Training With .22 Long Rifle

Back before the “Great Ammo Shortage” I toyed with the idea of using .22 Long Rifle versions of my primary firearms for training purposes. Once .22 LR disappeared from the shelves this idea fell by the wayside. Well, the venerable .22 Long Rifle is back on store shelves and while it is not as cheap as it once was it is pretty reasonably priced once again.

So, why train with .22 LR?

The primary reason for training with .22 LR is cost. With lower priced ammunition the cost of training goes down which means more training for the same money. Bulk .22 LR costs about 2.8 cents per round and even premium rounds like the CCI MiniMags come in around 5.9 cents/round. Even premium rounds cost less than bulk 9mm (11.7 cents per round). For rifle cartridges the difference is even greater. Super cheap 7.62×39 comes in at 16.2 cents per round and 5.56 tops that at 26.7 cents per round.

Until recently, I carried a revolver for my every day carry (EDC). Specifically, I carried a Ruger LCR in .38 Special. Back before the Great Ammo Shortage I also purchased a version chambered in .22 LR. It is identical in almost every way to the .38 Special except the caliber, 8 vs. 5 shots and the trigger pull. Like most rimfire revolvers the trigger pull is significantly heavier than the centerfire counterpart. I am OK with that. Even though I now carry a semi-auto I still train much of the

Ruger LCR in .22 LR

time with small, lightweight revolvers. Why? For the same reason that batters take a few practice swings with a weight on their bat. Swinging the heavier bat makes it easier to swing the lighter. Maintaining a proper sight picture (especially with simple gutter sights) while managing a 6-8 pound trigger pull on an ultralight snubby is darned tough. It is even tougher with the heavier trigger pull on the rimfire version. A couple dozen rounds with a snubby and my speed an accuracy with the semi-auto are both noticeably improved.

The bottom line if that the key components of gun handling trigger control, sight alignment and sight picture can all be practiced as effectively with a rimfire as with centerfire…more cost effectively.

This doesn’t mean you should never train with centerfire rounds. No since.22 LR will give you any practice with recoil management.

Glock G44

One more caveat, it is important to train with rimfire weapons that are as similar as practical to the centerfire firearms you use for defense or hunting. As I mentioned I have a .22 LR version of the LCR I used to carry as my EDC. I also have a .22 LR version of my primary hunting rifle (Ruger American Predator). I just picked up a Glock 44 which is the .22 LR version of my bedside gun, the Glock 19 (range review to come). I may even pick up the new .22 LR version of the LCP II that I occasionally carry.

That’s where the analysis of your own budget needs to come into play. Do you shoot/train often enough for the ammo cost savings to make up for the purchase of the .22 LR version? If you invested in the rimfire version would you be able to train more. As a gun guy, I like guns and shooting so the cost/benefit works out. You need to do your own math.

Hope this gives some food for thought.

Take care and God bless.

What Did You Prep This Month?

Another slow month for prepping…

Walk With God

I finally completed my study of 1 and 2 Samuel. Since I am doing a Wednesday night study of the book of Mark I haven’t started another study yet. Instead I am reading a book on the culture of Israel during biblical times to help me better understand the social context of the Bible and especially the Old Testament. Completed another two rounds of praying for my 100 closest neighbors, continued teaching Sunday school and attending church.

Self Defense/Hunting

Purchased a Bond Arms .410 Derringer (for snakes) and I am still slowly stocking up on ammunition: .410, and .30-30 this month.

I made it to the range to test out the new Bond Arms derringer and a few other firearms but I also spent a good bit of time working with my primary carry gun, the Ruger LCR.

Supplies/Gear

Nothing this month.

Security

Nothing this month.

Finances

Added some to savings but not as much as we would have liked.

Fitness/Health

Nothing this month. Mostly we were just still trying to recover from bronchitis and upper respiratory infections.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this month. How about you? What did you Prep this month?

Take care and God Bless

IWI Masada And Red Dots On Handguns

IWI, the Israeli company behind the Tavor and Galil rifles, has released a new 9mm striker fired pistol in the US market; the Masada.

IWI Masada

It has received some very good reviews online but, for the most part, it is another “me too” entry in the 9mm pistol market; polymer frame, striker fired, interchangeable backstraps, and standard three dot sights. Nothing particularly special except that it comes optics ready straight from the factory and has an MSRP of $480.

At least one online gun seller is bundling them with a Vortex red dot sight and selling them for $568.99 (link) which is about what a Glock 19 MOS is running without the optic.

Masada + Vortex Venom

A buddy (who is a bit of an Israeli-phile) noticed the price an immediately ordered one. He was kind enough to let me run a few magazines through it and I thought I would share a few of my thoughts and observations.

The Masada

This is a nice little pistol.

What do you mean little pistol? Isn’t it a duty sized pistol with a 17 round magazine capacity?

Yup. But it doesn’t feel that way.

The shape and contour of the grip makes this feel smaller in the hand. Unlike the similarly sized Glock 17 it does not feel like you are holding a 2×4 in your hand. It compares favorably to Wonderful Wife’s M&P 9c and feels better (and smaller) than my own Glock 19s. My stubby little thumb can reach the magazine release without completely shifting my grip. I don’t know which backstrap was installed but it was extremely comfortable for myself with my stubby little finger and for my buddy and his ape hands. It is an amazing feat of ergonomic engineering.

The trigger is unremarkable. It is there. It works and it doesn’t stand out in either a good or bad way. It is not a crisp as the P320 but seems a bit better than the Glock triggers. So, standard middle of the road striker fired pistol trigger.

The three dot sights are basic and cheap. Better than standard Glock sights but not as good as the X-ray sights on the SIG.

For the price this little pistol is an excellent value. I recommend it highly and if I were not already invested in other platforms it would be high on my “I want” list.

So how about the red dot on a pistol?

Glad you asked.

Red Dot Sight

Like the Masada the Vortex Venom is not a top of the line red dot, but it is an excellent sight for the money. If you will be carrying into battle an Aimpoint will probably be tougher and more durable. For a night stand gun this is a great little optic for the money. I had one previously and loved it until my grandson wanted it and now I don’t have one anymore. I will be getting another (or several).

I have heard good and bad about this type of configuration but this was my first time shooting a pistol with a red dot and I was anxious to see how well they would work for me. First magazine I was able to ring the steel target from around 7-10 yards most of the time. I had no problem picking up the dot when I brought the gun on target (this is a complaint many people have).

Oddly, I was more accurate with the SIG 320 with its excellent sights and I was shooting about the same level of accuracy as I did with my Ruger LCR.

Wait. What?

No, I didn’t see a dramatic increase in accuracy using a red dot in this case which is a common justification for pistols in this configuration.

Why not?

A few reasons:

1. The red dot was not perfectly sighted in. It was shooting several inches low at that distance. I didn’t realize that at first and my accuracy improved as I figured out the “hold under.”

2. I ran a grand total of (maybe) 50 rounds through the Masada with the Venom while I a lot more rounds on the P320 and even more rounds with the same sight setup (they are the same sights as on my P365 and P250. In fact everything about the P320 (except the trigger) is identical to the P250 and I have several thousand rounds through that pistol including dozens of IDPA competitions. The Ruger LCR is another platform that I put thousands of rounds through.

3. We were shooting at a pretty short range and I think that a red dot would start to make a real difference at longer distances.

So are iron sights better at these closer distances?

Not really.

There were two key differences in shooting with the red dot versus the iron sights:

1. I was able to achieve comparable accuracy with the red dot while shooting faster. Even while compensating for the improper zero on the dot I could “ring the gong” with comparable accuracy but about 30% more quickly. This would translate into more hits on target in less time. I think that is a definite plus in a self-defense situation.

2. With my eye issues I have to close my left eye when shooting iron sights. On the other hand, with the red dot, I could hit the target reliably with both eyes open. In fact with the red dot it was easy to focus on the target and what was around it. I didn’t have to concentrate on the dot like I do with standard sights. Not only does this increase my field of view but it dramatically helps in being aware of what it going on around you. I think improved situational awareness would also be a big plus in a self defense situation.

While I was initially interesting in red dots on pistols for myself I think the person who would benefit the most from this set up is Wonderful Wife. I do not practice and train as much as I should but I do practice and train a lot. Wonderful Wife is a little better about practicing and training than the average bear but she doesn’t practice nearly as much as I do. I believe her consistency, accuracy and speed would improve dramatically with this configuration. This still needs to be tested out but it is consistent with what I am hearing from other sources. I also think that if I put in anywhere near the same amount of time with this set up as I do my iron sights my shooting would improve as well.

So, there you have it. My initial experiences with the Masada and a red dot optic on a pistol. I hope to get more time on the Masada soon to further test out the concept. I may even break down and buy something for myself and not mooch off friends.

Take care and God Bless.

What Did You Prep This Month?

Walk With God

I completed another two rounds of prayers for my 100 closest neighbors. Continued teaching Sunday School and attending church. I am not attending a Wednesday Bible study this term. There is so much work and personal stuff gong on I wouldn’t be able to commit the time to it. I will start an individual study instead.

Self Defense/Hunting

Guess what?

I bought a lot of ammunition.

I want to make sure I have plenty of self-defense, practice and hunting rounds on hand I have been shooting a lot so I’m restocking those calibers and rounds as I use them. I am not looking to increase what I have on hand at this point.

Back when I first started carrying a firearm I started off with the smallest and lightest firearm I could find, the Ruger LCP. While this was not a fun gun to shoot I actually wore that little sucker out.

There have been times recently when (for various reasons) I have had a need for “deep concealment” firearm. Since my old LCP is no longer reliable I picked up an LCP II to serve in this role. I tested it out with a couple hundred rounds of various ammunition including self-defense ammunition. I didn’t encounter any issues at all so it is now in the carry rotation along with the LCR and P365.

I was also able to get Wonderful Wife out to the range for a (much needed) practice session.

Supplies/Gear

I replaced the pocket knife I broke with a new Kershaw RJ Tactical 3.0 and so far I am loving it.

For the first time since the flood we have our garden going again. So far we have peppers, onions, tomatoes and some herbs growing in the raised boxes but we plan to add some peas shortly.

Security

I really, really need to get a new security company lined up.

Finances

This is the area we have been most focused on. We are working hard to save as much money as we can and have building our savings pretty quickly. Wonderful Wife is going to need a new car soon and I want to be in a position to pay cash when that time comes. I also want to buy some property to get away from the craziness that seems to be taking over in big cities.

Fitness/Health

Withe recent medical issues and procedures I have taken (quite a few steps backwards in this area. I have gained some weight back and haven’t been able to exercise much at all. Fortunately, I am well on the way to recovery and I am starting to get back on track.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

Take care and God Bless

Three Inch .357 Magnum Ruger LCRx

Ruger has gone and done it again. They seem to be really good at waiting until I purchase something that is close to what I want and then releasing the exact thing I was wanting. On the flip side, maybe I am just not patient enough…

Three Inch Ruger LCRx in .357 Magnum

In this case I just purchased a short barreled LCRx in .357 Magnum after deciding that Ruger wouldn’t release a three inch version. Well, yesterday I received an email that they did indeed release a three inch .357 Magnum LCRx…Doh!

I probably won’t run out and drop the cash on this model immediately, since I just bought the snubbie version, but one may make it into the safe at some point in time. Now that Ruger has taken the plunge on a three inch .357 Magnum LCRx it is very possible that a 9mm or .327 Magnum version could follow at some point. Both of which would also be very high on my “I want” list!

Take care and God bless!

What Did You Prep This Month?

Walk With God

I completed three more rounds of praying for my 100 closest neighbors. Continued teaching Sunday School and attending church.

Self Defense/Hunting

We purchased 40 rounds of 7.62×39, 100 rounds of .22 LR, 80 rounds of 5.56/.223, 1200 rounds of 9mm, 200 rounds of .327 Federal Magnum, 150 rounds of .32 Long and 250 rounds of .44 Magnum. Yes, I was on a bit of a buying spree taking advantage of some seasonal sales and savings.

I sighted in my AR pistol and rifle. Due to time constraints I was only able to get it out to 50 yards. I will go back and take it out to 100 yards when time and the weather permit.

I bought two more magazines for SIG P365.

Deprimed and tumbled over a thousand rounds of empty brass I have been collecting including .38 Special, .327 Magnum, 300 BLK and .44 Magnum, .44 Special, .32 H&R Magnum, 9mm, .30-30, .308, 5.56, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, and .32 S&W Long. I bought a case gauge for reloading .327 Federal Magnum and did small test batch of .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum. All performed just fine. Purchased some Alliant No. 9 powder for to be able to load some particularly hot .327 Magnum and some .357 Magnum.

Performed a full inventory on all my ammo. Both what is in long term storage and what is on hand for ready use. Some of my counts were way off and purchase plans have been updated accordingly.

Supplies/Gear

Picked up another Eaton radio. This model includes the ability to receive AM/FM and Weather Band channels. It runs off batteries or the hand crank and can also be used to recharge electronic devices via a USB port.

Security

Nothing new here. I still need to sign on with a new security company.

Finances

Continued adding money into my 401k and Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

We store most of our liquid assets (cash and precious metals) off site in a secure location away from the house. Before the flood we moved almost everything there. In all the confusion we didn’t have a good inventory of what was where or what we had spent on repairs/recovery. So, we did an inventory on this as well. We spent less than what I thought but next year rebuilding this reserve will be a major focus.

Fitness/Health

No activity here…but come next month…

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

Take care and God Bless

An Interesting New Speedloader

Yup, I am a revolver addict. I am also a speedloader addict. I typically only carry speed strips but every time I nee a speedloader I haven’t tried yet it will end up in on my order list. Most of the time I just go right on carrying the speed strips and the loaders become dust collectors on my shelf.

The Ripcord is one I have never seen before and I am excited to try it out:

Ripcord Speedloader™

Well since I ordered four of them (two for my five shot revolvers and two for my six shooters) I guess I should say that I am looking forward to trying them out. Here is the (really cheesy) video for them:

I’ll let you know how they work once they arrive and I have a chance to test them out.

Take care and God bless.

The Best .38 Special Ammunition For Self Defense

Smith & Wesson Model 36

I don’t think I have shared this before but if I did I apologize but it is very good information to have on hand if you carry a .38 Special for self-defense either has a primary or a backup.

Greg Ellifritz posted this article on this topic in September (Link)and I think it is good enough and valuable enough that I wanted to make sure I had passed it on.

In summary, here are the top rounds recomended and a link to some test results:

Speer Gold Dot 135 grain Hollowpoint (13.1″ penetration and expansion to .56 in bare gelatin)
Winchester Ranger 130 grain Bonded Hollowpoint (12.75″ penetration and expansion to .56 in bare gelatin)
Corbon DPX 110 grain copper Hollowpoint (13″ penetration and expansion to .52 in bare gelatin)

He also suggested considering the old standby 148 grain full wadcutter. Personally, I am very tempted to go with this round. The recoil is extremely mild and follow up shots are very quick. The accuracy has been awesome as well, shooting to point of aim consistently which you don’t always get from the other rounds recommended.

For the moment, I keep a small supply of them on hand for practice rounds and as a backup to pure self-defense rounds when traveling to parts of the US more restrictive gun laws. This is one of my favorite bullets to reload as well.

Anyway, if you carry a .38 Special take a look at it and maybe (like I have) bookmark it for future reference.

Take care and God bless

What Did You Prep This Month?

Walk With God

This aspect of my preparedness has become a bit routine; teaching Sunday School and then Church on Sundays, praying for my neighbors daily, Wednesday night Bible study (which I have missed twice this month due to work). I think it is good that these things have become routine but I think it might be time to shake things up a bit. I don’t know what that might be yet but I have a few ideas.

I don’t want this to become a routine without thought and contemplation…that’s too easy a trap to fall into.

Self Defense/Hunting

I like having a backup for my primary carry gun. That is currently a Ruger LCR in .38 Special so I have been keeping my eye out for one at a good price. A few weeks ago I found one in a pawn shop for a good price. It was perfectly clean and looked to have never been out to the range (that is no longer the case). So, just as I begin to contemplate switching to the P365 I have a backup for my LCR…

SIG P365

Speaking of the SIG P365, with the direction the country seems to be headed I wanted an option that packed a few more rounds than the LCR or the Glock 43. The P365 seems to be a pretty good choice for that and I found a decent deal on one locally so I added it to the safe. I will need to dump a lot more rounds through it before I am willing to bet my life on it.

As we head into the 2020 election cycle, I expect that the cycle of violence will continue to escalate but I also expect that gun and ammunition prices will start to head back up as well. So, while supply still exceeds demand and prices are low I plan to stock up a bit more aggressively on ammunition. I looked over my ammo inventory spreadsheet and upped the stock levels I want to maintain for  certain ammunition types that I feel are most at risk and that I use the most of.

Based on that I took advantage of the Black Friday sales and picked up 500 rounds of 9mm practice ammunition and another 20 rounds of .308 hunting ammo. I will be looking for additional sales prices and opportunities to stock up a little more than I had previously planned on doing.

Supplies/Gear

We continued restocking the emergency pantry and we are essentially done with just a few minor items to pick up in the next month or so.

While we were discussing ideas for Christmas gifts I mentioned to Wonderful Wife that I would like a vacuum sealer. I told her why I thought one would be a good idea and she got that look in her eye, the one that says “you idiot” without actually saying it out loud and then she told me to go buy one. I mumbled something about Christmas presents and she gave me another look and said that she liked the idea. They would be practical, helpful and save us money and times so we should have one and we should not wait for Christmas. I love this woman. Now, why didn’t I suggest it sooner?

Security

Nothing new here.

Finances

No real activity here. We just continued the usual investments in 401K and our Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

Fitness/Health

Once again a big old nothing in this section despite it being critically important for both of us to get serious about getting in shape…

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

Take care and God Bless

Quick Range Report: The Hammer And Lesser Beasts

Range sessions have been few and far between of late and most of those have been dedicated to testing this that or they other and no real time for dedicated practice with my primary weapons of choice. Last week I was able to make it out and do a little of both.

First off, a buddy who went with me brought his .44 Magnum Desert Eagle and let me punch some (really big) holes in paper with it:

This thing is a monster.

It is huge and it is heavy. The recoil is really not that bad its just hard to get a good grip on this beast with pudgy little fingers like mine. I would never buy one but I am very thankful for a chance to shoot it. It was a blast!

Next up was The Hammer.

My own .44 Magnum but in a proper and much smaller, lighter revolver format:

I have an ultralight, titanium framed .357 magnum (Smith & Wesson M&P 340) and most people who shoot it won’t ever choose to do so again. Which is how I picked it up for a good price. Shooting that little monster is kind of like catching a fastball with no glove. It stings a bit. OK, it stings a lot. Compared to The Hammer though, that little 340 is a sweetie. Pulling the trigger on a full bore .44 Magnum round is like catching a hard swung baseball bat with your bare hand; there is some stinging but mostly a lot of hurt. In fact several days later I could still feel pain in the web of my hand, my wrist and my elbow.

(Note: I do not wear a shooting glove of any sort which would help dampen the felt recoil.)

Slip down to lightly loaded Magnums or .44 Specials and The Hammer becomes much more manageable. In fact it is a downright pleasant shooter at that point. The sights are very good and with lighter loads I was punching a single ragged hole in the target at seven to ten yards. Thre trigger is a little rough and a bit “squishy” in single action mode but it will probably get better over time. Most Smith’s seem to.

This is a big gun with a lot of recoil but when faced with an angry or wounded pig or a rampant dinosaur (alligator) I have a feeling I won’t notice the recoil. Shot shells (for snakes) probably wont have much of any recoil at all and will reduce the need for accuracy the next time one decides to violate our mutual avoidance agreement.

I bought (another) Ruger LCR in .38 Special. I like to have a backup of my primary carry gun and although I have other Ruger LCRs and other J-Frame revolvers in .38 Special I did not have a second LCR in .38 Special. I happened to come across a great deal on a lightly used one locally so I picked it up. It is an older model with a plain black sight blade but after a quick trip to shopruger.com the proper replacement is on the way. Other than the hard to see front sight, the little revolver performed flawlessly.

I spent the remainder of the session practicing drills and marksmanship. I am having a hard time adjusting to shooting with bifocals. I have spent the last decade and a half with perfect vision (courtesy of lasik surgery) but now that I have reached “a certain age” I am back in glasses. Did I mention they are bifocals? And as a result I am having to relearn some basic skills in order to accommodate my eye-wear.

For most of my practice time I used my 9mm Ruger LCR. The recoil was very light with 115 grain practice ammo (much appreciated after spending time with The Hammer) and the reloads are quick and easy due to the moon-clips. I have always been warned away from carrying a 9mm revolver due to the fragility of the moon-clips but I have not had an issue related to them yet. The other benefit of practicing with 9mm is the price of ammunition. 9mm, for the most part, runs 30-40% cheaper than .38 Special ammunition.

All in all it was a good trip to the range and I was able to work on some much needed skills.

Take care and God bless.