Seems logical.
Bureaucraps don’t like things they can’t regulate.
And it’s been lawful since before the U.S was the U.S for people to make their own guns.


It Seems ATF Behind Ghost Gun Hysteria

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, also known as the ATF, is not exactly a favorite agency to gun owners. Of course, there’s a lot of reasons why, and not just because they’re in charge of enforcing gun control laws. It’s because they’ve been caught doing some pretty hinky stuff through the years and none of us appreciate it.

Their latest escapade may well be in trying to gin up hysteria regarding so-called “ghost guns,” or homemade firearms that are perfectly legal for law-abiding gun owners to build and use. However, these guns ultimately exist outside the ATF’s control, which makes them a problem.

Yet for months, we’ve heard over and over that these weapons were a major problem.

Over those same months, I’ve been questioning just how big the threat actually was. After all, without numbers from which we can judge things for ourselves, it’s hard to tell what they mean when they say “growing threat” or something similar. I mean, just one of these guns showing up at a crime scene last year but finding two and scenes this year is a 100 percent increase, but it doesn’t really constitute a crisis.

On Thursday, though, we got a glimpse at this “crisis”.

From what we saw, it’s not. Even the ATF’s numbers aren’t that alarming when you consider the areas involved. And yet, there’s reason to believe the ATF is behind the rhetoric.

From WAVY in Portsmouth, VA:

As gun demand hits record levels due to COVID-19, demand is also increasing for a new type of gun you build at home. It is untraceable with no serial number, no background check and no waiting period.

They are called ghost guns. Please note that a gun is no longer a ghost gun when a serial number is engraved in the gun. The number makes the gun traceable.

A ghost gun cannot legally be sold without the seller serializing the gun.

As part of WAVY’s investigation, we called local police. They don’t see a growing trend with ghost guns, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is seeing them pop up at crime scenes.

Here in Virginia, local police contacted by WAVY have no knowledge of any ghost gun trends.

In other words, while local law enforcement is seeing no such trends, the ATF is still screaming until they’re blue in the face about this supposedly growing threat.

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Springfield Armory Hellcat Goes 20,000 Rounds

When Springfield Armory launched its innovative Hellcat micro-compact pistol in 2019, the company took steps to highlight the durability of this dedicated defensive pistol. In the same year, one Springfield Armory Hellcat, Serial No. AT234795, was fired 10,000 times with no parts breakage and minimal cleaning. Now, that same gun did it again, going 20,000 rounds with no gun-related issues. Continue reading “”

Data on the Number of Guns Americans Purchased in June Is Here and…Wowza

The data on how many Americans purchased firearms and went through federal background checks in June has arrived.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, June 2020 saw the highest number of gun purchases since the FBI started keeping track 20 years ago. Further, this year’s June number increased over June 2019 by 135.7 percent. According to the unadjusted number from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, 3,909,502 background checks were conducted.

“These figures represent the highest June on record since the FBI began conducting instant background checks more than 20 years ago. The sharp increase in Americans buying firearms in June continues a trend we saw start in the spring. Civil unrest, rioting, looting and calls to defund police are unquestionably motivating factors of why this trend is increasing. Americans are right to be concerned for their personal safety. It’s entirely reasonable that law-abiding citizens are exercising their Constitutional right to purchase a firearm to protect themselves,” NSSF Director of Public Affairs Mark Olivia released in a statement.

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Remington Arms Prepares for Bankruptcy, Weighs Sale to Navajo Nation

Remington Arms Co. is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is simultaneously weighing a possible sale of the company to the Navajo Nation.

The Wall Street Journal reports Remington is “[making] preparations for the Navajo Nation to serve as the lead bidder to purchase Remington’s assets out of Chapter 11.”

Reuters reports that this is the second time Remington has looked to bankruptcy protection. The first time was March 2018, with the company emerging from bankruptcy that same year.

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UZI does it.

Special Forces Students Range Day

A student assigned to the U. S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School who is in the Special Forces Weapons Sergeant Course fires an Uzi submachine gun during weapons training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina May 12, 2020. The Soldiers were trainined to employ, maintain and engage targets with select U.S. and foreign pistols, rifles, shotguns, submachine and machine guns, grenade launchers and mortars and in the utilization of observed fire procedures. (U.S. Army photo by K. Kassens)

NRA Foundation Auctions Firearms for Father’s Day

The NRA Foundation will be running their 2020 Father’s Day Online Auction, featuring 50 firearms, through June 22. The money raised through it will benefit a number of programs and is crucial in the fight this November, as freedom will be on the ballot.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, for example, has made no secret of his desire to lead a crusade against the Second Amendment and events like this allow the NRA to continue its fight against anti-gun politicians seeking to curtail your constitutional rights.

“Your participation helps The NRA Foundation protect our Second Amendment freedoms with activities that promote safe and responsible firearms ownership, and invest in the next generation of America’s leaders. And that’s what this is all about, right? Protecting the future of freedom so our children and grandchildren can have the same rights we enjoy, and keep the shooting sports alive and well,” said Sarah Engeset, director of volunteer fundraising.

The 2020 Father’s Day Online Auction features an impressive array of firearms, including the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ, the 2020 Colt Python, the Mossberg 590 Shockwave and many more. Second Amendment-supporting participants who bid on these firearms know their money is going toward the fight to protect their rights to keep and bear arms, especially with the threat that is looming on the ballot in November.

For decades, the NRA Foundation has served the needs of freedom-loving Americans across the country. To participate in the auction, visit NRAFDAD.givesmart.com or text NRAFDAD to 76278 to register. To learn more about the programs, services, events and more offered by the NRA Foundation, please visit NRAFoundation.org.

BLUF: AR 15 pistols & the like are legal.


[Missouri Conservation] Commission updates definition of handguns for deer hunting

he Missouri Conservation Commission approved an updated definition of a pistol/handgun from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for the Wildlife Code of Missouri at its May 28 meeting in Jefferson City.

The change provides a formal definition of handguns used for hunting during the alternative-methods portion of the fall deer-hunting season.

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Changing Your Carry Depending on Your Environment

Change. We’re in the middle of it. Millions of people have purchased their first guns over the last few months. Riots, looting, theft, attacks, murders. We see it daily on the news. Smart people know, or have just realized, that the police can’t be everywhere, and it highly unlikely they will be close when you are attacked.

You are your own first responder. Are you prepared?

Trainers across the country are being flooded with calls asking for private lessons. That’s good.

Let me explain something that’s not obvious to new gun owners, but which can make a big difference in your ability to have a self-defense handgun with you. It requires change.  Specifically, it means you have to change your handgun as conditions change.

I’ve been carrying a pistol since about 1976. Big guns and small guns, big calibers and small calibers, double stack and single stack, short barrels and longish barrels, revolvers and autoloaders. Why so many types?

There is no one handgun that works for every situation.

You have many types of footwear so that you can have the right function for each activity. Tennis shoes, dress shoes, casual shoes, hunting boots, rubber boots, slippers, etc.

Once you get into carrying you quickly realize the need for various sizes of handguns.

Let me give examples of what I have carried, using just one gun manufacturer. I have carried Springfield Armory pistols for many years. I recently bought the XDm 4.5-inch barrel model in 10mm. Why? Because sometimes I’m in the woods where bears, mountain lions, and wolves live. I really like the idea of having 15 rounds in the magazine of special (deep-penetrating) 10mm ammo with me. It’s a full-size pistol, and it is not light weight when fully loaded. That’s okay because I use a good gun belt and a good holster to handle the weight.

But that’s not what I would carry in most concealed carry situations. For that, I often have opted for two Springfields. The XDs single stack is a dream. Slim, great trigger, and you can get a 10-round mag. Honestly, it’s just hard to go wrong there. I can conceal it when wearing almost anything, especially when I use a tuckable holster. I’ll admit, though, that I like the idea of more ammo, so I have more often carried my XDm 3.8 Compact (now discontinued). The logical replacement for that pistol is the even smaller Hellcat in 9mm, and I’d use the 13-round mag as standard. It’s incredibly small and easy to carry.

When I’m going to spend several days at a shooting school, I’ll opt for a full-size 9mm. Easier to shoot. Ammo is fairly inexpensive. I would go for the XD-M Elite 4.5 and a bag full of magazines.

Now, if you are into style, you might just want to add a sweet 1911 to the mix.  Every serious handgunner needs at least one, and after the first magazine of ammo, you’ll fall in love with the trigger. If I could have only one 1911 from the Springfield line, I just might go for the new Ronin Operator in 9mm.

You match the gun to the situation. Where are you carrying? What kind of clothes? Open carry or concealed carry? Just a cover garment or deep concealment? What’s your body type? Pocket carry?

Experienced gun folks know we must change guns from time to time. This example was just using one brand. You can mix and match, of course. You might want to have a revolver in the mix. Just don’t get locked into the idea that now you have “the” gun you need.

Oh, and put serious time and money (!) into the best training you can afford.  A shiny new gun will never replace the vital skills you get from serious instruction.

Be safe. Be kind. Stay dangerous. ~ Tom

Tom Gresham

MILLIONS OF FIRST-TIME GUN BUYERS DURING COVID-19

By Jim Curcuruto, NSSF Director of Research and Market Development

The early part of 2020 has been unlike any other year for firearm purchases—particularly by first-time buyers—as new NSSF® research reveals millions of people chose to purchase their first gun during the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 2020 started out with a strong SHOT Show®, followed by buzz surrounding background check figures on firearms with NSSF-adjusted NICS data showing year-over-year increases of 19 percent in January and 17 percent in February.

Mid-March brought the COVID-19 pandemic to the front of every news cycle, and firearm sales during this time were a lead story. Thanks in large part to the work done by NSSF’s legislative team, the firearms industry was deemed essential in most states, and firearm retailers were allowed to stay open to conduct business. And conduct business they did, with NSSF-adjusted NICS figures showing year-over-year increases of 80 percent in March and 69 percent in April 2020. These strong increases led to more than 6.5 million NSSF-adjusted background checks in the first four months of 2020, up 48 percent from 4.4 million during the same period in 2019.

NSSF has been the go-to source for information on the firearm industry, providing insights on topics such as women gun owners, first-time gun buyers and shooting sports participation for more than a decade. In May 2020, NSSF surveyed firearm retailers to learn more about what they were seeing pertaining to sales during the first four months of 2020.

Not surprisingly, retailers reported an increased number of first-time gun buyers, estimating that 40 percent of their sales were to this group. This is an increase of 67 percent over the annual average of 24-percent first-time gun buyers that retailers have reported in the past. Semiautomatic handguns were the primary firearm being purchased by first-time buyers, outpacing the second-most purchased firearm, shotguns, by a 2 to 1 margin. Modern sporting rifles, revolvers and traditional rifles rounded out the top five types of firearms purchased by first-time gun buyers.

Retailers noted that these new customers were spending $595 on an average sale and that 40 percent of first-time gun buyers in the first four months of 2020 were female. The main purchase driver among the group was personal protection, followed by target shooting and hunting. Also of note was that 25 percent of first-time buyers had already taken some form of firearms safety course and 63 percent inquired about taking a firearms safety course in the near future.

All this equates to more than 2.5 million new gun owners in a very short period of time. Past NSSF research has shown that in order to keep these new owners active and avoid them becoming lapsed participants, they will need information on topics such as how to safely own, operate and secure their new purchase. Additionally, these new gun owners will need an invitation to go to the range or to the field to learn about firearm safety, personal protection and the recreational side of gun ownership, so be sure to add a +ONESM and invite some of these first-time gun owners with you as the nice weather returns and social distancing requirements are relaxed.

For additional insights on the firearm industry, visit www.nssf.org/research. Please click here to print and share an infographic outlining the results of this survey.

Retailers: 40% of 2020 Gun Buyers are First-Timers and 40% of Those are Female

The early part of 2020 has been unlike any other year for firearm purchases—particularly by first-time buyers—as new NSSF research reveals millions of people chose to purchase their first gun during the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 2020 started out with a strong SHOT Show, followed by buzz surrounding background check figures on firearms with NSSF-adjusted NICS data showing year-over-year increases of 19 percent in January and 17 percent in February.

Mid-March brought the COVID-19 pandemic to the front of every news cycle, and firearm sales during this time were a lead story. Thanks in large part to the work done by NSSF’s legislative team, the firearms industry was deemed essential in most states, and firearm retailers were allowed to stay open to conduct business.

And conduct business they did, with NSSF-adjusted NICS figures showing year-over-year increases of 80 percent in March and 69 percent in April 2020. These strong increases led to more than 6.5 million NSSF-adjusted background checks in the first four months of 2020, up 48 percent from 4.4 million during the same period in 2019.

NSSF has been the go-to source for information on the firearm industry, providing insights on topics such as women gun owners, first-time gun buyers and shooting sports participation for more than a decade. In May 2020, NSSF surveyed firearm retailers to learn more about what they were seeing pertaining to sales during the first four months of 2020.

Not surprisingly, retailers reported an increased number of first-time gun buyers, estimating that 40 percent of their sales were to this group. This is an increase of 67 percent over the annual average of 24-percent first-time gun buyers that retailers have reported in the past. Semiautomatic handguns were the primary firearm being purchased by first-time buyers, outpacing the second-most purchased firearm, shotguns, by a 2 to 1 margin. Modern sporting rifles, revolvers and traditional rifles rounded out the top five types of firearms purchased by first-time gun buyers.

Retailers noted that these new customers were spending $595 on an average sale and that 40 percent of first-time gun buyers in the first four months of 2020 were female. The main purchase driver among the group was personal protection, followed by target shooting and hunting. Also of note was that 25 percent of first-time buyers had already taken some form of firearms safety course and 63 percent inquired about taking a firearms safety course in the near future.

All this equates to more than 2.5 million new gun owners in a very short period of time. Past NSSF research has shown that in order to keep these new owners active and avoid them becoming lapsed participants, they will need information on topics such as how to safely own, operate and secure their new purchase…………

 

Gun Stocks Skyrocket As Violent Riots Continue

A number of ammunition and gun makers were trading sharply higher after the weekend of nationwide riots, including Sturm, Ruger & Co., ammunition maker Vista Outdoor, Gunmakers American Outdoor Brands and the taser stun gun maker Axon Enterprise, Fox Business reported.

Sturm, Ruger & Co. increased 9.5% to $68.24, while Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. increased 16% to $13.66, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A rise in gun sales had already begun during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans worried that states would deem gun stores non-essential. April gun sales had risen 71% since 2019 to almost 1.8 million gun sales, data released by Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting showed.

This data followed a massive year-over-year increase in gun sales in March at 85%, according to Fox Business.

Other companies that provide security cameras and video transmission products used by law enforcement also saw massive increases in stock value, according to Market Watch. Stock for Cemtrex, a technology company that owns the security camera business Vicon, more than tripled in value and rose 224% in trading.

Meet The USAF AR Style Survival Gun – the GAU-5A

While in the skies above, pilots in modern military aircraft often have no shortage of weapons literally at their fingertips, but a pilot who finds himself on the ground behind enemy lines is worse than a bird with clipped wings. During the First and Second World Wars, the best a pilot could have in the way of a personal defense weapon or survival gun was a sidearm. Later, during the early stages of the Cold War, the United States Air Force relied on what were some rather odd survival weapons. Let’s take a look at the various survival rifles over the years, leading up to the GAU-5A.

Survival Guns Over the Years

M4 Survival Rifle

These included the M4 Survival Rifle, a .22 caliber bolt-action rifle that was developed by Harrington & Richardson from their commercial M265 sporting rifle. It featured a sheet metal frame with a telescoping wire buttstock. It was, simply put, “better than nothing,” but it was mainly intended as a survival gun to allow a downed aircrew to forage wild game for food rather than to deal with a hostile enemy.

M4 Survival Rifle - WWII.
Developed after World War II for downed aircrews, the M4 Survival Rifle was better than nothing. But it wouldn’t be a pilot’s first choice when facing an enemy soldier! (Photo: Creative Commons/Public Domain)

M6 Air Crew Survival Weapon

The M6 Air Crew Survival Weapon was another weapon that was developed by the Ithaca Gun Company and the Springfield Armory as rifle/shotgun designed for pilots who flew over the Arctic and other uninhabited areas. Again, it was more for foraging than defending, which prompted the Air Force to explore other options.

M6 Survival Rifle - USAF survival kit.
Developed by the Air Material Command after World War II, the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon was designed to fit into the standard USAF survival kit. It was issued to pilots flying over the Arctic and other uninhabited regions. (Photo: Creative Commons/Public Domain)

AR-5 and AR-7 Explorer

From that came the AR-5, a bolt action takedown rifle that was still chambered for the .22 Hornet cartridge, and that led to the ArmaLite AR-7 Explorer, a semi-automatic firearm in .22 Long Rifle caliber that was developed by Eugene Stoner. Introduced in 1959 it is still in use today as an aircrew as well as civilian survival gun. While a generally reliable firearm – so much so that it has been adopted around the world, including by the Israeli Air Force — the AR-7 was lacking in stopping power.

AR-5A survival rifle
ArmaLite AR-5 is a lightweight bolt-action takedown rifle chambered for the .22 Hornet cartridge. The USAF adopted it as the MA-1 aircrew survival gun. (Photo: USAF)
AR-7 with magazines
The AR-7 was designed by American firearms designer Eugene Stoner, who is most associated with the development of the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle that was adopted by the US military as the M16. The civilian AR-7’s intended markets today are backpackers and other recreational users as a takedown utility rifle. (Photo: Creative Commons/Public Domain)

GAU-5/A

Hence the Air Force turned to another of Stoner’s designs – namely the AR-15 platform that was adopted by the U.S. military as the M-16. The Air Force had been the first branch of the service to adopt the AR-15. They soon decided to adopt a carbine version with a 10.5-inch barrel and 4-inch flash hider. The Air Force, unlike the Army or Marines, had no naming convention for small arms and simply put the weapon in its aircraft gun category. Thus was born the GAU-5/A. It became the standard issue weapon for Security Police dog handlers and other specialized personnel. GA was meant to denote an automatic gun while U was for “unit” hence: “Gun, Automatic, Unit.”

Where it gets confusing is that the U.S. Army adopted a nearly identical version of the weapon, which Colt –then the sole maker of the CAR-15 line of military firearms – called the XM177E1. Both versions select fire with semi- and full-automatic fire modes and each was officially classified by Colt as submachine guns. This was despite the fact that these still were chambered in the .223 Remington cartridge rather than a pistol cartridge that is typically used in submachine guns

USAF GAU-5A
The original Air Force version of the CAR-15 Submachine Gun without the forward assist. (Photo: Springfield Armory/Public Domain)

GUU-5/P

The Air Force’s GAU-5 was updated as the GUU-5/P, which featured a longer 14.5-inch barrel with a 1-in-12 twist. Otherwise, the firearm kept the modular design that had made the CAR-15s popular with the military.

GUU-5P survival gun
The GAU-5 was upgraded as the GUU-5P for use an anti-personnel weapon. (Photo: USAF/Public Domain)

Model 608 CAR-15 Survival Rifle

During the Vietnam War, the Air Force also developed the Model 608 CAR-15 Survival Rifle, which was meant for use by downed aircrews. This model, which resembled the Colt Commando, also featured a 10-inch barrel. Its modular design allowed it to be broken down into two subassemblies and stowed in a seat pack.

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GAU-5A

In recent years the Air Force has again considered the benefits of a modular takedown weapon. This has included the GAU-5A. The new version is a modified M-4 carbine, the same type that is currently used by the U.S. Army and United States Marine Corps, as well as Air Force security personnel. This version is a modified “takedown”. It can break into two major pieces for storage within an aircraft that includes the ACES II ejection seat.

GAU-5A survival gun

These new versions were designed by the Air Force Gunsmith Shop, which was first formed in 1958 to repair and refurbish small arms for the Air Force. The crafty Airmen at the Gunsmith Shop have made numerous modifications to the M4. One modification was replacing the standard 14.5-inch barrel with a 12.5-inch to reduce the overall length. This was done in part to ensure that it can fit in the aforementioned ejection seat. That is no ordinary barrel but rather the specialized Cry Havoc Tactical Quick Release Barrel (QRB) kit, which allows the gun to neatly break into two pieces.

Survival rifle: The GAU-5A weighs under seven pounds can be put together in 30 seconds.
The GAU-5A weighs just under seven pounds and can be put together in about 30 seconds. (Photo: USAF)

The weapon weighs less than seven pounds and can be put together in just about 30 seconds. That might still be more time than most pilots would like to spend on the ground in hostile territory. Still, it will give those flyers some much-appreciated firepower.

Unlike the original survival weapons that were primarily only good for foraging, the GAU-5A fires the high-velocity 5.56mm round. So it can take down large game. More importantly, it can take down any enemy soldier who finds a pilot with the unfortunate luck of being shot down.
To date, the Air Force’s Gunsmith Shop has built and shipped out some 2,700 of the new weapons. The cost to develop the system was around $2.6 million. So the GAU-5A price tag is less than $1,000 or what a reasonably decent civilian AR-15 would cost.

 

This Historic Colt 1911 Pistol Carried at Iwo Jima Is About to Go Up for Auction

Marine Sgt. Arthur J. Kiely Jr. sits on in a position on Pacific island during World War II, wearing the 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol.

Rock Island Auction Company will soon be taking bids for the 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol, and other kit, carried by a decorated Marine combat photographer during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

Rock Island Auction Company will auction this 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol, and other kit.

Rock Island Auction Company will auction this pistol belt rig and 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol.

Rock Island Auction Company will auction “Special Air and Gunnery Target Map” of Iwo Jima.

Following the recent 75th anniversary of Iwo Jima — a brutal battle that stretched from February 19 to March 26, 1945 — the Rock Island, Illinois, auction house will hold its Premier Firearms Auction #79, featuring 2,500 lots of firearms and related items June 5-7.

One of the lots, number 1516, will feature items such as the sidearm, pistol belt rig and rare Iwo Jima battle map that belonged to Marine Sgt. Arthur J. Kiely Jr., who passed away in 2005, according to a recent news release from the auction company.

Kiely joined the Marine Corps in 1943 and served as a combat photographer, taking pictures under heavy enemy fire on island engagements such as Iwo, the release states.

Kiely’s Colt 1911 was originally shipped to the Marine Corps in 1917 and features “85% of its original blue finish showing a mixed brown and gray patina on the grip straps and trigger guard, bright edge wear, and mild spotting and handling marks overall,” according to the auction’s website.

The pistol’s refinished grips have some “dents and tool marks on the screws” and the “modified, refinished replacement trigger sticks a bit,” the website states.

Lessons Learned From Col. Jeff Cooper

In Col. Jeff Cooper’s armory, sitting with the legend himself, I suffered a negligent discharge—with words, not bullets.

It was bad enough that I committed a grievous English error, because I had been reading Cooper’s books since the late 60s, riding my Schwinn Varsity a couple of miles from my house to the library in Clovis, Calif. When I bought my first pistol in 1987, it was a Colt 1911 in .45 ACP, just like the colonel carried.

In 1992, working as a TV reporter, I somehow convinced my station to do a story about Gunsite Academy. Bill Jeans, rangemaster at the time, ushered me into the inner sanctum.

Cooper was equally renowned for his precision with language, and he did not tolerate incompetence. In the armory, I asked him about his personal philosophy of self-defense.

He opened his mouth, but no sound came out. It took almost two agonizing seconds⁠—I timed it because I still have the video⁠—for him to speak.

“I am not sure of that sentence, ‘A personal philosophy…’ What’s an impersonal philosophy?”

At that moment, I felt as tall as a .22 Long Rifle cartridge. But like all hard lessons, it stuck. Words are like ammo. Don’t spray and pray.

I continued to learn from the colonel. I bought a used Tikka Scout, a .308 Win. with a Leupold 2.5X scope in front of the action. In his book, “To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth,” Cooper praises this setup: “This forward mount, properly used and understood, is the fastest sighting arrangement available to the rifleman.”

In 2017, on my friend’s ranch in central California, I went pig hunting with Col. Craig Boddington. I had been reading his articles for years, and I’d also watched him on TV. I didn’t want to screw up in front of him or my friend, Anthony Lombardo, even though Tony is used to it. So, of course, I missed shot after shot.

In the Jeep, I got pretty lonely in the back when the discussion focused on my rifle. There were two skeptics in the front seats who had me outgunned.

Other shooters disagree with the scout concept, or have abandoned the idea, including the veteran hunter who sold me his Tikka. But an unconventional scope mount wasn’t causing me to jerk the trigger. Surprise Break, I heard Cooper whisper. Surprise Break.

Then I saw three pigs. Not trophies, but we were hunting for meat anyway. I picked the largest of the trio. My handload—45.5 grains of Varget under a Nosler 150-grain E-Tip—staggered the big one. Boddington held off until I connected, then joined me with his .270 Winchester as we cleaned up.

“Great shooting, partner!” Boddington is so polite that I think he was just being kind, but I gratefully accepted the compliment.

I also have a forward-mounted scope on a 30-40 Krag that once belonged to my beloved Uncle Harry. Like the Tikka, this rifle isn’t a true Scout. But Col. Cooper shared my admiration for the Krag, and I hope he would approve. When we rescue vintage guns from the back of our safes, we honor the past. The true innovators, such as Jeff Cooper, live on.

My video of the colonel’s interview includes his famous mindset lecture. I shared it with some Gunsite grads. Wyoming’s Ed Cassidy said it best: “I miss him every day.”

The Fire Control Unit X03

Fire Control Unit first started its work with the XO1 PDW conversion for the SIG P320. Being a drop-in enhancement system for the pistol, much like the CAA Micro Conversion Kit. They’re now working on the X03 project by taking the fire control unit of the SIG and dropping it into an AR platform.

Meet the gun safety instructor holding ‘office hours’ on Zoom
Gun rights advocates are promoting safety training in response to record-breaking numbers of arms sales amid Covid-19

On a recent afternoon in San Jose, California, Chuck Rossi held up his AR-15 in front of his computer camera, talking through how to hold the weapon safely, and how to load it with ammunition.

“AR-15s are modular. They’re like Legos for men,” Rossi said. The man on the other side of the Zoom call chuckled.

Rossi is an activist turned safety instructor, one of the many gun owners across the country who are using Zoom or social media to teach new gun owners how to use their weapons.

The coronavirus pandemic has driven record-breaking numbers of gun sales in the United States, as gun sellers have succeeded in being categorized as “essential businesses”. At least anecdotally, many of the millions of guns sold during the pandemic have gone to first-time gun buyers, sparking concerns about potential increases in domestic violence, gun accidents and child gun deaths. Gun control advocates say the panic-buying during a time of anxiety, uncertainty and economic distress has also made gun suicide a particular concern.

In response, gun rights advocates have focused on safety training, with some offering free sessions to make sure new gun owners understand how to operate their weapons – and feel welcomed to the gun community.

Rossi was an early Facebook employee who left the company in 2018, and still lives in San Jose. He co-founded Open Source Defense, a Silicon Valley gun rights group. The group’s founders live across the country, but many of them are current or former tech workers. Between 20% and 30% of Americans say they personally own a gun, a number that has fallen for decades, and the group aims to grow the base of American gun owners by being friendly, digitally savvy and “zero percent” focused on culture wars. Zoom “office hours” for new owners is one of their initiatives.

When he signed up for a Zoom gun safety session, one new gun owner, a 40-year-old tech company worker from San Jose, said he expected he would be chatting with “some hillbilly NRA guy”.

“Is he even going to be nice to me?” the tech worker, who is black, wondered. Instead he got Rossi, who works in the same industry and lives in the same town. Just a few years ago, the new gun owner, who asked that his name not be used, said he was someone who had believed that AR-15s should be banned.

In early March, as concerns about coronavirus grew, his company told employees not to worry, that “the government has it under control, there’s going to be a vaccine.” Then he went to grocery store, “and there was nothing” so he had to go to his parent’s house to get toilet paper.

He starting thinking about stories of civil unrest during the Los Angeles riots or Hurricane Katrina and said he worried about desperate people, hungry people, who might see homes in his nice San Jose neighborhood as soft targets.

“People take from those who have,” he said. How likely was it that he would ever be a target? “One in a million,” he said. “I consider it an extreme impossibility. But why not be prepared?” In mid-March he went to buy self-defense weapons: a handgun and, because shotguns were sold out, an AR-15, which retails for about $1,000.

The new gun owner’s parents were appalled, and worried about the safety of his young children, ages three and one. His mother tried to get his brother to intervene. Instead, his brother bought himself three guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

The new gun buyer said the Zoom session was part of his attempt to be responsible. Rossi, hefting his own high-end AR-15, recapped the principles of gun safety: always keep the weapon’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire. Be aware of what might be behind the target you’re shooting at. Treat every gun as if it’s loaded.

They did some troubleshooting: what should he do if an ammunition round got jammed inside his gun? How long would his military-surplus ammo be usable? Ammo didn’t go bad, Rossi said. He was still “shooting rounds” from the second world war and “surplus from the Korean war”.

While “white Americans tend to be more vocal about their gun ownership”, the new owner said, being a black gun owner didn’t feel special. But it came with different concerns. He was more afraid a police officer might shoot him than that someone else might attack him on the street; he would “never” carry a gun in public.

If he ever had to call the police to his home, he said, he would emphasize: “The black guy with the gun is the homeowner.” Owning guns had already shifted some of his political opinions. He said he still supported limits on larger-capacity ammunition magazines. But when he bought his guns, he said, he had to wait 10 days to get them. “That was an eternity to me,” he said. “Are these really common sense gun laws?”

Rossi was encouraged to hear this, and said he’d try to persuade the new gun owner about why he actually needed larger-capacity magazines next. The two men made a plan to go shooting in person as soon as possible.