Reviews of Defensive Revolver Fundamentals, I interview Gila Hayes, and more!

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Renowned trainer Tiger McKee recently wrote a very nice review of my revolver books (Gun Digest Book Of The Revolver and my new Defensive Revolver Fundamentals) for The Tactical Wire. This is pretty exciting to me, as he is one of the most direct descendants of Jeff Cooper and is a proponent of both the 1911 pistol and of the “Modern Technique” — all of which, as you’re probably aware, are ...

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Reeves Jungkind, 1927-2013.

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I received a sad email from Massad Ayoob yesterday; Reeves Jungkind, Python ‘smith extraordinaire, has died.

For those of you not familiar with the name, Reeves Jungkind was generally regarded as one of the true masters of the arcane Colt revolver action. He, along with Fred Sadowski and Jerry Moran, were the Three Musketeers of Colt tuning: you’d be hard-pressed to find any people better than they, and their work became almost legendary. Sadowski died some years back and Moran dropped ...

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CCW: Some more thoughts on the appendix position for concealed carry.

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The appendix carry position (so named because the gun is on the front of your body, between your navel and the point of your hip; roughly on top of your appendix if you’re a right-hander) has gotten quite popular in recent years. That popularity has made it the subject of both scorn and praise, with some believing it’s the work of Beelzebub himself and others opining that it’s the best thing since a bunch of duck hunters in Louisiana decided ...

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Don’t do stupid things, and don’t talk to the media. And never do both at the same time!

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From Toledo, OH comes the story of a homeowner who did something stupid: she took her .357 and confronted a petty thief who her boyfriend reportedly caught stealing a bicycle from her front porch. Why is this stupid? Because the thief’s actions did not rise to the level that justifies the threat of lethal force.

In general, lethal force can only be used when the defender is in immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm through the ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Riding the rails – my first experience with Amtrak.

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On Wednesday I mentioned that I’d attended a shooting instructor’s conference; what I didn’t tell you is that I decided on a slightly unconventional (for 2013) mode of transportation to get there: I took a train from my home in Oregon to Bakersfield, CA.

Anyone who knows me knows how I hate to fly. I don’t mind airplanes, you understand; in fact, I’m fascinated by them. What I dislike is air travel: airlines, airports, crowds, intrusive security, and all the stuff ...

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Defensive Shooting Instructor Development – the way it should be done, but usually isn’t.

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640px-Béla_Károlyi
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Taty2007

Take a good look at the fellow above and try to guess what he does for a living. (No fair using image search to find out; I will, however, tell you that it isn’t what you might imagine.) We’ll come back to him in a bit.

What have I been doing lately? Well, I spent the last few days at a conference for shooting instructors — to ...

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Yet another automatic revolver: The Union.

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As you may remember, Ian at Forgotten Weapons has been chronicling the various automatic revolvers that have been made over the years. Except for the Mateba Unica, they’re generally rare (with appropriate price tags, of course.) This variant on the theme follows the trend: there were only 300 Union Automatic Revolvers made. Of those 300 it’s hard to know how many survived. In fact, it’s hard to know if all 300 actually made it to market!

The gun was designed by ...

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My house, my rules. Let’s review them.

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My article from Wednesday generated some heated comments. Sadly, some were heated enough that I had to block two users – which brings the grand total of blocked users since this blog started to four. It’s not something I do very often, and I dislike the need to do so, but sometimes it’s necessary to maintain some semblance of civility. I want to foster discussion, but I don’t want this blog to turn into M4Carbine.com.

So, let’s review the rules for ...

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Is this how “responsible” gun owners behave? I don’t think so, and neither does Starbucks.

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In case you missed the news yesterday, the President/CEO of Starbucks finally got fed up with conflict stirred up by the open carry faction of the shooting community and said, in effect, “no more.” In a statement on the company’s blog he posted a note (which you need to read to understand clearly what this is all about) which asked people to leave their guns at home when visiting any of his stores.

This all happened because Starbucks ...

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Do you still do press-checks? Here’s another reason not to!

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If you’ve taken any of my classes you know I’m not a big fan of the press-check (drawing the slide of an autoloader partially back to ascertain if there’s a round in the chamber.) I hold that it’s an unnecessary movement which does little more than raise the risk of the gun not being fully in battery when the slide is eased forward.

As it turns out, press-checking also has an effect on bullet setback (the pressing of the bullet backwards ...

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Book Review: Concealed Carry For Women by Gila Hayes

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I recently received (courtesy of the author) a copy of the new book “Concealed Carry For Women” by Gila Hayes. (In the interest of full disclosure, I assisted Gila with some pictures for this book and there is at least one picture of me inside. I’ve also known her for many years and consider her a friend, which is not a word I use frivolously. Even if I didn’t know her, however, I believe my review would ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Want a Van Gogh but can’t afford it? This is for you!

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3D printing is probably the hottest thing in the tech world right now. It promises to revolutionize small-scale manufacturing, and even though it’s still a very young technology it’s being testing for everything from prototyping to making rocket engine parts.

Of course being a firearms enthusiast you probably already know about the various guns and gun parts that are being made with 3D printing, but here’s an application that’s worlds apart from rockets and bullets: 3D printed artwork.

We’ve had lithographs of ...

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What’s a SnagMag, you ask?

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Today I’m bringing you a review of a product for autoloaders. Why? Because I often carry a semiauto pistol, I’m sure most of you do as well, and I’m always looking for ways to make doing so a little easier. I think I’ve found such a product, one which I didn’t even know existed until a couple of months ago. Note that I said “think”; you’ll see why in a bit.

I was recently introduced to a fellow who makes a very ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: How do you tie your shoes?

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Today is the start of Labor Day weekend. Many people take this day off so that they are able to have a four-day holiday break before the kids start back to school next week. (Yes, I understand that the kids in some areas are already at their little desks, but in this part of the country school doesn’t start until after Labor Day.)

My point, if I ever had one, is that blog readership for this Friday is always way down, ...

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Let’s talk antique guns: the Husqvarna m40 and the Gustoff Volkssturmgewehr!

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Just the other day, Forgotten Weapons put up a story by Peter Rasmussen about the Husqvarna M 40 pistol (sometimes referred to as a Lahti, for its designer Eimo Lathi.) Rasmussen goes into some detail regarding the pistol and its history in Sweden, including the reasons for it eventual demise.

This was particularly interesting to me as I once owned an M 40. I found it at a local gun show, pristine and complete with holster, two magazines, ...

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Is your defensive shooting stance really something you can choose?

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RECOIL Magazine, as you may have heard, is back in big way with all new management and a revised attitude. Though they tout themselves as a “gun lifestyle” magazine, that doesn’t seem to limit them to mere fluff; a recent article from Aaron Cowan, titled “History and the Fighting Stance III: what Burroughs found”, is a good example.

Cowan makes the case that a shooting stance when faced with a surprise lethal threat is a matter of instinct; ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: The Photography of NASA

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When the Space Race against the Soviet Union started in 1957 we entered into a period of great technological progress. We discovered things that had never been discovered, designed things that had never been designed, and went were mankind had ever gone before. It was an exciting time to watch what we could do, both as a nation and as a species, when we put our collective mind to a singular task. NASA became the preeminent research and engineering organization ...

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It’s official: Defensive Revolver Fundamentals has been released!

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DRF book cover_small

My latest book, Defensive Revolver Fundamentals, officially launched yesterday! The Outdoor Wire carried the press release, saying “In his new book, Defensive Revolver Fundamentals, Cunningham makes an informed and convincing case for the revolver as a personal defense firearm.”

This is the book I’ve wanted to write for some time. It distills everything I’ve learned about defensive shooting up to this point, focusing ...

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Why do pistols look the way they do?

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It’s normal to assume that the products we have today – from toasters to autoloading pistols – have the form (design) they do because somehow that form has been shown to be the ‘best’. It’s a Darwinian notion, or rather a perversion of Darwinian thought. In reality, it’s always a combination of factors that may have more to do with relative, rather than absolute, advantage.

What we have today may not necessarily be the best, but simply the collection of attributes ...

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Would you use a .22 for self defense? Should you? Why not?

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One of the interesting things to come out of Greg Ellifritz’s study of ammunition effectiveness was how well the .22 Long Rifle worked – or, at least, appeared to work. By some measures, it performed better than the vaunted .45 ACP! There is a small but dedicated group of people out there who seized upon this data as proof that the .22 is in fact the most deadly cartridge ever made by man. After all, they insist, the figures don’t ...

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Defensive training, religious fervor – and you: why deification is bad for self defense.

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I’ll admit to not fully understanding religious zealotry, despite having studied it fairly extensively. In most major religions you can find sects who seek to fix their beliefs and observances at some arbitrary point in time, and from then on never change (or, at least, try their hardest to not change.) This leaves me to wonder: what makes their arbitrary point in time better than someone else’s arbitrary point? On that very question is built sectarian warfare, as even a ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Is there a bright side to a drone?

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Drones are all over the news as of late, and usually not under pleasant circumstances. They’re usually thought of in terms of surveillance and destruction, but there is another side to these unmanned aircraft – they can be used to make stunning videos from vantage points most of us will never have.

Take this video, shot in NYC by a privately owned DJI Phantom Quadcopter. Gorgeous footage!

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“I can’t afford to get good training.” True?

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Serendipity, that’s what it’s called. A recent poll on Facebook asked about the biggest hurdle people face in getting defensive shooting training. I expected the number one reason to be ammunition supplies, but that barely rated for most people. Time? That was a bigger one, but it paled in comparison to the number one obstacle: money.

Not surprising, given the cost of training these days. Ammo is expensive, equipment is expensive, travel and lodging is expensive, and that’s before factoring in ...

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Can you – or should you? Decision making during a lethal force incident.

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One of the chapters in my upcoming book deals with the legalities of shooting someone in self defense, and in it I make the point that there are perhaps situations where you could, legally, shoot someone – but might not need to do so. I think it’s an important distinction.

Many of my students ask when they’re allowed to use deadly force, and while knowing the legalities of what you can and can’t do is vital** I believe ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Horology – what it sounds like isn’t what it is.

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You may recall that in my teens I was a licensed watch and clockmaker (an odd thing, given the fact that today I refuse to wear a watch! I come by my curmudgeonly ways naturally, though – my father, who worked for the telephone company, hated the idea that anyone in the world could wake him up in the middle of the night just by dialing a few numbers.) Because of my experience, it seems a little odd to me that many ...

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Some people should stick to Glocks: a review of a bad review.

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In the September issue of SWAT Magazine is a review of the Wiley Clapp special edition Ruger GP100. I’ve mentioned this gun previously; it’s a mix of some good things, some mediocre things, and a surprising omission or two. Overall it’s a nice treatment of the old warhorse, and I’m glad to see attention being paid to something other than hunting revolvers at Ruger.

It’s this article that I find a little odd. Written by Todd Burgreen, it’s your typical gun ...

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Is appendix carry for you?

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I received an email last week, to which I’ve finally managed to reply, asking my opinion regarding appendix carry. For those who don’t follow this stuff, the appendix carry has become quite popular over the last few years, being touted by many trainers/schools and serving as something of a trademark for some of them.

The carry method usually employs an in-the-waistband (IWB) holster positioned on the front of the body, between the hipbone and the navel. The holster is usually of ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: When in Rome…

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I’m fascinated by a lot of things. This wide, wonderful world is so full of interesting people and places and events and happenings that I find no need to read fiction. In fact, many people are amazed that I don’t read any fiction (save for the occasional Poe or Chandler tale, the latter being a guilty pleasure in which I indulge simply because of the colorful dialogue.) I find that real life is ever more interesting than any made-up story, ...

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“Stand Your Ground” and Zimmerman: no relation.

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I’ve received a surprising number of emails from people who don’t understand, and are quite confused about, the concept of the “stand your ground” (SYG) law in Florida. (Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)

First things first: Zimmerman’s attorneys did not invoke SYG in his case and it was in no way part of his defense. This is important to recognize, because the media (and Michael Bloomberg) are trying their best to convince everyone that ...

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