Sunday, January 31, 2010
It's been a few years since I've done the gun show runs and the pawn shop runs but I'm ready to start doing that again, looking for a bargain.
Right now, I'm looking for a thin, concealable semi-auto pistol in either .357 Sig or 9mm, preferably .357 Sig.
I've about narrowed it down to two guns: A used HK P-7 or a Sig Sauer Model 239 in .357 Sig, preferably the SAS version (which featurs some shaved edges and a dehorned but still single action cockable and functional hammer). As I recently mentioned, I shot a M239 of these in 9mm and was quite smitten with it.
THE SIG Model 239 SAS
It shot smooth and highly accurately, as accurate as my highly accurate first Glock M21 as purchased in 1992, which to-date is the most accurate shooting auto I've ever owned though.
I know .357 Sig is a very popular caliber right now for law enforcement, and lately I've been talking to some of my Texas Ranger friends to find out what they think about it. As I think I have mentioned, they are ga-ga over it. When the Rangers adopted the Sig in .45 caliber back in the 1990's, many Rangers felt although it was a fine gun, they still carried their 1911's.
But when the Rangers switched to the .357 Sig, after a few years, I began to see many Rangers carrying the 226 or the 229 in the .357 Sig. Until a few weeks ago, I never questioned it, it was their deal. I do know they can still carry a .45 Sig or a 1911 if they want, but many (although they still own fancy, worked on 1911's and many own the Commemorative Ranger model Sigs that were sold back in the 1990's to the Rangers on a special basis).
But the several Rangers I have spoken with are convinced it is a superior caliber for their uses. They also work many if not all of the police related shootings that occur, and they are seeing the stopping power of the .357 Sig as equal or better than the .45 auto, and they can carry more rounds in the gun of the .357 Sig.
I was surprised to hear this. I've never cared much for the .40 caliber round, and I have had some great shooting experiences with M&P's and Glocks chambered in these calibers and owned by friends. I briefly owned a Firestar in .40 Caliber some 15 years ago. I bought it from a then-secretary who didn't like it and used it for trade fodder for a nice Commander.
So the Model 239, although a bit heavy compared to other guns I'm thinking about, is definately a very safe gun to carry with one in the chamber next to your body in an IWB holster. I love the way my Glock 36 shoots, but I don't care much for carrying a Glock trigger next to my body. I wish it had an external safety.
The 239 has no safety but it has the heavier double action/single action trigger, which takes much more effort to shoot in DA mode than the Glock pistols. Glock pistols are basically "Cocked and Un-Locked", as they have no real safety.
Yes, I've read the Glock propaganda about the trigger but find it more suited to a larger, thicker holster that protects the trigger better, and is thus much less concealable. I also worry about an accidental discharge when reholstering in the Glock pistols, although I'm not familiar with any type of tendency for them to do that.
THE HK P-7
I have waxed nostalgiac for one of these in many prior posts, lauding the virtues of the squeeze-cocker design pistol. And the virtues are many.
My first one, an early model with the heel magazine release, had been previously owned by a longtime undercover HPD narc. He had taken the square edge off of the trigger guard with a file, leaving a good bit of bare metal. There was no rust on the bare metal.
After he had carried this gun mostly "Mexican Carry" style (i.e. no holster, stuck in the pants under a belt with no holster) next to his body in humid Houston for about 6 years and his homemade elimination of the squared off trigger guard kept it from gouging him when carried this way. I modified some Commander holsters to fit this gun, but soon settled on the Askins Avenger and the Milt Sparks Summer Special for this gun.
The second P7 I owned had the thumb style mag release, and I remember this accidentally engaging during carry (unbeknownst to me) on several occasions, thus popping out the mag just enough so that it was disengaged.
So if I get another P7, it will be the earlier heel magazine release model.
The P7 weighs a bit less than the Sig M239, but does shoot 9mm, which I like better than .40 caliber. The P7 is a stout gun, and can handle some pretty stout ammunition, so loaded well, it's a viable defense weapon. CorBon comes to mind as the "it ammo" for self defense for the 9mm, but I think the Federal low velocity and high expansion personal defense ammo would be a very viable choice as well.
Even with stout, factory recommended ammo, the P7 recoils very little. Very little compared to other 9mm's, due to the particular gas operation system of the P7, which I absolutely can't explain. I just know the first time I shot the first P7 I owned, I was like "that's it? That's all it kicks? ".
The P7 has no external safety either, yet it features the innovative and highly safe squeeze cocking system. On the rare occasions I would carry this gun in my pants sans holster, I always felt safe.
So it is odd that the biggest gripe I have with the Glock 36 is that it has no external safety. But it's the trigger system that the Sig M239 and the squeeze cocking HK P7 offer that seem to me to be so safe. The 239 has a decocking lever, while the squeeze cocker serves the dual purposed of cocking and decocking the gun all in one motion.
Decocking can be dangerous with the wrong gun. You don't decock the Glock when you finish shooting it, you simply reholster. With that awfully wonderfully shooting but scary to carry Glock trigger.
What do you think?
PICTURE OF RUGER SECURITY SIX WITH 2.75" BARREL COURTESY OF http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_i9XcNg33JRw/SYUM_u7Mx0I/AAAAAAAAAFY/gRvB1OmyzI4/s400/security6.jpg
Sunday, January 24, 2010
One day in the mid-eighties, I was in the that used record store that was on Westheimer east of Montrose, next to a drapery company that was very cranky about you parking in their half of the lot. I think it was called Record Exchange but I'm not sure.
In any event, I was asking one of the clerks about any used albums from local Houston bands, past or present. She said well, this is sorta current, a couple of years old, and it's local because this guy Jandek supposedly lives in Houston, and it's different. Some of it is sorta traditional and some is sorta avaunt guard, so since it was like $1 or something I decided to get it.
I listened to it. It was interesting. Some of it was even kinda cool. It wasn't what I played or listened to, and I have been a fan of many genres of music in my lifetime.
Classical, symphonic, orchestral, jazz, country, folk, latin, blues, rock, pop, soul, r&b, rap and all kinds of things that are in between.
It was this guy, probably recording on a 4 track cassette (which was state of the art home recording gear in the early 1980's), with a guitar tuned to some obscure or personal tuning scheme. And it wasn't so much the guitar playing, although the guitar music certainly contributed to the overall sort of angsty feeling of the album, as the voice.
Here's what wiki says about Jandek:
Although never formally confirmed, it is widely accepted that Jandek's real name is Sterling Richard Smith (probably born October 26, 1945); a review of Ready for the House in OP magazine, the first ever national press given to Jandek, refers to the artist as Sterling Smith, checks written to Corwood come back endorsed by Smith, and Smith is listed as the claimant in the copyright records for Jandek's albums at the Library of Congress. Despite this evidence, Corwood never uses the name in connection with Jandek, and, in turn, many of Jandek's fans respectfully maintain this separation. He is widely believed to live in the area of Houston, Texas, as this is the location of the post office box (No. 15375) which has been used by Corwood from the beginning. There is also a telephone number for Corwood Industries listed in the phone book for the area. Corwood happens to share the number with "Sterling Smith Corporation", which appears to be a stock and securities broker.
Jandek's first album, Ready for the House, though obviously a solo work, was originally credited to a band called The Units. As explained in an interview in the first issue of Spin, Smith was forced to change the name by an identically named Californian group already in possession of a copyright. All reissues of this first album and all subsequent Corwood releases have been credited to "Jandek". In Trubee's interview, Smith claims he came up with the name Jandek while on the telephone with a person named Decker during the month of January. Smith's initial use of a plural band name (and Corwood's curious tendency to refer to Jandek as "a representative from Corwood Industries") has led some fans to suggest that the reclusive artist intended his oeuvre to be perceived as the work of an anonymous collective rather than that of a single man. Indeed, though roughly two-thirds of his records are solo affairs, the other third have variably featured female vocalists, different male vocalists, bass guitar, electric guitar, drums, and accordion.
One could conjure all sorts of images of what kind of guy was making this obscure and sparse music. The post office box was at a South Houston zip code and one could imagine Jandek living in some sparsely furnished wood framed ramshackle house in a not so nice sketchy part of town.
The music was unique for sure, and about a year or so after I first heard his stuff I read an article in an 1980's original music magazine about him
Jandek was unique because from the beginning, he is his own record label. Way back 30 years ago he did it all. He recorded his own albums (initially using vinyl for many years before moving on to CD's and DVD's). He took out some ads in some original music magazines and had the albums pressed himself and then sold them at very reasonable prices via mail order.
Jandek became a darling of the college radio set as well as Pacifica and independent radio stations. I don't care what college station (at least in this state) you listen to, if you check the play list for a month long period, there's gonna be some Jandek on it just as sure as there will be some UB40.
You can check out the wiki page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jandek which has links to a very interesting Texas Monthly article about Jandek. Lately, he's been playing select gigs, changing band members often, at locales around the world. You can get DVD's and CD's off of the site he runs, called CORWOOD records.
Here's a wiki-quote about him:
Since 1978, Jandek has self-released over 60 albums of unusual, often emotionally dissolute folk and blues songs without ever granting more than the occasional interview or providing any biographical information. Jandek often plays a highly idiosyncratic and frequently atonal form of folk and blues music, often using an open and unconventional chord structure. Jandek's music is unique, but the lyrics closely mirror the country blues and folk traditions of East Texas.
I got to give it to the guy. I like some of his bluesy and folk stuff, the less atonal stuff, but he's really made a worldwide name for himself, and in pre-internet days. Way pre-internet days. He started his own record label, handled his own sales and presumably advertising and everything else. If I recall correctly, his inventory lists are still typewritten.
So whoever he is, I salute him for doing something with his music. As a native born Houstonian, I'm always damn glad when some musician or performing artist "makes it". Although Jandek is not a mainstream success, I'm guessing based on his rabid underground popularity for several generations has generated some cash for him. And I would hope so.
I've always noted that his prices were entirely reasonable, even going back to the days his ads were running in the now defunct new music magazine OP.
I'm not so fascinated with who he is or what kind of car he drives or any of the other stuff some people like to know, I'm more fascinated with him using, probably more successful than anyone else in his day, a mostly self-designed and self-executed alternative music career.
Who knows how many bands out there that have made great music but who never got a break could have gotten some fan base had they exercised the same work ethic that Jandek did? I've heard lots of bands over the years, from that same 1980's era, and some that I was a member of, that made great music.
Music that could have been played on college and independent radio stations, and perhaps advertised in the few new music magazines of the 80's. But we didn't do what he did, which was persevere and take charge of everything. Make your own albums. Sell your own albums. No middle man.
More on Jandek later.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
"Only the highest quality of workmanship is reflected in our products. We take great pride in the work of our skilled artisans, as only generations of experience and Tagua GunLeather can bring you."
For many years skilled leather artisans all over South America have had fewer and fewer jobs due to mass-producing machinery and assembly lines. Their skills and talents have remained dormant until now. Tagua Gunleather is a newly founded company that has searched the continent for these skilled artisans and has brought back the tradition of hand crafting leather in the old fashioned way.
Tagua combines generations of artisan expertise and experience in handcrafting only the finest quality leather products. We use only selected materials in our products. Our choice of leather comes from range grown, toughened cattle so the natural markings make each and every product unique. Our designer's choice of hardware gives Tagua products a sophisticated elegance as well as durability for long lasting protection of your firearm. Comfort and convenience is an important factor that we consider when making each Tagua product. Refined edges, reinforced padded support, and versatile straps are the final touches for your carrying comfort. Exquisitely detailed and unique leather products are what Tagua is committed to give you at a price that you can afford. Our objective is to unveil and deliver to you a product that is made with heart and hands, not bury the treasure of skilled craftsmanship with high prices. The value of acquiring the best is not defined by paying outrageous prices for a product but by evaluating the product itself for its look, durability and quality. It's why Tagua delivers only the best at the best possible price.
Available in cordovan, brown and black.
C. Rusty Sherrick
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I've been hankering for a Colt Government Model .38 Super for the longest time, and one of my friends and I happened upon the fact we both regretted that we did not have one of these nickle plated beauties that Colt is currently making.
Likewise, I recently shot a very nice Sig Sauer 239 in 9mm. I'm very interested in this pistol and it shoots very well. I found it to be an accurate pistol that fit my hand very well, and although recoil was a bit sharp with the 9mm, I would really like to have one of these guns in .357 Sig. Many of my law enforcement friends who have been assigned Sig 226's or 229's in .357 Sig have become true believers in this caliber, and a lot of those users were die hard Glock or 1911 fans prior to being issued a Sig.
Many of these friends are carrying their duty 226 or 229 on and off duty. They cite the absolute reliability of Sig Sauer pistols as one reason many hard core 1911 fans abandoned their beloved single action .45's for the .357 sigs for off duty wear when they can carry what they wish.
Several of my friends do carry 239's off duty, as the single stack magazine and slightly smaller size allows for greater concealability. But for all practical purposes, the 239 weighs just a few ounces shy of both the 226 and 229, and compared to it's polymer brethren like Glock et al, the 239 is one third heavier than most carry pistols.
It's apples and oranges I guess, since a Sig 239 is metal and a Glock is half polymer. But my Glock 36 in .45 caliber weighs 9 oz. less than the 239 and is nearly as thin as the 239. The one thing that has always bothered me about carrying the Glock in a non-duty holster has been the lack of a thumb safety. Call me old fashioned but I like a thumb safety on an semi-auto.
Before the Glock, I guess ever semi-auto I've ever shot had a thumb safety. I've discussed this preference for thumb safeties before, and even though the 239 does not have a thumb safety, it's double action trigger makes me feel a lot more secure carrying it next to my body than the Glock trigger.
I'd like to have a nice S&W Model 40, a J frame hammer less model that features a grip safety.
I'd like to have one of the Taurus Public Defender Ultralights. It's an ideal field weapon, and could be used for CCW when jackets or coats are worn.
And, as I've written before, I've had a hankering for an HK P7. It has remarkably low recoil due to it's gas operated nature, and I think it is the safest automatic that has ever been made. Even though it has no thumb safety, it does feature the extremely instinctual combination cocking/decocking handle. As I've mentioned before, HK really should put this gun back in production and consider offering it in .357 Sig based on the .40 caliber P7 frame.
Finally, every few years I become interesting in big bore revolvers. I'd really like a ultralight frame, five shot, three inch barrel, round butt and fixed combat sighted revolver in .45 auto caliber.
I'd be interested in seeing a similar gun in .357 Sig caliber as well. They have made 9mm revolvers in the past, and although not hugely successful, it'd be an interesting backup gun for all of those officers who carry .357 Sigs for their duty weapon if also available in a five shot hammer less or shrouded hammer snubnose.
I'll pull the proverbial trigger on one of these guns in the near future.
Clearly a revolver fan, he makes complimentary remarks about the 1911 and talks about the skill one needs to operate this pistol. Otherwise, he generally devotes most of the text to various combat revolvers in .38 special caliber and up.
Chic was also a fast draw competitor and competitive shooter. He was known as quite the pistolero. He designed many of his holsters based upon the specifications and needs of his clientele. I've read that their stories of gunfights and having to conceal weapons in deep cover situations inspired him to provide holster solutions to their problems.
You can clearly see his influence on holster makers from the 1950's to the present day, in many of their designs. Some, like BELL CHARTER OAK, attribute their designs to his original works, and others do not.
Some of his opinions I don't necessarily agree with, although I find them to be reasonable beliefs with as much support as my differing opinions. For example, he maintains it is good to practice with a .22 revolver that is close in design and operation to your carry weapon.
While I agree with the proposition that shooting and practicing with a .22 is better than no shooting and practicing at all, I think it is good to practice with what you carry. In the unfortunate event you must ever defend yourself with your carry weapon, IT WILL BE VERY LOUD and THERE WILL BE RECOIL. If you're not shaking from nerves, adrenaline flow or the shock of being involved in a very serious situation that requires using a handgun to defend yourself at the time of the first shot, you will be shaking as soon as that first shot is fired.
While I don't advocate shaking or getting one's self worked up emotionally to simulate a "live real time-stress situation", law enforcement training academies for years have included physical activities such as running and shooting to simulate a physically stressful situation.
With the high price of centerfire handgun ammo these days, I can also see value in the proposition that a .22 of similar design and operation to your carry weapon in a larger caliber. And I suppose you could take it one step further with using a high-end pellet or bb gun made by Sig Sauer or Walther or even a high-end airsoft gun for practice shooting.
But that's nitpicking his book. Overall, I'd recommend the book to the novice or the long time experienced combat competition or self defense pistol enthusiast. There's a lot of great knowledge that I've heard attributed to Chic over the years from other handgun writers, and it's nice to read the whole book to really put his thoughts about handgunning in perspective.
I also received a Bell Charter Oak Gaylord Holdout holster recently. It's an inside the waistband holster with a belt loop with snap offset behind the cylinder area, making for a much more thinner holster than it would be if the belt loop were on top of the cylinder area of the holster.
The leather work is first class, and although the leather used is not as thin as the suede leather that Bianchi uses on it's clip on inside the waistband holster, it's not much thicker. But it does have just the right amount of stiffness. Not as stiff as a lined holster, but the holster stays open just enough with the weapon drawn for easy holstering.
I have always thought that IWB holster that have belt loops at the front and rear of the holster are more stable than the single loop variety, but I have to admit that after several days of using the Gaylord Holdout, there was very little shifting of the front of the holster. Just enough, in fact, to facilitate getting in and out of a car and up and down from a chair.
The Gaylord Holdout I received was sized for the Colt D frame six shot snubnose revolvers, but it held both a S&W J frame and a Taurus Model 85, which each holds five shots, with equal security and firmness. This is not always true with holsters for the larger Colt D frames and the smaller five shot frames, but it is in this case.
It's a good holster and very well made. I plan to buy a similar holster but with a steel belt clip for at least one of my pistols, and there are several of his designs made by Bell Charter Oak that I'd like to try out.
You can read more about Chic Gaylord at these previous posts and links about Chic.
CHIC GAYLORD: PART TWO
CHIC GAYLORD, HOLSTER MAKER AND AUTHOR: PART ONE
Monday, January 18, 2010
I got my first Garcia Mitchell 300 Spinning reel when I was about ten years old. It took a lot of chores around the house to save for one, and I would always gravitate to the fishing section when we visited stores to look at and try reels like this and the iconic Garcia Ambassador 5000 level wind reel. Stores like Gibsons, K-Mart, Oshmans, Wards and Sears. Wards and Sears in the sixties and seventies maintained quite decent fishing sections, and manufactured and/or branded their own goods for years and years. They also sold other folks wares as well.
I've fished with my 300's all over the States and in the Bahamas. Salt and fresh water fishing. You can find them on ebay, but I generally prefer to find my reels at garage sales or at vintage fishing tackle shows, where I can try them out. I have bought and sold numerous reels on ebay however, and I've really never been burned. The last few Garcia AbuMatic 290's that I found on ebay were, in a word, New. NIB.
There was a whole series of Mitchell 300 reels, from the salt water 350's to the ultra light models they made. Just different size versions of the same excellent reel. My reels are still going strong, decades later. Just as many other of my friends 300's are still going strong.
Surprisingly, there's no wiki page for the Mitchell 300, but I did find some good information on them and their history which I'll be posting below, You can go to the links provided to see the whole posts and lots of other good stuff.
I remember as a teen once there was a fishing tournament on Lake Livingston, and we were fishing out of that same Marina that weekend. Back in the 1970's in Houston, Saturday morning and afternoon TV had the fishing shows (on UHF, as I recall) on and The American Sportsman was on in the afternoons on ABC.
So I remember seeing some of the fisherman and their boats at the tournament, and several of them were endorsers of reels like Zebco and Johnson, which are great reels (I still use many of each today) but the pros were carrying Mitchell 300's and red Ambassador 5000's on their rods, not the reels they endorsed.
Anyway, I found this very informative post on a striper forum and thought I'd quote it here. Here's the link to this excellent forum called Stripers 24/7 :
Here's the post from the Administrator striperjim a/k/a Titus Pullo Administrator
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Planet Earth
"Mitchell Garcia "The Reel story"
Here is the reel story of the legendary classic French-Made Mitchell-Garcia Mitchell open faced spinning reel that would introduce spin fishing to millions of people.The Mitchell spinning reel which would become the Mitchell 300/ Garcia-Mitchell 300 was manufactured in France by a company known as Carpano and Pons. It was 1868 when Henry Jacottet and Louis Carpano founded a business under the name Carpano-Jacottet. This company manufactured watch gears and related items. In 1874 Campano retired and Jacottet continued the business.Carpano retired in 1902. Having no children the company would be taken over by his nephew, Jean Constantine Carpano.Jean Constantine Carpano died in 1927. That same year Charles Pons, Constantine's son-in-law, and the Carpano family formed a new company called Carpano and Pons.In the mid 1930's Carpano and Pons was asked to do some designing of two existing spinning reels: the Pecos by Pecheur Ecossais of France and the CAP reel designed by La Canne a Peche of Agier, France.About the same time a design engineer named Maurice Jocomin started working at Carpano and Pons, Charles Pons asked Jocquemin to work on a design of a new concept for an open-faced spinning reel.
That marked the birth of the most well known open-faced spinning reel ever produced, The Mitchell /Garcia Mitchell Model 300.Just how did this reel get its name? Charles Pons' brother's name was Michel. Michel died just before the company introduced the new reel thus the reel was named after Michel.How did the Charles Garcia Corporation end up being the sole distributor of the Mitchell lines in the United states? It was 1946, and Jules Gumprich and Charles Garcia owned an import/export company named Impecco. Jules who lived in France sent one of the reels to his brother Otto, who was head of the Charles Garcia Co. in New york City. Thomas T. Lenk, who worked for the company, saw the reel and asked if he could try and market it here in the United States.
It wasn't long before sales grew to a point that Charles Garcia and co. would gear its business around the new found success.The Impecco company was the importer while Garcia continued the sales, advertising, etc. Upon Otto's retirement Tom Lenk became CEO of the company.The Charles Garcia Corp. was the only distributor of Mitchell in the United staes from 1947 through 1978. The company was moved in 1969 from New York City to Teaneck, N.J.Also in 1969, 100,000 reels were being manufactured a month. That same year Charles Pons died. The Carpano and Pons company was then restructured. At that point Mitchell became an independent company.By 1972, Garcia was the main stockholder of Mitchell and purchused Mitchell in 1974.In 1980 Mitchell was purchased by Browning.By 1984, Mitchell Sports USA, a division of Mitchell/France, was a major owner and handled all North American sales.
In 1991, Mitchell was sold again, this time to Johnson worldwide. But Mitchell of France retained the manufacturing and design rights of all Mitchell products.In 2000, Mitchell would be sold again to Pure Fishing Group of Spirit Lake, Iowa. Pure Fishing Group is now the main stockholder and principal owner.One reel--The Mitchell / Garcia 300--without question had more impact on U.S. Manufacturers to start manufacturing open faced spinning reels than all others.Also there are more Mitchell collectors worldwide than any other single manufacturer of open faced spnning reels.
There is an endless variety of Mitchell / Garcia Mitchell spinning reels for the collector.For whatever reason, U.S. Mitchell collectors are of the opinion that the value of the left handed reels are the same as the right-handed models yet European collectors will pay more for the left-handed models*I agree with the European collectors. The fact remains there are a lot fewer left handed reels manufactured than right handed.(cont)* Ben WrightFrom Ben Wrights Book. The Wright price guide for the reel man"
HERE'S SOME MORE RESOURCES AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE GARCIA MITCHELL 300 REELS:Here's an excellent series on cleaning and repairing Mitchell 300 reels. http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?1719-Cleaning-and-Repairing-a-Mitchell-300-Spinning-Reel
Here's some information about collectable 300's, including SOME with gold plated hardware: http://users.skynet.be/bk292282/articles_mitchellgold.html
You can find schematics and after-market or NOS parts here http://www.mitchellparts.com/
If you made it this far through this post, then you either remember these reels from your younger days or you happened upon this post through a google. Or perhaps you've found my writing is a good cure for insomnia.
In any event, as I've indicated in prior posts, I've had exceptionally good luck with several reels from the later Mitchell spinning reels series, from the late seventies and early eighties. I recently scored a very nice older new in box Mitchell spinning reel of later vintage. I've also got a 1995 Mitchell salt water sized reel that has rendered exemplary performance for 15 years despite being somewhat neglected. I bought it and a very nice medium length salt water rod for about $35 and despite repeated catfishing and salt water fishing trips, it's still catching fish and still working great.
You can read the posts at these links if you are interested in Mitchell reels:
FINDING A NEW YET OLD SPINNING REEL
New American Rodsmith Rod and now I need a new spi...
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I'm not attending, but as a gun buyer who has been actively spending money on firearms, particularly handguns, here's what I'd like to spend my money on next year. WALTHER, BROWNING, HENRY, HK, SIG SAUER, COLT, SMITH AND WESSON AND A FEW OTHERS, I'M TALKING TO YOU! Do you want my firearm dollars? I'll assume there are many out there like me who feel the way I do.
BROWNING: Bring back the two-tone Hi Power practical. Billy Ray wants one. Fixed sights please.
While you're at it, design a compact model of the Hi Power Practical weapon, perhaps of a single stack design. I know it would be radical to redesign the grip/magazine size and feeding mechanism, but it could be done. Dehorn it. Make it concealable.
COLT: Start making the Detective Special, Diamondback, Python and Cobra again, and sell them at a quasi-reasonable cost.
These guns are part of your legacy. Many concealed carry permittees have discovered the reliability and the safety of the revolver as a carry weapon. If I read a recent blog post accurately, a hammerless S&W snubbie is now the best selling handgun of all time. I can't recall which one exactly, but you get my drift. They are, bar none, the finest revolvers ever made. You could even make a limited edition vintage Cobra, with an exposed ejector rod and the old style grips, and charge a premium for it.
While you're at it, start making the Huntsman and Woodsman pistols again. All of them. They were muey excellanto .22 pistols, and there is no reason not to start making them again. I think you'll sell them faster than you can make them.
Finally, if you don't want to reintroduce the snubbie line, or if you and you want to make a really cool combat revolver, then here goes: Diamondback frame for .38 +P, ribbed 3" barrel, low profile combat night sights, dehorned and smoothed and call it THE MC: MODERN COMMANDO.
HECKLER AND KOCH: Start making the P7 again, with both heel and button magazine release. The .40 caliber crowd will want one as well, so make both 9mm and .40 caliber. If the gun could stand the increased pressure, make a model in .357 sig.
This is the finest firearm your company has ever made. Sell it for a price a working man can afford.
Sell a .22 conversion kit for it, so that it can be inexpensively shot.
HENRY RIFLES: Make a .22 caliber lever action pistol a'la Mare's Leg (Laig) from the Wanted: Dead or Alive series. There are several folks making larger caliber versions of these, but they are going for $1,200 or more. You have to manufacture it as a pistol, but base it on your large loop .22 and sell them for $600 and you can sell them all day long.
SIG SAUER: WHERE IS THAT 9MM THE SIZE OF THE NOW DEFUNCT MODEL 232? SOMETHING ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE WALTHER PPS. Surely you've got something like that working back in R&D?
SMITH AND WESSON: There is much you are doing right, particularly in the Classics and your revolver line. I hear great things about the 1911's and the M&P and in fact, I shot my last qualification with one in .40 caliber.
I'd love to see a non-Ladysmith version of the Ladysmith Model 65 .357 Magnum. What an attractive weapon with a 3" BBL. Put some low profile combat sights on it, front and rear for a snag free draw. Nice wide combat trigger and maybe some kind of slightly bobbed and serrated hammer, one that could be cocked if necessary but that would be more concealment friendly. Sort of like the one Taurus is using on their Public Defender pistol. Except you could call yours THE PROSECUTOR.
You've done a lot of great things with the re-release of the Classics line, but here's one I'd like to see:
A Smith and Wesson version of the ASP. Buy the rights to the name from whoever owns it now. Use a super hip micro compact 9mm model 39 derivative pistol with an alloy frame and a great barrel. Dehorned to the max, with a safety/decocking lever and a spurred combat hammer similar to those on 1911's. A nice wide trigger. Great sights. Crimson Trace grip panels. And most importantly, the transparent "lexan" panel in the left grip so that a check reveals the number of remaining rounds.
WALTHER: I've always been a fan of your pistols, owning several since 1976. Two suggestions: (1) make the PPK and PPK/S in a blue finish, or some sort of dark stainless. I miss the blued PP series pistols. (2) Make a .22 caliber Walther PPK/S. Make it also in a blued or dark stainless finish. Sell it for under $500.00.
MISCELLANEOUS: I'd like to see a reasonably priced version of the Semmerling .45 go into production, with some sort of super hip polymer IWB, ankle and belt holsters for it.
I'd like to see the C.O.P. 4 shot Derringer come back into production, with an alloy or polymer frame and a much better trigger. I'd like to see Pachmayr get into the laser grip business, as I really like their grips.
I'd like to see someone, anyone (Remington, Marlin, Henry, Winchester, EMF, etc.) make a Mare's Leg (Laig) replica in .22 caliber. With a price of under $600, which is double retail on the regular rifle model. You make a shortened barrel and stock, and do a shortened version of the tube magazine and shazamm, you got a lever action pistol.
It'd be a fun to shoot gun. Of course, if they made in them in other calibers, that'd be cool too. Make them as a pistol and there is no BATF troubles. It doesn't seem like it'd be that hard to do. But a reasonably priced .22 is what I'd really like to have.
The Robert Mika "Mika's Pocket Holster"
(pictures from the Mika's Pocket Holsters website)
Here is the site for Mika's http://www.frontiernet.net/~akim/ and you can find pictures and contact information there. He'll even custom make a holster for your firearm if he has to. There's a quote on the first page about the holster being ideal for a hot, humid environment in New Orleans, I'm thinking this hot, humid Texas land I live in might be a good candidate for it too.
In any event, after reading favorable coverage regarding this holster, I'm ready to give it a try. Besides, if I have the option to support an out of state ex-cop in his endeavors, and he's making a quality product, I'll spend there before spending money with out of state corporations.
He states on his site that he is expecting his turnaround time to be 2-3 weeks in February of 2010.
"Dear Customer, Turn around time for orders is now set at 16-20 weeks. Let me stress that this is only temporary as I have just taken measures to accelerate my production level. Beginning January 31, 2010 I anticipate having my back orders filled and a new turnaround time of 2-3 weeks set in place. In closing I would like say thanks to all of my present and future customers for considering my holsters as their preferred method of carry. If you want the best, look no further. Sincerely, Robert Mika"
The only decision I have to make is if I want a square bottom or a round bottom on the holster. I'll be going with the black on black holster but he offers other color combos http://www.frontiernet.net/~akim/color.html.
Interestingly enough, this test did not include any of my old favorites, such as the Walther PPK(S), the Sig Sauer 232 or the Beretta Cheetah in either single or double stack configuration. Another well known .380 is the larger pistol manufactured by Glock in .380, for folks in certain countries where military calibers cannot be owned or carried by the public. In the 1980's, I owned a double stack Beretta .380 Cheetah that was very reliable as was the blued German made Walther PPK-S's that I bought in the 70's. I also owned the stainless PPK/S which I got in the 90's. Although the 1990's stainless Walther did experience a few failures to feed when I owned it, that was only with certain ammo. As long as I was using Silvertips with any of the .380's I have owned, I never had any problems with jamming.
The crux of the study was that only the Rohrbaugh .380 had no jams or fail to feed/eject. This is quite an expensive custom made gun that is also made in 9mm, which would clearly be my choice in an ultralight carry gun over a .380.
Nonetheless, it's good to see the blogger over at the Snubnose Files posting again. He's got some great posts in his history, and like me, shares a certain affinity for Snubnose revolvers. He has a great site, and I urge you to check it out sometime and read some of his archives and postings. He knows of what he speaks.
I have to admit, I've been considering buying a Ruger LCP in .380 for Texas summertime carry. I have not had the chance to shoot the Ruger or the Kahr yet, but I've been unimpressed with similar offerings from Kel-Tec. Everytime I have shot a Kel-Tec in .380 or 9mm there have been jams before the magazine emptied, and both of the guns I shot had been well broken in.
There are times in Texas when even a Model .38 or one of the other lightweight snubbie revolver designs by S&W or Taurus are too heavy to carry with lightweight summer clothing. Even in a pocket holster. I've often thought that a gun near half the weight of the already lightweight Model .38 would be nice to have. I'm going to give Ruger some more time to get the bugs out of their LCP, as they've had a recall already as far as I know.
I've read both positive and some negative stuff about the Rohrbaugh 9mm at various shooting forums. I'm not linking to the negative because you never know about the source. I have seen but not shot a Rohrbaugh 9mm, and I was impressed with the build quality. It felt leap years more solid than the Kel-tec or Kahr offerings I've seen, although several of my gun buying buddies are very impressed with various Kahr pistols in terms of quality.
One of my well-heeled friends who owns a Rohrbaugh 9mm says it reminds him of the Seventrees/ASP 9mm he owned in the 1980's, in terms of how it shoots and how it carries, although undoubtedly lighter. That's a heavy duty compliment in my world. I've wanted an ASP 9mm since I first saw one in a magazine. I'll never understand why S&W has not endeavored to buy the rights and build a true ASP 9mm Seventrees/ASP copy of that great single stack (complete with the lexan see through window in the left grip to check how many cartridges remain in the mag.
I'm perplexed by the latest .380 offering from Sig, the 238. Back in their respective days, I shot several Colt Mustangs and the even more popular and inexpensive Llama .380. The Llama was a mini-1911 complete with mini-grip safety, and was also offered in at least .22 caliber. It was a good shooting little gun. I understand that the Sig 238 has some improved features over the 1911 .380 clones that preceeded it, but still, it weighs in more than my Model 38 and right at what my Colt Cobra weighs.
What I really wish is that Sig would adapt the 238 to .22 caliber and offer a version of that, which would be a great plinker.
The venerable Sig 232 is still revered in many circles as being equal or superior to the Walther PPK(S), and it's an enjoyable weapon to shoot. I'm not sure that the Sig 238 is an adequate replacement.
But I'd buy a Sig 238 in a New York minute if it came in .22 caliber.
My friend Mikey in Houston doesn't care for .380 or 9mm. His summer carry gun is the old "C.O.P.", a four barreled contraption in .357 that features a heavy double action pull and a rotating firing pin, sort of a variation on the old pepperbox, except with the C.O.P., each barrel has a dedicated firing pin and the internal striker rotates to hit the four firing pins instead of the barrels rotating.
The COP is a top break design that is heavy (26 oz.) but small. Some years ago, Mikey loaned it to me for a while, and I found that it carried well in either the back pocket of my Levi's or in a front pocket in a pocket holster. It resembles an auto, except for the 4 barrels (two over two). It was a heckuva handful to shoot, even though I only shot regular .38 Special +P's through it when I tested it and not .357 magnum loads. At seven yards, it was plenty accurate for self defense.
If you know about handguns and watch movies, you know that in the 2nd Matrix feature that the character portrayed by Monica Belluci kills one of her husband's henchmen with this pistol, using silver bullets.
I've often wondered why some handgun maker has not bought the rights to this cool weapon, integrated a polymer frame with the heavy duty barrels and breech of the C.O.P. and make a lighter weight fine concealed carry weapon. Put a gun clip on the right side of the C.O.P. and you've got the perfect low profile carry pistol that can be dropped in a pocket, waist bag or purse or clipped to a belt for concealed carry.
Most gun fanatics I know do not share my admiration for the C.O.P. But I've shot one and found it an interesting gun, purely for self-defense. I've been trying to talk Mikey out of his for over 15 years, with no luck. He likes having it around.
Here's a few links to the much maligned COP:
The next website features lots of good info and pictures about the COP.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I have a gun identical to this, actually it was one of my father's guns. From the sixties, he often favored guns like Taurus and H&R although he owned numerous Smith and Wessons and Colts. He just liked the way that Taurus revolvers shot.
One of his favorite guns was a pearl handled square butt nickle plated Taurus six shooter from the sixties chambered for .38 special with a 3" tapered barrel. It was about the size of a S&W N frame revolver, the ones that were popular in the fifties.
But the link to the snubbie shown above is identical to my Dad's. My father's pistol is a deep dark glossy blue, and it has the same extended grip as shown in the picture. It is almost exactly the same size as the Smith and Wesson J frames, except the Taurus features s shrouded ejector rod, making it appear somewhat akin to a cross between a J frame and the Colt Detective Special.
It features a wide serrated combat trigger and a wide stippled combat hammer, nice features on a snubbie.
I always enjoy shooting this gun. It has very reasonable recoil, in part due to the grip size and in large part due to the all steel construction, coming in at a very reasonable 21 ounces. Weight helps eat that recoil in most guns, folks.
I love carrying my S&W model 38 or my Colt Cobra when it's hot, as they weigh less than guns like the Taurus, but when the weather and attire afford it, I like to carry this old carry gun of my Dads.
Taurus makes a great revolver. I'm just glad this one is so old that it doesn't have the hammer lock safety lock on it.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I mention this because a few weeks ago El Fisho Jr. and I were in our local gun emporium. He had just been shooting REAL guns the day before, and was entranced with my "family heirloom" .22 Marlin bolt action tube magazine rifle as well as the modern Marlin .22 autoloader with tube magazine and the Henry lever action .22. rifle.
Mrs. El Fisho agreed I could take him with me to the gun store, and of course it was a wonderful experience. I know the owners, and trade with them quite often, so they were more than willing to let him examine firearms of all types. He's got good taste.
So as were were looking at .22 rifles for the next birthday present, on the way out they had some catalogs from Kimber, Ruger and Marlin. I grabbed one of each and told El Fisho Jr. that later that night we would sit in the living room and check out the .22's available from these catalogs.
What's a catalog?
Now, El Fisho Jr. has seen catalogs before, more like flyers I suppose than the thick catalogs of the days of yore. He's a smart kid, and over the years, we have looked through all kinds of catalogs like Orvis and Musician's Friend and LL Bean and King Ranch Leather Shop and the like, but much of our product selection and perusing is, in fact, done online.
But I explained the whole Sears catalog thing as a young child, cutting out pictures of Santa gifts you wanted and pasting them to colored construction paper for when you went to visit Santa, or for your letter to him.
Then, as I became a maniac fisherman at about age 7 or 8, my friends and I would write off for catalogs from various companies, most of which were free. By the time I was in 5th grade, I was drumming and was collecting catalogs from Houston mall music stores like H&H and Parker, as well as by mail. Some of those old catalogs, some of which I held on to, later had some value.
And then, the new neighbors from Minnesota moved in, and with them fishing kids my age and a HUGE catalog from a company called Herter's. They were an outfitter, much like Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops, but they had so much more and a little bit of everything from fishing stuff to trapping to guns and hunting gear and just about everything that could be peripherally connected to any outdoors activity.
So my internet catalog child is now entranced by paper catalogs. On nice glossy thick paper with great color and pictures and statistics and such. As we select his first rifle by looking at the pictures and statistics, like weight and barrel length, we're having fun and he's as entranced by this as I was when I saw my first Colt catalog when I was his age.
We're looking at a tube fed Marlin autoloader Model 60 in stainless, as he really enjoyed shooting that. He also greatly enjoyed shooting the .22 Henry lever action.
El Fisho Jr. is quite the budding multi-instrumentalist. He's been playing my drums for year, and has a gift for making a beat. He's learning to play the parts of songs. He's played with Billy Ray and I (with me on bass) several times and Billy and I have had a great time. He's got his own Squier '51 electric guitar and short scale Bronco bass and a small multi-purpose practice amp. We have fun bouncing song ideas off of each other and he is getting the idea of the role of the bass quite well.I gues that goes with his rhythm ability on drums.
Anyway, he often reads my guitar, bass and drums music magazines, and he's well versed on some of the classics as well as developing his own taste in modern pop music, you know, age appropriate stuff. He appreciates Clapton and Michael Schenker and the differences between them as well as many other artists.
So I guess he never noticed that most of these magazines come int he mail, because the other day he was showing me a kids magazine he liked and I asked him if he wanted to subscribe to it and he said: "What's subscribe mean?"
I explained to him how we get magazines in the mail and that you usually save money this way.
These kids are so used to watching us buy stuff online that I took for granted he knew what the catalogs were we were looking at. I guess he thought they were magazines to read about products.
he has been particularly interested in a import SX fretless jazz bass in Lake Placid Blue that a friend gave me. The sounds he gets out of the fretless are amazing.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
READ ALL ABOUT IT: http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/01/well-damn.html
Not this blog, but one I just discovered. Xavier writes a lot about handguns and since reading some of his archives since I found it a few weeks ago, I'm thinking Man, here's a man of my own heart. Big 1911 fan as well as a revolver fan.
I haven't read many of the comments on his site, just his posts, and the guy should be writing for a handgun magazine. His blog is pretty much his own handgun magazine, if you ask me. I fall squarely in his demographic. One post I read today was particularly insightful, and unfortunately the link in his post about building his own 1911 failed, and I couldn't make the jump. I don't have the exact link handy, but it was a post about selecting and building your own 1911.
Check out this great post here http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/07/choosing-your-first-1911.html
this post below on selecting a used gun.
In fact, here's a whole bunch of posts that are great!
What is a 1911?
The Best 1911 for You
Buying a Used 1911
Chris Byrne's Primer on Buying a 1911
The "First Handgun" question by Chris Byrne
The 1911 Forum
Labels: 1911 Basics, 1911's
If nothing else, I certainly wish him luck and hope he leaves his blog up. It's a great reference work.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
So here's my opinion, HK: Bring back the P7 series with some new twists.
First, this is a historic firearm, as you well know. Underappreciated? Yes. But like the 1911, it is so important that it needs to be made, even if it is not selling a lot of units. The used prices on the guns are crazy, unless you find a deal on a surplus gun, and the NIB "closet classic" of these guns are going for several thousand on the low end.
Pay back your loyal customers like me. A working joe with a family who likes your products. Cut the price a bit. Sure, make a profit, but give us, the customer, something back in these hard times.
Second, I'd and I don't know if this is possible since the .357 sig round is higher pressure than the .40 caliber, but if possible using the same frame as the .40, could this gun be made in .357 sig?
Third, what about making a "custom shop" production version of this fine gun? By that I mean some subtle changes to the exterior of the gun to make it very carry friendly. Remember the ASP pistol first produced by Paris Theodore and then ASP company and others? One very cool feature of the ASP pistol was a lexan strip on thumb (right handed) side of the grip, which allowed the shooter to see how many rounds remained in the magazine of the ASP.
I'd like to see some kind of very cool hybrid grip for the P7, and for quite a few other pistols actually. The Pachmayr or Hogue or what have you rubber grip, with a laser on the (right) ejector side of the pistol a'la Crimson Trace and on the left side grip a lexan strip which allows the shooter to see how many rounds remain.
It'd be nice to have a P7 "compact or carry" that had rounded and smoothed edges.
I actually prefer the early design which had the butt mounted magazine release, over the traditional left side button operated version. I have owned one of each, and on several occasions had the left side magazine release button version engage accidentally when holstering the weapon, or when using certain holsters.
So bring the P7 back!