Living With The Smith And Wesson Shield

Living with the Smith and Wesson Shield

A few updates on carrying the S+W Shield on a daily basis…

  1. It’s VERY easy to carry. I forget I’m wearing it most of the time.
  2. Because it’s so thin, my “carry pants” don’t fit well.
  3. The Crossbreed MiniTuck is fantastic. It’s comfortable, keeps the gun where it should be and allows for a good grip on the gun during the draw.

LC9 Magazine v. Shield Magazine

The biggest issue I’ve had so far is dealing with spare magazines. The Shield doesn’t use a single stack or a double stack magazine: It’s more a stack-and-a-half, which means that it’s too wide for 1911 magazine pouches but is too small for double stack magazine pouches.

Here it is compared to the single-stack Ruger LC9 magazine. See what I mean?

Because of this, choices for a weak side magazine carrier are limited at best. Would could go nylon, but I prefer Kydex, and things look pretty barren. Comp-Tac makes a bunch (I kinda like this one for everyday carry) and CrossBreed has some as well, but other that, it’s pretty slim pickings out there.

Other than that, I continue to fantastically impressed with this gun. I put another 50 rounds through last weekend, and punched a bunch of holes into a milk jug 30 feet at speed with no troubles at all. most important, for it’s size, the Shield is incredibly FUN to shoot, which is something I can’t say about any of the other smaller pistols I own. The Shield may take a bit more training and practice to master than a compact pistol like my CZ P07, but it’s far and away the easiest-shooting “mini” pistol I’ve ever owned, and a good choice for someone who’s looking to either upsize their pocket .380 or downsize their compact 9mm.

Gun Culture 1.5

Gun Culture 1.5

In an attempt to get into hunting, I’ve been attending the meetings of the Arizona Predator Callers, and I’m enjoying it so far. They’re knowledgeable, friendly and most importantly, are willing to accept total noobs like myself into their ranks. They also realize there’s a benefit to be gained from reaching out to Gun Culture 2.0. 

One area of commonality is fighting the push by environmentalist to ban traditional ammo. The leadership of Arizona Predator Callers realizes a ban on lead bullets would suck, and they’re eager to engage with other shooters to help block any attempt to have junk science influence our ammo choices. A ban on lead ammo affects ALL shooters, not just hunters, and I support their efforts to throw this bad idea onto the junk heap of history, and you should, too.

There’s a lot of common ground between Gun Culture 1.0 (hunting) and Gun Culture 2.0 (concealed carry), and both sides will benefit if we work together to further our sports. It just needs to happen more often than it does now.

Book The Face

Book the face

Yeah, I’m on Facebook now. I figure it’s high time I put all that l33t internet marketing stuff that I do for a living to use on this blog and get some more revenue page views.

I won’t just foist off the RSS from the blog onto the page so you can read posts there that you could be reading here. Instead, I’ll be mixing new content for just the Facebook page on a regular basis. 

Oh, and I’m on Pinterest as well, and unlike most other Pinterest accounts, I promise to never post pictures of shoes I want to buy. 

I’ll join Friendster, MySpace and Google Wave at a later date.

MUCH later date…

Teaching Your Kids To Shoot

Teaching your kids to shoot

My sons are six and nine now, and they’ve shown themselves to be old enough and mature enough to get behind the trigger. So this weekend, during a camping trip to the Mogollon Rim, I brought a Crossman BB gun and my AR with a .22 adapter and they got to fire a gun “for real”.

Two boys and dad's guns in the woods

Why these guns? They’ve shot the BB gun in our backyard before and enjoyed it, so I wanted to bring along something they’re already familiar with, and the AR is my lightweight upper AR with a Brownell’s .22 adapter, which I brought because it had a bipod and a red dot on it. I wanted something that would fit them (the AR’s collapsable stock suited that well), was easy to shoot (.22LR in an AR has almost no recoil) and something that would give them the immediate gratification of hitting the target. I’ll leave the sight picture and breath control discussions for a later day: Today was all about having fun with guns.

There’s a bunch of opinions about what makes a good first gun for a young kid and I’ll read up them over the next few months as Christmas approaches (shockingly, I’m leaning towards a CZ. Go figure). But for now, I’ll be content with creating memories like this.

I like it!

Shot Showoff

Shot Showoff

Another post in the Smith and Wesson Shield series.

So, how does the durn thing shoot, you ask? 

Very well. 

I started off with two mags of alternating Hornady XTP’s and Federal 115gr FMJ’s, because the FMJ’s are my usual practice ammo and the Hornady’s are my carry ammo of choice. I’m not a big fan of shooting mild FMJ’s for practice and then switching to SuperDeluxe ++P++ Expand-O-Blasters for a defensive round, and I was pleasantly surprised to find there was no difference in gun behavior or felt recoil between the FMJ’s and the hollow points. 

After that, it was a 3 yard Dot Torture Drill.

45 out of 50. Not too shabby. 

Considering this was done within the first 100 rounds I put through the gun, I’m very pleased with a 45 out of 50, and I’m sure that will improve as I get more used to the Shield’s trigger. 

Next up was a side-by-side comparison of the Shield as a defensive gun, and that’ll be tomorrow’s post. 

Who Needs An MP7A1 Or Recoil Magazine?

Who needs an MP7A1 or Recoil Magazine?

This is what set this whole brouhaha off, the Heckler and Koch MP7A1 PDW (Personal Defense Weapon).

Recoil Magazine's CopKiller of the Year

It weighs a bit over four pounds empty, is about 16 inches long with the stock extended and fires an .18 caliber round at about 2400 feet per second or so. Right now, we civilians can’t buy one because of the Hughes Amendment (which bans sales of new full auto weapons to the public), so even if we could get one (which Recoil Mag says we shouldn’t) it would be in a semi-automatic version only and either have its barrel length more than doubled (increasing the weight and decreasing portability) OR be for sale as an SBR, or short barreled rifle, which would require an additional $200 tax stamp and whole lot of paperwork. And that’s not counting the fact that Heckler and Koch product are spendy (sorry HK fanboys, they are. Deal with it.).

So what else is out there?


This is an FN PS90s. It’s semi-automatic with a 16″ barrel, which mean’s it’s fully legal to buy in most free states, fires a .22 caliber round at about 2100 feet per second, weighs about 7 pounds, is about 23 inches long and you can get one without have to beg the government for extra dispensation. Nice, but still a bit expensive at about $1500 out the door.

And now let’s go the wildcard.

Rmr 30 Carbine

The Kel-Tec RMR 30 has been announced for some time now, but I got a chance to play with one at SHOT this year, and I’m seriously impressed. It weighs about 4 pounds, is about 22 inches long with the stock collapsed (30 inches with it open), and shoots a .22 caliber cartridge at about 2000 feet per second.

It’s (still) not readily available, but I suspect it’ll sell for about $450-500 dollars when it hits the shelves… whenever. I’m a big fan of this gun because it ticks all the PDW checkboxes: It’s inexpensive, light, small, easy to handle and fires commonly-available .22 Magnum ammunition versus the more exotic 5.7x28mm ammo of the PS90 and ridiculously expensive 4.6x30mm round that the MP7 uses.

And we still haven’t talked about short-barreled AR-15’s or pistol-caliber submachine guns.

So why get an MP7? Damifino. Recoil magazine sure picked a silly hill to die on, that’s for sure. It’s not that the MP7 is a bad gun (it’s not), it’s just that there’s already alternatives out there for we civilians. Sure, I’d like to own one if I could afford it, but laying my hands on one isn’t a priority for me: Getting better with what I already own is my priority.

Recoil Magazine Learns How To Lose Friends And Gain Enemies

Recoil Magazine learns how to lose friends and gain enemies

There’s another brouhaha developing on teh gun interwebs (wow, when was the last time THAT happened?), this time over a statement made about the H+K MP7A1 PDW. 

Apparently, Recoil Magazine (a cross between Guns and Ammo and Wired) published a review of the MP7A1 which declared it was a good thing that mere mortals like we civilians not get ahold of such devastating H+K made weaponry

“Hey guys, this is Jerry Tsai, Editor of RECOIL. I think I need to jump in here and clarify what I wrote in the MP7A1 article. It looks like I may not have stated my point clearly enough in that line that is quoted up above. Let’s be clear, neither RECOIL nor I are taking the stance on what should or should not be made available on the commercial market although I can see how what was written can be confused as such.

Because we don’t want anything to be taken out of context, let’s complete that quote and read the entire paragraph:

“Like we mentioned before, the MP7A1 is unavailable to civilians and for good reason. We all know that’s technology no civvies should ever get to lay their hands on. This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of. It is made to put down scumbags, and that’s it. Mike Cabrera of Heckler & Koch Law Enforcement Sales and veteran law enforcement officer with SWAT unit experience points out that this is a gun that you do not want in the wrong, slimy hands. It comes with semi-automatic and full-auto firing modes only. Its overall size places it between a handgun and submachine gun. Its assault rifle capabilities and small size make this a serious weapon that should not be taken lightly.”

Let’ also review why this gun should not be taken lightly. In the article it was stated that the MP7A1 is a slightly larger than handgun sized machine-gun that can be accurately fired and penetrate Soviet style body armor at more than 300 yards. In the wrong hands, that’s a bad day for the good guys.

As readers of RECOIL, we all agree that we love bad-*** hardware, there’s no question about that. I believe that in a perfect world, all of us should have access to every kind of gadget that we desire. Believe me, being a civvie myself, I’d love to be able to get my hands on an MP7A1 of my own regardless of its stated purpose, but unfortunately the reality is that it isn’t available to us. As a fellow enthusiast, I know how frustrating it is to want something only to be denied it.

Its manufacturer has not made the gun available to the general public and when we asked if it would ever come to the commercial market, they replied that it is strictly a military and law enforcement weapon, adding that there are no sporting applications for it. Is it wrong that HK decided against selling a full-auto pocket sized machine gun that can penetrate armor from hundreds of yards away? It’s their decision to make and their decision they have to live with not mine nor anybody else’s.

I accepted their answer for what it was out of respect for those serving in uniform. I believe that we as gun enthusiasts should respect our brothers in law enforcement, agency work and the military and also keep them out of harms way. Like HK, I wouldn’t want to see one of these slip into the wrong hands either. Whether or not you agree with this is fine. I am compelled to explain a point that I was trying to make that may have not been clear.

Thanks for reading,
– JT, Editor, RECOIL”

Here’s the problem, Mr. Tsai. H+K hates the civilian market. They’d much rather let the military and police have guns and leave us with a smattering of carefully-regulated shotguns and .22’s (because hey, look how well that works in Britain!).

And Jerry, you fell for H+K’s message hook, line and sinker (although to your credit, your magazine hasn’t featured a cover photo like this. Yet.) .

There is no such thing as “sporting purpose”: That same tricked-out AR-15 that does sub-MOA at Camp Perry is kissing cousins with a soldier’s M4. The Remington 870 I use for quail is a barrel change and a magazine extension away from riding around in a police cruiser. 

And don’t get me started on 3 gun or USPSA. 

H+K sucks, and they hate you. Once you realize that, Jerry, you can begin to walk back your “only one” -esque statement about who should and should not have access to guns. 

Guns don’t need a “why”: Guns are what they are; it’s the people who use them that provide the “why”.