The gun to have if you can only have one

I’ll admit it, when I first started reading about Jeff Cooper and his ideas about self defense, I didn’t “get” the idea behind a scout rifle. It seemed to be quaint and antiquated in a world of AR’s and AK’s, and besides, semi-autos had more firepower and precision rifles were more accurate, so why get a rifle that was a compromise.

I get it now, though.

It’s not that a scout rifle is the optimal self-defense rifle or the last word in 800 yard tack drivers, rather, a scout rifle gives you 85% of both of those rifles in a package that’s small and light so that you’ll have it with you when you need it and is reliable enough to go *bang* when you need it as well.

Do I *need* a rifle like that? No.

Do I want one? Oh yeah.

Update: Hey, if you’re coming to this page from various parts of the Internet (and beyond), feel free to stick around and visit the home page for more and/or follow me on Twitter.

For the record

I don’t think the 1911 sucks, but on the other hand, I don’t think it’s the Ultimate Defensive Handgun, either. I don’t own one right now, but an Armscor Tactical is on my list for this year so I can shoot Single Stack / CDP. I put .45 shooters in the same cubby hole with revolver shooters and SiG nuts and (*gag*) Glock fanatics: Hey, if that’s what floats your boat, go for it.

One comment in particular caught my eye, though. 

… anyone without enough training to disengage the thumb safety on the draw stroke doesn’t have enough training to carry anything safely 

I respectfully disagree. The first rule of ANY user interface is Don’t make me think”. The minute you use the phrase “Our interface makes sense once you get used to it”, that’s the instant you know your interface isn’t up to the task.

This is the case with cocked and locked carry. Sure, once you are used to it, it works, but that’s one more hill for a novice to climb over, one more thing for them to think about in a life-or-death situation. If there’s EVER a time for “don’t make me think”, it’s when you’re using a gun to defend your life.

A person’s ability to learn is limited, and if you say “anyone without enough training to disengage the thumb safety on the draw stroke doesn’t have enough training to carry anything safely” you’re saying “Look, there’s a learning curve on this gun, and the time you spend getting over it could be used to train awareness or cover/concealment or malf drills.” All of those other things are training items that have been proven time and time again to have a bigger impact on the chances of surviving an incident than whether you carry a 1911 or some other gun.

Recommending a gun that requires training to USE (not master, but just use every day) doesn’t dispel the myth that 1911 fans are snobs, and it certainly doesn’t encourage beginners to get into the shooting sports. Find the gun that works for you and use it, and hey, if it’s a CZ, so much the better. 🙂

More …


I’ve been using my Mossberg 500 in three-gun for the past year or so. It’s a good shotgun, but it’s a pump gun that only holds 7 in the tube and another one up the pipe. This would be alright if I were shooting Heavy Metal, but it kinda sucks in Tactical Iron, as everyone else is running semi-autos with 8+1 capacity.

Enter the Mossberg 930 SPX.


I’ve wanted a 930 SPX ever since they were introduced. I’m cross-eye dominant: I’m right-handed, but my left eye is my dominant eye. This isn’t a big problem when I shoot pistols, but it works out better with long guns if I shoot them left-handed.

930 SPX

The safety on both of my Mossbergs is mounted on the back of the receiver and is as easy to use as it is with my left hand as it is with my right. Considering that in a three gun match, you’re disqualified if you lay down a shotgun without engaging the safety, how a safety works on a long gun is a big deal.

Safety first

I’ve already put around 100 shells through it, from #8 target loads to #2 plated buck and it’s swallowed them all. The 930 SPX is also 7+1 capacity out of the box, but I’ve got a +1 mag extension and a heat shield for it on the way from Midway, as well as side saddle shell holders from 3 Gun Gear. If the gods of FedEx smile on me, I should have everything ready to go for next month’s three gun match at Rio, and it’ll definitely help me move up in the results for the Mystery Three Gun this year.

Sixth Report

Remember how I said “next time, it’ll be perfect?” 

I lied. 

4 to go

Dot Torture Drill: 46 out of 50

Not unexpected: I’ve not had any range time of note since the Classic last month, and while dry-fire is good, live-fire is better. 

El Presidente Scores 

CZ75 1 CZ75 2 CZ75 3  CZ75 4
Target One A 2C D A B D M 1A 3C 1A 3C
Target Two 3A D 2A C D 2A 2C 2A 2 C
Target Three A 2C D 3C D 3A 1C 3A 1C

Time 8.78 8.88 8.98 8.51
A’s 4 6 6 6
C’s 5 5 6 6
D’s 2 1
M’s 1
Points 27 46 48 48
Score 3.08 5.18 5.35 5.64
Draw 2.09 1.95 2.09 2.05
Reload 2.52 2.89 3.08 2.48
Avg. Split 0.42 0.39 0.39 0.38

Even with sucky draw times, I scored my best El Prez score ever, and all of my runs were sub-10 seconds.

I’ll take that. 

More …

The illusion of control

Kevin Baker delivers another überpost, and it’s well worth your time

So, we have established that James Kelly cares about his fellow humans and wants nothing but the best for them: he wants everyone to be safe, free from fear, have an equal share of the wealth, etc. But it’s the reactionaries that prevent his personal vision of utopia from coming true, people who “construct the most astonishingly complex defensive arguments just to avoid having to let go of their familiar certainties”, people who are willing to carry weapons and use them against their fellow-man. 

Mr. Kelly’s entire argument is that the number of weapons is what dictates the level of violent crime. If gun crime is increasing in the UK, it’s obviously because there are more guns, despite the UK enacting every gun law that our gun ban control safety groups want to enact here, up to and including complete bans on legal possession of whole classes of firearms. If knife crime is up, it’s due to more knives (not weapon substitution). But when the US adds 3-4 million new guns each year and our gun crime goes down, then what? 

Then we have to confront the idea that cold, hard facts may get in the way of our utopia. 

My full time job is working with an international relief and development agency, so I completely and fully understand the desire of trying to create a paradise on Earth. But I also realize this world will never, ever get to the point where we live our lives free from want and fear.

The same motivations that drive me to by insurance and smoke detectors drive me towards self-protectection. I won’t wait for the fire department to come and save my house if there’s a kitchen fire, and I won’t trust the police to be there if I should ever need one.

More …

A Force of One

Tactical Studies Group, the people who put on the night shooting class I attended a few months ago, are having a range/practice day at Rio tomorrow starting at 8 in the morning. They’ll be going over professional bodyguard techniques like hot evacuation drills, contact drills and team-shooting drills, something that an ordinary, everyday CCW holder like myself shouldn’t be concerned about, right?


Think about it: Why do we civilians carry defensive firearms? To protect our lives and the lives of the people around us. What is the role of a professional bodyguard? Ditto. The only difference is, I do it for love instead of money. When I’m out with my wife these days, I find that I’m naturally falling in one step behind and one step to her right as we’re walking, scanning the area we’re moving through. When I put my kids in the car, I scan the area, strap them in, then scan the area again before I get in. Paranoid? No. Aware? I hope so.

And that’s just the type of behaviour expected of a professional bodyguard. We civilians could learn a lot from the pros, maybe it’s time we start listening.

Plastic Fantastic


Earlier this year, I won a gun (ok, an AR Lower, but it counts, right?) off the prize table at the Superstition Mountain Mystery Three Gun.

And here’s what it turned into. 

Cav Arms lower + MagPul

  • CavArms Lower
  • 16″ Dane Armory barrel
  • VM HyTech Upper from my old AR
  • Magpul forend 
  • No-name handle and front sight

It’s unbelievably light, shoots very well and will make a great plinker/defense gun for when I don’t want to use the UEBR.

Two wrongs make a right

I’ve had a Sccy CPX-1 for a while now and it’s been a bit of a problem child for me. I bought it as my first CCW gun, and I thought it was quite a good buy. Price at around $300, it’s small, light, accurate and packs the punch of 10+1 9mm rounds into a pistol that can slide into the front pocket of a pair of dress pants. 


It’s not exactly the most reliable gun in the world. Mine’s had to go back to the factory three times in the three years I’ve owned it, typically because the receiver has a tendency to crack slightly under heavy use, causing the gun not to go into battery. 

Not a good thing. 

It’s a nice enough gun and does the job, but it can’t handle high round counts, and that’s why I carry either my Kel-Tec P3AT or my CZ P07 these days, relegating the Sccy to backup duty in my car. 

Door jam

And it works pretty good there: The pistol and holster fit snugly into the door pocket, it doesn’t slide around when the car moves and it doesn’t scream “HEY THIS IS A PISTOL!”. You’d think that a cheap, ugly Uncle Mike’s holster would be the LAST holster you’d want for a car gun, but actually, it works pretty well. 

It works

The magazine on the top of the holster is a nice place for my left hand to hold on the holster as I pull it out of the door pocket, and thumb snap holds the pistol secure until I need it. I haven’t timed my draw on this yet, but after a few dry runs, it feels almost as fast as my draw from concealment, and definitely faster than having to wriggle around in my seat trying to get my CCW gun into action if I need it. Funny how two things that by themselves don’t work so well turn out to work really well together for this task.