Our Navy once gave revolvers to SEALs. No, really.

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The revolver is often derided as outdated. If that’s the case, why did SEAL teams use them?
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Over the years I’ve written about many unique revolvers, but this one is up there with the oddest of them.

Sometime in the early 1970s, the U.S. Navy acquired a pistol to equip their divers (including the SEAL teams). This wasn’t a pistol to be used once they exited ...

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An informed opinion isn’t Armchair Quarterbacking

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One method of learning about self defense is to examine the actions of others in specific situations. Is that wrong to do?

Don’t be fooled: there is virtually no one in the training community with any real firsthand experience in private sector defensive shooting. There may be a handful who may have used their guns in defensive situations (as in actually firing their gun against an attacker), but there aren’t any with a significant number of those incidents under their belts ...

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Just because the environment is non-permissive doesn’t mean you’re defenseless!

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Given the choice, when face-to-face with an armed attacker I’d rather have my gun in my hand. Should I give up because I can’t?

One of the common memes in the gun control movement is that we must ban guns because the average person is completely defenseless against them. Oddly enough, there are a lot of people in the defensive shooting world who seem to have bought into that line of thinking ...

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Louis Awerbuck, RIP.

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One of the top teachers in the defensive training world died yesterday.
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There aren’t a lot of people I want to train with. I do, however, have a “short list” of self defense teachers whose classes I’d like to attend, and that list has an interesting mixture of both the old and the new.

The problem with the “old”, of course, is that the people ...

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An interview with Hamilton Bowen!

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Hamilton Bowen, the renowned gunsmith and proprietor of Bowen Classic Arms, doesn’t often grant interviews. When he does, you should listen.
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Hamilton Bowen is a name familiar to anyone who appreciates fine firearms. Through his company, Bowen Classic Arms, he’s become known for exquisite craftsmanship and unparalleled style.

(I’ve said, more than once, that he’s the only guy in this business who consistently gets the ...

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Friday Surprise: timekeeping with teeth.

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We take modern manufacturing for granted, but before the advent of CNC and 3D printing craftspeople did amazing things. To do so, they used amazing tools. Here’s the story of one.
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As you may remember, when I was but a child in my early ‘teens I apprenticed as a watch and clockmaker. It wasn’t because I intended that to be my life’s work, but ...
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Staying Safe While Traveling, Part 10: your smartphone as a safety tool? You bet!

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Your smartphone is probably with you all of your waking hours, and believe it or not can be used for more than just selfies!

The smartphone is a phenomenal piece of technology, and I’ll be honest when I say that even after owning one since they appeared on the market I’m still coming up with new uses for the things. Some of those uses can help keep you safe when you’re away from home!

Naturally, you should have all of your emergency ...

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From my email inbox: what’s the best .22 ammunition for a rifle?

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A recent email asked about the accuracy of .22 ammunition, and which I found was the best in my rifles. I couldn’t answer that question, and here’s why!
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I’m sometimes amazed at the coincidences of life. I’m currently testing ammunition in a rather unusual (but awfully neat) .22 rifle for an upcoming article in Gun Digest, and at the same time I get an email from Anthony asking about .22 ammunition for a ...
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Staying Safe While Traveling, Part 9: avoiding the stupid

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There’s a saying, usually attributed to master trainer John Farnam, about staying safe: “don’t go to stupid places, hang around with stupid people, or do stupid things.” That’s valid at home, but even more so when traveling!

Everyone has a different reason for traveling: for some, it’s to see new sights; for others, it’s to see old friends and family; for others, it’s to get some business done. In all cases, we ...

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Staying Safe While Traveling, Part 8: are you fit to go?

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Your physical fitness is as much a part of your travel security as any weapon that you might have!

I know that I may be touching the “third rail” of self defense with this post, but as someone who struggles with personal fitness myself I think I’m in a good position to point this out: if you’re not physically fit, it’s far more difficult to keep yourself safe!

Most people don’t realize the physical demands of dealing with any sort of attack. ...

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Friday Surprise: Blast from the past. Literally.

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Seems that 60 Minutes went poking around a Minuteman III missile launch complex and discovered something we all thought had become extinct.
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If, like me, you were into computers in the late ’70s and through the ’80s, you probably remember the first floppy disks: very thin magnetic media that spun inside of a flexible sleeve. Hard drives, at least for the hobbyist, were still wildly ...
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Staying Safe While Traveling, Part 7: knowledge and attitude are weapons, too

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Why the picture of Sir Francis Bacon? Because he once said “ipsa scientia potestas est” (“knowledge itself is power”), which is particularly fitting when we’re talking about travel safety.

People tend to fixate on the things they can (or can’t) carry with them whilst traveling. A better approach might be to spend some of that energy and time on increasing what you know, and then resolve to figure out what you can use in ...

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How do the Swiss make a sniper rifle? Carefully. Very carefully!

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As you might guess from my watch & clockmaking youth, I admire the Swiss. I especially admire the way their commitment to self-preservation scared off the Nazi war machine when everyone around them was being invaded. What was their secret? Accurate rifles and soldiers who knew how to use them!
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Ahh, the Swiss. Aside from chocolate and fine timepieces (two things of which I’m ...
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Staying Safe While Traveling, Part 6: simplicity as self defense

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The Amish, as you probably know, revel in simplicity. They find advantages in not being weighed down with possessions, and there is a lesson for us there too.

In the discussion about tools, you’ll notice that I recommended very few. Why? Because there is a defensive advantage in not being weighed down!

Pretend, for a moment, that you’re a criminal. You’re looking for a new victim, and there are two tourists arriving at the local hotel. Jackpot!

Potential Victim #1 is carrying a ...

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Staying safe while traveling, Part 5: some more tools to help you stay safe on the road!

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Even away from your gun you’re never really unarmed. There are tools you can carry which can help you stay safer, as long as you understand their uses and limitations.

In Part 1 of this series I talked about the building blocks of personal safety: Detection, Avoidance, De-escalation, Deterrence, and Response — and how a weapon was most effective (in fact often only effective) in the final phase: the Response. Everything leading up to the Response is still self defense, though ...

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What’s old is new again: the SMG Guns FG42 rifle.

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While I was teaching in California last week I got to handle (but, sadly, not shoot) a brand-new reproduction of a WWII German autoloading rifle!
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The FG42 was a select-fire rifle issued to German paratroopers during the Second World War. The concept was to supply the troops with a relatively compact rifle capable of firing both in semi- and fully-automatic modes, one which ...
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Staying safe while traveling, Part 4: which defensive tools can you take with you?

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How do you arm yourself when you can’t be armed?

The inspiration behind this series was traveling to places where I couldn’t have a handgun on my person. Even if I were to go someplace that recognized one of the concealed handgun licenses I possess, I can’t carry a firearm in the airports at either end, or on the plane. For a cross-country flight that means a large amount of time that I ...

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Shotgun lust: the Remington Versa Max.

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Sometimes when I teach I learn something new. That happened to me just the other day!
Last week I was down in California doing some training for a private group at a members-only range. This was my second teaching trip to this particular club, and I must say I enjoy it immensely!

One of the students had a shotgun I’d heard about, but not actually had ...

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Staying safe while traveling, Part 3: preplanning is a good start

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Some people worry about traveling because they can’t carry their gun. I think that’s shortsighted!

Gun people (of which I am one) tend to view the handgun as the most important tool they carry. You’ve heard the old saw about “if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”? Well, too many of my fellow gun people look at the world as strewn with nails (often while simultaneously denying ...

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Staying safe while traveling, Part 2: your concept of safety is important!

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This isn’t rocket science: it doesn’t do you much good to plan for your safety on the road if you don’t really know what safety is! In this article I share a concept of safety that, I think, will put this whole series into better perspective for you.

I’ve just returned (quite literally) from a teaching trip to the Bay Area of California. I was invited down for a return engagement at ...

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Ed Harris: Loading Cast Bullets In the 9mm Luger/Parabellum.

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rugerp85
It’s been too long since Ed Harris has graced our presence. He’s back, though, with an article about shooting cast bullets in 9mm — and, of course, with related stories about his days doing just that at Ruger. Enjoy!

Tales from the Back Creek Diary:
Loading Cast Bullets In the 9mm Luger/Parabellum

by Ed Harris, Gerrardstown, WV

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Lately, with ammo supplies in retail stores either drying up entirely, or becoming frightfully more ...
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Chinese police are now armed with revolvers?!?!

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I’m not sure which surprises me more; the fact that Chinese police heretofore have not been armed, or that they’re now armed with brand-spanking-new revolvers.
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The Chinese, I’m told, have not regularly had armed police patrolling their streets. I’m not sure why that’s odd to me; perhaps my image of the authoritarian state, known mostly for their suppression of anything resembling dissent, includes police officers armed and ready to take down anyone daring to try that whole ...
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How do you stay safe when traveling? Part 1 of a series

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As I’ve mentioned before, the legally possessed firearm is a reactive tool that gives you the means to repel a lethal attack. It doesn’t, in and of itself, keep you safe — but what does, and how can you really stay safe when you’re away from home?

You may remember that last week I traveled to Indianapolis to attend the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits. I didn’t actually attend the Meetings, but rather I went to attend the Exhibits: the ...

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Kids are the future of the Second Amendment, but not if we treat their parents like pariahs.

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I was teaching a Home Defense Handgun Skills class yesterday, and during the last hour or so of range time a fellow and his two teenage kids drove in and set up on the range next to us to shoot a very well-accessorized AR-15.
During a break I engaged them in the normal range smalltalk, and I noticed two things about this family: first, they came to the range in an “evil, liberal” Prius; second, they were ...
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Friday Surprise: Someday I’m going to write a book that’s not about guns or self defense. It’ll be about time.

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Whether you realize it or not, the precise measurement of time is absolutely vital to maintain the world in which we live — and it’s been this way for hundreds of years.
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As soon as mankind stopped hunting and gathering for sustenance, the measurement of time became important. As agrarian societies started to take hold, the need to be able to know what season ...
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How can YOU enhance your physical security?

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As I’ve said countless times, both in print and in classes, your personal safety isn’t just about buying a gun. Here’s some discussion on how to look at security in a more holistic manner.

I’m a “gun guy”. I don’t think I really started out to be one, but over the years it’s worked out that way. Why not? Guns are fun, they have intricate mechanisms and endless opportunities for accessorizing (which we all refer to as ‘customization’, lest we be ...

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NRA Show notes: how to botch a new product introduction. Not that it really matters when the product is this bad.

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So, let’s say you’ve got a new product and a major opportunity to show it to the world. Think it might be a good idea to, you know, make it easy for people to learn about it? One company apparently doesn’t!
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It’s a bad sign when a company introduces a new gun, spends a large amount of money to publicize it at a major trade show, then says “we’re ...
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