Big news. REALLY BIG news! I’ve written my first book!

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Mark your calendars: in late October, Gun Digest Books will release a brand new title: The Gun Digest Book of the Revolverwritten by yours truly!

That’s right, I’ve finally written my first book, and it’s a doozy. With 240 pages and over 200 illustrations (all mine, except for the cover photo) it’s a general guide to the world of the double action revolver. It covers all kinds of things a revolver shooter needs to know: how ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Another musician I admire – Claudio Roditi.

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I haven’t talked much about music lately, despite it being an important part of life — not just mine, but everyone’s. It’s because of the importance of music to our social and intellectual development that I despair for the musical literacy of our country; American Idol has conditioned the population to consume the musical equivalent of fast food, substituting quantity and glitz for quality and interpretative insight. (It’s sad when a vocalist vying for national attention can’t sing in tune, ...

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Progress before our eyes: a gun guy in a martial arts magazine!

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Back in April the Personal Defense Network published an interview with yours truly, wherein I opined that the future of defensive training would be integration: a fluid combination of both armed and unarmed responses. This month, we’ve been greeted with a big endorsement of that trend with the appearance of Rob Pincus on the cover of Black Belt Magazine.

The Black Belt article on Rob deals specifically with why and how unarmed combatives trainers should ...

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The dangers of unbridled emulation: training the wrong stuff because it’s cool.

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There is a certain segment of the training community that makes quite a fuss about teaching techniques randomly collected from SWAT teams, Special Forces (ours or someone else’s), or SEAL Team Six. (It’s always Team Six, because they’re apparently the coolest. And the only one which the average Mall Ninja recognizes. Good for marketing, you understand. I feel for the guys on Teams One through Five though, suffering with the knowledge that they’re not nearly as cool.) These classes are ...

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The snakepit of groupthink, or: don’t let other people do your thinking for you.

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Every so often I’ll have a spare moment and just happen to be sitting near the computer. It’s at those times that I visit one of the gun forums (fora?) just to see what’s up with the world. More precisely, what’s up in some very small portion of the world, one which is usually severely skewed.

One such moment happened last weekend while I was waiting for dinner to finish cooking. (Actually, I was waiting for my wife to finish cooking ...

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How fast can a revolver be reloaded?

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An email came in last week asking just that question. The answer is a little more involved than you might think, because there are some variables involved that simply don’t exist with the same action in an autoloader.

There are at least a half-dozen different ways that I’ve used to reload a revolver, and I’ve seen variations which exceed that number. Each technique has strong and weak points, and it’s up to the shooter to decide of they fit his/her situation. ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: The rocket’s red glare, and lots of it.

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Down in Florida’s Everglades, well hidden from casual view, is the remnant of an idea: to build solid fuel rocket motors for the Apollo space missions.

In 1963 the decision between solid or liquid fueled boosters for what would be the Saturn V rocket had not yet been made, and there was stiff competition between supporters of the two ideas. General Tire Company, which had a subsidiary named Aerojet General, was solidly (pardon the pun) on the side of solid fuel.

They ...

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Another rifle I’m lusting after: the new Ruger Model 77 in .357 Magnum.

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The Firearm Blog reported last week that Ruger is now chambering their Model 77 bolt-action rifle in .357 Magnum. I’m quite excited about the announcement, as I’m a fan of the .357 in longer barrels.

I believe (though I can’t find it right now) that I’ve written about this before: the .357 Magnum coming out of a rifle is a very different beast than the same round coming out of a handgun. One 158 grain ...

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My newest article is up at PDN, and it’s sure to be controversial: precision in defensive shooting.

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My latest project, “New Concepts of Precision in Defensive Shooting“, is now available at the Personal Defense Network.

This piece is probably going to be controversial, because it takes a fresh and different look at how we think about accuracy and precision in the context of self defense. In it I make the case that shooting ‘better’ shouldn’t be our goal — shooting more appropriately should be. If I may be so bold, I think it’s one of ...

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Light primer hits with factory guns? The S&W Model 686 problem.

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Over the last few months I’ve gotten several emails about light primer strikes — and attendant misfires — with the S&W 686SSR revolver.

The 686SSR is from Smith & Wesson’s “Pro” line, which sits between the semi-customs of the Performance Center and the run-of-the-mill production items. The 686SSR has, among other features, a ‘bossed’ mainspring (which looks suspiciously like a Wolff ‘Power Rib’ spring.) The idea behind the spring design is twofold: first, reduce the spring force at the beginning of ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Get off my lawn or I’ll Photoshop you off!

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Back in the 1980s digital imaging was still a laboratory experiment. Pictures were made on film, and if you wanted to do anything to the image after it was recorded you had to master (or know someone who had mastered) such arcane things as register masking, transparency stripping, and optical printing.

Toward the end of the decade very powerful (and expensive) graphics workstations came available that were able to manipulate digitized images. Note ‘digitized’, not ‘digital’; the pictures were still made ...

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Someone is spying on me and stealing my story about concealment vests. You can read my version here.

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Here’s how things work around here: I collect interesting snippets of information that are relevant to the topics of this blog (namely revolvers, shooting, and self defense) and write posts inspired by those snippets. Sometimes it’s a news story that sets things in motion, sometimes it’s my own experiences, and occasionally it’s a remark by another blogger.

I usually write something up and hang on to it for release when I have room. For instance, Fridays are always devoted to an ...

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Mixing units, or how not to make buying decisions.

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This popped up on my radar this morning, and I was so annoyed by the misuse of scientific data that I bumped today’s post to comment.

The advertisement, from a European maker of flashlights, claims that the sun produces 6,000 lumens; which, conveniently, is less than their flashlights at a claimed 10,000 lumens. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt (though as you’ll see I don’t think they deserve it) and accept that their product does in ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: How to make an extreme sports video that doesn’t suck.

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I’ve mentioned before my annoyance with shooting videos that are accompanied by crappy heavy metal music. Apparently, simplistically repetitive bass lines played at ear-splitting volume keeps those with short attention spans from realizing they’re watching vapid footage. (Not that I’m thinking of anyone in particular…*cough*patrickflanigan*cough*)

It’s not just shooting vids, though — take a look at any random ‘extreme’ sport video and you’ll probably hear the same thing. Skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, it’s the same tired formula: often good video ruined by ...

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You can’t have everything; where would you put it all?

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If you think your logistics problems are daunting, go and read the list of ammunition that Tam keeps in her bedroom. (Disclaimer: I don’t know for a fact that it’s all in her bedroom, having never been to her house. She might keep some there, some in the basement, some on the bottom shelf of the Lazy Susan in the kitchen, and who knows where else. My point is that…well, I forgot what my point is. Humor ...

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Appeals to authority work both ways, but always badly.

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This really does have something to do with shooting; bear with me!

Stan Kenton was a standout iconoclast in a field of music that is, by definition, iconoclastic: jazz. Some of his albums were a difficult experience because they demanded so much of the listener. If one is not conversant with at least a little music theory, much of what goes on in a Kenton pieces flies right over the head.

I remember reading, somewhere in the intertubes, a critical review of ...

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Competition: it’s what’s for breakfast. Too bad I don’t eat breakfast.

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I’ve been chided just a bit for ignoring the growing field of revolver competition. It’s not that I dislike competition, it’s just that it’s not my focus these days; self defense topics are what I’m most interested in and tend to write about.

Still, I do occasionally like to see what’s up with the standings; when I want to know what’s happening in the world of revolver matches, I read Paul Erhardt over at DownrangeTV. This link will ...

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Relevance and role models: what your instructor wears may be a bad influence on how you train.

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A few weeks back I saw a picture of a self-identified defensive shooting instructor which bothered me. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but something about it gnawed at my subconscious. I know the fellow only by what he’s written (and by his association with a much better-known trainer), so it isn’t anything that would stem from a personality conflict, and yet the feeling remained.

It finally hit me the other day: in the picture this fellow is wearing what ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Maybe there is something at work today, Friday The 13th.

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Not being triskaidekaphobic, I normally don’t pay much attention to Fridays that happen to fall on the thirteenth of the month. This particular Friday, however, is a little different: it was Friday, May 13th in 1988 that the jazz world lost one of its more talented members in a very odd manner.

Chet Baker was a trumpet player of uncommon talent. His phrasing, often chided as being ‘feminine’, stood in stark contrast to the edgier playing of many ...

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Speaking of gun lust…I want a new, old AR-15.

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Last weekend I was on the range for the first time in I-can’t-remember-how-long, helping out with a rifle class taught by my friend Georges Rahbani. One of the rifles on the line was an old Colt SP1, complete with skinny barrel, A1 sights and stock, and the teardrop forward assist.

I’d forgotten how light and handy those original guns were. My main AR is a mid-length Rock River with a very heavy barrel, and the SP1 felt like a feather in ...

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This is a bad business to be in if you suffer from gun lust: I want this Ruger GP100!

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Every so often I work on a gun that I personally want, and this is one of them.

Three-inch GP100s are a little uncommon in the typical stainless, but the blued versions are downright scarce. The owner of this gun wanted something special, and I think he got it!

We started with a Super Action Job, which took the DA pull down to ...

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Containing my desire: revolvers in .32-20 are calling me. Again.

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I’ve worked on many Colt Police Positives in .32-20, and it’s a cartridge which has always intrigued me. I’m not one to believe that it would make a good defensive tool, but there is more to shooting than just that!

I’ve often thought that I’d like to have one of the long-discontinued Marlin 1894 CB in .32-20; it would make a great farm & varmint cartridge in the hotter loadings, and loaded to moderate velocities would make a dandy squirrel gun.

Tempering ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Mussolini had nothing on these guys – the evolution of the pocket watch.

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How would you fill the blank in this sentence: “Accurate as a _____ watch” ? If you’re like most people, the word would be “Swiss”. To most people Swiss watches are the epitome of timekeeping, and have been since, well, forever.

But that’s not entirely true. Today, perhaps, but for nearly a century the country that produced the most accurate portable timekeepers was the United States, and we have the locomotive to thank for it.

Back in the days of steam, in ...

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To progress requires change, but not all change is progress.

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I’ve been bombarded with emails over the last couple of days about (yet another) lever action rifle adorned with a red dot scope. I’ve heard it called everything from “tactical cowboy” to “poor man’s Scout Rifle”, but all such sobriquets miss the point.

The lever action rifle, as historically outfitted, has never really seemed to need the red dot.

Please understand that I’m all for moving forward. I’m a technology junkie; I love what is new and demonstrably better. Sometimes, though, we ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Happy birthday, Giuseppe Torelli!

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Today is the birthday of Giuseppe Torelli. His 353rd birthday, to be precise.

Torelli was an Italian composer who was a key figure in the development of the concerto form as we know it today, and particularly so with regard to the solo concerto — where a single instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.

Up until the mid-17th century the concertino form was the norm, wherein a small group of solo instruments was accompanied by the orchestra. The solo concerto, which today is ...

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One of my cardinal rules: if I didn’t reload it, I don’t shoot it.

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Years back I remember being taught never to shoot someone else’s reloads. I violated that rule only once, when I bought some “factory reloads” from a vendor at a gun show. Luckily I didn’t damage anything with the shoddy 9mm fodder, but I still have the remainder — in a sealed ammo can labeled “Dangerous Ammo – Do Not Shoot!” — somewhere in the garage.

That cemented my rule: no reloads that I didn’t make, not even one round. Why?

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What I did on Spring Break: hunting sage rats.

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It wasn’t really Spring Break, but this last weekend was our annual Sage Rat Hunting Trip to the dry half of Oregon. Sage rats, for those of you who may be new here, are actually ground squirrels, the exact species varying depending on location. Belding’s Ground Squirrel is grey with a tan underside, while the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel has a brown back with a buff belly. I have seen both varieties in eastern Oregon, but the Richardson’s seems more common ...

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Short memories: new ammunition that isn’t really all that new. And wasn’t very good back then, either.

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One of the joys of having recently turned 50 (a figure I still write with a combination of bemusement and astonishment, having not actually grown up yet) is that I can poke fun at the younger guys. ‘Younger’, of course, means anyone under about 48.

I say this because last week I read an article about a ‘new’ multi-projectile load that was ‘developed’ by a company called Constitution Arms. My first thought was that the author must be a youngster reporting this as ‘new’, ...

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