2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Taurus PT1911AL

Wow, I can't believe I haven't touched this thing in over 2 months, time flies when your just having fun. Fun? Well, not really, but that's another Rant.

Anyway, the subject of this post is the Taurus PT1911AL. But first, some background info.

A while back I decided that a .45 ACP pistol of the design that John Browning invented would be a part of my modest collection of bang sticks. I fondly remember my first experiences with the 1911 in the Army back in the 80's and thinking what a truly bad asses piece of metal it was. The 1911 instills a sense of confidence in the shooter whom wields it. For starters, its solid. Solid as a rock. When you put one in your hand you know you are holding something of power. Even the GI milspec pistols with their higher than normal tolerance level and looser fit feel like a precision block of milled metal in your hand. All of that comes together with the reliablity and almost legendary toughness that this pistol is known for.

Secondly, you are shooting .45 ACP for crying out loud. There is nothing like the sound or feel of 230 grains of FMJ (at least in the military, hollowpoints are generally frowned upon by those nations adhering to the Geneva Convention) leaving the barrel at 850 - 900 feet per second. The .40 S&W, 9mm and even the .380 are good defensive rounds used in semi-auto handguns, but none of them come close to the sheer power and intimidation of the .45 ACP's "flying ashtray". Despite what you may have heard or read, the .45 was not adapted purely based upon US Army experiences with the .38 against Moro warriors in the Phillipines, but that was a factor. The fact was the US wanted a semi-auto pistol to field that was magazine fed and could take advantage of the, then, new faster burning powders available. The shape of the .45 was ideal for ramp feeding, provided a very good aerodynamic profile for accuracy and was big enough that nobody would complain about lack of stopping power. And lastly, due to the stock 5" barrel and longer sight radius, accuracy with the .45 round is excellent on this platform. It's not a coincidence that a vast number of IPCP shooters choose the 1911 as their pistol of choice for these events.

Upon shopping around for one I was shocked to find that a pistol of the type I wanted (Kimbers were my first choice) were upwards of $700 - $800 or more for the basic models. More "pedestrian" versions of the GI model by Springfield Armory were more in my price range of $400 - $500 dollars, but again, were fairly basic compared to the "luxury" models I longed for. I actually went totally the other way and bought a used Charles Daly 1911 that the store had for a measly $200. I took a gamble thinking that maybe the "you get what you pay for" demon would creep up and bite me, but thankfully it turned out to be a decent enough pistol to use while I saved up for a "dream .45".

The Charles Daly was a bit of a mess, rode hard and put away wet by its previous owner(s), it bore the marks of a well used weapon. The finish was worn on several places and there was some minor surface pitting where it looks like it had been exposed to salt water. Being that these pistols were made in the Phillipines I wondered if this particular pistol had spent some time there around maybe Subic Bay before it found its way stateside. No matter, after replacing the recoil spring (which was a spring designed for the .380 version of the Colt Commander!) with a decent 18 pound one and replacing the extractor and extractor spring, the pistol worked as well as could of hoped for. It even had a few "custom" features on it that the manufacturer The Charles Daly .45 I started my quest with...

installed as standard options for the valued added affect: beavertail grip, skeletonized trigger and hammer, extended slide stop and ambidextrious safety. I added a Houge combat grip and it actually looked like a decent pistol. I used it for about 2 months before I got enough scratch together to go out and get a Kimber. I ended up selling the Charles Daly for $200 (the same price I paid) to a friend at work. I kept the extended slide release and Hogue grips for the new pistol though.
Hogue "Combat" grips that I tranfered to the Taurus. You can note the 30 LPI (Lines Per Inch) etching that Taurus uses on the bottom of the trigger guard. The front of the grip area (covered here) and the back have this too.
The Taurus
My Taurus PT1911AL, a very nice pistol in many ways.

A trip to my local gun shop revealed for me a vast array of 1911 models to choose from, I went in with the Springfield Armory GI Spec model in mind, as it was on sale at the time with a retail prince around $450, but alas, all of their stock had been depleted already. Undetered I began to scan the array of models in the case in front of me and came upon this particular beast: Parkarized slide, aluminum frame, beavertail grip, checkered panels on the front and rear of the grip, custom hammer and trigger, ambidextrious safeties and a price tag of less than $600! I was convinced I was looking at a gently used firearm but no, it was the Taurus PT1911AL! Having it handed to me I immediately felt at home with the heft and feel of a 1911 in my hand. The fit and finish on the pistol was very good and the initial impulse to buy struck hard, but I held off to do a bit of research.

Looking up the pistol on my secret internet research site (OK, I just Googled it) turned up some interesting reading on this pistol. Made by Taurus International in Brasil (note: Taurus has had a somewhat spotty reputation historically but in my opinion has worked on improving it greatly in the past few years) the pistol is entirely made in one facility there using state of the art manufacturing processes and materials. One thing you'll find with foreign made firearms, depending on the country of origin, labor costs are sometimes way less than ones made here and that cost savings is passed onto you (see my post about the Stoeger Cougar).

The company prides itself on producing a $2000 pistol for under $700. Well, while I may dispute that it is as nice as the top line models by Wilson, Les Baer and others, its is still a damn nice gun with a crap load of extras you will pay a premium for from other manufactures. 1911's are one of the weapons that enthusiasts have devoted an almost cult following on customization (I think the Ruger 10/22 crowd takes the prize in this category). Fortunately, many of the common customizations that people add to their 1911s after purchase are standard on the Taurus PT1911. Below is a chart of what Taurus considers its value added features to a base $500 1911 patterned pistol.

As you can see, it appears that the Taurus is quite the value for the money. I went ahead and got the PT1911AL that I had looked at before for $579, a bit more that I wanted to spend but still a great bargain in my book. The pistol has a cast aluminum frame with blued slide. It weighs a bit shy of 29 ounces unloaded, fairly light for a full sized 1911. The only thing I was disappointed in was that Taurus stopped shipping the 1911 with the Heine Straight 8 sights. It now comes with a perfectly good Novak 3 dot system that I am fully comfortable with, but after seeing the Heine sights on another weapon, I wanted to try them myself shooting. It seems like a really good system. Oh well, life goes on.
Novak 3 dot sites, not the Heine Straight 8 I had hoped for but nice anyway. They are adjustable.

Upon taking the pistol home I disassembled it and cleaned out any packing grease and manufacturing debris that may have been in the weapon. I have found that foreign made guns seem to have more of this type of stuff than domestic made items. This was especially true in the mag well of my pistol. This is probably due to the fact that these are shipped mostly on seagoing vessels here and the extra goop prevents rusting of parts in route. Again, no biggie. The internal parts are in good order and only show minor machining marks on some areas that you would not normally think of as "showroom" parts on the pistol. None of these marks would in any way detract from the dependability or accuracy of the pistol, so no foul here.

The first time I took the pistol to the range I experienced a few failure to feeds only with JHP ammo, ball ran a smooth as silk. These issues disappeared after a couple hundred rounds and have not reappeared save for a few of my own home reloads which I am convinced are my fault. Any weapon needs to be broken in and you should not judge the overall quality of a gun by your first few hundred rounds. Accuracy is on par with any other 1911 I have fired and I could cover a 6 inch circle at 30 feet with most rounds with ease. This may not seem like stellar accuracy, but my focus has always been on practical application and not necessarily freakish accuracy. Until I come across someone who can present a threat to my family or I with a center mass of less than 6 inches across I will be more than satisfied with this level of performance. I am sure that other shooters will be able to manage better groups than this, my eyesight is not what it used to be!

Other than the first few rounds that failed to feed from the new magazines and my own reloads, reliability has been excellent from this pistol. Lets talk about the magazines. The PT1911 comes with two 8 round steel magazines with a generous bump pad on the bottom that serves as both a loading aid and a cushion for dropped mags at the same time. This gives you a total of 17 rounds you can have available (8+1, 8 in the spare mag) for you, which should be more than enough for most any scenario as a home owner or CCW holder.230 Grain FMJ Ball .45 ACP, 1911's eat this stuff up like candy!

A normal 7 round 1911(left) next to a 8 round Taurus magazine for size comparison. Note the rubber bumper pad for aiding in slamming the mag home on loading and to aid in cushioning the mag hitting the ground when doing a raping mag swap.


I always like to high light safety in its own category as gun accidents are the #1 fodder that gun control advocates use to promote their cause against us. As always it is an unsafe owner, not an unsafe, weapon that is usually at the root of all of these tragedies. Being a 1911 pattered pistol, the PT1911 has the normal 2 primary safeties on it common to all of the pattern types. The first is a grip safety that prevents the weapon from firing until it is depressed by firmly grasping the pistol. I have always found this to be a sensible safety and Springfield Armory's successful XD line of polymer pistols use it, I wish more manufactures would incorporate it as well. The second is the manual safety, which in the case of the PT1911 is ambidextrious for both right and left handed shooters. There are no transfer bar safeties in a 1911 so if you are to carry the pistol with one in the pipe the "cocked and locked" method of carry with the hammer cocked and weapon on safe is the prefered method to use. This may alarm some less enlightened observers who see this as a more hazardous means of carry, but years and years of use has shown this is the best method for safety in terms of both avoiding a negligent discharge and also providing an adequate posture for immediate response towards a threat. The other safety is the Taurus Safety System which is a lawyer friendly key lock system that locks the action and prevents operation of the pistol. The lock is located on the actual hammer of the pistol and I believe it is integral to the pistols operation, so you can forget about adding your own custom hammer. Many people hate key locks, I for one think that if properly used they can be a useful safety addition for people needing to secure their weapons with children in the house. I like it for the fact that if I have to secure my pistol in my car as a place I may be at may not allow concealed carry, that it provides an extra deterrent to its use if it somehow falls into the wrong hands by theft or other means (I also lock it in a secured case with a cable in a locked compartment of my truck - over kill I know but better than a court hearing or trial). One last mention on safety, as stated above, the 1911 fires a .45 ACP round, a proven round capable of one shot stops on even determined aggressors. I was trained by the military to "double tap" or "quick fire" two shots into center mass of a target to increase the stopping ability of my rounds. With the .45, a second round is not always needed, as the large 200+ grain projectile usually imparts the majority of its energy on target and the starting caliber of .45 inches, which many other calibers strive to obtain through bullet expansion, provides a large wound channel. The intended use of a weapon in a defensive situation is to stop your attacker in their tracks before they can harm you or a loved one, the .45 excels in this purpose.
The pistol in "Cocked and Locked" mode. Notice the dremel work I had to do on the grips to fit. Not pretty but functional.
The Taurus key locking safety sytem. Nice if you need it.Another pic of the pistol. The standard plastic checkered grips for this are just fine, I prefer the finger groves and wider grip offered by the Hogue overmolded ones here. I replaced the standard allen grip screws with plain flat head ones here for eas of removal if I am on the range for any reason. Also note that the slide stop is a custom type I stole from my Charles Daly. It is a bit beat up but still very functional. The stock slide stop is nothing to complain about though.
A full length guide rod is standard on the Taurus.

Disassembled pistol. While not rocket science, the disassembly of a 1911 is more elaborate than that of more modern pistols. Still nothing an 18 year old private in 1987 couldn't master. Also in the pic is the barrel blushing wrench included with the pistol, nice touch. I also have a guide rod buffer installed (blue) which I think helps in controlling recoil, but can be a bit tricky when reassembling the pistol.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Out With the Old, In With the New.

The Hi -Point is gone, here comes the Bersa!
Bersa Thunder .380 ACP

I have already posted about getting rid of my Hi-Point C-9 9mm pistol. It was not a bad gun, and my decision to part with it in no way is a mark against the Hi-Point brand. I just did not find myself reaching for it often. My Stoeger Cougar is a much better pistol in 9mm than the Hi-Point, just a fact. I originally wanted to pick up a 9 for "economy" shooting, yeah right. What the Hi-Point did do was fill a niche for me as a possible truck or summer conceal option if I opt to get my CCW license here in Ohio. Now the Hi-Point would of worked fine as a truck gun, but as a summer CCW choice, too bulky and heavy for that role in my opinion. What I used the proceeds of its sale towards was a Bersa Thunder .380 ACP. ".380! That has less stopping power than the 9mm it replaced!" True to a degree, in terms of raw force, yes. Depending on the load, and I will not bore you with tables and discussion of ballistic results in gelatin, some self defense rounds in .380 (such as the Corbon DPX) do approach some loads of 9mm in terms of effectiveness and realistic stopping power. And given that the majority of self defense shootings occur at relatively close range (5-15 feet), the power of the .380 does become a viable option. I have read, and agree, that the .380 ACP is about the smallest caliber to consider for serious self defense situations. Keep in mind you will not be bringing down cape buffalo and black bears with a .380. Still, any gun in your hand is better than a .44 Magnum in the safe at home when you need it. Look at the sales of Rugers new .380 LCP pistol and the sales of the Kel-Tec P3AT to convince yourself that .380 is carried and used everyday by thousands of people worldwide. In South America, and Argentina - the home of Bersa SA - the .380 is the largest caliber legally available to civilians (now that is a scary thought in an election year!!).

Anyway, as the Ruger LCP cannot be kept in stock anywhere and its sales are also driving the sales of the comparable P3AT, I chose to look towards the Bersa as an option. It has gotten rave reviews on Gunblast.com (one of my favorite sites) as well as a few other sites. All of the salesmen at Vances and another store all talked favorably of it. It was on sale at Vances for $229 so I gave it a go. First impressions are very good of the pistol. I bought the Duo Tone model which appears to be an aluminum frame and steel slide combo with black plastic hand grips (which are decent for plastic grips). It looks very nice, much like a Walther PPK....hey wait a minute...it almost looks exactly like a PPK!!...and also a Makarov PM!! Corect-a-mundo, they all share the same design lines. To tell you the truth, if the pistol is as reliable as people claim it is (I hope to fire and find out myself soon) who cares if it is a rip-off, clone, lesser known manufacturer or whatever. It costs less than half of what a PPK does and look at the quality my Stoeger has brought with a Turkish pedigree to my collection.

When I unpacked it after casually looking it over at the store and realizing this thing was gooey with grease and oil, I immediatly set about cleaning it off by disassembling the pistol. All went well and according to plan until I took off the grips to get at the frame, something that I do not think is an unreasonable idea especially considering the grips are each held on by a single flat-head screw. All was good until I tried to reassemble according to the directions. Wouldn't work. I tried for half and hour to get the slide back on the frame to no avail. I took it back to Vance's, explained the situation and they took it in the rear of the store to examine. After being asked if I took the grips off and worrying about voiding some type of service warranty and now having to pay for a repair (like I stated I don't think removing the grips is an unreasonable task to expect an owner to do once in a while) they got it back on for me. What had happened was that the magazine disconnect safety had come out of a slot on the transfer bar and was blocking the slide from being mated to the frame. All is fine now with it. Back to the pistol.

The Bersa Thunder is a direct blow back operated design, easily facilitated by the use of the "mild" .380 round (9mm x 17mm Kurtz). It utilizes a fixed barrel instead of a floating design as in a delayed blowback. This should contribute to accuracy results. It comes with a full set of "controls" that consist of a manual safety, take down lever, magazine release and slide lock. All of these are in easy reach and should not suprise anyone. The mag release is above the trigger and I find I have to turn the pistol slightly to press it. The pistol comes with a single 7 round magazine with a finger grove extension on it so most should be able to get a full grip on the weapon. The sites are a normal 3 dot affair and are very good for a weapon of this size and price. The trigger is a DA/SA set up with the first pull of the trigger a double action pull at around 12 pounds with each subsequent squeeze being single action at around 5 pounds. This is what I have read and dry firing feels about right for this info. The weapon sits in the hand and points nicely. The grips have a thumb rest on each side that actually works, and the backstrap is elongated to avoid having the webbing between your thumb and first finger get "bitten" by the slide - an issue my friend Greg has with his Makarov PM

It has 3 safety systems on it. First is a key lock safety that locks the action on an uncocked weapon. If the weapon is cocked it will allow the slide to move but the trigger will not operate and the hammer will not release. This is of no consequence since the use of this safety would be for when the gun is in storage and you want to lock it up to prevent its use by unauthorized persons, you would not lock in in a cocked condition in that case. The second safety is a manual (left side of the frame only) cross bar safety and decocking lever. The lever is very remincent of a Beretta F series safety as found on the 92 or 8000 series, but with much more force needed to decock the hammer, much more! I hope that this smooths out after a while as it is a brand new gun after all. The third safety is a magazine disconnect safety. Some people don't like these as they want the ability to fire the weapon if you had to in the middle of a mag change or if the magazine was dropped struggling for possesion of it with and attacker, but I like the opposite side of this argument. What if you are stuggling with an attacker and LOSING! Hey, I'm kind of a big guy (6' and over 250 lbs) but there are always stronger guys (and girls) out there that would definitely be able to get the better of me. I like to know that I may have the option of dropping the magazine and kicking it away and be beat with my pistol in lieu of being shot with it.

The pistol weighs in at around 23 oz. It is approx 6" long by 4" tall and about 1" wide. Nto bad for a conceal piece. As is my habit, I installed a Hogue Handall Jr. grip on it to further enhance the grip feel in my hand.

I'll do a further post on this piece after I have gotten it to the range.

It comes with a cheap lock, one of those "turn the screw" types, toss it....
...Use the included key lock
Hogue Handall Jr. grip on the Bersa
To dis-assemble, push down on the take down lever, pull the slide all the way to the rear and lift up, that's all there is to it
Disassembled pistol


Have you wondered what this meant?

Here's a bit of the history behind it:

The Greek phrase Molōn labe! (Μολὼν λαβέ; approximate Classical Greek pronunciation [moˈloːn laˈbe], Modern Greek [moˈlon laˈve]), meaning "Effort [το] take [them]!", or more loosely, "Come and take them!", is a classical expression of defiance reported by Plutarch in response to the Persian Army's demand that the Spartans surrender their weapons. It is roughly corresponding to the modern equivalent English phrase "over my dead body". It is an exemplary use of a laconic phrase.

The first word, μολών, is the aorist active participle (masculine, nominative, singular) of the Greek verb βλώσκω "blosko," meaning "having come." Λαβέ is the aorist active imperative (second person singular) of the verb λαμβάνω "lambano," translated "take [them]."

The two words function together in a grammatical structure not present in English called the circumstantial participle. Where English would put two main verbs in two independent clauses joined by a conjunction: "come and take", a strategy sometimes called paratactic, ancient Greek, which is far richer in participles, subordinates one to the other, a strategy called hypotactic: "having come, take." The first action is turned into an adjective. In this structure the participle gives some circumstance attendant on the main verb: the coming.

In regard to aspect, the aorist participle is used to signify completed action, called the perfective aspect. Moreover, the action must be completed before the time of the main verb. The difference in meaning is subtle but significant: the English speaker is inviting his enemy to begin a process with two distinct acts or parts—coming and taking; the Greek speaker is telling his enemy that only after the act of coming is completed will he be able to take. In addition there is a subtle implication: in English "come and take it" implies that the enemy might not win the struggle—the outcome is uncertain; in Greek, the implication is that the outcome is certain—"after you have come here and defeated me, then it will be yours to take." For comparison, these elements happen to be present in the previously-noted English phrase, "over my dead body", or the similar phrase "you can have (object) when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."

Μολὼν λαβέ was reportedly the defiant response of King Leonidas I of Sparta to Xerxes I of Persia at the onset of the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC). Xerxes, whose forces vastly outnumbered the Spartans and their allies, offered to spare the lives of Leonidas and his few thousand warriors if they would only surrender and lay down their weapons.

Instead, the Spartans held Thermopylae for three days and, although they were ultimately annihilated, they inflicted serious damage upon the Persian army, and most importantly delayed its progress to Athens, providing sufficient time for the city's evacuation to Salamis Island. Though a clear defeat, Thermopylae served as a moral victory and inspired the troops at the Battle of Salamis and the Battle of Plataea, where the non-medizing Greeks won their freedom and arguably saved the Western World.

The source for this quotation is Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica, 225c.11. This work may or may not be by Plutarch (ca. 46 - 127) himself, but it is included among the Moralia, a collection of works attributed to him but outside the collection of his most famous works, the Parallel Lives.

Molon labe has been repeated by many later generals and politicians in order to express an army's or nation's determination to not surrender without a battle. The motto ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ is on the emblem of the Greek First Army Corps, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).

In the Anglosphere, both the original Greek phrase and its English translation are often heard from pro-gun activists as a defence of the right to keep and bear arms. It began to appear on pro-RKBA web sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Molon labe has been recently used in the feature film 300 (and earlier comic book of the same name), in which the character of Leonidas speaks this famous line in English in response to "Spartans! Lay down your weapons!" as "Persians, come and get them". In the earlier 1962 film The 300 Spartans Leonidas says the phrase both in Greek and English to the Persian general Hydarnes. The same exchange contains Dienekes' remark about "fighting in the shade" (as Persian arrows would "blot out the sun"), assigned to Leonidas.

In the wake of firearm seizures during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent defiance of Federal court orders by the New Orleans government to return seized weapons, the phrase has gained popularity among Second Amendment supporters.

If you ended up reading all this, use the word.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Stoeger Grips & Stuff

Unfinished Business
Haven't been motivated as of late to finish the last post of the list of the Baddest Assed Arsenal, numbers 11 - 20. Will do soon.

Get a Grip!
Got a new grip sleeve for my Stoeger Cougar. Its a Hogue Handall grip I purchased on line from Red Star Arms, www.redstararms.com. They are a great company. I actually ordered the wrong size and called just as they were packing it for shipment. The guy I spoke to replaced it without charging me the buck difference. They have some great stuff for your AK, check them out.

Anyway, this grip feels fantastic. It took a bit of wiggling to get it on, and it isn't a 100% perfect fit, but damn close enough. Even though it isn't my most accurate pistol, I love this thing. It is fun as hell to shoot, and is a good conversational piece to boot. People love the Beretta to Stoeger story and as soon as the handle it, many have said they will need to pick one up! BTW, last time Vance's had them on sale they were $329!!.

Pics of the grip below. Now this is a beautiful weapon!!

Bye-Bye Hi-Point.
In other news, despite what I said in my video review of the Hi-Point C-9 9mm, I have decided to sell it to a friend from work. Its not that it was a bad weapon, I just find myself reaching for the Stoeger every time I want to shoot 9mm. I am going to use the proceeds to help purchase a new .45 pistol. Hopefully I can sell my current .45 and save a bit to get it. My "gun fund" has grown quite considerably and it is only a miracle that the wife has not beaten me senseless over it yet!! Love you Babe!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bad Assed Arsenal!!!

Wow, a list, how original! Yeah, I know, doing a list is a lazy way of writing, but after reading other such lists, I decided to create a list of the 20 baddest assed weapons that you could have in your arsenal of the past 100 or so years. Some are bad ass because if you see someone with one, you know that death is surely coming after. Others are simply bad ass because of their widespread use, or inovivation, or mystique or any other reason I could think of.

1. M1911-A1 .45 ACP Pistol. The gift John Browning left us to remember him by. Bad assed enough to be used by the US Military for over 100 years (baring those years that we had a lapse in judgement and issues 9mm to the troops due to some type of Eurotrash worship that I have yet to fully grasp - don't get me wrong I think the 9mm is a good round, but given the choice I would carry .45 into battle).

Bad Assed folks that used it: John Wayne (OK, that is enough in itself to end the list right there, but I shall continue), GEN George Patton, Audie Murphy, Magnum PI, Alvin York

2. The AK-47 and it's decendents. The world's assault rifle. It is estimated that 100 MILLION of these bad boys and their variants were produced. If you know another assault weapon that is as universally recognizable around the globe, let me know. It is actually used on the Flag of at lease 1 country and countless other militant organizations around the world (Many of which I would love to us an AK against). A rifle scorned by many as being crude and inaccurate, it is neverless an important, if not the most important, weapon of the 20th century. It's fielding by the former Soviets and their puppets changed the way that Armies viewed the individuals role on the battlefield forever.

Bad assed folks that used it: Me, millions of others

3. The M1 Garand .30 rifle. One of the best things other than hockey to come our way from Canada. The product of a transplanted Cannuck, the M1 was the first mass issued semi-auto rifle issued to any Army. General Patton called it the finest weapon of all time (Patton died in 1945 before some of the other weapons on this list). The military passed on the pussy .276 Pedersen round in favor of the good 'ol 30-06 round every red-blooded American at the time went out to slay Bambi with. And thank God they did. In Korea, there are documented reports of US Infantryman successfully engaging Chinese mass assaults at ranges of over 500 yards before the Chinese could even see the Americans.

Bad assed folks that used it: The US Army and Marines, John Wayne, Audie Murphy, Roy Schneider in Jaws to blow up a bad-assed shark (there were no explosives used, the M1 destroys it targets like that normally!), Most of the troopers in Band of Brothers.

4. Mauser Gwer K-98 8mm. Actually not 8mm, but thats another story. This was the apex of bolt action rifle development. Our US '03 Springfield - basically a copy. This design is so advanced that even now over 100 years later it is still being used in new bolt action designs as nobody can really improve on the design. Yeah, I know the Germans (Gerries or Krauts if you like) were the bad guys, but you have got to respect the design and traits that this rifle posessed. Accurate and hard hitting out to 1000 meters it was the first bolt action design that cocked the weapon with the operation of the bolt, removing a step in the process of putting steel on target for its users. It featured an advanced safety system that has 3 setting, safe and bolt locked, safe and bolt operational and fire - pretty cool in a design from the 1890's. Plus, I got one!

Bad assed folks that used it: Hmmm, mostly Germans, who after kicking the Romans' butts (who were highly respected bad asses in their own time) went down hill for the next Millenium ultimately creating exostential poetry and pastry in the last half of the 19th century before realizing that they were supposed to be bad asses.

5. M-16 5.56x45 Rifle. Plastic Fantastic, the black rifle, the Armalite mistake, heard them all. Still, this weapon has been doing the deed for the past 40+ years. 1/2 of a bad ass point taken away being that we actually adopted it after the Air Force, but oh well. I used on for 20+ years in the military and can say this, keep it clean, take care of it and it will take care of you. It is definitley more accurate than its arch rival the AK, although certainly more tempermental. I never saw misfires on a range until I went from Infantry to REMF, where the folks that had been Admin their entire career were more interested in getting the hell off the range and into the club than mastering their weapon and maintaining it. The 16 had a rough childhood with the bastards in Washington changing powder specs for the rounds causing all types of hell for our troop in Vietnam until that cluster fuck was corrected. Now evolved into the M-4, the design is as flexible and lasting as anyone could have hoped for.

Bad assed folks that used it: Me, the US Military

7. FN-FAL. In the middle of the 20th Century, if you didn't carry a AK or a M-14, you carried the FN. A beautiful, but a bit long, design, it has proven to be a reliable design to this day. Inspired many other rifles.

Bad Assed folks that used it: The Brits - who refused to go to 5.56 until the 80's.

8. Remington 870 Shotgun. CLICK-CLANK! Is there anybody who doesn't quiver at the sound of a 12 gauge being racked? One round and the argument is effectively over. Getting hit with a blast of 00 buckshot is the equivalent of taking 9 .380 rounds ALL AT THE SAME TIME!! The 870 is the quintessential shotgun, a favorite of hunters and law enforcement officers alike. Yes, there are other shotguns that are popular (the Mossberg 500 is the military's go-to scattergun, I have a Mossy Maverick 88 myself) but the 870 is the gun to which all others are measured.

Bad Assed folks that used it: The Police about everywhere, the US Army, zombie killing heroes in many a bad movie...

9. The Browning Hi-Power 9mm. What a 9mm on the list?!?! Yep, its true. Again, the 9mm is not the ideal combat round but used properly it is effective. Many people forget John Browning's "other pistol" as it has faded from popular use in the later part of the 20th century, but for many a warrior this was his pistol of choice in such conflicts as WWII, Korea, the Indochina War, Burma, Rhodesia, Africa and many, many other places. Before the age of the "wonder 9" pistols this pistol was packing 13 rounds ready for business and can still hold its own agains the best poly designs on the market today. What makes this weapon even more unique is that it was actually developed for the FRENCH!!

Bad Assed folks that used it: Brits, French (give it a rest already, some of them fought bravely), Germans (they captured the manufacturing facility in Belgum in WWII), The OSS and SAS,
Special Forces

10. The Thompson M1A1 Sub-machine gun. Did you see Saving Private Ryan? Do I need to say more? Honestly, rising out of the stigma of a ganster gun in the 30's, the Thompson earned a respectible reputation on both side during WWII as a hard hitting and dependable weapon. Firing only on automatic, its cyclic rate was slow enough for gunners to be able to shoot fairly well aimed single shots. Normally our troops only used 20 round stick magazines in it, as 2o rounds of .45 ACP is worth twice that in any other round!

Bad Asses that used it: Audie Murphy, The Brits, The US, Al Capone

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Columbia River Knife & Tool M16-13ZM Knife

Wow! Nothing for a while and now 2 posts in one week! I started out just to blog about things that go boom, but I have been so pleased with this product that I felt the need to share.

When I was a (much) younger man I was a "blade junkie". Like a lot of young soldiers I was fascinated with knives and edged weapons and tools and incorporated them into every aspect of my burgeoning military career. Take for example my common field load of blades that would accompany me to the field.

1. A genuine GI stainless pocket knife (for opening MRE's and such)
2. A Spyderco folding serated knife (for tough MRE's I guess)
3. A folding saw for cutting down tree limbs for stakes and such for fighting positions

4. A Ka-Bar or other such fixed blade for "battle"
5. My issue E-Tool with the smooth side sharpened as to create a makeshift ax
6. An occasional hand ax so I wouldn't have to mess up my E-Tool (what was I thinking?)
7. Last, but certainly not least, a Machete (or Man-chete as we called it) for clearing brush.

Man, that's a lot of wasted weight there. When it came down to it, I really only ever needed the pocket knife, the folding knife and the machete, on occasion. The rest was just useless trinkets. As I grew older and wiser I realized that my needs for blades were overstated and that a simple folding knife or pocket knife would suffice for 98% of the required tasks I had to accomplish. Sure the other stuff was nice to have, but last time I checked I wasn't engaged in hand to hand combat. Now I know a good number of my fellow soldiers and those brave souls that call themselves Marines over in Iraq have engaged in HTH, but I went over there primarily to run a database so the immediated threat of needing a long fixed blade was minimal. The need to long blades are valid for front line individuals, but as I was in Kuwait the majority of time, a nice pocket knife was all I really needed. The advantage to this thinking was that a pocket knife or folder would always be on me and available, as it should be.

By the time I deployed in 2006 the old GI pocket knife had been replaced with a Leatherman multi-tool circa 1998. It was not as whiz-bang chocked full of stuff as some of the newer ones, but it folded smaller and slimmer than its contemporaries or Gerbers and it has a nice leather case with a brass snap which I like. I was carrying a Gerber 4" folding pocketknife that worked perfectly for me until it went AWOL in Afghanistan and I was left without (sniff sniff!). When I got back to Kuwait I went to the PX for a knife run and picked up the subject of this post, a CRKT M16-13ZM folder. Specs are as follows:

Build: InterFrame with Zytel® Scales
Color: Desert Tan with Bead Blast Blade
Blade: Combined Razor-Sharp & Triple-Point Serrated Cutting Edge
Length: 3.50” (8.9 cm)
Thickness: 0.10” (0.25 cm)
Steel: AUS 4 55-57 HRC
Closed: Handle length: 4.75” (12.1 cm)Open: Overall length: 8.25” (21.0 cm)
Weight: 3.5 oz. (99 g)
MSRP U.S. $56.99

I picked mine up for less than the $57 MSRP, about $25 at the PX. I like a couple of things about it at the start:

1. It looks cool
2. It looks cool

Did I mention that it looks cool? It even has "OIF Certified" on it to let you know that there isn't a MRE in theater that it isn't up the task of tearing into. The handles is a sand-tan color which again goes with the OIF theme of the knife. I had looked at the bigger CRKT offerings (the -14Z model with a larger tanto style blade) but I thought the smaller, sleeker spear point would work nicely for me and would not stand out if opened in public once I got back to the world.

One interesting feature of the knife is the LAWKS system it uses to lock the blade. Most folding knifes use a piece of spring metal in the handle of the knife (called a clevis) that blocks the movement of the blade once extended. This is secure enough for most makers, but CRKT has improved by adding an additional safety. Their LAWKS system (patented) uses an additional safety bar that blocks the clevis from being accidentally moved while in the locked position. To close the knife you must first deactive the system with a button latch on the handle, move the clevis as other knives and then fold the blade. CRKT claims that this system turns their folding knives into fixed blades once opened. I will agree 80% with them on this statement as I think this system will work when employed on about 80% of what a fixed blade would be called onto do. The other 20% of the time, heavy prying and pounding with the knife, I feel, would be too much for the system to handle. My opinion, yours may vary of course. I should point out that this does not in any way make me any less confident in the knife. If it only had the clevis I would still highly praise it, the LAWKS system pushes this knife into the realm of the best I ahve ever handled.

The knife sits beautifully in my hand. I have what I consider a normally large hand and the contours and finger indents in the handle feel like they are almost custom made for me. A raised spur on the blade doubles as both a one handed opening assist and a guard to keep your hand from slipping onto the blade. On the back of the blade a checkered section of the back of the blade provides extra grip and control for your thumb while manipulating the blade. Excellent overall feel. The blade itself is made of AUS 4 steel with a RHC factor of 55-57. This provides a low maintenance blade that is easy to sharpen, but must be monitored more closely for wear than a harder steel. A good tradeoff considering this particular model was developed for soldiers in the Iraq theater of operations. the 3.5 " blade is half a regualar blade and a triple point serated edge, for cutting 550 cord and the like. After carrying this knife for over a year, including the time since I have been home, I can honestly say it is one of the most useful knives I have ever owned. It feels perfect in my hand, the color and the style blend nicely in with my civilian wardrobe and the OIF markings make it not only a souvenier of my tour but also a conversation piece occasionally.

My only critique is with the pocket clip. The 3 small hex screws do not work for me. I have loosened the clip more than once by catching it on a seatbelt or other object brushed against it. The small screws just don't hold as tight as I would like. Possible replacing these 3 small screws with 2 larger screws by the manuafacturer would solve this. It is not a show stopper for this knife

If you happen to be looking for a well built, dependable and sturdy knife for EDC (every day carry) use, this is a great knife to have. If you happen to be in the PX at Camp Arifjan and see one, pick it up along with your NA Heinekin and pogy bait, you won't regret it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hi-Point C-9

The Hi-Point name is largely unknown outside of those who follow or use firearms. Colt, Smith & Wesson and Beretta are all manufacturers that most people on the street could recognize as firearm manufacturers. Hi-Point is one of those makers that make little noise in the industry and go along making their product with minimal disturbance to the other major manufacturers. Selling relatively inexpensive firearms, they have solidly carved a niche in the lower end of the buyers spectrum next to other budget companies such as Kel-Tec, Jennings, Raven and Bryco. Such manufacturers often are labeled peddlers of “Saturday Night Specials” – cheap guns that find there ways into the hands of criminals. Hi-Point itself gained some notoriety when one of its 9mm carbines was used in the infamous Columbine High School Massacre. Often seen as targeting minority and low economic areas where crime is often prevalent, the inexpensive handgun has been the target of many legal and political charges. In 2003 the NAACP sued 45 gun manufacturers claiming that the industry purposely saturated the market with cheap guns that would eventually end up in the hands of criminals. The suit was eventually dismissed, but the damage had already been done. While researching the purchase of this gun, I read numerous references to this gun as a “gang banger special”, “ghetto blaster” and “slum gun” – not exactly glowing endorsements.

I found a Hi-Point C-9 at Vance’s in Columbus on sale for $119, a bit high compared to what I could find on line, but Vance’s provides excellent customer service and I could take it home that night, so the pistol found its way into my collection (I also picked up their 4095 .40 S&W carbine the same day!!). The pistol itself comes in a plain cardboard box – no fancy carrying case included, with one 8 round magazine, a ghost ring rear sight and a trigger lock. The rear sight is a nice accessory to include. I prefer standard sights for my pistols, but for those wishing to use a rear peep/ghost ring set-up the included part should work for most. The pistol is marketed as a compact pistol with a 3.5” barrel, 6.75” overall length and empty weight of 29 ounces. It is a bit big for my definition of a compact, but that is mostly due to the size of the slide due to the direct blowback nature of the gun. Its also labeled a “polymer” frame, but “high impact plastic” is more descriptive. Plastic is technically a polymer, but the quality on the pistol is not the same as the polymer used on higher end pistols such as the Glock and Sig. It has proven in my use to be just as good, so other than cosmetically, it affects the pistol minimally in my opinion.
This is the second pistol I have reviewed that does not use the Browning system to operate. All of Hi-Points firearms use a direct blowback system to operate. In this systems when the round is fired the energy from the expanding gasses and fired projectile is directed against the slide itself which recoils, extracts, ejects, strips, loads and chambers the fired and next round. This simple system was widely used during the first part of the century. It is reliable and easy to produce, which is a bane when you are only asking $155 (MSRP) for each pistol. To accommodate this system, the slide is rather large for its caliber. When I say large, I mean like a hunk or slab of metal on top of the frame. Not that it is a bad thing mind you, all that metal is comforting in a way. If you were ever to run out of ammo and have to throw this pistol at an assailant, a hit to the face or forehead would be devastating!! Now this size would imply that it is large or ungainly to hold and shoot. Not the case here. Between the molded grip, finger extension on the magazine and slide shape it sits well in my hand and points naturally. This is an observation I have also gotten from a few other people who have shot this pistol on the range.

This reliable, robust and simple system would almost indicate that this weapon is made in the former Soviet Union, but no…Its made right here in Ohio!!! That adds one coolness point for me being a buckeye just for the place of origin. Located outside of Dayton, Ohio, Hi-Point borrows some of the technology prevalent in local automotive parts manufacturing practices in the creation of their pistol. Makes sense, parts and service for their manufacturing devices should be readily available, as should locally available skilled labor to operate them. They use a different location in Ohio to produce their .40 (Mansfield) and .45 (Lima) pistols.

Safety concerns are addressed by the use of 3 systems: a provided trigger lock, a manual sear safety and a drop safety. The trigger lock is interchangeable with other Hi-Point firearms and consists of a clamshell trigger lock that fits over the trigger guard and is locked by means of a special tool included that also does duty as a maintenance and adjustment tool for the pistol. Once locked it has an additional lock hasp on the left side that can accept most small or medium pad locks for extra security. One critique if have about the pistol is that the slide design does not lend itself well to the insertion of a cable lock into the weapon, which I prefer. The manual safety is easy to reach and operate, though I wish it had a bit more positive locking or setting motion to it when moved between safe and fire, as opposed to it continuous sliding movement of the lever. I have not tried to test the drop safety (for obvious safety reasons) but needless to say these are commonplace and the design and principle is sound enough not to overly worry about it. Using the 4 principles of safe shooting along with these safeties should ensure a safe pistol for all users.

As I stated above, the pistol handles well for me. The sights consist of 2 orange dots in the rear with a yellow ramp sight up front. They aquire easy and are simple to use. The magazine on my particual pistol takes a bit of exertion to insert (the cause of my only feed failure with it) but ejects normally. Hopefully this will be remedied after a few more rounds (like 500!). I wish that they included a 2nd mag, reloading is always the worst part of range day other than setting and pulling targets. The pistol shoots well, at least as well as the more expensive pieces in my arsenal. I am shooting a bit low and too the left with Blazer 115gr. roundnose range ammo, but grouping is well within 5" at about 15 yards, which is acceptable for this type of gun. Partially due to the large slide, recoil is very managable (it is a 9mm for crying out loud!). Overall, this is a great gun to use for a plinker or backup gun for a truck or RV.

Until next time- Shoot Often...SHOOT SAFE!!


Video Review!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gun Porn

Here it is, a picture including the latest additions to the "family"


Rifles (Top to Bottom):

Russian Mosin-Nagant M-44 7.62x54R carbine
Romanian WASR-10 GP AKM 7.62x39
Hi-Point 4095 .40 S&W Carbine with Red Dot scope and compensator
Mossberg Maverick 88 12ga Shotgun with heat shield and pistol grip (the "master key")

Pistols (Left to Right):

Charles Daly 1911-A1 .45 ACP with Hogue combat grips, beaver tail extension, extended
ambidextrous safety and slide release and combat trigger set up.
Smith & Wesson M&P .40
Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm
Hi-Point C-9 9mm
Smith & Wesson 1952 J-Frame Chiefs Special .38 snubnose

Whew! That's a lot of firepower, shit, that's a lot of money!!!


Here are the current rounds that I am firing (sorry no 12 gauge to show)

Rounds (left to right)

7.62x54R (M-44)

7.62x39 (WASR-10 GP)

.45 ACP (1911-A1)

.40 S&W (M&P and Hi-Point 4095)

9mm Parabellum (Stoeger and Hi-Point C-9)

.38 Special (S&W Chief's Special)

Recent Additions

A pic of the .45 and new shotgun that I picked up recently. More to come later on these two!

Shoot often...Shoot Safe!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pretty Busy Lately

I have been pretty busy lately getting ready to finish college for the year, work and spend time with the family all at the same time. I have been out to shoot a few times, and have pics and stories to share, but that will all have to wait for now.

In the meantime enjoy this little clip of the Gunny at Knob Creek from the History Channel's Mail Call.

Shoot often...shoot safe!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bump Firing



The term "bump firing" came up on several discussion boards I have read concerning my AK clone rifle. On his excellent Romanian AK page (link on the bottom of this page) the author demonstrates how this is accomplished.


I have always been taught to aim my shots. You cannot be sure of what is behind your target if you don't know what your target is. The individual firing in the videos was doing so at a controlled firing event. His purpose of doing these videos was purely for educational purposes. Doing this at your local range may (and probably will) violate local range rules.

Bump Firing Videos

This type of shooting looks cool in a John Woo film or in Rambo, but professionals do not spray and pray when it comes to firing. Even in the military the use of automatic fire is taught to be an aimed proceedure. It is used to either hit a low percentage target with one or two rounds of a burst with the other rounds compensating for elevation and windage adjustments; or to hit multiple targets with one burst in a beaten zone. It is not normally employed in this manner. It is a waste of ammo and money at today's ammo rates. Be a professional shooter!

Shoot Often...SHOOT SAFE!! (not like this!)


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm - Beretta on the Cheap!

Hey Shooters,

Picked up at Stoeger Cougar at Vance's last week. A Stoeger? What's a Stoeger you might ask. Well, a Stoeger Cougar is basically a Beretta Cougar produced in Turkey under by Stoeger Industries using THE EXACT SAME MACHINERY AS THE ORIGINAL PISTOL!! Wow! How'd that happen! Well, let me tell you. Back in the 90's, Beretta developed the Cougar to complement its 92 series 9mm pistols which were being used (and still are) by the US military and many other militaries and police forces. It's goal was to be a smaller, more compact and concealable pistol for undercover and security work. The LAPD issued a variant of the Cougar with a 4" barrel for a time. That's a good collectors piece if you can get your hand on one. This probably would of been a winning design and marketing plan for them except for one thing, GLOCK! About this time (late 90's) Glock was gaining by leaps and bounds inroads into agencies and organizations with its polymer frame goodness that traditionally had only used metal frame pistols. Unable to compete with Glock's momentum, Beretta slowed down and then eventually halted production. A short while later they won a contract with the military of Turkey for the Cougar as Turkey's standard service pistol. They were going full bore on the PX4 next-gen pistol and couldn't really afford to divert manufacturing to the Cougar. What they did next was pure genius. They acquired Stoeger Industries in 2000 and placed them under their joint venture company Benelli USA, where it remains to this day. They then shipped all of the original manufacturing equipment to Turkey where it is now manufactured by cheaper, but highly skilled, Turkish workers. Turkey got a service pistol made in their own country by the original equipment to the original specs; Beretta got to keep its contract with Turkey without having to deal with the day-to-day hassles of operating a manufacturing operation while working on their next new pistol; Stoeger got a stronger parent company (it had been owned by Finnish rifle company Sako) and new overseas markets; and thanks to cheaper Turkish labor you and I get to purchase one of these fine firearms for about half of what they went for under the Beretta name with no loss in quality. Talk about a Win-Win-Win-Win situation!!

I had read about the Cougar in a recent edition of On Target magazine and based on its review had done more research on the world wacky web. I was truly impressed by what I found others had to say about this pistol and decided that it would one day make it into my collection. that day turned out to be last Thursday when I went to Vance's Shooters Supply in Columbus for an R. Lee Ermey meet and greet. A pretty good guy and Glock celebrity spokesman. I went there early to make a return on some ammo for my WASR-10 and was looking at Glocks. I had wanted to look at possibly picking up a decent quality hi-cap 9mm for shooting, as .40 rounds are almost twice as much as 9mm. I kind of had my sights set on either a Glock 19 or 26. There was a "sale of sales" on Glocks with the supposedly lowest prices of the year going on. I found out that the discount price I could get for a Glock due to being retired military was still $50 dollars cheaper than the sale price. I also saw that the Stoeger Cougars were on sale for $379, down from their normal retail of about $450. You can pretty much figure out the rest!

Stoeger's Promotional Vid on the Cougar Series

Enough history, onto the Cougar. The Stoeger Cougar 8000 (Model F, or F action) is unique among most modern semi-automatic pistols in that it does not incorporate the tried and true Browning short recoil, locked-breech action. Instead it utilizes a rotating barrel action in where instead of traveling rearward with the slide during recoil and then unlocking, the barrel stays put while the slide travels backward, rotating approximately 30 degrees by means of a cam pin and tracked milled onto the barrel and frame that unlocks the barrel from the breech once a safe chamber pressure is reached. In theory, this should be more accurate as the barrel stays pointed on target and does not travel to the rear and then slightly tip up at the muzzle as in Browning's design. Also, it uses a all metal lower frame in stark contrast to the polymers used by most other modern defensive semi-auto handguns being sold today. If further incorporates an exposed hammer, Double action and single action (Double action on the first pull of the trigger, singe action for every shot after that), a manual safety/de-cocking lever, a take down lever, a reversible magazine catch, a 3 dot sighting system, and steel 15 round magazines. When purchased you receive the pistol, 2 magazines, a lockable plastic case (mine was broken at the hinges but no big loss, I have others to use), an above average users manual in multiple languages, a cable safety lock, a soft plastic bore brush, a stiff brass bore brush and a cleaning rod with a permanent swab jag for running patches down the barrel. Nice touch with the brushes! I got all of this for $379. Keep in mind that 10 years ago the same pistol from Beretta would of run me about $750 in 1990's money. Can you see bargain built into this pistol yet?

My Cougar new in the box. Note the provided cleaning brushes and rod, nice touches!

My first impressions was "WOW!!" as I pulled it out of its case at home. The fit and finish were much better than the best Beretta 92's I had seen in the military (of course those being beat on by the troops this may not be a fair comparison). The slide action was a bit tight, but that should loosen up after a few hundred rounds. The trigger, while a bit laborious, in double action is long but smooth. In single action it is short and crisp with a nice let off. The manual safety should be familiar to anyone who has ever used a 92, flip up to see the red dot and fire, lower to place the weapon on safe and decock the hammer. The sights are a white 3 dot affair and are easily acquired on target. They are fixed so any aftermarket sights will most likely need to be installed by a qualified gunsmith. At this time I do not believe that night sights are available from the factory. Loading the magazine was very tight, with the last 3 rounds being a royal pain. Inserting fully loaded mags on a closed slide was accomplished with some effort to seat the magazine (I like this option to carry with a full mag on any empty chamber and then racking the slide on the draw ala the Israeli Mosaad - thanks Greg for that tip). Just like the slide, I think that these both will be remedied after a bit of use. Mags dropped out without incident. I did have a bit of trouble getting the mag release to go on first attempts, but I think that this is just me needing to get used to it being smaller and more recessed than on my S&W M&P .40. Disassembly is accomplished by clearing the pistol and locking the slide to the rear, pushing a button on the right side of the frame which moves a corresponding catch on the left side that prevents the disassembly lever from moving, rotating this lever downwards, and slowly releasing the slide off of the frame. Now I guess I have been spoiled lately with Glocks and my S&W that initially disassemble into 2 main groups, upper and lower, and then removing the rocoil spring and barrel from the upper frame group. Not happening here. First time I took the slide off of the frame I was rewarded by the recoil spring and what it called the center block crashing to my basement floor. Doh!! Please read the manual before and during both disassembly and reassembly to avoid this mistake. Once I read the instructions and walked through it a few time, it is a piece of cake. Just a learning cure thing.

Disasembled Cougar, notice the take down lever and the center block beneath the trigger


I found shooting the Cougar to be a breeze. It feels wonderful in my hand. The grip is nothing really remarkable with a straight front, checkered sides and a indented rear up towards the backstrap, but it worked for me. It pointed easily and while I had to do a bit of relearning with the safety, all controls are easily reached. Recoil was a bit different that on other pistols with the locked breach action, it seemed to (logically) come more back into the web of my hand. It was manageable and had a very reduced muzzle flip from what I am used to. I was, however, unable to make any good groups at about 7 - 10 yards. I think I may have been subconsciously compensating for muzzle flip when there was none, or just yanking the trigger. I will have to go back out and put a few more than 40 round through it I guess. Most other reviewers give it raving remarks on accuracy, so I am assuming that it is just me and my astigmatism! Video below!

Stoeger Cougar range video!

Link to the Stoeger Cougar at Stoeger's Official Website


Until next post, Shoot often....SHOOT SAFE!!


***Follow up - June 2008*** It was just me, after getting used to the pistol the Stoeger is giving me great groups!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Range Report: Delaware Wildlife Area Rifle and Pistol Range, Delaware, Ohio

Delaware Wildlife Area range. Looking down the ranges. Note the forested area and brook running behind the range.. nice!
Hey shooters!

Headed on up North a bit to try out one of the "hidden treasures" of our state park system here in Ohio. The state firearm ranges in the Delaware Wildlife Area are located about a mile East of State Route 23 on State Route 229 near Norton, Ohio. This is a little less than half way between Delaware and Marion, Ohio headed North on SR23. This is great for me being that I can get there in under 25 minutes. Most people I have talked to, me included, assumed that the gun shop in Norton ran the range, but in fact they are just another license facility that you can buy a license to fire on state ranges. The license fees are very reasonable, $5 for a day pass or a can't-pass-it-up $24 dollars for a yearly permit that runs February thru January. Hell, that's only slightly more than you'll pay for a day pass at most ranges. Easy choice there. Buying one at my local gun store was as simple as passing my drivers license and cash over the counter, having the drivers license swiped, and getting a printed range licence handed back to me in a matter of seconds.

Pulled in the parking lot and was met by the range attendant Troy, a very friendly and amiable guy who was glad to talk a bit and explain the rules of the range after I introduced myself and identified myself as a new user to the facility. As opposed to other ranges that I have been too, this state range allows the use of steel casings with ammo. Nice, no more expensive ammo for me! After reading the range rules that Troy gave me and signing in I examined the ranges. Other than he was limited to a small hut for an office and port-o-potty for a bathroom, it didn't seem like a bad place for a guy like Troy to work. Despite his humble outward appearance, Troy has a college degree in fish and wildlife management and seems perfectly at home in this environment. Plus he gets to be around shooting all the time. A little job envy went through my mind more than a couple of times. The range itself is in a very beautiful area of the park with a small brook running behind it (Troy said a 4 pound bass had been pulled from it the spring before! Gun in one hand, pole in the other!!). the area is bordered on most sides by semi dense temperate woodlands, so it seems like it would be very private and peaceful, except for the sound of gunfire of course. The range is open from 9am - 4:30 pm Wednesday - Sunday. Monday and Tuesdays the range is reserved for state and local law enforcement agencies to use.

Rifle Range

The rifle range

The rifle range is a collection of 5 short picnic-like tables against a metal guard rail cut to accommodate bench rest shooters. There is a overhead lattice of wood and metal supports that marks the upper firing limit as you look downrange. This keeps shooters from aiming over the impact berm on the back of the range and shooting into the popular adjacent state park recreation areas, which I think all would agree would be a bad, bad thing. In addition to the benches there are also wooden rifle racks located between shooting points. These racks were obviously made in house by ODNR or possibly at the nearby prison's wood shop. Either way they are a nice touch. The range is approximately 100 meters long with a stone walkway going the length on the left side. Perpendicular paths cross into the range at approximately 25, 50 and the 100 meter points so shooters can place target holders and targets. Oh yes, bring your own target holders as the range does not supply any. I got a cheap pair of aluminum holders for under $15 at a gun shop, so no big deal there. I was the only shooter on the range this particular morning (a beautifully cool morning for May in Ohio, maybe a light drizzle coming down, but overcast so target lighting was optimal as far as I am concerned) so I was able to shoot and move down range at will. That made shooting a lot more fun than what I am used to in the military with a what seems like an hour wait between firing and moving downrange to mark targets. When multiple shooters are there venturing down range is accomplished by coordinating mutual cease fires amongst the shooters. Play nice with others. The range benches worked as needed, I did not bring my shooting rests, wish I would have. The rests would have made this a better chance to try and get a good group with my new AKM clone, but oh well, I was just there to check out the place and have some fun. Which I did!!

Pistol Range

The Pistol Range (Troy is in the BDU pants)

After a quick 60 rounds through the AK and a quick video shoot, I cleared the rifle and moved over to the pistol range. Similar in construction to the rifle range it had a long waist high rail wide enough to accommodate placing most gear and pistols on. A single clothesline ran the breadth of the impact berm with a few mangy clothespins attached for hanging targets. Since I only brought peel and past targets for the back of my cardboard rifle target I moved downrange to place my holders after waiting for the only other firer on the line to finish his current mags - a very nice guy named Tom that had some SERIOUS target pistols putting tight groups on paper.

Looking down range on the pistol range (pistol L to R: 1952 S&W Chiefs Special .38 Special, HiPoint C9 9mm, Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm)

Well, the ground on the pistol range does not take well to having things stuck in it. I bent 2 legs of my holders trying to get them into the ground before finally getting some purchase in the soil and getting my target hung. Shooting my .38 Chiefs Special snubbie, Hi-Point C9 9mm and new Stoeger Cougar 9mm was a lot of fun. Again, I think it was due to the lack of other people to worry about and the fact that my new shooting buddy for the day Tom was a true gentleman and took an interest in what I was shooting, as I did with him. I felt like a jerk when he let me fire 7 rounds downrange in his .22 converted 1911 and I was all out of ammo for my pistols (I had only brought 50 rounds of 9mm and 10 .38 rounds).

Other Ranges

The only range at this location I did not get a close up look was the shotgun range. From the parking lot it seemed to fit in with my general impression of the range as a whole and if I ever get a scattergun, I will have to check it out. There is also an archery range nearby that I again did not check out due to not being a bowman.

The shotgun range from the parking lot

Overall, this seems like a great range. It has all the things I am looking for: Close proximity to my home, use of steel ammo, an outdoor setting, very reasonable rates and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. I look forward to coming to this range many times in the future.

Shoot often....SHOOT SAFE!!