Range Report: Old Ladies…

In celebration of what would have been my grandfather’s 92nd birthday, we made it out to the range a few days ago. That’s the same day Wonderful Wife unloaded her logic bomb on me (link). We had a chance to do a couple of really cool things; shoot my grandfather’s Webley MKII and help my mom test a few revolvers. One of those was significantly more successful than the other.

My mom hasn’t been to the range in a while and was very nervous, hanging back and not getting too close to the firing line. She turned down the opportunity to shoot her father’s Webley. She even had to step out to the lobby for a bit to regain her calm. Definitely not a good sign.

It took her a while but eventually she decided she was ready to try her hand at shooting a revolver. I was a little concerned about what her reaction woud be and how she would handle it and started her out with a Ruger LCR in .22 Long Rifle. I showed her how to operate the button to release the cylinder, eject the rounds and reload it. The results were mixed. She was able to load and unload it easily and her accuracy was terrible.

The big problem, as I suspected it would be, was working the cylinder release. Ruger revolvers have a small button that must be depressed in order to release the cylinder. She had a lot of trouble with the small button. After about forty rounds of .22 LR I had her try and work the cylinder release on the Taurus 85. Although it takes more pressure to slide the release forward on the Taurus the release is much bigger and it was easier for her to operate.

Unfortunately, she was still very nervous and refused to try the .38 Special. I left it alone and she burned through another forty rounds or so of .22 Long Rifle. We had plans to meet the rest of the family for lunch so time was running short and I made one last attempt to see if she would try a center fire revolver. She reluctantly agreed.

I started her with a single shot in the Ruger SP101. I chose the SP101 because it is the heaviest revolver I have, other than the Webley, so it should have the lightest recoil. It took her a few minutes to work up the courage but she finally took the shot…

…and she was fine with it.

Next I loaded a single round in the Taurus 85 and let her have a go. No problem there either. She had time to burn through a few cylinders of .38 Special before we had to leave for lunch.

The bottom line?

She has no problem working the cylinder release mechanism and has no issue with the recoil. She loves the Taurus. She is not a very good shot anyway and a snubbie doesn’t improve that situation. Now that we know that this will be her new firearm of choice I’ll have to stock up on even more .38 Special so she can practice.

The primary purpose of this trip to the range was for my mom and my son to have a chance to shoot my grandfather’s Webley in celebration of his birthday. That didn’t go all that well.

The Webley is a Mark II that has been cut down to shoot .45 ACP. The issue is thet the pressure of the .45 ACP cartridge exceeds what this old gun was designed to handle. Continuing to shoot full power .45 ACP in this revolver will eventually result in a catastrophic failure. To avoid the destruction of the Webley (not to mention the hand of whoever might be holding it at the time) I have developed a light load to protect both. Unfortunately, I either made a mistake in my loading or the recipe was a little too light. In either case the result was a squib load…

I was able to shoot a full six rounds through the Webley but my son only managed a single round…

That shouldn’t be there…

Now I get to remove the failed round from the barrel. I will also be pulling all the other rounds that I made apart and testing them to see if I made a mistake or if the recipe is wrong.


From The Mouths Of Babes

Well in this case the use of the word “babe” could get me branded a sexist and all sorts of other nasty “ists.” It could also get me divorced except the babe in question is Wonderful Wife…

On a recent trip to the range I was trying to provide some instruction for Wonderful Wife on the proper grip and stance for shooting her handgun (in this case her Smith & Wesson Shield). She listened for a bit and then then politely ignored everything I had just shown her. Instead of working on grip, stance and a smooth trigger press she would grab the gun (one handed) and blast away at the target, reload and do the same thing over. A little later I noticed she added a variation. She would have my son start the man-sized silhouette target moving towards her and then repeat her previous grab the gun and empty the magazine, rinse and repeat. Her stance reminded me of the old-school cop training videos. She was holding the gun one handed and arm extended straight in front of her. She was standing bladed to the “attacker.”

Most definitely, not Wonderful Wife but similar gun handling

I was a little busy with my mom so I didn’t press the issue. The look on Wonderful Wife’s face told me it would be a waste of time but that rarely stops me. Later we had a chance to talk it over and she laid out her reasoning, point blank (so to speak). To paraphrase, this is what she told me:

I need to know how to operate the gun. I need to be able to draw it and hit an attacker quickly. I’ll never remember the proper stance, grip, etc. if I’m being attacked.

I wanted to argue and explain to her that if you practice the proper grip, presentation, aiming, etc. it would become second nature. It would be an automatic response and as natural as what she was doing…

Fortunately, common sense or maybe the stomach virus I was dealing with kept my mouth shut long enough for my brain to actually process what she has said.

She was right. Wonderful Wife likes to shoot but it isn’t on her top ten things to do every weekend list. It is, at best, a two or three time a year kind of thing only. She will not put in the time to get “trained and practiced up” the way conventional self-defense theory would suggest (demand) she should. Some would criticize or even say, “we’ll if she’s not serious about self-defense she shouldn’t have or carry a gun.”

I call bull poop.

Literally thousands of American citizens use firearms to successfully defend themselves and their loved ones every year. Almost none of them have what the experts would consider “proper” training, grip, stance, trigger press, etc…

What they can do is operate their firearm, get it into the fight and hit an attacking target. That’s it, no tactical reloads, transitions between handgun and long gun, or other tacticool gunkhana.

Am I saying no one should train past the very basics?

Nope. In a life and death situation I want every edge I canget and so do a lot of other folks. I also enjoy training with a firearm.

It is OK that some folks, who don’t want to spend the time and dollars to become gun-fighting blackbelts, just learn what is absolutely needed.

God bless

Marlin 1894 .38/.357 Is Back!

Maybe the most exciting news out of the 2018 SHOT Show (for me) was the Marlin 1894 CST. This is a new edition of the classic Marlin lever action chambered in .38 Special/.357 Magnum that sports a 16.5 inch threaded barrel, black finished wood furniture, XS ghost ring sights, big loop lever and a a brushed stainless finish.

1894 CST

While I think this particular model is extremely cool the real reason I am so excited is that it signifies a return to manufacture of the 1894 in the .38/.357 cartridge. Since the Remington takeover (ruination?) of Marlin the pistol caliber carbines have been nearly as hard to find as honest politicians and carbines chambered in .38/.357 have been even more rare than that. Hopefully, this means a return to production for all the models in this line.

For around $300 less than the $1154 MSRP of the CST I would probably buy the plain Jane 1894C with the longer (20 inch) barrel.

Traditional 1894C

What it lacks in “tacticool,” if that can ever be applied to a lever gun, of the CST you get an extra four rounds of capacity and the $300 savings can go into better sights and more ammo. Now if I were to find a particularly good deal on the CST…that might be a different story.

God Bless

SIG P365

The first 9mm self-defense handgun I ever purchased was the SIG P250. While an awful lot folks didn’t like that gun, I love it. Smooth, buttery trigger like a revolver but with the capacity of a mid-sized semi-auto (15 rounds).

For a number of reasons I switched to Glocks over the years. The G19 replaced the P250 as my “nightstand gun.” I tried the G26 as a daily carry but It was always a but too heavy and bulky so when the G42 then the G43 came out they became my daily carry pieces. I really like shooting those little guys but the announcement of the P365 from SIG may have me rethinking that at some point.

Sig P365

This little SIG is very similar in size and weight (see the exact specs here) to the G43 but with the 10+1 capacity of the larger M&P Shield!


The capacity is 10+1 with the flush fit or extended magazines but they will also be offering a 12 round extended magazine for this little guy. The trigger, from what I am hearing, is just as awesome as the P320 trigger which is a very good trigger (no word on whether it comes with similar safety concerns). It does come standard with three dot night sights and two magazines and from what I am seeing and hearing it is at a pretty competitive price point with the G43.

Now, I am not one to jump platforms quickly or easily. Above and beyond the price of the firearm itself I have a decent investment in holsters and spare magazines for the Glock 43 platform and don’t really want to start all over again with that but I might have to give this little guy a serious look.

God bless!

The .22 Carbine For Home Defense?

Matt over at the Jerking The Trigger blog recently posted an article on the use of a .22 LR carbine (like the Ruger 10/22) as a home defense tool (link). In the article he points out several reasons why it might not be a bad choice. Those included:

-The low cost of acquisition and ammo

-Low recoil and ease of use, especially for non-gun folks and younger family members

To be honest, when we were first married Wonderful Wife and I did not have a lot. We didn’t really worry about being robbed because we were the poorest folks in the neighborhood. Just about everything in our home was a hand me down or freebie of some sort or another. We had so little to worry about losing in those days we didn’t even lock the door when we left the house about half the time.

The one thing I could not countenance losing was my wife and kids. Those I would do everything within my power to protect and the old Louisville slugger that protected me when I was single was demoted to “option two.”

Given our finances, “option one” was a Marlin Model 989 that I picked up used for maybe $50 (which was still a stretch for us).

Marlin Model 989 m2

Because of the low cost of ammo, I could afford to practice fairly regularly and I was pretty good with that little gun. Loaded with CCI Mini-Mags in a 20 or 25 round magazine it served the family well. It was brought out on any number of occasions when something went “bump” in the night. During the big flood in the mid-1990’s the little carbine came out of the closet and stayed on my shoulder most nights as the gun battles between looters and the sheriff’s department could be heard throughout the night.

On the many occasions when I had to work nights I knew that Wonderful Wife and each of of the kids were well protected because each one was able to operate it quite well. Each one of the kids had been taught safety as well as the operation of the little carbine, by the way.

The little carbine remained our defensive tool of choice until just a few years ago when it was retired in favor of more capable tools. At that point it was just Wonderful Wife and I at home and we were both well versed in more potent weapons.

Is a .22 LR carbine the best choice ballistically? Of course not.

Is it the most reliable choice? Probably not but they are better than some higher priced alternatives.

Will it do the job if need be? Dang skippy, as long as you can do your part.

God bless

New Wheelguns From Ruger

Ruger seems to be trying very hard to fill every little nook and cranny of the firearms market. The latest announcements are for some new configurations of two of their most popular wheelguns, the LCRx and the SP101.

The LCRx line has been expanded to include four new variants; 9mm, .327 Federal magnum and two versions in .22 Magnum (WMR) one with a two inch barrel and one with a three inch barrel:

I like the LCRs alot and that it my go to carry pistol about 75% of the time. I like the option of the exposed hammer in the LCRx line but really don’t have a need for one personally. A 9mm revolver is kinda cool and relatively cheap to practice with but for the extra weight I would prefer a .357 Magnum that I can load with full bore magnums or  softer shooting .38s for practicing. The .327 Magnum gives improved performance and an extra round over .38 Special but not the same power as a .357 Magnum. I really like the round but there just isn’t enough support yet from ammo makers for me to take the plunge…yet. I fell out of love with the .22 Magnum a long time ago. Not as cheap as .22 LR and not as powerful or reliable as a centerfire round. Kudos, to Ruger on trying to fill every niche but none of these really light a fire under the wallet…which, to be honest, is a good thing right now for me personally.

The SP101 chambered in 9mm falls into the same category; I’m glad they did it but I won’t be buying one anytime soon.

I wasn’t that impressed with the LCR I had in 9mm and don’t see any reason to try an all steel revolver in that caliber. I have an SP101 in .357 Magnum and don’t see a need for one in 9mm other than the cost of ammo. Since I reload, the cost of .38 Special or even .357 Magnum really isn’t that big a deal.

In an ideal world, where I had unlimited funds, I would probably pick up one of each. Since I live in the real world, I’ll pass but I hope they sell a ton of them.

God bless.