SHOT Shot 2015 Is A Wrap.

And I’m utterly and completely spent. The difference between going to SHOT to write about SHOT and going to SHOT to do business is the difference between watching a marathon and being in a marathon.

Some highlights.

Sig Sauer Range Day was definitely a highlight, and shooting SBR versions of the MPX and 716 7.62mm were definitely highlights. Also, the more I shoot the P320, the more I like it, and I liked it a LOT when it was rolled out last year.

While we’re on SIG, they are definitely on a roll right now. While Glock introduced red-dot slides, Springfield introduced the XDM-2 and Smith and Wesson introduced, um, errr, well, not really anything, SIG has moved on to optics, with top-notch glass created by team members originally from Leupold and silencers created by the mad geniuses who built everything of interest at AAC.

Because silencers are cool.

Bits and pieces of other cool things:

A Ceratoked 1911. I don’t know whether to load ammo into this, or preflight it for takeoff.

IMG_3810

The Fostech Origin 12. Maybe the ultimate in Saiga-style shotguns. Want one SO badly.

fostech

Speaking of nice things, Korth firearms impressed everyone with their Sky Marshall revolver (and it is VERY impressive), but their 1911’s are INSANE. From the frame down, they’re a 1911, but the slide and barrel use an HK roller-locking system to create a gun like none other.

korth

And now on to something not quite as nice. The Taurus Curve is not all that bad: There is a “peep sight” in the crosshairs that does allow you something like a sight picture, and the trigger is the best of any striker/DAO .380 I’ve tried. I wouldn’t carry one without a holster, but it stacks up well against the LCP, P3AT and other such guns.

curve_1

And to fly RAPIDLY down to bottom of the barrel, oh Sarsilmaz, you so funny. Last year, it was designing a gun for six-fingered women, and this year, well, see for yourself.

Fail

Marketing guns to women: You’re doing it wrong.

A Gunblogger’s Best Friend.

Larry Weeks

Larry Weeks has been a tireless champion of the Gunblogging world, and he finally had the good sense to retire from the hectic world of retail firearms sales and take up the serene, contemplative sport of auto racing.

No, really.

Those of us who do this ’cause we like it owe him a big debt of gratitude. He was one of the first people in the big boys to take us seriously, and he leaves behind some mighty big shoes to fill.

Good luck, Larry, and may all the flags you see be checkered black and white.

 

The Army Rejects the Beretta M9A3 Pistol

071019085951-large

Supposedly, the M9A3 is now telling everyone that actually, THEY rejected the Army first, and they’re now seeing someone new who’s TOTALLY AWESOME and not like that total lame-o loser military contract they were seeing last year.

Reports that the M9A3 is, in reality, curled up on the sofa, wearing a camo Snuggie and listening to James Blunt songs while scarfing down their third pint of Ben’N’Jerry’s remain unconfirmed at this time.

Product Review: Sig Sauer CP-1 Scope and STL-300 Stoplite.

kel-tac su16c

My “trunk gun”: A Kel-Tec SU16C with a SigTac CP1 scope and an STL300 laser/light.

I shot a 3 gun match last year with my trunk gun, a Kel-Tec SU-16C, to see how well it worked under stressful conditions. The rifle was surprisingly accurate and I was able to work the cross bolt safety with ease, which surprised me, because I shoot that gun left-handed due to my cross-eye dominance. One thing that did pop up, though, was that I forgot to turn on my red-dot sight before I started my first stage.

Whoops.

Now at a match, all that means is I’m a little more embarrassed than I usually am and a few wasted seconds to turn on the dot. However, if this had been a two-way shooting match with rounds incoming, that simple mistake would have serious issues.

SigTac CP1 3x Scope

Advantages: Clear optics, great value, good combo of magnification and field of view
Disadvantages: Confusing reticle
Rating: Four out of five stars

I decided to replace the Vortex Strikefire on top of my gun with an optic that was always on, and I settled on a Sig Sauer CP1 3×32 optic. I chose this optic for a couple of reasons: I wanted an “always on” optic that I could quickly use, and I wanted something that wouldn’t break the bank and leave me heartbroken if it broke on me. Yes, I could get an ACOG and get everything I wanted (and more) but somehow, putting a $900 optic on a $600 gun that I’m not going to use all that often just doesn’t make sense to me. Also, a fixed power 3x magnification scope gives me enough power to help reach out and touch people at 200+ yards and yet doesn’t give me tunnel vision for closer work.

reticleThe CP1 scope mounted quickly on the top of my SU-16, although its eye relief is a little short compared to the red dot I had on there before. If you closely look at the picture above, you’ll note that the scope is right up against the rear backup sight, and I still get a little blackout on it at times. The scope sighted in quickly: I prefer a 50 yard sight-in on my .223 AR’s, and I was able to get this one dialed in quite fast. The scope comes with options to light up the reticle in red or green light, and those controls are easy to activate and manipulate. The reticle, however, is my biggest complaint about this scope: It is much more confusing than a simple scope like this requires, and there is just too much information going on to quickly make a good decision about what line for what use at what range. A simple duplex or cleaner BDC reticle would have been much more useful than the mumbo jumbo inside this scope

Optically, however, the scope is quite nice, easily keeping up with other scopes in its price range. The colors are clear, the details are crisp and there is no noticeable “rainbows” of chromatic aberration in the reticle. It’s not an ACOG or a HAMR, but what it does, it does well.

SigTac STL300 Stoplite

Advantages: Blindingly bright, versatile, easy to set up and use
Disadvantages: Do I really need a strobe mode?
Rating: Five out of five stars

AA_magliteThe SigTac STL300 Stoplite is a natural compliment to the CP1 scope. It’s a powerful LED light, laser sight and vertical foregrip all in one, and attaches easily to any Picatinny-compatible rail. The LED light is very bright, and to test it, I set my camera on a tripod about 40 feet away from a white rollup garage door with the exposure set for 1 second at f5.6, ISO 400. The first pic is the garage door lit up with my old standby, a AA Maglite that I carried with me across two continents. The second shot is lit up with the STL300.

sig_stopliteAs I said, it’s bright.

The light on the STL300 has a “strobe” setting that I think is unnecessary and needlessly complicates things. If the bad guy(s) you are lighting up are not understanding that their lives are about to change for the worse, I don’t see how strobing them is going to reinforce that message.

The controls on the STL300 were set exactly where I wanted them: I found the laser and the flashlight easy to switch on, but due to my cross-eye dominance, I shoot long guns left-handed, and the controls may not be as well-placed for right-handed shooters.

The STL300 may not have the same rugged appearance as its higher-priced cousins from other manufacturers, and I haven’t done a ‘torture test” on it to see how it fares under highly stressful conditions, but you know what? I don’t care. I am NOT a Tier √-1 Operator operating operationally in an operational operating environment: I have a trunk gun in my trunk for the (thankfully) very slim chance that I’ll need something more than my CCW gun to deal with the crap going on around me, so that means the accessories on that gun are probably never going to be put to the test.

But I’m comfortable and secure with what the CP1 and STL300 will do if, God Forbid, I need to call on them. They’re not top-of-the line milspec gear, but I’m not a top-of-the-line milspec guy. Howver, these two SigTac accessories are definitely a step or three up from the bargain brands you see out there on Amazon.com and such.

If you’re looking for a couple of accessories to make your AR more effective in a hairy situation, you’d do a lot worse than these two SigTac accessories. I found both the CP1 scope and the STL300 Stoplite to be a good value for the money.

No New Media Party At SHOT This Year

The last three years I went to SHOT as pretty much an observer, commenting on what’s going on without having to worry about the business side of things. It turns out, though, that actually BEING in the industry means you have things you need to be accountable for, like launching a marketing plan and a website and revenue and all that icky stuff.

So instead of the Venetian, I’ll be dealing with WordPress plugins.

Bummer. If you’re going, hoist one for me.

A Year To Remember

long range AR

Wow, what a year.

Right off the bat, I want to thank everyone who stopped by the blog. There are millions of things to read out there on the internet, and I’m always humbled that people consider what I blather on about here to be worth their time.

It’s been quite a year. Being on TV. Hosting an *incredible* SHOT show party. Writing some more stuff for Shooting Illustrated. Training with Paul CarlsonTraining with Rob Pincus. Getting hired to market a gun store. Getting hired to market an even cooler gun range. Shooting rather well (for me) in a 3 Gun match. Shooting at the home of the Bianchi Cup. Shooting my first-ever precision rifle match. Shooting over 60% in a classifier. Starting a dry-fire regime to not suck as much.

Gun wise, things were quiet. I won a lower at Superstition which I turned into a dedicated precision AR (it’s that gun that leads this post), and I bought another lower and a Sig brace from my last employer that will probably turn into a 9mm AR pistol.

Meeting Bob Owens and Katie Pavlich and Chris Cheng and so many, many more cool people. Seeing this amazingly beautiful country. Seeing snow fall once more, and then having the brains to leave it behind for warmer climes. Spending Christmas afternoon on the beach. Worshipping and singing in the choir in a small-town Baptist church of 100 people and a huge mega-church of 1000. It’s been a year like no other, and thanks once again for sharing it with me.

Now, on to 2016!

A Moment of Zen. And then a few more.

First, someone else’s pic of the Naples Pier. Haven’t been there yet, as we just arrived in-town.

1 naples pier sunset 5

Secondly, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to everyone. Because of the new job, the holidays and our urgent need to unpack our life (again), posting here will be light this week.

Our plan is to spend Christmas Eve at church, Christmas morning at the beach, and then we’re not really sure where we’ll be having Christmas dinner.

Anyone have a good recipe for Caribbean-style roasted turkey?

One For The Money

10257492_10203525035422903_6123493738856258689_n
Now go, cat, go!

As you are reading this, my family and I are either on our way to Naples, Florida, or have already arrived there to re-start our life together. My job with Osage County Guns just wasn’t viable in the long run, and as much as my wife and I loved (and I mean really loved) small-town living, the employment options for an internet marketing dude in a town of 1500 in central Missouri were diddley and/or squat.

Enter Lotus Gunworks Naples.

Your life. Plus guns.

It’s a new “guntry” club opening up early next year in the very wealthy (and very Republican) Naples area. It’s got a VIP area. They manufacture their own ammo for the range. They will have 30+ lanes. They have a teleportation device to instantly move clients from the showroom to the range.

The Alamo At Lotus Gunworks Naples

I may have made that last one up.

The job opportunity with this range just staggers the imagination. I loved my time with Osage County Guns and they run a tight ship there, but it just wasn’t right for me over the long haul, and that’s what I’m interested in these days. Now, however, instead of just marketing guns, I’ll be marketing Gun Culture 2.0. All that stuff I’ve written about building a gun club for today’s gun owner? Yeah, now I actually have to do it. Yikes!

So what does that mean for you?

When I was at Osage County Guns, we gave away an S&W Bodyguard and a Sig .22 1911 as a show of support to the online firearms world. So what will happen now that I have access to a range, warm winter temperatures, lots of ammo and full auto guns?

The mind, as they say, reels.

So if you could, could you swing by their Facebook page and give them a like? Also, if you’re a gunblogger, YouTuber (tubist?) or a blog reader in the Florida area (C’mon, I *know* you’re out there: I can see you in my Analytics), drop me a note. I want to hear from you, because there’s some cool things I want to with the Florida gunblogging community because you all are on the front lines.

Sadly, though, it looks like a rental 20mm Vulcan Air Defense System won’t be in the works.

I asked, and they said “No.”

But that’s about the only disappointment ahead. I can’t tell you how excited I am to do this, it’s an opportunity like nothing I’ve done before. I’ll have a chance to create a gun range and showroom environment that will be more than I can imagine.

And I can imagine quite a bit.

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.