What do motorcycles have to do with shooting? Plenty, if you take part in Motoschutzen — an invitation-only shooting industry event. This year non-biker GUNS Editor Brent T. Wheat joined the group for a sidecar ride. In this episode of the 'Cranks, he reports back about the guns, the gear and what it's like to cling like a Zebra mussel to a hurtling death-bike!
Potato Guns! The mere mention brings shudders of fear to the unwashed masses. But fear not, the Gun Cranks demystify the secrets, challenges and those ner-do-wells who populate the potato gun crowd. Did you know potato guns are illegal in some states?! Yikes! Tune in … and wear your seat belt! Warning: We don’t recommend anyone try anything we talk about in this video. We’re “experts,” so got away with it ... mostly.
The Gun Cranks share their varying experiences from the full-auto machinegun world. Fun or fearsome? They are legal — sort of… assuming you’re OK with spending tens of thousands of dollars and a lifetime’s worth of government regulation. We answer the big questions… What’s the best full-auto fun gun? Will these outrageously expensive pieces of hardware become worthless with some bureaucrat’s stroke of the pen? Is there enough ammo on planet earth to feed them, and can you even afford the care and feeding bill?
Just about 55 years ago, Ed Brown started his American dream in the way so many successful entrepreneurs do. He began moonlighting in his garage after work and on weekends, doing (and learning) custom gunsmith work. After 20 years of honing his skills, he finally quit his day job and went “all in” to the business of making custom parts like magwells, hammers and beavertails.
Fast forward through lots of custom 1911 builds, a Pistolsmith of the Year award from the Guild and continued expansion, and the Ed Brown crew has expanded from 1911 builds and customizations to the Fueled series. When you think about it, it’s not surprising the company started that project with the S&W M&P with its rough similarities to the 1911 platform — think grip and pointing attributes.
There’s a new service, duty and defensive pistol in town, compliments of the busy folks at Springfield Armory. While no one is saying “replacement for the XD series,” it is a brand-new, ground-up design.
The four rules of gun safety do a yeoman’s job of instilling caution when handling firearms. However, they’re not intended to address the day-to-day responsibilities associated with gun ownership. It’s up to us to ensure our firearms are stored safely and not accessible to those who shouldn’t have access. And who doesn’t want a tool to help foil outright theft?
We can never be too careful with our gun security strategies. In fact, storage plans ought to use a layered approach like self and home defense. The more layers, the better. Full-size gun safes are a great solution for longer-term storage, but they don’t address quick access needs for carry or home defense guns. Small lockboxes are handy for those purposes, but by design, they can’t be as secure as an 800-lb. safe. And someone could steal the entire lockbox and figure out how to break into it at their leisure later.
Enter the Simtek StealthALERT sensor. This handy little device provides watchful eyes on … well, most anything while you’re away. Let’s explain how it works, then you’ll clearly see its applications.
The “sub” in this one hints at its small and (extremely) light nature. Designed for compact carry guns like the GLOCK 43X and 48, SA Hellcat, SIG P365 and XL and other common subcompact models. Do check the model numbers carefully; some are gun specific, like the model shown here for GLOCKs with thin rails.
The combo laser and light unit packs a whopping 500 lumens of steady or strobing light (your choice) into the small footprint powered by a CR123A battery. It’ll run for about an hour and a half with light and laser activated.
A reader, James, recently wrote in asking some good questions about appendix carry …
“Could I see some pictures of folks who are using the appendix carry method of carrying a concealed firearm, actually sitting down? I have tested out appendix carry a few times and found it next to impossible with my evidently misshapen torso to sit down. It is not only extremely painful, but it also pushes my pistol up and outward, thereby defeating the whole purpose. Social media is full of gun bunnies and tacti-cool dudes taking selfies of their shirts lifted, showing their hidden appendix-carried firearm, smiling away. Yet not one of them was while sitting down.
I tried it with an M&P Shield, a S&W 642, and, just for the sake of argument, a GI Springfield 1911. How do these people sit down? In the meantime, I keep soldiering on with ankle holsters, holster-hip, and an ever-worsening case of tinnitus.”
All great questions, James, and when I embarked on a multi-month experiment to see what all the fuss was about with appendix carry, I encountered the exact same challenges you describe. Now, I carry a full-size, double-stack Staccato P model 2011 appendix every day, even while sitting and spending hours in the car.
Reviewing guns is 38% objective, 54% subjective, and 93% opinion. Those of you who aced Trigonometry might have figured out we blew right past the 100% limit, but that just goes to show that evaluating a gun isn’t an entirely quantifiable exercise. Now that I think about it, there is a word for a perfectly objective gun review. Specifications.
You might have noticed we rarely regurgitate spec sheets around here. You’ll find few data tables or lists highlighting such obscura as the weight of a half-loaded magazine when affected by the gravitational influence of a shooting berm. Instead, we try to tell the story of a gun that fills in gaps not relatable by feature lists. How does it feel? Is it easy to shoot accurately? Does it work with a random collection of ammo recovered from the floorboards of your truck? But more than anything, our writers aim to convey the experience of their time spent with a given handgun. That’s the stuff you don’t get in factory brochures.
At the risk of tipping some sacred cows, I’m going to make a bold statement here.
Yes, you can.
I’m saying you can carry a larger gun concealed — every day even. To be clear, I’m not talking about one more powerful or in a larger caliber. I’m talking about a handgun physically bigger than the pocket micro mini subatomic ultra-compacts all the rage these days.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great we have choices of pocket-sized guns with double-stack 9mm or .380 ACP magazines packing round counts in the double digits. Those can be handy for sure. However, there are plenty of benefits to carrying a gun just a little more on the portly side.
Humans are naturally confident, bordering on arrogant. In our minds, we’ve got all the correct answers, and for those situations we haven’t yet experienced, we assume we’ll make the right choices on the fly. We’re awesome like that.
Gunfighting schools, on the other hand, are a force created by the universe to expose and counterbalance our genetic hubris. These diametrically opposed forces of nature are like gravity and orbital velocity — the reasons our hunk of rock topped with flawed humanity doesn’t crash into the sun or zoom past Pluto.
I’m not a physicist, but I did read Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. He attempts to explain such things as how, at the moment before the Big Bang, all of the matter and energy in the known universe was contained in a space a trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence. Now that I think about it, trying to wrap my head around stuff like that is likely why I’m not a physicist. I can’t even comprehend a miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup being packed into a wrapper that small, much less the sum total of all stuff that ever existed anywhere in the cosmos.
While the deGrasse Tysons and Hawkings of the world can ponder the great expanse in their studies, we mere mortals can make more practical use of the physical sciences for our shooting activities.
And now for something a little different. NOVX Pentagon ammunition uses a patented two-piece stainless steel case instead of the de facto standard “brass.” Why? Weight is a factor. I weighed an empty case and came up with 32.8 grains. A comparable brass case is about 62. So, we’re talking a weight savings of nearly half. If you’re wondering, that works out to about 1 oz. per 15-round magazine. I did check case volume, too — it’s about the same.
This is one you can do at home. Ever wanted to test your reloaded or factory-bought ammunition? The Gun Cranks discuss a variety of ways to test your ammo at home while (maybe) making a big mess in the process.