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!


Be sure to check out Tom’s latest books! They are ON SALE now for a limited time!

Fun Hakim Rifle Facts – Only Surrendered Once!

A (sort of) true history of the Hakim battle rifle…

This Hakim Rifle was only surrendered once!

This Hakim Rifle was only surrendered once!

The Hakim was begat by the Swedish Ljungman AG-42, designed by Erik Eklund around 1941.

Erik Eklund, designer of the Hakim rifle, later went on to form the pop group ABBA.

Erik Eklund, designer of the Hakim rifle, later went on to form the pop group ABBA.

Bored with designing guns for a country who hardly ever goes to war, Eklund later founded the pop group ABBA, where he had many fun escapades with that other guy and those two Swedish singer-babes.

Sweden later sold designs and tooling to Egypt as part of an All Middle East ABBA Mega-Tour. In return for releasing the Ljungman AG-42 design and 28% of t-shirt sales, Eklund insisted that the Egyptian government allow the pop group to sing “Fernando” in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza.

One of the design changes made to the AG-42 with the Egyptian Hakim was addition of a larger muzzle brake. The Hakim actually flies forward several feet when fired, while bathing the shooter with a refreshing mist of hot burning gas. This design feature makes rapid surrender almost effortless. Surprisingly, the French never expressed interest in acquiring the design.

The Hakim has the largest perceived weight of any rifle ever built, with most users assuming it weighs in at approximately 419 pounds. In actuality, the Hakim tips the scales at just over 10 pounds. Perception can be deceiving.

One of the reasons that only 60,000 – 70,000 Hakims were produced was weight. As the Hakim arsenal began to sink into underground oil reserves, production was halted as cleaning crude from wooden rifles is very time consuming and messy.

The Hakim features a unique bolt cover mechanism which was specially designed to allow the rifle to be thrown vigorously into the sand with an aggressive surrender motion, without allowing grit to interfere with the operation of the bolt.

The Hakim muzzle brake actually propels the rifle forward!

The Hakim muzzle brake actually propels the rifle forward!

Hakim designers anticipated collector interest in rifles that had never been fired before surrender, thereby preparing them for the lucrative gun show market. Collectors who know, know that Hakim’s will be squeaky clean inside due to their unique sand-proof design.

The Hakim operates via direct gas impingement, like the M16 / AR-15, meaning dirty and corrosive powder blast is driven into the firing mechanism. One primary difference between the Hakim and AR design is the addition of an adjustable gas flow regulator, which requires a special tool that is never around when you need one. Like in the heat of battle.

The Hakim fires the 8x57mm IS cartridge, otherwise known as the 8mm Mauser. This is generally a 192 grain projectile which used to be insanely cheap to buy until it rose in popularity after a series of wildly successful Billy Mays television infomercials.

Hakim bolt

3 out of 4 engineers agree – the Hakim bolt is impossible to figure out!

To open the bolt of a Hakim, the user has to first push it forward in a closing motion, then pull the bolt carrier backwards. This counterintuitive design was apparently intended to prevent enemy soldiers

with no musical training (think trombone here) to use captured Hakims against the Egyptians.

The Hakim was manufactured during the 1950’s and into the early 60’s. It saw battlefield service in the Suez Crisis / Sinai War of 1956 where large numbers of Hakim’s were thrown down in surrender in anticipation of a voracious military surplus rifle collector market.

And there you have it – an abbreviated history of one of the more interesting military rifles of the 20th century.

Exotic Dancing, Narco Trafficking and the .45ACP Gospel – Our Talk With Black Man With a Gun

The best thing about putzing about the gun and shooting industry, and I do mean putzing, is the variety of interesting people I get to meet. One of those is the Reverend Kenn Blanchard, known online and in Homeland Security response strategy meetings as Black Man With A Gun.

I met Kenn for the first time almost a year ago at The Battle of A Top Secret Location Near Knoxville, TN – otherwise known as the 2011 Blogger Shoot and automatic weapons happy fun festival. Right away, I knew Kenn was a man on a mission. My first words to him were something along the lines of “Why are you here in the tent working instead of shooting machine guns and cannons? Are you some kind of fairy?” After dusting myself off and putting a cold steak on my newly minted black eye, I found Kenn to be a pretty nice guy. With a killer right hook. No wonder Homeland Security has been harassing him for years.

I’m pleased to share some, ah, unusual insight with Kenn Blanchard: Marine, Pastor, Gun Rights Activist, Historian, Shooter and generally swell dude. Enjoy…

My Gun Culture: By my count, you were on the terrorist watch list before there was one. If you started advocating for personal protection rights in 1991, you even pre-date The Department of Homeland Security! Are you really that old?

Kenn Blanchard: Dern, you made me think on that one.  But you’re right.  I was into terrorism before it was a household word.  Before 9/11, I traveled to a lot of not so nice places in the world to protect or return American families from harm in foreign places.  I broke rules, did cool stuff and never lost anyone on my watch.  I never escaped US Customs though.  I fit every profile of a narco trafficker they had so I’ve been searched more in the US (thankfully) than abroad.  And all before biometrics and detection devices that smell residue.  I’ve had a lot of dogs get familiar with my private parts searching for stuff I didn’t have, but its all good.

MGC: As a dog person, I know for a fact that dogs just like to invade your, umm, private areas, just to make you blush! So given your experience with customs and good old-fashioned grope searches, how do you feel about the TSA’s new porn scanners?

Kenn: I practically wear pajamas now when I fly.  The TSA reminded me of the time when I was a exotic dancer.  I have to keep myself from going into a routine when I get in the booth or it  feels like someone is trying to put money on me, but I digress.

MGC: I notice from your bio that you lobbied in the great state of South Carolina for gun rights. Being that I live there now I would love to hear that story – especially since I am now benefitting from your work here…

Kenn: Yes sir, when I decided to grow old, I changed jobs and tried my hand at political persuasion.  I worked with the National Rifle Association in South Carolina to talk politics, freedom and religion to a nice guy in SC legislature that was also a pastor but had the wrong information of self defense, the right to carry and his history.   I preached in his office, converted his staff and then made him listen to me on one of the best elevator pitches I have ever managed in Columbia.  By the time I testified, he was giving us an AMEN for the RKBA. I was just starting to realize my calling into the gospel ministry but you gotta use what you got to get what you need.

MGC: Well thank you very much for getting the great state of South Carolina in order before I moved here! You saved me a lot of trouble! So let’s talk about your move into the ministry. Maybe I should describe that as your move into “official” ministry as it sounds like you might have been doing the amateur version for a while. Have you ever shared the gospel at the shooting range? If so, does the gospel work better with 9mm or .45ACP?

Kenn: I have actually preached in the store part of a range, and folks wondered how a preacher got in.  They wanted to see my ID to prove I was clergy.  It wasn’t planned but happened.  The Good News was someone actually gave his life to Christ afterwards.  I know I am a bit different.  I didn’t start out a choir boy.

MGC: You put a lot of energy and passion into educating people about the real roots of gun control – racism. It’s pretty ironic that many of those promoting gun control measures today shout their status as non-racists from the rooftops. Am I taking crazy pills? This seems astoundingly hypocritical. Your thoughts?

Kenn: I can’t call it.  All I wanted to do when I started was help people.  I never intended on being a modern day abolitionist, trying to abolish the residue of slavery but it happens.  Most folks don’t even realize what they say and think is not original but just adopted till they are called out for it.  Some are hypocritical but most just never gave it much thought and talk without thinking.   And of course some people are just the backside of a northbound mule.

MGC: Tell us about your first gun…

Kenn: My first gun was a Daisy BB gun, but first firearm was a .357 single action Ruger revolver with a eight inch barrel I got from another Marine.

MGC: We ask all of our interview victims, umm I mean guests, to weigh in on our ongoing debate of whether the MK19 Automatic Grenade Launcher is appropriate for home defense. What say you?

Kenn: I wouldn’t be a fan of a grenade launcher for my home.  The clean up would be expensive.

MGC: Thanks for your time today Kenn. One more question for you. I can’t help but notice that there aren’t a whole lot of black men with guns walking around the big shooting events like SHOT Show, etc. I want to see a whole lot more people in general get involved in shooting. How do we fix that?

Kenn: I hear you brother.  We have to be patient.  It took over four hundred years, a lot of fear and misinformation to get things they way they are.  It won’t take that long to fix but it won’t be when we want it.  You will see a few more every year, and every event, I promise.  You and I will just be gainfully employed making it happen for awhile that is all. Shalom Baby!

I’d like to thank Kenn for his patience and good humor! Be sure to check out Kenn’s podcast here.

Stay tuned – next on the My Gun Culture interview hot seat are in depth discussions with Huntress and Professional Outfitter Mia Anstine, Bart and Lisa Looper from Looper Brand Holsters, makers of belts, holsters, law enforcement gear and the world famous FlashBang holster.

The Marquis Belt Buckle Gun – Shake Your Groove Thing!

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” – John F. Kennedy

Fortunately for us, some ideas do not live on. For example, the Marquis Nazi Belt Buckle Pistol invented during World War I and (nearly) fielded ‘en masse’ during World War II.

Through an exhaustive research project, with some logistical assistance from our friend Wendy Cunningham of the NRA National Firearms Museum, the My Gun Culture staff has learned just how close we came to a very different course of history – and new world order.

The Marquis Belt Buckle pistol, also known informally as the Power Pelvis Gun, was conceived by Louis Marquis while interned in a POW camp during World War I. Frustrated by long chow and loo lines, Marquis was consumed by a desire to exert his authority over other POW’s without drawing the attention of guards – hence the idea for a concealed weapon not requiring the use of hands or traditional holsters. Named the Koppelschlosspistole, the design was patented before the outbreak of World War II. The patent was issued in late 1934 for a “trommelrevolver” to be mounted on a belt.  Both .22 (four barrel) and .32 (two barrel) versions were produced in very limited numbers.

The innovative weapon faced challenges from the start. In order to gain approval for broad scale deployment, Marquis had to prove that average soldiers could easily be trained to use the weapon effectively. As the pistol had no sights, and relied entirely on groovy pelvic gyration to aim, it was assumed that biological instincts would overcome any training obstacles. And of course, the natural male instinct to aim for the toilet.

Not so, according to WWII historian Basil Exposition. “Training soldiers to charge, while aiming with their pelvises, proved more difficult than anticipated” commented Exposition. “Not only was it nearly impossible to run while aiming one’s midsection, it really looked quite effeminate. The enemy was not at all intimidated.”

Recent tests have determined that accuracy and effectiveness are increased if Elvis Presley songs are played at loud volume. Unfortunately for the Germans, Presley was not available to train soldiers in proper hip-aiming techniques.

However, military training teams did adjust screening criteria for prospective belt buckle assault troops, although too late to impact the war effort.

“The Nazis were quite disappointed with early field trials” explained Exposition. “Until they elected to actively recruit accomplished Salsa dancers that is. Their natural sway and hip motion really helped cut training time. However, there were few Salsa dancers in Nazi Germany at the time, and the program was not considered scalable.”

The NRA National Museum continues to search for specimens from other top-secret wartime weapons programs. Stories of experimental crotch rockets, hula hoop grenade launchers, monocle lasers, and garter garrotes persist; although surviving specimens have yet to be found.


Yes, it’s the original.


Going out with a bang!

Launch Your Dead Relatives!

Launch Your Dead Relatives!

Holy Smoke!

Dead relatives filling up your house? Cremation Urns taking up precious counter space? No problem!

Just launch ‘em out of your rifle, pistol, or shotgun!

Holy Smoke LLC will create custom loaded pistol, rifle, or shotgun ammunition packed with a little something extra – ashes of your loved ones. For example, just send them about a pound of ashes and they can custom load a case (250) shotshells so you can take one last trip to the range with your departed friends or family. We’re guessing that your faithful hunting dog would fly as well. Pun intended.

I suppose this goes give new perspective to going out with a bang.


Bring Home The Bacon, It’s Flitch Day!

Hamley Presiding Over Flitch Day Ceremonies

Hamley Presiding Over Flitch Day Ceremonies

Gunnies, gun nuts, gun freaks, and other others must take marital fidelity seriously.

We know this because gun people love bacon. Mmmmm. Bacon. Back to the story.

So what is it that defines the strong correlation between love of bacon and love of spouse? We don’t know. What we DO know is that this bond has been recognized since at least the 15th century, and maybe earlier, perhaps as early as the year 1104.

Enter the flitch. While it sounds like a Quiddich accessory from Harry Potter, a flitch is more or less equivalent to a side of bacon. Again, mmmmm.

As the story goes, monks of years past offered bacon bribes to married couples who could prove to a jury of bachelors and bachelorettes that they had remained committed to their marriage – pure of thought and deed – for the preceding year.

As part of their testimony to the jury of cold shower professionals, couples would recite the following oath:

We do swear by custom of confession

That we ne’re made nuptial transgression

Nor since we were married man and wife

By household brawl or contentious strife,

Or otherwise at bed or board,

Offended each other in deed or word;

Or since the parish clerk said amen,

Wished ourselves unmarried again;

Or in a twelvemonth and a day

Repented in thought in any way,

But continue true and in desire

As when we joined in holy quire.

The presiding monk would reply as follows:

Since to these conditions,

without any fear,

Of your own accord you do freely swear,

A whole flitch of bacon you shall receive,

And bear it hence with love and good leave;

For this is our custom at Dunmow well known

Though the pleasure be ours,

the bacon’s your own.

The moral of the story? As long as you are sincere about makin’ bacon with your own, you’ll continue to bring it home too.

Behind the Scenes of the NRA National Firearms Museum

Wendy Cunningham, NRA National Firearms Museum

Wendy Cunningham, NRA National Firearms Museum

Today we continue our quest to interview some of the most interesting and good-humored people in the shooting community. We’re pleased to have met Wendy Cunningham of the NRA National Firearms Museum at this years NRA Annual Meeting. Little did she know what she was getting into when she agreed to do an interview with us…

So Wendy, who did you have to bribe to get a job at the NRA National Firearms Museum? Or was it blackmail? You can tell us, we’ll keep it to ourselves.

Well, there is a certain individual who works in publications that would be really upset if I revealed his man-crush on David Hasselhoff (you know how the Germans just love David Hasselhoff) but I think we’ll leave that for another day.  Honestly, I’ve been interested in getting my foot in the door at the NRA for a long time so a little perseverance and a whole lot of patience paid off.

Wendy, the first step to recovery is to admit the problem. This is a great place to confess to our readers that you spend most of your daylight hours playing with the Museum’s guns right?

I’m sure I am supposed to start this off by reminding your readers that guns are not a toy…but we do have a Red Rider BB Gun after all.  I wish I could say that I get to go down on the range and run countless rounds through a fully automatic HK MP5, or sound off the all familiar“thump-thump-thump” of a Grease Gun.  Oh, wait, I do!  But in all honestly, even though I get to help set up displays like our current Hollywood Guns display, or beautiful new Galleries like our Petersen Gallery, the majority of my work is from behind a desk.  I run the office, produce our graphics and do our advertising, as well as multitude of other things.

Yeah, right. We believe you. Sure. What’s your personal favorite item in the collection and why?

That’s a tough one.  Depends on which Wendy you’re talking to.  What?  You didn’t know that I have multiple personalities?  If you are talking to Wendy the movie buff I might reach for John Wayne’s Winchester 1892, the large looped carbine he used in True Grit, or the nonconventional Star Wars Light Saber (too bad the batteries are dead.)  If you are talking to Wendy the historian, she loves Teddy Roosevelt’s…oh let’s be realistic, you are talking to my daddy’s little girl, the one you couldn’t keep off the railroad tracks and out of the trees, and she is going to tell you, hands down, the HK MP5 is what she wants her left index finger tickling.  It is like knowing you have a 502 horsepower V10 when you push the pedal to the floor.  Go big, or go home.

We’ve been to the NRA Museum, and its quite impressive! If you had to guess, what percentage of the entire collection to the current items on display represent? In other words, how much goody-goody-bang-bang do you all have stashed away in the back rooms and secret vaults?

If you saw Larry the Cable Guy visit the Museum on his new show, In America, you would have caught a glimpse of our firearms vault.  There are probably just as many guns down there as we have on display, however, we keep the best of the best on display for the public to see.  All but one…the Ghostbusters’ Proton gun.  Here at the NFM, “We ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”

OK, if you’re going to throw down the gauntlet like that, we demand to shoot and evaluate the Ghostbusters Proton Gun. We’re NRA members you know, so I think we’re entitled. Oh, and send some cool 3-D ghost targets with it. We’ll get it back to you in a couple of months. Fair enough?

I’d love to help you on that one but the last member that requested to test fire the Proton Gun ended up as a puddle of green plasma.  I’m sure you can understand the explanation I had to offer up was sticky at best.  (No pun intended, of course)  If you remember correctly, the original Proton Gun was called a Positron Collider.  I can’t say exactly where I’ve obtained this information but some have referred to this device as an unlicensed nuclear accelerator.  Dr. Venkman can neither confirm nor deny this claim, however, a certain extoplasmic entity, who wishes to remain nameless (and owes me money for dry-cleaning) stands by his statement that the Proton Gun’s maximum power setting is 500,000 MHz.  Doesn’t sound like something I’d want to mess around with.

So tell us how the Museum goes about getting new firearms for the collection. From what I understand, you all hop on the corporate jet a couple times a week to solicit donations. True?

I think on our last lunch trip for Sushi we must have forgotten where we parked that corporate jet of ours.  You can typically find the curators rolling across country in one of several SUVs, possibly with a Rubbermaid cart strapped to the top for wheeling around the heavy loads. Oh no, wait, that we left in pieces in the parking garage.  Ladies and Gentleman, the Department of Transportation puts up height warnings for a reason!  Luckily for us, many generous folks near and far offer donations and it is because of their generosity that we are one of the leading Firearms Museums in the world.

Can you tell us about any upcoming projects of exhibits that the Museum is working on?

If I told you, then I’d have to…well, you know how the rest of that sentence goes.  I can tell you to stay tuned.  We have a lot of exciting projects in the works that will keep people coming back.  You just never know what you might find, or who you might see, when you walk through the doors here at the National Firearms Museum.

Our thanks to Wendy and others at the NRA National Firearms Museum who helped us learn a little more about what really goes on at the NFM!

Ready! Aim! Shake Your Groove Thing!

Marquis Nazi Belt Buckle Pistol - NRA National Firearms Museum

Marquis Nazi Belt Buckle Pistol - NRA National Firearms Museum

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” – John F. Kennedy

Fortunately for us, some ideas do not live on. For example, the Marquis Nazi Belt Buckle Pistol invented during World War I and (nearly) fielded ‘en masse’ during World War II.

German Troops Practicing Groovy Hip Aiming Techniques

German Troops Practicing Groovy Hip Aiming Techniques

The Marquis Belt Buckle pistol, also known informally as the Power Pelvis Gun, was conceived by Louis Marquis while interned in a POW camp during World War I. Frustrated by long chow and loo lines, Marquis was consumed by a desire to exert his authority over other POW’s without drawing the attention of guards…

Read the full article at and learn more about Germany’s groovy hip gyration programs, effeminate battlefield charges, secret salsa dancer recruitment programs, and more!

Cornucopia of Free Stuff!

Free Stuff from The History Channel!

Free Stuff from The History Channel!

We mentioned the Memorial Day Premier of Gettysburg on The History Channel the other day. Looks like a great documentary and we’ll be watching for sure.

Thanks to the good folks at The History Channel, we’ve got some free History Channel stuff to give away! Messenger bags, t-shirts, and notebooks.

To win yours, just Like us on Facebook, write on our wall, and tell us if you’ll be watching Gettysburg Monday at 9pm Eastern!

Easy peasy.

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