Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gun shop scouting report for June

Sometimes you find resources in the damnedest places. Here in my l'il ol' home town of Frankfort, Kentucky we have a gun store called Gilbert's Guns which several years ago made the move to the internet and started taking advantage of the marketing opportunities that it provides.
They now sell guns and accessories and all kinds of gear via the net and phone, in quantities that keep them hopping every day. Jason Gilbert has inherited the store from his father and is running hard into the 21st century with it. Jason has a great deal of knowledge of the market and the products out there, and was working the NRA show in Louisville for Surefire.
I went in there recently to check to see what was new and came away with impressions of long guns and hand guns as well as some information about newly introduced AKs that's pretty exciting.
I handled the S&W M&P45 Compact a good bit more than I had the chance to at the NRA show and got some additional impressions of it. It's about the same size as the XD45 4-inch gun, but the butt is about 3/16-5/16ths shorter than the XD, and the shape of the grip frame is slightly more friendly to the hand, more ergonomic. It holds only ten rounds versus the XD's thirteen, but it ought to be a really good choice for a compact carry .45 once you get the trigger broken in due to it's overall size and fit in the hand. Like a lot of polymer guns, the trigger is okay if you just shoot it like a revolver, pull it straight through but if you try to press it and stage it like a 1911 it won't do, at least not out of the box.
I once again picked up the new Kimber SIS .45s that they designed in concert with the LAPD S.I.S. people and just I'd said previously, the cocking "grooves" in the slide, made in the shape of the initials SIS, in combination with the coating that Kimber uses are still too slick for efficient use, in my opinion. If your hands are slick with sweat, blood, oil or whatever you're going to have a hard time yanking back that slide. Ordinary serrations wouldn't be as sexy but they'd work better.
Mossberg once had a semi-auto shotgun called the Jungle Gun that had promise, but it didn't last long in production and we never learned much about it. The DEA used them in South America, supposedly, but no one else we know of had them in harness. Now they have a new shotgun in "tactical" format, the Model 930 SPX in their tactical line that shoulders well, has good balance, excellent LPA sights and if it's dependable should be a fine shotgun. It's less expensive than the Remington types and is gas operated, so recoil should be tolerable. Don't know how it would measure up to the FN SLP that I bought, based on the Winchester SX2, which is just about the best semi-auto that I've shot to date, but would love to find out. Maybe Mossberg will loan me one. I'll have to ask.
One of the sleeper guns on the market might be the Taurus 24/7 OSS .45 that they designed for the military pistol trials that went nowhere last year. I finally got to handle one and was very impressed with how it felt. The grip shape is excellent, the trigger is VERY light, better than the M&P's in my estimation, with a short reset and light let-off. The controls are pretty well-placed, though not quite large enough for me, being flat and not quite protuberant enough to be easily moved by my fingers. The sights are tall and readily visible, with a skinny front blade that allows plenty of light around it in the rear sight, and it holds 12 rounds in the magazine. The gun feels and looks long, since it has a 5-inch barrel, but it's not unbalanced. Now we have to ask, will it hold up to hard use? Will Taurus make it long enough for us to find out? If fit and feel in the hand were enough to sell guns it would make some money for them, but who knows what buyers will want, or trust?
I examined the FNP-45 pistol again and had the same impression of it. The gun is basically sound in execution, but the grip frame is large and it requires that you think about it when you hold it. You don't just pick it up and run with it, at least not with my hands, which aren't too dainty. I could make the gun work for me, but it doesn't just fall in and run for me like my daily carry gun, the XD45, does. I want to like this gun, but the grip is just large, like the Glock G21 is large. It's a funny thing. I had a G21 and liked the way that it shot, but I REALLY liked the feel of the G30 compact versus the G21. The FNP-45 is like that - nice gun, just doesn't quite click with the hand/gun interface.
There were some nice knives in the cases. I bought a Benchmade Snody neck knife with the Wharncliffe-style blade that they have made in China so the price is reasonable, and looked at the Blackhawk Tatang sheath knife that Mike Janich designed for them. That's a knife that would be something for serious users to consider, with good balance and an excellent edge both top and bottom which allows for the dread back cut. Ouch!
But the biggest news has to be the upgraded Saiga AKs that Gilbert's is coming out with. Based on the original Saiga AKs that are built in Russia at the plant where the legend of Kalashnikov was born, they're dolled up and modernized with all kinds of good things done to them. They've had upgraded triggers installed, new furniture installed including a modern pistol grip and modern CAR-style telescoping buttstock. They're covered with Duracoat in black and they look fine - up to date, modern and wicked. They make my ratty Romanian look like a mangy dog.

For a grand finale, Jason has added to his inventory US-made Saiga 30-round polymer 7.62x39mm magazines for the AK which have a follower that locks back the bolt after the last round. Since I grew up with American military firearms I really like that feature, and will be buying some of these for my AK.
I just LOVE going to gun stores, even more when they're good ones. Gilbert's is a GOOD gun store.

Celebrating Heller

All my life I've had to put up with the denial by the antigunners, the hoplophobes, of the individual right to bear arms. They trumpeted a distorted view of the Miller decision and crowed about their legislative successes.

I watched the culture change from being able to buy surplus rifles and handguns out of the back pages of the American Rifleman, to the Gun Control Act of 1968 to 1986 and then 1994, almost despairing that we would ever begin to turn the tide.
Then talk radio came along, and the internet and the blogs and we found a new voice for the millions of people who had been out there all along but whose voices had been not just muted but drowned out and strangled by a hostile mainstream media - and the tide began to turn. People found common ground and renewed hope in common cause to resist the gun-haters. The culture began to speak out for itself, and the left began to take a licking.
And now - Heller. I will always love that name, from this day forward. After all these years knowing what Jefferson and the other Founders had written, knowing what English common law and Blackstone had written and knowing that all the rights we recognize are individual rights, that our nation was founded in the belief that men must always be able to resist tyranny and that would require that they be armed, and proficient with arms, that the anti-gunners were perpetrating the worst sort of deliberate hateful deceit on us, after all that - Heller.
I dragged my butt home Friday morning after working three nights in a row and was worn out, so wasn't able to celebrate in any more than just quiet exultation, thrilled as I was. Saturday I taught a concealed carry class and that occupied me all day. There was some discussion of Heller, but not a lot, had to concentrate on the mandated material.
But last night, after the dogs were fed and all the necessaries were out of the way, I opened a bottle of champagne and toasted the Heller decision, and a great new era in our lives. After all these years, all the anger and frustration and despair melted away. We had won.
I recognize that the fight continues, that this decision left things unsaid, things that were less than we had hoped for. But to see those names enshrined in a Supreme Court decision - Blackstone, et al - after all these years of worshipping those ideals is, for the moment, enough. I am content for the first time in my life, if only for a few days until the fight begins again.
I leave it to others to carp about Scalia's inadequacies and the decision's lack of perfection. I will think back to those days of reading the American Rifleman and Jefferson, knowing in my heart that our enemies were lying about us, about our rights and be glad that this day has come and their lies are held up to the light and turned to dust.
And I will have another glass of champagne, and laugh!
Watch six - Charles.

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

Monday, June 23, 2008

Only in Israel will you see this

There's nothing that I can say that can adequately comment on this photo.

Okay, maybe there is, and that's that I just LOVE the contrast of the black rifle with the white tutu! Two classics working in perfect harmony!!!