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.

Shooting the Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun in the Dark

The business end of the Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun, shown here with a Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro light and laser and two-round magazine tube extension.

The business end of the Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun, shown here with a Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro light and laser and two-round magazine tube extension.

Recently I wrote about my first experiences with the Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun. I love the “shotgun carbine” idea of a short, light and handy defensive shotgun. What I didn’t get into before was the idea that if you ever had to use a defensive shotgun, it would probably be in the middle of the night, meaning in the dark.

I decided to take a shot at gearing up the Beretta 1301 for night time use and testing it in dark conditions. The perfect opportunity was the recent Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational competition. If you’re not familiar, it’s a three gun event with one important twist of the rules. The competition takes places in the middle of the desert outside of Bend, Oregon, but the shooting doesn’t start until after 9pm. If you haven’t been in the middle of the high desert in the middle of the night recently, I can tell you, it’s dark. Really dark. No residual light from nearby towns. No street lights. Heck, the range doesn’t even have electricity or running water. When the International Space Station passes overhead, they have to pause the match because of the glare.

Anyway, in preparation for my midnight rendezvous, I added some goodies to the Beretta 1301. 

First, I called the nice folks at Crimson Trace and politely explained to them that since I was risking life and limb to compete in this match, they should loan me a light or laser for the shotgun. They sent a Rail Master Pro, which offers both 100 lumen light and a red laser that activates with a simple paddle switch. You can configure the light and laser to operate in different modes – a strobe light, for example, but set mine up so that movement of the paddle would turn on both light and laser until i hit the paddle again to turn them off. I mounted this on the barrel with a Nordic Components magazine tube extension and barrel clamp with rail so that I could reach it with my support hand. As I’m right-handed, I put it on the right side of the barrel, so it’s out of the way of my support hand grip, but easily accessible with my support hand fingers when I want to flip it on.

Next, I called Kristi at Aimpoint. Like my Aimpoint PRO, Kristi has never let me down when it comes to good advice about optics. She loaned me an Aimpoint Micro H-1 optic. I guessed that it would line up perfectly with the iron sights on the. Beretta 1301 and it did. I could see the iron sights through the bottom half of the Aimpoint Micro. If my optic ever failed, then I would have a backup option of using the iron sights. This seemed like a good idea until Kristi reminded me that the whole deal about Aimpoint optics is that the batteries run 75% of forever. In this case, you can leave the Micro on for about 5 years non-stop. I figured I could remember to change batteries every couple of years or so to avoid any risk of downtime. 

Aimpoint_Micro_H1_Beretta_1301_Tactical-1

The Aimpoint Micro H1 mounted on the Beretta 1301 Tactical’s rail.

Now, when I turn out the lights, I have a compact shotgun with a forward-looking tactical light and I see two red dots out yonder – one from the laser and the other from the Aimpoint. 

For ammo, the choice was easy. I needed something reliable with shot size with a dense enough pattern to break stationary and flying clays at high speed, but with enough “oomph” to knock down steel targets with one shot. I chose Federal Premium Gold Medal Target loads with 7 1/2 shot

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

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Shooting In The Dark: Reports From The Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational

Everybody knows siblings shouldn't share toys! Here Lanny (left) and Tracy (right) are politely discussing who gets to use the Beretta 1301 Competition shotgun next.

Everybody knows siblings shouldn’t share toys! Here Lanny (left) and Tracy (right) are politely discussing who gets to use the Beretta 1301 Competition shotgun next.

As I write this, I’m coming down off a major high. I’m sitting on an airplane on the way back home from the high desert miles outside of the beautiful town of Bend, Oregon.

I’ve been out there all week at the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational competition. Like last year, the event was held at the COSSA range which is located miles and miles from nowhere. This works out pretty well as neighbors in more populated areas might get a bit upset about hearing gunfire all night long for four straight nights.

The event runs most of the week with two consecutive matches. Wednesday and Thursday, media members and the volunteer range officer staff shoot together. This allows the range staff to shoot the whole match, yet be available for dedicated range safety and logistics duties when the professionals shoot Friday and Saturday nights. All results from the two matches are consolidated into a single overall results tabulation, so everyone is eligible for the same prizes regardless of which nights they shoot.

As the name implies, shooting doesn’t even start until it’s fully dark. Competitors, range staff, media and visitors are all required to illuminate themselves with chemical glow sticks. One on the front and one on the back ensures that anyone still downrange from a target refresh will be clearly visible. As a result of the range staff’s care and attention to detail, the event boasts a perfect safety record.

Crimson_Trace_M3GI-32

Lanny Barnes blasts a clay target with her Beretta 1301 Competition. Or is that Tracy’s gun?

As a media hack, I shot the Wednesday and Thursday match. One of my goals was to really kick the tires of the Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun I’ve been evaluating. In my next article, I’ll go into detail about how I configured it for nighttime use, but for now, I’ll note the following. I chose the Tactical version even though there is a 1301 Competition model that offers competitive tweaks like higher shell capacity and larger loading port. The environment was great for really exercising a defensive shotgun – dirty, dusty and dark. Three of us shared the Beretta 1301 Tactical as wanted to run as much ammo through it as possible during the match. Since receiving the gun, I haven’t cleaned it, nor did I do any maintenance during the match. No matter, it ran like a champ with zero malfunctions of any kind. The super compact design of this gun made shooting and moving very easy. I chose to run first rate shotshells through the gun as a prize table was on the line. I used Federal Premium Gold Medal Target loads with 7 1/2 shot. I could stuff seven shells into the magazine tube plus one more in the chamber. More importantly, the 1 1/8 ounce shot load knocked down steel with authority. The pattern from the Beretta 1301 Tactical’s cylinder bore was even and blew up the clay targets consistently.

One of the benefits of shooting the pre-match was that I could focus on following the big shots during the main match. Big shots like Tracy and Lanny Barnes. You know them, right? Yeah, they are (now retired) Olympic biathletes, so they know a thing or two about shooting under stress and conditioning. You might also recognize the name as Tracy is a writer right here at Beretta USA. Tracy and Lanny both used the Beretta 1301 Competition shotguns. I’m convinced that my deliberate choice to use the 1301 Tactical, with its lower shell capacity, is the only possible explanation for Tracy and Lanny blowing right past my scores in the first few minutes of the competition. But let’s move away from that topic. At least I got some great trigger time with my home defense gun.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

 

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Top Shooting Gear Finds From The Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational

The Smith & Wesson 929 Performance Center revolver is a 9mm. Moon clips make the rimless rounds work.

The Smith & Wesson 929 Performance Center revolver is a 9mm. Moon clips make the rimless rounds work.

One of the highlights of the annual Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational is schmoozing time with the match sponsors. With more than 40 different companies present, I had many company reps to pester. Unlike chaotic events like SHOT Show or the NRA Annual Meeting, the M3GI has plenty of daylight hours (shooting is only at night remember), and the folks are captive at the remote location. Sponsors can’t run or hide; they simply have to tolerate my endless questions and make the best of it.

Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting finds at this years Midnight 3 Gun Event.

Smith Wesson 929 Performance Center Revolver

Look at the lead photo in this article. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Got it? Now tell me how anyone can pick that up and not immediately try for the 50 yard steel plates. That’s exactly what I did. I’m not the world’s best shot, but I hit it from a standing position nearly every time.

Too. Much. Fun. To. Shoot.

Too. Much. Fun. To. Shoot.

The Smith & Wesson 929 Performance Center is a 9mm revolver with 8 round capacity in the wheel. Since it uses rimless 9mm ammo, you use moon clips to load the cylinder. Weighing in at a hefty 44 ounces, the 929 is plenty stable for offhand shooting. The 6.5 inch barrel and corresponding long sight radius makes steady sight picture a snap. It’s a Performance Center model and Jerry Miculek signature design. I want one.

I2 Technologies and Systems Integrations Binocular Night Vision System

The helmet requires a counterweight to balance out the dual monocular night vision system.

The helmet requires a counterweight to balance out the dual monocular night vision system.

I2 (pronounced eye-squared) brought about a billion dollars worth of leading edge night vision gear. They are innovators in complete, integrated night vision systems. Their primary wares at the M3GI were helmets equipped with dual PVS-14 mounts. Two PVS-14 Gen 3 night vision monoculars are configured into an adjustable, quick-release helmet mount. This gives the wearer broader peripheral vision, and more importantly, depth perception. Competitors had the good fortune of cleaning a “house” in the pitch dark with a Gem-Tech suppressed Glock and suppressed, full-auto PWS 300 Blackout SBR. After that, one had to clear the “back yard” with a shotgun. A truly awesome stage.

One of the neat little details I learned was that, due to the weight of the gear, you have to configure the helmet with a one pound counterweight on the rear, else you’ll be staring straight at the ground. You can get your own ready-to-go rig like this for just over $7,000. Got a birthday coming up?

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

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10 Reasons the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational Is My Favorite Shooting Event

Jerry Miculek of Team Smith & Wesson looks on as a competitor blasts an aerial target (upper left)

Jerry Miculek of Team Smith & Wesson looks on as a competitor blasts an aerial target (upper left)

I had the good fortune to compete in, and cover, the shooting community’s coolest adventure, otherwise known as the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational. As the name implies, this is a full-blown outdoor 3 Gun match.

The third annual Crimson Trace event was held at the COSSA shooting range located in the high desert about 7,394 nautical miles outside of Bend, Oregon. The remote location and match schedule ensures several things: it will be dark, as in black hole kind of dark; your equipment will have to perform in exceptionally dusty and dirty conditions (drop a magazine in the dirt here and it will sound like nails on a chalkboard for the rest of the match); and, you will not sleep for several days.

A look down at some of the shooting bays in use.

A look down at some of the shooting bays in use.

1. Sleep

More accurately, lack of sleep defines this event. Shooting begins around 9 pm and continues until four or five in the morning. The first night of competition, I rolled back into my hotel room after sunrise – exhilarated but tired. Lest you think you can catch up during the day, busses leave for the range before lunch for training, safety briefings and sponsor range demonstrations. Next week, I’ll get into some really neat new products demonstrated at the range event.

2. Safety

As safety is the number one concern, range officers are more plentiful than fake ID’s at a Justin Bieber concert. As all of the range officers are avid 3 Gun Shooters themselves, there is a full match for them the two nights prior to the pro match Friday and Saturday nights. We media weasels squad up with the range officers and shoot the full match with them Wednesday and Thursday nights. This is a great win-win solution. We media hacks don’t have to shoot with the pros and face total humiliation, the range officers shoot the full match, and we all work the bugs out before the pros start Friday night. As you’ll see from the photos, every person on the range wears glow sticks front and back for absolute visibility. A big hat’s off to the professionalism and dedication of all the range staff. They preserved the perfect safety record while adding plenty of fun.

Nope, not dark enough yet. A pre-match briefing at Stage 7.

Nope, not dark enough yet. A pre-match briefing at Stage 7.

3. My Sig Sauer P226 Elite SAO

I wrote about this gun prior to the match. Hard use in the dusty match conditions confirmed my early opinions. Dumping mags in use dry dust all week got the gun plenty dirty, but it ran like a champ. The best part was comfort of high-volume shooting. I used American Eagle 147 grain 9mm ammo that clocks in around 950 feet per second. The recoil impulse was light and smooth – perfect for high-speed competitive shooting.

4. Live entertainment

During the awards ceremony, Crimson Trace founder Lew “Joe Cocker” Danielson stopped mid-speech, ran to his truck to retrieve his guitar, and broke into a rousing rendition of “Leaving On A Jet Plane.” As a special tribute to the ladies’ present, he followed with an a capella encore performance of “You Are So Beautiful.” Lew explained lack of guitar accompaniment to the fact the song requires seven chords and he only knows four so far. An inspiring moment from one of the industry’s finest individuals. It was epic.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

 

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Dogs Gone By: On the Front Line in the War Against Prairie Dogs

The Battlefield: The Silver Spur Ranch in Encampment, Wyoming.

The Battlefield: The Silver Spur Ranch in Encampment, Wyoming.

We awoke at dawn.

Most of us were slightly nervous, but energized by the certainty of impending combat. I doubt the enemy ever sleeps. They’re too busy digging a tunnel network to support their underground trafficking enterprise.

We’d been the ones to choose the field of battle – the Silver Spur Ranch in Encampment, Wyoming. Encampment is an eerily appropriate name given the enemy’s permanent dug in positions.

Our foe has a great propaganda machine, although I have absolutely no idea how they can afford such a thing. As a result, most people know them as those cute, adorable and cuddly Facebook poster critters. Awwww.

The modern day tank that carried the day during the trench warfare stage - the Yamaha

The modern day tank that carried the day during the trench warfare stage – the Yamaha Viking UTV.

Like Hollywood celebrities, our enemy’s day to day behavior is somewhat different from their public image. They cause massive, and I do use that word deliberately, damage to agricultural and grazing land. They eat each other like real world zombies. They reproduce faster than Anthony Wiener texts his, well, you know. They carry the plague. They’re downright evil.

Yes, I’m talking about prairie dogs.

When it comes to setting a battle strategy, you need to use every possible advantage. If you’re fighting fair, your tactics suck, or so they say. And we had no room to give up the slightest advantage. The Silver Spur Ranch has been occupied with just over 15.371 billion prairie dogs – I counted. We numbered six, plus our guide Roger, and our hosts Jeff, Matt and Neal. By my calculation, that was just 10 of us, except when I used Common Core math. Then I got an answer of negative 19.7 apples.

Even though the numerical odds weren’t exactly in our favor, I was confident in our chances. I took stock of our advantages:

  • We have opposable thumbs and can do neat things with them like play Angry Birds.
  • We live in above ground structures and eat bacon pretty much whenever we want.
  • My brain is larger than theirs, so I figured my enemy had only 85% or so of my IQ.

Our enemy?

  • They have the intelligence of spackle.
  • They live in holes.

When you’re facing an enemy of near unlimited strength that’s dug in, you have to figure out how to break the trench warfare stalemate using technology. Back in World War I, they invented tanks to overrun the enemy. So did we, although ours were slightly more nimble than the Little Willy Tank of 1915. We used Yamaha Viking side by side UTVs – a two-seater and a six-seater. These off road wonders had plenty of capacity to haul a dozen guns, cases of Hornady ammo and us. And they navigated gulleys, sagebrush and prairie dog and badger holes with ease.

We also had the advantage of outspending our opponent in the arms race. The Blue Heron Communications team, representing Smith & Wesson, only brought 38 guns, so I was a little worried, but it worked out OK in the end. Hornady supplied somewhere north of 10 billion rounds of varmint ammunition by my best estimate.

On the first day of battle, I rode with Neal, the marketing head at Hornady ammunition. Smart move on my part to ride with the ammo guy, right? With 15 billion enemy, I was NOT going to run out of cartridges at a critical moment. Neal chose a Thompson Center Venture in 22-250 caliber and stoked it with Hornady’s .22-250 V-MAX loads. With that setup, he was the big gun on our team. One shot, one kill, if you get a hit pretty much anywhere. He backed that up with a Smith & Wesson 617 revolver offering 10 shots of .22 long rifle – just in case our perimeter was overrun.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

 

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The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Three Gunning for Home Defense?

Two of the pistol choice contenders: Springfield Armory TRP 1911 (left) and Beretta PX4 Storm (right)

Two of the pistol choice contenders: Springfield Armory TRP 1911 with Crimson Trace Master Series Laser Grips and Lightguard (left) and Beretta PX4 Storm with Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro (right)

In a rare fit of advance planning and organization, I’m starting to think about what gear to use at this year’s Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational match. The event takes place August 12th through 17th in the high desert outside of Bend, Oregon, so I’ve got a little time.

As the event title implies, I need to pick, you guessed it, three guns to use – one handgun, shotgun and rifle. Stages are designed in such a way that you must always use at least two, and usually all three guns. Some targets require use of a specific gun type. For example, you might have to obliterate targets 1 through 9 with your pistol and targets 10 through 17 with your rifle. Other targets are optional, meaning that it’s the shooters choice whether to use a shotgun, rifle or pistol.

The event is more fun than should be legal, especially as it takes place in the absolute dark of night. Last year, shooting started sometime after 9pm and finished up some mornings near 5:30am. Who needs sleep?

This year, I’ve already decided to use the Midnight 3 Gun event as a home defense equipment trial of sorts. Rather than picking guns that are perfectly optimized to three gun competition rules, I’m going to pick guns that are reasonable to use in my home for protection of self, family and my ABBA vinyl record collection.

What does that really mean? If I was choosing to optimize for the competition and game the rules, I might select the following:

Tweaked out “competition optimized” guns like the shotgun mentioned above are obviously are not necessarily well suited for home defense. You wouldn’t want to be navigating your home in the middle of the night with a six foot long shotgun complete with magazine tube extending into the next room. A short and compact model would almost certainly be more appropriate – even if it had lower capacity.

With all that said, here’s what I am considering for each gun category:

Pistol

Last year I used a Glock 17 with rear activated laser and front activated light.

Last year I used a Glock 17 with rear activated laser and front activated light.

I’ve got a number of contenders going for the perfect home defense / M3GI pistol. Last year I shot a Glock 17 equipped with Crimson Trace Lasergrips and Crimson Trace Lightguard. It’s certainly no slouch for a home defense gun. 9mm is acceptable as a defensive round, capacity of 17+1 is solid and you can find a holster to fit a geared up Glock. But it’s a new year and a new match. I’ve been there and done that with the Glock, so I’ll be trying something different. Perhaps one of the following:

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Scenes From A Gun Show

gun show 2-1

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to ingest a super-sized slice of Americana.

Is it legal to sell shooting books without a background check?

Is it legal to sell shooting books without a background check?

I got a bug up my butt to rent a table at a local gun show for the weekend to sell some of my books. Obviously my primary goal was to break my back for a weekend to provide for the family. Hanging out at a gun show for a couple of straight days was purely an unplanned fringe benefit, and I’m sticking by that story.

You hear a lot on the news about gun shows, and how delightfully evil they are, right? Criminals buying guns, thermite grenades and TOW missiles for sale and not a background check to be seen for miles around. While I’ve attended dozens, OK, hundreds, I’ve never invested the time to do some good old-fashioned crowd watching.

Being a lousy journalist, but somewhat good at stalking, I decided to make some notes throughout the weekend on my observations. This is quality science folks, because I was an Economics major in college. Real numbers economics, not home economics, so I can count reliably to nearly three digits.

Here’s what I saw…

31%

Percentage of people wearing hats. As one might expect, about 75% of all hats were ball cap types, but a surprisingly low percentage were camo or emblazoned with things like “don’t tread on me” or “molon labe.” Most were logoed with the wearer’s favorite sports team. I looked hard, but did not see any hats promoting Poysippi, Wisconsin’s Legion of Broom curling team. Rounding out the hat community were a good number of floppy jungle hats, Panama Jacks and bandana head wraps.

14.9%

Percentage of attendees what were children.

23%

Percentage of attendees that the Brady Campaign refers to as children when they recite crime statistics. This demographic actually represents people aged 17-25.

Fortunately, these were the only guns pointed at me this weekend.

Fortunately, these were the only guns pointed at me this weekend.

22.2%

Percentage of women attending the show. Yes, I did numerous aisle counts and averaged the results. I was that bored. Guys, if you saw me looking at your wife or girlfriend, it was all in the name of science. Really.

20%

Percentage of women working in booths at the show.

2

Number of (obviously) pregnant women.

1,143

Number of men who appeared to be pregnant.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

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Learn how to reload ammunition the easy way with the Insanely Practical Guide To Reloading Ammunition!

Learn how to reload ammunition the easy way with the Insanely Practical Guide To Reloading Ammunition!

5 Million Freakin’ People vs. Moms Demand Bloomberg Alimony Checks

NRA-Millions-video

Breaking news! The White House released a new report suggesting slight statistical corrections to previous figures. Earlier this year, Vice President Biden claimed that 90% of Americans support increased background checks. The new findings indicate that 90% of Americans actually ATTENDED the recent NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. You heard it here first folks.

Speaking of 75,267 people, and yes that’s the actual number that attended the NRA Annual Meeting last weekend, the NRA’s new ad campaign makes it abundantly clear the difference between the anti-gun effort and the Second Amendment rights preservation effort.

In the words of a new NRA membership video called Bloomberg’s Millions, “He’s one guy with millions, but we’re millions with our 25 bucks. Let’s see who crushes who.”

That. Is. Brilliant.

As a career marketing puke, I know it’s a brilliant campaign because it doesn’t spin, fool, or exaggerate. It hits the crux of the issue harder than that Mike Tyson punch where he swacked Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover. In case you didn’t see the movie, that punch was painful to watch, but entertaining for all except Zach.

The issue is simply this. The NRA has no power. None. None whatsoever.

You know what has power? 5 million freakin’ people who voluntarily send $25 a year to the NRA because they believe in the NRA’s position.(Tweet This!)

Power comes from 75,267 men, women and children who spend a whole lot of their hard-earned money (thanks Indianapolis, you were wonderful hosts!) to travel across the country to visit, talk, see products, hear speeches and vote.

On the other hand, astroturf, or lack of power comes from…

Protest Prostitutes.

As you may have heard, there was a protest by Moms Demand Something Or Other For Baby Emus, no wait, I think it’s Moms Demand Salaries From Michael Bloomberg, hang on, I’ll get it in a minute. Moms Demand Every Town Install Free Pillow Spray Dispensers. I think that’s it, right? Sorry, they keep changing names so frequently I lose track.

Anyway, Mom’s Demand Bloomberg Alimony Checks came to Indianapolis to “confront and challenge” the NRA. Fortunately, there are cheap flights to Indy because Bloomberg had to foot the bill to fly the couple of dozen men and women holding identical, organization provided signs. That’s right; they had to be paid to protest.

If your sign and t-shirt are issued when you clock in for your protest shift, you might be a protest prostitute. (Tweet This)

If your convictions are for sale for $8.50 an hour, you might be a protest prostitute. (Tweet This)

If the energy level of your protest won’t melt butter on a hot day, you’re a protest prostitute. (Tweet This)

While entertaining to watch, protest prostitutes have no real power, they’re just the hired help.

Once there, and between union-mandated coffee breaks, they “confronted” the NRA from a safe distance of about a mile away. You know, because we’re all gun totin’ savages just raring to shoot people and shout things like “I was in fear for my life!” Especially moms.

Heck there was no need to confront. If they had bothered to come to the convention, they would’ve found 75,267 of the most polite and respectful people around. Well, in all honestly, it was only 75,266 because of that one guy who failed to say “excuse me” when he stepped in front of me at the Wall of Guns exhibit.

Let’s get back to the whole power thing.

Groups like Moms Demand Piers Morgan for President constantly refer to the NRA as if it were some autonomous organization that derives its power from an obelisk buried deep within the moon.

In fact, the only power that the NRA has comes from those 5 million freakin’ members who contribute 25 bucks a year to fund its efforts. Those are voluntary partings with hard-earned money by the way. Voluntary. Not one rich elitist with a couple of unemployed protest prostitute sycophants.

I don’t know why this is such a difficult concept for the gun control movement to understand. They continue to speak of the NRA as if it had a will of its own that disregarded the will of the people.

If I hear one more person talk about the political clout of the gun lobby and NRA, I’m going to strap on a meatloaf suit and jog through the African Lion Safari exhibit at Busch Gardens.

The NRA has too much power? 5 million freakin’ people are SUPPOSED to have political clout. Lots and lots of it. (Tweet This!)

It’s part of that whole constitutional republic democratic process thing. Remember?

It’s a simple concept.

“He’s one guy with millions, but we’re millions with our 25 bucks. Let’s see who crushes who.”

If you’re reading this, and are not a member of the NRA, you need to join now. If 10% of the people who agree with the NRA would simply join, we wouldn’t be having these silly discussions about preserving our rights.

 

Grab a copy of Tom’s free eBook, A Fistful of Shooting Tips. It will help make you a better shooter and the envy of your range in no time.

The NRA Annual Meeting: 75,000 Friends and Hundreds of Toys

The NRA Annual Meeting 2014, Indianapolis, IN.

The NRA Annual Meeting 2014, Indianapolis, IN.

I love the NRA annual meeting. You would think a gathering of more than 75,000 people couldn’t be a more polite undertaking than a Miss Manners Impersonator convention, but it is. You can’t go 10 feet without hearing one or more of the following: Please. Thank you. Sir. Ma’am. Pardon me! Have a nice day!

If the folks who rant and rave about how evil the NRA is would actually come to an NRA event, I believe they would be surprised. Actually, they would be dumbfounded. I was chatting it up with a bellman at my hotel one morning, and he observed “I don’t see why people get so upset about the NRA. These have been some of the nicest people ever to come for a big convention.”

If the best part of the NRA annual meeting is the people, the second best part is the product displays. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting finds this week.

ARES SCR™ Sport Configurable Rifle

I had an opportunity to shoot the ARES SCR™ Sport Configurable Rifle at the American Suppressor Association media event the day before the NRA convention started. For a minute, let’s set aside the discussion of whether a company should even have to make a rifle like this because of silly legislation. As one of the guests on this week’s Armed American Radio Show so aptly stated, “It’s an AR rifle that doesn’t look like an AR rifle.”

The ARES SCR Sport Configurable Rifle

The ARES SCR Sport Configurable Rifle

Here’s what it is, besides a great example of creative ingenuity. Imagine a standard AR / MSR upper receiver, hand guard and barrel, but with a classic rifle stock. You know, just like the stock on your favorite hunting rifle or shotgun. Being that the “bang-bang” parts are all Modern Sporting Rifle, it takes almost all of the standard replacement parts and accessories. Magazines, lights, lasers, vertical foregrips and bipods for example. Remember, it’s an AR / MSR that just doesn’t look like one.

The short bolt carrier that makes the ARES SCR work.

The short bolt carrier that makes the ARES SCR work.

Here’s why it exists: It’s legal in all 50 states, even with the latest in silly and unproductive laws passed as of the date of this article.

The first question people ask is “how does it work?” There is no standard buffer tube as with a standard AR platform rifle, so the bolt carrier is short with a curved pigtail that extends down to a recoil spring in the standard rifle stock. The operating principle is the same.

Shooting the Ares SCR is like shooting any standard stock rifle. You’ll want to mount your optic like you would with a standard rifle – as low to the bore as possible. Since the stock curves down instead of straight back, a standard AR height optic will be too high for a proper cheek weld on the stock. We were using an Aimpoint Micro H1 and it is exactly the right height if you don’t use the AR mount.

Initially, Ares will offer this as a complete package with the lower standard stock and upper mated together. If the upper you want to use accepts standard size bolt carriers, and if there is a short bolt carrier available for your desired caliber, you’re good to go. Just throw that new upper on the lower just like you would with a standard AR / MSR.

Weaver Tactical 6-30x56mm

I fell in lust with a beast of an optic – the new Weaver Tactical model. With 30x magnification it will be a lot of fun for rifles that can reach way out there. It might pair well with the DoubleTap Ammo 7mm Remington Ultra Mag mentioned in this article.

Weaver Tactical-1

It’s got a 34mm tube and an illuminated reticle that offers 5 intensity levels of red and green. It’s a mil dot reticle with .1 mil elevation and windage adjustments. As it’s a long range scope, the best feature might be the SmartZero reset turrets. Remove the cap, set the zero stop, and rotate away, even more than once. When you need to, dial them back to a positive zero point without having to count how many rotations you turned.

I’m probably going to do a dedicated feature on this optic down the road, but I can’t decide on the ideal rifle. Maybe a .22-250? Or perhaps the Weatherby .257 Magnum? Of course a nice .308 is always a good choice. What say you?

 

Crimson Trace New Laser Bling

The Crimson Trace team has quite a bit of new gear in both red and green laser configurations. The new Master Series Cocobolo Diamond pattern grips are gorgeous and will class up any 1911.

Crimson Trace Master Series-1

Also new are green Lasergrips for the Ruger LCR family. With a positive on/off switch and 2 hour battery life, it’s a great upgrade for your snubbie.

On the short-term horizon are upgraded models for Glock Gen 3 pistols with rear activation laser switches. The new models feature positive on/off switches, which are handy for saving battery life when practicing in daylight conditions.

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