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.

X-Products Takes Shotgunning a Beer To A Whole New Level

The term "shotgunning a beer" takes on a whole new meaning with the Can Cannon from X Products.

The term “shotgunning a beer” takes on a whole new meaning with the Can Cannon from X Products.

In the “why the heck not” category is the new Can Cannon from X Products. Known for their rock solid drum magazines for modern sporting rifle designs, the X Products folks got a wild hair to bring something just plain fun to market. The Can Cannon is a complete upper assembly with a soda can diameter barrel. The upper unit contains a custom chamber, barrel extension and “barrel” with gas ports. The upper uses .223 blanks to create adequate gas pressure to launch the soda can down range. It’ll work with a full beer can too, but that would be a tragic waste of carefully fermented grains and hops, no?

In addition to no-excuses fun, the technology will be adapted to more practical uses like retriever training. The company hopes to develop similar versions capable to replicating gun shot noise while launching retrieval toys. Why not get some shooting in while training your hunting dog?

For more information, visit www.xproducts.com.

How To Build Your Own Lasergrips

The author looks confident, but only because Tong is really in charge.

The author looks confident, but only because Tong is really in charge.

I always thought I was pretty handy, at least until today. Then I got humbled.

You see, I had the opportunity to build my very own Crimson Trace LG-401G Lasergrips for a 1911 pistol. I was visiting the Crimson Trace factory in Wilsonville, Oregon, just south of Portland, and those crazy folks seemed to believe that even a klutz like me could make something high tech like a four milliwatt green instinctive activation pistol laser. But they didn’t have enough faith in my technical ability to turn me loose on the factory floor unsupervised.

Tong was the engineer who humbled me, but he was really nice about it. He let me make some mistakes, then gently corrected my little messes while teaching me the right way to do things. I actually worked with Tong on two sets of grips. He built the first set, while carefully instructing me on the intricacies of each step in the process, and there were a lot of them – 13,729 I think, but who’s counting? I then took the drivers seat and started on the Lasergrips that I would build, then take home with me, to install and use on one of my 1911s.

Making your own Lasergrips is easy. In fact, pretty much anyone can do it. Just assemble the following tools and facilities, then we’ll walk through the process together here. Go ahead, I’ll wait til you’re ready.

An armory

I’m assuming you have more than one gun, so you’ll need at least a dozen guns of each type for the laser you want to design and build. Some of them will be used for performance testing. You see, a laser has to be built to absorb massive g-forces of recoil in the x, y and z axis – tens of thousands of times. Oh, the grips and electronic components inside have to deal with rotational forces also. You’ll wear out a few guns until you get the laser and interior components design just right.

Some of the guns you’ll need to chop apart into pieces. This is the part where you and I both cry. Chop up perfectly good guns? Yep, it’s all for the cause. See, when you assemble the grips, you’ll want to do it on the actual gun frame you’re making the laser for, not a copy that might have slight dimensional variances. The best way, how Crimson Trace does it, is to chop off the grip end of the frame of an actual gun to make construction jigs. Of course you’ll need to make multiple sets of these so you can meet the required production volume.

An indoor shooting range

You’ll want to install an indoor shooting range, hire an armorer to keep all the guns in the armory running, then train staff members to perform the hundreds of thousands of rounds of live fire testing. Believe it or not, there will be too much shooting for just one person to handle. Don’t forget to install lead management ventilation systems – and soundproofing so you don’t tick off the neighbors.

An engineering testing lab

If you’re going to do it right, you need testing facilities in house for non-shooting performance testing. You’ll need electrical testing equipment to make sure your battery and power management designs are up to par. You’ll also need moisture and immersion testing equipment, because a laser on a gun wouldn’t be of much use if it stopped working when it got a little wet. Don’t forget environmental testing equipment. Your Lasergrips will need to perform in exceptional hot and cold conditions. Not only environmental temperature changes, but operational temperature changes. Guns get hot when you shoot them a lot.

A collimation lab

Direct green laser diodes are a raw material that need to be directed, tuned and tweaked before they’re capable of projecting a neat green dot on target. After you line up your German diode supplier, you’ll need to construct special housings and install the diodes in them so they don’t get smashed to bits by recoil. Oh, and you’ll need to design an adjustable lens that takes the broad, rectangular green light output of the diode and focuses it into a sharp dot at a range of 25 feet. For this application, you can do what Crimson Trace does and construct mirror mazes, so you can focus each and every diode in a smaller space because you’re bouncing the beam out and back via the mirrors. Distance is distance, regardless of how many turns there are.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

New Product: Maglula Range Bench Loaded for MSR Rifles

Load an AR magazine in seconds, no blisters, with the new Maglula Range BenchLoaded

Load an AR magazine in seconds, no blisters, with the new Maglula Range BenchLoaded

New from the finger-saving engineers at Maglula is the Range BenchLoader. Like it’s predecessor, the BenchLoader, it’s designed to instantly load up from 1 to 30 rounds in an AR rifle magazine. The original BenchLoader offered similar performance but was larger, heavier and due to the design, only accepted certain types of standard AR magazines. The new Range BenchLoader does not fully contain the magazine; it attaches to the open of of the magazine using the magazine catch cutout. This means the new Range model will accept all type of AR magazines including P-Mags and Surefire 60 round magazines.

To operate, dump cartridges into the curved tray, oriented properly and push the entire load into the magazine. The entire process takes less than 25 seconds. Weighing just 13 ounces, it’s light and small enough to toss in a range bag.

One more thing. The “lula” in Maglula stands for “loading / unloading accessory” in case you were wondering.

Suggested retail price is $165.00.

For more information, visit www.maglula.com.

Pic of the Day: Choke Tubes All Choked Up

SCTP Florida Shoot Beretta-4

When you shoot competition shotguns, like this Beretta 682 Gold Trap, gunk accumulates quickly. While one might shoot a half-dozen rounds while hunting, a moderate day on the competition clay fields easily numbers in the hundreds. These are a pair of Pure Gold choke tubes, both Light Modified, used a the recent SCTP Collegiate Florida shoot. Nine colleges, 133 student competitors and some very experienced choke tubes.

Pics of the Day: The Breaking of a Clay

I had the pleasure of attending the SCTP Florida Shoot today where nine southeastern colleges gathered to compete in three clay disciplines: trap, skeet and wobble trap. I caught this sequence from one of Clemson University’s squads.

Pull!

Pull! Note target leaving the bunker…

Target Acquisition

Target acquisition…

Gun is moving and about to cross the anticipated path of the target...

Gun is moving and about to cross the anticipated path of the target…

Boom! Note in ascending order the wad, lead shot cloud and clay in it's last moments.

Boom! Note in ascending order the wad, lead shot cloud and clay in it’s last moments.

Target destroyed!

Target destroyed!

Four Gun Laws I Would Repeal First (If I Was a Benevolent Dictator)

7-rounds-robberyBack when I was young, naive and not yet wise to the ways of the world, about two weeks ago, I was fantasizing about being elected Benevolent Dictator of the Universe. You know, just like President Nine Iron.

Since I view the whole gun issue as a great barometer for individual liberty and personal accountability, it would make sense for my first official acts to be striking down some of the more onerous gun laws.

Figuring out exactly which laws to start with would be quite a challenge as there are over 20,000 gun control laws on the books. Why? Because “compromise,” that’s why.

Well, not compromise in the true sense of the word. You see, real compromise means that each side gives up a little, yet wins a little of what they want. Both sides share in their respective upsides and downsides. Like sex.

When it comes to gun control, there is no such thing as real compromise. It’s just a code word for “You guys just keep giving up more and more ground while we give up nothing until we achieve complete and total civilian disarmament.” Real compromise on gun issues, is about as likely as our President skipping a golf outing to attend a national security briefing.

This is why we have 20,000 gun control laws and more being proposed each and every day.

When that glorious day comes, when I’m in charge, I’m going to set about fixing a few things. Think beavers are industrious? Wait til you see me in action with my secret decoder dictator pen! During the first 20 minutes of my reign, I’ll get rid of ALL gun control laws. Well, all except one perhaps. I do kind of like that 2013 Family Protection Ordinance, passed in Nelson, GA, that requires all citizens to own a gun and ammunition. The intent is to “provide for the emergency management of the city” and to “provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.” I suppose I could live with that one.

Read more: http://www.ammoland.com/2014/10/four-gun-laws-i-would-repeal-first-if-i-was-a-benevolent-dictator/#ixzz3GKezYYQ6

New Product: Stack-A-Rest Rifle Rest

Four stacking foam blocks quickly customize the height of your rifle rest.

Four stacking foam blocks quickly customize the height of your rifle rest.

In today’s why didn’t I think of that and become rich category is the Stack-a-Rest from Quake Industries.

It’s a series of stackable foam pieces, kind of like Legos Gone Wild that fit together in a number of different ways. Stack one, two, three or all four to adjust your rifle rest height and use any leftover pieces under your support arm. If you invert one and put the flat sides together, you can shove a cartridge through the center hole to create a stable rotating turret. The angular side down allows stable mounting on window frames, truck doors, branches, rocks or most whatever else is handy. One of the pieces even has a slit cut across so it will fit snugly on a car window.

Put the flat sides together and create a rotating platform rest.

Put the flat sides together and create a rotating platform rest.

The whole set only weighs ten ounces, so it’s easy to tote to the range or strap to your backpack while on a hunt.

Cool idea. They’re starting to hit the stores now.

Pic of the Day: Most Beautiful Gun at NASGW, BAR None

The best looking rifle at the dance, BAR none.

The best looking rifle at the dance, BAR none.

What was the classiest looking gun at this week’s National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers conference? That’s easy.

This photo, which doesn’t begin to do justice, is the new Ohio Ordnance Works Colt 1918 Self Loading Rifle. You might recognize it as a true World War I pattern Browning Automatic Rifle. During the first big kerfluffle, the US military released contracts to Colt, Winchester and Marlin-Rockwell to produce BARs in quantity. In collaboration with Colt for design specs and licensing, the Ohio Ordnance Works folks have produced a beauty. The bluing is exquisite and the rifle comes in a hard leather, velvet-lined case complete with leather sling, cleaning kit and two magazines. It’s a .30-06 semi-automatic version, but you won’t feel the recoil as the rifle weighs about 17 pounds.

The initial run is for 200 units and they’re selling fast. For about eight grand, you can have one.

A Galco Gunleather Tour: How Many Holsters Can You Make From 44 Miles of Cows?

Got leather?

Got leather?

Got cows?

Galco does. Lot’s of them. You know Galco, right? They’ve served billions and billions of holsters. Well, maybe not billions, but at least dozens of boatloads, judging by the size of their factory and activity level of all the folks in there.

I recently had the distinct pleasure of a factory tour. You see, I’m a self-admitted holster geek. I even wrote an entire book on methods of concealed carry and gun holsters. Yes, I’m hopeless on holsters, so when I had the opportunity to visit Galco, I jumped on it like Kanye West to the nearest microphone.

The very first thing I learned about was cows. Did you know that every year, Galco turns 886,000 square feet of leather into first-rate gun holsters? That’s about 20,000 cows. If you lined all those cows up, they would reach from PETA’s headquarters in Washington DC all the way to the Chick-Fil-A in Warrenton, Virginia. Trust me, I did the math.

OK, so odds are you’re not reading this because you need to know how many cows it takes to block the highway from DC to Warrenton, so let’s get to the cool part – the making of holsters. It’s a fascinating mix of high-tech automation and skilled hand crafting.

The first challenge is shoes. See, we used to make lots and lots of shoes here in the US, so there were thousands of tanneries that supplied all that leather. Now, since most shoes are made overseas, there are only two major vegetable tanneries here in the US, and Galco buys the lion’s share of tanned leather from both of them.

Just some of the leather headed towards the factory floor.

Just some of the leather headed towards the factory floor.

Like yummy steaks, leather comes in different cuts depending on the intended usage. Galco orders back sections, which are about half a cow from the center of the back down each side. One of these sections is about the size of the hood of a 1970 AMC Gremlin, but not quite as wide and a little longer.

The handmade dies (upper left) are mashed through the leather sheets to produce desired shapes.

The handmade dies (upper left) are mashed through the leather sheets to produce desired shapes.

The older way of cutting leather involves use of hand-made dies. These dies are laid out over a sheet of leather and pressed through to cut the desired shape. It’s up to the experienced cutter to obtain maximum use of each sheet of leather while minimizing waste.

High-tech cutting. The leather is optically scanned to capture shape and flag areas of imperfection.

High-tech cutting. The leather is optically scanned to capture shape and flag areas of imperfection.

The new way is incredibly cool. As each cow is different, the incoming leather sheets are always different sizes. Imperfections such as discolorations or scrapes exist in different spots on each and every sheet. A digital scanner looks at each incoming sheet of leather and identifies shape, surface area and “marks” imperfection areas with a “do not use” status.

Read the rest at AmmoLand!

Wanna Win a Glock 42, Holster, Tac Light and Lots of Ammo?

Brownells_giveaway

Check out the Brownells Glock 42 package giveaway. Enter and you can win the Glock 42, holster, a Brownells tactical light and 250 rounds of Hornady .380 ACP ammo. That’s about $1,000 of guns and gear. Not too shabby.

From Brownells…

More specifically, the package includes:

The Hornady RAPiD Safe can be opened with the included RFID bracelet, key fob and wallet card or with a personalized keypad combination the user can set or change. It retails for $249.99.

The Galco Pocket Protector Holster safely covers the trigger guard and its special hooked shape is designed to keep it inside a front pants pocket or jacket pocket as the pistol is drawn. It retails for $21.99

The Brownells Versatile Light adjusts from 13 to 530 lumens, and will run up to 150 hours on the lowest setting and up to 2.5 hours on the highest setting. It retails for $79.99.

Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammunition features the FTX bullet that delivers controlled expansion with deep penetration for maximum effect. It retails for $19.99 per box, and the package includes 10 boxes for a total of 250 rounds.

“All 50 states now have some form of concealed carry,” said Matt Buckingham, President/COO of Brownells. “Millions of law-abiding Americans are exercising their Second Amendment right to self-defense, and getting their permits. This Glock 42 Personal Defense Handgun Package gives you a great carry gun and a high-tech way to safely store the gun at home. Not only that, we’re including lots of ammo, a creatively-designed holster and a handy flashlight, too.”

For a chance to win this exciting package, customers may enter on the Brownells Facebook page or on the Brownells Contest Page starting October 15. The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on October 27, 2014. The winner will be announced on October 29.

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