Tag Archives: pistols

Blast from the Past: Walther 9mm P1 Delivers

4 Feb

walther p1Like most members of the concealed carry community, you’ve probably spent a considerable amount of time browsing the goods at your favorite gun shop.  If you were actually in the market for a handgun at the time, you’ve probably experienced the reality of sticker-shock.

The growing popularity of self-defense equipment, the rise of the “doomsday preppers,” and inflation in general have created an upward price spiral in the firearm industry with no end in sight.

Luckily, there are still some bargains out there if you know where to look.

One of these is the Walther 9mm P1 semi-automatic pistol, a Cold War surplus model imported by Century Arms International.

Not only is the Walther P1 an excellent firearm, but it’s also steeped in history, originating with the renowned WWII era German Luger 9mm pistol.  The Luger was updated during wartime to the Walther P38 and then updated again during the Cold War to the Walther P1 9mm for use by West German Police.

The Walther P1 is made from lightweight aluminum and performs superbly in controlled environments.  Author Scott W. Wagner describes his reaction when first firing the Walther P1 in his article “Century Arms International 9mm Walther P1” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“My first shots from the P1 were fired with ZVS 9mm ball ammo from Century Arms and made me think ‘where have you been all my life?’ Recoil was easily controlled and accuracy — out to 100 yards — was excellent! There were no malfunctions.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Yet the best selling point about the Walther P1 has nothing to do with the spec sheet.  Century Arms is selling the pistol at a budget-pleasing $325 average price.  This gun will serve well as a lightweight option for carry or for recreational range practice.

The P1 borrowed the trigger system and slide-mounted de-cocking lever from the earlier Walther. It uses an open-top slide-operating mechanism.  The Walther P1 first began production in 1956, before the advent of the high-powered +P and +P+ ammo.

Although the P1 can handle limited +P use, it’s recommended to use high-quality non +P rounds to maintain the structural integrity of this vintage firearm.  As for hollow points, the only glitch is that the first round will load only when there are seven rounds in the magazine instead of the normal eight, which might be a deal-breaker for some purists.

The magazine release is “heel” style at the base of the backstrap.  This is a safety benefit for concealed carry holders, as it prohibits accidental magazine ejection during day-to-day activities.

The Walther P1 is not a high-tech all-purpose firearm for every situation, but if you’ve been searching for a reasonably priced, lightweight, and unobtrusive carry weapon, this little piece of history may be what you are looking for.

Who Killed Tamir Rice?

29 Dec

If you’re not familiar with the story about Tamir Rice, there’s enough information buzzing on the Internet to start a fire right about now. With the holiday season coming up, this unfortunateshiny toy gun situation of a 12-year-old child being killed by a policeman may even get a bit more complicated.

Due to the holiday season, there will be a lot of people giving gifts.

One thing that you know for sure is that some of these gifts will be given to children and teenagers.

Some of these gifts might be handgun replicas, very similar to the toy handgun that Tamir Rice was playing with.

Rice’s toy was replicated to look identical to a real .45. Lately, toy handgun models have been specifically marking these fake weapons to let law enforcement officers know that the replica is a toy.

These markers were created to communicate in a very strong visual way so that no one would be confused and react to a perceived threat.

The markers are there for protection purposes in order to avoid another Tamir Rice incident. By placing a loud orange color on the tip of the muzzle, the toy manufacturers are doing their part to communicate that their products aren’t real guns. However in Rice’s case, the orange part of the toy had been removed, making it harder for police to see the difference.

Author Rick Sapp goes in depth about the dangers of replica guns manufactured to look real and why they could be dangerous in his article “Who Killed Tamir Rice?” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“The audio of that call is available online. ‘There is a guy with a pistol,’ the caller says. ‘It’s probably fake, but he’s pointing it at everybody.’” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

If you do buy a toy handgun for a family member or friend this holiday season, you should be sure to take out time and explain to the children the importance of these additional features and why they shouldn’t be removed.

You should also stress that the toy is something that kids shouldn’t go around pointing at everyone. Teach them to treat the toy as if it were not a toy, and you’re providing a great lesson, maybe one that will lead them to be responsibly armed Americans later on down the line.

Have a face-to-face conversation so that you can be absolutely sure that the child or teenager completely understands what you’re saying. Of course, if you can’t be there in person, it might be smart for you to consult the child’s parents first to see if the gift is really a wise idea in the first place. Many parents don’t want their children to have guns, toy or not.

The important issue is that of using the tragedy of Rice’s situation to make sure that no more children die. Police should never have to encounter a child with what they believe to be a handgun so that they’re forced to respond. Make sure that all safety features remain intact and that kids understand that you should NEVER point a weapon, even a toy, at an officer of the law.

Concealed Carry: Do We Need Heavy Hitters?

4 Dec

One of baseball’s loftiest achievements is the elusive .400 season batting average, last attained by Ted Williams in 1941.  Today, any player that can consistently hit .300 or better can easily command a multi-million dollar salary. baseball player

This is roughly the same proficiency as a law enforcement officer.

In his recent article “If More Is Better, Why Are There No More .400 Hitters In Baseball?” on USConcealedcarry.com, author Rick Sapp reported that a 2014 FBI study questioned whether a larger caliber bullet could more effectively stop an adversary than a smaller caliber one:

“The intent of the report was to study — yet again — the effectiveness of caliber… The FBI noted that most law enforcement shootings result in only about 30 percent of the rounds hitting their target.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

A 30% performance rate in professional baseball is considered hugely successful.  The same proficiency in law enforcement is often considered to subpar at best and in many circles, dismal.

In order to offset the perceived inefficiency, the caliber of the weapon used by law enforcement is often considered to be the equalizer. Stopping power is defined as the ability to incapacitate a target from further resistance. This, in theory, makes sense.  The larger the weapon’s caliber, the more stopping power the shooter has.

Yet in reality, a target can be incapacitated with any weapon. Most law enforcement personnel load their weapons with hollow-point configuration or expanding full metal jacket bullets.  The most common calibers are .38/.357, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. Needless to say, any of these can inflict serious damage.

At 30% proficiency, a clip of 6 bullets only yields 2 hits at best and may not incapacitate the target.  The pressure on a law enforcement officer using deadly force in volatile situations is exponentially greater than that of the pressure on a major league hitter, whose greatest fear is a bruised thigh or shoulder from a wild pitch.

Law enforcement officials use their weapons when lives are on the line. Most would agree that more bullets are better than larger bullets when it comes to firepower. As mentioned earlier, a clip of 6 bullets only gives two target hits at best, but a clip of 12 or 15 with a backup magazine increases stopping power considerably.

So like the professional hitter who does not want his entire season average based on two or three at bats, an officer on the street prefers to have as many opportunities to bring down the target as possible, no matter the caliber.

What to Do When Using Your Firearm Isn’t an Option

10 Sep

In the real world, remaining vigilant 24/7 and never being surprised or caught off guard is impossible. None of us has eyes in the back of our heads and like it or not, many situations that call for you to employ deadly force probably will start off as a surprise.

self defense practice

Of course, it’s always important to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. It does help you anticipate many problems that would otherwise sneak up on you.

What is important to keep in mind is that many self-defense situations can escalate from your eating an ice cream cone to having to defend your life in a matter of seconds.

In a life-threatening standoff, there is a good chance guns will be pointed at you and there may be more than one shooter. Getting your own gun out, if someone is already pointing theirs at you, will probably get you shot no matter how fast your draw is. This probability is of course, compounded if there is more than one firearm pointed in your direction.

At the end of the day, you’re primarily concerned with not getting shot. This is why you carry in the first place — so you can shoot before someone shoots you. 

When weapons are already leveled in your direction, your focus becomes the best way to avoid getting shot. Sometimes, this means getting away from the scene or jumping behind a solid object. Movement is also useful as author Gabe Suarez illustrates in his article “Some Notes from Force-on-Force” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“Most guys get shot when they stop. They initiate movement and avoid the first few shots, but then they stop to take a precise shot. At that point, they get hit. Keep moving until he’s down, you have escaped, or you are behind cover. Movement is life; stationary shooting (in the open) is death.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

When it comes to movement and agility, your physical conditioning is also a key factor. Being in good shape means you can run, jump, and get away from danger faster than if you’re overweight and in poor health.

Also as you age, your senses can gradually dull. This can happen so slowly that you aren’t even aware that your vision and hearing aren’t what they were in your twenties. 

Make regular hearing and vision checks a priority. If you need vision correction, wear it. The same goes for hearing aids. Having your senses sharpened up means that you can detect threats earlier and respond effectively.

Concealed Carry Handguns: You Can’t Just Have One!

31 Jul

Being able to mix up your regular carrying routing without sacrificing safety is a great way to stay sharp and on top of things. This means varying your carry style, holster, and even the gun you carry.

revolver

It can be easy to get stuck in a rut if you only carry the same gun with the same carry method, day in — day out.

Your brain can get so used to this routine that if any part of it changes, you are at a loss.

Failing to change up your routine can lead to complacency, which is dangerous.

In the grand scheme of things, good pistols for self-defense aren’t all that expensive. Their cost is miniscule in comparison to many other things you buy multiples of, such as vehicles. 

Often the gun buying process is approached with the mentality that the gun you ultimately end up buying is the Holy Grail. This will be the one gun you own and the only one you will ever carry. 

Unfortunately, this can pigeonhole your thinking. Some guns are better for certain situations and it is nice to have options when you’re buckling a weapon into place for the day.

Generally speaking, your choices are either some form of semi-automatic or a revolver. Before you discount the capability of revolvers as effective self-defense weapons for the 21st century, read what author Duane A. Daiker has to say about them in his article “Thunder Ranch Model 22: A Serious Carry Gun, Retro-Style!” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“Revolvers have come a long way from the fixed sight, carbon steel, square-butt revolvers of years gone by. New offerings from Smith & Wesson offer high-tech, lightweight frame and cylinder materials, recoil-absorbing soft rubber grips, bright, fiber-optic front sights, and even laser sights.” (Read more about revolvers at USConcealedCarry.com)

If you can afford to purchase one handgun for self-defense, then at some point down the road, you’ll probably be able to buy another one without breaking the bank. It’s sensible to have a few guns to choose from. Much like a selection of apparel, you can pick up the gun that suits you for any occasion on any given day.

And remember that like any other possession, handguns can be bought, sold, and traded for other weapons. This is often the most effective way to learn what guns you like the most since you’ve actually been able to own them for a time and have seen how they work in your day-to-day life.

Educating Yourself about Modifications to Your Handgun

11 Jun

glockSooner or later, you’ll probably want to affect modifications to your handgun. Mods can range from something as simple as different grips all the way to custom sights and metal work.

Many modifications and upgrades can be done at home. At the very least, you’ll need a set of basic tools to remove fasteners.

Many aftermarket upgrade items come with instructions for installation. It’s worth the time to read any instructions and familiarize yourself with what you’ll be doing before you start.

Much of the time, there are also YouTube videos or how-to articles with pictures available online that detail the processes you’ll be going through.

Or, if you know someone who has already made the modifications you have in mind, it may be worth asking them if they ran into any unforeseen problems.

Research doesn’t have to take hours. These days, a simple Google images search for your gun model “+desired modification” will yield hundreds of pictures of the very same modification you’re planning to do.

Image searches are helpful for taking the guesswork out of things and ensuring that you have all the information you need before starting a project.

Internet research is especially important if the gun being modified is your primary carry weapon. You don’t want to have your gun taken apart and in pieces only to find you are missing a part or special tool needed to complete the job.

Some firearm modifications should only be performed by a qualified gunsmith. This is doubly true if metal is going to be removed or added or if work is to be done on the firing mechanism. A good gunsmith will have tools and experience that most people haven’t been trained for.

Research is just as important when picking a gunsmith. If you have a person you trust who has already done good work for you, then definitely stick with them. Even if their waiting list is weeks in advance, it’s worth the wait and a good sign if a gunsmith is busy.

Author Duane A. Daiker talks about choosing someone to do gunsmithing in his article “Ross Sporting Goods Glocksmithing” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“As good as the Glock platform is, there is a lot of room for improvement and personalization. The basic Glock can definitely benefit from some attention by a quality gunsmith. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who think that owning a Dremel tool qualifies them to start grinding plastic off of your G-17.” (Read more about finding a good gunsmith at USConcealedCarry.com)

If you don’t have a gunsmith in mind, start by asking around for recommendations. If possible, find someone who has already had the same work done that you want done. Visit a few gunsmiths before making a final decision. Some may even have photo albums of their work for customers to look at.

And of course, if you are a daily carrier you probably don’t want to be without your gun for a week or even a couple days. Plan in advance and invest in a backup gun to carry while yours is in the shop.

Laser Sights: Should You Get One?

1 May

Laser dot sights are tools that allow you to enhance your low light shooting ability. For times when it’s too dark to see, a laser dot will allow you to see exactly where your firearm is aimed.  Image

Laser sights have quite a bit of argument and controversy surrounding them.

Some people see them as unnecessary complications and distractions that take away from basic shooting fundamentals.

Other people are of the opinion that if the technology works, then why not use it? 

After all, being able to project a red dot in the dark can give you a significant advantage in some situations. 

Regardless of how you feel, the fact remains that laser sights should be considered enhancements of your existing skills. They shouldn’t be thought of as a substitute for solid shooting with a pistol that has factory iron sights. 

Another important thing to consider is the issue of shooting at anything you can’t clearly identify. Of course, no two encounters are the same, but if you are shooting at the outline of a person without being fully able to visually identify the threat, you are taking a huge risk. It is a literal shot in the dark.

This is where having a bright tactical flashlight becomes important. A flashlight allows you to illuminate your threat and potential target, and will help remove uncertainties. It will also temporarily blind the other person, giving you the advantage and maybe even the chance to get away. Running is always preferable to sticking around and exchanging shots.

In an interview, instructor author Kathy Jackson gets an expert Marty Hayes to the question of using laser sights in her article “The Importance of Lasers: An Interview with Marty Hayes” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“…because what I do is I recommend people simply train with their sights and don’t really train a whole lot specifically with the laser—because you don’t need to! You train with your sights. If the laser happens to be there at the moment of truth, that’s a bonus. Otherwise you just carry on as if the laser wasn’t there. (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Consider a laser sight to be a tool that can enhance your odds of survival in an emergency. Use it as a training aid and don’t let it become a substitute for basic shooting skills. Batteries can die and unlike the TV remote, you don’t have a couple minutes to change the batteries before carrying on with what you were doing.