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Citizens Association for Responsible Gun Ownership = CARGO
Hello Fellow CARGO Members,
The next meeting will be held at Napoli’s on Thursday, May 21st.
We will meet at Napoli's in Wylie.
701 N Highway 78 # A
Wylie, TX 75098
For the dinner portion of the meeting, we will be in the meeting room between 5:45 and 7:00 for food and fellowship. The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM and run until about 9:00.
Because of the heavy rains in the Wylie area, the ground at Don’s shop is too wet for parking and traffic. We will have to hold the entire meeting at Napoli’s this month. Remember because of the TABC regulations, no non-concealed firearms are allowed.
We can bring parts but no firearms or “weapons” are allowed.
· Do you have a favorite Firearms accessory?
o Sling swivels
o Forward grips
o Flash lights
o Scope Mounts
· The newest rage in grips is “Key Mod” vs. the older MIL-STD-1913 or “picatinny” rails. If you have a grip and attachment hardware bring that to the meeting and let’s look at the differences good and bad.
· The latest BATFE ruling about AR Pistol grips and their usage has caused quite a stir in the firearms community; however, it has not stopped accessory manufactures from creating and selling new solutions. Do you have a competitor to the Sig Pistol Brace that you can share with the club?
· It is getting hot in Texas again and that means time for summer carry. Do you have a favorite summer holster for your summer carry gun?
Additional discussion topics / guests:
· Future meeting locations for the club. We need to discuss what options we have as a club for where to meet so that we can consistently have “show and tell” at the meetings.
· Open carry is covered on almost every news media outlet in Texas. With both the Texas House and Senate passing a version of Open Carry, what will the final bill look like and when will the governor sign it?
If you have any suggestions for future speakers or topics please send your feedback to CARGO@att.net.
When was the last time you visited our web site? Please take some time to go to the CARGO website at www.cargogunclub.org
We received the following request from the same group that approached us about the “Top Shot” television show:
Hi Paul, Rod, and the team at Cargo,
Jess Greeley here from Pilgrim Studios and the History Channel. I hope this email finds you well.
History Channel and the producers of "Top Shot" are looking for military, police, sheriff, SWAT and other agency marksmen and snipers with compelling stories of shots that they’ve taken while in service. Our flyer is attached and there's more info below.
I would greatly appreciate if you could forward this to your staff or any military or law enforcement contacts you think might be interested
We're very excited to be sharing these stories of heroism and greatly appreciate your help spreading the word.
Feel free to call if you have any questions. My direct line is 818-853-0233.
HISTORY CHANNEL CASTING MILITARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT MARKSMEN/SNIPERS WITH STORIES OF AMAZING SHOTS MADE IN THE LINE OF DUTY
History Channel and the producers of “Top Shot” are looking for military, police, sheriff, SWAT and other agency marksmen and snipers with compelling stories of shots that they’ve taken while in service.
Maybe you’re a current or former military sniper or precision marksman who succeeded in an extraordinary long or short-range engagement. Maybe you’re a serviceman, federal agent or cop who landed and incredibly accurate shot that saved your life or the lives of others.
If you have a memorable tale of marksmanship that served your community or country, then the History Channel wants to know your story — from the full narrative of events to the logistics of the shot itself.
You may also have the opportunity to take part in a precision or sniper-related challenge to win a prize.
CONTACT US TODAY!
Email Casting@pilgrimstudios.com with your Name, City/State, Phone Number, a Recent Photo, and a Brief Explanation of why you are right for this show
All former/current law-enforcement and military personnel are encouraged to apply. This is your opportunity to share your story with America!
For more info, visit www.pilgrimstudios.com
Casting Associate Producer
12020 Chandler Blvd., Ste. 200
North Hollywood, CA 91607
(818) 853-0233 direct
House-backed open carry bill heading to floor of Texas Senate
By TOM BENNING firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: 18 May 2015 10:28 PM
Updated: 18 May 2015 10:30 PM
AUSTIN — Senators on Monday reloaded an effort to allow licensed Texans to openly carry handguns in shoulder or belt holsters.
A Senate committee, on the strength of GOP votes, approved a House-approved iteration of the measure. The Senate and House passed their own versions of open carry weeks ago, but legislative jockeying between the chambers had since stalled the idea.
The House bill now heads to the Senate floor, where a strong Republican majority there makes passage all but certain.
The biggest question heading into Monday’s committee hearing was what senators would do with a contentious House amendment that would bar police officers from stopping someone who is openly carrying just to see if that person has the proper license.
Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, said he offered the amendment to combat racial profiling. But critics feared it would be a backdoor way to allow the unlicensed open carry of handguns — commonly called “constitutional carry.”
Sen. Craig Estes, the bill’s sponsor, said he would remove that provision at the request of Senate State Affairs Committee Chairwoman Joan Huffman, R-Houston. But he said that even without the amendment, police still couldn’t bother those doing no wrong.
“As a matter of constitutional law, the fact that a person is engaged in an activity that is only legal with a license is not sufficient cause for police to stop the person,” said Estes, R-Wichita Falls.
Though open carry had already received full hearings on both the House and Senate sides, many supporters and opponents again showed up to testify on Monday.
Those against open carry reiterated that it is unnecessary, dangerous and opposed by many law enforcement officials. Backers, calling fears about it overstated, countered that open carry is a safety measure and a constitutional right.
Follow Tom Benning on Twitter at @tombenning.
House committee sends open carry bill to Senate floor
A Texas Senate committee voted Monday to send the House’s open carry bill to the Senate floor for consideration.
HB 910, which Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) authored, would allow licensed gun owners to openly carry handguns in belt or shoulder holsters. Senators reviewed the measure, which passed in the House in mid-April, in the State Affairs committee Monday.
“I think everyone that is tackling these issues wants to work against violence. Sometimes we see these things in very different ways,” said Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), who laid out Phillip’s bill Monday.
Estes presented the bill with a few adjustments to the House version, including the removal of a controversial amendment by Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) that would prevent officers from asking open carriers if they have a handgun license.
Later down the line, lawmakers may attempt to attach “campus carry” to HB 910, according to multiple reports. Several testimonies at the hearing brought up the possible addition.
Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress), author of the House campus carry bill, proposed a similar amendment when HB 910 was heard before the full House last month, but the measure was ultimately withdrawn.
Campus carry would allow licensed handgun owners over the age of 21 to bring their guns on campus grounds and in university buildings. Certain buildings, such as residence halls, K-12 schools and on-campus hospitals, would be exempt from the policy. Additionally, private institutions could opt out of campus carry.
Middle Eastern studies senior Jordan Pahl, along with other UT students, attended the hearing to testify against open carry and a potential campus carry amendment. Pahl said most University officials and students oppose campus carry, including UT-Austin President William Powers Jr and UT System Chancellor William McRaven.
“Students and stakeholders will continue to oppose this legislation,” Pahl said. “It doesn’t contribute to the academic atmosphere of universities, and it does not make our campuses safer. We deserve a voice in what happens to our campuses and communities.”
Later during the hearing, Estes added that while most university officials oppose the bill, Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp is in favor of the measure. Estes did not confirm that campus carry would be added as an amendment to the bill.
“There seems to be some concern that these bills will be combined,” Estes said. “I’m not saying they will or they won't.”
Troy Gay, Austin Police Department assistant chief, testified at the hearing on behalf of APD. He said the department believes that while open carry may be better suited in rural areas, it should not be implemented in cities.
“In highly populated areas open carry may cause unnecessary alarm due to our citizens and confusion to law enforcement officers during chaotic situations,” Gay said.
This discussion of open carry follows Sunday’s motorcycle gang shoot out at a Twin Peaks in Waco, where nine people were killed and 18 were injured. The shootout was used as an argument against open carry at the hearing.
Troy said the presence of openly carried guns in similar situations could worsen them. State Affairs Chairwoman Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) said open carry and Sunday’s incident are not related.
"This bill does not have anything to do with what went on [Sunday,]” Huffman said.
The senate has passed its own versions of campus and open carry this legislative session. For HB 910 to become law, the Senate must pass the bill and the House must approve amendments made in Senate.
The bill must also obtain Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature. According to multiple sources, Abbott plans to sign legislation related to both open and campus carry.
Federal Appeals Court to Police Officer: No, You Can’t Slap Cuffs on Peaceful Gun Owners May 16, 2015 by Tim
Any story involving our rights being defended by level headed judges is a good story. Huffington Post recently posted the following:
Every part of Shawn Northrup’s midsummer evening walk with his wife, daughter, grandson, and dog was legal — including the holstered handgun he openly carried on his hip. But that was not enough to keep Northrup from being disarmed, handcuffed, and threatened with arrest by a police officer. Fortunately, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to let the officer who illegally detained Northrup escape accountability, exemplifying the kind of judicial engagement that is needed to protect law-abiding citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Northrup, a resident of Toledo, Ohio, was enjoying a peaceful walk with his family when a passing motorcyclist, Alan Rose, caught sight of his firearm and yelled that Northrup could not “walk around with a gun like that.” Northrup’s wife, Denise, informed Rose (correctly) that it is perfectly legal to openly carry firearms in Ohio. Rose nonetheless called 911, stating that he had observed “a man carrying his gun out in the open.” The dispatcher also told Rose that it is legal to openly carry firearms in Ohio but, apparently a bit uncertain, directed Officer David Bright of the Toledo Police Department to the scene, relating to Bright that Northrup was “walking his dog … carrying a handgun out in the open.”
When Bright encountered Northrup, Northrup was still walking his dog, his gun secure in its holster. What happened after Bright stepped out of his vehicle and approached Northrup is disputed. According to Northrup, Bright announced that he would shoot Northrup if he went for his weapon, refused to any answer questions about what was going on or whether Northrup was free to leave, and threatened to arrest Northrup for “inducing a panic.” Ultimately, Bright disarmed Northrup, placed him in handcuffs, and put him in a squad car, where he remained for half an hour. Upon discovering that Northrup had a concealed-carry permit (which, in point of fact, he did not need in order to openly carry his gun), Bright released Northrup with a citation for “failure to disclose personal information.” (The charges were later dropped.)
Northrup sued Bright and other members of the Toledo Police Department in federal court, alleging violations of his rights under the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments as well as state law. The district court rejected Northrup’s First and Second Amendment claims but held that his Fourth Amendment and state-law claims against Bright could go to trial. Bright then appealed to the Sixth Circuit, asserting qualified immunity from suit. Qualified immunity protects police officers from being held personally liable for violating rights unless those rights are “clearly established.” In practice, this judge-made doctrine all too often insulates police misconduct from both liability and meaningful judicial scrutiny.
It has long been established that the Fourth Amendment prohibits officers from coercively stopping and frisking people without any reasonable suspicion that they are committing a crime or are about to commit a crime. In the case of Terry v. Ohio (1968), the Supreme Court defined “reasonable suspicion,” explaining that officers must be able to point to specific, observable facts and evidence indicating that a person is “armed and dangerous” — an inarticulate “hunch” or intuition will not suffice. Nor is it enough for officers to suspect that a person is armed. As the Tenth Circuit would later put it, to hold that the presence of a gun is sufficient to justify a frisk would be to “effectively eliminate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed persons.”
In a carefully reasoned opinion, Judge Jeffrey Sutton determined that if Northrup’s account of the events was accurate, whatever suspicions Bright may have harbored that Northrup was committing a crime or was about to do so were not reasonable. The specific facts that Bright relied upon in stopping, disarming, and detaining Northrup consisted entirely in (1) Northrup’s open possession of a firearm, and (2) the 911 call, which informed Bright that Northrup was openly carrying a firearm. Neither of these facts suggested that Northrup was breaking the law or was dangerous. As Judge Sutton pointedly observed, “While the dispatcher and [911 caller] may not have known the details of Ohio’s open-carry firearm law, the police officer had no basis for such uncertainty.” While Bright argued that he faced a difficult decision — “respond to the communities’ fear and the appearance of the gunman” or “do nothing … and hope that he was not about to start shooting” — Sutton rejected this as a false choice. Absent any actual evidence that Bright was “about to start shooting,” Sutton reasoned, “Bright’s hope … remains another word for the trust that Ohioans have placed in their State’s approach to gun licensure and gun possession.”
No law-abiding American out for a walk with his family and his dog should end up in the back of a police car. No officer responsible for putting him there should be able to escape responsibility for his misconduct. Judge Sutton’s decision provides a blueprint for ensuring that those who enforce the law are not beyond its reach. As for Bright, a jury of Ohioans will determine whether he betrayed their trust.
From Member Don Bridges:
EMAIL ADDRESS ERRORS CORRECTED
URGENT ACTION ALERT
Knife Rights' Texas Knife Law Preemption Bill
NEEDS YOUR HELP!
Knife Rights' Texas Knife Law Preemption bill, HB 905, that would rid Texas of its patchwork of local knife laws more strict than state law, has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice. Time is short and we need your help to get this bill heard and passed out of this committee
If you live, work or travel in Texas, we need you to ask Chairman Whitmire to hear HB 905 as soon as possible and we need you to also CALL and WRITE the committee members and politely ask them to support HB 905. See contacts below for you to CALL and EMAIL.
Preemption repeals and prevents local ordinances more restrictive than state law which only serve to confuse or entrap law-abiding citizens traveling within or through the state. Preemption ensures citizens can expect consistent enforcement of state knife laws everywhere in the state.
Two Texas cities made Knife Rights' 10 Worst Anti-Knife Cities in America list for 2014, San Antonio at number four and Corpus Christi at number nine. San Antonio prohibits carry of all locking-blade folding knives except on the job. There's no local restriction on fixed blade knives. In Corpus Christi it is illegal to carry any fixed blade knife or to carry a folder with a blade longer than 3-inches except when actually in use on the job.
Ask Chairman John Whitmire to please hear HB 905 as soon as possible and to please vote for a "do pass" recommendation.
Ask the rest of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice to please vote for a "do pass" recommendation on HB 905.
Sen. Joan Huffman 512-463-0117 email@example.com
Sen. Konni Burton 512-463-0110 No Direct Email Available - CALL or use email form at:
Sen. Brandon Creighton 512-463-0104 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Juan Hinojosa 512-463-0120 email@example.com
Sen. José Menéndez 512-463-0634 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Charles Perry 512-463-0128 email@example.com
HB 905, together with Knife Rights' Texas Knife Ban Repeal Bill, HB 3884, would comprehensively overhaul Texas knife law, ensuring that the new freedoms will be enjoyed by all the citizens of Texas. In 2013 Knife Rights led the repeal of Texas' switchblade ban. These bills will finish Knife Rights' overhaul of Texas knife law.
Louisiana: Important News for Concealed Handgun Permit Holders on NFA Form 4 Processing and NICS Alternative Status
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Effective Monday, May 11, ATF Form 4 applicants with a valid Louisiana Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) will be able to receive Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) certification from the Louisiana State Police. The LSP’s application process is only valid for those seeking to obtain a suppressor, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle. With many CLEOs refusing to sign NFA applications because of personal bias or political opinions, this process is a major step forward to secure your right to purchase and take possession of NFA items.
Your NRA, along with in-state industry partners and the American Suppressor Association, has been working with Governor Bobby Jindal’s office, the Louisiana State Police and state Rep. Barry Ivey (R-Baton Rouge) towards facilitating this process for law-abiding Louisianans - both now and in the event that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) adopts the Obama Administration's proposed rule changes in 41P to require CLEO certification on all NFA applications.
Applicants must submit an application to verify their CHP status, their Form 4, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Louisiana State Police to obtain certification. Visit www.lsp.org (Concealed Handgun Permit Unit page) for more information on this process.
In other good news, last month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) posted an open letter to all Louisiana Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) stating that Louisiana CHPs issued after March 9, 2015, “qualify as an alternative to the background check required by the Brady law.” Prior to receiving a CHP, applicants are put through a rigorous background check that goes well beyond the NICS check required to purchase a firearm at retail. Those with permits issued after March 9, 2015, seeking to purchase a firearm from a dealer will still need to fill out ATF Form 4473 and present valid Government-issued photo identification, but are exempt from the NICS check that generally follows. This reform was facilitated by the passage of HB 1066 in the 2014 legislative session, sponsored by former state Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Bossier) and signed into law by Governor Jindal.
Note, your NRA-ILA has previously reported on House Bill 488 which originally failed to advance from the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee on a 7-8 vote several weeks ago as it was written. This week, the committee advanced a scaled-back version of HB 488 which no longer includes the provisions that NRA had objected to. Those provisions include, seeking to expand misdemeanor offenses and the types of protective orders that would result in a firearm possession disqualification.
From the ODCMP:
Rogers proposes CMP take control of old Army pistols
Amendment to go before the House later this month
7:05 PM CDT May 01, 2015
ANNISTON, Ala. —An east Alabama congressman has a plan to save taxpayers money when it comes to storing vintage firearms for the Army.
The plan involves moving the weapons to the Civilian Marksmanship Program, which includes its facility in Anniston.
Congressman Rogers says it's a win-win because the pistols are placed in very capable hands at the Civilian Marksmanship Program and it also saves taxpayers roughly $200,000 per year.
The M1911A1 pistol was once the standard sidearm for U.S. armed forces. Rogers says a little over 8,000 of the 100,000 pistols were sold to law enforcement and transferred to foreign countries for a small price. The rest are in storage.
The CMP will inspect, grade, and prepare the pistols to be sold. It will also reimburse the Army for any costs associated with moving the firearms.
Congressman Rogers announced the plan after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016. It's part of the House Armed Services Committee.
"This is an issue that a lot of people didn't know about," Rogers points out. "I'm sure a lot of collectors around the country are going to be happy that these are going to be available to them."
The chief operating officer of the Civilian Marksmanship Program in Anniston tells WVTM 13 in order to buy a pistol, you must meet four requirements. You must be a U.S. citizen, have proof of membership to a CMP club, have marksmanship safety training, and successfully pass a background check.
From the White House:
Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales
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Friday, May 15, 2015
The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in the Senate—could make it possible for Americans who meet stringent requirements to purchase a military surplus handgun from the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
As NRA High Power and CMP Service Rifle competitors know, the CMP is authorized under federal law to sell surplus rifles and ammunition to U.S. citizens of age, who belong to shooting clubs affiliated with the program, after passing a background check, and satisfying all federal and state laws. Representative Rogers’ amendment would simply extend the authorization to include other firearms. For example, allowing the Army to provide the program with 100,000 M1911 .45 caliber pistols. This would benefit the Army, the CMP and taxpayers alike.
Of course, there’s a hitch, because if there’s one thing that gun control supporters dislike more than semi-automatic rifles like the M-1s the CMP sells, its handguns!
On Monday, the Huffington Post approvingly reported that the Obama administration opposes Representative Rogers’ amendment, claiming that the CMP would sell the .45s over the “Internet” or by “mail-order,” without background checks. But the Obama administration isn’t telling the truth. Federal law requires the CMP to conduct background checks and to comply with federal and state laws governing firearm sales.
The administration is apparently also claiming that .45s sold by the CMP would be “untraceable.” But this, too, is false. All military firearms have serial numbers, and the CMP keeps records on every firearm it sells.
Finally, Team Obama also says that if Congress wanted the CMP to sell handguns, it should have said so in 1996, when it established the program in its current configuration. But this is Obama’s most frivolous objection of all. As he knows, but doesn’t care, Article I of the Constitution vests all legislative powers in the hands of Congress and Congress alone. That means if Congress now wants the CMP to be able to sell handguns, like it did decades ago, when the program was known as the DCM, Congress has the power to say so.
One final irony is that if any handgun would pass muster with the White House and likeminded anti-gunners, seemingly the M1911 would be it. After all, it was issued with a single-stack, seven-round magazine, a capacity even New York was willing to tolerate with the original version of the execrable SAFE Act. This just demonstrates what we’ve said all along, which is that despite their insistence to the contrary, these folks just don’t like guns or the fact that guns are commercially available under any circumstances.
Like Congress, we too have power. The grassroots power to call or email our U.S. senators, to ask them to support the inclusion of the Rogers amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act. The power to experience the satisfaction of owning a piece of history, when those .45s become available. The power to encourage the Army to transfer the handguns according to Congress’s intent. And the power, on Election Day 2016, to make sure the next president is someone with whom endless arguments related to gun ownership and the limits the Constitution places upon presidential power will not be necessary.
8 things to know about Dallas County’s new domestic violence gun policy
Dallas County is scheduled to begin confiscating guns from certain domestic abusers Tuesday, in what experts hailed as a pioneering step for protecting Texas victims.
“Where Dallas goes, the rest of the state will go,” said Aaron Setliff, public policy director for the Texas Council on Family Violence.
The move represents a remarkable turnaround for Dallas County, which only last year lagged behind other Texas counties on gun confiscation efforts. The Dallas Morning News reported then that while Dallas County had emerged as a statewide leader on combating domestic violence, it was failing to enforce laws that forbid some abusers from having guns, leaving victims and the public at risk.
Here are eight things to know about the new policy:
1. Guns pose the most dangerous threat to domestic violence victims.
Nationally and in Texas, about 60 percent of intimate-partner homicides are committed with guns. This chart shows the breakdown in murder method for women killed by intimate partners in Texas in 2013, the most recent year the data is available.
While abusers can — and do — kill by other methods, experts say guns are the most efficient weapon and therefore, the most deadly. One study found that access to guns increases a woman’s chance of being killed by an intimate partner by five times, even when controlling for the severity of abuse.
“A single pull of the trigger can create, in some instances, certain death. As opposed to, someone goes at someone with a knife, they could literally have dozens of wounds on them and survive,” Daniel Webster, an author of the study and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, told me last year.
2. Dallas County’s program to confiscate guns is new, but the law isn’t.
State and federal law forbids convicted abusers and subjects of protective orders from possessing firearms, with certain exceptions for law enforcement and military personnel.
Convicted abusers face a lifetime ban on having guns. For protective orders, the ban is in place as long as the order is in force, which is typically two years in Texas.
3. But the law often goes unenforced.
The law says the abusers can’t have firearms, but it doesn’t say who should confiscate them. So, often, no one does.
That’s what was happening in Dallas County, until now.
My colleague Jennifer Emily and I reported last year on the dangers of Dallas County’s failure to enforce the law. One example: the death of a 28-year-old and her unborn child. Authorities say the child’s father killed them while he had a protective order against him.
4. Dallas County had to get creative to enforce the law.
Dallas County officials committed to enforcing the law last year after our story ran. But they immediately ran into a problem: Where would they put the guns if they confiscated them?
Other counties rely on law enforcement to store the weapons, but local agencies here said they didn’t have room for the 700 to 800 guns officials expect to confiscate each year. So officials turned to an unexpected option: a local gun range.
DFW Gun Range in the Love Field area agreed to lease the county space to store the guns. Partnering with a local gun range, experts say, is an unusual step that will give abusers a familiar, gun-friendly place to turn in their guns and encourage them to follow the law.
5. Abusers who need to get rid of their guns now have two options.
When a judge orders an abuser to hand over their firearms, he or she can hand them in at the gun range or give them to a third party. Here’s how it works:
6 The gun confiscation policy isn’t perfect.
While experts praised Dallas County for stepping up to enforce the law, they warned that threatening to take guns away from abusers could cause them to retaliate against victims. They recommended that judges set the shortest possible deadline for abusers to turn in their guns to minimize risk.
7. And it doesn’t apply to everybody.
Convicted abusers, subjects of permanent protective orders and anyone seeking bond or probation for a family violence case will have to turn in their guns, said criminal court judge Roberto Cañas, who led the effort to create the new policy.
But subjects of temporary protective orders — issued to protect the victim in an emergency — will not. Cañas said he hopes to include them in the future.
8. Dallas now leads the state on confiscating guns from domestic abusers.
Dallas County previously lagged behind other counties in Texas that had found ways to enforce the law.
But experts say Dallas has made a dramatic comeback in the past year: It now has the largest and most comprehensive program in Texas.
“It was happening in other parts of the state,” Setliff said. But now, he said, “it’s not happening to the degree that Dallas has taken it on.”
Roberta Valente, vice president of policy for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said Dallas is “light years” ahead of many other counties nationally. Elsewhere in Texas, Travis County plans to launch a county-wide program later this year, and Cañas said Collin and Tarrant counties contacted him with an interest in launching something similar there.
Valente said: “This is so much better than what the norm has been for so many years.”
Media Firearms Failures that Will Give You Fits
By: Elwood Shelton | May 8, 2015
It’s a matter of being human that we all mess up from time to time. After all, you can’t break every clay or put every round into the 10 ring. However, when it comes to firearms and screw ups there seems to be one group that goes out of its way to step in it again and again — the news media.
Even the lightest lifting when it comes to proper firearms terminology or knowledge makes their knees buckle. In turn, their audience is left with a palm full of face, lungs full of sighs, and a burning sensation at the base of the skull induced by the derp.
Oh yes, the world of journalism is rife with examples of its practitioners butchering the basics of firearms that gallons of digital ink could be spilled over. Here are four that caught our eyes — then made us want to gouge them out.
Fox 32’s alerted the good folks of Chicago of a potentially deadly situation with this well measured and thoughtful headline: Snipers Nest discovered near Kennedy-King College. They go on to describe the marksman’s potential perch of death:
Officials say they found a high-powered semi-automatic weapon about a block from the campus of Kennedy King college, near 64th and Lowe last Thursday. Officers say the nest was found on top of a garage across from a soccer field on campus.
Wow a snipers nest, with a high-powered semi-automatic weapon in it! What was the weapon? It had to be an M110 right? Ooh, ooh, was it a Vietnam era M21? So Fox 32, what exactly was the long-range implement of doom?:
At the scene, officers recovered a fully loaded Mac-10.
Ah yes, the Mac 10 — wasn’t that Chris Kyle’s weapons system of choice when part of the Navy SEALs? The pure carnival barking of this headline, however, ends up being worth it, if for no other reason it elicits an all-star comment:
Well done sir! Well done!
Unable to Get the Point
This next example comes from the New York Times and not only draws into question its journalists’ grasp of firearms. It also makes one wonder how good they are using this new-fangled invention called the Internet.
Really, for a firearms novice, it would not have taken an inordinate amount of time to have discovered the proper use of a decimal point in regards to caliber and gauge notation. Case in point:
A picture caption on Thursday for a special report about Americans’ relationship with guns referred incorrectly to the gun that an 8-year-old boy used to kill his first turkey. It was a 20-gauge shotgun, not a .20-gauge.
Try throwing .20-gauge into a search engine and see how many false positives turn up. Dang near zero, well outside of maybe a Times’ article. It gets worse when these scribes grapple with metric calibers and decimal points:
A photo caption for an article on June 9 about innovations in the design of bullets misstated the caliber of the Speer Gold Dot hollow-point round. It is 9 millimeter, not .9 millimeter.
There are four articles documented in the blog of the misuse of decimal points in caliber identification, along with one admission the times identified a shotgun as a rifle. In surveying these mistakes the blog’s author does have a moment of clarity as to the gravity of these mistakes:
In one sense, it’s a tiny lapse — an unnecessary decimal point. But it’s the type of error that might leave some skeptical readers wondering whether we know what we’re talking about on this subject.
I don’t know about it being a tiny lapse, given it’s dang near akin to a sports reporter talking about basketball bats or football diamonds. But he hit the nail on the head regarding one point, readers wondering if the Times has any idea what they’re talking about.
Why do I get the feeling the word “perky” appears more than “research” in Chicago NBC 5 News’ job descriptions? Call it a hunch:
To be fair, there are handguns designed to fire shotshells. But color me skeptical this newsreader had the Taurus Judge or Smith & Wesson Governor in mind in referring to a shotgun in the report. Of course, as was correctly reported in other outlets, the Uber driver had a concealed handgun he used to put a halt to this potentially deadly situation earlier this year.
Plug Ugly Reporting
Finally perhaps the most famous firearms media flub of recent times emanated from that beacon of enlightenment the Huffington Post. Submitted without comment (just a chuckle):
Ryan J. ReillyVerified account
@ryanjreilly I believe these are rubber bullets, can anyone confirm? #Fergurson
Oklahoma: Governor Mary Fallin Vetoes Pro-Gun, Self-Defense Legislation
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Despite public support and strong bipartisan votes in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate, Governor Mary Fallin vetoed pro-gun Senate Bill 41 yesterday. The Governor caved to pressure from the Oklahoma City Chamber, which disseminated misinformation based on a flawed legal analysis. The NRA is extremely disappointed that this common sense legislation was put on the back burner in favor of drummed up fears by the Chamber.
SB 41 sought to clarify that public property (open spaces such as streets and parks) remains open to law-abiding Oklahomans with a carry permit even if that public land is currently being used for another purpose by a private entity renting the space for an event. This legislation would have provided for a necessary fix to a loophole in Oklahoma’s state firearm preemption statute. This loophole has been exploited by misguided municipalities, resulting in a ban on law-abiding citizens carrying a firearm on open areas of public land where they have a legal right to be. Senate Bill 41 passed the House by an 88 to 4 vote and the Senate by a 39 to 7 vote.
Current abuses pose a significant problem for lawful carry permit holders by creating an ever-changing patchwork of laws throughout the state with regard to firearms prohibitions on public land within a particular locality. This legislation focused on reaffirming the right of a peaceful law-abiding Oklahoman to exercise his or her basic right of self-defense where they are already legally allowed to be, no matter which private entity is leasing public land at the moment. It did not seek to expand carry into public buildings or structures.
Please contact Senate and House leadership immediately and encourage an override of the Governor’s veto and their support for restoring the provisions in SB 41 this session. Time is running out and session is drawing to a close, so your action is needed immediately!
Please also contact Governor Mary Fallin and voice your disappointment in her veto of a pro-gun, self-defense bill that would have made Oklahomans safer. Contact information for Governor Mary Fallin is provided below:
Office of Governor Mary Fallin:
And now for something completely different from TWU:
Most critics of campus carry couch their cultural bigotry against firearms and their owners in the dubious rhetoric of “public safety.” Yet an instructor at Texas Women’s University has come up with a new argument to suppress Second Amendment rights on campus. Writing in Newsweek, TWU Assistant Professor of Sociology Jessica Gullion stokes fears that campus carry would lead to rampant grade inflation. “Will we soon see a new sort of grade inflation,” Gullion asks, “with students earning a 4.0 GPA with their firepower rather than brainpower?”
We can answer that question with a simple, “No.” But for those paying for their kids’ college educations, consider that this is what passes for academic discussion of firearms policy in today’s institutions of higher learning. In this regard, it joins a tradition that includes calling for the death of NRA members’ children, insisting that campus carry is tantamount to blaming women for their own victimization, threatening to cancel class over the lawful carrying of guns, and reporting a student to police for giving an in-class speech on campus carry.
Gullion’s arguments about heated exchanges escalating into gun-fueled carnage are similarly divorced from reality and logic. In nearly every state that has a Right-to-Carry law, as the measure was being debated, gun control advocates frantically predicted scenarios of Wild West-type shootouts in the streets. This, of course, has not come to pass. Instead, modern America’s proliferation of firearms and lawful public carry have coincided with historically low rates of violent crime.
Recently, Illinois became the 50th state to recognize the right of its residents to carry firearms for self-defense in public. In an article following up on Illinois’ first year with lawful carry, Chicago Tribune reporters noted that the law had not prompted “the rash of shootings that opponents feared.” Later, the article explains, “Fred Hayes, chief of police in Elwood and president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, said he was ‘pleasantly surprised’ that the rollout has gone so quietly. Hayes previously opposed the law but said fears of increased shootings have ‘not materialized.’” The article goes on to quote Arlington Heights Police Chief Gerald Mourning, who said, “We have dealt with it so infrequently that we simply haven't had any difficulties. I am surprised by it. I thought for sure we would encounter issues on a more regular basis… It has not been an issue for us at all in terms of confrontations or misunderstandings.”
Gullion additionally labors under the false impression that legal and administrative restrictions on campus carry help to prevent a person intent on committing violence from acting on those plans. To the contrary, those willing to break the law to commit the kind of heinous violence Gullion fears will hardly be deterred by the potential consequences of carrying in a designated gun-free zone. Rather, they’re more likely to gravitate toward targets where they would expect not to meet armed resistance. Gullion inadvertently illustrates as much, citing three shootings that occurred at supposedly gun-free campuses. To put it in sociological terms, laws creating gun-free zones are useless talismans that have an illogical reverence among the social category known as academics. Is groupthink the culprit?
Indeed, aping the irrational fears, paranoid delusions, or cultural biases of one’s teacher is far more likely to prop up one’s GPA than lawfully and unobtrusively carrying a firearm of which the teacher is unaware. As for Gullion, perhaps her true calling was creative writing, rather than sociology. For our part, we’d give her an “A” for originality but an “F” for reasoned argument.
Anytime, Anywhere...Are You Ready?
BY TIM SCHMIDT - USCCA FOUNDER
A recent tragic event in Menasha, Wisconsin—and comments from the city’s Police Chief—have left a particularly bad taste in my mouth.
This past Sunday, May 3, a lone suspect—later identified as Sergio Valencia del Toro—open fired some 10-12 times on the Fox Cities Trestle Trail bridge in the small Wisconsin city.
According to the Post Crescent, “Police said Wednesday that Jonathan Stoffel of Neenah was shot seven times...and his 11-year-old daughter was shot three times. A third victim, Adam Bentdahl of Appleton, was shot once, according to preliminary autopsy results.” All three died at the scene.
Stoffel’s wife, Erin, was also shot several times on the bridge but is expected to survive. The couple’s other two children, who Erin managed to shuffle to safety, were unharmed in what police are now calling a “random” act of violence.
All things considered, police responded to the bridge quickly—storming both ends just minutes after the first shots rang out—but in what has become a typical pattern for active shooters, del Toro had already taken his own life before they arrived.
According to Bearing Arms, “Police say no officers responding to the scene fired a weapon. They also say that the incident appears to be a random act and that the public is not in any danger.”
Now, here’s where I had to pause: The public is not in any danger.
City of Menasha Police Chief Tim Styka reiterated this in his statement to the public:
“We believe this was a random act, it does not appear that anyone was targeted for this so I wanna emphasize that the community is not at any risk at this point.”
No offense to the Police Chief, but that’s exactly the kind of “it will never happen here, it will never happen to me” attitude that responsibly armed Americans like you and me are so desperate to combat.
Remember what my good friend Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman once said?
There is no safety in denial.
Now, I know that Chief Styka was in all likelihood trying to provide some comfort to a community in shock. But he also has a responsibility to the people he serves—just as I have a responsibility to the USCCA community—to speak the truth about the world in which we live.
And the truth is, the world can be a dangerous and unpredictable place. This particular incident sends a strong message that evil exists everywhere—even in small Wisconsin towns—and it does not discriminate. As the Stoffels and Bentdahl learned in one tragic and fleeting moment, if we’re not ready for it, the unthinkable can—and often will—happen.
And yet, every tragedy gives us the opportunity to learn, and—more importantly—the opportunity to grow and change. The good news is that there is something we can do about the evil that exists around us. We can’t control it, but we can arm ourselves with the knowledge, training, and tools to help keep ourselves and our families safe.
I wish one of the good guys on the bridge that Sunday had had a gun. The outcome might have been much different.
So I’ll say it again:
There is no safety in denial. But there is safety in acknowledging that it can happen to you...and then being ready for it if it does.
Take Care and Stay Safe,
Publisher - Concealed Carry Report
10 Rifles & Shotguns for Any Shooter
Words by Drew Warden
Long guns are, and have always been, great tools for shooters. Rifles and shotguns are versatile firearms that can be used for a number of purposes including general plinking and target practice, hunting and home defense. However, they also serve as some of the best learning platforms available for new shooters.
While a beginner can certainly learn to shoot using a handgun with the proper amount of training, long guns offer a few advantages to those new to the sport. Rifles and shotguns are often simpler to operate, and their longer sight radius makes them much more forgiving than handguns when it comes to putting rounds on target, a crucial factor for new shooters who may lack confidence.
Although a novice can be taught with any rifle or shotgun, choosing a long gun that is easy to use and not too intimidating is the best way to give new shooters a good first experience on the range. Long guns for beginners should be safe, uncomplicated and recoil modestly.
Luckily, there are plenty of options available that fit these criteria.
Below is a list of 10 rifles and shotguns that are perfect for any shooter, regardless of their experience.
Savage Landry Rascal
The single shot, bolt-action, .22 LR Savage Landry Rascal is a safe, easy-to-use and reliable firearm perfect for beginners and youth shooters.
The Savage Landry Rascal is perfect for beginners because it offers a safe, easy-to-use and mild-recoiling platform. Chambered in .22 LR and featuring a single-shot capacity, the Rascal is perfect for plinking or hunting small game. It uses a bolt-action operation that is easy to master and familiarizes the shooter with a popular and widely used action on many hunting rifles. Because of its small size and weight (31.5 inches in length and 2.66 pounds in weight), this firearm is especially well suited for youth shooters.
The Landry Rascal also comes with a unique synthetic camouflage stock designed to mimic the appearance of alligator skin and features Savage’s AccuTrigger.
Type: Bolt-action, single shot
Caliber: .22 Short, .22 Long, .22 LR
Overall Length: 31.5 inches
Weight: 2.66 pounds
Capacity: 1 round
Savage Mark II F
Featuring a bolt-action design similar to the Mark I G, the Mark II F has a 10-round capacity, making it more useful for small game hunting applications where a follow-up shot may be necessary.
Although it features a bolt action, the Mark II F is not a single-shot rifle and comes equipped with a 10-round detachable box magazine. Because it uses a bolt action and requires the user to manipulate the action manually, it is still quite suited to new shooters. However, with its added ammo capacity, the Mark II is much more practical for hunting applications where a quick follow-up shot may be necessary.
Also chambered in the popular .22 LR, the Mark II is similarly a great option for getting new shooters accustomed to the bolt-action, the most common type of action used in larger centerfire hunting rifles. As with the Mark I, this rifle incorporates the AccuTrigger and comes drilled and tapped for scope mounts, but it also includes a set of open sights. Instead of a wood stock, the Mark II F utilizes a synthetic matte black stock.
Caliber: .22 LR or .17 HM2
Overall Length: 39.75 inches
Weight: 5 pounds
Capacity: 10 rounds
Price: $228 for .22 LR; $308 for .17 HM2
Savage Model 93R17 F
An upgrade of the Mark II rifle, the Model 93R17 is chambered in the flat-shooting .17 HMR.
An expansion on the Mark II design, the Savage Model 93R17 incorporates the same bolt action and AccuTrigger and pairs them with the flat-shooting .17 HMR. This rifle is still a suitable choice for beginners and youths, especially if the shooter plans on doing any serious varmint hunting. The .17 HMR, like the .22 LR, produces little recoil, so it likely won’t intimidate a first-time shooter.
Because of the .17 HMR’s flat trajectory, shooters using the Model 93R17 will also likely score more hits on targets at greater distances than they will with a rifle chambered in .22 LR. This is critical for developing a new shooter’s confidence in taking longer shots, which will be useful as the shooter or hunter transitions to larger centerfire rifles.
Caliber: .17 HMR
Overall Length: 39.5 inches
Weight: 5 pounds
Capacity: 5 rounds
Savage Model 64 F
Utilizing a simple but effective blowback operation, the semiautomatic Model 64 chambered in .22 LR is a great option for familiarizing beginners with semiauto firearms.
The first semiautomatic firearm on this list, the Model 64 operates on a simple blowback action. While bolt-action or break-action rifles are usually preferred for new shooters, a semiauto in .22 LR such as the Model 64 remains a good choice. With the light recoil of the .22 LR, the firearm is still easily controllable, even when fired rapidly. The Model 64 may be even simpler to use than the previous bolt-action models because it doesn’t require the shooter to manually extract and chamber the next round.
The design also helps familiarize a new shooter with semiauto firearms, a necessary step if the shooter plans on stepping up to larger semiauto platforms such as the AR-15. The Model 64 comes drilled and tapped for scope mounts but also includes open sights. Unlike previous rifles, the Model 64 does not come equipped with an AccuTrigger.
Caliber: .22 LR
Overall Length: 40 inches
Weight: 5 pounds
Capacity: 10 rounds
Savage Model 42
Sporting a unique break-action operating system, the Model 42 essentially places two firearms — a .22 LR rifle and a .410 shotgun — into one design.
The Model 42 is an interesting firearm geared toward youth and new shooters and utilizes a unique over/under style break-action design. The break action is one of the safest and easiest firearm actions for novice shooters to understand, so the Model 42 is a fantastic choice for beginners. In addition to the Model 42’s crossbolt safety, the firearm’s action can also be opened for safe travel afield, helping to prevent an unintentional discharge of the firearm.
The Model 42 features a top barrel chambered in .22 LR and a bottom barrel designed to accommodate .410 bore shells. This essentially places the versatility of two guns into one, allowing the new shooter to learn two firearms disciplines at once: rifle shooting and shotgunning. The firearm’s two distinct barrels also make it well suited for a number of uses ranging from wingshooting and busting clay birds to plinking or hunting small game. Savage also offers the Model 42 in a youth-specific model, as well as another chambered in .22 WMR/.410.
Caliber: .22 LR/.410
Overall Length: 35.75 inches
Weight: 6.1 pounds
Capacity: 1 .22 LR cartridge and 1 .410 shotshell
A perfect first deer hunting rifle, the Axis is a classically designed rifle packed with features and available in a wide variety of hunting calibers.
Available in a wide variety of calibers ranging from .22-250 Rem. to .30-’06 Springfield, the Savage AXIS rifle is a classically designed hunting rifle great for any shooter. For beginners, an AXIS rifle chambered in .243 Win. is ideal, as that caliber offers enough power to take deer-sized game but avoids much of the recoil associated with larger calibers.
The AXIS is a definite step up from many of the rimfire rifles on this list but is a good choice for a shooter’s first centerfire rifle, as it incorporates an easy-to-use design and comes with many helpful features for a reasonable price. The AXIS features a matte black synthetic stock and a matte black carbon steel barrel and comes drilled and tapped for optics.
Caliber: Multiple from .22-250 Rem. to .30-’06 Springfield
Overall Length: 43.875 inches
Weight: 6.5 pounds
Capacity: 4 rounds
Brand new for 2015, the A17 is one of the first semiautos capable of handling the low-recoil, highly accurate .17 HMR.
Entirely new for 2015, the Savage A17 is an excellent firearm for helping to transition a novice shooter from rimfire to centerfire or introducing a new shooter to the sport altogether. As with the bolt action Model 93R17, the A17 is chambered in the flat-shooting .17 HMR, which will provide the user with very good accuracy at distances greater than the .22 LR is capable of achieving.
Unlike the Model 93R17, this rifle is a semiauto, and one of the first ever to reliably cycle .17 HMR rimfire loads. It does so using an innovative delayed-blowback operating system that handles the extra force of the hotter cartridge. With no bolt manipulation required from the shooter between shots, the A17 can deliver lightning fast follow ups while plinking at the range or hunting game in the field. In addition to being built for speed, the A17 also features Savage’s AccuTrigger and a button-rifled barrel for precise shooting.
Caliber: .17 HMR
Overall Length: 42 inches
Weight: 5.41 pounds
Capacity: 10 rounds
Stevens Model 555
The break-action Stevens Model 555 is a safe, reliable shotgun perfect for hunting applications or busting clays at the range.
With its easy-to-use break-action design, the Stevens Model 555 represents an excellent choice for the new shooter. A break-open shotgun is a great first firearm, as it is very safe and simple to use. The Model 555 is available in 12-, 20- or 28-gauge or in .410 bore. Its design is elegant and combines a lightweight alloy receiver with a Turkish walnut stock and forearm. The Stevens Model 555 uses mechanical triggers and utilizes an extractor that makes it easy for the shooter to remove spent shells from the firearm’s breech. The over/under has a manual safety, but the action can also be opened when the shooter is not firing for added safety.
The Model 555 comes with five interchangeable choke tubes. The 12-gauge version has a 28-inch barrel, while the 20- and 28-gauge and .410-bore variants have a 26-inch barrel.
Type: Break-action, over/under
Caliber: 12, 20 or 28 gauge; .410 bore
Overall Length: 44 7/8 inches for 12-gauge; 42 7/8 for others
Weight: 6 pounds for 12-gauge; 5.5 pounds for others
Capacity: 2 rounds
Stevens Model 320
The Stevens Model 320 is perfect for any shooter and comes in a host of different variations, including a youth 20-gauge model perfect for younger shooters.
The only pump-action long gun on this list, the Stevens Model 320 is another great option for novice shooters because, much like the bolt-action rifle, it requires the shooter to manually chamber and extract each shell after firing. The shotgun uses Stevens’ proven rotary bolt design and features dual slide bars for reliable manipulation.
There are multiple Model 320 variants available in either 12 or 20 gauge with different barrel lengths ranging from 18.5 to 28 inches. The 20-gauge Model 320 Field Grade shotgun is probably best suited for beginners, as 20-gauge loads recoil less than 12-gauge loads and the Field Grade’s 26-inch barrel allows for smoother swings on aerial targets and game birds.
Caliber: 12 or 20 gauge
Overall Length: 38.25-48.75 inches
Weight: 6.8-7.45 pounds
Capacity: 5 rounds
Savage Model 25 Lightweight Varminter
Although designed specifically for hunting small varmints, the Model 25 Lightweight Varminter is an excellent all-around rifle available in an assortment of low-recoiling calibers.
Although it is designed specifically for hunting small varmints and predators, the Model 25 Lightweight Varminter is a great all-around rifle for shooters of any experience level. It is available in an assortment of low-recoil calibers ranging from .17 Hornet to .223 Rem., making it the perfect centerfire rifle for shooters transitioning from rimfire to centerfire. The Model 25 Lightweight Varminter is built for accuracy and features a 24-inch barrel and Savage’s AccuTrigger.
The rifle comes drilled and tapped for scope mounts, and it incorporates a laminate wood stock and a satin blued barrel.
Caliber: Multiple from .17 Hornet to .223 Rem.
Overall Length: 43.75 inches
Weight: 8.25 pounds
Capacity: 4 rounds
Guns: What’s the Future?
by Robert W. Hunnicutt | April 29th, 2015
The Wall Street Journal ran a section entitled “Voices of the Future” this week, and surprisingly, it included a brief column about guns. The author was sociologist Jennifer Carlson, and she had some surprisingly well-taken points to make.
She posited a future where gun rights would be even more restricted in states like California, Connecticut and New York, while expanding in the remaining states.
“With the gun debate focused on state-level politics, high-profile shootings will exacerbate the division between these two Americas: in restrictive states, a demand for more laws; in permissive states, a demand for more guns.” Can’t argue with that one: it’s already happening.
“In states with weak gun-control lobbies, expanded gun rights will be limited only by more centrist contingents of the gun lobby—for example, gun-rights proponents who speak out against the open carrying of firearms, which has been the subject of heated debate in Texas and elsewhere.” That’s an interesting notion. In states where gun owners have been successful, there is a tendency for the debate to head toward a vanishing point of where and how concealed or open carry is permitted. In the more free states, the debate is whether you can carry in church or public buildings or bars.
Concealed carry has also led to an active and growing industry of instructors and private for-profit ranges. That didn’t exist 40 years ago, and it alters the political equation. It’s not just some grizzled guys from the gun club lobbying the state legislature: it’s people who make their living from the shooting sports.
The push for concealed carry laws has been our way of being on offense for almost 30 years, and now that it has been successful most places, we need to find new issues to stay on the attack rather than taking the defensive posture of the 1960s or 70s.
“Polarization will result in greater diversity among gun owners. Aggressive marketing of guns to women, racial minorities and other groups underrepresented within American gun culture is likely (although white men will still predominate). In line with recent survey data, whether one views guns as everyday objects or as a taboo may have increasingly less to do with gender or race and more to do with regional differences and political affiliation.” That’s underway already. The first SHOT Show in 1979 was a clubby gathering of white guys. Today, it’s a wildly diverse collection of all sorts of people from all around the world. The fact that our enemies and their enablers in the media can’t recognize that is a big secret weapon for us.
Carlson posits that “smart guns” will become popular, and I think she’s wrong on that one. So long as politicians in places like California or New Jersey hope to use them to relieve us of our current guns, “smart guns” are going nowhere. She’s on a little stronger ground in suggesting that economical 3-D printing will lead to non-traceable guns made by hobbyists.
In all, it was a pretty well-crafted piece of crystal ball-gazing. Of course, it was appearing in the relatively conservative Wall Street Journal. The day something like it runs in the New York Times, we’ll be getting somewhere.
LA Times Headline: “Why the Police Shouldn’t use Glocks” — Are You Nuts?
By Dave Dolbee published on May 8, 2015 in News
By Dave Dolbee published on May 8, 2015 in News
Reading an anti-gun rant in the Los Angeles Times is hardly a surprise or news. Therefore, when I read a recent Opinion piece (Op-Ed) bashing Glocks, I hardly raised an eyebrow. However, I almost lost my lunch over the babble and bias when I read the footer and realized this article was from the editor of Bearing Arms, Bob Owens. I quickly raced back to the top to read and confirm the author. Sue enough, the by line matched the footer.
Glock-23-4As an editor, I have heard more than one writer claim a text edit changed the meaning of a term. Fair enough. However, this is not the case with Owens’ “Why the Police Shouldn’t Use Glocks” article. Even the title is deceptive, because the whole article reads like an indictment on guns.
Owens starts by naming off a few police shootings over the past decade or so where a rookie officer is startled, draws and fires, negligently discharging his pistol. In one incident, a New York police officer’s finger was inappropriately on the trigger when he was startled and discharged his pistol—a Glock—shooting and killing an innocent civilian.
In another case, Owens points out, while in the act of pushing open a stuck door, another New York officer, again had his finger inappropriately on the trigger of his handgun. The shot went down a stairwell, ricocheted off a wall and killed a civilian that the officer did not even know was present. Somehow, Owen equates these negligent discharges as an indictment of Glocks for law enforcement.
Later, Owens piles on by recounting a scenario where one officer shot another after a training exercise. The office failed to clear his Glock and during the disassembly, pulled the trigger. Owens blames the “mechanically flawed” Glock and similar striker-fired semiautos with “short trigger pulls” for the shootings.
Owens goes on to state, “In both of these incidents, the police officers were using the same weapon, a Glock: a polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol with a short trigger pull and no external safeties.” Later, he states the LAPD has nine approved models of Glock and points out that the LA County Sheriff has recently started to issue its recruits the Smith & Wesson M&P “a handgun with a short trigger pull that operates in much the same way.”
If you know anything about Glocks or firearms safety, the rest of Owens’ article is practically sickening. Owens essentially says the Safe Action System is fine if you are a robot and do everything with robot precision. Owens completely ignores the rules of gun safety. In the first two scenarios, the officer had his finger on the trigger when he should not have and it resulted in a negligent discharge that ended in the death of an innocent.
In the cleaning incident, the officer failed to clear and check the chamber. Then he should have double and triple checked it. The officer then pulled the trigger with the muzzle pointed at a fellow officer. Yes, there were plenty of mistakes made. However, each mistake was the fault of a lack of gray matter between the ears and not of an external safety or “a short trigger pull!”
Owens fails to suggest which gun with a longer pull would have prevented the incidents. He does say, however, “A number of major and minor agencies use guns with much longer double-action triggers that are just as easy to fire deliberately but that are much harder to fire accidentally. The half-inch difference of trigger travel may not sound like much, but it can be the difference between life and death.”
Pennsylvania state troopers carry the .45 ACP SIG P227 with a double-action trigger of 10 pounds. Those 4.5 more pounds of pull did not stop a Pennsylvania state trooper from killing another state trooper when he negligently discharged his pistol in October 2014.
Are 1911s and revolvers unsafe?
Owens writes, “The underlying problem with these pistols is a short trigger pull and the lack of an external safety.” I am old enough to have served in the military during a time when my standard-issued sidearm had an external safety, was not striker fired and was made of steel. The 1911A1 served us well. During our instruction in the manual of arms, we were taught to draw and disengage the safety in a single fluid set of motions—a subconscious routine that was beat into us. Accidental discharges happened. Particularly when letting down the hammer improperly. If that happened while pointing the 1911 at another person, guess what? You had better hope a corpsman or priest was nearby. The failure was not the weapon or the design. The failure was in the handling—human error.
A short trigger pull DOES NOT cause negligent discharges. It DOES make for a more accurate first shot that has saved innumerable lives—the lives of law enforcement and civilians. How many years were revolvers sold with hair triggers? Where would Owens’ position fall on revolvers or does he also consider them too dangerous?
The lack of an external safety? What a joke! How many decades did law enforcement carry revolvers without an external safety? Besides the safety between your ears—always keep your bugger hook in your nose and off the trigger until ready to fire, point your weapon in a safe direction, maintain muzzle discipline and know what’s down range.
Glock sales account for over 60 percent of the handgun market as a whole, and rank as the most popular duty sidearm among law enforcement. By strictly going on the percentages, it makes sense that the most popularly used handgun also has the most negligent discharges. That does not mean the weapon is unsafe. All of Owens’ accounts portray operator error, but not a mechanical problem with Glocks or short pull triggers. Believe this, if there were mechanical issues with the trigger, lawyers would have already had a field day in the courtroom, and Glock would have been put out of business long ago. You certainly would not be hearing about it for the first time in an Op-Ed in the LA Times.
So if not Glock, what is the purpose of the article? Does anyone really believe this is about law enforcement? If Glocks, M&Ps or any other pistol that is striker fired, polymer framed, features a short-trigger pull, does not have an external safety, or was used negligently by an officer at some point and time is to be the bar for indictment of the pistol as a whole for law enforcement, what is the logical conclusion? After deciding they are “too dangerous” for law enforcement, you and I will be next! Wasn’t it just a couple of days ago in Texas that an officer armed with a Glock .45 dropped two would-be terrorists wearing body armor? Two head shots, under fire, in about 15 seconds…?
How do you feel about Owens’ comments? Are Glocks too dangerous for law enforcement? You? Me? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
SLRuleGrowing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!
View all articles by Dave Dolbee
Remington’s All-Around Tactical Rifle — The Remington SPS
By Bob Campbell published on May 5, 2015 in Firearms, Reviews
In my search for the ‘someday’ rifle that I will someday own, I have examined many and kept few. The latest is one kept is a rifle that goes the extra mile and serves as well as any other quality rifle. The price won’t prevent me from vacationing in the foreseeable future, neither is it a pittance, but money well spent. This rifle is the tactical bolt-action Remington SPS.
The SPS is designed as a tactical-grade rifle. You can use it for hunting or recreational shooting, but since it was designed as a tactical rifle that is the criteria for the evaluation. The Special Purpose Synthetic (SPS) rifle is based upon the proven Remington 700 action. The Remington 700 is widely regarded as among the smoothest, more reliable and most accurate factory rifles.
An important difference between a tactical rifle and a varmint gun is the tactical rifle must be relatively light and compact. The rifle must be rugged as it is often stored in a vehicle or carried in a drag bag. It must be capable of rapid deployment, sometimes in close quarters. With a short 20-inch barrel and Hogue OverMolded stock, the Remington 700 SPS fits the bill nicely.
The stock is the foundation of the rifle; the action is the heart. The Hogue stock features a firm hold and a flattened section near the forend for good control. Though the stock is designed for firing from a braced support or shooting bag, it works fine off hand, as well. The slightly pebbled surface offers excellent abrasion and adhesion.
The reason the Hogue stock is called an OverMold is because the rubber is molded over a plastic frame. The ribbed backing offers a degree of rigidity. There are aluminum pillars in the design that also add to the rigidity of the stock. Rubber, plastic and aluminum mesh well together in the design.
The barrel is well finished. My example features the threaded 16.5-inch barrel. I am unlikely to mount a suppressor in the near future, but the barrel is very handy in close-quarters maneuver. There is a well-turned crown to protect the muzzle. The action is typical Remington 700. Bolt throw in this short-action .308 Winchester caliber rifle is relatively short.
An advantage of the rifle is the addition of the modern Remington X Mark Pro trigger. You will never need an aftermarket trigger! Custom grade performance in a production trigger was the design goal. This is a state of the art trigger that, in my opinion, is the best suited for tactical use of all the modern adjustable triggers offered by the major makers.
The rifle feeds well, with no suggestion of hesitation on feeding. The action has plenty of leverage. The trigger is smooth and free of either creep or backlash, with a trigger compression of just under four pounds. As for the short barrel, a short but stiff barrel often provides excellent accuracy. The .308 Winchester is a very efficient cartridge that proves accurate from relatively short barrels. There is some velocity loss, but since the rifle is intended for deployment at less than 200 yards, velocity loss is not a significant drawback. The HPR Ammunition 168-grain MATCH load averaged 2,500 fps from the abbreviated barrel.
Next, the rifle needed good glass. First, DNZ scope mounts were acquired. These solid mounts feature heavy construction that ensure the scope doesn’t move out of place and remains solid and zeroed for thousands of rounds of ammunition. Next, the Redfield Battlezone scope. The 6x18x44mm scope seemed ideal for this application. The multi-coated lens is designed to reduce glare. I grew up when all scopes were not fogproof and appreciate the nitrogen-filled scope. The tube is one-inch diameter and allows 3.5 inches of eye relief.
The Battlezone offers from 10 to 33 feet of field of view at a long 100 yards. The reticle is a tactical design with two MOA markings. Drop and windage, once noted, are easily compensated for. My rifle featured a dial calibrated for the 168-grain .308. While the scope isn’t useless with 150- to 175-grain loads, this is the usual bullet weight when accuracy is the primary objective.
When zeroing the rifle using the box method, the clicks were positive. There was no question concerning movement, and the dials stayed in place. The primary goal of any product is performance (from the consumer’s viewpoint), but the performance is matched against price. The Redfield Battlezone offers good performance for the price.
With the rifle properly set up, I took time to sight the rifle in from a solid bench rest firing position. I used handloads using Lapua brass. The bullets were the Hornady 168-grain A Max over H 4895 powder. The first results were interesting and the rifle was sighted in with a minimal expenditure of ammunition. During the firing test, at all times I fired three shots for accuracy. I then waited for the rifle barrel to cool between shots. This works to a point, extended firing produces a barrel too hot to touch.
Easy was the word for accuracy testing. After settling into a solid rest, the Hornady cullet-tipped load averaged .5 MOA at a long 100 yards. That is all we can ask. This is a pleasant practice load I will use often. The precision manufactured Hornady bullets may develop greater accuracy with a bit of tweaking with the loading. This was the first and only combination I tried, but what a beginning!
After the first efforts with my own loads, I moved to HPR Ammunition .308 Winchester loads. High Performance Downrange loads have often given gilt-edged accuracy with a clean powder burn. The .308 combinations were no exception. I used both the 150-grain JSP and the Barnes polymer tipped 150-grain loads in initial testing. Each averaged three-shot groups of .6- to .7-inch at 100 yards, super accurate by any standard. I was beginning to like this rifle and scope combination. Next, I moved to the 168-grain MATCH bullet load. I carefully pressed the trigger and waited a full minute between shots with every thought given to the best accuracy possible. The first three-shot group went into a solid .45-inch. Another three-shot group averaged .5-inch and the final three-shot group went into .4-inch.
Clearly, the Remington SPS 700 Tactical and HPR ammo are up to any reasonable task. My results from the bench rest were satisfying. The ability to fire off hand and produce a good three-shot group of less than five inches is another matter, but that will be addressed at a later date. For now, my someday rifle has arrived.
Best Fun-Gun Ever. The Can Cannon – Mounts on AR-15
by Dave Higginbotham on May 10, 2015
The Can Cannon: http://www.xproducts.com/ar-15-soda-can-launcher-accessories-launcher
Awesome has arrived. That’s the slogan emblazoned on the side of the inconspicuous tube in which the Can Cannon ships. And X Products–specialists in all things awesome–have nailed this one. I’ve never had more fun on the range than I did with the Can Cannon. Never. Not once.
What is the Can Cannon? It is exactly what it sounds like. This is a highly modified AR upper designed to shoot 12oz cans. Coke cans. Beer cans. Whatever. And full cans, not empties. And, coincidentally, it also shoot tennis balls and other items similar in diameter. Simply pop off your upper, transfer over the bolt carrier group and charging handle, load a mag full of blanks and get to a range with a lot of open spaces. Wide open spaces.
And brace yourself. The Can Cannon kicks–but odds are you won’t notice. You’ll be laughing too hard.
The concept is simple enough. Replace your AR-15 upper with the Can Cannon. It uses the same bolt and everything. Instead of loading live rounds into the magazine, fill it with blanks. Any .223 or 5.56 blank should work. They won’t cycle the action, but they’ll launch the hell out of a can of Coca-Cola.
The tube itself is a beefy piece of steel that threads over a device designed to use the pressure from a blank to push a can out the end of the tube. X Products calls it a gas ported barrel.
The launching tube screws directly onto the upper, and sits flush with the upper’s rail section. It is stepped inside, so that a can sits in the optimal position (bottom end in first).
Load in a can, cycle the bolt, aim in a VERY safe direction, and pull the trigger. Don’t get this order mixed up and load it, then stick your hand in front of the barrel. That’s not safe.
The tube is blocked on this end. This is the small detail that would make shooting a live round dangerous/deadly.
The tube is blocked on this end. This is the small detail that would make shooting a live round dangerous/deadly.
Let’s get this out of the way now. Before I wax poetic about how much fun I have had with this thing, I want to talk about the very real dangers it poses. This device shoots projectiles. It is built on a rifle platform, uses blanks, and propels objects at potentially deadly speeds.
When I first heard about the Can Cannon, I’d envisioned a video opening that went something like this: I would set up the camera on a long range and holler to someone down range–“Throw me a beer!” The shooter would then lob a can of beer my way and I’d catch it, crack it open, etc.
Um. This is why you should always test out guns and such in a very safe place. When we first pulled the trigger on a can of Coke Zero, it launched the can so fast and so far that we barely saw it go. There’s no way I am going to try to catch a can shot out of this thing. It is a stupid idea.
That is only one of the stupid things one might do with it. There’s little to prevent you from loading a live round into this. And if you pulled the trigger on a live round in the Can Cannon, it would fire. If I had two, I’d test what happens. But I’m not willing to destroy this one for something I know is a stupid idea. The round would conceivably blow through the end of the gas tube, then whatever object you’d placed in the Cannon itself. It could also generate enough pressure to rupture the whole thing, though I doubt it. Regardless, don’t do it.
And don’t shoot at anyone with it. We played around with some tennis balls, but only from a really long distance. And I wouldn’t recommend that. Those fuzzy balls are moving very fast.
How fast is fast?
We did chronograph this thing, with cans and balls.
Let’s begin with a point of reference: a baseball, which weighs 5.25oz, traveling at 95mph has 99 foot pounds of force.
◾Baseball 5.25oz, 139.33fps or 95mph, 99fpf
◾A can of Coke Zero 13.08oz, 134.4ofps or 91mph, 226.4fpf
◾Tennis ball 2.1oz, 175.70fps or 120mph, 63.1fpf
In order to get 226.4 foot pounds of force from a baseball, you have to throw it at 143.67 MPH. The tennis ball has less mass–only 2.1oz–and only 63.1 foot pounds of force–well below major league pitching danger, but still smoking fast.
How far will it shoot?
Surprisingly far. We could get cans well over 100 yards. Tennis balls are more of a gamble. They lose their fuzz as the blanks burn them out of the barrel. Each shot trims the fuzz, and the balls seem to slow a bit more as the gas seal formed by the tight fit gets less secure.
We shot the balls and cans on a completely flat plane and were surprised to find that the cans were averaging about 130 yards. Tennis balls were over 100 yards, but didn’t have the momentum of the cans, so they came up shorter.
I should mention, too, that only good cans work. As we try to keep our costs low, I’d bought a case of Dr. Thunder. The Can Cannon didn’t like Dr. Thunder. The pressure popped the bottom of the cans. They didn’t go very far at all. The did erupt in a shower of gas-fueled generic sugary splendor, one that coats everything with a 25 foot radius–cameras, by standers, even the shooter if the wind is right.
But duct-tape fixes everything. A simple patch on the butt of a Dr. Thunder can gave it the strength to clear the barrel. With the quick fix, the cans flew just like the others. No can survived the impact of the launch.
Can you catch a ball shot from the Can Cannon?
I can. Sort of. Sam can. It isn’t impossible. And it doesn’t hurt too bad. We shot almost a hundred balls at each other, and only caught a few. If they skip off the ground, they’re easier to catch. We finally got good results by aiming, studying the ball’s trajectory, and then putting the glove as close to that path as possible.
I will say that hitting is much harder. Much, much more difficult.
So what’s the potential for this thing, once the novelty wears off? Well, I’ve got a long list of things I’m going to try. Some of them are bound to make it into an updated “dumb ideas” list. And I’ve been trying really hard not to utter the phrase “Hey Sammy! Watch this!” That’s what all the idiots on YouTube say right before they die.
On the more serious side, this would make a good T-shirt cannon, with some modifications that would keep it from burning up the shirt. X-Products is developing a net launcher and a grappling hook launcher. I could see bean bags, or even tennis balls, being very effective for crowd control. Launching ducks for dog training? Getting the chicken inside the duck, and both inside the turkey for a kickass Turducken. The possibilities are endless.
For me, it comes down to fun. There are endless ways to experiment. I shot a whipped cream can out of it. That was a hoot. We tried combining the Can Cannon and a shotgun for some high-speed target practice, but it was a bust. Shooting the cans almost straight up was dangerous, and arcing them put them out of range of the shotgun. As fast as the cans fly, it was hard to hit them.
I did attempt some GoPro action. Let me just advise against that, too. I’d rigged a shell out of a pill bottle, one that fit perfectly, and made a parachute. The GoPro won’t fit inside the Can Cannon with its protective shell on, so I padded the camera well and shot it. The heat from the gas killed the parachute, melted the pill bottle, and the force of the shot–well–it didn’t do the GoPro any favors. As my people are wont to say: “it’s all tore-up.” It will still shoot video, but the LCD screen is trashed and the WIFI link is gone, and it gets a bit toasty when it runs.
Back to the fun
Can Cannon is it. If you only shoot cans and balls, I doubt the fun will wear off. We’ll take it out to the lake this summer and see what it can do on the water. If a can can survive the impact with water…. I keep dreaming up more ways to have fun.
The Can Cannon is selling as fast as X Products can make it. If you have an AR already, I’d call this a mandatory purchase. It is a gateway drug of sorts. The Can Cannon is so damn cool that non-gun people find it too interesting to resist. A Can Cannon makes you an ambassador for the gun world.
The price is $399. The Can Cannon is worth every penny of that. Blanks are readily available on line, and from X Products. Click over and check them out.
The Can Cannon: http://www.xproducts.com/ar-15-soda-can-launcher-accessories-launcher
10 Myths About Gun Owners
by S.H. Blannelberry on May 5, 2015
There are a lot of myths about gun owners on the Interwebs. For whatever reason, people seem to believe everything they read, watch and listen to about gun owners. Not good — because most of what people read, watch and listen to is B.S.
So, in any effort to dispel some of the myths about gun owners and to disabuse those with anti-gun sentiments, here are 12 untruths about those who embrace their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms:
1. Gun Owners Dream About Killing Someone
Not true. Certainly we prepare to use deadly force, but we don’t yearn to take a life. Would we fatally shoot a serial rapist, pedophile or spree killer who was about to perpetrate an act of violence? Absolutely, but it’s not something we dream about doing.
2. All Gun Owners Are Republicans
Not true. Many are, but many are not. For the record though, the GOP tends to be more gun-friendly than the Dems.
3. Every Gun Owner is a Member of the NRA
Nope, not true either. There are approximately 100 million gun owners in this country, of which only 5 million are official members of the National Rifle Association. While the NRA fights to protect the rights of all gun owners, it only represents a fraction of the gun-owning population
4. Gun Owners Are Mostly White, Old, Fat, Bald Guys
Meet urban gun enthusiast Colion Noir (see below). He is neither white nor old nor fat nor bald. There are many others like him. Hank Strange for example, is also not a white, fat, bald guy.
. Gun Owners Only Socialize with Other Gun Owners
Not true. Many gun owners have coworkers, friends, wives, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, children that just aren’t into firearms. We peacefully coexist with mostly everybody.
6. The Bigger the Gun the Smaller the “Gun”
Not true. Just because someone prefers long arms or large caliber weapons doesn’t mean they are compensating for a anatomical deficiency. Trust me on this one… Wait, that sounds weird.
7. All Gun Owners Believe in God
False! There are atheist gun owners, like myself.
8. Hunting Is the Reason Why Gun Owners Support the Second Amendment
Hunting is a reason why gun owners support the Second Amendment, but it isn’t the only one. The primary reason gun owners support the right to keep and bear arms is for self-defense — not only against evildoers, but also against government tyranny.
9. All Gun Owners Rightly Believe 9mm is Superior to .45 ACP
Nope. Believe it or not, some actually think that .45 ACP is superior to 9mm. Crazy, right? We call these gun owners, “noobs.”
10. Gun Owners Don’t Have a Sense of Humor
False! Read number nine (it was a joke). Also, maybe number six (I’m not saying we’re funny, just saying that we have a sense of humor).
Prepping 101: Rocket Stove Canning
by Paul Helinski on May 10, 2015
Presto Pressure Canners
http://www.gopresto.com/products/Canners (products link to Amazon)
Presto Canners: On Amazon
All American Canner: On Amazon
No matter how much food you store, it will never be enough. At some point you will have to either grow your own food, or provide a valuable product or service that you can swap for food, or for the “coin of the realm” (whatever money turns out to still work after the collapse), that you can swap for food. But in most parts of the world, food doesn’t grow year round regardless. Grains will store with little outside intervention. Beans will certainly store in most environments, and potatoes, winter squashes, and some fruits will last the winter if you provide for them a root cellar of some sort that will keep them fresh. Other than that, if you want to eat vegetables and fruits year round, you will have to learn how to can your food. It isn’t hard, but you have to do it now, because as you’ll see, canning is fraught with pitfalls if you don’t do it right.
I was actually really depressed about canning for survival until recently. Canning takes a ton of heat. It requires a hard boil under pressure for upwards of two hours for large cans of meat, and that takes a lot of propane, which until recently was my only means of cooking. Then I discovered a useful tool called the “Rocket Stove,” which I reviewed for a prior installment of this series. That stove is the StoveTec brand, but I have since found other brands, and I even have a DIY rocket stove test coming for a future installment. Rocket stoves transformed my fuel paradigm. I can now cook for over an hour with a small amount of fuel from sticks that I can pick up off the ground or break off from dead trees.
The actual canning process takes on several forms depending on your container choice. Glass jars are where you should start. They sell them at most Walmarts, and the Presto Canner you see here in the pictures I bought at Walmart as well. It is $69.99, cheap enough, and as you can see from my pictures, it works just fine. This Presto has no pressure dial gauge, because you really don’t need one, though they make a higher end model of this 16 quart size with a gauge, and a 21 quart as well, both for well under $100. If you are serious about canning for survival, you may want to consider an All America Canner. They start at about $200, and the big difference is that the All Americans have a metal to metal seal instead of a silicone gasket seal. I don’t think that the Presto would fail you over several seasons, but I do also have the All American 41 quart.
The premise of canning, if you haven’t ever looked into it, is actually fairly simple. Water boils in open air at 212 degrees at sea level, and a little less than that as you get higher in elevation. For example, at one mile high, water boils at 202 degrees. When you cook food, even though your oven may say 350 degrees, as long as you leave that food in the oven and there is still water in the food, it will never get over the boiling temperature for your elevation.
You may be asking, why do I care? Well you should care because I assume you wouldn’t want to get Botulism.” It is a nasty disease caused by the bacteria clostridium botulinum, and that bacteria can live in boiling water. Clostridium botulinum spores are actually very common in both soil and water, and it produces the botulinum toxin which actually causes Botulism. To kill the toxin, you only need to heat food to about to 185 degrees for 5 minutes (which is why it is smart to cook any canned food, especially home canned), but to kill the bacteria that makes the toxin, you need to get the food up to about 240 degrees, and that can only be done under pressure. A canner is a pressure cooker designed to reach specific pressures and specific temperatures needed to kill the spores. You must read and follow the canner directions exactly. Cooking times do not vary. If it says 90 minutes, it’s 90 minutes.
Canning information should come with your canner, and it is also available online from several official sources. The Alaska Extension Service has a bunch of great videos on canning game and fish, and Presto has free downloads of all of their manuals on the website. Don’t mess around with internet discussion boards when you first start out. There is a lot of information out there on canning without pressure, but this is ill advised for anything besides tomatoes and high acid fruits. Do people can other veggies and meat without pressure? Yes. I even found a huge wood fired Amish canner that isn’t sealed for pressure, but the online chat rep why they didn’t make it a pressure canner she had no idea, and didn’t reply to my questions about canning low acid foods without pressure. When you can get a really nice pressure canner for under $100, why mess around?
My only other real piece of advice is don’t throw out your manual after you do it the first time and you feel like you know what you are doing. I have been canning for years and still forgot and pulled the pressure plug off the top of the canner before it had cooled. I just wanted to get a picture of the steam for you guys, but I had forgotten that you can’t do that because the jars are pressurized inside the canner. If you depressurize the canner quickly, he pressure inside the jars is much higher than the pressure in the canner, so…you guessed it (maybe), the jars spit most of their liquid into the canner. You also will need your printed direction after the internet goes dark so that you can look up the pressures for various types of foods and jar sizes. It is a very important little book to hold onto.
As you can see from my pictures, I was successful in using my StoveTec Rocket Stove to can veggies and fish. The one major lesson I took away was that for canning, you need a lot of oxygen and a slow burning fuel (ie. hardwood). In my prior article I used palm fronds, packed tightly into the fuel opening in the stove, but that didn’t get hot enough to get the canner to pressure and maintain it. Canning didn’t take all that much more fuel, but I did have to make sure that the fuel was burning hot and not smouldering. This specific Presto canner is famous for it’s jingling pressure system. With a really hard boil on the stovetop, the pressure weight rocks back and forth with a dinkadinkadinkadinka sound. I was not able to get that level of boil with the StoveTec, but I could hear a constant hissing coming from under the weight, which means that the canner was at pressure for the requisite time.
The Rocket Stove does make a mess of your canner, but though there were some heat swirls in the aluminum, it didn’t come close to warping the canner, which you can do on an outdoor propane burner made for a turkey frier. There was a buildup of creosote on the bottom, but it washed off. It took me some experimentation to get the heat focused enough to maintain the boil. The StoveTec comes with a heat ring that didn’t fit around the 16 quart canner, but I figured out that I could put the heat ring around the stove and set the canner on top of the heat ring and it works almost as good as if it were around the pot. Once I got this wrinkle figured out, that was it. The boil stayed hard enough to get that hiss from under the weight, and then I just stayed and attended the fuel.
Note that toward the end of the pictures I also tested Tattler reusable lids. They only come in the smaller opening size (the “regular” not the wide mouth), and so far I have only tested them for one use. Long term, I think that the Tattler lids are a good idea because though the jars and rings can be used indefinitely, regular canning lids can only be used once. I bought a couple cases of lids for my survival kit, but eventually they will run out. I plan to experiment with wax in the future as another long term solution, but that would be considered fringe canning and I don’t suggest it at this point because I have only read a few threads, and they don’t look promising. The problem with the Tattler lids is that the key to reusing them is getting them off without breaking the gasket. The vacuum sucks the plastic of the lids into a concave shape, and even with a delicate hand and a butter knife it is going to be tough to always get those lids off with no damage to the gasket.
Don’t underestimate the amount of food that you can grow in a large garden. And don’t believe the naysayers that tell you that you need two acres of land per person. That is complete nonsense. You aren’t going to live like royalty on less, but you may just survive, and you need to be able to store food for the winters. We are going to look at canning in steel cans in the figure here, and even how to make your own retort pouches with your canner, but if you want to get started now, get canning with glass bottles, and buy a ton of them while you still can. This chapter of the human experiment may be coming to an imminent close. I hope it is a happy ending, but most likely it will be the opposite, and all you can do to prepare for it is what you can do. But for Heaven’s sake do.
Why Settle for a Single Stack? .45 XD Mod 2
by Dave Higginbotham on May 6, 2015
Springfield-Armory XD Mod 2: http://www.springfield-armory.com/products/xd Mod 2 45acp/
There’s been a lot of flap about thin polymer pistols lately. Too much flap. I’ve had my fill of all of the yammering about the thinnest this, or the most concealable that. I’ve made the argument before, and–at the risk of repeating myself–I’ll say it again: it isn’t that much harder to conceal an extra .25″ of plastic. The race for the bottom, the smallest, the thinnest, earns companies (and the shooters who embrace their products) nothing but bragging rights. And you aren’t going to prevail in a gunfight with bragging rights. You win with a functional firearm and adequate training.
Both are critical. You want a gun that’s going to be big enough to manage, but not so big that it can’t be concealed. Finding that delicate balance can be super tricky. It requires actually shooting the gun–a luxury most of us don’t have unless we’re willing to pony up. It requires a lot of side-by-side comparisons, which means your FFL has to have a good selection. And it may mean that you give up some hard-won brand loyalties and consider everything equally.
But before we get into the meat of this, I’d like to take a video detour. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to shoot Springfield-Armory’s new XD Mod 2 in .45 ACP. It wasn’t your average day at the range–I was working with Rob Leatham. Shooting with Leatham is like a master’s course in handgun skills. The two videos below are from that shoot.
Back to the matter at hand…
Let’s consider for a moment the recent single-stack race. Springfield-Armory has been a big contender in this race for quite some time now. Their XD-S line rocked the concealed carry market, and I was an early adopter. I love my XD-S in .45 ACP. It is very easy to conceal. And it was one of my favorite carry guns until I spent some time with the XD Mod 2 line. Let’s take a side-by-side look at the two and see how they stack up.
◾Recoil System Captive Recoil Spring w/ Full Length Guide Rod
◾Sights Fiber Optic Front and Low Profile Combat Rear
◾Weight (with Empty Magazine) 26 ozs.
◾Height 4.75″ w/ Compact Mag, 5.5″ w/ X-Tension™
◾Slide Forged Steel, Stainless Steel® Finish
◾Barrel 3.3″ Hammer Forged / 1:16 Twist
◾Grip Width 1.20″
◾Frame Black Polymer
◾Magazines 1 – 9 Round,1 – 13 w/ X-Tension
◾Recoil System Dual Spring w/ Full Length Guide Rod
◾Sights Fiber Optic Front & Dovetail Rear (Steel)
◾Weight (with Empty Magazine) 21.5 ozs.
◾Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
◾Barrel 3.3″ Steel, Melonite®, Hammer Forged
◾Grip Width .9″
◾Frame Black Polymer
◾Magazines 1 – 5 Round, 1 – 6 Round w/X-Tension
Just to hit my point again, the height of the XD-S is 4.4″. The XD Mod 2 is 4.75″. Length is even less significant. The XD is a mere .2″ longer. Width? .3″ wider. We’re talking about measurements that are hard to envision without the aid of measurement tools. Do this little exercise. Put your fingers .25″ apart. Now ask yourself what that miniscule measurement gets you.
You get 4 more rounds of .45 ACP. The XD-S has a 5 round mag. The XD has a 9 round mag. For those at Springfield who are reading this and feel like I’m bashing on the XD-S–you have my apologies. I’m not. I still love my XD-S, and am confident in carrying it. But it feels inadequate next to the XD Mod 2’s increased capacity. I did a full blown review back in November. I reached the exact same conclusion then (when just the 9mm and .40 S&W were avialable), which gives me confidence in my opinion. These guns are game changers.
If you haven’t picked up on the larger implications of this, I’ll spell it out for you. I’ve been carefully using the XD-S as a stand in for a lot of other guns. The Mod 2 makes any single stack 9mm, .40, or .45 obsolete. Why would you give up capacity for a slim fraction of an inch less width? I can’t imagine anyone shooting this pistol side-by-side with any single stack on the market coming away with the single-stack. Perhaps some of you out there want a fancy pistol, one that looks good with a suit. If you accessorize your firearms like you do belts and shoes, the polymer framed XD may not impress. Or if you’re a diehard single-action guy, you may have a tough time with the versatility of the XD. But I doubt it. Maybe you’re so confident in your prowess with handguns that you need the handicap of single-stack capacity….
What’s different about the new XD Mod 2?
Now they’ve added the .45 ACP. I’ve shot all three side-by-side, and I’m partial to the .45 ACP. There’s no difference in the feel of the guns, and only a modest difference in the felt recoil. The .45 ACP is more manageable for me than the .40 S&W, and less fatiguing on my hand. You can dicker all you want about which caliber is most effective, but I’ve yet to find fault with these three. In the end, it may come down to personal preference. Or, if this is going to be a backup gun, I’d choose the same caliber as my primary gun.
Either way. One thing that is a major upgrade on the Mod 2 is the GripZone texture on the frame. While the old XD had knobbly bumps that resembled mud tires, this one is a bit more refined. The actual hashes are like grains of rice, only smaller and with sharper edges. They offer a solid grip. It is a great improvement. The old grips have good surface area, but weren’t as ergonomic. These feel great in the hand.
The increased grip equates to more control. While some of the competition’s guns need to be sanded here, and stippled there, the XD is a perfect fit.
How does the .45 ACP perform from a 3.3″ barrel?
Not bad. I ran several varieties through the chronograph. While most are coming in below what I’d like for the .45, the speeds are still respectable. We didn’t have any rounds that broke the 1,100 FPS mark. We only had one go below the 900 FPS mark, and that was a big fat 230 grain Federal jacketed hollow point that slipped in at 870 FPS. All told, the XD Mod 2 puts up numbers that compare very favorably to a 1911. In most cases, there’s less than 100 FPS of velocity loss from the 5″ barrels to the 3.3″ inch barrels. Odds are slim that anyone on the receiving end would be able to notice the difference.
So the speeds are enough to ensure expansion and penetration. The gun is small enough to conceal. And the gun holds more than a typical 1911. This “why-settle?” question seems to be evaporating quickly. There’s no good reason I can think of to settle. At least not for me.
And maybe that’s where this ends up. This is me. I’ve known some really tiny people who like to carry guns. I’m not talking about children, though I know them too. I’m talking about small framed adults. Women, mostly, but some rail-thin dudes that could use a sandwich. It is conceivable that the XD, even as compact as it is, would be too big to conceal. For those shooters, I can’t see any 9mm, .40, or .45–even the single-stacks–being easy to carry. Those skinny folks are tailor made for the .380. And Springfield-Armory doesn’t make one of those. Yet.
For the rest of us, there’s the Mod 2. The gun sells for $500, give or take. That’s not bad, better than some of the contenders, and very affordable.
Witness Pulled Gun On Burglary Suspect Who Was Beating OKC Officer
Posted: May 07, 2015 4:09 PM CDT
Updated: May 07, 2015 4:09 PM CDT
By Matthew Nuttle, News9.com
OKLAHOMA CITY - New information is coming out regarding the rookie Oklahoma City police officer who was beaten by a suspect with his own baton following a burglary on the northwest side of the metro.
An armed witness may have been the only thing that kept that officer from a more serious beating, or worse.
It happened just after 2 p.m. Tuesday in the 2800 block of W. Park Pl. Rookie Officer Adam Eller and field training officer Sgt. Michael Lambert were responding to the burglary call.
The two suspects in the burglary, Tremaine and Jermaine Williams, are twin brothers. Police say Tremaine was already gone when they arrived, but Jermaine was there and when he saw the officers he took off on foot.
5/6/2015 Related Story: OKC Officer Injured While Pursuing Burglary Suspect Released From Hospital
During the chase the two officers became separated. Eller found himself alone when he caught up to Jermaine in a driveway of a nearby home and as he tried to place him under arrest, a fight ensued. During the struggle, Jermaine was able to take Eller's police baton and then proceeded to strike him over the head somewhere between six and 12 times.
According to a report, that's when a witness nearby charged up with his weapon drawn and told Jermaine he would shoot him if he did not stop hitting Eller. That heroic witness has not been identified.
Both Tremaine and Jermaine Williams were eventually taken into custody and booked into the Oklahoma County jail Tuesday night. Eller was rushed from the scene to OU Medical Center with serious injuries, but was released on Wednesday and is expected to make a full recovery.
Some of the information in this news story may have been provided by law enforcement with the request News 9 inform the public of, and/or assist in locating a person in connection with, a police investigation. News 9 can make no independent verification of the accuracy of the information, photographs and/or video provided to it by police or other law enforcement agencies.
Heckler & Koch Introduces Made-For-Carry P30SK
By: Elwood Shelton | April 21, 2015
Utter polymer frame and one thing is almost certain to come to mind — striker fired.
There is an obvious reason for this inevitable cognitive leap. The material and firing system have become as pervasive in pistol design as hollow promises are at political rallies.
The features, while dominating the landscape, aren’t attached at the hip. A shooter need not look further than Heckler & Koch to find examples of where the two part ways — for the most part.
The German manufacturer has swum against the current with polymer-framed, hammer-fired pistols overwhelmingly ruling its catalog’s pages. It is a formula Heckler & Koch doesn’t appear set to abandon anytime soon.
The company continued to expand its roster of handguns with these design features with the addition of the P30SK. The 9mm is the third in the P30 series — introduced in 2006 — and is an attempt to provide a more concealable pistol in the line.
The new subcompact has the same width as the older iterations of the pistol, but is shorter in overall length and has a lower profile.
Perhaps the most pronounced tale of the tape is the near inch H&K has shaved off the height of the P30SK compared to the P30 (the Mama-Bear model) making it less likely to print when concealed. The pistol is also nearly 3-ounces lighter than the P30, tipping the scales at 23.99 ounces.
Like earlier variations, the P30SK offers shooters a number of intriguing features to match their shooting preferences. One of the more unique to Heckler & Koch is the ability to choose the trigger mechanism — double-action only or double-action/single-action.
The DA/SA model has been reported as having an 11.5-pound pull in double-action that then reduces to 4.5 pounds in single action. The double-action only, what the company calls its “Law Enforcement Modification,” has a snappy 5.4-pound pull each time the trigger is depressed.
The two trigger variants also have different hammer configurations. The DAO model is bobbed hammer, while the DA/SA has a spur.
The DA/SA model is available with or without an ambidextrous manual safety, but in either case it comes outfitted with a serrated decocking lever at the rear of the frame.
Like the rest of the line, the P30SK has changeable backstraps and grip panels allowing shooters the ability to modify the pistol to their hand size. The handgun also features ambidextrous controls, including dual slide and magazine release levers.
The pistol follows the rest of the line with an automatic hammer safety and firing-pin safety. And it is outfitted with a Picatinny rail for the easy addition of accessories.
The gun is due for release in June and has an MSRP of $719.
The following is an excerpt from the new book Joseph Terry Presents the ABCs of Concealed Carry. Each week we'll feature a new chapter from A-Z.
B: Brandishing and Verbal Commands
You can safely bet that somewhere today across America the purposeful display of a firearm or "brandishing" by the good guys will stop a thousand crimes in progress. The reason is simple, most bullies and predators don't want to get shot. The problem is that aggressive display is an acquired skill that is not likely to be covered at the class you will take to get your concealed carry license.
Many take comfort in the delusion that merely displaying a firearm will cause the bad boys to flee the scene in terror. Such thinking goes thusly, "I don't know if I could shoot anybody, but I could sure scare the hell out of them with my pistol." That's a dangerous and risky assumption because of the big difference between mere display and skilled display. Unless you understand this tactic in some detail, do not depend on flashing your gun to get out of a jam. In fact, it could make a bad situation far worse.
Even if you have a gun in your hand, it does not mean that you will be effective in your presentation of resolute force. Here's why: thugs have seen a lot of guns and they are very adept at sensing whether you have the will to use yours.
The goal of displaying a firearm to stop an assault rests on the ability to project an image of the capacity and willingness to use lethal force if immediate cessation of the threat is not achieved. This depends on two separate tactical skill sets, the manipulation of the handgun in a way that communicates familiarity with it and the use of stern and confident statements that direct the assailant to stop the threat.
The effective manipulation of the handgun involves a smooth, not necessarily a fast draw from concealment while simultaneously stepping into a good shooting stance and moving the gun into position without wavering or gesturing with it. If you look like you know how to shoot the gun, it dramatically increases the impression of your willingness to use it.
What you shout is just as important. When you practice your draw, integrate a forceful command such as, "Drop the weapon! Drop the weapon! Drop the weapon!" This is important for two reasons. It reinforces your willingness to do what is necessary to stop the threat, and it gives bystanders something to report to responding officers that may support your legal position. Bystanders are notoriously inaccurate in reporting what they see, but are good at remembering what they hear. Cops know this as part of their training. You want bystanders to report to investigating officers that they heard you demand several times that the assailant stop his attack.
As quickly as you can compose yourself, call 911 and report the incident to police dispatch. After all, you were the victim. If the person that you had to brandish against calls dispatch first and complains that you threatened them with a gun, it may be you the police come to arrest.
Bottom line, if you decide to carry a concealed firearm for protection, don't display it in a threatening manner unless you are actually being victimized. If you are, then draw, shout and, if you must, shoot.
Cheap Guns: 1911 Edition Metro Arms Commander
by Sam Trisler on April 30, 2015
Buy one on GunsAmerica: http://www.gunsamerica.com/Metro Arms
Metro Arms American Classic Commander: https://americanclassic.com/commander-series.
Editor’s Note: We here at GunsAmerica have a taste for the finer things. We’ve shot our fair share of high-end single-actions. I personally get euphoric when handling guns that embody the best of American craftsmanship–the type of guns that get better the close you look. The Metro Arms 1911s we’ve seen don’t fit into that category. From across the room, you won’t find fault. Get close, and you’ll see tool marks and mold lines. While this would be an utter embarrassment on a $3,000 1911, it isn’t on a $500 gun–at least not one made of metal. And the guns work. They work reliably well. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have bothered with this Commander. You can check out our other review here. When it comes to “cheap” 1911s, these guns are hard to beat.
The American Classic series from Metro Arms is imported by Eagle Imports. Eagle is probably best known as the importer of Bersa. The Bersas, like good Marxist revolutionaries, are made in Argentina. The Metros are made in the Philippines. For a number of years now there have been some very nice and lower priced 1911s coming out of the Philippines. The best known being the Armscor made Rock Islands.
Why the Philippines? Rumor has it the Americans left behind some tooling when we were wrapping up our big mid-century Nipponese ass kicking, and some skilled 1911 armorers, and the tradition has been building ever since.
In the realm of budget 1911s, the American Classic stands out for the “extras” they come with. I am not talking about the other stuff in the box, I mean the stuff on the pistol its self. These are not the standard 1911 A1 copies typically associated with Filipino 1911s. They’ve got more in common with the contemporary 1911 we’re all familiar with on this side of the Pacific.
Here are the numbers on the American Classic Commander
◾Caliber: .45 ACP, 9MM
◾Overall Length: 7.5”
◾Barrel Length: 4.25”
◾Weight (empty): 36.9oz.
◾Frame: 4140 Steel
◾Slide: 4140 Hammer Forged Steel
◾Novak-Style Rear Sight
◾Dovetail Front Sight
◾Flared Ejection Port
◾Extended Slide Stop
◾Beavertail Grip Safety
◾Front & Rear Serration
◾Extended Thumb Safety
◾Throated FORGED STEEL Barrel
◾Front & Rear Slide Serration
◾Checkered Hard Wood Grip w/ Diamond Cut
◾8-rd/9-rd Magazine w/ Bumper Pad
◾Finish: Deep Blue, Hard Chrome, & Duo-tone
I have already mentioned this is a budget 1911 but I have not mentioned what these are selling for on purpose. Take a closer look at the specs I listed above and the pictures. There are a lot of extras on this pistol. Novak sight, beavertail, trigger serrations to name three that stand out. All of this (and more!) can be found for around $500 bucks. That is a heck of a lot of pistol for $500 bucks.
If there is one place that the Metro Arms lacks it is in the fit and finish department. Neither of these are bad per say, but do not expect to find the same level of polish that you would on a Colt. To keep the price this low, something has to give.
The fit of the slide to frame is great. The bushing and all of the other parts that the fit has to be right on a 1911 to work seems to be done correctly. I put 500 rounds through this American Classic and did not find any wear on the lugs, slide or frame that would indicate the pistol was not made to spec. That part, the important part, of the fit is great and how a 1911 is supposed to me made.
The finish is well applied and looks good. There are some tool marks visible on the outside of the pistol. I expect to see some of them on a 1911 in this price range. They are not bad by any means and will not effect function. The inside of the Metro is clean where it needs to me with tool marks visible in areas that doesn’t matter for function.
No it is not Made in Mexico. Metal Injection Molding. Parts made with this process get some hate and, when they are not manufactured correctly, they deserve the hate. However, correctly made MIM parts should work just as well as ones machined from stock. There are MIM parts on the Metro. At this price point you expect them. It is the MIM parts that let pistols like this sell for this price. Even a lot more expensive 1911s and other firearms have MIM parts on them. They are here to stay until someone comes up with something better and cheaper. Look at the pictures of the review gun. There are still some mold lines visible on the thumb safety and hammer. On a more expensive 1911 I wouldn’t expect to see the mold lines and they are a bit distracting here. To me, this is the biggest part on the American Classic that says “cheap gun”.
The American Classic Commander works like a 1911 should. In the 500 rounds I put down the barrel, I had one stovepipe. That stovepipe was probably my fault, too. A long day at the range shooting for this review (and a couple .357 revolvers) left this guy with a fatigued wrist. I am 99% sure I limp-wristed the Metro. So other than the one failure that was my fault, the Metro functioned flawlessly.
Like with most everything on this pistol, the Metro Arms shoots better than most 1911s in its price point. Is this the most accurate 1911 I have ever shot? Nope, but it is better than some. This is also not a target model. It has a Novak style rear sight that doesn’t lend itself to precision work. See the targets in the photos for what I and another shooter were able to wring out of the American Classic. I should also admit that I shoot full size 1911s a lot better than I do Commander sized ones. I do not believe that the 3/4 of an inch difference in barrel length is the culprit, I believe it is a balance thing and my muscle memory. 90% of my 1911 trigger time is behind full sized ones. Or maybe it is all in my head.
This is a solid commander sized 1911. Metro Arms offers a lot of bang for your buck on this pistol. There are a few fit and finish issues and the mold lines left on some parts does bother me some. But that is being a bit nit-picky. The American Classic Commander works and shoots like a champ, and that is what really matters, right?
Prepping 101: Sowing Seeds for Survival
by Paul Helinski on April 9, 2015
Soil Blockers: At Johnnys
Soil Blockers: At Amazon
Survival Seeds: On Ebay
Russian Heirlooms: As seen here
The title of this week’s column was named intentionally to mean more than just specifically what we will be talking about. Nowhere in this series will you find, “go do this and you will survive!” There is no such thing. But building skills that you don’t currently have, and backing up those skills with some usable resources, is at this point prudent. All I can do is sow some seeds of knowledge and hope that in your own best interest, you will follow up and build a library of survival knowledge, and a pile of survival assets. If you have followed us from the start, you will remember a year ago when I wrote the first article on seeds, and my focus then was “don’t screw it up” (because you will, and it is better to get the screws ups under your belt). Here we are now a year later, and for most of the country, this is a great time to start some seeds. Danger of a last freeze is quickly passing, and it is time for new things to grow.
Whether you live in an apartment in Brooklyn or on exactly 1 acre in suburbia or 100 acres in Iowa, if you have never grown anything, it is time to start somewhere. Survival-scale gardening may not be part of your realistic long term survival plan where you currently live, but who knows where you will end up after the collapse passes. The cities may be uninhabitable, and you may be in a wave of refugees who flee to places where food can grow. At the very least, when someone says “have any of you ever grown vegetables before?”, you’ll be able to say yes. At the very most, your survival plan already includes a bugout location where you can garden, and you’ll actually make it there and survive. Gardening is so much more than putting seeds in the grown and hoping something grows, and the more you can teach yourself now, the more capable you will be down the road.
In the first article I pointed you at some great sources for seeds, one of which is the organization called Seedsavers, as well as some Ebay sellers offering packages in bulk. Those same resources are still available, and the seeds are fresh from last year now, not 2013. These days there are even more people selling bulk seeds on Ebay, but you have to be careful with what you are buying. I found that if you look into the actual seed counts, you’ll find a lot of lettuces and grains, and very few tomatoes and eggplants. Part of this is because seeds from veggies with soft insides are hard to clean and dry, whereas lettuce and grain seeds are very easy to collect. So while you may think you are getting 500,000 survival seeds, it may be a half a dozen packets of things you really want to grow, and half a pound each of amaranth and millet.
For this article I planted mostly last year’s seeds that I had bought about this time last year. Plus I added some squash and tomato seeds I saved from supermarket veggies, just to show you that seeds don’t necessarily need to be purchased to work. I’m planning to write an article on saving seeds in the future, if we make it to the future, based on my own experiences saving seeds, some old seed saving references, and a new book that is coming out from Seedsavers in May.
A week later, I’ve already got more seedlings than I will be able to plant out, and even some of the slower seeds are starting to break through. Because while you can do a lot right and fail at seeds, you can also be somewhat haphazard, do a lot wrong, and still get plenty of plants.
Soil Blocks vs. Flats vs. Egg Cartons
If you look back through the pictures a year ago, you’ll see that I used egg boxes to start seedlings. They work, as does just about anything else you could find to start seeds in, but egg cartons are hard to manage because they dry out quick and are difficult to water from the bottom, which I prefer. I am big fan of soil blocks for survival, because once you have the block maker, it is just a matter of composing a soil that will stay together for the blocks.
Never heard of soil blocks? What have you been living in a cave? Just kidding. Only about 3 people who read this will have ever heard of soil blocks before, but I was surprised to find out that these days they are not a niche a product as they were when I first discovered them in my prior life as an organic farmer more than 10 years ago. I figure at some point Kim Kardashian must have tweeted something about soil blocks because these days you can find the formerly obscure English made curiosities on Amazon, with free shipping.
Soil blockers come in four types that make 3 different sizes of blocks. The smallest blocker makes cubes about `1/2″ wide with a small indent in the top. They are great for lettuce, celery, and other small seeds, and I’ve used them successfully for seeds as big as tomato, eggplant and pepper. The next size up is a 2″ block, and if you are just going to get one blocker, I would get the 4 hole version of the 2″ block. There is also a 12 block version of the 2″ block, but it is meant for people who make thousands of blocks, and you really don’t need it. The 2″ blocker comes with a dimple insert for the seed, and that size is big enough for even the largest squash and pumpkin seed, and you can also get a cube sized dimple so that you can put the smallest block inside the 2″ block. There is also a 4″ block maker that makes blocks with a 2″ hole, to pot up the 2″ blocks, but though I used to have one I never used it.
The alternative to soil blocks is of course regular old garden trays with small pots for your seedlings. If they have drainage garden trays are fine, but make sure that you don’t drown them. Seeds need air to sprout and grown just as much as water and sunlight. Don’t let them get too dry either, because once your seeds are wet and have started growing inside, drying them out completely will kill them, much like they would kill a plant.
Also popular in spring garden centers are the round compressed plugs that come in a netting material. To me they work just as good as soil blocks, and you don’t have to worry about them disintegrating on you like you do with blocks, but from a survival perspective they are completely useless. Single use, when it comes to survival gardening, just isn’t going to cut it. That is part of the problem with the plastic plant trays. If you pick up a plant disease, sterilizing the tray isn’t so easy. UV light does kill most bacteria, but I don’t know a successful gardener who would use a plastic tray that plants have died in. Soil blocks can actually be put right on the ground, or even better, on cement or brick. If you pick up a plant fungus, build a fire on that piece of ground, or the cement or brick, and you’ll be fine to try it again.
a Good Reference
Gardening books seem to be like opinions. Everyone has one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks. I have owned dozens of gardening books, old and new, and the one I find most useful is called The New Seed Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel. There are more encyclopedic books with taxonomy of hundreds of varieties of plants, and there are more “newbie” books, but I find that though it was last updated in 1988, this book covers just about everything you need to know in one small volume that will get you out and doing it right very quickly.
The internet can be both a great and a crappy source of local gardening information. If you search around, you may find that someone in your location has devoted a whole bunch of spare time and effort to create an authoritative reference of soil types and pests in your area. Most likely not though. What you will most likely find is that your state university has a wealth of information from the “extension service” that was entirely bought and paid for by the ag industry. They will happily test your soil for free usually, so that they can suggest the “products” that will make your soil just right. The problem is that in a survival situation, you will most likely have to make due without it, and in the meantime your soil has had all the good stuff killed off by the chemicals that your neighborhood extension agent has insisted that you must have.
Organic vs. Conventional vs… GMO?
So called “organic” farming is a legal term since the FDA took over the labeling in 2002 of organic foods. If you Google around about it, you will see that organic is fraught with inconsistencies and even outright fraud, and that the FDA has been complicit in the circus that has become “organic.” For your own garden, “organic” or not depends on what you personally want to do, because we are not talking about selling your produce here, which is the only time that the rules of organic apply. Do you want to make your own fertilizer from some kind of animal waste or compost? Do you want to buy regular old fertilizer? What about insect control? If you sprinkle some “Seven” around the corners of your garden there is no way you could ever be certified organic, but do you really feel that there will be adverse health effects from veggies planted in the general vicinity? I warn people that if you plan to “go organic,” you had better get some experience under your belt. Because one of the things you can store for survival is some regular old chemical fertilizer, and that stuff works. Remember that the original name of the Whole Foods chain (I used to shop there in Cambridge Mass.) was “Bread & Circus.” Look that term up for an interesting perspective of what they were really trying to accomplish.
GMO is a whole other story. Genetic modification of plants has been around for decades now, and the science on GMO was very rushed, and done by the companies who sell the stuff with no supervision. You may think that the FDA is a real watchdog government entitity, but they aren’t. FDA has had a revolving door of executives with Monsanto, Dupont and others in the global ag business, and at this point I wouldn’t trust them with a $20 bill to go get a pack of smokes and a rack of beer, let alone our food security. The good news is that there are very few actual plants that are affected by genetic modification. Corn and soybeans are the big ones, but canola and now sugar beets have now gone almost entirely GMO as well. Corn and beets are wind pollinated, so if you live in one of the regions where commercial crops are grown, be aware that after one season your corn or beets will also be GMO, and you will in violation of patents on those crops. Unfortunately there is little you can do to avoid that, other than move. Corn in the most remote regions of Mexico, where corn most likely originated, has been tested positive for GMO contamination. GMO is a mess.
Garden veggies like tomato and watermelon haven’t been approved for GMO in the US thankfully, so regardless of whether you play $1.29 for a pack of seeds on Ebay or $3.49 for top of the line “organic” seeds in the special rack at your garden supply store, they won’t be GMO. You should however be aware of what are called F1 hybrids, which I covered in the first article. The consumer seed companies have been great about labeling F1s for several years now. If you don’t intend to save your seeds this year, by all means feel free to choose an F1, because they are often really great to eat, but if you intend to save the seeds, next year’s will mostly likely not be as good as this year’s.
No this isn’t about growing weed in Colorado. Potting out is when you move your seedlings to either a larger pot or soil block, or you just move them outside to a garden. If you live in the northern climes and you have the room, I strongly suggest you build at least a small greenhouse. My article on water mentioned that I used to have a greenhouse in the hills of western Massachusetts and that even when the outside temp got down to below zero, the grass in my greenhouse was always green. Now that I’m in Florida I have experienced everbearing year round tomato plants, but I never thought to try that in my greenhouse back then. No matter what, if you have the room for one, a greenhouse will give you a jump on spring that most gardeners will only be able to envy. I used to start my seedlings in those 1/2″ blocks on a warming pad in my basement, then pot them up to the 2″ blocks in the greenhouse before putting them out after about May 15th.
Container gardening is not as far fetched as you might think. If you see things labelled “hydroponic,” it sure sounds natural, but it is really just growing plants on porous rocks using chemical fertilizers. You don’t need a lot of dirt or land to grown plants. You need nutrients and water, and sunlight. I have very little experience with it, so I am planning on potting these seedlings up to 5 gallon grow bags and set up a drip irrigation system. How complicated could it be?
Canning for Survival and Sanity
Your first year of gardening will teach you a valuable lesson. It is pretty easy to grow more veggies than you could possibly eat yourself before they go bad. Summer squashes are the worst. They just keep coming. But have no fear, we are going to get to canning shortly. And if you are adventurous, don’t wait for me. Go buy a $69 Presto canner and follow the directions. It isn’t that hard, nor is it expensive. I plan to start my series on canning with regular glass Mason jars (available at Walmart as is the canner sometimes), but I’m going to use my rocket stove as the heat source.
I have always felt that you can never get anywhere unless you have a target to aim at. Like with shooting, rarely will you hit the center of the target even on your best day. But if you can come up with a steady rest and some good concentration, you have a good chance of at least getting close. And in the worst possible outcome, you still managed to get your shot into the general direction in which you were aiming. Survival is the same way. Ultimately it is not me who will adjudicate whether I survive what is inevitably a collapse at this point, but if I see in my minds eye how me and mine could potentially survive, maybe we’ll end up in that general direction at least. I also wish you well in this regard.
In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior: "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a Dictatorship."
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the Beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."
Thomas Jefferson wrote that "A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse."
President - CARGO
"If you can read this, thank a teacher. For the fact that it is in English, thank a Soldier."
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