All posts for the month January, 2012

SHOT Show 2012 – Wrap-Up!

SHOT Show 2012 is in the rear-view.  YouTube videos abound. Blogs are updated.  Print rags are readying future articles.  We were looking for some very specific things this year at the SHOT Show.  (In case you missed it, click here to read my previous post on what exactly the SHOT Show is, what we were hoping to see.)


Overall Thoughts & Some Trends I’ve Spotted

I’ve watched countless YouTube videos.  I’ve read all kinds of blogs.  This could just be a function of what I’m “tuned-into” at the moment, but here are some trends I’ve noticed from SHOT Show 2012 coverage:

  1. Likely somewhat of a function of the overall economy, but overall, it seemed like an evolutionary year, as opposed to being revolutionary.
  2. Highly concealable, pocket pistols rule the day!  Increasing numbers of ‘pocket pistols’ are being chambered in larger calibers – like the 9mm, .40S&W and even the .45ACP.  This isn’t a new trend, but it certainly continues with offerings like the Sig p938, the Beretta Nano, the Springfield XD-S and Colt has even gotten back in the game with the everything-new-is-old or everything-old-is-new-again Mustang.
  3. Modularity!  Modularity across the board in ARs (of course, where ‘ya been), but also in pistols, rifles and shotguns.  One gun value.  One gun versatility – HUGE versatility.  One gun training / muscle memory.  More gun for less money.  Empowered owners; no gunsmith required to change calibers.  Start small and expand over time based on needs and budgets.  It’s a trend I really like, and I’m very happy to see.  Perfect handgun examples include the Beretta Nano, a new Rock River Arms pistol offering, the Thompson Center Dimension and the Mossberg FLEX top the non-AR platforms for me.
  4. Better triggers.  Most shooters know trigger squeeze is one of the keys to accuracy.  The modern [r]evolution in better factory triggers arguably started almost ten years ago with the Savage Arms then new AcccuTrigger, but more and more manufacturers are putting high quality triggers in their factory guns.  This is something that not too long ago, a typical intermediate or expert shooter would pay good money for, after the initial purchase, and requiring the work of a qualified gunsmith.
  5. An increasing number of firearms, accessories and related products aimed squarely at women shooters.  It’s a trend I welcome.  I’m happy to see it!
  6. Factory competition firearms.  Handguns and long guns setup for 3 Gun, IDPA an other forms of competition, like Stag Arms 3G, as well as offerings from Ruger and CZ.
  7. Airsoft!  YouTube video and blog updates about Airsoft guns seemed to everywhere.  Why not?  They’re cool. They look like the real thing.  The shooting fundamentals are the same and you can practice shooting them arguably many more places than your real guns.


So, how’d we do with what we really wanted to see??!! 


The Sig Sauer p938 is Here!!

Hoped for by many for a while, rumored as early as September 2011, then formally confirmed by the company in November, the Sig Sauer p938 is in fact a reality, and it sure to be a home run!!  It is exactly what the market has been demanding from Sig.  This highly anticipated,  mini-1911 pocket gun is now chambered in 9mm.  As expected, it is the p238’s slightly bigger brother – same height, same width, same single action trigger and battery of arms, just .4″ longer overall and ~2 ounces heavier.  Aimed squarely at the concealed carry, personal defense market the Sig p938 was on-hand at SHOT Show 2012.  From what I’ve read four variations of the p938 will hopefully hit the market around April.  I think we all hope street price is well below the ~$795-823 list, and that the p938  doesn’t suffer from some of the initial growing pains experienced by it’s “Little Brother”, the Sig p238.  Click here for more pictures, spec and information.



While on the topic of Sig, the Sig Sauer p224 and p290 were also on-hand.

  The Sig Sauer p224 is considered by many to be Sig’s answer to the Glock 26 / 27 sub-compact, double-stack backup or concealment guns.  If the p226 is the “Father” of the the p224, this is the “Grandson”.  It is intended as an on-duty backup gun or an off-duty / civilian concealment gun.  It will be offered in traditional Sig DA/SA or DAK, which is Sig’s version of Double Action Only.  Click here for more.





New for 2012, the Sig Sauer p290 has double-strike capability.

Highly anticipated in 2010, released at SHOT Show 2011 and then unfortunately not the hot seller Sig had hoped for (due to its weight and perceived bulk), the Sig p290 Double Action Only (DAO), polymer frame, hammer fired “pocket” pistol now has double strike capability.  Certainly a welcome feature, especially give its intended defensive purpose. Click here for more.





The Beretta Nano

Announced in early September 2011.  Released at the end of October.  The single stack, polymer frame, striker fired Nano with no external controls from the World’s Oldest gun maker was on-hand at SHOT Show.  Judging from all the coverage via YouTube vids and other blogs, this pocket gun is certainly a big hit.  In one YouTube video I watched of this year’s SHOT Show, Beretta representative Ben Cook mentioned that new color, and NEW SIZED grip frames will be available.  However, Beretta didn’t have any of those new grips frames at the SHOT Show, and Ben didn’t go into much detail.  (What new colors will be available?  What new sizes will be available?  Will the new sizes be minimally different, to accomodate different sized hands – or fundamentally and game-changing different – like giving users the ability to drop a serialized, stainless steel Nano frame into a full-size double-stack frame or anything in between ? )  Nor did I hear anything about a .22lr conversion kit or extended magazines.  I keep watching closely for updates, and will post when there is news.  Click here for more from Beretta on the BU9 Nano.


Unfortunately (but as generally expected), there was no surprise of a new single stack, smaller G26 / G27 to compete with the likes of the Nano, the PM9, CM9, PF9, etc.  That said, there was plenty to be excited about from Glock, with two “new” Gen 4 models: the full-size G21 in .45 ACP and the mid-compact G32 in .357 Sig.  The first Gen 4s were released at SHOT Show 2012 and every model in the Glock Gen 4 lineup offers multiple, adaptable back straps, new gripping surface, an ambi-magazine release, and the new recoil system.  All of these modifications are in response to customer feedback and demand. They are geared towards making this rock-solid, reliable performer more user friendly and comfortable to shoot.   Click here for more.


The Black Rifle – The Stag Arms 3G 

So what it announced a couple ahead of the SHOT Show? The Stag Arms 3G was on-hand, and it was a HUGE hit.  Aimed primarily at the 3-Gun competition shooter, it features a stainless steel, heavy fluted  18”, a rifle length gas system, the new Stag Arms 3G compensator (said to reduce recoil to provide faster, more accurate follow up shots), a long, free floated Samson Evolution handguard (which supports multiple modular rail sections in various positions), a Geissele Super 3-Gun trigger (specifically developed for 3-Gun competitions), Magpul MOE pistol grip and Magpul ACS collapsable buttstock.  The Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sights (RTS) are optional.  While pricier than some of their previous models, the Stag 3G is still very high-value!  You get a lot of high-end features for the extra dollars.  3-Gun shooter or not, this is one hot, top quality AR.  I imagine it will serve all AR shooters well, except for maybe the those in Close Quarters Battle, but I want one in my gun case!  I anticipate this will be one of the hottest ARs of the year, and you can check it out here: Stag Arms Model 3G  Hmmmm, my AR Build Vs. Buy decision is no longer so easy…  



So, that’s SHOT Show 2012 Wrap-Up, Part 1. Please stay tuned for Part 2, and thanks for reading!

SHOT Show 2012 – Anticipation!

SHOT stands for Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (though these days that “T” could just as easily stand for Tactical or Tacticool!).  The Show is an annual convention in Las Vegas that is to shooters what SEMA and the International Auto Show are to car & truck guys… what CES is to tech & gadget guys.  You get the idea… It’s a BIG deal.  It’s 4 days of new and existing product “goodness” in guns, ammo, knives and all things related.  It a great place to meet colleagues, speak with vendors, find training, gauge the industry overall and to spot the currently hot market trends. Someday, I will be there!!

Like many of you, I’m unfortunately stuck at my desk, but I’m constantly scouring all available media for SHOT updates.  Here are some things I’m particularly keyed into:


Sig Sauer p938!

It is their hugely popular, accurate & reliable,  1911 style pocket .380 – but now chambered in 9mm.  The p238’s slightly big brother – same height, same width, just .4″ longer and ~2 ounces heavier.  In an increasingly competitive (good for us consumers) and currently red-hot segment of the market, could this be THE one? See The Perfect Pocket 9 in Special Projects for more info about my personal quest, but here are some pics, courtesy of


Beretta Nano Accessories!

The Nano is Beretta’s entry in the pocket 9mm ring.  The Italian gun maker – the oldest gun manufacturer in the World – has been making ultra reliable, ultra concealable pocket guns for a long time, but in early September 2011 they announced the single stack, striker fired Nano. Then they released it at the end of October – with a very reasonable street price.  By November it was in huge demand.  I’ve seen one.  I’ve handled one.  It is very high on my list.  With a very modular design, the possibilities for user customization and “one-gun” versatility are almost endless.  (I’m thinking beyond just different color grip frames to possibly different sized frames, and even caliber conversions.)  If Beretta takes advantage of their modular design and plays up user customizable accessories, this will be a huge market differentiator.  I’m expecting SHOT 2012 brings at least extended magazines and different color grip frames!  Again, see The Perfect Pocket 9 in Special Projects for more detailed info. Picture courtsey of


Glock?  I’m a huge fan!  They revolutionized the industry.  They redefined the modern pistol.  Will Glock finally release that single stack, small, thin and lighter 9mm?  Probably not this year, but I’m still excited to see what new Gen 4’s get released.


Sig Sauer p224. Right now, I’m more interested in the slimmer, smaller, single stack 9mms, but I’ll give this double-stack sub-compact a look.  If the 229 is the baby 226, this is the baby 229.  Same form and function as the P266 (if ordered DA/SA), but in a much smaller, compact size aimed at the currently red-hot concealed carry market.


The Black Rifle

For at least two or three years now, the state of the economy and other priorities have kept an it low on my list, but that may be about to change. The AR bug has bitten.  I am beginning a quest.  Could 2012 be the year I finally pull the trigger on the AR?!  I’m anxious to see what’s new for the platform, including complete rifles, components and accessories.  I’m looking for new and exciting things from ArmaLite, Advanced Armament Corp, Barret, Bravo Company Machine, Daniel Defense, LaRue Tactical, Lewis Machine and Tool, Magpul Dynamics, Rock River Arms, Stag Arms, and a few others.  See My Quest for The Black Rifle in the Special Projects section for more.


Other Cool Gear

Who doesn’t love cool gear?  Here’s a quick-hit list of other great gear and some vendors I’m watching.

  • Knives & Multi-tools: Benchmade, Buck, Cold Steel, ESEE, Ka-Bar / Becker, Gerber, Leatherman, Frost Mora, Spyderco and Victorinox.
  • Flashlights: 4Sevens, Fenix, Streamlight and Surefire.
  • EDC (Every Day Carry) Packs, Equipment, Range Gear & Clothing: Blackhawk, Maxpedition, 5.11 Tactical
  • Holsters: Bianchi, Blackhawk, DeSantis and Galco.


I’ll post SHOT Show updates when I can.

Once you decide between semi-auto or revolver and finalize your caliber choice, your next question will be, “What brand of Handgun should I buy?!?”  Fortunately today, there are a ton of great options.  Assuming a working man’s budget, with a focus on value, and based on my own personal, hands-on experience plus extensive research:

  •  For semi-autos, I have significant hands-on experience with, and am partial to Beretta, Glock, and Sig Sauer.  There are also many great offerings from Smith & Wesson’s M&P line, Springfield Armory, FNH USA , CZ USA, Heckler & Koch (pronounced ‘coke’) and Ruger.  All reputable, qualified reviews, articles and videos I’ve researched on those have been very positive.  Many of the brands I’ve presented here have an extensive pedigree including Military and/or Law Enforcement use – and that definitely says something.  These are your ‘mainstream’ semi-auto gun manufactures and you generally can’t go wrong with a weapon that has been successfully tested and put into use by a major Military or Law Enforcement agency.


  • When it comes to Double-Action revolvers, I recommend Smith & Wesson and Ruger.  This is the stuff of endless Internet and gun forum debate.  Saving you a ton of reading, the prevailing thoughts seem to be that Ruger firearms are over-built, but Smiths are The Cadillac of Guns, having better triggers which lend themselves to better accuracy.  Honestly, you can’t go wrong either way.


  • Taurus, what about Taurus?!  Taurus International Manufacturing makes both semi-auto pistols and revolvers.  I have no personal experience with Taurus beyond handling a few at my local gun store.  Again hopefully saving you a ton of reading and research time, the bottom line seems to be that Taurus offers great value for your money.  Fit, finish and attention to detail will not likely be on par with some of the other manufacturers I’ve mentioned above, but you’ll get a working, reliable gun for a very reasonable amount of money.  If you are on a very tight budget, Taurus might be the way to go.


This is a bit like “Ford Vs. Chevy” or even “Blonds, Brunettes or Redheads” in that with so many good offerings from so many reputable manufacturers – and many made right here, in the U.S.A. which is something important to a lot of people these days.  You almost can’t go wrong with an offering from the list I’ve recommended, so is really your call, and should be based on personal preferences.  You’re the only one who must be happy with the decision.  Check out different makes and models.  Surf the Web.  Visit your local gun.  Try to get experience shooting your choices by finding a local range with a rental program or by going shooting with a friend.  Pick the one you are most comfortable with, the one that feels best in your hand, and the one that best fits your budget.


While we plan to post some gun and gear reviews in the future, check out our links page for some excellent resources to help with your research.

Let’s assume you’ve gone through, or are in process of following all proper State and Federal laws for your upcoming purchase.  Let’s also assume, you’re a new shooter.  So, what handgun or pistol should you purchase?  This is a pretty easy one for me to answer.
  • If you want a semi-auto, go with a full-sized 9mm.
  • If you want a revolver, get a medium to large, steel framed .357 magnum with a 3-4″ barrel.

So, right now you’re reading this and thinking, “OK, I understand the semi-auto recommendation, I expected as much, but you’re seriously recommending an ‘old fashioned’, double-action wheel-gun as a viable first gun purchase for modern times?”  Yes!  I won’t agrue reliability (though there are plenty that will), but I will point out the following:

  • With no external controls like safeties or slide locks, the revolver is simple and easy platform to operate.
  • With no slide to rack – something new shooters may find intimidating or even physically difficult to do correctly – the revolver is sometimes perceived by the new shooter as easier to safety check.
  • All double-action revolvers can be shot Double-Action (DA) or Single-Action (SA).  The same is not true of all semi-autos.
  • The revolver is still a very viable and suitable defense weapon.
  • Versatility.  This one’s admittedly a bit of a stretch, but you might be able to do more with your .357 Magnum revolver and use it in more ways than your 9mm semi-auto.


Why a full-sized weapon? Again, assuming you are new to shooting, you are buying a gun primarily for recreational and / or home protection purposes:

  • The weight of a full- size pistol or medium to large, steel frame revolver with a 3-4″ barrel will lessen felt recoil.
  • The longer barrel length will increase bullet velocity, but more importantly to a new shooter, will lessen muzzle blast and noise.
  • The better balanced full-sized handgun with a longer barrel will in most cases be easier to shoot more accurately than a sub, sub-compact or pocket sized pistol.


Why the 9mm?  The 9mm (also called the 9×19, 9mm Luger, 9mm NATO, 9×19 Parabellum) is used many military organizations around the World, and by many United States Law Enforcement agencies.  Therefore, it is one of the most popular handgun rounds in the World.

  • Ammo is easy to find virtually anywhere in the World, and relatively cheap.
  • It’s easy to shoot, especially from full sized pistols.
  • It’s a proven, very effective defensive round, especially with the proper ammo.
  • Your full sized 9 will most likely be a double stack, meaning it will hold a double digit round count.
  • The concern with the 9mm in a defensive role is it’s inability to penetrate cover such windshields or car doors, etc.  This shouldn’t be much of a concern for the civilian shooter.

It’s hard to go wrong with a full-sized 9mm.  You shouldn’t feel under gunned in a defensive situation, you won’t go broke target shooting and it should be soft shooting enough that you will practice often without developing poor shooting habits.


Why the .357 Magnum?  The .357 Magnum is a time tested, versatile powerhouse.

  • Use soft shooting .38 specials for recreation and practice.
  • Use .357 Magnums for personal defense or hunting – the .357 Magnum is a popular handgun hunting cartridge where allowed by law.
  • Use shot-shell (also commonly called snake-shot) loads for critter control.
  • Today’s medium to large frame wheel-guns come in six to eight shot varieties, which is ample for most things the new shooter is doing.
  • The concern with the .357 Magnum in a defensive role is over-penetration.

A 7-shot .357 is one highly capable firearm.  Perfect for back-country hiking, camping or field use.  Near the top of the list for home and personal protection.  Readily used for hunting and able to put everything from small-to-deer-sized game on the table.  It’s also a fun plinking or target shooting gun.  It offers versatility that is very difficult to beat.


Both are easily great calls for your first handgun. You can’t go wrong either way.  Visit your local gun store and check out different makes and models of both. Pick the one you are most comfortable with, and the one that fits best in your hand.


Final quick thought: If you get the auto, I highly recommend a .22lr conversion kit.  Even easier, quieter & cheaper shooting with the exact same form, function & controls of your primary weapon.

To be clear, I have no intention of turning this into a political blog, that said, here are some quick thoughts on the law:

  • Know and follow all state and local laws for purchase, use, carry & transportation of firearms and ammunition.
  • It is up to you to know the law.
  • While there has been a significant increase in the ability for law abiding and appropriately trained civilians to carry concealed – and this is a great and positive thing– not all state laws are the same.  Unfortunately at present, unlike State issued driver’s licenses, which are nationally recognized, not all States may honor your carry permit.  Find out if your destination, or the state you are passing through honors your carry permit before you go.


  • Never rely on just the law to keep you safe!  Some current laws are themselves arguably downright dangerous, and at risk of doing more harm than good.  For example, California’s “loaded chamber indicator law” is an abomination. I’m sure the intent was noble, but without proper training, that law alone can cause deadly confusion.  What happens when that kid or new shooter from CA gets his Father’s or Grandfather’s gun,  moves to, or just travels to another state where there is no such law?  One could argue the CA law wrongfully encourages people to assume the the gun is not loaded if they’d don’t see the “loaded chamber indicator”!!  That could be a deadly mistake.  Take it upon yourself to learn and teach the correct way to safety check and safely handle a firearm.  It is not hard.  Learn it! Teach it – especially to your kids!  Never rely on wrongfully implemented “nanny” safety devices.  Not to mention such devices and indicators significantly disadvantage good law abiding citizens if they are ever in a situation where they have to defend their own life, or the lives of their family members.

This is one of those “Firearms Safety” tips you can use anywhere, and everywhere, at all times.  In fact, and while arguably some situations demand more attention than others, you should use this tip everywhere.  You should also teach it your family have them do the same.

So then, why is this a “firearms safety” tip?  Because you need to be extra aware and extra careful whenever you are carrying a firearm… whether you are carrying concealed, going to or from the range, going to or from a hunt, and even when leaving the gun store excited and happy about your new purchase.


Situational Awareness is being in tune with your environment.  Put in harsher terms it’s , “don’t walk around with your head up your ass… ”  or with your nose in your iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.  (the same goes for driving…)

  1. Know what is around you.
  2. Know who is around you.
  3. Identify possible dangers and threats.
  4. Avoid putting yourself in dangerous positions.
  5. Put some thought into, “What am I going to do, or where am I going to go if….”
  6. Have a plan, and discuss it with your family.
  7. Try to anticipate other people’s moves, especially if you perceive them to be a threat.


Think about your everyday life and your own “Situational Awareness”.  If someone were following you home, would you even know it before they pulled into your driveway right behind you?  If you suspected someone was following you, would you know what do to do to help confirm it – and where to go if in fact you determine they are?  Would your wife?   Would your kids?


Dad’s been instructing our family on “Situational Awareness” and other common sense safety tips my entire life, but I recently watched an episode of “The Best Defense” that covered exactly the “being followed home” scenario.  First and foremost, they advised using many of the concepts described here in this post on “Situational Awareness.”  As you leave the shopping malls, the stores, the bars & restaurants and other places, casually scan the surrounding area, taking notice of other cars, drivers and the people walking around.  As you walk up to your car, casually make sure no one is hiding under, around or even inside of it.  As you drive home, keep a casual eye on your rear-view and side view mirrors.  Know what vehicles are on the road with you, and what is behind you.  (Even if you are not being followed, this tip alone can greatly help Law Enforcement, EMS and Fire Fighters get where they need to go…)  Back to possibly being followed, “The Best Defense” recommended making three right turns as a litmus test to determine if someone is following you; 1 – no cause for alarm, 2 – could be coincidence, 3 in a small residential neighborhood?  Put on the 4 way flashers, get on the cell phone with a family member or friend and drive to the nearest police station.


Realize many of these same concepts are equally employed when going for that exercise run or walk, when in the mall, and when just casually strolling around.  Again, while arguably more general, common sense safety than specifically “firearms safety”, “Situational Awareness” is significantly more important when firearms are involved.


You don’t have to be overboard or even obvious about it, but be in tune with your surroundings.  Put some thought into it this topic.  The greatest and the best of all safety devices is one between our ears – and we all have it.

Constant muzzle awareness is key to staying safe – at home, at the range and in the field.

In order to ensure you are always pointing your firearm in a safe direction, you must know which way the muzzle is pointing and what’s in that direction.  Sounds easy and obvious enough, but here are a couple of tips to help ensure you do it correctly.

When you get to the range or the hunting fields and it’s time to get your firearm out of its case:

When it finally comes time to hit the range or go hunting, you’re naturally going to be excited and have a lot on your mind.  Make sure basic safety is always at the forefront of your thoughts.

  1. Maintain “Situational Awareness“.  Take a minute to scan the area, determine it is safe and appropriate to take your weapon out of its case.  If it is, then move to the next step.
  2. Put the gun case on a stable platform, like a range bench or the tailgate of your pickup, as two examples.
  3. Unlock the case and undo the latches or unzip the case as appropriate.
  4. Open the case just enough to determine which way the muzzle is pointing.
  5. Make a safety assessment. Is the weapon pointed in a safe direction?
  6. If the firearm is not pointed in a safe direction, close the case, and rotate or turn the case (with the weapon still inside) until the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction.
  7. Only once you are sure the weapon is pointed in a safe direction should you remove your firearm from its case.
  8. Once your firearm is out of its case, follow all relevant range or hunting safety regulations. (i.e. pointed downrange, action locked open, safety flag inserted in chamber, etc. etc.)

Never to touch the firearm or pull it out of its case if it is not pointed in a safe direction.


Talking to those around you, and just looking around with a firearm in you hands:

For most of us it just comes naturally to look at the person we are talking to.  This often means turning our body to face that person or group of people, squaring-off with them.  You may not have ever thought about this, and it might come so naturally you might not even realize you  do it.  It’s just an everyday common courtesy and normal part of social etiquette.  Most of the time it’s not a problem at all, and not even something you have to think about.  However, put a gun in your hands, and that “natural” act can become a major problem and safety concern if without realizing it, you just unintentionally pointed your firearm in an unsafe direction.  Here are a couple of tips to help ensure your normal social behavior doesn’t make you a risk at the range or in the field.

  1. Stay focused on what you are doing.
  2. Know who and what are around you at all times.
  3. Always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction – preferably down range, at the ground (but not your own, or anyone else’s feet!) or least preferably, towards the sky.
  4. Stay focused on what you are doing.
  5. When handling firearms, get in the habit of just turning your head to talk to those around you, or turning your body except for that arm that’s holding the firearm.  Keep that in a safe direction.
  6. Stay focused on what you are doing…


Some additional thoughts on hunting safety when in the field:

Realize it or not, hunting is more dangerous than shooting at the range.  When at the range, the shooting areas, target areas and safety zones are all generally very well defined.  “Downrange” tends to be very obvious.  The entire range is usually designed with safety in mind, setup with all shooting lanes having parallel, or back-to-back lines of fire.  The target backstops are usually very obvious, well setup and built for pupose.  While it is still up to you to make a safety determination, and you should still never shoot if you have any questions, concerns or doubts, you tend to trust that the range has done their best to ensure to help ensure safe target areas and appropriate shooting backstop.  Therefore, realize it or not, you are more confident about the “Know your target and beyond” safety rules at the range.  Additionally, since everyone at the range is generally shooting from the same area, you get a chance to observe your range partners and make judgements on their safety habits before you decide to start shooing.  Lastly, most ranges have very well trained staff on site to not only help you ensure your shooting experience is a positive one, but help ensure everyone stays safe.

Hunting is a different situation.  There is no range officer looking over your shoulder, ready to remind you if you are a little less than perfectly disciplined with your safe handling technique.  While there are well defined “Safety Zones”, not all shooters will be shooting from the same area, or even in a common “downrange” direction.  You don’t have designated target areas.  There aren’t necessarily purpose built backstops ready to stop bullets from traveling too far or from going in an unsafe direction.  You won’t always get a chance to observe the safe handling techniques of your fellow hunters the same way you can observe other shooters while at the range.  You are still governed by very clear rules and regulations, but it is up to you and your fellow hunters to be disciplined and stay safe.  Always maintain “Situational Awareness” as what and who is around you can constantly change in the field.  Know and follow all “Firearms Safety – Rules to Live By“.  Maintain Constant Muzzle Awareness.  Know, practice and implement the safe hunter carry positions.

First. Foremost. Always!  As Harry Potterfield from MidwayUSA says, “Firearms safety is your responsibility.”

Directly from the NRA:

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

When using or storing a gun, always follow these NRA rules:

  • Know your target and what is beyond.
  • Know how to use the gun safely.
  • Be sure the gun is safe to operate.
  • Use only the correct ammunition for your gun.
  • Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
  • Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.
  • Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
  • Before cleaning your gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded.

In addtion to the above, Remington’s 10 Commandment of Firearms Safety also reminds us:

  • Don’t rely solely on your gun’s safety.  (Your safety, if equipped is to be in conjunction with NOT as a replacement for safe handling.)
  • If you gun fails to fire when you pull the trigger, handle with care. Continue to follow other safe handling procedures, especially to keep the muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
  • Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.

Inside the X Ring?  What is it? Who is it for? What can you the reader expect? This is a blog about firearms, and all things related to firearms!

Our aim is to introduce and educate you the reader, in order to promote the safe handling and use of firearms for ALL LEGAL PURPOSES – historical, recreational, hunting and/or self-defense.  We want all of your experiences with firearms, shooting and shooting sports to be safe, and positive experiences.  We’ll share tips, tricks and techniques to make it so, even if you are just starting out, and possibly a little nervous.  While we strive to have content for all experience levels, this site is currently targeted towards the inexperienced – even those who have never even handled a firearm – to intermediate shooter.  All you need is a genuine interest in firearms, a desire to learn, common sense and a never-ending healthy respect for your firearm.

So, what can you expect from Inside the X Ring?  Posts on safety, posts on choosing your first firearm, caliber choices, tips on shooting technique, gear reviews, references to ranges, answers to questions, firearms industry news and links to other great resources.  Combining years of collective, hands-on experience with vast amounts of extremely detailed research to bring you value focused straight dope.

Please check in frequently for articles and updates. Better yet, subscribe to have updates automatically emailed to you as soon as they are published.  Click on subjects in the Categories section on the right side of the page to find older posts. Look for more pages dedicated to Safety, Handguns, Long Guns, Special Projects and maybe events as content increases.  Comments always welcome.


Finally, if your into shooting sports, hunting or any other aspect of firearms, and if you’re not already a member, please join the NRA.  No other major organization works as hard as the National Rifle Association to protect The Second AmendmentClick here for a link right to the NRA Membership page.