Category Archives: firearms

S&W Revolver Frame Sizes (part II)

#Smith&WessonSunday

Broadly speaking, Smith & Wesson swing out cylinder (Hand Ejector) revolvers come in nine frame sizes. In order of increasing size, they are: M, I, Improved I, J, J Magnum, K, L, N, and X frame.

Perceiving a market for a more powerful pocket sized revolver, S&W introduced the J Magnum frame in 1995. It was created to accommodate the length of the .357 Magnum cartridge in a J frame revolver, having a longer cylinder and larger frame opening. This frame was first introduced as the Model 640-1 in 1995. Since then, other J frames, even .38 Specials, have been offered in this frame size. In 1996, the Model 60 (60-9) and 642 (642-1) were changed to the J Magnum sized frame.

The K frame was the original .38 caliber Hand Ejector frame introduced in 1899 as the Military & Police 1st Model. It served as the service revolver for the US Army in .38 Long Colt caliber until the adoption of the Colt 1911 autoloading pistol. The K frame was the most widely used and issued POlice revolver for nearly a century. The US Air Force continued to issue K frame revolvers to its Security POlice until almost the end of the 20th Century. It has been produced in a wide variety of calibers from .22 Long Rifle up to .357 Magnum but .38 S&W Special was the most popular.

Model 10 on Langrish

Model 10-5 (K frame) on reduced Langrish Limbless target from the 1930s

 

Bill Jordan, of the US Border Patrol, convinced S&W to make the K frame size revolver in the .357 Magnum cartridge for POlice service. The .357 had only been produced in N frame revolvers until 1955. His original idea was to practice with .38 Special and only occasionally use .357s. As people started shooting .357 Magnums in quantity, they found that it was hard on a K frame. This led to the introduction of the L frame, which along with the other larger frame sizes will be covered in the next installment.

Tactical Professor books

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Part I of the series

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/sw-revolver-frame-sizes-part-i/

DRY PRACTICE WITH REVOLVERS

#Fridayfundamentals

I am really enjoying getting back into the habit of structured dry practice. Revolvers are great tools for dry practice, in some ways better than autoloading pistols.

This month, I am serving as the Match Director for the I’m With Roscoe http://imwithroscoe.com 2019 Internet Match. It’s based on the Pocket Revolver Championship of the US Revolver Association. The Championship, along with the other USRA Championships, is described in A.L.A. Himmelwright’s 1915 book Pistol and Revolver Shooting. https://www.amazon.com/Pistol-Revolver-Shooting-L-Himmelwright-ebook/dp/B00AQM9SK0

The course of fire is quite demanding. Originally, it consisted of five strings of five shots in 30 seconds at 50 yards on the original NRA B-6 bullseye target. It is shot one-handed. Since not many people have access to a 50 yard range, I changed it to using an NRA B-2 target at 50 feet. The B-2 is the 50 foot reduction of the B-6 so this was an easy change. Official Rules are available on the IWR Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/370742620287566/

Since it is a demanding course of fire, I’ve been doing dry practice for when I have the opportunity to shoot it live. My preparation is to work on the fundamentals. I practice with two revolvers each day, my pencil barrel Model 10 and my Model 38-2 J frame.

IWR Match guns

I created a reduced size target for dry practice, scaled for use at 10 feet. It is printed on a 5×8 index card. The target is stored behind a plaque for safety reasons. I take it out and position it when I start the session. Immediately after finishing the session, I conceal the target back behind the plaque prior to reloading my gun.

 

IWR dry practice target

Since they’re both older guns, I protect their firing pins (hammer noses). For the K frame, I’m using a piece of plastic that fills in the rear of the cylinder. It was manufactured years ago by a gunsmith in New Jersey, long since out of business. The plastic has proven remarkably durable though. For the 38-2, I’m using ST Action Pro Dummy Rounds that I filled the primer pocket in with hot melt glue.

For a timer, I use the Dry Fire Practice Par Timer, from the Google App store, on my phone. It’s set to give me five strings of 30 seconds each with a six second delay between strings. At the beep, I snap five times single action. My actual times are working out to about 25-26 seconds per string. This allows some leeway to accommodate recoil management when I live fire. I rest briefly between the strings.

What I am concentrating on when snapping is minimizing my wobble zone, pressing the trigger smoothly, and following through. These are especially important when shooting one handed. The follow-through is the aspect I have to personally work hardest on. Of those three fundamentals, follow-through is the hardest to learn in live fire so the dry practice is doing me a great deal of good.

It’s been good getting back into daily dry practice. I include dry practice in my shooting workbooks for a reason; it works. If you would like to try your hand at it, this is the reduced scale target. IWR Internet Match dry practice target 5×8 10 feet

Tactical Professor books

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com/

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Avoiding Mistaken Identity Shootings

Another Mistaken Identity shooting occurred last week. A teenage girl came home from college to surprise her mother with a visit and got shot instead.

https://www.wkbn.com/news/local-news/police-report-mom-mistakenly-shoots-daughter-in-girard/

The teen’s mother told police that she was in her bedroom when she heard a commotion inside the house. She said the noise scared her and that she was not expecting anyone.

The mother said someone came running into her bedroom and that’s when she fired one round from her handgun. She then realized that she had shot her daughter, the report stated.

Obviously, in between hearing the commotion and firing the shot, the woman armed herself. It’s unlikely that she said anything in the process or her daughter probably would have said something back. The ‘surprise visit’ was most likely a bout of homesickness.

decision inputs dont understand

As I mention in my book Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, any ‘bump in the night,’ or in this case “commotion inside the house,” carries with it a set of competing probabilities. It could be an intruder, which is the assumption most people make when they hear it, or it could be a member of their household. The member of the household is the most likely scenario. Why is this true? Simply because they live in the same house as you do and they are not constantly updating you on their location. Where teenagers, such as the unfortunate shootee in this incident, are present, the chances of them leaving the house and returning without informing their parents is extremely high. This fact has to be figured into the home defense plan of any parent or adult in the household.

Competing probabilities

Continue reading →

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make – The Book

So many people asked me for a book version of my Serious Mistakes CD that I sat down and wrote it.

It’s available for download at http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

This book is not about techniques of shooting firearms; it is about Decision Making, specifically what leads to Bad Decision Making.

Our Mindset leads to our Decisions. Our Decisions lead to our Actions. Our Actions lead to our Outcomes. This sequence controls our destiny in everything we do, including using a firearm for Personal Protection. Unfortunately, decision making in the firearms community tends to focus on the tool, the firearm, instead of the desired outcome for owning it. Endless debate goes on about caliber, action type, ammunition capacity, and other material oriented aspects of ownership. In the broad context, these are extremely minor considerations as long as the owner can operate the firearm adequately.

Where the discussions don’t go nearly enough is the circumstances involving the usage of firearms and the decisions about our internal software that we have to make. “Usage” doesn’t always mean shooting the gun, either. There are a host of other issues, such as storage, legalities of carrying, and even possession, that aren’t often discussed. But those internal software issues are much more likely to determine the difference between a Positive Outcome and a Negative Outcome than hardware issues like type of gun and caliber. The amount of misinformation that runs rampant within the gun community leads many new owners down the wrong path in their Mindset and potential Decision Making.

This book provides some insight about how to avoid the Serious Mistakes.

It’s available for download at http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

https://store.payloadz.com/go/?id=2617872

It is a PDF document. If you want, you can send it to your Kindle or Kindle app on your SmartPhone. PDFs can be converted to the Kindle format so you can take advantage of functionality such as variable font size, annotations, and Whispersync.

To have a document converted to Kindle format (.azw), the subject line should be “convert” when e-mailing a personal document to your Send-to-Kindle address. Instructions for sending documents to Kindle and Kindle apps are available on Amazon’s website.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/email

How to send a document to your Kindle:

To find your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address, visit the Manage your Devices page at Manage Your Kindle.

Documents can only be sent to your Kindle devices or apps from e-mail accounts that you added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List. To add an e-mail account, visit the Personal Document Settings page at Manage Your Kindle.

To send a document to your Kindle device or app, simply attach it to an e-mail addressed to your Send-to-Kindle e-mail.

It is not necessary to include a subject in the email.

Straight talk about Incident Research

Mickey Schuch, of Carry Trainer, was kind enough to do an interview with me. We talked quite a bit about incident research, among other things.

We also talked a little about my My eBooks.

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

Figbars of the Imagination

My latest Ballistic Radio interview is up on the BR website.

What I like to do is to think about what works for normal people in their daily lives.

http://ballisticradio.com/2019/08/18/fig-bars-of-the-imagination-podcast-season-7-ballistic-radio-episode-302-june-30-2019/

Because let’s face it, you and I and the rest of the training industry are not normal people.

Evaluating handguns for YOU

Before you buy a gun, you should go to a range that rents guns and try different ones out to see which one is best for you.

What does “try them out” mean? How do we measure “which one is best for you?” Here is a list of worthwhile items to evaluate for you to make an informed decision about an autoloading pistol. For those who are helping a prospective purchaser, demonstrate the technique but then place the pistol in a sterile (unloaded with slide forward) condition and let them do their own evaluation without comment or coaching. You won’t be there to coach them if they need to use the pistol for real; that’s part of the evaluation.

  1. Load the pistol. This has two components.
    1. Load a magazine to full capacity.
    2. Load the fully charged magazine into the pistol and chamber a round.
  2. Manipulate the controls of the pistol.
    1. If the pistol has a decocker, decock the pistol after loading it.
    2. If the pistol has a safety, engage it, and then disengage it.
    3. Remove the loaded magazine from the pistol.
    4. Engage the slide stop while safely ejecting the round from the chamber. The muzzle must remain pointed downrange during the unload sequence.
    5. Inspect the chamber visually and physically (with a finger) to be sure it is unloaded.
    6. Let the slide go forward.
  3. Shoot the pistol.
    1. For new shooters or prospective purchasers, use a standard silhouette target.
    2. Experienced shooters should use a more meaningful target.
      1. An 8 inch circle at 3 yards.
      2. A sheet of paper in landscape orientation at 5 yards.
      3. Two sheets of paper stacked one above the other in landscape orientation at 7 yards and 10 yards.
      4. A suitable target can be downloaded here. Printable Silhouette drawn face
  1. Fire six shots at each of four distances (Stages); 3 yards, 5 yards, 7 yards, and 10 yards. This will replicate the difficulty level of most States’ Carry License Qualification Courses of Fire. A Carry License Qualification is the most likely shooting task the average purchaser will use their handgun for so you may as well evaluate the ability to pass it. This shooting evaluation consists of 24 rounds so two different pistols could be evaluated with one fifty round box of ammo.
    1. The six shots for each Stage should be fired in three Strings of Fire. The magazine should be loaded with six rounds only except when evaluating stoppage clearance.
      1. Fire One shot
      2. Fire Two shots
      3. Fire Three shots
      4. If the pistol has a decocker, decock the pistol after each string and then disengage the decocker.
      5. If the pistol has a safety, start each string with the safety engaged.
      6. After shooting at each distance, czech to make sure the pistol is unloaded, let the slide go forward, and decock, if the pistol has a decocker.
      7. Record how many hits were made on the target and then cover them with masking tape. You should bring a roll of masking tape with you to the range.
      8. Start the next distance’s shooting by loading the pistol from a sterile condition.
    2. The 3 yard string should be fired with the Primary Hand Only, i.e., One Handed.
  2. Evaluate your ability to reduce stoppages of the pistol.
    1. When shooting the 5 yard Stage, start with the chamber empty and a six round magazine inserted. Attempt to fire the first shot on an empty chamber. After the click, tap the base of the magazine, cycle the slide, and then fire one shot (Tap-Rack-Bang). This is a simulation of clearing a bad round or a partially unseated magazine.
    2. When shooting the 7 yard Stage, start with the slide locked open and a six round magazine in the pistol. Eject the magazine onto the table, pick it up, insert it into the pistol, release the slide, and then fire three shots. This is a simulation of an Emergency Reload because most rental pistols will only come with one magazine. After the three shot sequence, fire the two shot String and then the one shot String.
    3. When shooting the 10 yard Stage, start with the chamber empty and a six round magazine inserted. Attempt to fire the first shot on an empty chamber. After the click, remove the magazine, cycle the slide three times, re-insert the magazine, and then fire three shots. This simulates clearing a double feed. After the three shot sequence, fire the two shot String and then the one shot String.

This evaluation procedure will give you a good idea of two different aspects of how well the gun works for you or a prospective purchaser. The ability to shoot the gun to pass a possible standard for obtaining a Carry License and also manipulation tasks that are frequently overlooked.

Here is a downloadable checklist you can take to the range with you. Autoloading Pistol Suitability Checklist

Let’s Get Real About Active Shooters

It’s all hype by the media to boost their ratings. The active shooter possibility is so small it wouldn’t even be worth talking about if the media didn’t stir up such a (you-know-what) storm about it. Look at the breakout for 2017, the latest year exact numbers are available. Note that the mass shootings number for 2017 includes the Las Vegas concert incident so it’s higher than other years.

2017 homicides

Source: CDC and Time

In comparison, how often do you hear about multiple fatality car crashes on the news? They rate one minute, once. Then they’re out of sight and out of mind. In 2017, the CDC figure for car fatalities is 40,231. Dead is dead, period. Run an internet search for “multiple fatality car crash” and limit the search period to the past month. The number you’ll find is shocking.

Continue reading →

We’ve got to do something!

No, we don’t.

A rare editorial commentary.

In the wake of the recent ‘mass shootings,’ an amazing amount of rhetoric has arisen on both sides of the political spectrum and from the Venn diagram of those who bridge the continuum. Both sides are wrong. I’ll probably annoy some people with this commentary and lose some subscribers but so be it.

On one side, commonly referred to as the Left, we hear renewed call for various forms of gun control, ranging from Universal Background Checks to outright banning of ‘assault weapons.’ These calls are the continued extension of a propaganda campaign that would have made Nazi propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels proud. In numerical terms, the probability of being involved in a ‘mass shooting’ is so small a possibility that it’s not even worth considering in our daily lives much less for making public policy. There were more one-on-one homicide victims last year than in all the so-called ‘mass shootings’ of the 20th and 21st Centuries combined. I feel sorry for the victims of active killers but no more so than for the Dekalb County murder victims who annually outnumber ‘active killer’ victims but who get about one minute of news coverage every few days.

The whole ‘mass shooting’ thing is an invention of the mass media elites to boost their ratings and push forward the topic of gun control. Anyone who thinks that media personalities making millions of dollars a year care one whit about the plight of the average person is seriously naïve. What they care about is their ratings and how much money and power they can accumulate.

Continue reading →

A Well Regulated Militia

The Bill of Rights

Amendment II

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.

There continues to be controversy about the meaning of the Second Amendment. Advocates of Gun Control maintain that it only refers to the National Guard. On occasion, even firearms owners will say that regulated means ‘trained.’

The_Federalist_(1st_ed,_1788,_vol_I,_title_page)

The Federalist Papers (#29 by Alexander Hamilton) gives this interpretation of a ‘well regulated militia.’

“Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; [emphasis mine] and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.”

I.e., everyone should own an assault rifle, a basic load of ammunition and be required to show up for an inspection thereof at least annually.

Hamilton alludes to the difficulty of having the entire citizenry participate in military maneuvers sufficient to develop proficiency at a unit level. Any soldier who has been on a Field Training Exercise (FTX) can understand this. But having military weapons in the hands of the People seems to be a viable solution to him. Maintaining individual proficiency with those weapons isn’t something he speaks about.

James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 46:

“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Yet another reference to the value of citizens owning arms.

Madison also makes reference to “that the traitors [emphasis mine] should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment.” In a time when a member of Congress talks about using nuclear weapons against the American people, it’s even more important that the people at large possess military weapons.

Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA Law School provides some References to the Militia in The Federalist.

The Second Amendment has never been about hunting. That has always been a fiction. The intent of the Founding Fathers was for the people to able to resist a tyrannical central government.

Shooting Your Black Rifle book

http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

Cover shot