Building the perfect beast

Sig P320

Noodling more about what I won’t see at SHOT this year has got me thinking about what my perfect handgun would look like. Allow me a few minutes of navel(lint) gazing…

First, it’d have be built with modularity in mind. I’m not a big fan of having to buy a new gun anytime I want something different. One of the reasons why the AR-15 has become so popular is because it can be made into almost anything quickly, easily and semi-afforably.

Modularity means more than just backstraps, it means being able to build my gun, my way. I REALLY like what Sig is doing with the 320, but I’d take it one step further and just sell the serialized trigger group by itself, with no pieces parts in it all, much like an AR-15 lower is sold today. An AR15 lower, to borrow a phrase from the honey badger, doesn’t care. It doesn’t know if you’re building a direct impingement gun or a gas piston gun. It doesn’t know if you’re putting in a Geissele trigger or a Timney trigger or if it’ll end up in .22LR, .223 or .300BLK. It’s just a lower, it doesn’t care.

We’re not there with pistols yet, but the Modular Handgun System is a step in the right direction. What happens when that idea is taken to its logical end? What happens when I walk into a store and buy a trigger group, and then pick and choose from frames, calibers, sights, accessories, barrel lengths and maybe even action types, a la the CZ Omega trigger?

Trigger-wise, I’m on the fence re: DA/SA or striker-fired. I think the Omega trigger (Wasn’t that the title of a Ludlum thriller from the 70’s? I digress…), is an interesting and overlooked idea. Striker-fired guns are nothing new, they’ve been around for almost 100 years, but they never took off until Glock made them teh new hotness, so there is precedence for a good idea to just sit there laying around in plain sight for many, many years until somebody does something with it.

We’ve never had a pistol that’s as adaptable as an AR, and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when we do. Sales of lowers hasn’t affected sales of prebuilt AR’s, so there’s no reason to think that sales of pistol trigger groups would cannibalize “regular” pistol sales, because some people want to just buy a gun, not a Lego set.

Ok gun companies, go for it.

First Gun, Favorite Gun, Next Gun?

S&W K22 and ammo

Borrowing from my friend Jon Gabriel and from Joe Mantegna

What was your first gun, your favorite gun and your next gun?

And by favorite, I mean in terms of sentimental value, i.e. the gun that shows up the most in lies stories that you tell.


The first gun that I owned, the first one that I bought with my own money, is my beloved pre-B CZ75. I’d shot a lot of guns before that, but they were always somebody else’s.

My favorite gun is the K22 that used to belong to my father-in-law. I love this gun. I love its history. I love its wear. I love how it shoots. There is nothing about it I don’t like.

My next gun will probably be a Kel-Tec CMR30. I’m endlessly fascinated by this gun, as I think it’s the very first affordable “civilian” personal defense weapon out there. Want one. Badly.

I said “affordable”, FNH. Please sit back down.

Ok, your First, Favorite, Next?

Games without frontiers

Or, if looks could kill, they probably will.

Matt over at Jerking The Trigger had a good post on how we set our training priorities and how that affects the gaps in said training:

Why do so many shooters emphasize shooting courses and turn up their noses at combatives and first aid training? I suspect most people are more likely to need to know how to use a pressure bandage or throw a punch than to need to draw their handgun in anger over the course of their lives.

Yep. Backup irons become important if you train on a square range in the daytime. Take a night-shooting class, though, and those iron sights mean NOTHING compared to a good weapon light.

Also, think about how competition affects our gear and our training: Maybe one of the reasons why there is very little integrated combatives/firearms training for us civvies is because we haven’t found a way to make a game of it yet. The Greeks figured out 3000 or so years ago that if you make a game of war, you get better at war, and USPSA and IDPA are capitalizing today on what was learned on the slopes of Mt. Olympus long ago.

We’ve yet to apply those same ideas to combatives / firearms training for civilians, and when we do, then the idea that just having a gun won’t be enough will REALLY take off.

80% is Zero Percent

So it turns out that Sierra Nevada Arms, the Rockethub project I supported a year and a half ago (!) is no more. Their phone has been disconnected, their website is “down for maintenance” and Facebook page is pretty much Tango Uniform.

Gone Daddy Gone Sierra Nevada Disarmed

Not happy. I completely understand that I was funding a business, not buying a product, but I invested my money based on good faith, and that faith was betrayed. As I said a year ago,

“At this point, unless you’re wanting the thrill(?) of building it yourself or want to get a firearm without the .gov on your back, just go buy a lower and spare yourself a lot of trouble.”

Well, now that finished lowers are going for just $45, there’s even fewer reasons to get an unfinished, incomplete, DIY lower.

Caveat emptor, as always.

Let Me Tell You How To Save Your Life

My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 

– 1 Corinthians 1:11-12, NIV

Grant Cunningham asked a great question last week, (as he is often wont to do).

What’s with all the infighting in the defensive shooting world?

Stick around the defensive shooting world for any length of time and you’ll discover partisanship that makes national politics seem tame. Where do these squabbles come from, and what can you do to avoid them?

His points were made about training in context, about law enforcement training versus military training vs. training for armed civilians, and his points are very, very valid and very insightful.


I think there’s higher form of infighting going on here. As defensive firearms instructors, we are doing nothing less than helping people save their own lives and the lives of the people they hold dear on the absolute worst day of their lives.

As Marty McFly might say, that’s heavy.

A good instructor will understand what that means and integrate it into his training, and that level of seriousness will percolate down into other things. What once was a pastime can become a mission and a passion, and that can lead to a clash of egos.

I’ve seen this passion before, and it can be a force for good, or a force that destroys lives. I worked for a half-dozen years in the faith-based non-profit world, and I worked every day with people who were a) trying to save the world and b) felt they were called by God to do so.

To be fair, there is/was some amazing work being down by these people because of their passion: When you clean out the internal parasites in the population of an entire sub-Saharan country, that is nothing but a good thing. But that same drive, that same sense of a higher calling led to some EPIC clashes of egos that no amount of lip service to humility and “unity of the brethren” could heal.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Is your goal an informed, equipped and prepared student, or an acolyte and evangelist for your training? Are you selling your students a lifestyle, or a training plan? What is your goal, more people who think like you, or more people who can take care of themselves?

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us,on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

– 1 Corinthians 10:11-12

Inside Job


Why is no one promoting indoor shooting matches? There’s a few indoor IDPA clubs out there, but there is a serious disconnect between the glitz and glam of the Smith & Wesson Indoor Nationals and setting up an IDPA match at Frank N Bubba’s Indoor Shooting Emporium.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge and Scholastic Steel are supposed to be “feeder” sports into the larger world of practical shooting, but because they shoot steel, they are pretty much a no-go indoors,. This leaves indoor shooters with IDPA and outlaw practical pistol as the models for the indoor matches, which are ok, (but not ideal) for people starting out in practical shooting.And even then, the IDPA Classifier requires 60+ feet of range space to run, something that is not to be found on  most indoor ranges.

How hard would it be for Steel Challenge, et al, to publish a slightly revised version of their match rules that is suitable for a 10 yard indoor range? Instead of shooting steel, why not shoot hanging, self-sealing plastic targets that jump when hit? It won’t be the ping! of a well-placed steel hit, but it be instant feedback, which is the point of shooting steel versus paper.

Consider this: Outdoor shooting ranges are getting hassled from the neighbors about noise and safety, and with “guntry” clubs on the upsurge, where is the future of the practical shooting: On an expansive outdoor public range with four+ pistol bays, or indoors, after-hours at luxury gun club? So why is there one (COUNT IT!) one major match (two if you count the BUG Gun Nationals) that even acknowledge the existence of indoor ranges?

The dangerous trap of gear envy

Don Giannatti is a good friend who gave me my first shot in the photo world. He also gave me my first paying gig as a photographer, handing off a quick editorial job from The National Enquirer into my hands. That’s right, my first gig as a shooter was for the National Enquirer. I have my price, and it is VERY low.

I digress.

Read this bit from his post on gear envy and what it does to photographers, but where it says “camera” think “gun” and “photograph” think “shot”.

  1. If you cannot take a good photograph with an entry level camera and a kit lens, what makes you think your work will be better with a shiny new D760D-X NiKanon?
  2. If your pictures suck with what you have, they will most likely suck with a new camera, but now have the added fun of sucking after spending a boat load of cash.
  3. Perhaps it isn’t your camera, maybe you suck at making photographs.
  4. If your camera is not working ‘correctly’, it could be “user error”… just sayin’.
  5. Bigger file sizes means bigger file sizes. That’s it. (Bigger calibers mean bigger holes. That’s it. - K.)
  6. Yes, yes… that guru on all the awesome YouTubes shoots with some terribly expensive gear, and his pictures are awesomer than yours. Here is something to think about – give them your camera and watch them make the same awesomer shots.
  7. Camera manufacturers pay extraordinarily big money to make you think that their new wizbang will turn your pathetic throw aways into gallery ready pix. You let that crap take hold and you will never have enough gear… ever.

On a not-unrelated topic, here’s a (clickclick) shot I took with a 10 year old Nikon D70, a busted-up Manfrotto tripod and an iPhone. If I subscribed to the good gear = good photos theory, it should suck.

But it doesn’t. Think about THAT the next time you consider shelling out $$$ for some gadget to make you shooter better.