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Free For All Friday 5-8-2015: Carry positions


I hate to talk about this kind of stuff but it still needs to be mentioned. I’m big on transparency so sometimes these discussions will come up. I fund the majority of this site via my own wallet. It makes money from ads, mind you, but it’s really just enough to pay the hosting fees. On top of that, a large majority of the internet uses ad blockers so I’m only getting ad revenue from a fraction of my visitors. As the traffic is growing, the hosting fees are rising and I’m looking for other ways to fund the site. One thing I was looking into was Patreon. It’s not a subscription service, don’t worry. Gun Noob is and will ALWAYS be 100% free. What Patreon does, however, is to allow people who like a site to essentially donate some money to it as a way to say “thanks for making this content”. My question is, provided I don’t constantly spam people with “please donate to our Patreon”, would anyone actually donate to it? I’ve been considering giving it a shot. In the meantime, if you could find it in your hearts to add an exception to your ad blocking for GN, I’d greatly appreciate it. It would really help keep the lights on, so to speak.

Shameless begging is done. Let’s get to the questions!

Cross-draw seems like it would work well for open carry, but is it an OK option for concealed carry? It looks awkward. -Mike H.

In most cases, you keep your gun on the same side of the body as the hand you plan to use it with. So if you’re right handed, you’re likely to keep it on your right side. If, for whatever reason, you keep it on the opposite side, that’s called “cross-draw”. As far as its feasibility, it really depends on how you’re carrying it. If it’s in a shoulder holster under a jacket, well, cross draw is pretty much your only choice. If you’re looking for under the shirt, IWB carry, that’s a bit harder to pull off. From a purely physical standpoint alone, it would be pretty awkward to reach over like that unless you were appendix carrying but that leads to a whole other discussion.

Now, that’s not to say it’s not a bad way to go. Being able to reach your gun easily with both hands can be very useful if, for example, the hand you would usually draw with is otherwise occupied. Say you’re trying to push your child behind you, for example. The downside is that, when under stress, it is VERY difficult to draw the gun without lasering a whole bunch of things that isn’t the intended target. It’s awkward enough to draw that way but when you’re trying not to sweep a room in the process is gets a whole lot worse.

Personally, I’d stick to the 4:00 position. There’s a reason why it’s pretty much the standard that’s taught everywhere you go.

Probably way too late for this Friday, but what are your thoughts on small of back carry? It’s seen so often in TV and movies, but how does it work IRL? -Joel M.

The good news is that I accept questions right up to the point that I submit the post for publishing on the site! In many cases, when asked about where one should carry the gun, my usual answer is “4:00 or whatever is most comfortable for your situation (i.e. appendix, 3:00, etc)”. The one exception to this is small of the back carry. It may be good when someone is really concerned about printing and such but the advantages stop there. First, foremost and most importantly, there is a HUGE risk for personal injury. I’m not talking about the gun accidentally going off, either. I mean many people have seriously injured themselves because they fell on the gun. Think about it: you’ve got a large hunk of hard metal positioned across your spine. There have been a large number of people that have actually broken their backs due to something as simple as a slip thanks to small of the back carry.

On top of that, SotB carry poses a similar risk as cross-draw: you’re going to sweep that muzzle across a lot of stuff. At the same time, you have to twist that gun around as you draw which give give a great opportunity for it to snag on clothing or other stuff. That big, sweeping draw might look great on tv and movies but in real life, it’s bad news across the board.

Chris shoots a Glock 18C

Photo depicting what Chris might have looked like when shooting the 18C

Yesterday I shot a Glockenspiel 18C!!! So aweso… wait… no, make that a Glock 18C (damn you, autocorrect). I shot a Glock 18C and I loved it. A lot! For those who don’t know, the G18 (and G18C) is selective fire version of the Glock 17. This means that it has fire-control switch mounted to the rear left side of the slide that allows for single shot fire or full-auto fire modes. The 18C is a ported version is supposed to help combat muzzle rise during full auto fire.

Created at the behest of an Austrian counter terrorism unit, know by the amazingly awesome moniker of ‘EKO Cobra’, the G18 is not (and I mean NEVER) allowed to be owned by a ‘regular’ citizen. Instead these all reside in the hands of law-enforcement and military agencies. “But wait” you say, “how did you get to shoot one then?” The one exception to this rule is that certain gun shops that are also licensed to build firearms for law-enforcement agencies may build G18’s. These can’t leave the gun stores premises in the hands of the average person, but can be fired in the facility.

Now, I have to say that I’ve fired a fair number of full-auto guns in the past including AR-15s, Kriss Vectors, various large format machine-guns, and quite a few MP5s, but nothing (aside from perhaps a mini-gun) compares to the G18. With a cyclic rate of over 1,100 rounds per minute (that’s over 18 rounds per second), the auto-pistol chews through a 33 round magazine in under 2 seconds. For those who have had the pleasure of shooting an automatic MP5, you were firing about 650 rounds per minute. Think about that. The G18’s fire rate is almost double that and that fact is, quite frankly, INSANE!!! Even on the ported, compensated 18C, the muzzle climb is unbelievable. I’m 6’0″ tall, weight 220lbs, can bench my weight and have a lot of experience with automatic weapons and this thing almost got away from me. That being said, given another chance, I’d shoot one again without hesitation.

My one regret for the day, not having any video to share with you guys. Sorry about that, but i was sooooo excited that I forgot to even take photos of the gun. I was, as they say, giddy as school boy. Cheers!

“MarineCorpsGlock18” by Original uploader was Asams10 at en.wikipedia – Accessed from this page, Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MarineCorpsGlock18.jpg#/media/File:MarineCorpsGlock18.jpg

Free For All Friday 4-24-2015: Double action guns, Magazine Issues

Vacations are a strange thing. It gives you some much needed time off of work in order to unwind. The justification is that you’ll come back refreshed and that will translate to better productivity. The reality is, your vacation ends and you spend the first few days back wishing you were still on vacation.

A concealed carry question: The idea of sticking a loaded firearm in one’s pants (in a holster, of course) is a little daunting. The long, heavy pull of a revolver helps take away some of the fear. Are there semi-auto pistols with similar trigger action? All the semi-autos I’ve shot (not many) have had light, short trigger pulls. -Mike H.

That DA pull is the simplest built in safety mechanism you’ll find. It’s great because it’s simple (did I mention it’s simple?) and requires no real thought. The downside is that, under many situations, it can cause a bit of a hit to your accuracy.

Some of the first double action only (DAO) carry guns that come to mind are the offerings from Ruger and Taurus. Things like Ruger’s LC9 have a long DAO trigger pull. On top of that, Ruger tends to go a bit crazy when it comes to safety features (almost to a fault). It just so happens we did a review on just that pistol a while back. If safety is your concern, allow me to suggest some alternatives to a DAO pull. Some guns, like Springfield’s XDs line, have some pretty hefty safeties build in. First off, it has a trigger safety which will keep the trigger from moving if a finger isn’t on it. There’s also a backstrap safety that will keep it locked down unless someone is actually gripping the handle. The other advantage is, again, zero thought but you also get the accuracy that comes with a short pull, single action trigger.

An alternative option, if you’re really intent on the double action style, is a Double/Single pistol. The way these work is you load the gun then chamber a round. After that, you hit a decocker button. At that point, you have a double action pistol and the safety that comes with it. After the first shot, however, it will function as a single action pistol. The upside is that you get the best of both worlds. The downside is there is an inconsistent trigger feel over the first 2 shots. Practice is key there. SIG, up until recently, was almost exclusively DA/SA guns and they have a huge number of carry options with that configuration.

My wife wanted a larger Mag for her LCP 380. We have been having problems getting mags other that the one that came with it to lock in place. At first I thought it was just the mags I tried until I happened to see post somewhere (I don’t remember where) and they had the same problem and sent it to Ruger and they told him it was some plate that was just slightly too big. All it took was a few passes with a file and problem solved. Have you heard of this problem and or the solution? Should I just call Ruger and have to give up the gun for a while? I don’t like the idea of my wife not having her EDC with her and we have no back up. Is this something I could do? Please help. -Travis S.

My first gut reaction would be to contact Ruger and have them take a look at it. I’m not a gunsmith but it sounds to me like there’s something wrong with the mag release. The turnaround for a company that size is usually pretty good. Given your circumstances, however, the question comes down to how comfortable you are fiddling with gun components. Personally, I’m still not that brave. The bright side is that there’s a couple things to try before you break out the tools. First off, aftermarket magazines can sometimes act a bit wonky. If you’re using one, try looking for one from a different maker or from Ruger itself. Also, just try multiple mags. The manufacturing process on them aren’t nearly as precise as the rest of the gun and they can vary widely from one mag to another. Ask any 1911 owner about that problem. One other thought, all guns need to be broken in and until they are, the gun can act a bit strange. Most people just shoot a few hundred rounds through it and they call it a day. Try swapping the magazine out a couple hundred times. I know that sounds wonderfully exciting but it could work to wear down the catch enough to allow magazines to work better.

Alternative Shotgun Ammo

One word you’ll constantly hear used to describe shotguns is “versatility”. For the most part, you can use just about any shotgun for any task you would need a shotgun for. Granted, some configurations work better for a task than others, mind you. You’ll have an easier time using your over under for skeet shooting then you will if you use your home defense gun. Still, the versatility of a shotgun goes far beyond just the uses. The nature of the design itself allows for an incredibly wide range of ammo choices. No other firearm can match the rainbow like array of ammunition that is available for your shotty. Some of them are pretty cool and some are pretty darn nasty.

Before I go any further, however, I need to add a disclaimer. The laws regarding some of the ammo I’ll be talking about vary widely from state to state sometimes as well as district to district. In this case, as well as when dealing with ANY firearms, it’s up to you to know the rules of your area and follow them. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. At the same time, even if they are legal in your area, think long and hard about the legal implications should you be forced to use them at some point. I may be skirting dangerously close to my no politics rule here but it needs to be said: In an article a couple years ago, we talked about avoiding that legal “grey area” that can cause so many headaches. Depending on the attitudes in your area concerning guns, using some of this ammo could be something an overzealous prosecutor could use to further his or her own anti-gun agenda and use you as an example. That’s not some tin foil hat statement. It’s happened in the past and you’d be foolish to think it wouldn’t happen again.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the neat stuff you can load into your shotgun!

If It Ain’t Broke, Fix It Anyway

The “shot” in “shotgun” refers to that wad of metal balls that is propelled from your gun. When you get into the more interesting loads, it doesn’t have to be spheres. Searching online or at your local gun show will turn up things like flechette rounds. In this case, they’ve replaces those spheres with tiny barbed darts. You wouldn’t use those for hunting but it would ruin a home invader’s day. There’s also bolo ammunition (also sometimes called “garrote rounds”). These are buckshot or slugs that are connected by piano wire.

In the grand scheme of things, these kinds of ammo are more of a gimmick than anything else. At the effective speeds and ranges of shotguns, these aren’t going to be any more effective than your average shot. Still, there is something about the principle of the stuff.

Not Just For Seasoning

Moving into the less than lethal range, you can get the legendary “rock salt” loads. Ever seen Kill Bill? Ever seen just about any show from the 80s? I can think of episodes from Fall Guy, Magnum P.I. and A-Team where someone was shot with rock salt. The idea is that is probably won’t kill you but it will hurt like hell for a long time.

The truth of the matter, however, is a bit different. Many people have tested the effectiveness of it and the jury is still very much out. You would have to be pretty close to someone (within 12 feet) to get anywhere near the desired effect but the big problem is, it’s unlikely to actually put someone down unless you’re firing from point blank. Unless the distances and conditions are just right, it’s more of a mild deterrent than an actual self defense round.

Pepper rounds, however, would be more of a strong deterrent. These are filled with a powder of similar strength to your average pepper spray. While it’s possible to shrug off the blast of pepper, many people aren’t likely to. With most pepper spray, however, people often accidentally spray themselves because with and atomization can wreak havoc on the stream. If you’re launching it in a pure powder form, it’s going to be more likely to affect the shooter almost as much as the person you’re aiming it at.

What If I Don’t Want Lethal?

Now we’re in full blown less than lethal territory. You’ll notice it’s called “less than lethal”. The truth is, there really is no such thing as “non-lethal” ammunition. Everything that comes out of a gun, be it pistol, rifle or shotgun, can and probably will kill someone. Even blanks can and have killed (not just defective ones. R.I.P. Brandon Lee). People have died from rubber bullets just as easily as if it had been a normal round. When using LTL rounds, you have to be very careful about where you aim them. People are instructed to aim for the stomach area as it gives the target the most likely chance for survival. Hitting someone in the chest or head can still cause instant death. Hitting anywhere else is likely to not have the desired effect at all. Keep in mind, there is no guarantee one way or the other regardless of where it hits.

Some of the most popular rounds, usually used by police for riot control, are the aforementioned rubber bullets as well as stabilized bean bags. The idea is that these are the equivalent of getting hit with a baton. Used correctly, it’ll knock the wind out of someone and they are very effective when used properly. Watch the movie Jackass to see Johnny Knoxville get hit with one. It’s not pretty.

There are some people that want a gun for protection but don’t like the idea that they might have to kill someone in defense at some point. I can understand this. Many people who have acted in defense wind up in therapy for a while afterwards. It’s traumatic. Granted, the alternative can often be far more traumatic but I digress. These LTL rounds can help to alleviate some of those worries BUT they are very very very dependent on the skill of the user to put them where they need to be. They are far less use friendly and far less forgiving than standard rounds. If you decide to go this route, you will need to practice with it a lot. You should practice a lot with any gun, mind you, but with these in particular, you need to be able to hit a relative small area for them to what you want them to do.

Come On Baby Light My Fire

If fireworks are more your thing, there’s always Dragon’s Breath and other incendiary rounds. This ammo is packed with phosphorus or magnesium shards that are lit by the action of firing the shotgun. Ever used one of those survival striker rod fire starter thingies? Imagine sparks like that but A LOT of them coming from your shotgun barrel. It makes for a great emergency flare.

You know what else works great as an emergency flare? An actual emergency flare! You can get emergency flares for just about every shotgun caliber there is. If you’re out hunting, it would be a great idea to carry a few of these in your pack in the off chance you get lost. It happens. When the rescue party comes looking for you, having some flares ready to go would do wonders.

That’s Just the Start

Do a search for “exotic shotgun ammo” and you will see page after page of every type of load you could imagine and some you would have never considered. I’ve just touched on the most popular ones for this article but I could probably write for the rest of the year on just this subject. Once again, check your local laws before trying them out but it’s just another feather in the cap of a shotgun’s versatility.

Free For All Friday: 4-17-2015: Defense Calibers, Home Defense Guns and Picking Holsters

Completely unrelated to guns (which is really how I start out almost every FFAF, now that I think about it) but is anyone else getting tired of click-bait posts on social networks? Stuff like “you won’t believe what this cat does after the owner gives it catnip” or “my jaw dropped when I saw what happened next”. It’s especially bad when they’re trying to make a completely mundane video or article sound controversial or interesting. On the few times I’ve ever clicked on those, I wind up feeling like I’ve completely wasted my time and bandwidth. In the words of the Emperor: “For the love of all stop signs in the galaxy, cease and freaking desist!”. I don’t know what annoys me more, though, the fact that everyone seems to be doing it or the thought that they’re only doing it because it actually works.

How do you feel about a .380 versus a 9mm for home self defense? -Shelly M.

The debate of .380 vs 9mm is almost as heated as the 9mm vs .45 debate. My personal opinion, .380 is perfectly fine for the majority of situations the average person is going to run into while carrying. Think of it like this: when you rent a car, they always push that optional insurance on you. You can pay that extra money (which usually doubles your rental rate) to be completely and utterly covered no matter what happens or you can just use your own insurance to cover the car. In the grand scheme of things, you’re not likely to need either (although not having insurance at all is not a good idea) but it really depends on how much you’re willing to prepare for. The biggest far/against is rather situational: If you’re regularly in situations where you might get encounter assailants wearing thicker, clothing (i.e. northern states during the winter) then the extra punch from 9mm would probably be beneficial. During the summer when people are wearing t-shirts and shorts? You probably won’t need the extra weight or power. In the end, it’s a matter of preference. Ballistic tests have shown that there isn’t that much difference in modern defensive rounds, however.

How do you know you found a good holster?  IWB would be my concern. Ps I love the blog and thank you for offering this to the community! -Shaun M.

First off, thanks for reading! When it comes to IWB holsters, I personally have a few important guidelines what with to judge:

  • It should facilitate concealment – In other words, a good IWB holster should make it easy to conceal the gun
  • It should have good retention – a holster is useless if the gun won’t stay put in it. With all of my holsters, I can turn them upside down with the gun in them and it won’t fall out.
  • It should allow for an easy draw – there’s such a thing as too much retention, however. If you can’t get the gun out of the holster without fumbling it’s kind of pointless, isn’t it?
  • It should be secure inside the waistband – If you go to draw the gun and the holster comes with it, that’s not good. It may be funny in the movies but it real life it can be life or death.
  • It should be comfortable – Notice comfort is last on the list. It needs to be comfortable, mind you, but that’s not the most important factor.

What makes the shotgun ideal for home defense? What’s wrong with using my handgun? -Mike H.

The main reason why shotguns are always touted as the de facto home defense gun is because they’ve always been touted as the de facto home defense gun. Now, I know I’ll probably get some operator wharrgarbl for saying this but the truth is: the best home defense gun is the gun you’re holding at the time. I’d rather have a .22 pistol in my hand than the best shotgun in the world on the opposite side of the room. At the same time, the best defense gun in the world is the one you’re most comfortable using. A defensive scenario is a fast, violent and stressful situation. That’s not the time to be learning how to use a gun. If you’ve got an AR-15 that you’ve shot so much you could work it in your sleep versus a shotgun that you maybe fire once or twice in a month, you’re going to be better off with that AR no matter what. That’s not to say a shotgun isn’t a great option. All things being equal, however, it’s not really much better than any other option. It truly depends on the person holding it.

NRAAM 2015 Wrap-Up

It seems like with every one of these conventions/trade shows that I cover, it gets easier and easier. The goals are better defined. The plans get better. The results are more favorable. Also, each time I walk away less wrecked and exhausted. That really makes me feel like my diet and exercise is working.

To reiterate my original post, NRAAM was truly more relaxed than SHOT. To be honest, though, I don’t know if I like that. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the heck out of the show and if my budget allowed it I would go every year. My budget being what it is, however, means I have to choose and I think I’ll be going to SHOT from here on in. Like I said, though, this show was an absolute blast and I highly recommend it to anyone who can make it there.

Thoughts and Musings

It seemed to me that every other booth was an AR-15 builder. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some ARs and I plan on getting some more. Still, I can’t help but feel like there’s going to be an AR bubble sometime in the near future. The supply is going to outpace the demand and it’s going to push a lot of people out of business.

While there were still few, I’m noticing fewer and fewer booth babes with every show I attend. It’s great to see vendors adapting to the times. Some move faster than others but the momentum is there.

Even though this show was geared towards the general public, it’s interesting to see some of the booth/staff attitudes of that were prevalent at SHOT Show carried over to this show. I won’t name names but there were a couple of booths that seemed to have a “Make sure you sanitize the guns after they leave so we don’t get their filth on us” kind of attitude. It was only one or two booths, mind you, but still. They way they’ve treated us as well as other people trying to give them free publicity has really affected my opinions on them and I tend to recommend their guns far less now (if I recommend them at all, really). It’s not that their products are bad, mind you. But if they treat people trying to help them like that, how are they going to treat customers?

Conversely, it’s a heck of a testament to the different booth workers when they recognize me from year to year. The fact that some said “Great to see you again. Missed you at SHOT this year!” and variations thereof shows that those reps care about their booth’s visitors and understand the concept of “free publicity”. Admittedly, some of that could be that I’m the only one that ever seems to wear a bowler hat (outside of the stylish dudes at Turnbull) but still.

3rd Annual Gun Noob Awards of Awesomenicity 2015 – NRAAM Edition

Friendliest Booth Staff – Taurus

Back when I first attended SHOT Show, I was averaging about 5,000 to 10,000 views a month. Still, someone at the show didn’t do their homework and I was somehow granted media access. The great people at Taurus treated this nerd from a rinky dink site like he was one of those huge blogs. Three years later, they treat me like a rock star. To those booths I mentioned earlier: you dudes need to go spend some time talking to the reps at Taurus and learn from them the right way to do things. You won’t find a more consistently friendly group of people.

Thinking Outside the Box – Polycase Ammunition

The words “game” and “changer” are often used for things that aren’t, in fact, game changers. The stuff that Polycase is doing, however, is going to be a big deal. Mark my words. We’re going to have an extensive article on them in the very near future but, in the meantime, keep an eye on these dudes.

Shut Up and Take My Money – Cobale Kinetics

Two words: Cylon AR. The people over at Cobalt Kinetics have made the most awesomely ridiculous AR15 on the planet and I want it. I predict some operator wannabe will see that and say something to the effect of “rambling about operator stuff Magpul operator operator wargarbl” but I don’t care. Those are people who don’t smile anymore when they fire a new gun. For the rest of us, there’s this thing and it is glorious.

Makes Me Want to Punch A Wall Award – Staggering slow people

If you walk slower than others, that’s fine. If you walk slower than others and then won’t walk in some semblance of a straight line making it impossible for anyone to get around you, you completely wreck the necessary flow of crowd movement. I can assure you that it is possible to walk slowly AND take in the sights of the show without meandering from left to right as you go down the aisles. I assume they’re typically the same people who drive 10 miles under the speed limit in the fast lane while trying to pass someone going 10.1 miles under the limit in the middle lane.

Best In Show – Chris when he discovered the electronic plinking cans from LaserLyte

I’m laughing my butt off just writing about it now. Let me set the stage for you: the ever awesome LaserLyte has these little cans that will fall over when shot by a laser from any of their training devices. I guess Chris had never seen them before because when I shot one while playing with their new full size training pistol, I hear “ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS!?”. Next thing I know Chris drops the camera grabs the nearest training pistol and starts going nuts on the cans. He was walking around the booth shooting every single can they had set up. Not only that, but giggling (literally giggling) every time one of them fell over. It was almost like he was playing a game of whack-a-mole. He would shoot any cans that he could find that were standing up. Even shot one that someone else had set up. The look on that dude’s face was priceless. The dude was like 12 or 13 and just had this look like “why? I worked so hard to stand that up!”. He saw the humor in it too when Chris skipped off to shoot more of them. Ok, he didn’t exactly “skip” but he might as well. I wish I wasn’t laughing too hard to get the whole spectacle on camera.


As a blogger, one can’t help but make comparisons between SHOT Show and NRAAM. At the same time, it’s apples to oranges as well. SHOT show is for industry and media only. The entire focus is different as a result. NRAAM, however, is for the general public. Any NRA member can attend (if you can get parking) and the vendors are using an entirely different set of tactics to get their products out there.

The NRA convention is significantly smaller than SHOT show and exponentially more relaxed. It’s been fun meeting people who are fans of the site though and that’s been my favorite part of the trip.

Glock 43

For this week’s Free For All Friday, we put out the call for users to send in what they want us to report on for the show. Following that request, we got a disturbingly large number of emails from people who wanted us to check out the Glock 43. It was actually the only question we got but we got A LOT of them (couple hundred at last count).

People have been mercilessly begging for a single stack, 9mm Glock for a while now and they finally listened. While the MSRP is over $500, real street price will more than likely be in the low $400 range once the initial rush to purchase is over. It will come with a flush mag and one with a slight extension on which you can rest your pinky. Quality wise, it’s a Glock. It’s solid, well built and the trigger feels exactly like all other Glocks. It breaks down and functions like a Glock. The night sights from the 42 are useable on the 43 BUT those aren’t available to the general public yet anyway and no one at Glock knows when they will be so it’s kind of a moot point.

Also, much like the Glock 42, the 43 (why don’t they make the names easier to keep straight!?) feels like they took a normal Glock and spent some time on a belt sander. All the edges are smoothed down and rounded more than your typical boxy Glock. If I had to make a comparison, and Chris agrees with me on this one, Glock is very much like Porsche (the car manufacturer). Jeremy Clarkson, formerly of Top Gear fame, once described Porsche as having “the laziest designers in the world”. Every year, instead of make a new style of car, they instead photocopy their old one and then go to the pub. Glock is very much in the same boat. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fantastic guns, but they’re following more of an evolution instead of innovation at this point. So in looking back to my car comparison, if the Glock 19 is the Porsche 911 then the 42 would be the Boxter. Both are great, but it’s getting a bit boring.

I’d still buy the heck out of one.

Springfield Armory

Spent a little time with the XD Mod2. It’s a nice little compact. It’s slightly larger than the XDs and they’ve completely redesigned the grips. Gone are those deep ridges and instead it seems like they’ve integrated Talon grips into the handle. I like it. If I were to carry it IWB, the handle wouldn’t rend my flesh in the way other XD pistols do but it didn’t feel like I would be giving up any grip traction in the process.

5.11 Tactical

They’ve got some freakin’ sweet new shirts coming out as well as a designer-style purse for women that has a nice integrated gun compartment. The thing that struck me about the purse was that it was actually nice. Aside from what she will tell you, I actually do listen to everything my wife says and her common complaint is that it seems few of the carry purse designers ever actually talked to women. Most are absolutely hideous and scream “hey, this is a purse that has a gun in it!”. The 5.11 purse, however, is very understated. It’s a simple black design and, frankly, reminded my of a Coach purse in terms of style. You would probably never even notice a woman carrying it as opposed to some of the other carry purses out there. I know off body carry isn’t an ideal choice but if it’s your only choice then it’s better than not carrying at all.

NRA for Pets

It’s a new program from the NRA where members get all kinds of discounts on various pet products. As someone who loves animals and whose wife is studying to be a veterinarian, this is a fantastic addition to NRA’s benefit package.


I so want one of their Over/Under competition shotguns. I want one good.

Even though the doctor cleared me to go back to work and such after my pneumonia, my body is still wrecked. Walking around today took a lot out of me and the bed is calling to me. Stay tuned for the report on Day 2!

NRAAM and Free For All Friday

The pneumonia I’ve been dealing with for over a week is clearing up just in time for me to head out to NRAAM. I chose to go to the NRA Annual Meeting instead of SHOT show this year for 2 reasons:

  1. I’ve never been before and I only have the budget to go to one show.
  2. While there will certainly be political stuff (which is a no-no on this site), there are also a lot of lectures and such on training and teaching which is very important to this site.

So starting Friday, expect a lot of information on this site about the meeting and I will be using what I learn at the various educational sessions for many future articles.

That’s not all, however….

Accompanying the meeting, there is a large trade show and there are usually a lot of interesting and exciting new products showcased there. That’s where this week’s Free For All Friday comes in. Normally, I start begging for collecting questions on Wednesday. This week, I’m doing something a bit different. First off, I won’t be covering the meeting by myself. Chris, the great and powerful, will be joining me and he’ll be reporting back as well. For this week’s FFaF, we’re going to be YOUR representatives at the meeting. If you have a question you want to ask a vendor, we will ask it for you. If there’s a new product you want us to check out, we’ll take a look and give our opinions on it. If there’s something going on that you want to hear about, we’ll do our best to get information for it.

Essentially, you can attend vicariously through us.

So start sending in questions and requests through Facebook, Twitter or our Contact Page today. The earlier you get them to us, the easier it will be to plan our trip in order to get as many answered as possible.

If you happen to be attending the show and see us walking around, be sure to say “hello”! We’ll have stickers and some other fun GunNoob stuff to give out. Hope to see you there!

Free For All Friday 3-27-2015: Sick Noob, Trigger Pulls and Pistol Caliber Rifles


This is going to be a quick one. Remember how I said at the beginning of the week that I was sick? What started as a cold has upgraded itself to a mild case of pneumonia. Fortunately, typing doesn’t put me into coughing fits.

“How about the xdm mod 2? I shot one recently and really liked it but… the trigger pull seemed a mile long. should that be a deal breaker? Or is that something that can be easily adjusted to a shooters liking.” -Daniel L.

There is no part of a gun that can’t be tweaked. There are drop in trigger kits available for a large number of guns on the market and, if there aren’t any available, any gunsmith worth their salt can tweak anything for you. If you like the gun and you like the way it shot but the trigger was your only complaint, I say go for it. You might grow to like it or you can have it modified. On the other hand, I’ve shot guns that I loved everything about but the trigger was so dismally bad that I wouldn’t even bother getting the gun with the intention of modifying the trigger. It’s all down to how you want to spend your money.

“I recently watched a Youtube video by .22plinkster, and he had a Henry rifle that was chambered in .38 special/.357 magnum. That threw me for a loop. I thought that was a revolver caliber. Makes me wonder what else I don’t know. My question is, what else don’t I know? (Good luck with that answer)” -Mike H.

One of the main taglines of the site is a line my father always says: “It’s only what you learn after you know everything that counts”. In other words, always consider omnipotence a minimal standards. As far as your question, while the .38/.357 are typically thought of as revolver rounds, they are fantastic in lever action rifles. Same goes for .44 Magnum as well. Aside from the power that they pack, they also typically have blunt noses. You’ll find most lever actions are chambered in sizes that typically have blunt or round noses. This is because the bullets sit tip to primer in the magazine. If the bullet has too pointy of a nose, the jostling of carrying it around could set off one of the primers which would cause a chain reaction and…well..it would be a bad day for the person carrying the gun. Personally, I’ve been lusting after a .44 Magnum Henry Lever Action for a while now. If only money weren’t an issue.

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