Switching My Daily Carry

Ruger LCP II

At this point, with almost 400 rounds through it with nary a hiccup, I’m confident enough in the LCP II to carry it on days when I have to be more discreet than usual. Also, based on the results from this test and feedback from people whom I know and trust, I’m switching from Hornady 90 grain XTP’s to Hornady 90 grain Critical Defense ammo in my .380’s. The Critical Defense round was the only round to penetrate more than 12 inches of gel AND expand each and every round that was tested.

Look for more rounds downrange with the LCP II in the near future.

“Half The Store Is Devoted To Solutions”.

“Because people don’t just want to buy personal computers anymore, they want to know what they can do with them.”

This. This is how Apple took over the world. They realized, faster than Microsoft did, that computers were not something we used just at the office, they were becoming part of our lives.

Apple did this, and now they own the retail world.

Who is devoting half of their gun store to HOW you use a gun? Anyone?

Why not?

Is there anything, anything at all inside your gun store that gives hints about what you can DO with your guns, now that you’ve bought one?

Why not?

Catching Up.

I wrote a bunch of articles for Shooting Illustrated at the end of the year last year (something about writing articles that get clicks and not missing deadlines makes you popular with your editors. Go figure.).

Anyways, here’s some stuff for you to read in your free time.

A review of a thermal sight that clips onto your smartphone.

A review of the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 Rail Mount light (I *really* like this light. It’s probably the best value out there).

Choosing an angled foregrip (I was surprised by how much I liked the Mako grip).

Ruger LCP II 2000 Round Challenge : Rounds 223-383

Even though most of my free time is spoken for (there should be an announcement on what I’ve been working on in the next two weeks or so). Nevertheless, I found some time this weekend to duck out for some range time and continue this test (thanks, Jason!).

Odds and Sods.

I’ve got a bunch of partially-full boxes of .380 ammo laying around, so I spent this range session burning through them and freeing up space in my ammo cans, along with shooting some of the PMC .380 provide to me by the good people at Lucky Gunner, so I loaded up them all up and shot them.

Because that’s what you do with ammo and guns, that’s why.

Ammo Fired
6 Speer Gold Dot JHP’s
11 Winchester White Box FMJ’s
2 Hornady XTP JHP’s (why I had just two of them, I’ll never know)
142 PMC .380 FMJ’s

All the rounds fired and fed with no issues, bringing the total round count up to 383 rounds fired, with one possible failure to feed on round 116 of the challenge.

One thing that’s interesting to note is that I shot 48 rounds strong hand only and 24 rounds weak-hand only with the LCP II during this range session. The gun felt surprisingly good in just my strong hand and I was able to shoot it as asccurate as I could with two hands, just a bit slower while doing so. In the weak hand however, ho boy, it first weird, and I am fairly used to weak-hand shooting. I don’t know how to describe it beyond saying it felt more like a water gun in my hand, not a real pistol.

As I said, weird.

Also, the gun is quite easy to shoot for extended periods of time compared to my P3AT (which, I realize, is quite a low hurdle to cross). I had no problems dropping 3 boxes of ammo in out of this gun, and left the range with the same amount of pain in my right hand as when I arrived.

That is to say, none. Not a bad accomplishment for any pocket 380, especially a lightweight polymer one.

Well That Was Nice.

Whilst searching for an article I wrote for Shooting Illustrated (Memo to Jay: Bring back the “Author” feed feature. My ego demands nothing less.), I ran across this nice little critique of my first article for SI (the one that got the Instalanche).

“…an ankle holster was a very slow mode of carry, adding seconds to the draw. No shock there, either. Everyone knows that with an ankle or leg holster you’re trading speed for stealth.

What was shocking was that pocket carrying — these guys were using a pocket holster, which helps both concealment, by breaking up the outline, and the orientation/presentation of the weapon — was substantially faster than a tucked IWB holster, and even a little faster than gimmick holsters like faux day-planners or computer bags.”

It’s always nice when I can add a little bit to the sum total of gun knowledge out there, no matter how small it may be.

Who Are You, And Why Do You Want To Buy A Gun Today?

Do a Google Image Search for “Gun shop'” and look at the photos of the inside of the stores.

All of them will show a store with a guns in cases and guns on walls.

None of those interior photos will give you any clue which gun is better for you.

When was the last time you walked into a gun store that was set up to belp your decision-making process, rather than overwhelm you gun after gun after gun? Row after row of compact semi-automatics that give no clue as to what their eventual function might be isn’t a sign of a lot of inventory, it’s a highway to analysis paralysis for the average retail shopper.

The point of a gun store isn’t to have a lot of guns. The point of a gun store is to SELL a lot of guns.

So do so many gun stores make it hard for you to decide which gun you want to buy?

It’s Hard Being a Pimp These Days.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about the current state of gun journalism, and a few thoughts have popped into mind that may or may not make sense to you.

In the past, I’ve bemoaned the lack of metrics when it comes to guns and compared gun reviews to car reviews. That’s not fair, though, because due to their size and how they operate, a car is MUCH less affected by who’s behind the wheel than a gun is affected by who’s on the trigger.

A better comparison might be cameras, something which I have more than a passing familiarity with.

Strictly speaking, camera reviews suck. Always have, always will. Yes, they can compare signal to noise ratios and megapixels until the cows come home, but the fact of the matter is, if you gave me a Nikon D5 and gave Greg Heisler an iPhone, his pictures are going to be better than mine. They just will. That’s why he’s Gregory Heisler, and I’m not.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My favorite camera when I was a shooter (clickclick) wasn’t the FM2 or the Hassie or the Sinar 4×5, it was a small, light (relatively) cheap Olympus XA rangefinder. I liked that camera because it was ALWAYS with me, and I got some great shots with when they popped up in front of me. Now, did I try to shoot tabletop still lifes or corporate portraits with it? Of course not, but that’s when the Sinar and Hasseblads (respectively) would come into play. The XA, though, just *shines* in my favorite kind of work, informal environmental portraiture, so that’s why I carried it for so long.

None of my decisions to buy gear for either myself or the studio was guided in any way by a camera review in a photo magazine. To be honest, most photographers know diddly-squat about cameras as a whole: I think I cracked open “Popular Photography” maybe once or twice in the dozen years I was a shooter (clickclick), but I read every issue of PDN and Outdoor Photography (because I’ve always been MAD for Galen Rowell‘s work). My experience as a shooter was hardly unique. Most of the day in, day out photographers I know have no clue about the camera market as a whole. They do, however, know the cameras they use everyday like the back of their hand.

How this applies to the gun journalism world should be easy for you to figure out.

Bowling Against Columbine.


Thinking a bit more about this post, have you been inside a bowling alley recently? The best of them are something like the Headpinz bowling alleys, which combine elements of a Dave & Busters into the current “midnight bowling” craze to produce something that’s closer to P.Diddy than it is to Earl Anthony. The worst of them? The worst are stuck in 1963, without the cool “Mad Men” retro vibe.

Think about how that applies to gun ranges. There are some good indoor ranges near me, and there are some really, really bad indoor ranges near me, but they all have one thing in common: Aside from the occasional zombie shoot or the late, great Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun, no one, and I mean NO ONE is trying to make range experience itself into something that is FUN, rather than something like taking an loud algebra exam.

Why not?

Gun nuts like myself (and most of the people reading this post) need no excuse to go the range beyond a) we have ammo and b) we want to shoot it. The act of going to the range and shooting a gun is all the amusement we need.

That’s nice for us, but just as outdoor ranges are competing against kayak rentals and driving ranges and other forms of outdoor amusement, indoor ranges are competing against other forms of INDOOR amusement such as bowling alleys, movies, etc., and from a quality-of-experience perspective, going to an indoor range ranks right up there with getting your tires rotated or parent-teacher night at the local middle school.

As they are set up now, most indoor ranges (in fact, shooting ranges in general) suck the amusement out of shooting a gun, not create more amusement beyond what comes from actually shooting a gun.

If we want Gun Culture 2.0 to thrive in a post-scarcity world, that has GOT to change.