Sunday, August 26, 2018

Try before you buy! Enter Vulcan Circle!

We at The GunDivas always believe in the try before you buy philosophy when it comes to firearms and firearm accessories.  You are spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars on your equipment, so you want to get the right equipment the first time. 
This is not always easy.  Not all gun ranges have rentals.  Or they may not have the exact model you want to try out.  And trying out accessories is even worse.  Your only experience with accessories, such as optics, is limited to handling the product in the retail shop, if your local shop has the model you want to try.  Your only other option is opinions you find on the Internet.  Personally, I find most Internet reviews sketchy at best.  You find some people who love the product, others who hate it.  Who do you believe?

Well, the good news is, the industry is starting to come around and help out consumers, at least in the optics department. 

Enter VulcanCircle.  A paid membership service that allows you to borrow an optic for 3 months.  This allows you to mount the optic to your rifle and take it for a real test drive in real world conditions.  Truly test out the optic as it is meant to be used.
Looking for a new 3-gun optic?  Check one out and take it to competition for 3 months and see how it performs.  If you don’t like it, return the optic by the due date and check out something else. 
Want to compare different red dot sights?  Now you can try before you buy. 

Some may balk at the cost.  I ask, what is more expensive, a few hundred dollars in subscription fees?  Or purchasing an optic that you does not meet your needs?  That you end up being stuck with or sell at a loss. 

Now other than their existence, we at The GunDivas have not tried VulcanCircle.  We just found out about them ourselves. 
If we decide to obtain a subscription ourselves, we will do a follow up article at a later date.

It is good to see the gun industry starting to provide better customer service to the gun community. 
I personally hope the rest of the industry follows suit with the same or similar trial programs and helps customers find and buy the right products for them. 

By: Mez

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Range Night - DOT Torture Success!!

On the heels of GunDiva's recent post on shooting buddies, I scooted off to the range with my best friend for a little pew pew therapy and a stated goal to clean DOT Torture at three yards. The goal was to accomplish that with the Ruger 22/45 and Sig P320 Compact in 9mm. I'm pleased to say that the results were much improved from my last outing.

Ruger 22/45 at 3 yards

This was almost a perfect run. As you can see, I dropped 1 shot in the 3 dot when I anticipated the shot allowing the barrel to dip just enough. Other than that, I'm pretty pleased with that performance. It's also helpful to know what I did wrong that kept it from being perfect.

Sig P320 Compact 9mm at 3 yards
This could be a little tighter, but it's clean and that's what matters to me. YAY ME!!! Next goal is to clean the .22 at 3 yards and move both back to 5 yards.

The rest of the range session included a couple of mags through my buddies Springfield Armory 5" 9mm 1911. Allegedly, it's a TRP model, but there are some doubts on that subject. It could be a modified Loaded model given that he bought it used off a competition shooter. The trigger was typical 1911. This one was equipped with Bomar style adjustable sights.

SA 5" 1911 at 5 yards
 First shot was the 8 ring hit at roughly 11 o'clock using a center X hold. Adjusted the point of aim progressively to 5 o'clock in the 8 ring, and that's the rest of the shots.

SA 5" 1911 at 7 yards
Here again, point of aim was roughly five o'clock low. I can't complain with those results.

Sig P320 Compact at 3 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards - Target transitions left to right and back

Sig P320 Compact 9mm at 5 yards - Target transitions left to right and back

Frankly, I don't remember what I was doing or at what distance.

Sig P320 Compact 9mm at 5 yards - Target transitions left to right and back (getting better) 
Ruger 22/45 at 10 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 15 yards

Target transitions - Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards - point of aim 1" red pasters

Target transitions - Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards - point of aim red line between targets

Target transitions - Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards - point of aim 1" red pasters
Time and energy were turned into smoke and noise. A good time was had by all. I didn't embarrass myself, and it beats a day at the office any way you slice it.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Importance of Shooting Buddies

Until the day I die, I will recommend that people learn to shoot from a qualified instructor. Not a friend, family member, or roommate's brother's uncle*.

A qualified instructor.

*Unless, of course, your friend, family member, or roommate's brother's uncle is a qualified instructor. 

Having said that, shooting buddies are absolutely invaluable. 

When I first started shooting for real, instead of just plinking around with friends, I took a concealed carry class. I thought I knew about shooting from my plinking, but I knew next to nothing. Lucky for me, I can usually pick things up pretty quickly and didn't lag behind the class for too long. I learned an incredible amount about gun handling, drawing from a holster, shooting on the move, and shooting from cover.

The very next day, I took myself to my first defensive pistol competition. I knew no one. Not a soul, but I had a new gun, and fresh knowledge (less than 24 hours old). How bad could it be?

Holy hell, I was immediately in over my head, but back then the local defensive pistol competitions were still very small - about a dozen people total - and I met several people who were willing to help me along. I knew just enough to steer clear of the idiots who thought it was 'cute' that a 'little lady' was coming to shoot, and listen to the ones who immediately treated me with respect. They couldn't possibly treat me as an equal, because I wasn't. But they treated me as they would any other new shooter, welcomed me, and gave me pointers without being condescending before and after each stage.

They made me feel welcome enough that I went back the next month, and the next, and the next. Before I knew it, I had a tribe of shooting mentors. A few of them became close friends and we ended up going shooting outside of competitions. We had amazing 'marathon shooting days' where we'd go through thousands of rounds.

While the classes I've taken taught me the fundamentals, the shooting buddies I made taught me so much more. They were all much better shooters than I, with years and years of experience, while I was the FNG. 

It's easy to want to turn your shooting buddies into your personal shooting coaches, but don't. It's not fair to use your friendship that way. If you need help with something specific that they are good at, let them know you'd like help when you're setting up your shooting date. Offer to buy the ammo or bring the food if you're asking a favor of them, but asking for favors should be few and far between. If you need that much help, pay for a class.

Otherwise, plan on going, shooting a lot, and having fun. Fun for me involves impromptu competitions and a lot of smack-talking. There will be nuggets of gold hidden in the shit-talking, I promise. I heard things like, "if you'd stop thinking so hard, you wouldn't suck so bad," or "go ahead, keep picking your head up, I'll shoot clean up" or "you just can't miss fast enough, can you?". 

I am a much better shooter thanks to my shooting buddies. The classes taught me the fundamentals, my shooting buddies taught me how to shoot.

I learned to take risks. 

I learned to laugh at myself when I messed up. 

I learned to try again. 

I learned to take shit, and give it.

But most importantly, I learned to never give up. And when you don't give up, you learn and grow.

 Without these guys and gals, I wouldn't be half the shooter I am today and I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Politics of Guns: 3-D Printed Guns (Rumor Control)

By now you have probably heard a lot of crying over 3-D printed guns and how criminals and terrorists will be printing untraceable/undetectable guns (so called “ghost guns”) and the end of civilization is upon us. 
Well, I’m here to tell you that all this crying is nothing more than fear mongering and an excuse by the anti-gunners to use new technology to pass more oppressive laws and destroy freedom.

So what started all this crying about 3-D printed guns?  Several years ago a company called Defense Distributed created computer files (commonly called CAD files) for a 3-D printer that allowed you to print a gun and gun parts.  Defense Distributed only sold the CAD models, never an actual gun or gun parts.  The government considered the computer files a potential national security threat and placed a ban on the distribution of these computer files. 
Recently Defense Distributed won a lawsuit against the government, which overturned the ban and they are now allowed to sell their computer models to the public.  This ruling is a big win for freedom of speech.  Remember, no actual guns or gun parts were ever sold, only computer CAD files. 
The anti-gunners are now worried that these plans will be used by criminals and terrorists to print undetectable/untraceable guns and bring civilization to its knees. 
This is what started the crying and wailing. 

Now for some rumor control:

Here is what the law actually allows:

1.    Yes, you are allowed to manufacture your own gun by any means you want.  You can use an old-fashioned lathe, mill, hand files, etc.  Or use a modern high tech 3-D printer.  It does not matter.  BUT. THERE. ARE. RULES. YOU. MUST. OBEY. FOR. IT. TO. BE. LEGAL.
a.    You cannot be a convicted felon and make your own gun.  This is already illegal.
b.    As this home made gun will not have a serial number, you cannot ever sell it or even give it away as a gift.  It is for your own personal use only. 
c.     You cannot manufacture an undetectable gun.  It MUST by law, contain enough steel to be detectable by common means such as x-ray machines or metal detectors.  A truly undetectable gun is already illegal under existing law.
We have enough laws in place already to cover 3-D printers.

What can a 3-D printer actually do?

Can you 3-D print a functioning firearm?

Well, yes and no at the same time.  Let me address the no side first.

1.    First, No. 
a.    You cannot produce a fully functioning AR15 with a 3-D printer.  The material science is not good enough. The plastic parts will blow up if you tried. You need metal for the barrel, bolt, bolt carrier, trigger assembly, springs.  So the idea of producing a fully functioning gun as you would buy in the store is complete fantasy.

2.    Next Yes, here is what you can actually produce with 3-D printer.
a.    Low stress piece parts for guns.  For example, the lower receiver of the AR15 that houses the trigger assembly and buffer assembly.  BUT the upper receiver must be made out of metal.  And many parts such as the barrel, bolt, bolt carrier, gas block and firing pin MUST be made out of steel or other high strength material so they do not blow up when fired.  The common 3-D printers are not capable of producing these parts. 
                                               i.     Some will say there are 3-D printers that print metal parts.  Yes, but parts produced on these machines cannot maintain the tight tolerances necessary and the parts require secondary machining with a mill and/or lathe.  At this point, you have just geared up for major manufacturing and are spending tens of thousands of dollars.  None of this is done on a $1000 hobbyist 3-D printer. 
b.    What else can you print?
                                               i.     A very simple, single shot gun such as the Liberator by Defense Distributed
1.    Very simple.  Not very accurate.
2.    Fires a small pistol caliber only, thus not very powerful. 
3.    Only fires a limited number of rounds before it falls apart. 
4.    Single shot only.  Slow to reload.  Must be reloaded after each shot.  Not something you will use to commit mass murder. 
5.    Must include a block of steel to be legal.
c.     Can you print plastic ammunition? 
                                               i.     Not really.  I don’t think this is realistic.  Especially when brass cased ammunition is readily available off the shelf. 

What is to be done?

Nothing really.  This is 99% anti-gun hysteria.  The anti’s are trying to create a mountain out of nothing.  Using the ignorance of 3-D printing technology to create fear in the general population so it is easier to pass gun control and strip more freedoms away from the citizenry.  

Even if you ban Defense Distributed from distributing their computer files.  The criminals and terrorists can program the computer themselves.  They are not necessarily stupid.  All it takes is a computer and off the shelf software to program whatever you want.  3-D printers are 30 year old technology.  They were not designed to make guns. They can make almost anything.  If you can design it in the computer, you can print it.  In the future the frame of your car and house will be 3-D printed with large industrial size printers. 

Even if you ban or regulate private ownership of 3-D printers, you can still buy a lathe and mill and make a gun out of metal.  I can even make a simplified, single shot “zip gun” from material I buy at Home Depot. 
Give me a drill press and a Dremel and I will make a functioning gun. 
If the criminals really want to build guns they can.  Home workshops are not illegal, nor are the necessary generic tools.  Guns can be made with existing technology.  Nothing new is needed.   
(Side Comment:  I bet the gang-bangers really didn’t know about 3-D printers before all the hysteria.  But now they do, thanks to the anti-gunners screaming about 3-D printers to everyone.  If undetectable “ghost guns” were actually a problem, we would have seen it by now.  If we do see it, I bet we will be able to trace the idea back to the anti-gunners screaming about 3-D printers to everyone.  Just food for thought.)   

Don’t believe the 3-D printer hype.  That’s all it is, hype.  Designed to scare the uneducated masses into giving up their freedoms.
Why print a single shot “zip gun” or lower when it is easier to steal a real gun or buy off the black market?  Especially when the real guns last longer and are more powerful. 

Finally comment, Look what happened on 9-11-2001.  4 airplanes downed, 3 buildings demolished, a 4th damaged and all those guys used were box cutters.  No guns needed.
Don’t fall for the hysteria.
And never, ever give up your freedoms.  Not even an inch.   

By: Mez