From the Editor

“Laws are like sausages―it’s best not to see them made,” is often attributed to Otto von Bismarck, although there is some dispute if he ever actually said it. Nevertheless, most people who follow politics even a little bit see the wisdom, and humor, in the remark. Sometimes, when the legislative process reaches a fever pitch, as it did this summer on health care, you can see not just sausages being made, but the “chefs” acting like three or more stooges and with “equipment” invented by Rube Goldberg. It is not for the faint of heart or those without a passing familiarity with the Theater of the Absurd.

Bismarck (or whoever) first coined the sausage metaphor was referring to the legislative process, but the law making processes also encompass the other branches of government.

To be sure, an executive, such as the president, cannot actually make law, although he can issue executive orders and can certainly use the Bully Pulpit to impact the legislative process, stumping around the country demanding this or that piece of legislation. In turn, his spotlighting of a particular issue can cause constituents to petition their legislators―either for or against as we have seen this year in contentious town hall meetings around the country.

An executive―president, governor, mayor, what have you―may also charm, cajole, arm-twist and call out legislators to get his way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. He is like a maître d in an extremely fancy restaurant.

And, finally, there are the courts to rule on whether laws are constitutional.

The process of the courts is supposed to be slow and deliberate, and it always seems to be the former if not the latter. In this regard the process is much more like baking than sausage making or serving dinner.

While there is room for interpretation and innovation in baking, it starts with some pretty hard and fast rules that are ignored or changed at peril.

Whether it is your grandma’s snickerdoodle cookie, an artisan boule of tomato basil, or a marzipan peacock cake fantasy, there are rules and procedures that can’t be broken and that take time―lots and lots of time.

I was reminded of this when looking over page proofs for this issue. What a lot of court cases! Some of which impact only a few gunowners, but most of which will resonate with us all, sooner or later.

The DC Appeals Court case, captioned Wrenn v. District of Columbia, which the Second Amendment Foundation, parent of W&G, sponsored (detailed on Page 5 of this issue), is a good example.

The Court, in a 2-1 decision, ruled against a “good reason” requirement in carry licenses in the District, freeing residents of the caprice of the licensing body there. Judge Thomas Griffith wrote, “The good reason law is necessarily a total ban on most DC residents’ right to carry a gun in the face of ordinary self-defense needs…”

There are a host of other places where the “good reason” stipulation exists―New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey chief among them.

Should the Wrenn case go to a full court hearing and/or the Supreme Court, a decision there would impact other locations.

What’s fascinating, though, is that Wrenn is really just another piece of a cake first baked in 2008―11 long years ago―in the Heller Supreme Court decision which first broke the District’s ban on law-abiding citizens owning guns and in the McDonald decision two years later which nullified Chicago’s handgun ban.

In the decade since Heller and McDonald, the recipe for gunowners’ success has been painstaking, and, yes, slow. Like bread that can’t be hurried, but must rise in its own time, these decisions come unhurriedly, but with great impact.

Each one—like grandma’s secret ingredient that makes the pastry just perfect―makes the next attempt that much easier.

When lower courts rule on gun laws, their decisions go in the books―quite literally and are then available to other jurists and lawyers working subsequent cases. Just like that batch of Christmas cookies you froze eight months ago and then serendipitously found when you needed dessert in September!

It’s a good idea to save room for such sweets, especially after a meal of sausages.

Peggy Tartaro, Executive Editor

Jeanelle Westrom Was Born to Run a Gun Store—Her Way

By Carolee Anita Boyles,
Contributing Editor

We all come to the shooting sports by different roads. One comes because of a family connection, another because of military experience, still another because she wants to learn how to protect her family; each brings a point of view to the shooting experience that is unique.

Jeanelle Westrom was born to be a shooter and later to own her own gun store. If her last name makes you say, “Hey, I know that name!” you’d be right.

Westrom, the owner of Davenport Guns in Davenport, IA, is the third generation of her family to be part of the gun industry.

“My grandfather was a gunsmith,” she said. “At 17, my dad used to go to the police department and practice on their indoor range with his pistol, without anyone raising an eyebrow.”

Westrom’s father joined the Army and shot on the Army Marksmanship Unit as a pickup shooter.

“My sister and I were both brass rats,” she said. “We picked up his brass, and when we got big enough we pulled targets for him.”

During her teenage years, Westrom’s father had an FFL and sold at gun shows.

“Then in 1994, Dad bought a small rifle manufacturing company named Eagle Arms,” Westrom said. “In 1995, he bought the Armalite trademark and brought back the AR-10 and the Armalite brand.”

Westrom worked for Armalite for about ten years and then moved to Georgia. In Georgia, she worked in HR in another industry, but continued competing in the shooting sports there.

“I shot high power with the Georgia State Shooting Association,” she said. “I’d go up to Camp Perry for the NRA and the CMP Nationals every year.”

Then the company Westrom was working for was bought out by another company and everyone in Human Resources lost their jobs.

“On the second to the last day of my work down there, my dad called said ‘Hey kid, if I buy a gun shop will you become the manager?’” she said. “I had other plans so I told him I would think about it. He said, ‘OK, you’ve got three hours. Call me back.’ He wanted me to make a life-changing decision in the snap of my fingers.”

Westrom thought about it. She was single and had no kids, and wasn’t dating anyone seriously. So she had no reason to stay in Georgia.

“My parents aren’t getting any younger,” she said. “Someone eventually will have to move back to where they are. So I thought, ‘Why not do it while I have a job offer?’”

So she called her father back and told him she’d move.

“I moved up, and he did not buy the business,” she said. “But he said, ‘Well kid, what do you want to do?’ I said, ‘I own an FFL, so I’m going to open a gun store.’ He said, ‘OK. Do you want a range?’ because the other store had a range. I said, ‘Well yeah, it doesn’t make sense to have a gun shop without one.’”

And that was that. Westrom opened Davenport Guns in January 2015.

“It was really kind of funny,” she said. “I would have these grumpy old men in the store, and they’d say, ‘I ain’t never heard of a female gun store owner; that’s just weird.’ Or they’d see all the girl stuff in here, like the concealed carry purses and say, ‘I ain’t never seen a girl in a gun shop before.’”

Then the media did a great job of explaining that Davenport Guns is a gun shop for women only. Westrom fought to change her image the best way she could. She created a tag line for her advertising that reads: “Davenport Guns, where making everyone feel welcome is what we do.”

Westrom also started doing a lot of TV ads, and looked for other ways to create a positive image.

“I never, ever turn down an interview, especially with the local media,” she said. “And I have trained the local media very well. I spend time with them and ask them what they want to know, and I give them history about what they’re doing a story on. I tell them, ‘You know a little bit about a whole lot of things. I know a whole lot about this one thing. Let me give you the backstory so that when you go to editing you don’t cut something out that makes you look bad.’ They appreciate that, and I make every one of them go out and shoot.”

During the most recent election cycle, Westrom did a Trump rally at the back of her building.

“We had one protester show up—one,” she said. “The media parked their cars and walked up, and I just walked them right past the protester. The guy left after ten minutes.”

Westrom said she’s never rude to people like that protester.

“My answer is that the whole purpose of being able to have a discussion is to form new ideas,” she said. “You might not agree with me, but give me your side of things and maybe we can find something we agree on. As long as people are respectful and courteous, I don’t care. You can argue with me all you want.”

In her time in the industry, Jeanelle said, she has seen a huge difference in the way women are treated.

“Back in 1994 and 1995, when I was a cute little fresh, young-faced girl, I would go to the SHOT Show and I was treated like the booth bimbo,” she said. “I started one show in makeup, curly hair and contacts. By the last day, my hair was up in a bun and I had my glasses on and minimal makeup, just for somebody to try to take me seriously, when the fact of the matter was that I knew more about ARs than most people in the building. People just didn’t want to talk to me because I was female.”

Today, Westrom said, the picture is totally different.

“Now people walk into wherever I am and say, ‘Hey, Jeanelle, you’re just the person I need to see,’” she said. “ ‘Come talk to me about this gun.’ I love it.”

That said, there still are parts of the gun industry that are primarily good ole boys.

“High power is still kind of like that,” Westrom said, “because it’s work. It takes all day to shoot one match. We’re carrying a heavy rifle, and moving big targets up and down. It’s the work of the shooting industry. There aren’t a whole lot of women who do that, and we all know each other. When we go to the CMP there will be 2000 men and 50 women.”

Westrom pointed out that there are a lot of young women coming into the industry who are clueless about the history of women in the shooting industry.

“That’s one of those things that I just let go,” she said. “You have to pick your battles. There was one girl at the Nationals who said, ‘I’m the first one to wear shorts on the range.’ I wanted to say, ‘Honey, I’ve been wearing shorts since I was 3. Trust me, your little 22-year-old tush did not invent shorts.’”

Today, Westrom said, the grumpy old men have become accustomed to the idea of a woman owning a gun shop.

“They come in all the time,” she said. “But feminists hate me. I think it’s sweet when men open doors for women. I think it’s respectful. When the guys come in and call me ‘Sweetie,’ I am not offended. I think it’s a term of endearment; that’s how they mean it. There’s only one of me, so they can remember my name, but I don’t remember all of their names, so I say, ‘Hi Sweetie, how are you?’ and they love it.”

Of course, the cookies help, Westrom said.

“You have to play to your strengths,” she said. “We have an oven upstairs and I bake them myself.”

Westrom also has given Davenport Guns her own touch.

“You know those big yellow posts people put out to keep things from driving into the building?” she said. “I think they’re ugly. Instead, I made raised garden beds. Now women come in, and then they wander around the front yard looking at the different flowers.”

Westrom said her TV ads have helped her define her public image, and they’ve had the side effect of creating new shooters.

“In every one of my TV ads, I’m shooting,” she said. “Now I can’t go out to dinner without someone coming up to me and saying, ‘I came into your store to learn how to shoot because I saw your commercial. If you can do it, I can do it.’”

W&G

Training Matters

Starting Out

By Dawn Wilson,
SAFTD Regional
Master Instructor

Over my tenure as a firearms instructor/instructor trainer and traveling all over the country to do classes, I have seen more and more woman attending firearms classes. After they gain experience many move on to learn more advanced defensive skills. Male and female humans learn the same way; it is the environment they learn in that makes the difference.

The other change I have seen over the past few years is groups of woman coming together to learn and shoot. Family, co-workers, social and even church groups all attending classes together. This also reduces the nervousness because the students already know people in the class. The class atmosphere is totally different when most of your students are friends. These groups also tend to meet up on a regular basis to make shooting a fun social event after they attend a class. I have seen the same group of women come back together for handgun 1, 2 & 3, even shotgun and carbine/rifle classes because they simply fall in love with the shooting world. We offer CPR/AED and First Aid class―these groups came to those too. Best of all a few of these ladies became instructors―seeing them start a few years ago and now they are confident and experienced enough to teach what they love to do. It doesn’t get any better than that.

A quick example is we offer a woman-only class which includes all women instructors. All of the information is exactly the same that is offered in the regular class to our other students. The

Photos courtesy Howard Communications

difference seems to be there is no pressure to compete in the all women’s classes. This lowers the nervousness somewhat which enhances relaxing and learning. An all woman-class taught by men just isn’t the same thing. I was lucky my husband has been a shooter for many decades as well as an instructor so my path was simple until I became an instructor. He had me go to other instructor’s classes to see what was out there, good and bad. This taught me to search out great instructors and not settle for average. Just ask people who really enjoy shooting you trust about their instructor. Word of mouth is more truthful and reliable than flashy ads and tacticool videos. Think of your first gun class as a safety class and not a shooting class, don’t cut corners, follow directions and think safety. This class will be the foundation of your shooting future, make the most of it.

If you are looking to attend a class it should be at your present shooting experience level. Going to (or being dragged to) an advanced class where everyone has had years of experience, you will tend to be left behind the rest of the students and end up playing catch up all day. It will not be an enjoyable or a positive learning experience for you. Before you attend an intermediate or advanced class also make sure your equipment works “for you.” Just don’t bring what is laying around the house, equipment failure on the range will also ruin your learning experience.

Being women are built different than men we show tricks of the trade to help our students out a little. Normal holsters wear differently on different body styles in different locations so we have a big box of all types of extra holsters we have collected over the years. The ladies can try these holsters on to see what works best for them and their circumstances. This also applies to clothing―an in-the-waistband holster would be near impossible to wear in an evening gown. So what are your options? Purse or maybe an ankle holster? Is that taught or at least mentioned in the class or will the instructor perhaps give you a few minutes of their time to go over these options? Ask before you sign up for the class.

Many times the gun our female students bring to class is their husband’s or was purchased for them by their husband because he likes it. So we bring our handguns to class and fit the ladies to a gun. Having a few dozen Blue Guns (Not real, totally plastic training guns) works as they are perfect replicas in size. They can also try a full holster with these blue guns and get a basic feel for both.

Because many handgun models come in different calibers the next step is to see what the largest caliber is that the student can handle safely and proficiently. We have .22 adapters for many of our handguns and because many students have never fired a shot in their life that is where we start. The .22 is a great idea for training and for your checkbook as .22 is relatively inexpensive, low recoil and has a low sound profile. Handing a novice shooter a .45ACP for their first few shots is a sure way to never have them come back. If that is what your instructors starts you with at a basic class it is time for a new instructor.

So if are going to spend money for a great class and fantastic information, don’t let it go to waste. Practice whenever you get a chance―shooting is a perishable skill. Does the instructor you chose offer skill building drills, all range classes for you to shoot a prescribed course of fire with a group and an instructor to keep your skill sharp?

If you are looking to attend a basic handgun or state concealed carry class you may want to ask the instructor if they do any of the tricks I mentioned to help you out. Do they offer a true all women’s class if that is what you are looking for?

Bring a friend shooting as we hope you will. Remember what was in this article and how you started. Be safe, have fun and never stop learning!

Eighth Grader Wins Overall During CMP National Event

By Ashley Brugnone,
CMP Writer

Katie Zaun

Though only in the eighth grade, Katie Zaun, 14, of the Buffalo Sharpshooters from North Dakota, showed exceptional marksmanship maturity as she became the aggregate winner of the National Three-Position Championships after earning third place in the National Junior Olympic match and first over her fellow competitors in the National Civilian Marksmanship Program event.

She was full of smiles as she posed for photos in a USA Shooting jacket as the newest member of its junior team, which was the honor she received for winning the two-day precision aggregate. She was also humble standing next to her family, grateful for her win and still unable to comprehend beating each competitor around her–most much more developed in years.

“It doesn’t really click in my mind,” she said of her win. “It’s crazy, shooting against really good people who are actually older than me – it really is. I’m still in shock.”

Zaun has been shooting since she was eight years old, beginning with BB gun before moving on to air rifle and smallbore, where she’s been practicing precision style shooting for almost five years now. This was her third trip to the Air Rifle Nationals event–and this time, she had goals in mind.

“All I wanted was to get into the finals because I was really close last year. I wasn’t expecting to place or anything,” she explained. “The previous years I’d get like seventh or eighth in the finals, and I’d been really excited about that because it’s the finals–it’s important. This year I just kind of stayed in my zone and kept putting [the shots] down.”

The National Air Rifle Championships for junior precision and sporter air rifle competitors was held June 21-23 and June 24-26 at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center, located on the grounds of Camp Perry in Ohio. The event combines the National Junior Olympic (JO) match with the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) competition. Individual and team awards are presented to each day’s winners, along with an award for the overall precision competitor of the two-day aggregate, who receives an honorary place on the USA Shooting junior team.

Unable to settle for just a regular win, Zaun set the bar even higher as she fired a new Age Group 3 National Record for a 3×20 plus Final during her CMP Nationals win, with a score of 697.9 – passing the previous record by 0.6 points. She had also received her Distinguished Air Rifle Badge, needing only one final point coming into the weekend.

With an entire high school career ahead of her, Zaun plans to keep on shooting. She doesn’t quite have any set plans, but she knows she’ll enjoy every second of her journey.

“I just want to have fun right now and see where it takes me,” she said.

In the CMP precision match, Rebecca Lamb, 15, of the Arlington Optimist Acorns CJRC from Virginia followed Zaun in second place with a score of 694.4, as individual competitor Jared Eddy, 16, of Midland, GA, finished with an overall score of 692.7.

In sporter, the ladies of the Zion Benton team from Illinois claimed the top two places in the CMP event as Jaycie Hoenig, 18, passed her teammate, Hailey Smith, 18, with a score of 668.3 for the win.

Behind Hoenig, Zion Benton teammate Hailey Smith fired an aggregate score of 663.8, as last year’s sporter JO Champion, Levi Carlson, 18, of Nation Ford HS MCJROTC from South Carolina, secured the third place spot with a score of 653.6.

Though Smith just missed out on the CMP Championship title, she had earlier made her mark when she fired an astonishing 10.9 on her last finals shot to become the overall winner of the JO competition with a commanding score of 666.8. She beat out last year’s CMP National Champ Emma Thompson, who squeaked by Hoenig by 0.3 points. The girls recorded scores of 656.5 and 656.2, respectively.

During her JO finals performance, Thompson also set a new Navy JROTC finals record with a score of 98.5, impressively jumping from sixth place to second. She even fired a difficult 10.9 shot and finished with a 10.7 on her final pellet during her astounding comeback.

In precision JO action, Sarah Osborn, 18, of Patriot Shooting Club from Virginia, outshot her closest competitor by 0.2 points to become the overall champion–recording a score of 691.9.

W&G

 

Ruger’s Hard Hitting Lightweight Revolver

By Bob Campbell,
Contributing Editor

The revolver remains a good choice for personal defense despite the widespread popularity of light self-loading pistols. The revolver will survive without maintenance much longer than the self-loader. While neglecting a firearm isn’t ideal it is a reality of a busy life. The revolver isn’t difficult to learn to shoot well and with practice and proper training it becomes a formidable defense tool.

The revolver has many advantages in personal defense including the ability to be thrust into the opponent’s body and fired repeatedly while a self-loader would malfunction if used in the same

The four-inch barrel Ruger SP101 is a superb field gun but less suited for personal defense. It is a well-made of good material and very strong.

manner.

When you have made your mind up concerning the revolver you may find that most seem too small or too large for personal defense. The aluminum frame .38 five-shot revolver is certainly small enough for constant carry but is difficult to use well and even uncomfortable to fire with personal defense loadings. Six-shot revolvers are more comfortable to fire due to heavier weight, but also more difficult to conceal.

The compromise evident in the Ruger SP101 is a good one. This five-shot revolver is relatively compact but features a very strong steel frame and hand-filling grips. I feel that it is among the best choices for personal defense of any modern revolver.

While the revolver has been offered in .22 rimfire, .32 Magnum and .38 Special, by far the best choice for both field use and home defense is the .357 Magnum revolver. The .357 Magnum SP101 may be used with .38 Special ammunition. The .38 Special is the parent cartridge of the .357 Magnum. The Magnum is simply 1/10 inch longer in the cartridge case and will not chamber in .38 Special revolvers. The .38 Special will chamber and fire in all .357 Magnum revolvers. Many shooters will use the .38 Special cartridge exclusively in their .357 Magnum Ruger and regard the revolver as a nice heavy duty .38 Special revolver. Nothing wrong with that at all―this is a potent combination with +P ammunition.

The SP101 is available with a 2.25-inch or 3-inch barrel and fixed sights. The four-inch barrel version is supplied with a fiber optic front sight and fully adjustable rear sight. The 2.25-inch barrel is the best overall combination for concealed carry. The three-inch version balanced well and provides greater recoil dampening. The four-inch barrel is really a field gun or a dedicated home defense gun. The four-inch barrel revolver is a great overall choice for home defense. For hiking and defense against animals, the four-inch barrel revolver is a good choice and you should invest the time and effort in mastering the .357 Magnum cartridge in this handgun.

The author feels the 2.25-inch barrel variant is most practical.

Whichever model of the SP101 is chosen this is a useful and versatile revolver. For concealed carry the 2.25-inch barrel remains the most viable

The transfer bar keeps the hammer from contacting the firing pin unless the trigger is fully to the rear.

choice. The Ruger is a double-action swing out cylinder revolver. The revolver is fired by a long press of the trigger. The action is smooth and controllable. There is a single-action option in which the revolver’s hammer may be cocked for a deliberate long range shot. While this option is good to have, the revolver should always be fired double-action when used for personal defense.

The Ruger SP101 is of stainless steel construction. The factory grips are rubber with plastic inserts. These are among the most well-designed grips ever supplied with a revolver.

The SP101 is light at about 25 ounces with the 2.25-inch barrel. It is 4.5 inches tall and at the widest point of the cylinder 1.35 inches. The revolver features an internal transfer bar ignition action. The SP101 is safe to be carried fully loaded. Compared to the Smith & Wesson J frame .38 Special, the cylinder of the Ruger is .09 wider―a small price to pay for such a robust revolver.

The Ruger’s frame is designed to withstand firing of the powerful .357 Magnum cartridge. While some Magnum loadings are designed for personal defense and are not as hot as others, the 35,000 pounds per square inch pressure generated by some loads is nothing to take lightly. The Ruger SP101 is easily the strongest revolver in the lightweight Magnum class.

The action of the Ruger gives a feeling of tightness. There simply isn’t any slop on the double action trigger. Firing the revolver requires the proper technique for accuracy. Press the trigger smoothly through the double action arc, keeping the sights lined up. In recoil control, allowing the trigger to reset as the revolver is recovered from recoil. The sights are fixed sights. The rear sight is broad and easily picked up. The front post may be acquired quickly during a defense situation.

For this evaluation I used a number of modern loads to properly evaluate the performance of the revolver. I began with a mix of Winchester ammunition in .38 Special. The 158-grain RNL loading is a classic for practice and informal target shooting. I found the sights well-regulated for this loading and the six o clock hold (holding under the bullseye, six o’clock) at 10 yards. Firing the revolver as quickly as I could recover the sights from recoil I fired at man sized targets at 5, 7 and 10 yards. The SP101 is fast on target and controllable.

The Winchester 125-grain PDX .357 magnum load is controllable but offers good wound ballistics.

I switched to the Winchester Silvertip 125-grain +P loading. While recoil is greater with this loading it is comfortable and controllable. Control was good

Rubber grips seperate the shooter’s hand from a steel grip frame, resulting in less felt recoil.

with groups as tight as the light .38 Special loads. With the 125-grain load the sights are well regulated for the dead center of the target hold. The .38 Special cartridge is shorter than the .357 Magnum and allows fast loading with the HKS speed loader. The Ruger SP101 must be tilted muzzle up like all revolvers and the ejector smartly rapped to ensure the spent cartridge cases fall free in a speed load drill. By carefully controlling the speedloader by extending the fingertips to the end of the cartridge case and slipping the cartridges into the revolver cylinder then releasing the cartridge by turning the knob of the speed loader, fast loads may be accomplished.

The Ruger SP101 offers excellent control. Even with +P .357 Magnum loads the revolver is controllable. The next step up is the .357 Magnum. This bears some study. The 9mm Luger and .38 Special are considered the baseline for defensive calibers. They are reasonable choices for personal defense. Persons of normal hand strength may control these firearms and do good work at this recoil level. Calibers below this level are problematical. Larger calibers are more effective with superior wound ballistics; this is simply physics in action. The .357 Magnum was developed as a hunting cartridge and for use against mechanized crooks in heavy vehicles or behind cover. It works well in this application. The .38 Special cartridge case was lengthened to prevent the new loadings from being chambered in the .38 caliber revolver. When looking over claims of 1400 to 1450 fps velocity for Magnum loadings keep in mind this isn’t realistic for a short barrel revolver. The powder cannot burn completely in such a short barrel. Only a complete powder burn results in such high velocity.

There are loads designed specifically for defense use which are not full power loads but plenty powerful. These are the best choices for personal defense in the .357 Magnum revolver. As an example I recently test fired several .357 Magnum loads in my personal Ruger SP101. The Winchester 125-grain JHP will generate 1400 fps in a four-inch barrel revolver. From the Ruger SP101 with its 2.25-inch barrel the load breaks 1235 fps. Wound potential remains high. Recoil is stout from the SP101. Winchester’s 125-grain PDX load breaks 1100 fps from the Ruger, over 120 fps more than the 125-grain .38 Special. This is a significant improvement. Penetration in water is in the ideal zone for personal defense. The PDX bullet expands to .78 inch. This load isn’t a great deal more difficult to master than the .38 Special but offers considerably improved wound potential.

Some feel that five shots isn’t sufficient for personal defense. When the advantages of the revolver and its improved wound ballistics are added up I feel the .357 Magnum SP101 is a good choice. I am not involved in tracking down dangerous felons and serving felony warrants so the SP101 will serve. If take over robbers are a real concern perhaps something else may be chosen. The SP101 isn’t a pocket gun, but it is light enough for constant carry with proper leather holsters. Also it isn’t limited to just personal defense. The Ruger SP101 is a fine survival gun in trained hands and would be capable of defense against large animals, given the proper loading. The Ruger SP101 is above all durable and trustworthy. There are few revolvers equally viable for camping and hiking use as a defensive/survival gun but also suited for urban defense.

Load bearing gear is an essential addition to the revolver. The Ruger SP101 offers a high level of protection. It is important that a proper holster be chosen. These holsters are among the very best available- I included the strong side belt holster, inside the waistband and a tuckable design.

Galco’s Carry Lite is found on the shelves at the larger stores. There is a positive thumb snap for retention that works out well in this example. The belt clip is properly positioned for concealed carry, holding the revolver at the proper angle. The revolver cylinder rides high on the belt. This is a good buy and a good concealed carry choice.

Barber Leather Works Pancake holster is worn on the belt under a covering garment. The Barber Leather Works holster is tightly molded to the individual firearm. The belt loops are properly spaced for a rear rake (the muzzle faces to the rear) and forward tilt (the handle is tilted forward) for a rapid draw. The holster body is defined apart from the pancake holster by double stitching. This double stitching keeps the handgun secure and tight against the holster body itself. There is a holstering welt that keeps tension on the cylinder and also prevents the holster from collapsing. Fit is tight, very tight and this holster demands a break in period. When done the combination of fit and design makes for a very fast holster that retains excellent retention. The IWB holster is great for concealed carry but gives up something in speed and simplicity to the pancake.

Lobo Gunleather’s Deep Cover holster is worn by placing it inside the pants and wearing the shirt over the holster. The belt clip goes over the top of the belt. If you are legally armed and using a tuckable holster the belt clip remains visible, while it doesn’t with an IWB and the shirt tail worn out. However some do not like the shirt worn outside or their job prevents them from wearing such an outfit. As an example a good friend works in the media and wears a covering garment at all times. When the garment comes off in the office the gun is still under the shirt. Speed is compromised but concealment is optimized. Much practice must go into this type of draw. Just the same it is a viable option for many and the only option for some. Fit and finish are excellent.

W&G

Long-Range Ladies

Debbie DiTunno takes aim with her Model 57 in .41 Magnum. She turned in the top score among women at the long-range handgun shoot near Spokane, Washington, named in memory of Elmer Keith.

By Dave Workman,
Contributing Editor

Seventeen years ago, Will DeRuyter of Valleyford, a tiny community southwest from Spokane in the eastern Washington farmlands, wanted to raise money for the NRA Foundation and to make that happen, he created a long-range handgun shooting event in memory of the late, great Elmer Keith.

Once recognized as a pioneer of using big bore handguns for hunting and shooting, Keith was responsible for the .41 and .44 Magnum cartridges, was deeply involved in development of the .357 Magnum and was also known for his hunting and guiding exploits all over North America and a couple of times in Africa.

This long-range shooting event has attracted a small but devoted cadre of shooters, and over the years one undeniable fact has emerged: This is not just a guy’s game. Among the participants are, and have been, some remarkably skilled women whose marksmanship has frequently put some of the guys to shame.

The Elmer Keith event has attracted as many as 50 shooters, and that’s not bad considering that the first event had only a dozen participants. It has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the NRA Foundation, and brought together some incredibly good shooters from all over the Pacific Northwest.

At this year’s event, I advised several of the old-timers about an email from a guy in Spokane who claimed to have “never heard of” the Keith shoot. Their tongue-in-cheek reaction: he obviously

Keith memorial shoot organizer Will DeRuyter looked on as daughter, Morgan cut loose with S&W Model 17 revolver a few years ago.

wasn’t invited.

This is a tight knit little group, and they enjoy this annual exercise in marksmanship. While the competition may be stiff, it is very good-natured. Laughter and shaking heads seem to occur frequently and simultaneously once the scoring begins.

DeRuyter’s daughter, Morgan, competed when she was 12, using a S&W Model 17 revolver and later with a custom built Freedom Arms M-87 in .44 S&W Special! His daughter, Mackenzie, has competed as well, with an S&W Model 686.

Over the years, other women have done rather well, according to DeRuyter. They include Jeanette Makaad, who won an S&W Model 29 in .44

Jennifer Makaad shows the kind of concentration required for long-range accurate shooting.

Magnum that had been engraved by Paula Biesen. She used that gun to compete the following year.

Competitor Trish Shride went away one year with a custom Ruger Blackhawk from Hamilton Bowen in .44 Magnum, in a presentation case created by Larry McMillian.

Shooting at ranges that stretch from 100 to 580 yards across a crop field behind DeRuyter’s home, competitors have unlimbered everything from .22-caliber rimfire semi-autos to a .500 S&W Magnum. During this year’s event, I was shooting my favorite S&W Model 57 chambered for the .41 Magnum, and sitting next to me during the shooting relay was Debbie DiTunno of Kamiah, Idaho, armed with the very same model and caliber of handgun.

Beat me flat. (Somebody said the Russians hacked my loading data, and that seems like a credible excuse until a better theory comes along!)

According to her husband, Ed, she was shooting a well-crafted handload consisting of a cast lead bullet out of a Lyman mold, propelled by 19.0-grains of Hodgdon H110 powder and a CCI 350 primer. That will make no sense to someone who doesn’t load their own ammunition, but for Debbie it turned out to be a blue ribbon recipe for success. She turned in the top score among women shooting in the event, and that’s saying a lot.

Long-range handgunning is more than just a sport. It’s something of an athletic event for the serious shooter, especially at the Keith memorial gathering. Nobody uses a scope. This is all done with “iron” sights, plus an appreciation for “Kentucky windage.”

It requires remarkable concentration, no small amount of patience, a mountain of eye-hand-finger coordination and just a wee bit of luck. At the longer ranges, wind can throw off a shot, as can

She’s hooked! Mackenzie DeRuyter reacts with a smile after cutting loose with her dad’s Model 686 S&W. Long-range handgunning requires concentration and considerable eye-hand coordination.

gravity. Get beyond 200 yards and many handgun bullets will develop a trajectory that drops like the proverbial stone.

Participants spend a fair amount of time and ammunition practicing on the evening and in the morning before they fire a dozen shots for score.

Linda Rausch used a single-action Ruger during this year’s event. And, yes, she did hit what she was aiming at.

Those who call their shots get additional points. (That doesn’t apply to anybody calling a “ground” shot!) In this game, you get some points for just showing up.

Targets are steel, and they come in various shapes and sizes. The closest target is a wolf silhouette at 100 yards, and uphill from that about 35 yards is a choice of five hanging targets on a long steel rail. There are also targets at 150 yards and beyond.

The 580-yard target isn’t there just to frustrate people. Keith is known to have hit a mule deer buck at approximately 600 yards, using a .44 Magnum revolver, while he was hunting with a pal in Idaho. Anybody who can duplicate that shot at DeRuyter’s event racks up a huge score that makes it nearly impossible to beat.

It takes about a second for the bullet to land anywhere near or hit that target, so anyone firing at it will see a little dust cloud, or perhaps hear a faint “clink” if there is a hit.

As many shooters of both sexes have discovered, this long-range shooting challenge can become something of an addiction. It is good fun, creates good camaraderie among all the participants, and shooters have even been known to coach one another.

Trish Shride accepts a custom Ruger Blackhawk from Larry McMillian, who built the presentation case. The gun was worked by Hamilton Bowen.

One may never see the names of these folks in lights, but if you ever see them on the range, you may witness some terrific shooting, perhaps accompanied with a wink, an eye roll, and a big smile.

Our thanks to Will DeRuyter, Ed Parry, Shawn McMillian and Ron Behrens for background and some of the photographs.

W&G

Shooting Well and Shooting to Win

By Bob Campbell,
Contributing Editor

There have been many books written on shooting from Hit the White Part by my friend Massad Ayoob to Gila Hayes Concealed Carry for Women. The first step is to study and define your goals. For most of us personal defense is most important.

Next, get started by taking the NRA beginner’s course. Safety is stressed and you will have a solid foundation for growth as a shooter. Like everyone else there are times when I am just shooting for fun. Not often, but occasionally, I break out the .22 TCM or a long barrel single-action revolver and just see if I can hit the rock on the one hundred yard berm or alternately see how quickly I can hit a tennis ball on the ten yard line. It is all great fun.

But if you are serious about growth and need to learn defensive, competitive or hunting skills then the time spent on the range should be productive. How much time you spend just shooting and how much practicing should be examined. All of the time and money spent on guns and ammunition should be a payoff in marksmanship. I recently had a good discussion with a real athlete of a shooter and a person firing many thousands of rounds on a yearly basis. The only way to attain such goals is to practice dry fire diligently and fire until you get it right, which is more often than not. Shooters like Maggie Reese and Jessie Duff don’t just shoot more than I and better than I―they practice the right way and follow strict rules concerning practice.

Most shooters improve quickly given the proper mindset. They go from having difficulty controlling their shots to what they think is good shooting. If they do not have other shooters to gauge their accuracy by, they often have an overinflated idea of their own skills. A few rounds of IDPA competition will put things in perspective. It is tempting to get pretty good and then empty the pistol into the target. Machine gunning a paper target is fun but it isn’t viable training and you do not learn much.

Unless you are properly executing the Bill Drill you need to learn marksmanship first. That means slow fire precision. Accuracy is final. Noise and brass in the air is fun sometimes, but you must hit the target. Unfortunately some shooters begin with a handgun that will destroy their confidence. I know a fellow that actually purchased his wife a compact Kimber .45 for their wedding anniversary as her first gun. A hard-kicking single-action .45 isn’t something most folks relish firing at the range. We do it because we must to master a carry gun. I have lost track of the compact .357 SIG and .40 Smith & Wesson self-loaders that resulted in a terrible flinch shooters picked up before attending my class. Their results were poor. A big brawny guy showed up with a Springfield XD in .357 SIG and his wife, who had never fired a gun before my class, had an identical Springfield in 9mm caliber. You guessed it―this guy barely passed the class and scared everyone on the line with blast and flash. I am certain he practiced trigger jerk not trigger press.

His wife, on the other hand, rose to the occasion and passed the class with a 90% score―far above her spouse’s 75%!

The .38 Special revolver in a four-inch barrel handgun and a medium size 9mm self-loader are ideal for personal defense for beginners and not too bad for the most experienced shooter. The .357 SIG. 40 Smith & Wesson and .357 Magnum cartridges require much time and effort to master. They should be left to shooters that have trained extensively and understand recoil control. I most often carry a .45 caliber self-loader and it has more of a push than a harp rap, and with a steel frame pistol or something over 30 ounces, the .45 is a reasonable choice. But once you develop flinch it is very difficult to get rid of this involuntary muscle contraction.

An equally poor choice is a pistol that is too small. Small sub-compact handguns have small grips that cramp the hand. The controls are difficult to manipulate efficiently. Shooter induced malfunctions in which the shooter allows her hand and fingers to strike the controls are common with these handguns. A short sight radius is also a limiting factor. Pulling a heavy trigger against a light handgun isn’t conducive to good accuracy. While it is good to begin with a .22, in the ideal situation many are interested in personal defense shooting and can only afford one handgun. That is the one they practice with.

Repetition and delivering a certain performance on demand means that you have to have mental discipline. This means firing the handgun time after time in exactly the same manner with the same trigger press and the same sight picture and sight alignment time after time. You may be moving or the target may be at different ranges but the chore is the same.

Line the sights properly. Superimpose the sights properly over the target. Press the trigger to the rear smoothly. Keep the grip strong in follow through, allow the trigger to reset, and fire again. If you fire a double tap at 5 yards or fire a five-shot group from the bench rest at 25 yards the process is the same, the details differ.

I often see folks at the range that are using a very poor stance. They are holding the pistol incorrectly, too weakly, and their feet are not planted correctly. When I work into a stance I have a mental trick that helps a great deal. I imagine a steel rod anchoring me to the earth and running at least twenty feet into the ground. I may pivot on it or turn in any direction but that rod running from my leg through the earth is my anchor. I keep a rock solid stance.

I often hear folks at the range emptying their gun. Five shots, a .38 snub, six booms, a .357 Magnum, eight or nine deep blasts, a .45, and the inevitable 13 to 18 rounds from the 9mm, often followed by a fast reload and a repeat. I just don’t think they are learning much even if they are having fun.

As I said ammunition is expensive and you should be getting your money’s worth. A solid hit in the X ring beats fifty rounds all around the x in my opinion. Groups do not save your life. You need to practice often and have the image of a perfect sight picture firmly implanted in your hard drive memory.

My practice regimen works well for me since I test a lot of handguns. I fire for reliability and combat shooting at 5, 7 and 10 yards with five controlled shots per group. The ten yard range is important, I think, as it is far enough to stress the need for good marksmanship habits but close enough to avoid frustration as the beginner practices.

The handgun must be properly sighted. As an example, just last week I tested an expensive factory handgun that fired four inches to the left in relation to the point of aim at 20 yards. I am confident in my skill and managed to properly adjust the sights. (I keep an extensive range kit with proper tools.) A combination of speed, accuracy and power is needed. This accuracy isn’t easy to build without careful attention to the basics of marksmanship. Speeding up simply means you will miss faster.

Shooters that do not have enough time to practice do the best they can. A job, a family and other obligations loom larger for some that others. Just the same the time you manage to devote to training should be utilized properly. If you have achieved a high level of skill, then you may practice a number of skills in each range session. The draw, presenting the handgun to the target, firing accurately and even weak hand fire and barricade shooting may be pressed into the range time. This isn’t ideal.

I think that shooters are often duplicating their qualification exercises. There are drills such as the El Presidente that include several skills. It isn’t difficult to incorporate speed loads into every practice session. But when working to build skills you need to specifically build that skill. Work with short range control during the entire session, or long range and hitting small targets, depending upon which skill you are short at. Perhaps weak hand fire is your shortcoming. Work with the non-dominant hand during the range session. It takes a lot of practice to become reasonably good at combat pistol drills. Practice hard on the skills you have not mastered. It is easy enough to go to the range and practice the drills you are good at. It takes that thing called mental discipline to master the other drills. This process is often called learning to learn. Once you have learned the practice and attention to detail that goes into mastering a skill you will be prepared for other skill building exercises and approach each the same way.

From the Editor

A recent story in the Washington Post reported that in the first couple of months following the election of Donald Trump as president, firearm and ammunition sales “dropped precipitously,” but a careful reading of data from the FBI’s National Instant Check System suggests things were not so bad.

The story said, “Gun clubs and shops that cater to black and LGBT clients say there has been an uptick in interest in firearms since November among those who fear that racial and gender-based violence could increase during Trump’s presidency.”

That was significant because it reflected an interesting socio-political turn for groups traditionally taken for granted as being liberal and therefore anti-gun.

A record was set in December 2015 when the FBI conducted 3,314,594 NICS checks. This does not translate to one-on-one sales data, according to a caveat on the FBI’s website. But the number is a strong indicator of firearms sales.

In December 2016, NICS checks fell to 2,771,159, a decline of only about a half-million. But in January, there were only 2,043,184 checks conducted (as opposed to 2.545,802 checks in January 2016) and in February there was a slight uptick to 2,234,817 (down from the 2,613,074 in February 2016).

According to the story, stock value fell at publicly-traded companies in the firearms field, and sales of modern sporting rifles—the so-called “assault weapons” that anti-gunners want banned—had also declined in the election aftermath. But that was predictable because many people were buying firearms in anticipation of a November victory for Hillary Clinton, who had made it clear early in the campaign she would push for  stricter gun control.

But with Trump in the White House, another interesting situation has developed.

The story quoted Philip Smith, president of the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA). He told the newspaper that there is a concern among his members that “divisive politics” could descend into violence.

And other stories from around  the country indicate anecdotal evidence that non-traditional gun owners, such as those identifying as politically liberal or in the LGBT community are buying guns and seeking training.

Of course, so-called non-traditional groups have always had membership in what the late Da-vid Caplan called The Second Amendment Friendship. And, sadly, some segments have not al- ways been as welcoming as they could—or should be to outsiders.

Most women gun owners have experienced the look of bemusement, and sometimes horror, on the face of gun club members or gun shop employees when they first dare set foot in a club or gun shop.

In the case of a gun shop, the transactional nature of the stop  usually means at least a modicum of courtesy. If it doesn’t, the female customer can leave—taking  her credit card with her.

At a gun club, the passage is usually eased by another member perhaps the one that encouraged you to stop by. But it can be an intimidating experience—and as Lyn Bates points out in her  column elsewhere in this issue—sometimes the amenities them-selves can be off-putting.

For every “little lady” comment I have heard at ranges, gun shows, national conventions, trade shows, etc., I have heard just as many “atta  girl,” or “my granddaughter is the best shot in the family.” And the positive comments have grown over the years, as had the diversity  of those attending all these gun-related events.

This is not to beat up entirely on gun owners—even the most hidebound. It has always been part of the group dynamic to be wary, and sometimes hostile, to newcomers.

When I started playing competitive Scrabble a decade ago, it took some courage to present myself at a local club. Not everyone was happy to see a newbie—one who would have to be taught some of the intricacies of competitive play. Others were happy for more “can- non fodder” that they could whip regularly and drive up their aver-ages. And still others—the vast majority—were happy to have a new club member, to see someone else enjoy the game as they did, and to occasionally help with the clean-up.

Friendship, as we all should know at this point, is a two-way street. Welcoming new members is relatively easy, creating friend-ships and sustaining them is the task we must all take up.

Peggy Tartaro, Executive Editor

Peggy Tartaro, Executive Editor

 

A Girl (and Her Horse) on a Competitive Shooting Course

girlandhorse

Kenda Lenseigne engages targets while riding during a cowboy mounted shooting event. Photo by Chad Reinhart, courtesy Safari-land.

By Peggy Tartaro,
Executive Editor

Cowboy mounted shooting (also called western mounted shooting and mounted shooting) is a competitive equestrian sport involving the riding of a horse to negotiate a shooting pattern. Depending on sponsoring organizations, it can be based on the faithful reenactment of historic shooting events held at Wild West Shows in the late 19th century. Modern events use blank ammunition certified to break a target balloon within twenty feet instead of live rounds.

With its origins in the 1990s, growing out of Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS), the sport requires both equestrian and shooting skills. A typical event requires two single-action revolvers loaded with five blank cartridges. Ten targets are arranged in a horseback riding arena, and the rider guides the horse across a timer line and engages the ten targets. When all ten targets have been hit, the rider returns across the timer line and the score is determined and re-corded. The raw time of the rider is computed and penalties are added for missed targets or failure to follow the specified course or procedure. The sport attracts men, women and junior shooter/riders.

Kenda Lenseigne, and her horse Sparky, recently won five overall cowboy mounted shooting com-petitions in the first two months of 2017. Lenseigne not only took titles in the ladies division, but also beat the men in competitions including:

Border Wars, Jan. 20–22, 2017, Queen Creek, AZ: Overall title time, for both men and women, in five combined stages was 73.803

kendra

Cowboy mounted shooter Kenda Lenseigne after a successful event. Photo by John Beckett; hair and makeup by Julie Koeth, courtesy Safariland.

Southwest Regionals, Feb. 10–12, 2017, Queen Creek, AZ: Overall winner with a time of 69.637, placing above 211 competitors, both men and women, with the fastest time in three out of five stages.

CMSA Winter U.S. Champion-ship, Feb. 15–18, Queen Creek, AZ: Overall Champion Cowgirl, placing above 231 competitors, both men and women, with a time of 72.388.

Winter Range Championship, Feb. 26, Phoenix, AZ: Overall title time in all five stages was 45.425, placing above 108 competitors, for both men and women.

February Shooter Jackpot, Feb. 27, St. Cloud, MN: Overall title time in three stages was 48.525, placing above 70 competitors, for both men and women.

Lenseigne is a Bianchi Team pro rider. Bianchi is a holster/leather brand of the Safariland Group.

“My horse is lightning fast,” said Lenseigne. “On every course, I have to change my guns after the first five targets, and am confident in my Bianchi holsters be-cause they are reliable, lightweight and have the perfect fit. With just 7/100 of a second separating first and second place at this year’s Winter Championship, there was no room for error.”

Mounted shooting uses black powder theatrical blanks with no bullet. A number of companies manufacture certified ammunition for competition. These blanks were originally used in movie production and on the theatrical stage so that flame and smoke can be seen from the muzzle of the firearm. This burning powder will break a balloon target out to approximately twenty feet.

With its origins in CAS, competitors originally wore period dress, but now modern cowboy clothing is the norm.

“Kenda continues to set the bar extremely high,” said Scott Carnahan, vice president, equipment, Safariland. “She is a true competitor, and we are extremely proud of her start to the 2017 competitive season. Not only is Kendra an as-set to Team Bianchi, she is an excellent brand ambassador and an inspiration to women looking to pursue their passions.”

Lenseigne competed in all five competitions with her Smoke-chaser™ Bianchi Cowboy holster. Next up for Lensigne and Sparky is the CSMA National Championship in Tunica, MS.

For more information on the sport, the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (cmsaevents.com) or the Mounted Shooters of America (newsmsa.com) list local clubs and upcoming events.

Mild Shooting and Useful .32 Caliber Revolvers

These .32 caliber revolvers are excellent recreational handguns with much merit for sporting use as well.

These .32 caliber revolvers are excellent recreational handguns with much merit for sporting use as well.

By Bob Campbell,
Contributing Editor

Among my favorite revolvers are those chambered for the .32 caliber cartridges. The .32-20 WCF is the largest and most powerful and won’t be covered here; it demands a larger frame revolver.

The Ruger Single Six is loaded and ejected one cartridge at a time.

The Ruger Single Six is loaded and ejected one cartridge at a time.

The light-weight .32 Smith & Wesson Long revolver is a great recreational shooter that is surprisingly useful for taking small game. The .32 H & R Magnum is among the finest field cartridges ever invented for much the same reasons as its shorter sibling—it is mild to use and fire, accurate, and more powerful than the .22 rimfire. The .32s are a bridge between the .22 and the .38 Special and other larger cartridges. I do not con-sider them useful for personal defense but then they are better than tooth and nail. They have served and perhaps will serve again. The .32 H & R Magnum in its better loads is approaching acceptable ballistics for personal defense.

smith&wessonda

This Smith & Wesson double-action .32 offers light recoil and surprisingly good accuracy.

The .32 Smith & Wesson Long was developed when Smith & Wesson went from the break top revolver to the modern swing out cylinder .32. The first modern double-action revolver, the Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector, was chambered for this cartridge.

The .32 Smith & Wesson Long fires a 98-grain RNL bullet at about 700 fps from a four-inch barrel revolver. This is no power-house. Yet, it was used extensively by police agencies, including a decade as standard issue for the New York City Police Department. While a very common cartridge for defense use until about the 1970s, I have but a single case of the .32 Smith & Wesson Long being used in a combat situation. A plainclothes officer carrying a Smith & Wesson .32 emptied his revolver into a felon’s face and jaw attempting to stop a hold-up. The felon took four shots in the heavy cheek and jaw bones. He fled the scene and it took little cleaning and bandaging to fix him up after he was apprehended.

modernfiveshot

The modern five-shot .38 Special is simply a .38 on a .32 frame as this image illustrates.

The .32s I used as a teenager included a rather nice Colt Detective Special with 2-inch barrel. I experimented with every load and handgun I could find. I had a difficult time wringing useful accuracy from small frame Smith & Wesson Kit Guns in .22 caliber. The Smith & Wesson six-shot Model 30 is built on the same frame as the five-shot .38 Special so popular today; indeed this now discontinued revolver was the original. This handgun and the six-shot Colt .32 are quite accurate, more so than the .38 versions in my experience. They offer light re-coil and excellent accuracy. I took quite a few squirrels and other edible game at longish range. The revolvers were pleasant enough to use and fire and more accurate than the .22 and .38 revolvers my grandfather owned- at least in my young hands.

I have owned quite a few .32 Smith & Wesson revolvers. I will make a few observations concerning the type. First of all they are all accurate. I have never seen a Smith & Wesson .32 that was not very accurate. A combination of quality control at the height of old school production is one rea-son. The excellent balance of the cartridge is another. The two-inch barrel illustrated is good and tight but shows signs of long use. The characteristic flat latch and color case hardened trigger and hammer are classic Smith & Wesson. Other than the power of the cartridge this revolver has no faults. The action is smooth, the sights are good, accuracy is excellent and the overall feeling is one of quality.

You can’t fault the cartridge’s power as you know what you are getting when you deploy the .32 Smith & Wesson Long. I was able to control the revolver easily and made several offhand double-action groups at ten yards that could be covered with the hand. I fired as quickly as I could bring the sights back on target after reoil—and recoil is not a factor with this handgun.

flocchi

Fiocchi’s full wadcutter is intended to deliver Olympic grade accu-racy. It does just that.

This revolver is actually more accurate in a mechanical sense then the majority of .22 caliber versions we call the .22/.32 kit gun. The .32 Smith & Wesson Long is a wonderful small game cartridge that takes rabbit and squirrel without any fuss and bother and without destroying excess meat.

As for personal defense the choice of a quality revolver that is easy to use well may instill more confidence that is warranted in such a light caliber. Buffalo Bore offers both a heavy flat point and a full wadcutter in this caliber. They are a considerable improvement and if you have grandmother’s .32 and wish to deploy it then this is the only reasonable choice. I prefer to use my old Smith & Wesson for recreational use.

The .32 H & R Magnum is a lengthened .32 with consider-ably greater energy than the .32 Smith & Wesson Long. This revolver will accept and fire the .32 Smith & Wesson Long cartridge as a sub load. An 85-grain JHP at 1100 fps from a four inch barrel is the standard for this caliber. The result is a superbly accurate and controllable shooter with good accuracy in a quality handgun to 50 yards. While usually associated with compact revolvers the cartridge is sometimes found in the Ruger Single Six single action revolver. It appears out of production at present. Heritage Manufacturing apparently produced a similar model I wished to obtain but never found. Ruger also occasionally offers fixed sight versions of the Single Six in .32 H and R Magnum. Ruger also offers a six shot version of their SP101 double-action revolver chambered for the .32 H & R Magnum.

ruger32

The Ruger .32 Magnum is often carried in this first class cowboy rig from Rocking K Saddlery. This is the Diamond Loop Cattlebrand holster. (Rockingksaddlery.com)

smith&wessonholster

The Smith & Wesson makes a neat package in this Wright Leather Works (wrightleatherworks.com) inside-the-waistband holster.

If you choose the .32 H & R Magnum for personal defense the SP101 offers a stable platform with excellent control and good accuracy. While a Magnum in name, the .32 caliber Magnum offers inoffensive recoil with the heaviest loads. As an example, the full power .32 H & R Magnum recoils less than the .38 Special and offers about 60% of the recoil of the .357 Magnum revolver cartridge.

While I consider the cartridge most useful as a target and small game cartridge, for those that for one reason or the other simply cannot handle the recoil of the .38 Special, the .32 H & R Magnum offers an alternative. In a steel frame four-inch barrel revolver such as the SP101 recoil is mild. The .32 Smith & Wesson Long may be used as a sub loading. The .32 Smith & Wesson Long has no more recoil than the .22 Long Rifle, subjectively, and in my opinion, is even more pleasant to fire due to the .32’s very limited muzzle report.

The .32 caliber revolvers are an interesting diversion. The .32 Smith & Wesson Long has served for many years simply giving the owners confidence in a firearm that offers little recoil and good accuracy. When pressed into use in the field it has taken game. The .32 H & R Magnum is a wonderful outdoors handgun. As a long range plinker or for taking game to perhaps 35 pounds it has much merit. For the recoil shy it may be pressed into service for personal defense. The .32 caliber revolver has been a companion for some forty years and remains one of my favorite recreational handguns.

32popular

.32s have always been popular for light weight and low recoil. This is a Smith & Wesson “bicycle gun” intended to be carried by cyclists.