devour the body, the image is leaked to TMZ, and the country has already forgotten.

Eight months later a young man in Texas, recently off his psych drugs, kills 6 in a failed attempt to become the greatest killer of all time.   The state confiscates all property and razes the house, sues the estate and confiscates all insurance money, all proceeds are used to reimburse the families of the dead for all funeral costs as far as the money goes.   The body is publicly burned in front of the court house and the ashes and remains are left for the crows and the wind.   Texas tells their citizens, that the surviving family members will be punished for the attempted mass murders of their family members.   Keep your family in line, or we come for you.

Do the people that believe in gun confiscation think further out than the act of confiscation?  If it started tomorrow, would they fear a backlash?  It’s High School science people, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.    Do they not acknowledge the violence perpetrated in England and Australia by people with knives?  While maybe the “gun” violence went down, did the numbers of violence, murder and assault go down, or was the tool being used just changed to a knife?    What do they think will happen?  Or do they think we’ll all take the public transportation  down to the park link hands and sing Kumbaya ( ok, Boulder might)?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The New AR

I mentioned in my last post that my best friend and I snuck off to the range last weekend to sight in a recently completed AR.

Being the sole provider for my family and coming off the second lay off in 3 years, I am a bit "gun poor". I actually started building this AR a couple years ago after the first lay off when I picked up a basic Aero Precision Gen 2 stripped lower receiver. If you're not familiar with Aero Precision, they make some very good components for ARs. The Gen 2 lower in particular is nice as it has the addition of an adjustable polymer set screw in the rear of the receiver to help stabilize the upper. It takes the place of an aftermarket accu wedge. 

Accu Wedge

Aero Precision Gen 2 Lower - polymer set screw
Anydigression, the lower was finally completed earlier this year. For those interested in the specs, here is the rundown of the parts selected:

Aero Precision Gen 2 Stripped Lower
CMMG lower parts kit
Magpul MOE FDE pistol grip
Magpul CTR FDE Mil Spec adjustable stock
Aero Precision Mil Spec 6 position buffer tube, buffer, end plate and spring set
CMC 3 lb. single stage flat trigger

Total cost in parts was $383 and change including tax.

A brief word about assembling the parts. It's not hard. There are plenty of  videos out there to help you figure out the process. Anybody can do it. Having said that, it is infinitely easier to do if you have or can borrow the right tools for the job.

So, when I landed my current full time job, I was in the process of thinking it was high time to gather the parts for the upper when I get a call from my best friend. "I got something for you.", he says. Low and behold, it was a complete upper. It's good to have nice friends. He gifted me, as a "congrats on the new job" gift, a SOTA Arms (SOTA stands for State of the Art, BTW) 16 inch, .223 Wylde chambered, 1:7 twist heavy barrel upper with a mid length gas system, a KeyMod forend and a standard A2 birdcage flash hider.

Did I mention I have a really great best friend?

I had a Hawke 3-9x40 AO IR scope on hand for an optic (I may eventually replace that with a red dot...I might not) which we mounted up without too much trouble (a scope mounting level really helps a lot), and it was off to the range to sight in and see what it can do.

Another mini digression about ammo selection. I had some American Eagle 55 grain .223 Jacketed Boat Tail on hand. Best friend had the same in addition to some 68 grain Magtech .223 that he had picked up somewhere. Those familiar with twist rate and bullet weight pairing will recognize that the 55 grain/1:7 twist combo is "not ideal" for maximum accuracy according to the experts.

3 Shots - 1 inch square - 50 yards
Meh. Experts...smeckperts. Those look like they stabilized just fine to me. I didn't have calipers with me to get a precise measurement, but the Mark 1 hairy eyeball guestimates that at roughly 3/4 of an inch at the widest which maths out to 1.5ish MOA at 100 yards. That's with a mediocre shooter and non-match ammo out of a non-match barrel.

I'll take that.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


I consider myself to be a fair shot with a pistol. More often than not, my targets look like actual intentional groupings as opposed to random patterns. Having said that, I've done very little in the way of structured training or practice (shame on me). So, when my best friend and I escaped to the range on Sunday to sight in a recently completed AR, we took along the pistols as well.

My friend suggested we give the Dot Torture drill a whirl. I said sure. Why not? I'm familiar with the drill from seeing others post about their experiences, but I'd never taken a stab at it personally. I thought, "How hard could it be?"



Sure, I can hit a 2 inch target at 3 yards. No problem. You can too I bet. Until you try and get this:

That's my first try at Dot Torture with a Ruger SR1911 5 inch at 3.5 yards. Color me shocked. 

We then had the bright idea to pull out the .22 pistols and give it another try.

Better but still not great. Ruger 22/45 Target model with a fiber optic front sight. 

Well, neither of us was happy with our performance. So, we decided one more try was in order.

Almost clean. 1 dropped shot.

This is going to become a regular part of my range outings from now on. You should give it a try too. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Church Security

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on church security. I just wanted to share with you an experience I had a few months ago.

I had to travel to Salt Lake City a couple of months ago for work, and during our down time, my co-workers and I went to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice. Besides the soul-soothing music, I got to see first-hand how they handled security.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of Grossman's Sheepdog Seminars in June of 2016 and I don't know if the church security has attended any of the seminars, but I did get to see some of his suggestions in action. I witnessed no less than four "rings" of security around the building.

One of the things that he said during the Seminar was that church security teams need to be out in the public - they don't need to be threatening, but they need to be interacting with the guests. The first thing I noticed when I stepped onto the grounds was that there were multiple people greeting all of the guests. Not a single guest went without someone making eye contact and greeting them warmly. (Outermost ring)

The second thing I noticed was that if anyone was carrying a backpack or bag (other than a small purse), they were approached with a smile and asked to check it. The bag check was on the outer perimeter of the building and everyone who was asked to check their bag was escorted to the bag check. (Second ring)

At the door, anyone who had a purse, had their purse searched. But it was done with a smile and a kind word. (Third ring)

Inside the concert hall, they had people stationed throughout the rows, back to the performers, watching everyone in the audience. All with a smile on their faces, but their eyes missed nothing. Each section of seats had at least one person watching over them. (Fourth, and closest, ring)

What I found exceptional was that none of these security people looked like security people - the were people of all ages, both male and female - and they were all exceedingly polite. It was very much reminiscent of Roadhouse - "be nice until it's time to not be nice". In fact, if I had not spent time studying security and if I had not attended the Sheepdog Seminar, I might not have recognized this multi-layer approach to security.

The church did an excellent job of providing security disguised as outstanding customer service.

My hope is that more churches embrace the style of security that Lt. Dave Grossman advocates. Too many times, church security folks are dressed in their tacticool clothes, all clumped together inside the building drinking coffee. Spread out a bit, walk the parking lots, engage the parishioners and their guests in conversation. Be nice, but be aware. If you can identify the threat in the parking lot, you've gone a long way in hardening your church as a target.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

I'm Sorry (An Open Letter)

To the woman at the gun shop today,
I'm sorry.

I'm sorry I didn't interrupt when the (older, male) idiot behind the counter insisted that women needed revolvers instead of a semi-auto, because apparently we women are to stupid to learn to identify and clear malfunctions.

I'm sorry I didn't offer to help when I saw you in the lane next to me with a snub-nosed thirty-eight, and your (young, male) "gun expert" encouraging you to continue shooting a gun you were obviously not comfortable with.

I spent the entire time watching you and wanting to pull you aside, wanting to tell you to take a proper class, wanting to tell you the men who were advising you today were idiots who have no idea what they were talking about.

You see, a snub-nosed revolver is an expert's weapon, not a beginner's one, but the "experts" you had to deal with today aren't expert enough to know that.

I'm not an expert, but I dedicate a lot of time to shooting and studying shooting. I knew they were steering you wrong.

I should have broken my rule of not offering unsolicited advice, and for that I'm sorry. I've been angry at myself ever since.

Please accept my apologies,

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Introducing the Newest GunDude

GunDiva: I want to introduce you to our newest GunDude, Robbie. We go way back to when we were co-workers at a gun shop. Robbie is a young 'un, but has decades of gun experience and has the best stories. I've been after him to write about his bear hunting adventures (which is not what today's post is about, but I'll get a bear story out of him eventually).
As I sit here looking at my son, I start to think about taking him to the shooting range; and how my dad got me started. The first time I remember dad taking me to the range, he sat down with me and told me all about how the gun worked and the damage it could cause if it was misused. He went over the safety rules again and again until I could say every rule back to him word for word.  After the talking part was done he showed me the gun we were going to shoot. It was a nylon 66 .22 LR. As I sat down at the bench behind the gun, I remember feeling scared that I would somehow screw something up, but my dad just sat on the other side of the bench and told me he didn't expect me to punch a one hole group. He only expected me to hit the ground, but that was ok, only as long as I followed all the rules and techniques of squeezing the trigger and the breath control.

Finally the time came to load the gun and see what I could do. Wouldn't you know, I was a natural... I hit the ground every time! The metal popper was safe for the time being. I looked over at my dad expecting to see disappointment on his face, but to my surprise I saw a look of satisfaction. He said that I was doing everything right.

Then the other boot dropped and told me I was looking through the sights wrong. He told me that I needed to line up the sights a certain way and to focus on the front sight. We loaded up the gun again, and tried one more time. I sat behind the rifle and concentrated on the front sight and squeezed the trigger, and the gun fired and I heard a TWANG! The popper spun around with the force of a well placed shot. I looked over at my dad and saw something on his face that I rarely saw... He was smiling. He then told me "Good job" and to keep going. Of course I missed a few more shots but I hit a few more too. We stayed there a few more hours with him giving me targets to hit and me trying to hit them. Then he said that it was time to go.

He saw the look of disappointment on my face and told me he would take me out again next week. Hearing that made me think I was floating on cloud 9.

After a few more days at the range, my dad said I was ready for something new for the next time we went to the range. The next trip to the range my dad brought a different gun case. When I asked what it was he told me I would find out soon enough.  It was a long trip that day, with all the anticipation of a new gun to shoot. Finally we got to the range. I was so ready to see the new gun I was going to shoot! Dad had a different idea though. We went and shot the .22 for a while. I was getting done with a good string of shots when my dad put something down next to me. I looked over and saw something I had never seen before. Seeing the confused look on my face he explained what it was.

It was a Colt AR 15. He explained everything about it, from how to load it to how to take it apart. We disassembled it and reassembled it many times. He said if I was going to shoot a bigger gun I was going to learn how to clean it and know how it worked. I think I was the only five year old that could take an AR 15 apart. Thinking back on it I think I was the only five year old that had actually seen one. Of course, not too many kids that I knew had ever gone shooting.

After all the talking was done he showed me one more time how to load the magazine and then handed it to me. I loaded only ten rounds in the mag then seated in into the receiver, pulled the loading charge handle back then let it fly home loading the gun and making it "hot". Looking at my dad somewhat nervous about this bigger gun he told me not to worry about the recoil, that it only kicked a little more than a .22. I relaxed a little at his words. Then feeling a little more confident with those words I flipped the safety off got a good sight picture and squeezed the trigger.


I was a little startled by the much louder report, it was a so much louder than the little .22. Of course I missed the steel popper I had been aiming at. He chuckled and said that it was ok and to concentrate on the sight picture. Realizing that the "bark was worse than the bite" I settled back behind the rifle again and slowly squeezed the trigger again.


The shot missed again, but this time was a little bit closer than the last. I finally hit the target 50 yards away on the ninth shot! My dad clapped me on the back and told me that I was starting to figure it out. Of course I missed the tenth round; but after hitting it on the previous shot I was excited to load up another mag and try it again. I found out quickly that it took a lot more time to load the mag than to shoot it. I loaded the mag so many times that my fingers started to get tired and hurt; my dad had to start loading them for me. This was so cool! Finally after about three hours and 500 rounds my dad said it was time to pack up and head home. I hadn't realized how much I had shot until I had to pick up all that brass. As I was picking up all the brass dad told me that I was hitting the target 7 out of 10 shots, and that was pretty impressive for a five year old.

Now that my son is almost four, I can't wait to start talking to him about how my dad took me out and started me out shooting. It makes me a little giddy to think that I will follow in my dad's footsteps and do the same thing he did with me with my son.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Gun Industry, Gun Culture, Gun Politics: A Call for Reformation

For over three decades I have studied a wide variety of topics about guns.  I did this simply because I like guns.  I like everything about them.  Over the years I have seen many changes.  Some of them good, some not so good. 

What I have noticed, especially in the past 10-15 years, is the industry as a whole is stagnating.  The industry produces the same products with little improvement or change and many new products are just crap and do not serve the customer well.  The culture is not changing fast enough to keep up with the changing demographics.  Nor is it adapting to the needs of todays shooters.  Especially those new to guns and gun culture.  Finally the politics are old and stale and highly ineffective. 
It is time for a reformation of the gun community to take us forward into the 21st century.  I fear if we do not adapt and change for the better there will not be a gun culture within 2 generations (approx. 50 years). 

Below I will outline some of the problems I am seeing and what may be done to improve the gun community.

Gun Industry:
First I want to start with the gun industry.  I will use more of list form instead of writing a Tolstoy novel on each line item.  Nor will this be a complete list.  Just some of more obvious issues.

1.    First item is an overall drop in quality.  I’ve noticed this drop across all manufacturers.
a.    I would rather see a price increase than a drop in quality.
b.    The fit and finish is not a nice as it was 10-20 years ago. 
                                               i.     Compare a new Smith revolver to an old one.  Especially a pre-lock revolver.  Night and day difference.  Yet, they cost the same.   
2.    Manufacturers building the same designs they have been for many decades without change or improvement. 
a.    An example would be rifle stocks.  Unless you go to the aftermarket, most rifles stocks are the same design from 100 years ago.  A time when iron sights ruled the day. Not very useful with optics which sit higher up.  Time for manufacturers to improve their designs. 
b.    Another example is Revolver stocks.  These haven’t changed in decades.  Why not design something that actually fits the human hand?  Revolvers are great but the ergonomics suck.  
c.     One final example is holsters.  Most holsters out there are crap.  I wish the manufacturers would update or go out of business, but they continue due to the ignorance of the consuming public.  A good example is Lethal Lace.  This is a shit product and should go away.
d.    A couple of good examples are the Ruger Precision rifle and the Magpul Hunter stock.  Both are adjustable for length of pull and for comb height to fit the individual user.  Not perfect, but for the price point very well done.
e.    Manufacturers need to update their designs to be better and more useful to the public.
3.    Educate the public on the use of your products.  Help consumers decide what they actual need.  Don’t just sell crap because you can.  Possible trim down the number of product options. 
a.    An example would be scopes.  Most of the public probably does not really understand what they actually need in a rifle scope.  What magnification is needed?  What reticule is best suited for the task? What features are appropriate and necessary?
b.    Educate the consumer on what is actually useful and what is just unnecessary fluff. 
4.    Better educated sales staff at guns stores.
a.    The businesses selling guns need to be better educated so they can give good advice to customers. 
                                               i.     I should never hear from a salesman that a rifle has the wrong magazines.  No, not the wrong magazine, proprietary magazines.  There is a difference.  Actual event I encountered.  I know better because I have the experience.  What about a new comer to the gun community?  What will they think when a salesman tells them a rifle has the wrong magazine?
                                             ii.     I understand profit margins with guns is slim, but it may be better to hire a few knowledgeable employees than to hire nothing but shop monkeys.  Also, I should not know more than a factory sales rep. Yep, ran into a Ruger sales rep. that could do nothing more than parrot the generic information that is found on the Ruger webpage.  Dear lord, hire, or train, competent sales staff.    

These are just a few examples of things I see wrong with the gun industry. There are more but I’m not trying to write a Tolstoy novel.

The industry needs to update for the 21st century.  Adapt to the changing demographics and help supply customers what they actually need.  Help educate the consumer on what is good and why.  Then also produce good products and update them as necessary.  The knowledge base of firearms has increased significantly over the past few decades, so use that knowledge and make better products. 

Gun Culture:
Now I want to move onto gun culture. 

1.    One thing that must change is the image of the “typical” gun owner.  Currently it stands as a middle aged white man.  This is an old stereotype who’s time has come to die. 
a.    Gun culture is for everyone (except Felons and the criminally insane)
b.    We must be open to the changing demographics and welcome newcomers.  
2.    Retailers and gun ranges need to be more open and help newcomers be more comfortable and welcomed.       
a.    Help newbies learn the ins and outs of guns and gun culture. 
b.    Stop talking down to women. They are capable.  Teach them correctly.
c.     Have a more open and friendly environment.  Your shop should feel comfortable to come inside.  This is especially important for those potential customers who may not feel comfortable around guns but want to learn.    
3.    Gun culture needs to change and be seen as a martial art.  Guns are not some magic talisman.  They don’t grant you power or authority or protect you from evil.  They are inanimate objects.  True they are deadly weapons and that puts them in the realm of martial arts.  We need to treat them as such and train as such.
4.    We need to change how we train.  We need to develop GunFu into a regular training regiment.   
a.    Most people take a basic class or are taught by their cousins, sisters, brother and they think they know how to use a gun.  Or worse, they just kinda’ “figure it out” on their own.  (even worse)
b.    Nope.  Just like any other martial art, use of a gun is a perishable skill and takes dedicated time and practice to get good and to stay proficient. 
c.     Taking one weekend class and going to the range twice a year is not good enough.  In most other martial arts, students are going weekly.  One to five times a week and it takes years to truly be proficient.  We need to develop the same mentality and training regiment with guns. 
d.    Does this mean dry fire, airsoft, more shooting ranges, shooting simulators, videos, books, all of the above?  I don’t know the answer, but we need to update for the 21st century.  Make it easier to find good information, especially for newbies.  Lets use the power of the internet to spread more and better training. 
                                               i.     Yes, I know there are lots of internet resources.  Blog pages, YouTube videos, books, etc.  How easy is it for newbies to find good information versus bad opinion?  This is what I’m talking about.  Make the information more organized and easier to find. 
1.    This goes along with gun shops being a little more friendly and accommodating. 
5.    We need to stand together as a community and stop the petty squabbles between gun groups.  The collectors need to support the hunters who need to support the target shooters who need to support the tactical shooters and on and on.  We must stand united together as a community. 

Here are a few items I think can be improved in gun culture. 

Gun Politics:
Finally, the hot potato.  The politics of guns! 

1.    First off, we need to stand together as a gun community.  We must stop the circular firing squads we sometimes form.  We must stop eating our own. 
2.    We must have a unified platform to present to the world. 
a.    Notice no matter which anti-gun group you talk to or which media outlet is presenting the news, they always have identical talking points and identical language?  They all use “background checks”, “gun show loophole”, “gun safety”, etc. 
b.    We need the same unified platform for the pro-gun side.  Unified talking points, unified data, etc.  We must stand together.  The data and root philosophy is on our side.  We must convey the message better. 
3.    We need an emotional component to the pro-gun argument.
a.    The anti-gun groups use mostly emotional components, sprinkled with distorted facts, to great effect.  Simple logic and facts will not accomplish the task.  It is time to add to the debate.  Guns are used daily in self-defense and managed hunting.  Time to give those positives a face and a voice. 
4.    It is time to go on the offensive in the debate.  We have been defensive for far too long.  Valuable time and resources are wasted being defensive.  The anti-gunners make an accusation, and we defend.  The pro-gun story appears weak.  Time to take the fight to the anti-gunners.
a.    For example:  The anti’s claim children are killed daily due to guns.  A very emotional argument used to great effect.
                                               i.     We hit back by accusing the anti’s of being anti-child.  That they hate children.  Otherwise, why would anti-gunners block the Eddie Eagle program from being taught in every school.  A real safety program for children. 
                                             ii.     Yes, it is time to get mean.  Otherwise the anti-gunners will continue to lay down blocks in our path.  Lay down enough blocks and you have a wall.  A wall that is not easily knocked down.
1.    What are these blocks you ask?  New York Safe Act.  Magazine capacity restrictions.  Universal background checks.  Ammunition taxes (Seattle, WA.)  Little by little they lay down blocks.  In a few years they have a wall. 
5.    We need a new universal platform to be the face and spokesman for gun owners.  Unfortunately, the NRA has been marginalized by the anti-gunners.  I don’t think the NRA is truly effective anymore.  They have been demonized so much their name is tainted. 
a.    What this new platform is, I don’t know.  Is it a new version of the NRA?  Is it a federation of existing pro-gun groups?  I don’t know.  But it must be better and more effective and better represents all gun owners.  Including the new, changing demographics.
b.    Should we include the NRA?  Yes, they have many valuable resources that will be needed.  And they are still part of the gun community. No need to form a circular firing squad. 

This outlines some changes that need to be improved in the political arena.  


Here are some of my ideas for improving the gun industry, culture and politics. 
I don’t have all the answers.  But I do know that we must change.  We must improve.  We must stand together, united to make it better.  To be better!  To take gun ownership into the 21st century.  Otherwise, guns and gun ownership may be a distant memory relegated to history. 


July 2017