About Tom McHale

Tom is the primary author of the Insanely Practical Guides series of how-to books. He believes that shooting can be safe and fun, and works hard to make the shooting world easy to understand. If you want to learn about the world of guns, shooting and the American way, check out some of his books. Have a laugh or two. Life is too short for boring "how to" books.

You can find print and ebook versions at Amazon. For more information, check out InsanelyPracticalGuides.com

Feel free to visit Tom at his website, MyGunCulture.com. It's a half-cocked but right on target look at the world of shooting and all things related. If you want to learn with a laugh about guns, shooting products, personal defense, competition, industry news and the occasional Second Amendment issue, visit him there.

Man Cave Makeover or Dame Den Remodeling Sweepstakes from Crimson Trace

Man-Cave-Makeover-Sweepstakes Prize PackageI just got an email from Crimson Trace about their Man Cave Makeover Sweepstakes. No worries ladies, the mega-gear giveaway is equally useful for a Dame Den Remodeling.

Visit the Crimson Trace BookFaceBook page to enter. You can win…

Grand Prize (1)

(1) Grizzly™ 75 Custom Cooler with Crimson Trace® Logo
(1) Crimson Trace® CMR-205 Rail Master® Pro™
(1) Crimson Trace® Neon Sign
(1) Crimson Trace® Rubber Floor Mat
(1) Crimson Trace® Wall Clock
(1) Crimson Trace® “Speed of Light” Tin Sign
(1) Crimson Trace® “Where There’s Red” T-Shirt
(1) Crimson Trace® “Laser-Bones” Trucker’s Hat
(4) Crimson Trace® Stainless Mason Jars
(2) Crimson Trace® Stainless Coffee Tumblers
(1) CRKT® R.B.T.™ (Range Bag Tool)
(1) CRKT® Picatinny Tool™
(1) BLACKHAWK!® CQB Rigger’s Belt
(1) BLACKHAWK!® Universal Bedside Holster
(1) Tactical Tailor® Medium Range Bag
(1) Tactical Tailor® Universal Laser Holster

Approx. Value = $1500

Second Prize (4)

(1) Grizzly™ 16 Custom Cooler with Crimson Trace® Logo
(1) Crimson Trace® CMR-201 Rail Master®
(1) Crimson Trace® Wall Clock
(1) Crimson Trace® “Speed of Light” Tin Sign
(2) Crimson Trace® Stainless Mason Jars
(1) Crimson Trace® Stainless Coffee Tumbler
(1) BLACKHAWK!® CQB Rigger’s Belt
(1) BLACKHAWK!® Universal Bedside Holster
(1) BLACKHAWK!® Universal Laser Holster
(1) Tactical Tailor® Small Range Bag

Approx. Value = $500

Seeing What You Can’t See, or, How I Learned to Love Thermal Vision

Here's the FLIR view of the brand new Smith & Wesson M&P Pro Series CORE with compensated barrel. As you can see, it's was just fired.

Here’s the FLIR view of the brand new Smith & Wesson M&P Pro Series CORE with compensated barrel. As you can see, it’s was just fired.

If you really want to be able to see, sometimes you have to use a lens that you can’t see through.

I recently toured one of FLIR’s manufacturing facilities and got quite the education on how to see things you can’t really see. While FLIR makes a wide variety of sensing gear, not just infrared products, they’re most commonly known for commercial and military products that help folks see things not normally visible to the human eye. By using lenses made from exotic materials like Germanium and Zinc Selenide and adding a touch of sensing and computer image enhancement technology, FLIR products are able to present the user with a picture of the environment based on relative heat signatures, or infrared.

The hardest thing to get my head around was the fact that visible light is irrelevant to infrared imaging. You can’t see through the lenses at all, which is kind of freaky when you think about it, especially since they’re called lenses. As visible light has no effect on the infrared image, FLIR products are equally useful in daylight, darkness, and obscured visible conditions.

Everything has a temperature signature, even if that signature is a lack of temperature. Objects that do not “generate” heat still have a signature as they absorb and release heat based on environmental conditions. Every material reacts differently and even minute variances in material shape or thickness result in different relative heat levels. The result of all this is that a FLIR device can create a very accurate picture of your surroundings – regardless of ambient light conditions.

Unlike light-amplification technology like standard night vision, it’s difficult to camouflage an object from FLIR. One notable exception is glass. Infrared does not travel well through that medium, so objects behind glass are essentially invisible. For now.

I’ve been experimenting with two different pieces of FLIR gear: the FLIR Scout Handheld Night Vision Camera and the FLIR One iPhone camera.

The FLIR Scout (left) and FLIR One iPhone camera (right)

The FLIR Scout (left) and FLIR One iPhone camera (right)

The FLIR Scout is a great product for people who enjoy outdoor activities like hunting, camping, hiking and critter watching. As we’ll see, it has a variety of other interesting uses. A monocular, hand-held device, it offers different modes of heat map display including InstAlert options that highlight the hottest objects in bright red.

The FLIR One is a hardware and software combination that turns your iPhone into an infrared-enabled camera. The case contains a rechargeable battery and two cameras: one IR and the other optical. The software combines input from the two cameras to generate a representation of what it sees based on infrared signature and whatever it can detect optically.

Rather than talk about features, let’s take a look at some of the uses I found for these two products.

Spot game

The FLIR Scout base model I tested is capable of spotting a man-sized target at distances up to 350 yards. I believe it. During my informal tinkering, I spotted the doe shown here at a distance of 80+ yards and she was bedded down in a brushy area – completely invisible to the naked eye. This photo was taken in the dark but would have looked the same if taken in broad daylight.

A bedded-down doe at a range of about 80 yards.

A bedded-down doe at a range of about 80 yards.

The InstAlert feature of the FLIR Scout has four intensity modes. If you crank up the sensitivity, as in the photo above, you’ll see “warmer” spots on other objects besides living things. You can easily see moving animals at distances up to a couple hundred yards.

Measure temperature of an object without having to touch it

Jeff doesn’t know this yet, but I’m using him as an example of how the FLIR One can remotely measure the temperature of an object in addition to generating an infrared image representation. As you can see, Jeff has warmed his shirt up to 74.9 degrees by working diligently on his laptop. I’m not implying that I treat Jeff as an object…

I felt compelled to measure the temperature of this inanimate object...

I felt compelled to measure the temperature of this object…

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

The Making of a Smith & Wesson


Smith & Wesson revolvers

You think Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Alimony From Tyrannical Little Ex-Mayors With Serious Napoleon Complexes (MDAFTLEMWSNC) has serious armed security? If so, you should check out Smith & Wesson’s Springfield, MA manufacturing plant. We’re talking motorized vehicle barriers, iron gates, metal detectors, and security guards armed with – you guessed it – Smith & Wesson M&P pistols. Of course, one of the many differences between Smith & Wesson and Shannon Watts is that the Smith factory actually warrants tight security. That and the Smith & Wesson folks make a productive contribution to society.

I had the distinct pleasure of touring the Smith & Wesson factory this month to see exactly how guns are made. Wow. I’m still stunned by the complexity, equipment, people, scale and history. The current facility was built in 1945 using a war-footing design. It’s engineered to keep operating during a direct aerial booming attack. The idea was that the catacombs well under dirt, steel, and loads of concrete would house operating machinery and workers even while the above ground part was flattened. That’s pretty hard core.

This is less than a seven day supply of future guns. Who says Americans aren't buying guns in record numbers?

This is less than a seven-day supply of future guns. Who says Americans aren’t buying guns in record numbers?

It all starts with steel. Lots and lots of it of various types and grades. Like other modern manufacturers, Smith & Wesson streamlines efficiency using LEAN manufacturing techniques, so raw materials are delivered continuously. What you see in the photo here is only about a seven-day supply.

Bar stock like this is headed for two potential fates - the forge or the mill, and sometimes both.

Bar stock like this is headed for two potential fates – the forge or the mill, and sometimes both.

When steel arrives as bar stock, it faces two different fates, and I’m not sure which is more violent. First, it can head to the forge, where giant, two-story transformers machines pound them into gun frames and various other components. Second, the raw stock might head straight for computerized milling, where it will be transformed into things like barrels, slides, revolver cylinders and other miscellaneous parts. We’ll start with the forging process as forged parts also head to the milling machines after they’re stamped out.

Read the rest at AmmoLand!


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I Dig the .357 Sig

A classic example of a great .357 Sig cartridge - Speer's 125 grain Gold Dot.

A classic example of a great .357 Sig cartridge – Speer’s 125 grain Gold Dot.

I dig the .357 Sig.

In fact, I dig it so much, I feel like I’m on a one-man campaign to help boost it into the shooting mainstream. One of the biggest gripes people have about the .357 Sig cartridge is the cost, but that becomes a non-issue as more people start to use it. Volume begets cheapness – the more they make, the lower the cost. Whatever your position on the caliber wars, you have to admit that 9mm is making a resurgence as a great defensive caliber, and hey, .357 is a 9mm on steroids, right?

What is the .357 Sig?

One of my favorite .357 Sig launching platforms - the Sig Sauer P229.

One of my favorite .357 Sig launching platforms – the Sig Sauer P229.

Some folks refer to this cartridge as a necked-down .40 Smith & Wesson. Conceptually, that’s kinda true, but there are technical differences. The cartridge base is the same dimension and the main part of the case body is the same diameter, but the .357 Sig case is not made from a .40 S&W case. The projectile is the same as a 9mm at .355 inches diameter.

Because of these similarities to the .40 S&W, you can often just swap barrels to change your pistol from .40 S&W to .357 Sig or vice versa. Magazines are generally compatible between the two calibers as well. Always check with your particular handgun manufacturer first before embarking on caliber changes.

If you want to understand the benefit of .357 Sig, just think this. It’s got the magazine capacity of a .40 S&W in any given gun, and it has a 200 to 400 foot per second velocity advantage over 9mm, depending on the load. While .357 Sig can’t match the specs of those uber-macho 158 grain .357 Magnum loads, it does compare favorably with 125 grain .357 Magnum.

One other thing to note. The .357 Sig is a bottleneck-shaped cartridge. This provides another hidden advantage – feeding is exceptionally reliable. With any of the four .357 Sig pistols I currently have (Sig P226, Sig P229, Glock 32 and Glock 31), I can limp wrist like Pee Wee Herman and the guns will still cycle properly.

Ballistic Science

Earlier I mentioned that .357 Sig approaches .357 Magnum territory, but from a semi-automatic pistol. It’s close. Real close. To see how close, I went out to the range and clocked a slew of them using a Shooting Crony Beta Master chronograph placed 15 feet down range. Here’s what I found.

.357 Sig velocity measured 15 feet from the muzzle.

.357 Sig velocity measured 15 feet from the muzzle.

Of all the loads I tested, average velocity was 1,363 feet per second, and that includes those fat and (relatively) slow 180 grain hard cast cruisers from Doubletap Ammunition.

Read the rest at AmmoLand!


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SilencerCo’s Osprey Is One Cool Bird

The SilencerCo Osprey is a smokin' hot bird! Yeah, baby, yeah!

The SilencerCo Osprey is a smokin’ hot bird! Yeah, baby, yeah!

At risk of being exposed as a “B” grade cable TV junkie, I have to admit I enjoy seeing my favorite pistol suppressor on AMC’s The Walking Dead. If you’re a watcher of that particular serial carnage, you might have noticed that lead character Rick Grimes has one interesting looking silencer on his gun. That would be a SilencerCo Osprey. It’s easy to spot because it’s shaped a little bit like a smashed Twinkie. It’s not round like all those nifty silencers 007 used back when Bond movies were awesome. One could make the case that it’s reminiscent of saggy underarms you see on old folks – the bulk of the suppressor is hanging down below the bone, so to speak. Just to be clear though, the Osprey is a lot sexier!

A caliber smorgasboard: A 45 Osprey on a Glock 31 (.357 Sig) using a Lone Wolf .40 S&W threaded barrel.

A caliber smorgasbord: A 45 Osprey on a Glock 31 (.357 Sig) using a Lone Wolf .40 S&W threaded barrel.

When you screw the Osprey on to the barrel, it may end up like this. No worries, that's what the clutch lever is for.

When you screw the Osprey on to the barrel, it may end up like this. No worries, that’s what the clutch lever is for.

There’s a  good reason for the unusual shape. To suppress a gunshot, you have to control and slow down more gas than Piers Morgan ejects in an entire hour, and you have to do it in pico-seconds. Or maybe micro or milliseconds. No matter, you have to control the hot gasses quickly, and to do that, you need a certain amount of volume in the suppressor itself. The natural solution to creating volume is to make the tube bigger around, but if you do that, then the large tube blocks your front sights. Come to think of it, and the SilencerCo folks did, why not stray from that whole round tube concept and create more volume under the barrel and less on top of the barrel, thereby increasing visibility for the shooter? After all, people who know, know it’s good to see what you’re shooting at.

So that’s the reason that the SilencerCo Osprey is shaped like a squashed Twinkie. By the way, the Osprey has 30% more internal volume than a cylindrical suppressor of identical length.

There is a catch, however. When you screw that suppressor onto the barrel, how do you know that when it’s tight, it will line up properly so that the chubby part is on the bottom? The technical term for that particular engineering problem is “indexing.” Indexing is just a fancy word for “lining everything up, so it doesn’t look weird.” Here’s how SilencerCo solved the indexing problem.

Read the rest at GunsAmerica!

Dry-Fire for Handgun Shooting Success

When beginning a dry-fire practice session, check and recheck that your gun is completely empty (including empty magazines for semi-automatic handguns) and that all ammunition has been removed and is far away from your practice area.

When beginning a dry-fire practice session, check and recheck that your gun is completely empty (including empty magazines for semi-automatic handguns) and that all ammunition has been removed and is far away from your practice area.

If I told you there is one technique that, once mastered, will allow you to hit your target every single time, you’d probably write me off as one of those infomercial con guys. But, believe it or not, I speak the truth, and there’s no trick, no gimmick to it.

What is the technique? Perfect trigger press. A bad trigger press is the top reason shots go off target when shooting a handgun. Why? Most handguns require between four and 12 pounds of trigger pressure to fire. Most handguns also weigh less than three pounds; some these days weigh less than one. Now, if I remember my high school physics correctly, when you apply 10 pounds of pressure to a two-pound object, that object is going to move. Therein lies the problem. For you to hit your target every time, you have to press the trigger, with its four to 12 pounds of required pressure, without allowing your handgun to move at all.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to develop your ability to press the trigger without moving your gun: dry-firing. Dry-firing is practicing your trigger press without using ammunition. It allows you to focus on technique without the noise and recoil. You can also dry-fire at home—no need to go to the range to practice—and it won’t cost you a red cent.

The most important consideration when dry-fire practicing is safety. It is paramount that you commit to never having live ammunition anywhere near your gun when you dry-fire, and I mean not even in the same room. Beyond that, four gun safety rules always apply when dry-firing:

  1. Treat your gun as if it’s loaded.
  2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to dry-fire.
  3. Never point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
  4. Be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

Looks a lot like the rules for regular practice at the range, don’t they? That’s exactly my point. Gun safety is gun safety, with or without ammunition.

Now let’s take a look at how dry-firing should be performed, but one note before we do: Be sure to check with the gun’s manufacturer to make sure it’s all right to dry-fire your gun. With the exception of most .22 rimfire handguns, most modern pistols and revolvers are fine to dry-fire without ammunition, but some guns, especially older firearms, can be damaged by this practice, so better to check first. All set? Here’s how dry-firing works:

Read the rest at the National Shooting Sports Foundation!

Aimpoint’s New Micro T-2 Red Dot Optic

The Aimpoint Micro T-2 (right) improves on the already solid Micro H-1 and T-1 designs.

The Aimpoint Micro T-2 (right) improves on the already solid Micro H-1 and T-1 designs.

We’re a people of excess. Not that excess is bad in general, but there are situations where too much can be a bad thing.

Optics comes to mind. Almost without fail, we shooters go “all in” when it comes to magnified optics. Even though most of us will be shooting at ranges of 100 yards and less (usually much less), we tend to crank up the power on rifle optics. Gimme that 12-42x monster scope so I can precisely target the “Y” on the back side of a Bayer aspirin, will ya?

The flip-up scope caps are excellent. They won't fall off and are transparent so it's not necessary to open them.

The flip-up scope caps are excellent. They won’t fall off and are transparent so it’s not necessary to open them.

While that sounds good on paper, too much power can be detrimental. Try shooting a high magnification scope from a standing position, and you’ll see what I mean. While your gun is wobbling the same amount as with low magnification, the perceived swings and movements will make you seasick and actually lower your odds of hitting your target. It’s hard to achieve a steady hold with too much magnification.

While it may seem counterintuitive, most people, with some fundamental training and practice, can hit a target out to 400 yards using iron sights. That’s right, just ask any Project Appleseed instructor.

When it comes to my “regular use” and home defense AR rifles, I equip them with zero magnification red dot optics. Why? There are a few benefits. As we discussed, you can hit accurately out to several hundred yards if you want to without magnification. Your field of view through the optics is much, much larger than with a magnified optic. There are no parallax issues that require perfect alignment of your head to the optic for repeatable accuracy. You can (and should) shoot with both eyes open. Red dots work well in low light. They’re fast. Really, really fast. They’re far easier to use than multiple-part iron sights – just put the dot on the target and shoot.

My personal choice for MSR red dot optics is Aimpoint. I’ve used the Aimpoint Micro H-1 and Aimpoint PRO on a number of rifles and couldn’t be happier with those choices. One of the things I like best is the “always on” capability. Battery management is so good that a set of batteries lasts 75% of forever. This means you can leave it on, all the time, and not worry about running out of juice when you need it most. Many models will run at average power level for five years continuously. If you want to be crazy-prepared for the worst, set yourself a reminder to change batteries every two or three years and you’ll never have to worry. It’s a great benefit for a home defense rifle where you don’t want to think about turning switches on and off should you hear a bump in the night.

Recently I got my hot little hands on a brand new model – the Aimpoint Micro T-2. Let’s check it out.

Aimpoint Micro T-2

The Micro T-2 represents the next generation of the Micro T-1, which is the sibling of the Micro H-1. The only real difference between the H-1 and T-1 models is night vision compatibility.


Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

A Beautiful Beretta: The New 692 Sporting B-Fast Over/Under Shotgun

The Beretta 692 Sporting with B-Fast Adjustable comb.

The Beretta 692 Sporting with B-Fast Adjustable comb.

On this, the 3rd day of October 1526. [To] Master Bartolomeo Beretta of the Brescian territory of Gardone for 185 arquebus barrels [made] for Our House of the Arsenal [given] 296 ducati.

The 692 Sporting is a classic "Sovrapposto" - a beauty and a beast.

The 692 Sporting is a classic “Sovrapposto” – a beauty and a beast.

So begins the history of the world’s oldest gun maker – Beretta. By the way, in 1526, 296 ducati was a lot of Benjamins. While it’s pretty hard to make an inflation-adjusted comparison, we know that Leonardo Da Vinci’s apprentices were paid 1/10th of a ducat per day, about 36 ducats a year, so Beretta’s first order for gun parts was about eight years pay for a hard working artist-inventor-mason-painter worker. We also know that Leonardo had about 600 ducats in his checking account in 1499, so if Beretta had been founded a few years earlier, he could have paid cash for 185 arquebus barrels, leaving plenty in the bank for a healthy ammo stockpile.

Italy’s Trompia Valley, home of Gardone, is flush with the right materials for gun making. Iron ore deposits abound and heavy forests provided the wood to stoke smelteries and smithies. Back in the day, barrel making was a bit different. Craftsmen pounded iron plates around a mandrel, overlapping them along a longitudinal seam. By mashing the snot out of the joints, they created solid barrel blanks, which were then shaped to final dimensions.

Beretta 692 Sporting-6

While early history of Beretta shows an emphasis on military arms, it was Guiseppe Beretta who stepped on the gas to ramp up production of sporting arms. In the 1850s, only 250 to 300 guns were produced annually. By the 1880s, that number exploded to almost 8,000 per annum.

This one features adjustable ejection -a nice touch.

This one features adjustable ejection -a nice touch.

Many early shotguns featured side by side barrel configuration, mainly because it was easier to produce a strong locking mechanism and figure out how to “light” each barrel. By the 1930s, engineers finally got really comfortable with good sidekick designs and over / under shotguns took off. One Beretta story relates company inventor, Tullio Marengoni, demonstrating the strength of his new over / under cross bolt lock to the Berettas by securing the barrel and receiver to the stock with rope – and firing the gun himself. The gun held together, and the design was adopted.

Enter one of the latest Italian shotguns – the Beretta 692 Sporting. Since we’re talking Italian here, we’ll describe it as a “Sovrapposto” meaning over and under barrel configuration.

The newest iteration of the 692 Sporting line fills a gap in the Beretta product line for trap shooters wanting a high-quality gun without spending in the five digit range. At the top end is the DT-11 family – fantastic shotguns and the choice of plenty of Olympian shooters. But the DT-11 comes at a price point out of reach of many non-sponsored shooters. Moving into the two to five thousand price range, there was not a new production gun optimized for trap until now. The 692 Sporting line has been out for a while, but not with an adjustable comb and long barrels. It’s been the same with the recent Silver Pigeon line – fantastic guns for sporting clays and skeet, but none optimized for the trap field. Semi-automatics like the 391 series have been a viable option, but many shooters prefer the feel and convenience of break action shotguns for trap sports.

This particular 692 Sporting model is not off the press – literally. Our sample gun, shown here, is the first one of its type to hit US shores. It’s got the B-Fast comb system for near-infinite adjustment and extra long barrels (32-inch) preferred by many trap shooters. Just to be clear, this is not a dedicated trap gun – it’s well suited for skeet and sporting clays. It just offers features that make it suitable for trap as well.

Let’s take a closer look.


The 692 features a wide, tapered rib that's mounted low on the top barrel.

The 692 features a wide, tapered rib that’s mounted low on the top barrel.

Borrowing from that high-end DT-11 line we mentioned earlier, the 692 Sporting model also uses “Steelium” barrel technology. Steelium is a fancy marketing name that, quite frankly, sounds a little goofy to me, but that’s neither here nor there. Here’s what it means.

Now producing over 500,000 gun barrels of various types each year, Beretta knows a thing or two about how to optimize a shotgun barrel. The biggest deal on this one, outside of uniformity, longevity and over/under alignment, is the forcing cone. That’s the conical section at the breach end that helps gently transition the shot load into the standard barrel diameter. By making this transition more gradual, you get a couple of benefits. First, the shot doesn’t get as mashed up. Lead pellets tend to stay round and uniform, and as a result, fly in a tighter and more consistent pattern. Second, the “shock” of the pellets leaving the shell and forcing their way into the muzzle is mellowed and drawn out over a longer period of time. While the overall recoil energy is still the same, the impact of the shooter is smoother and more spread out. This not only helps improve felt recoil, but also muzzle rise, encouraging a faster transition to a second shot.

To put the forcing cone improvements into mathematical perspective, a standard forcing cone has an overall length of about 65 millimeters. The Steelium PRO cone is a whopping 360 millimeters in length. That’s quite a difference that contributes to the gentle shooting and excellent patterns.

Note the low rib mount.

Note the low rib mount.

The chambers are cut for 3-inch shells should you want to hunt with your 692 Sporting. While we’re talking about chambers, the ejection system is adjustable with included tools.

The 692 Sporting features a wide rib that tapers in towards to the muzzle. I measured the rib just forward of the receiver at .39 inches wide. At the front bead, the rib narrows to .318 inches. A single white bead is mounted at the muzzle and there is no center bead or hole for one. This is fine with me as too much stuff on the rib is a distraction that pulls attention away from the target and back to the beads.

Read the rest at GunsAmerica!

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A Little Plinking Fun with Federal Premium’s What’s Your 20? Targets

It doesn’t take much of an excuse for me to go to the range for a little MSR shooting. Why right now, I need to go to test some different SilencerCo Saker MAAD mounts.  But what to shoot?

How about this? The folks at Federal Premium just launched a fun social media campaign called What’s Your 20?

They’ve produced six downloadable targets. The idea is to shoot them in whatever creative ways you can dream up, using Federal MSR ammo, and share the results on Federal’s Facebook page for some bragging rights and your moment of fame. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WhatsYour20 when sharing so your results get seen.

I’ve got some American Eagle that I’ll be using over the next couple of days. You can pick up bulk packs at Cabelas for a great price.

Here are the targets. Just click the ones you want to get the 8.5×11 downloadable version:

Federal Premium Ammo What's Your 20






10 Things I’d Look For In A SHTF Shotgun

This Winchester SXP would make a fine last resort shotgun.

This Winchester SXP would make a fine last resort shotgun.

Recently I received a Winchester SXP Marine Defender shotgun for testing and evaluation, and this got me thinking. Yeah, I know. Me thinking is a big stretch of the imagination, but just go with it, OK?

You hear a lot of scary scenarios from the prepper community. Some of them are realistic, others – not so much. Nuclear war, contagion or maybe just the threat of Joe Biden becoming President – there are an infinite number of possible tragedies that might drop kick us right back to the age of foraging, scavenging and no more Taco Bell runs at 3am. Whether or not you believe that the world will revert to Cro-Magnon times, it’s still a good idea to think about preparedness.

Depending on where you live, there are everyday threats that might cause you to be on your own for a while. Live on the east coast? Hurricanes knock on the door each and every year. West coast? How about those earthquakes? Flyover country? Tornados can come at any time. Washington DC? The congressional 401k plan might decrease in value, and that would be tragic indeed. No matter where you live, there are very real threats to all of us. Rosie O’Donnell could get her own TV show. Piers Morgan could become White House Press Secretary. Barack Obama could be elected President. Who knows what kind of epic disasters we might face?

With this in mind, I started thinking about my ideal qualities of an SHTF shotgun. You know, when the masses become all cranky and protesty because the Kardashians stopped doing reality TV.

While pondering all the ways civilization could end, I came up with a list of ten things I really care about in a save-my-bacon and shoot-my-bacon shotgun.

The matte chrome finish helps reduce glare and protect from the elements. Note the sling swivel on the front of the magazine tube.

The matte chrome finish helps reduce glare and protect from the elements. Note the sling swivel on the front of the magazine tube.

Sludge-Proof Finish

While the bluing on a Beretta DT-11 will make me stop and gawk, that doesn’t help much when we’re all eating 12-year-old canned pudding and squirrels.

I want a shotgun that requires no maintenance except for loading. No more oily t-shirts to wipe it down before retiring it to the gun safe. Hey, in the end of civilization scenario, none of us will be lugging around a humidity-controlled gun safe anyway, right?

Our example Winchester SXP has a matte chrome finish. It’s silverish, but lower glare due to the rough finish. You can also get them in black chrome, which offers the same corrosion resistance with reduced visibility.

Read the rest a GunsAmerica!

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