The Change is Made

When people who have guns stop thinking “Ok, I have a gun, I’m safe” to “Ok, I have a gun, what do I need to do or learn in order to be safe?”

One assumes that the object itself is the journey, the other assumes that mastering the use of the object is the journey.

Fads come and go. Firearms companies and retailers have got to improve their ability to convince people to make the switch from seeing guns as a talisman of self-protection and start seeing how firearms fit into their lifestyle, otherwise all those guns purchased over the last eight years are going to wind up as a the ballistic equivalent of a pet rock.

How Expensive is 3 Gun?

Have you checked out how much it costs to compete in airsoft? $4000 a year per player? If people are willing to shell out $4k to run around and shoot plastic pellets, how much would they be willing to pay to blast away with a real gun in their hands?

The problem is that four grand is just the cost of the guns needed to start into 3 Gun. Match fees and ammo (especially ammo) are going to cost you much, much more. The question remains: How much will you actually spend the first year shooting 3 Gun matches?

A typical four-stage 3 Gun match requires approximately 100 rounds of rifle ammo, 100 rounds of pistol ammo, 50 shells and a half-dozen slugs. You may shoot more, you may shoot less, but that’s a good amount to take to the range on match day, and you can use the leftover ammo for practice or plinking.

Guns: $3500
Match Fees: $180

Shooting one match a month, that means you’ll shoot 1200 rounds each of rifle and pistol ammo, 600 shells and 70 slugs. Match fees vary, but figure $10-20 each time you show up as good benchmark, meaning you’ll pay $180 to your local clubs for the matches you shoot during the year.

Ammo: $880
1200 rounds 9mm: $275
1200 rounds .223: $360
600 12ga shells: $185
70 12ga slugs: $60

First Year Startup Cost: $4560
Subsequent Yearly Cost: $1560

The subsequent yearly cost is based on a year’s worth of ammo cost and match fees, plus an additional $500 each year for gear tweaks and equipment upgrades. To be honest, I was expecting the yearly cost to be much more, but sticking with inexpensive ammo like PMC and Armscor dropped the price significantly. Ammo costs would be even less with remanufactured ammo, reloading your own rounds or going with even cheaper brands like Wolf and Tula.

Is 3 gun more expensive than USPSA or IDPA? Obviously yes, because you are spending more more money on more guns and more expensive ammunition than a pistol-only competition, but it’s not out of reach of the average U.S. household. The startup cost is high, but the enjoyment factor is very high as well.

Time to move on, CZ.

First off, congrats on this accomplishment. You trounced the likes of Glock and Smith&Wesson, and that’s a good thing.

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Secondly, you’ve done a couple of the things that I suggested over a year ago, namely supporting the P07 with more stuff and rolling out new product via new media, with some spectacularly good results.

Well done.

But now it’s time to realize that the only thing driving the gun market these days is concealed carry. Can you PLEASE build an SA/DA gun that is lightweight, skinny that holds 10 rounds or so? There is literally nothing like that on the market right now (I said skinny and lightweight, Rami, please sit down), so you would have the market to yourself.

#PrecisionRiflesMatter

I have to hand it to Ruger: They upset the market back in 2007 with the LCP, reinvigorated the Scout Rifle market in 2011 (with a catchy tagline they “borrowed” from me) and now they’re looking to jump onboard the rising tide of precision rifle shooting with their new gun.

So far I have fired five different 6.5 Creedmoor loads from Hornady and Doubletap off a bench rest on Gunsite’s York Range at 100 yards. I use the bipod and support the butt with a sandbag, and despite hating to shoot 5 shot bench rest groups – and I don’t think I’m very good at it – the Ruger Precision Rifle has proved to me it will shoot. I’m abusing the rifle and breaking another rule of precision shooting because I run through the group strings quickly and the rifle gets very hot and never cools down. Thus far my smallest group is 0.41 inches, fired with Hornady’s 120gr. A-Max Match, just edging out my best group with the 140gr. Hornady load of 0.55 inches. The worst group I’ve recorded (and I’m sure it was me, not the rifle or the ammunition) measured 1.51 inches. An overall average for 36 five shot groups with five different 6.5 Creedmoor loads has thus far produced a 0.912” average; that’s 180 rounds of mixed ammunition staying under one inch. Five shot, five group strings, or 25 rounds, are typically averaging around eight tenths of an inch when I manage to do my part well.

MSRP for the Precision Rifle is $1399, and we’re already seeing them go for under $1200 on Gunbroker. Team up that rifle with a a decent bipod, good rings and something like this Vortex scope, and you have a 1 MOA gun for around $2500.

Not bad. Okay Ruger, now make one for left-handed shooters.

No, the DHS is not buying up all the .22 Long Rifle ammo

The Rosicrucians made them do it!

Also, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and Wal-Mart isn’t halting sales of AR-15 and tactical gear because they’ve bought into some liberal gun-control agenda.

There’s a simple reason why you won’t find AR’s, tactical shotguns and assorted accessories on their shelves: They’re not selling.

We are in an AR-15 glut right now. You can find lower receivers for under $50 all over the place these days, and entry-level AR’s are going for less than $600.

This is not a sign of a scarcity of goods.

AR manufacturers have an uphill climb ahead of them: For the last 20 years, there has been no other reason needed to buy an AR other than it was either banned or it MIGHT be banned again soon. Thousands and thousands of ARs were sold on the basis of a ban that was going to happen, had happened or might happen again. In other words, for the last 20 years, actual and artificial scarcity were the drivers behind a very real (and very profitable) demand for AR style rifles.

But those days are over. There wasn’t a nation-wide assault weapons ban passed after Newtown, and the chances of such a ban grow slimmer every day as more and more people clue into the fact that they are their own first responders. That doesn’t mean that anti-gunners aren’t going to keep trying to ban AR’s through other legal and extra-legal means, but the chances of another Brady Bill are pretty much over. We are in a post-scarcity world when it comes to guns, and this especially true of ARs.

There are other reasons why Wal-Mart would want to get out of the AR game:

  • Selling guns is a pain: Make too many mistakes on your 4473’s, and the ATF shuts you down, not matter if you’re Wal-Mart or not.
  • The margin on guns suck, usually 20% or less. Wal-Mart would be better served turning that shelf space into something with 25% (or better) margins.
  • As for accessories, they’re like reloading supplies: Either you carry EVERYTHING, or you carry nothing, because the customer will want the product you’re not carrying more than they will want the products you do carry.

Walmart makes their money at the gun counter by selling knives, ammo, eyes and ears. Anything else is secondary or even tertiary. So calm down everyone, there’s no reason to don the tinfoil chapeau over this. Let’s save our time and energy for the things that REALLY matter, like chemtrails and how the Rosicrucians and the Greys are taking over the world.

A year at the ready.

I was in St. Louis the night of the Ferguson riots. Thankfully, nothing happened, and if something did happen, I was more ready than most people to deal with bad things because I had my usual (at the time) daily carry with me: An S&W Shield, a spare mag, a Streamlight Microstream and a Boker knife. In addition to this, I was testing out a lightweight man-purse messenger bag as a way to carry all the little stuff I need to deal with life’s daily ups and downs. I’ve had that same bag with me for the past year, and it accompanies me every time I leave the house. I doesn’t always carry it with when I leave the car, but it is close by if (God forbid) I need it. To be clear, this is not intended to be a 72 hour kit or bug out bag: All this little bag does is allow me to live 24 hours outside of the house in an urban/suburban setting if a disaster or social disruption happens that prevents me from going home. If the power goes out for 24 hours or a flood washes out the bridges on my usual commute, I want to be able to deal with having to not being home for 24 hours, no matter where I am or what I am doing. The contents of the bag are built around sheltering in-place, be it my car, my office or a hotel room, so there’s not a lot of wilderness survival gear in the bag. Another big reason for this bag is to have the things near me that I need in order to deal with the effects of a violent force for or against me. I firmly believe that if you carry a firearm, you should be ready and able to deal with the effects of using that firearm. front

The bag is not hard to carry around, although I don’t traipse thru the shopping mall with it on my shoulder. In the water bottle pouch is, well, a water bottle, and in the outside MOLLE pockets, I have pens, a flashlight and a larger knife is tucked into the back. I’ve used a trick I learned as a photo assistant and wrapped six or so feet of duct tape around a Sharpie pen so I always have tape on-hand. outside_pockets

The water bottle has come in handy to deal with nasty-tasting municipal water from drinking fountains, and below it in the pouch I’ve stuffed a plastic grocery bag to use as a trash bag, etc. The top pocket has all the gear for my iPhone: I rely on that sucker for more than just making phone calls, so keeping my phone up and running is a big deal for me. I’ve used this extra battery for a year now, and it will recharge my phone enough to use for another 24 hours, which is just what I need it to do. top_pockets I’ve used every one of these items over the last year (I think I’m on my 12th snack bar or so). Most useful: The little microfiber lens cleaning cloth from RSR Distributing, which gets used to clean my spectacles at least once a day. The front pocket is also loaded up with useful stuff which has also seen a fair about of use over the past year: front_pocket Fortunately, I haven’t had to use the rain poncho yet, but everything else here has seen some action over the last twelve months. In particular, the lighter has been used far more often than I would have imagined: There is no substitute for an open flame, and people don’t carry matches or a lighter like they used to in days of old. One thing I am adding to the front pocket is a two-pack of disposable toothbrushes, because the darn things are so handy. As for the last-ditch emergency supplies in the bottom pouch, I’m VERY pleased to say I haven’t needed any of this: kc_emergency I’m ditching the compass and knife sharpener for a micro-fiber camp towel: It rains a LOT here in Florida, and dry and safe is better than damp and safe. I’m also tossing in a pair of cheap rubber earplugs, because I always seem to never have ear pro around when I need it. As far as the inside pockets go, I have a fair amount of stuff tucked away inside the pack, but I still have room for a full-size iPad and my ancient Nikon D70 in the inside pouch, so I can toss in the little knickknacks I pick up during the day. interior I *love* that Bluetooth keyboard. It’s not as easy to use as a laptop, but I can stick it and my phone into the pockets of a pair of cargo shorts and write anywhere, anytime (in fact, a significant portion of this post was written on that keyboard, paired to my iPhone 6+). The umbrella and Ballistol are new additions that don’t take up much room yet have proven to come in handy these past few months, and I’ve added enough spare cash to get me a cheap hotel room if I absolutely need to stay overnight somewhere. I’m pleased to report that aside from a couple of bandaids and some Advil, I’ve not had to use any of the gear in my first aid pouch. I’m adding a pair of nitrile gloves to the mix, something that I overlooked when I put the kit together. kc_first_aid-2 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: What good is it going to do you if you stop the threat with a perfect Mozambique drill on the bad guy when/if the need arises, only to find out he/she managed to squeeze of a round and now your loved one(s) are bleeding out in front of your eyes? Carry your tourniquets, people. It’s a lighter burden than regret. contents

That’s a fair amount of kit to haul around in a small bag, but it’s not heavy and carries easily. All in all, I’m pleased with the contents and the container of my murse messenger bag, and I’ll continue to have it near me if (God forbid) I have another Ferguson moment. Update: I wrote this post a week and queued it up for delivery a day and a half ago . Since that time, it looks like I might get a chance to put some of this stuff to the test

Just the essentials

I’m hopelessly addicted to Tiny House Nation. I’m not necessarily going to downsize to 300 square feet (yet), but I love a good hack, and the houses they build on that show  are chock full of space-saving, problem-solving goodness because of their small size.

Which got me thinking: Eight guns are the minimum for a well-rounded shooter, but what if there’s not enough space for even that? What is the absolute minimum amount of guns that I might need to protect myself and my loved ones and participate in my shooting sports of choice?

  • A full-size 9mm pistol.
    It all begins with this. I’d pair it with an OWB holster so that I can shoot IDPA or USPSA with it as well as carry it concealed under a cover garment during the day. For added fun (and to save money), I’d make sure whatever I bought was capable of switching over to .22 without much fuss and bother.
  • A 16″ AR-15 in .223.
    Add on a free-floating barrel, collapsable stock and a 1-4x scope, and you’ve got something to defend the home, take to the range or shoot 3 gun. If I want to save money, I can just drop in a CMMG adapter and blast away with .22LR ammo, and if I want to go after deer or need more thump, there’s .300BLK available if I don’t mind storing an extra barrel and BCG around somewheres. Speaking of 3 Gun and extra barrels…
  • A 12ga semi-auto shotgun.
    Set up for 3 Gun with an 8+1 magazine tube, I can easily swap the barrel and tube if I want to blast one of God’s creatures out of the heavens.
  • A pocket .380.
    For those days when concealing a full-size gun is just not possible.

All of that easily fits into a Plano Two-Rifle case, and that, along with a half-dozen mags for the rifle and pistols, 1000 rounds of 9mm, 500 rounds of .223 and a bunch of shotgun ammo should easily fit into the space underneath the average couch.

Maybe we don’t need all that gear after all.