7 Things To Know About the .357 Sig, Sort Of…

One things is for sure about the .357 Sig cartridge: velocity makes a big difference. It's tough to find a .357 Sig load that doesn't expand, even after encountering barriers.

One things is for sure about the .357 Sig cartridge: velocity makes a big difference. It’s tough to find a .357 Sig load that doesn’t expand, even after encountering barriers.

.357 Sig is my favorite pistol cartridge. I don’t really know why, I just think it’s cool. Well, seriously speaking, it is a screamer with great street performance and the bottleneck design helps not only velocity, but feeding reliability.

Developed by a pas de deux featuring Sig Sauer and Federal Ammunition in 1994, it’s loosely based on a necked down .40 S&W cartridge – conceptually anyway. The idea of .357 Sig ammo is to launch a .355 caliber bullet form an autoloading pistol a few hundred feet per second faster than a 9mm cartridge can.

With that said, consider these interesting facts about the .357 Sig…

It’s like a .357 Magnum, but not really.

You’ll hear descriptions of the caliber like “it offers .357 Magnum capability in an autoloader that’s not a Coonan.” That’s partially true, if you’re talking about a .357 Magnum firing a 125 grain bullet. DoubleTap Ammunition markets 125 grain .357 Sig loads that clock 1,525 feet per second from a 4 ½ inch barrel. That’s about 645 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, and within .357 Magnum territory for a 125 grain projectile. The ‘not really’ part comes into play when you consider 158 grain .357 Magnum loads. DoubleTap also produces a 158 grain .357 Magnum load that achieves 1,540 feet per second from a 6-inch barrel revolver. That’s about 832 foot-pounds.

It’s like a 9mm on steroids, but not really.

Not many 9mm loads would expand like this after passing through a pine board.

Not many 9mm loads would expand like this after passing through a pine board.

The .357 Sig uses a .355 inch diameter bullet like the 9mm, not a .357 diameter bullet like the .357 Magnum and .38 Special. While the bullet diameter is the same as the wonder nine, most .357 Sig projectiles are shaped differently.

To take maximum advantage of the limited case neck real estate in the bottleneck portion of the cartridge case, many .357 Sig projectiles do not have elongated noses like 9mm designs. The bullet body, or bearing surface, will be long enough so that when seated to the proper depth, every bit of the case neck will be in contact with the projectile. Remembering that the overall cartridge length still needs to remain in spec, this means the nose will generally have more of a blunt profile.

Some 9mm bullets will work and some won’t. If you reload, be careful about this as bullets with the wrong profile are susceptible to pushing back into the case during feeding or recoil, thereby generating dangerous pressure levels.

Read the rest at Guns America!

 

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Four Things You Can Do With a Rifle – Besides Hunt

Mary Kate is actually demonstrating two topics from the list here. She’s plinking with a 1950’s era Hakim 8mm Egyptian battle rifle. Who says history can’t be fun?

Mary Kate is actually demonstrating two topics from the list here. She’s plinking with a 1950’s era Hakim 8mm Egyptian battle rifle. Who says history can’t be fun?

Barbara is more of a hunter than I am. In this issue of First Shots News, she’ll tell you how to get started. While I hunt a little bit, mostly ducks and geese, she’s hard-core and chases down ill-tempered wild boars with flint knives. That’s what I’ve heard, and I’m sticking by that story.

My interest in guns and shooting are primarily a result of… guns and shooting. While I enjoy hunting, my primary interest is shooting just for the sake of shooting.

Embrace History

Rifles, perhaps even more than pistols, can have incredible stories to tell. When I first became interested in shooting, my first through tenth gun purchases were old battle rifles. To be more specific, I made a field trip to the Civilian Marksmanship Program sales center in Camp Perry Ohio to handpick some history. If you’re not aware of the CMP, check out their website. It’s a government chartered (not government operated) organization founded as part of the 1903 War Appropriations Act. the idea was to help the militia, that’s all of us, become proficient and safe markspeople.

As part of the charter, the CMP sells surplus rifles and ammunition. They sold me a Springfield Armory 1903 A3 bolt action rifle and an M1 Garand manufactured in January of 1945. Every time I shoot those rifles, I wonder where they’ve been. Did they make an ocean crossing to Europe or the Pacific islands? Or were they used for training and coastal defense here at home? I’ll never know, but will always wonder.

Walk through any gun show and you’re bound to find hundreds of guns with stories. Old West? World Wars? The first shooting competitions? You never know. Whether you plan to shoot an old rifle with a story or not, it’s a fantastic way to hold a tangible piece of history.

Defend Your Home

Contrary to popular assumption, rifles can be a great home defense option, provided you choose the right platform. Unless you live somewhere like Encampment, Wyoming, you need to worry about over penetration. Consequently, using your .30-06 hunting rifle for home defense is not necessarily a great idea, as projectiles can travel through walls, houses, trees, cars and who knows what else. Here’s where the right platform choice comes into play. Did you know that (generally speaking) a projectile from a Modern Sporting Rifle will penetrate walls less than a standard pistol round? Regular 55 grain .223 Remington bullets are light, and fly very fast, so they tend to tumble and break apart when they hit solid objects like drywall, furniture and especially exterior walls. So, counter to assumption, a rifle can offer less risk of unwanted penetration.

Additionally, rifles are easier to shoot accurately under stress. First of all, you support a rifle with two hands. Second, the sight radius, or distance between sights, is longer. Small movements in the sight picture do not translate into big misses as can be the case with a handgun. Last, rifles offer near infinite customization capability. Lights, lasers, grips and slings can all be added and tweaked to your exact preference.

Read the rest in the NSSF First Shots Newsletter!

 

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Personality Quirks of the 300 AAC Blackout

Like any gun and cartridge combination, the 300 AAC Blackout has its own personality. Getting to know a few of its character traits can save you a lot of time should things start to act wonky. Let’s take a look at a few of the more common potential gotchas.

Chambering the Wrong Caliber!

Here's a .223 Remington cartridge dropped into a 5.56mm chamber. No problem!

Here’s a .223 Remington cartridge dropped into a 5.56mm chamber. No problem!

You hear internet stories about someone who stuffed the wrong caliber cartridge into a rifle and pulled the trigger. If you’re like me, you take these legends with a grain of salt, shake your head a bit, and move on. Another internet myth right?

Well, this one is true I tell ya! I saw it happen!

I was at my regular outdoor range a month or so back, when I heard a loud bang, closely followed by what can best be described as a “panic shriek.” The scream was intense – kind of like the one Mike Bloomberg makes when he inadvertently stumbles into a Friends of NRA banquet. Looking a few benches to my right, I saw two men, one an experienced shooter, and the other a new shooter, looking dazed and confused. Actually the newer guy was looking more scared and in shock – staring at his hands as if he was surprised they were still attached. Somehow he had stuffed a magazine full of 300 Blackout supersonic cartridges into a 5.56mm rifle, managed to chamber a cartridge, and pulled the trigger.

Here's a 300 Blackout cartridge loaded with a ballistic tip bullet, dropped, not forced, into the same 5.56mm chamber.

Here’s a 300 Blackout cartridge loaded with a ballistic tip bullet, dropped, not forced, into the same 5.56mm chamber.

As you might guess, the gun exploded. Literally. The bolt was bent, upper receiver bulged out, barrel extension trashed, lower receiver trashed and the barrel was now plugged with one very elongated .308 caliber projectile. The shooter was incredibly lucky as much of the pressure escaped through the magazine well. Still, there was enough force in the conflagration to bend a lot of steel and aluminum. The shooter suffered plenty of stinging and mild burns to his hands and face.

Now that I had seen it happen, I became a believer. At least with the right bullet profile, it is possible to fit a 300 Blackout cartridge into a 5.56mm / .223 chamber – at least enough so to allow the rifle to fire. When I got home, I removed an upper from one of my 5.56 ARs and dried dropping various 300 Blackout hand-loaded cartridges into the chamber to see if any would fit. With big and fat bullet profiles, no subsonic loads would come close to fitting, but lighter weight 110 and 125 profiles did in fact come pretty close to fitting in the chamber without application of undue force.

The moral of the story is that it can happen, so be careful when shooting any rifles of similar cartridge design. In this case, it’s doubtful the experienced shooter would have made the mistake, but the new shooter had no idea. Apparently his mentor was paying attention to something else when the shooter loaded the gun.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to minimize the risk. The simplest method is to use magazines of different color for 300 Blackout. Get some tan, dark earth or grey ones. Or you could use metal mags for one caliber and plastic for another. If you already have a supply of magazines, check out MagBands – silicon bands that clearly identify the caliber contained within.

Read the rest at GunsAmerica!

 

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These Sights Are Off!

Pro shooter, instructor and all around swell guy, Todd Jarrett proves to me that the sights are in fact, fine.

Pro shooter, instructor and all around swell guy, Todd Jarrett proves to me that the sights are in fact, fine.

We humans don’t lack confidence.

A couple of years ago, I was assistant coaching a youth Steel Challenge team. Every other week or so, we would get a new shooter or two, usually between the ages of 12 and 16. One week, I had a new young man, about 15 years of age as I recall. To protect the innocent, but exceptionally confident, let’s just call him Frank “Ponch” Poncherello.

Anyway, after taking Ponch through a pretty comprehensive safety briefing on the four rules and safety procedures at our range, it was time to get Ponch shooting. He had shot guns before, including pistols, so we went straight to the team’s Springfield Armory XD 9mm. Yeah, it’s a nice gun and certainly not known for accuracy problems.

After unloading at steel plates for a couple of magazines, Ponch turned to me and said, with a serious straight face, “the sights on this gun are off – it’s shooting low and left.”

Ponch’s casual observation took me back to 1999 – the year before all the ATM’s started spitting out buffalo nickels and nuclear missiles launched themselves towards Possum Kingdom, South Carolina. I was at a local indoor range, shooting with my business partner Mike. At the time, I knew even less than I know now, and he was our shooting expert. He had his Sig Pro 2340 .40 S&W and we were enthusiastically blowing a paper target around with the breeze from nearby misses. In fairness to our shooting skills, the target was at least 10 yards down range, so gimme a break already, will ya? Mike was shooting first, and kept hitting low and left. Bluffing like a shooting master, I ribbed him about his skills, until he told me to try his gun. When I did manage to hit paper, my shots were low and left too.

Quickly ruling out Justin Bieber as a possible cause for accuracy problems, we tried to figure out was going on, never stopping to consider the remote possibility that it might be shooter error. After some contemplation, Mike found the cause, and I readily agreed as it exonerated the both of us from an embarrassing shooting performance. Earlier, Mike had loaned his gun to a TV show production crew and the budding action star had dropped the gun during filming. Clearly this was the cause as the drop must have knocked the sights out of alignment. What else could it be?

Read the rest at AmmoLand!

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10 Things You Learn Carrying A Gun Daily

Berettas and holsters-1

Reflecting on my experiences carrying a gun daily for near a couple of decades, I figured out that I’ve learned a couple of things. Here’s a short list.

1. How clueless the average person is.

I don’t mean this in an offensive way at all, I mean it quite literally. When you first start carrying, you manage to convince yourself that every person you see in public will spot your gun. After a couple of weeks, you begin to realize that people are far more immersed in their phones than your appearance. The folks that do make eye contact with you almost never look for telltale bulges around your waist.

2. How quickly anti-gun folks can change their views – at least temporarily.

My wife was out for dinner one night with some friends, some of whom are decidedly anti-gun and can’t understand why someone would carry. Walking to the car after dinner, the group noticed a couple of suspicious characters hanging around a dark corner of the parking lot. Looking to my wife, the group asked the same question, “You do have your gun with you, right?”

Moral of the story: everyone loves a sheepdog.

3. The value of a good belt

Physical fitness starts with a strong core. A skyscraper requires a deep foundation. Carrying a gun safely and securely requires a proper belt. A quality gun belt, like the Galco SB-2, will hold the weight of your gun, keep it close to your body and prevent the holster from flopping around due to belt flex. If you’re having trouble with a holster, make sure you’ve got a proper belt underneath.

4. The value of a good holster.

Once you have a solid foundation with a proper belt, you need to continue building on that with equal quality. A good holster does three things:

  1. A holster helps you access your gun quickly, easily, and safely. It will hold your gun in a fixed position. If you ever need to reach for your gun, it will be exactly where you expect. It won’t move around and you won’t have to constantly check the position of your gun.
  2. It protects the trigger. By necessity, you may have to find and grip your gun quickly while under stress. A safe holster keeps the trigger completely protected until you have a proper, and safe, grip. Many things in your daily routine (chairs, seat belts, keys, etc.) have the potential to push through clothing hard enough to move the trigger.
  3. It ensures that your gun remains under your control. Retention features in a holster aren’t just for law enforcement professionals. Make sure you invest in a holster that will keep your gun secure through your range of daily activity whether that includes getting in and out of cars, working outside or any other sort of physical activity.

5. Bending over can get you in trouble – in more ways than one.

It doesn't look like much, but the extra weight of a couple of loaded magazines really adds up during a long day carrying.

It doesn’t look like much, but the extra weight of a couple of loaded magazines really adds up during a long day carrying.

A number of carry methods can cause printing dysfunction if you’re not careful. Most belt holsters, inside or outside the waistband, can cause the gun grip to press against the back of your short or cover garment if you lean forward too much. If you carry a gun daily, you quickly learn how to reach low things by bending your knees and keeping your back straight.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

 

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How To Improve Your Handgun Accuracy In One Easy Step

Make your dry fire practice even better with a small investment in an assortment of snap caps.

Make your dry fire practice even better with a small investment in an assortment of snap caps.

Here’s a shooting tip: if you do this one practice routine, you can learn to shoot without missing. Before we get into the secret of how to always hit your target, we need to talk physics.

I know, this is a gun blog, and you never use that high school science stuff anyway. Just hear me out for a minute…

Almost any handgun, like a Beretta Nano, Beretta 92 series or Beretta Px4 series has less weight than your trigger finger has strength. To go into a little more detail, let’s look at the factory specified weights of a few common handguns:

Beretta Nano 1.24 pounds
Beretta 92FS 2.08 pounds
Beretta Px4, 9mm 1.73 pounds

By now you’re probably thinking, “OK, Tom, that’s a fascinating display of your ability to read the Beretta catalog, but what does that have to do with never missing a target?”

I’m glad you asked! Now, let’s add one more piece of information to that list of gun weights. Now, we’ll consider the weight AND the number of pounds of trigger finger force required to fire the pistol.

Beretta Nano 1.24 pounds 6 to 8 pounds depending on who you ask
Beretta 92FS 2.08 pounds 12 pounds (first shot) and 5 pounds (subsequent shots)
Beretta Px4, 9mm 1.73 pounds 12 pounds (first shot) and 4.5 pounds (subsequent shots)

If we do some fancy math, compare pounds and carry the one, we’ll see that in every case, the force required to break the trigger is more than the weight of the gun. This means that unless you hold the gun perfectly still while applying pressure to the trigger, the gun will move. if the gun moves during the firing sequence, the shot will impact somewhere other than where it was originally aimed.

When you look at it that way, it’s a pretty simple concept. But what do you do about the problem? The answer is easy. You learn how to press (not pull) the trigger without moving the gun. If you learn how to do that, every time, you won’t miss – assuming you have the gun pointed properly at the target.

How do you learn to press the trigger without moving the gun? Dry fire practice. We’ve talked about it tangentially here at Beretta USA a couple of times. Jason shared his dry fire routine and some tips. I mentioned it in an article about the value of practicing with .22s. But we’ve never covered a step by step process on how to dry fire at home without harming yourself, your family or your new love seat from Haverty’s.

Basic dry firing simply allows you to practice pulling the trigger pull on your gun without all that distracting flash and bang. All kidding aside, it’s a way to train your eyes, body and trigger finger to pull the trigger smoothly, without moving the sights off target. The real benefit is that you can do all this without that instinctive flinch when the gun normally goes bang. By conditioning yourself to perform a smooth trigger press, without a flinch reaction, you’ll eventually find that you do the same with a real gun when it does go bang.

The most important consideration is safety. You have to develop your own method that insures that you will never, ever, ever have bullets anywhere near your gun when you dry fire. All four gun safety rules apply when dry firing too: 

  1. Treat your gun as if it’s loaded.
  2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire, or even 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.

Here’s a dry fire practice checklist:

Step 1: Remove all ammunition from your gun.

Remove the magazine from your gun. Next, rack the slide to remove the cartridge from the chamber. Look in the magazine well and chamber to verify that your gun is truly empty.

Step 2: Move the ammunition away from your practice area.

Humor me here. Get those bullets you just removed and place them out of reach from your practice area. It’s amazing how life’s distractions can cause you to forget you just reloaded your gun after dry fire practice.

Step 3: Choose a safe target and backstop.

Since we’re obeying Rule 1 and treating our gun as if it’s loaded, we need to aim at a safe target and backstop during dry fire practice. I use a dresser that’s backed up against a stairwell wall. If I did manage to launch a bullet at it, the dresser full of junk would stop the projectile.

dry_fire_ammo-1

If you line up the ammo from your gun like this near your target, you will have an additional visual cue that your gun is still unloaded.

Here’s a tip that I use. I line up the ammunition I removed from my gun on top of the dresser. I place the rounds from the magazine next to each other and set the round I removed from the chamber a bit off to the side. That’s a visual cue and reminder that all of the bullets from my gun, magazine and chamber, are safely removed. 

Step 4: Focus on your front sight!

Focus on your front sight, so it’s crisp and clear. Your chosen (safe!) target will be a bit blurry and that’s OK. You want all of your focus on the front sight. Your sight will move around a bit as no one can hold a handgun perfectly still. This is OK and normal.

 

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

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What Makes a 1911 a 1911?

An example of a modern 1911, this Springfield Armory 1911 TRP has a number of tweaks to the original design.

An example of a modern 1911, this Springfield Armory 1911 TRP has a number of tweaks to the original design.

Love it or hate it, the 1911 pistol is kind of a big deal, even if just for its longevity. Just past the turn of the previous century, the Army figured out it wanted an autoloading handgun with similar ballistic capability to the .45 Colt which had served them well. Since our military folks rode around on horseback at that time, features like easy one-handed operation and grip safeties were important. If you drop your handgun mid-gallop, you don’t want it to go off when it hits the ground.

Is this Viet Cong copy of a 1911 really a 1911? Some of the controls are cosmetic only and it's a smooth bore! Image courtesy of the NRA National Firearms Museum.

Is this Viet Cong copy of a 1911 really a 1911? Some of the controls are cosmetic only and it’s a smooth bore! Image courtesy of the NRA National Firearms Museum.

In response, John Moses Browning, may he rest in peace, came up with the 1911. The Army liked its ease of use and hard-hitting power, which, according to 1911 guru Robert Campbell, is like “a velvet covered brick.”

You’ll hear gun folks talk in reverential tones about the pistol named 1911. Yes, it’s a year, but it’s also pistol design. Not a manufacturer or a specific model, but a design – kind of like how a pickup truck is a design. Lot’s of car manufacturers make pickups, and you can get them with different size engines, but they all have some common features, like seats in the front and a cargo bed in the back.

What makes a 1911 a 1911?

Two features of a classic 1911 are a grip and slide lock safety, both shown here.

Two features of a classic 1911 are a grip and slide lock safety, both shown here.

The purist definition of a 1911 might be an a pistol that exactly copies John Moses Browning’s famous design produced in the year, you guessed it, 1911. But even that was tweaked by the military a few years later with the A1 model. Since that time, thousands of gunmakers have produced 1911-style pistols with various tweaks to the original design.

At what point do “design enhancements” cause a gun to be something other than a 1911? Are there design features that, if tampered with, cause a 1911 to morph into something else?

Perhaps the best way to define the 1911 is by the collection of characteristics:

Short recoil operation with tilting barrel and swinging link

You’ll notice that 1911 pistol barrels have a moving link on the bottom under the chamber. As the pistol fires, the barrel and slide move backward together for a short distance. At this point, the link rotates the breech end of the barrel downward, unlocking it from the slide. This allows the slide to travel backward and eject the spent cartridge case. The recoil spring sends the slide forward, picking up a fresh cartridge along the way and recapturing the barrel.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

 

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5 Tips for New Concealed Carriers

One of the first steps is to get a proper holster, like this Galco King Tuk.

One of the first steps is to get a proper holster, like this Galco King Tuk.

Maybe you have recently completed the NSSF First Shots program or recently acquired your concealed carry permit. Alternatively, perhaps you are considering getting a carry permit. In any of these cases, there are a few things you need to know in terms of your next steps.

1. Get The Right Holster!

The right concealed carry holster will inspire confidence. You should be able to go about your daily business, whether your style is sedentary or active, without worry that your gun will move or fall out of your possession.

What do you look for in a “good”concealed carry holster? That’s simple. Focus on three things.

First, a good holster will help you access your gun quickly, easily and safely. It will hold your gun in a consistent position, so if you ever have to reach for it under stress, it will be exactly where you expect. A good holster will not move around and won’t require you to “check”the well-being or position of your gun as you move throughout your day.

Second, a good holster protects the trigger. No matter what your method of carry (waistband, ankle, purse, pocket or other), your holster needs to prevent stray objects or fingers from engaging the trigger. It is amazing how keys, change, chairs and other items can interfere with a trigger, potentially causing a negligent discharge.

Third, a good holster will ensure that your gun remains under your control at all times. It will not allow your gun to work its way out. It will not detach itself from your belt or clothing. If you have an active lifestyle, you may even want to consider a retention holster that requires a specific operation to release the gun from the holster.

If you don’t know anything at all about holsters and different ways to carry a gun, you might check out this book.

2. Practice with a purpose!

If you need to use your gun for self-defense, it won’t be much like your outings to the range. Most attacks are sudden and unexpected – initiated and resolved in seconds. Your attacker will be moving. You will (hopefully) be moving. If guns are involved, that means hitting moving targets while moving, and all while under enormous stress.

Standing at the range plinking at cans and paper targets is fun and satisfying. By all means do it! Just don’t think that prepares you for self-defense. If you want to start practicing skills that might help you in a defense situation, be sure to practice drawing from a holster, evaluating targets and what’s behind them, shooting quickly, but accurately and dealing with malfunctions in your gun. Have a friend load your magazines with random numbers of bullets so you might have to unexpectedly change magazines. Get some snap caps and have your friend insert them in your magazines randomly so you can practice what to do if your gun goes click instead of bang.

You also might create scenarios to track your progress. Try using a paper plate for a target and seeing how fast you can hit it from a draw with 5 straight shots at certain distances. Track your progress and set goals for improvement in both time and accuracy.

The very best way to practice is to make sure you complete step 5 in this tip list. Your instructor will give you lots of ideas for effective practice after your class.

Read the rest at NSSF First Shots!

 

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How To Clean A Beretta Px4 Handgun

Px4-Cleaning-Instructions

These detailed instructions are for a Beretta Px4, but if you have a 92/96 series, you can take advantage of this article too. There are a couple of different details, like how the takedown lever works, but everything else is pretty much the same.

The gun I’m using for this demonstration is a .40 S&W Beretta Px4 with a Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro. That’s a combination light and laser unit that works with virtually any gun with a rail – like this Px4. The good thing is that it’s completely out of the way for cleaning and maintenance, as you see here.

First you have to take it apart, or field strip your PX4. There is no need to completely disassemble your pistol unless something is obviously wrong with its function. And even then, full disassembly and inspection is best left to a qualified gunsmith.

When you’ve field stripped your Px4, you will be left with six major assemblies:

  1. Magazine
  2. Frame
  3. Slide
  4. Barrel
  5. Recoil spring
  6. Central block

Beretta_Px4_Cleaning-6

All necessary cleaning and lubrication can be done with this level of takedown.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Even before step 1 of the field stripping process, you need to make sure that your pistol is empty. Remove the magazine. Most importantly, rack the slide multiple times to remove the cartridge in the chamber. Now visually check the chamber. Now do it again. Lock the slide open by pressing upward on the slide lock lever while retracting the slide. When you look through the top, can you see daylight through the magazine well? Can you see that there is no cartridge in the chamber? Good. Now you’re ready to proceed.

How to field strip your Px4

Step 1: Remove the slide.

Your Px4 should be decocked with the hammer in the “down” position. Using one hand, pull down the disassembly latch on both sides of the frame. Now move the entire slide assembly forward and it will come completely off the gun frame. Yes, it’s that easy.

Beretta_Px4_Cleaning-2

Step 2: Remove the central block and recoil spring.

The nice thing about a Px4 is that the recoil spring is captive, meaning it won’t go flying off across the room when you remove it. Turn the slide upside down and pull the central block and spring out. These two parts will separate easily as the spring is inserted into a hole in the block.

Beretta_Px4_Cleaning-4

Step 3: Remove the barrel from the slide.

Another easy step. With the central block and spring removed, the barrel will lift out of the slide.

All done! With the Px4, you want to be careful with the slide lock / slide release lever. With the slide removed, it’s fairly easy to knock off the frame, and the spring that holds it is a little bit tricky to reinstall. Just be careful and you’ll be fine.

How to clean your Beretta Px4

First you’re going to need some basic supplies. The Px4 includes a cleaning rod with a slotted end for patches and a brush, so technically all you need is cleaning solvent and lubricant.

otis-kit-only

My favorite cleaning rig: OTIS Technology

There are dozens of gun oils and cleaning solvents on the market. Fortunately, it’s pretty hard to go too wrong with any gun-specific cleaners and oils. Notice we say gun-specific. What you don’t want to do is use a general purpose penetrating oil like WD-40. We love WD-40 and it’s wonderful for many things, like getting bubble gum out of your hair. You may even use it to clean gun parts. Just don’t rely on it as a preservative and protectant for post-cleaning use. Guns tend to get really hot, hence the need for special oil and lubricant formulations that are designed to stand up to intense heat. Since the Px4 has a polymer frame, be sure not to use solvents than can damage plastic. Generally, only degreasing products will have this issue.

We’re going to pause and put in a plug for what I believe to be the best cleaning system on the market. It’s called the OTIS Technology System.

It’s well worth the money and the kits are designed to accommodate rifles, shotguns and pistols of various calibers. Their most basic kits will handle 9mm, 40 S&W and .45 ACP – all you need to clean the Beretta Px4.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

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Transforming A Basic AR-15 To A Home Defense Rifle

The "after" version of the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR. It's all geared up for the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational and home defense use.

The “after” version of the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR. It’s all geared up for the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational and home defense use.

A few weeks ago, I discussed my plan of using the upcoming Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational to choose, equip and practice with guns I’ll use for home defense. Since then. I’ve decided to use a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR for the rifle. It’s a standard AR-15 design with a notable exception. Instead of the classic A2 fixed front sight and gas block, it comes equipped with a rail gas block. And as a home defense choice? Absolutely. M&P 15’s run – reliably – and are cost effective to boot.

The before photo.

The before photo. When doing gun work, you’ll want a proper set of gunsmithing screwdrivers like this

Gearing it up for both the night 3-gun competition and home defense use requires some tweaks. Here’s what I decided to do.

Rail for lights and lasers

Installation of the quad rail was easy - I didn't need any tools.

Installation of the quad rail was easy – I didn’t need any tools.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR comes with the standard round plastic handguard. It’s comfortable and does a good job keeping your support hand cool when the barrel gets hot, but doesn’t have attachment points for rail accessories. I chose to replace it with a Blackhawk! AR-15 Carbine Length 2 Piece Quad Rail Forend. It offers rails on top, bottom, left and right and has great ventilation in between to let the barrel cool. You can also get it in rifle length if your gun is longer than mine but enough about that.

Installation is a snap. You don’t need tools, not even a hammer. Just remove the existing handguard by pulling down the delta ring in front of the receiver until you can pry the existing handguard halves out. The new Blackhawk! handguard also comes in two pieces, so put them in the same way. After they are pressed in place, you bolt the two halves together. It’s not a free-floated solution, but it’s rock solid and you don’t have to do any serious construction work to install it on your rifle.

A little detail that makes a big difference

I also chose to install a Blackhawk! Offset Safety Selector. This is one of those “oh duh why didn’t I think of that” inventions. It relocates the safety lever itself 45 degrees so you can easily reach it with your thumb without shifting your grip. A great aid for safety and usability, and for competition, it might just help you avoid a procedural penalty for not engaging the safety on your rifle.

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