How Do You Become A Better Shooter? Practice, Practice, Practice

The Next Level Training S.I.R.T. Smith & Wesson M&P Training Pistol

The Next Level Training S.I.R.T. Smith & Wesson M&P Training Pistol

As you may know, we’re big fans of the S.I.R.T. Practice Pistol from Next Level Training.

A couple of years ago, Britt Lenz and Mike Hughes (you may remember Mike from History Channel’s Top Shot) came up with a cool invention – a perfectly safe practice pistol. Because the way to become a safer and better shooter is through repetition and mastery of the trigger press.

Now, NEXT Level Training has developed a practice model based on the Smith & Wesson M&P pistol. And it’s spot on in terms of feel and general dimensions. At least it’s dimensionally close enough to work in every holster tried so far.

The pistol features two lasers – red and green. The green laser always indicated the point of impact when the trigger is pressed. The red laser is for training use, based on the operating mode selected.

The new Smith & Wesson M&P has four modes of operation set by a rotating lever on the left side:

  1. The first mode simply fires a green laser dot shot indicator light where the bullet would have impacted.
  2. The second mode detects the slightest touch on the trigger and turns on a red laser dot to show that the trigger has been touched. When the trigger is pressed fully, a green laser indicated point of impact. Hold this thought for a minute…
  3. The third mode  sets off a red laser dot when the trigger is pressed just to the point of breaking the sear. The green laser indicates point of impact.
  4. The fourth mode disables all lasers if you want to practice open sight dry fire with no indicators.

Here’s the key part. The red trigger indicator laser is aimed well below point of impact, so it’s hidden from the shooter’s view by the slide and muzzle. It’s intended for instructor or training partner use.  So if the student is showing poor trigger discipline, the instructor or training partner will see it, but the shooter probably won’t as the red laser dot is out of view.

Neat and SAFE ideas. This should be shipping in the March / April 2014 time frame.

10 Things I Like About the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield

Less than one inch wide, the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield packs up to 8+1 rounds of 9mm.

Less than one inch wide, the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield packs up to 8+1 rounds of 9mm.

Much has been said about the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Shield. A true pocket-sized 9mm, it’s smaller in almost all dimensions (except height) than a Glock 26 and can easily be concealed in a milliondy-seven different ways. Pocket, inside the waistband or outside the waistband holster, ankle, purse, fanny pack, crotch carry holster, you name it. The less-than-one-inch width goes a long way to making this handgun exceptionally portable.

Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm Galco 1963 Even with the Crimson Trace LG-489 Laser installed, it weighs almost exactly the same as my morning cup of coffee. Coincidence? I think not. Both are life-saving devices and daily necessities.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm 1935 I like that it’s a 9mm. Of course you can now get the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in .40 Smith & Wesson. Although 9mm and .380 ACP have lot’s of similarities on paper, I see a noticeable performance difference when each load is shot through tough clothing barriers. The extra velocity of the 9mm helps it expand more reliably than most of the .380 loads I’ve tested. I’ve found the Shield to be a very controllable gun, even with its small size and light weight. It’s a gun that’s enjoyable to shoot just for fun, unlike many other pocket cannons.
Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm Galco 1960 The Shield has a positive safety. Without getting into the debate of whether or not you need one on a striker-fired pistol, I will say that it’s comforting on a gun that may be carried in a pocket holster. The safety lever is inset to the frame and unlikely to move without deliberate action, so you can choose to carry with the safety engaged or not. Moving from safe to fire position is very easy with the shooting hand thumb, assuming you’re right handed. The safety is not ambidextrous, so lefties have a little more work to do.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm 1933 I like that the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield will fire with its magazine removed. I don’t really appreciate that the lawyers at Smith & Wesson chose to print “CAUTION – CAPABLE OF FIRING WITH MAGAZINE REMOVED” right on the slide of an otherwise very attractive pistol. Can someone please put the lawyers back in their aquarium?
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm 1928 I like the capacity options. The more concealable standard magazine gives the Shield 8 (7+1) rounds of 9mm while the extended magazine adds one more for a total of 9 rounds. This is a great compromise of capacity versus size.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm 1940 Both front and rear sights are dovetail mounted and easily adjustable for windage. I found elevation on the test gun to be right on target. Notice how the rear sight surface is grooved to reduce glare around the sighting dots.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm 1937 The trigger on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield simply rocks. For a striker-fired pistol, it’s exceptionally smooth and crisp. It’s got just about 1/4 inch of take-up prior to a 6.5 pound crisp break. If you like to keep your finger in place until reset, you can count on just about 1/4 inch forward travel before a positive reset click. The Shield has one of the best striker design triggers on the market.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm 1936 The flush magazine configuration with 7+1 capacity makes this a true pocket gun. Try it with a Galco Pocket Pro holster! I like this configuration with the extended magazine stowed elsewhere as a backup.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm 1931 I dig the grip texture. It’s sure, even with sweaty hands, but you don’t lose traction during shots. Even more importantly, when using an Inside the waistband holster like the Galco Stow-N-Go, it won’t abrade your insides nearly as much as Gilbert Godfried’s voice abrades your ears.
Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm Galco 1962 How about a grip-activated laser? The Crimson Trace LG-489 Laser for the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield mounts just in front of the trigger guard. Just grip the pistol and the laser is on. Couldn’t be simpler.

What Do You Need To Shoot 3 Guns At Night? Loadout for the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational

Later this week, I’m going to run around shooting guns in the pitch dark. Just for fun.

The Crimson Trace midnight 3 Gun Invitational event takes place far from city lights outside of Bend, Oregon. The matches begin at 9 or 10pm each night and continue until 3am or so. So it will be dark. Really dark. All three guns – shotgun, rifle and pistol – will need a 100 lumen light at minimum. Lasers will help  make target designation faster. Night vision gear is allowed, but I’ll take that plunge next year if I’m able to attend.

Since Crimson Trace is sponsoring the event, I’m choosing to equip with everything possible from Crimson Trace products. Just to see what’s possible with the current product line. Here’s a breakdown of the gear I’m bringing:

Glock 17 Crimson Trace lightguard lasergrips 9mm

Glock 17 Gen 4 – It’s hard to beat a double-stack polymer wonder gun for this type of event. High round count, low-recoiling 9mm ammo, easy availability of Crimson Trace Lasergrips and a rail to attach a Crimson Trace Lightguard makes this a strong contender or the ideal M3GI pistol.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear Glock Lasergrips

Crimson Trace Lasergrips for Glock Gen 4 full size and compact – I like this specific version as it’s compatible with a Crimson Trace Lightguard. The laser features a rear-activated pressure switch while the Lightguard has a front-activation switch. There’s also a positive on/off button to save battery life when you’re shooting in daylight conditions.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear lightguard Glock 17

Crimson Trace Lightguard for Glock – Blasting out 100 lumens of light with 2 hours of continuous operation, this light will make target identification easy for anything within pistol distance.

Smith  Wesson M P 15 VTAC 8  1

Smith & Wesson M&P 15 VTAC – With a 1:7 twist barrel, this rifle shines with heavier projectiles at longer range. While this match, given the dark conditions, will have all targets inside of 200 yards, how can I not bring this honey? The Viking Tactics JP hand guard allows you to mount sling attachments and rail segments just about anywhere you want.

Bushnell Elite Tactical 1 6 5x24 12  2

Bushnell Tactical Elite 1-6.5×24 with BTR-2 reticleI reviewed this a while back and loved the flexibility. With a first focal plane reticle, it acts like a red dot at true 1x power and a moderate range scope when zoomed in. It should be perfect for nighttime targets from 25 to 100 yards away.

Switchview 679

MGM Switchview – You know MGM Targets right? The folks that make all those fun steel plates and critters to shoot at? Well, they also have a nifty little accessory for rifle optics with a zoom ring. The Switchview lever clamps over the zoom ring and features a “throw bar” lever to make adjusting power level fast and easy. It also offers a great visual indicator as to how the scope is currently set. If you’re shooting in the pitch dark, like at the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun event, you can feel the current zoom setting on your optic!

Crimson Trace MVF 515 673

Crimson Trace MVF-515 Modular Vertical Foregrip – I’ve used this in daylight and dusk conditions but can’t wait to shoot it in the dark. Dual touch controls on both sides operate either a green laser and/or a 150 to 200 lumen tactical light. Couldn’t be more intuitive.

Vtac ug main

Viking Tactics Padded Sling – Love, love, love this sling. Here’s why. It’s two point attachment allows you to brace the rifle for steadier shooting and of course tote your rifle around. It’s got quick-adjust tabs that allow you to instantly tighten the sling, or loosen it for shooting. You can even flip the rifle to your offside shoulder without removing the sling. The rifle carries well muzzle down in the front or muzzle up in the back without adjusting the sling straps. Oh, and it’s padded for comfort. Highly recommended!

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear Magpul PMAG Window

Magpul PMAG 30 Gen 3 Window Magazines – PMAGs. Need I say more? With windows to see how many rounds you have left.

Mossberg JM Pro Tactical Class  1

Mossberg JM Pro Semi-Automatic Shotgun – Look for a full review on this one soon. In short, it’s part of the Mossberg 930 Signature Series and this one has Jerry Miculek behind the design. If you need more than the 9+1 capacity to deal with your targets, you might want to bring some friends with guns.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear RailMaster Light

Crimson Trace RailMaster Universal Tactical Light – I’m actually bringing this along with no intention of using it. Currently, I have it mounted on a rail segment on the Mossberg JM Pro. With 100 lumens of light and a constant on switch, it will work great for shotgun distance targets. Hopefully it will get left in my shooting back for the event. Read the next segment to see why.
? Crimson Trace CMR-204 Combination Light / Laser – Word has it that these soon-to-be-released units will be available to test at the match. So, if my assumptions are correct about this being a rail mounted unit with integrated light and laser, it will be taking the place of the RailMaster light currently strapped on to the Mossberg JM Pro!
Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier  4 Mesa Tactical SureShell ShotShell Side Saddle Shell Carrier – Say that 10 times fast. Now again, but in Cantonese. When 10 rounds of 12 gauge isn’t enough, reach for some reloads on the side of your receiver. The match format calls for low-volume shot gun reloads so this should provide perfect insurance against the occasional miss.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear Cyclops LED visor light

Cyclops Solutions LED Hat Clip Light – The whole place will be pitch dark! So I’m bringing this nifty little device I found on a recent trip out west. It’s a 3 LED light that clips on to the brim of most any hat. Turn it on and illuminate whatever is in front of your face. Unfortunately I’ll probably be sulking over my scorecard with this piece of gear.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear Safariland ELS competition belt

Safariland ELS Competition Belt and Magazine Carriers – Another review in progress, the Safariland ELS system is impressive. An inner belt goes through your pants belt loops. The outside of the inner belt is velcro. The outer belt is pretty rigid stuff with a velcro lining. This sticks on to the inner belt and is surprisingly secure. The outer belt features 118,839 holes (my estimate) that are used to attach ELS plate “sockets.” Accessories like magazine carriers, holsters, shotshell carriers, rifle magazine carriers, light pouches and duty gear are attached by mounting the male portion of the “plate sockets” to the individual accessory. You can easily add and remove components depending on your match or duty requirements. It’s really, really flexible. I’m configuring the belt with two Glock magazine pouches, two shotshell carriers, two AR magazine punches and a holster. I might add a Bat grappling hook system if I have time.

Desantis Speed Scabbard Glock Lightguard

DeSantis Speed Scabbard Holster for Glock 17,19,22,23 with Crimson Trace Lightguard or Laserguard – This is really more of a concealed carry holster for Glocks equipped with Lightguard tactical lights. It’s made of leather, not Kydex and does not feature a reinforced mouth for quick reholstering. As the match stages all end with pistol, the way I’m shooting them anyway, this will be fine. I’m really excited to use this as a CCW holster after the match.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear SportEar hearing protection

SportEar XT4 Electronic Earmuffs – I picked up a set of these at the Shooting Industry Masters event and have used them ever since. Not only do the electronics block out dangerous sound levels over 85dB, they amplify nearby sounds up to eight times. Separate frequency adjustment knobs allow you to tune the system to hear things like range commands and quiet noises like a twig snapping in the woods.

Crimson Trace M3GI Gear 685

Cabelas Armor Xtreme Double Long-Gun Hard Case – This case is a tank. Made of sturdy, high-impact resin, it has four crank-down locks and accepts two padlocks for travel. You can cut the center foam layer to fit your specific toting needs. It’s got a gasket seal and is water and airtight. A pressure release valve makes it cool for air travel. Most important feature? Lifetime warranty!
blackhawk padded weapons case Blackhawk Padded Weapons Case – This two rifle soft case is what I’ll use while at the range. The Cabelas Armor Xtreme is for travel while this one is for range use. A padded interior with divider allows you to easily carry to long guns. Extra pockets accommodate magazines and range gear. You can even unzip this case all the way to configure it as a shooting mat.

Danner Rivot TFX Hot Military Boots

Danner Rivot GTX Hot Military Boots – Danner has graciously provided these for the match. I’ve been wearing them the past few weeks to break them in and already it’s clear these are not only comfortable, but durable.

ESS Crossbow Eyeshields

ESS Crossbow Eyeshields – We reviewed these a while back and found them to be some of the best eye protection that money can buy, short of full combat goggles.

Think that’s enough? Let’s see how I fare with the TSA gauntlet of molestation…

Top 10 Shooting Industry Masters Fun Facts

Tisma Juett is only serious about two things: shooting and leading the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) First Shots program. When it comes to something as serious as the Ruger/Smith & Wesson Rimfire Rodeo, stand back! I’m pretty sure I felt all the available oxygen being sucked out of the area when Tisma started to focus. And when it comes to getting new people into the shooting sports, the game rises to a whole new level. One of her first projects upon taking the reins of First Shots was to schedule a series of events literally surrounding Washington, D.C. I think that’s called “throwing down the gauntlet.” Dear politicians: you think you got game? Ha! You’re rookies!

Tisma Juett is serious about two things: Shooting and NSSF First Shots. Shown here taking aim at the Ruger/Smith & Wesson Rimfire Rodeo event.

The NSSF Team, left to right: Bill Brassard, Tisma Juett, USA Shooting 3-time Olympian Matt Emmons (just photo-bombing here), Randy Clark and Steve Sanetti

Hosting free beginner First Shots seminars requires cash, and that’s where the great folks at FMG Publications step in. Publishers of American HandgunnerGuns MagazineAmerican Cop, and numerous special issues, FMG has hosted theShooting Industry Masters event to benefit First Shots and USA Shooting for 11 years now.

The NSSF Team, left to right: Bill Brassard, Tisma Juett, USA Shooting 3-time Olympian Matt Emmons (just photo-bombing here), Randy Clark and Steve Sanetti

The NSSF Team, left to right: Bill Brassard, Tisma Juett, USA Shooting 3-time Olympian Matt Emmons (just photo-bombing here), Randy Clark and Steve Sanetti

Not familiar with the Shooting Industry Masters? Let’s take a quick look at the top 10 Masters fun facts:

1. NSSF First Shots Benefits! Over the past 11 events, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised and donated to NSSF First Shots. That’s a lot of green that helps emerging “green” shooters become safe and proficient.

2. Olympic shooters can be bought! While the IOC might frown on the outright cheating and bribery, one of the fun parts of the Shooting Industry Masters is that teams can “purchase” a ringer from the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team to help improve their scores. It’s OK though, the competition is just for fun and fundraising.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub.com!

Team Smith & Wesson’s Trevor Baucom: Go Big or Go Home!

If you’re thinking about getting into competitive shooting, you could always start small, maybe with a local club match. Of you could just go and enter the most challenging competition there is – the Bianchi Cup. That’s what Team Smith & Wesson’s Trevor Baucom did. Oh, and he did it from a wheelchair. You see, Trevor is a medically retired Chief Warrant Officer and Blackhawk Pilot who was paralyzed in a crash during a night assault mission in Afghanistan. Now, as a sponsored competitive shooter, he’s opening doors to the shooting sports for lots of folks.

Trevor Baucom, Team Smith & Wesson

We caught up with Team Smith & Wesson’s Trevor Baucom at SHOT Show 2013.

We had a lot of fun talking with Trevor Baucom. Here’s what we learned…

My Gun Culture: So Trevor, if we have our facts straight, you’re a relatively new addition to Team Smith & Wesson. Didn’t you join the team sometime in mid-2011?

Trevor Baucom: That’s right, I was formally introduced as a team member at the NRA Annual Meeting in 2011 in Pittsburgh.

MGC: Now for the interesting part – was your first major competition really the The 2011 Bianchi Cup National Championship?

Trevor: Well no, not really. Bianchi was my FIRST shooting competition PERIOD! I had shot plenty just playing around, but never anything in terms of serious competition. After a couple of months of training, Bianchi was the first match I ever shot!

MGC: Ummm, that’s kind of like learning how to read by picking up a copy of War and Peace isn’t it? For those who aren’t familiar, the Bianchi Cup is the most brutal test of handgun shooting skill.

Trevor: It’s all about accuracy. Meaning out to 50 yards with a handgun kind of accuracy.

MGC: So were you completely high on drugs to venture into competitive shooting this way?

Trevor: Nah… That was the first one and I kind of think “Go big or go home!” I had a blast and it was really fun.

MGC: So how did you do?

Trevor: Well, I didn’t come close to winning. Doug Koenig has nothing to fear from me! I’ll improve on it as I go. My goal is always to outdo myself every year. Hey I didn’t come in last place either…

MGC: How did the whole Smith & Wesson thing come about? Tell us about the chain of events that got you here.

Trevor: I had just gotten out of the hospital and was going to outpatient rehab. I was in and out of the rehab facility and I saw this car with GUNS-TV on the license plate and I thought “That’s pretty cool.” Then I saw a 2nd Ranger Battalion license plate on the front of the car. And I did my first five years in the Army in the 1st Ranger Battalion so I go out there one day and see a bunch of guys talking by that car. So I went over and asked who the Ranger was. The guy answered that it was actually his son, and it turned out the guy was Jim Scoutten, host of Shooting USA. Anyway, over the next week or so, we talked more and one thing led to another. He introduced me to the folks at Smith & Wesson and here we are.

MGC: Now you also shoot Steel Challenge right?

Trevor: Yes sir!

MGC: How’s that going for you?

Trevor: It’s a blast, I love Steel Challenge. I did the World Shoot the past couple of years. I’ve been improving my times year over year and did the Nationals this year.

MGC: We also heard that you’re starting into 3 Gun competition as well?

Trevor: I am. I am shooting the AR15.com match in July at Rock Castle. That’s going to be my first major 3 Gun match. Ithaca Gun Company has sponsored me. They don’t offer a semi-auto shotgun, so I have to shoot the Heavy Metal class. So I’m going hard core!

MGC: Let’s talk about your competition guns. For Bianchi and Steel Challenge what are you using?

Trevor: I’m shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P Pro Series with a 5 inch barrel. I’ve got a production version and an Open Class M&P that Apex Tactical has fixed up for me. For Steel Nationals, I’m going to shoot the new Smith & Wesson M&P Core. For 3 Gun I’ll be shooting a Smith & Wesson M&P AR, probably the 300 Whisper. So I’ll still be shooting the .30 caliber for Heavy Metal, but with a little less pop. Then I’ll use one of the Smith & Wesson M&P Core’s in .45 ACP for the pistol and of course an Ithaca Model 37 pump shotgun.

MGC: So with all that, you’ll leave Rock Castle with a nice, sore, shoulder…

Trevor: Nah, it’s alright. They hooked me up with a really nice recoil reducer. It has a strut inside that soaks up a lot of the recoil. I did a charity trap shoot with it a couple weeks ago and it was fine.

MGC: Let’s talk about hunting. You live in Tennessee right? Lot’s of hunting opportunities there, so what do you enjoy?

Trevor: There’s lot’s of hunting and fishing. I hunt deer, turkey, and HAVA (Honored American Veterans Afield) is working on getting me out for an elk hunt too.

MGC: So how was your deer season this year?

Trevor: I didn’t get out very much at all. But, my oldest son got his first deer. It ended up being a management buck, but it was bigger than the 10 pointer it was hanging next to in the freezer. So while it was a management buck, it was a big one. So that was the only one we got this year as we just didn’t get out enough. Turkey season is great because I don’t have to go anywhere. The farmer behind us has given us free rein to hunt 300 acres for Turkey. So as long as I don’t shoot his cows, I’m OK!

MGC: No worries, I’m sure the Bianchi Cup stuff has got your accuracy all set. So, since you’re an Army Ranger veteran and probably expert on this topic, you can settle a long-standing debate. My wife and I have been arguing over the best home-defense gun. I think it’s an MK19 Automatic Grenade Launcher, but she’s worried about the blast radius and collateral damage. What say you? Settle this for us, please.

Trevor: I got this. I coach soccer, and one of the soccer parents asked me about home-defense a couple of weeks ago. Her husband is deployed and there is a lot of construction where she lives, so there are lots of strangers coming and going at weird times. She went shopping for pistols and couldn’t figure out what she needed. I told her, look, we’ll get you a pump shotgun. First of all, the noise is going to scare the hell out of anybody. If someone tries to break in, take your boys into the bedroom, and if someone tries to come in, shoot them right in the junk! He’s not gonna mess with you any more! So that’s where I’m at. Load it with light bird shot – you don’t have to have anything heavy. It’s not gonna go through walls. If you hit him below the belt, he’s going to stop. And a pump shotgun has follow-up rounds if you need them. A shotgun is harder to miss with than a pistol and it’s not going to go through walls and such.

MGC: Remind me never to break into your house… So what’s your schedule for the year looking like?

Trevor: I’m competing about once a month on average. What I really love is doing HAVA shoots. I love going HAVA because you’ll get guys out there and see a 180 degree attitude change. We had a quadriplegic who hadn’t been able to get out. We set him up with a friend operating the stick because he can’t move anything. They had the sip and puff trigger where you blow into it and it shoots the gun. That guy went from not saying a word to anyone and moping to having a huge smile after the second round. He was happy, having fun, and talking to everybody. That’s why I love HAVA. You get the wives and kids out there. They teach everyone gun safety first and get them shooting. It’s a great organization.

 

We’d like to thank Trevor Baucom and Team Smith & Wesson for helping us get Trevor’s story out there. If you haven’t tried competitive shooting, you now have no excuse! No need to start with the Bianchi Cup though. You can leave that to Trevor.

Our Talk With The Miculeks – The First Family of Shooting

We had the opportunity to catch up with Jerry, Kay and Lena Miculek recently to ask them about life as the First Family of Shooting, family rivalries and how often Jerry has to sleep in the couch. As you’ll see, the Miculeks are some wild and crazy folks!

The Miculeks  First Family of Shooting

The Miculek Family sporting their work attire, courtesy of Team Smith & Wesson

My Gun Culture: Here we are with the Miculek Family – Jerry, Kay and Lena. Lot’s of folks know you as the First Family of Shooting. How did that come about?

Kay Clark Miculek: Well, technically… Jerry married INTO the First Family of Shooting. My father, Jim Clark , Sr. was a gunsmith and now Clark Custom Guns is run by my brother. The Clark family had actually been branded as the First Family of Shooting. So anyway, Jerry decided to practice with my brother one day, and we decided to keep him!

MGC: I know I promised you that this interview was more about entertainment than scoop, and that I wouldn’t try to trip you up with any hard questions. But I kinda lied. The other day, the President signed an Executive Order granting the First Family Secret Service Protection for life. Since you’re the First Family of Shooting, I have to ask if all y’all will be the ones providing this security? And will Smith & Wesson supply all the gear?

Jerry Miculek: I’m up for hire you know! I’m “Johnny on the spot” so show me the money and I’m your man!

Kay: We’ll need a whole bunch of those 7 round magazines though…

MGC: We’ll probably be able to get you an exemption on the new 7 round magazine limits.

Kay: Or we can all just use wheelguns!

MGC: Jerry, there’s this rumor on the internet that you can empty a revolver in .57 seconds. I’m thinking, heck, I can even do that. You just open the cylinder and dump the rounds out. I could’ve told you that a long time ago and saved you a lot of trouble!

Jerry: I think I can still beat you though. By the time you get that thing open, I’ll be done! So I got ya beat…

MGC: So Jerry, tell us about the Miculek revolver grip. How did that come to be?

Jerry: It kind of originated when Jim Clark, Sr. and I were traveling and competing in the Masters event. I was shooting a revolver and beating the pistol guys. I was taking Smith & Wesson grips and altering them with Bondo and tape. I screwed little pieces and parts on them and they looked really, really ratty. Jim told me to go see this gentlemen, Guy Hogue, who actually makes grips that look a whole lot better than that trashy one on my gun. So I went to see Mr. Hogue and out of his kind heart, he made me a couple of sets of custom grips. He’s a super nice guy along with the rest of the Hogue family. Anyway, he was kind enough to throw me a bone and make me grips because be thought I was an enthusiast at the time. We started selling them as they seemed to fit the need for a lot of folks.

MGC: I can see how Smith & Wesson might have liked that you switched to professionally made grips. As a marketing guy myself, I can see how they would be a little stressed out having their team shooter run around with a beautiful Smith & Wesson revolver equipped with Bondo and duct tape on the grips…

Jerry: Yeah, it looked a little cheap, but it got the job done.

MGC: The latest info we have is that you and your wife have different gun selections with Smith & Wesson, with her using an M&P and you being more of a revolver guy. Is there friction in the family over this? Does Jerry sleep on the couch a lot?

Kay: No there’s no friction!

MGC: Let me rephrase that, does Jerry sleep on the couch a lot?

Kay: (Laughs) Not at all! That’s what keeps our marriage strong! I can still beat him occasionally as he’s got a six shot revolver and I have a 17 round M&P. So now and then I can rub it in that “I beat you again!” We won’t count the part where he had 3 reloads and I’m just pulling the trigger…

MGC: So Kay, is your M&P competion gun stock, or did you get the Smith & Wesson Pro Shop to jazz it up? I hope you didn’t let Jerry work on it as he probably would have put Bondo and duct tape all over it!

Kay: Well, Jerry might have tweaked the internals a little bit, but I said no to Bondo!

MGC: So Lena, you were born, born on the range. And now you’re cruising all over the country racking up championships. What’s on your schedule in 2013?

Lena Miculek: I have 22 matches scheduled so far. I’m also an instructor with Babes with Bullets so I have 4 or 5 three to four day classes. So my schedule is crazy, but I love it. Most of my matches are 3 Gun so I can get out there and do what I really love. Actually I just competed in the 3 Gun Nation Shootoff and I was able to take the Ladies Division win. So I’m on sort of a 3 Gun high right now.

MGC: Did your mom compete in that?

Lena: Yes!

MGC: So you’ve been kicked out of the house?

Lena: Well we both made it to the finals!

MGC: You’re dodging the question. Did you beat your mom or not? 

Lena: Yes!

MGC: Kay, what drove you to start Babes With Bullets?

Kay: It started off as training for ladies interested in competition, but so many new shooters were interested that now it’s more oriented to that. Smith & Wesson has generously provided guns, so bottom line – these ladies can come to the classes, try out the gear and make an informed decision for when they decide to buy something.

MGC: Jerry, I saw an episode of Sons of Guns, where one of their gunsmiths raced you. He was shooting a full auto rifle against you shooting a semi-auto AR-15. And you dang near beat him!

Jerry: Yeah, but if you go back and look at the footage, his first shot was in the ground, while mine was actually on target. So he was just shooting towards the target zone, while I was actually hitting something! Ummm, they didn’t edit that correctly…

MGC: To get that kind of trigger finger speed, you must have some sort of custom Nautilus Finger Training machine. What’s the secret?

Jerry: I just have a lot of excitement in my life. I’m an excitable guy. When I get excited, things just happen quick!

MGC: Well, since you’re going down that path… With such a well-developed finger you must have other interesting skills…

Jerry: ???

MGC: No, not that! Your mind is in the gutter!

Kay: I’ve tried to teach him to type, but that was a failure…

Lena: You should see him with elevators. When he has to wait, he keeps pushing the button over and over and over really fast. Like it will make a difference…

Jerry: Yeah, I can lock up the elevator.

MGC: What else do our readers need to know?

Jerry: Send checks and donations!

Kay: Yeah, we’re not a non-profit organization! We’re just kidding! We’d love people to check out our new Team Miculek website and of course encourage the ladies to get involved with Babes with Bullets.

We’d like to thank all the Miculeks for a great time. Unlike real First Families, the First Family of Shooting has a great sense of humor!

You can learn more about their happenings at Miculek.com and ladies, be sure to check out Babes With Bullets!

How to Buy a Gun Online in 12 Easy Steps

Given the confusion, lies and pure garbage being regurgitated by the mainstream media about gun sales and background checks, it seems appropriate to release this excerpt from our forthcoming book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Guns and Shooting. We hope you enjoy!

You can buy all sorts of things online.

The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, Vince Shlomi’s Slap-Chop food processor, the Ninja Cooking System and even a Brazilian Butt Lift kit. Not that I need a butt-lift kit.

Gallery of Guns online shoppingYou can even by guns online. While not quite as easy as ordering a reading from Miss Cleo’s Psychic Hotline, it’s probably more legal.

How would you buy a gun online you ask? Well, let’s start with a short quiz to check your internet armament shopping knowledge. After you answer, we’ll take a closer look at why one answer is right and the others are incorrect.

Pop Quiz! 

Which of the following is an effective way to purchase a gun online?

A. eBay – Search for “illegal assault weapons of doom” or something roughly equivalent. When you find a suitable match, bid like Congress investing in solar power companies until you win.

B. Craig’s List – Check the listings in your area, hit the ATM for a wad of cash, and drive to your next encounter with destiny. Preferably alone and at night.

C. Answer one of those emails requesting your assistance moving $20 million into the United States. Perhaps the former Prime Minister of Mozambique wants to sell some guns before fleeing the country?

D. Visit a reputable online seller like GalleryOfGuns.com or GunUp.com

If you answered A, eBay, you made a valiant, common-sense effort, but unfortunately it won’t work. You think Michael Bloomberg runs a nanny city? Try eBay. They run a nanny auction site. Every time the corporate coffee maker runs dry, eBay announces new restrictions about the things they won’t sell. Like stuffed birds, military aircraft and ships, human body parts, or accessories for assault weapons. Just where are you supposed to find a spare gall bladder anyway? Just know that eBay frowns upon selling anything gun related. They know better than you what you want and need. Just accept it.

If you answered B, Craig’s List, think for a minute. If a guy is selling a gun on Craig’s List, and wants to meet you downtown at 2am because that’s when he gets off work, you may want to reconsider your gun buy plan. You might be safer booking a trip to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and telling a bartender you work for the Policia Federal. Ask him where you can buy a new AK47 and some crystal meth. I’m sure he’ll be plenty helpful!

If you answered C, International Financier Connections, well, why not? The odds of legally getting a gun that way are just as solid as the odds of getting your 25% commission for your assistance with moving the former Prime Minister’s fortune.

If you guessed D, you are either a gun guru, on the Department of Homeland Security’s watch list because you’re one of those pesky activists who understands things like laws. Watch your six!

That’s right, it’s perfectly legal to buy a gun online.

In fact, buying and selling guns is just about the most regulated activity there it. It’s even more regulated than Jamie Lee Curtis after taping an entire season of Activia commercials.

How Online Gun Sales Work

The first concept to understand is that there is a thing called the Federal Government. Drones who populate the Federal Government make laws and rules whenever they’re not busy campaigning, having scandalous affairs and cheating on their taxes. One of the laws that the Federal Government has flatulated is the Gun Control Act of 1968. This law was established, in 1968, to codify many important things like common-sense limitations on the size of personal commemorative spoon collections. But for purposes of this topic, we’ll limit our discussion to two components of the act:

  1. Prohibition of direct sale or mail order of firearms across state lines.
  2. Mandating the federal licensing of companies and individuals engaged in the business of selling firearms. Licensed organizations and individuals are commonly referred to as FFLs.

Gun Words Explained!

Federal Firearms License or FFL

What’s an FFL? That stands for Federal Firearms License. It’s a piece of paper with words. It’s also  genuine, bona-fide proof from the US Government that says your firearms dealer is really a dealer. FFLs can also legally sell qualified individuals firearms in face-to-face transactions with the appropriate paperwork. In other words, FFLs are legally allowed to buy and sell guns for business purposes. Specific to buying guns online, when the selling dealer gets this FFL certificate from your dealer, they’re able to exchange it for 500 prize tickets at Chuck E Cheese. Well, not really, but the FFL certificate gives the selling dealer proof and documentation that they can legally ship a firearm to another dealer. 

OK, now that we’re all clear on the specifics of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and FFLs, let’s get back to the topic of how to buy a gun online. Perhaps the easiest way to explain the process is via a handy step by step guide.

Steps to Buy a Gun Online!

  1. Google it! Go to a reputable website and search for the gun you want. We’re kind of partial to GalleryofGuns.com as they have a huge selection and pre-existing relationships with thousands of local dealers for delivery, but you can also find many reputable FFL dealers like GunUp.com that sell guns online. Be sure to get recommendations from folks in the know as to who is, and is not, reputable. If the web site you’re buying from has a domain name that ends in .ru, .kp or .temporaryuntilinterpolfindsusagain you may want to keep looking.
  2. Buy it! Once you find the gun you want, at the price you want, buy it! Most online sites will require full payment up front, but others like GalleryOfGuns.com operate through a collaborative effort with local dealers. In those cases, the online seller will take a deposit and you’ll pay the balance when you pick up the gun. More on that in a minute.
  3. Don’t get it! Now that you have bought and paid for your gun, it will NOT be shipped to you!
  4. Send the paperwork! The online seller will ask you to have a local (meaning in your state of residence) FFL dealer send them a copy of their FFL certificate. Your dealer’s FFL certificate will have their local address so the selling dealer knows where to ship the gun.
  5. Wait! At this point, the seller has your money, but they also have a document from your local dealer, certified by important government officials, that gives them an authorized shipping location.
  6. Wait! The selling dealers writes down information about the sale in their books. These are called ‘bound books’ probably because they are bound to be audited to government officials at some point.
  7. Wait! Next, the selling dealer ships your gun to your local (again, in-state) dealer. You still have not laid eyes on the gun you bought and paid for.
  8. Answer the phone! When your dealer receives your gun, they write down more numbers and such in their bound book. Then they call you to come pick it up.
  9. Fill out paperwork! When you go to pick up your gun, you will have to fill out a Form 4473. This is very similar to Form 4472, but one bigger. The Form 4473 requires you (the buyer) to fill out personal details like your name, birth date, citizenship information, favorite pastel color and whether or not you are hispanic. Yes, the most recent Form 4473 actually asks whether or not you’re hispanic. We’re not sure why. The Form 4473 also has lot’s of true / false questions that inquire about your eligibility to buy a gun. Are you currently in jail? Have you been convicted of illegal things? Do you intend to buy this gun for yourself or to send to Syrian rebels? In short, you’ll answer a dozen or so questions. Be truthful here as incorrectly filling out a Form 4473 is a big time crime.
  10. Listen in while your dealer talks to the Feds! When you have filled out and signed the Form 4473, your FFL dealer will call the FBI. This part of the process is called a NICS check. NICS stands for National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Your dealer will read off some of the information you inked on the Form 4473 to the FBI person on the phone. Your FFL dealer will most likely sound bored and uninterested while speaking to the FBI as both parties do this about a thousand times a day. The FBI will check their records to make sure you are eligible to buy a gun. If you’ve been a good boy or girl, the background check will come back positive in a minute or so and the FBI will tell your FFL dealer to proceed with the sale. Not to cause alarm, but the process doesn’t always work perfectly. So if you get a “no” response, don’t panic. False rejections are not entirely unusual as people have similar names and, of course, you are dealing with the government! If you’ve behaved and still get rejected, your local dealer can help guide you for next steps to clear things up.
  11. Pay a few bucks! Your FFL dealer will charge you some fee, usually $25 to $35 dollars for their trouble. After all, they need to send the seller their FFL, receive the shipment, process the paperwork, do a background check on you and store the records on the transaction forever. It’s a big pain in the butt for your local dealer so don’t complain too much about the transfer fee. Call your congress critter instead and ask them to repeal silly laws.
  12. Take your new gun home! That’s all there is to it! Now you get your gun!

Exceptions!

The above scenario applies to gun sales that go across state lines. If you see a gun advertised on the internet in your home state, you can certainly contact the seller and make arrangements to go see and buy the gun. The seller cannot ship the gun to you, but they can sell it to you directly. This is America after all and private sales between two individuals are perfectly legal. If the seller is an FFL dealer, you’ll have to go to their location, fill out the same NICS background check paperwork and pass the check to get your gun. If the seller is a private individual not engaged in the business of buying and selling guns, you can meet that person to complete the transaction. Again, this scenario only applies when the seller and buyer are in the same state.

The Bottom Line

So, for all the political hoopla about getting guns online, background checks and the underground arms trade, buying and selling guns is a highly regulated process.

While it takes a few words to describe the process, it’s actually pretty simple. Now that you know the specifics of the process, it might be helpful to relate a real online purchase I made recently as it’s a lot easier than it sounds.

We purchased this nifty Smith & Wesson M&P 15 VTAC online from GunUp.com

We purchased this nifty Smith & Wesson M&P 15 VTAC online from GunUp.com

Buying a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 VTAC from GunUp.com

  1. I shopped online at GunUp.com and found an awesome Smith & Wesson M&P 15 VTAC at a great price. I clicked the “buy” button and paid via a credit card.
  2. I got an email from the sales team at GunUp.com asking for my FFL information.
  3. I emailed my local FFL, HHB Guns, and asked them to send a copy of their FFL Certificate to the folks at GunUp.com.
  4. About a week later, Henry at HHB guns called me and told me to come get my rifle.
  5. I stopped by, filled out the Form 4473, listened to Henry’s bored conversation with the FBI, and passed (whew!) my NICS check. It’s a good thing I don’t work for the Department of Justice or I might have been denied.
  6. I paid Henry $20 (HHB Guns has a great deal on transfer fees!) and took my rifle home. I think Henry was kind of sad to see it leave as it’s a really sweet rifle.

Piece of cake!

So here’s the bottom line.

I love shopping at local gun stores and shows. I often buy guns, accessories and supplies locally. But sometimes, that certain something you want is only available online. Or maybe you found a used gun on an auction site that you want to buy. Go ahead! While highly regulated, just like buying locally, purchasing online is safe, reliable and easy.

Buy The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters at Amazon.com

A Molly Minute with Molly Smith – Team Smith & Wesson’s Youngest Shooter

Recently we had the good fortune to catch up with Pro Shooter Molly Smith of Team Smith & Wesson. This was no small feat as this lady is seriously on the go. Ever see The Flash from DC Comics? Well, she’s kind of like that…

My Gun Culture: So Molly, we’ve heard you called a lot of things…

Molly Smith Team Smith & Wesson Pro Shooter

We caught up with Team Smith & Wesson Pro Shooter Molly Smith at the 2013 SHOT Show.

Molly Smith: WHAT???

MGC: No, just kidding, not that! Like Molly Minute and Millisecond Molly. We heard about those nicknames from our friends over at Women’s Outdoor News. How on earth did you manage to get involved with a bunch of crazy chicks like them?

Molly: Well, I’m not exactly sure how it happened… I have a blog and through my blogging I’ve been able to go to various things like the Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno – that is one of my absolute favorite events – it’s fantastic! Different events like that get me connected with folks around the internet community. Also I’ve been reading Women’s Outdoor News and other sites that are encouraging women shooters. It’s made me want to contribute as well.

MGC: I saw that you recently participated in a mock Second Amendment trial. Was that a school event?

Molly: It’s a statewide competition. I’m from California and every year there is a new case with a different theme. There are two parts and I was involved with the Second Amendment portion. It was a murder case where a gun was not used, but one was found in the perpetrators car. So my part of the debate was related to whether the defendant was allowed to have that pistol and whether there should be additional charges. I got to reference recent big cases like Heller and McDonald to make my arguments.

MGC: So, are you for, or against, the Second Amendment?

Molly: (Laughs. A lot. At our expense.)

MGC: OK, that was a trick question, but we’re going to make you answer it. So?

Molly: I am for rights! I am for more freedoms! I could write you a paper on my interpretation of the Constitution!

MGC: I’m part of Smith & Wesson’s background check network and we just making sure that their team members are up to snuff on these issues…

Molly: Umm, we have a problem???

MGC: So did you win?

Molly: Well, we did not go on to state, but that was not all my fault! It was a team effort and we did really well, however one school beats us every single year. But this year they are going down! This year’s topic is a 5th Amendment debate. I have a huge interest in constitutional law and I’m planning on going to law school as soon as I am able to so I can defend every freedom we have.

MGC: That’s fantastic!

Molly: Well, my mom wants me to marry Prince Harry, but I’d rather be a constitutional lawyer, or better yet, a Supreme Court Justice.

MGC: We’d love to see you on the Supreme Court! Let’s talk about competition. You’re Team Smith & Wesson’s youngest shooter. How did it feel when Smith & Wesson sent out the corporate jet to recruit you? How did this all start?

Molly: Well, I competed at my first International Revolver Championship when I was 10 and I was shooting a borrowed gun as I had only been shooting about 3 weeks at that time. But I didn’t come in last place! I came in second to last, behind a guy who didn’t finish, but that’s OK! I won a revolver there through a drawing. It was a Smith & Wesson 627 and that’s my gun of choice to this day. I’ve shot nearly every event with that same gun.

MGC: .38 Special right?

Molly: Exactly! 8 shot N frame. It was my second International Revolver Championship and I finished pretty well with second or third place for my junior division. After the match, Julie Golob came up. All the women were very nice. They blew me away! They were beautiful and friendly and the best shooters. I decided I wanted to be like them when I grew up. That was my determination at that age. So, Julie asked if I wanted a t-shirt. Then if I wanted a gun! And I was like OK!

MGC: So we hear you’re going to fill in while Julie is on maternity leave. Is there a coup in progress where you’re going to plot and scheme to take her position while she’s out?

Molly: Well actually it’s all a big conspiracy… Wait, you’re not gonna put that in the article!

MGC: So what’s coming up for you in 2013?

Molly: Well the Bianchi Cup. It’s a very difficult and challenging match. It makes my head hurt, and it’s fantastic, and I get so much out of it. It’s the most difficult match I’ve ever heard of and I love it. It teaches me so much, even by just competing in it. By the time the next match, which happens to be the International Revolver Championship, comes up for me, I am ready. I have the fundamentals engraved in my mind because I’ve been focusing so hard for months on the Bianchi Cup. I get to the IRC and then it’s a breeze for me and I have so much fun running around and going fast. I generally do much better at the IRC than Bianchi because I am better at it – that helps my self-esteem a little bit. I’m also thinking about starting Steel Challenge and then I’ll be starting to visit college campuses.

MGC: So is that this coming fall for you? Are you a senior?

Molly: I’m a junior, but I am aiming for some prestigious schools so I’m starting early.

MGC: Want to tell us which ones?

Molly: Well, I have plan A. And plan B. And plan C… I’m ultimately aiming for an Ivy League and hoping to go into Political Science or English and then into law. If I end up going to a California University I can knock almost two years off my undergraduate program as I’ve already been taking college classes. NYU and Georgetown are also schools that I’m looking at. I love Washington DC! I went there over the summer with the NRA Youth Education Summit. Best experience of my life! It was the most fantastic week I’ve ever had. If there are any Freshmen and Sophomores out there, look into this program!

MGC: How many Smith & Wesson guns do you have? You can round off to the nearest dozen…

Molly: Well, 3 actually. I don’t like having more than I need.

MGC: We’ll work on fixing that with the Smith & Wesson folks. What else do you want our readers to know?

Molly: My biggest goal right now is to promote gun safety, safe gun ownership and encouraging women and kids to shoot. I love to see more women and juniors out there shooting because it’s such a fantastic sport! I don’t like to see people afraid of firearms, because when they’re used safely, they’re a great instrument for fun. I really like to be an ambassador and encourage the sport.

We’d like to thank Molly for taking time to meet with us. Be sure to keep up with her via Smith & Wesson, and of course at The Molly Minute or Millisecond Molly at Women’s Outdoor News.

Speer Gold Dot .38 Special +P Short Barrel Self Defense Ammunition

We test a lot of self-defense ammo. It’s a great excuse to go to the range and do silly things.

Speer Gold Dot .38 Special +P SB 135 grain ammunition

The Speer Gold Dot .38 Special +P Short Barrel load performed well from a snubbie revolver

What’s not silly is the inconsistency of .38 Special ammunition to expand reliably – especially when fired from short barrel revolvers that are so popular for concealed carry. Expensive ammo that should expand properly doesn’t always. Part of the reason for that is reduced velocity when said ammo is used in a very short barreled revolver.

Speer has figured out that gajillions of people now carry snubnose revolvers like Smith & Wesson’s and Ruger LCR’s. And they have made special cartridge designs specifically for the characteristics of these guns. Simply put, the Short Barrel (labeled SB on the Speer ammo boxes) loads are designed to expand at lower speeds than “standard” projectiles.

They do. The bullets in this photo were all shot from a Ruger LCR, through 4 layers of light canvas, and into a container of wetpack. By the way, the Ruger LCR has a 1.875 inch barrel – that certainly qualifies as a short barrel revolver!

Just remember, expansion and penetration depth are forever balancing forces. As tempting as it might be, don’t load your full size gun with Short Barrel loads. They will work, but they will also expand too much and penetration will suffer. And your bullets may come apart. Use standard Speer Gold Dot loads in guns with barrels longer than 3 inches and the Short Barrel loads in guns with barrels less than 3 inches.

Available Here Speer Gold Dot .38 Special +P 135 Grain Short Barrel Ammunition

New Smith & Wesson Shield – It’s Finger Candy

We’re here at the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis fighting the crowds and shoppers – all 80,000 of them.

The folks at GunUp.com just arranged a private tour of some of the newest offerings from Smith & Wesson – the highlight of which was the new M&P Shield.

Initially offered in both 9mm and .40 Smith & Wesson, the shield is similar in appearance to it sibling M&P line. Polymer frame, comfortable grip contour and no-trigger-pull takedown.  While offered in two calibers, the Shield frames are the same in both offerings.

Where it differs, in addition to its slim and very concealable size, is the trigger. It’s a whole new design. Weighing in at 6.5 pounds, we found it to be exceptionally crisp with no detectable take-up and minimal overtravel. It feels a whole lot lighter than the measured 6.5 pounds. The other noticeable difference is in the trigger reset. While we weren’t able to measure the distance here on the show floor, we felt a crisp and distinct reset at what seemed to be about an eighth of an inch. The trigger on this gun is simply sporty. That’s one of our code words for “superlative.”

Also unlike the larger M&P models, the Shield does not feature an adjustable backstrap. Mainly because that would be kind of silly on a pocket sized gun. In our opinion anyway.

Another difference is the additional of a positive safety. It’s unobtrusive and machined to be embedded mostly into the slide so there is not much to catch. Smith & Wesson explained that this was added not so much for those who choose to carry in a belt holster, but to allow more flexibility for purse, pocket, and other types of carry methods.

The M&P Shield ships with two magazines – one with a flat base for maximum concealability and the other with an extension to allow better third finger grip.

This gun has a really great feel to it – we can’t wait to test one at the range.

Stay tuned!

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