Table of Contents

Get out to the range and put a smile on your face! Image courtesy Howard Communications.

News
Handguns
On The Go
Holiday Gist Guide, Part 1
Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2
Long Guns
Legally Speaking
Making a Difference
Resource Directory
From the Editor

Resource Directory

Sources and Specifications for SIG M17 feature, Page 10

SIG SAUER, Inc.
72 Pease Blvd., Dept. WG
Newington NH 03801
sigsauer.com
Caliber 9mm Luger
Action type semi-auto
Frame stainless steel
Trigger striker
Overall length 8 in
Overall width 1.3 in
Weight 29.6 oz
MSRP $768.00

Black Hills Ammunition
PO Box 3090, Dept. WG
Rapid City, SD 57709
black-hills.com

Sources for Lyn Bates’ Gift Suggestions, Page 15

arachnigrip.com
mantisx.com
offhandgear.com

Sources for Scott Smith Holiday Gift Suggestions feature, Page 18

5.11 Tactical
866-451-1726
Online: 511tactical.com
Lowa Boots
877-307-7277
lowaboots.com
Noisefighters
616-226-3551
Noisefighters.com
Peltor
888-364-3577
3m.com
Rudy Project
949-272-2440
rudyprojecyna.com
Sightmark
817-225-0310
Sightmark.com

 

From the Editor

I’m a slightly snobby tea drinker, with a preference for a British teabag for most cups, and a nice, tippy Assam when I have the time to brew.
That doesn’t, however, make me an expert tea leaf reader—although I highly recommend their use as garden mulch.
Alas, these days, everyone seems to be an expert prognosticator, with all sorts of methods of arriving at their conclusions. For all I know, under the roundtables of pundits cluttering up media today, there is someone pouring out cups of tea, the better to discern the leaves.
This issue goes to press just a couple of weeks before the November 2018 midterm elections, right after the bruising Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, now a member of the Supreme Court.
Some scenarios have the Democratic Party taking the US House of Representatives by “historic” margins and eking out a slim majority in the Senate.
Others have the House going to the Democrats by a smaller margin and the Republicans holding the Senate—and possibly taking an additional seat or two.
All the pundits know that midterms usually play out as a referendum of sorts on the incumbent president and that the party that holds that office usually has losses in Congress—particularly in the House.
But we are living in much more chaotic and fragmented times than in the past, so there is a lot of hedging going on amongst the chattering classes.
Patterns that were once the norm are just as likely to be fragmented than they are to stay clearly fixed.
Gunowners are already happier than they have been in decades. The Supreme Court, should it take up any gun rights cases next term, is more apt to swing our way, and if we are to have 5-4 decisions on all important cases, so be it. Many of us believed that Heller, and especially McDonald, should have been decided unanimously or at least by 7-2 votes—if we had believed that now Justices Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor, really meant that the 2nd Amendment was “settled law,” as they both averred in their confirmation hearings.
It is never wise to predict much of anything, including how the Supreme Court will rule, but this is a better time to be a gunowner than in almost anyone’s memory.
However—and there are always howevers–just because we have a pro-gun rights leaning Supreme Court, and, indeed, more friendly Appellate Courts, does not mean that gunowners are out of the proverbial woods.
A Democrat House, especially one bent on punishing the “other side,” would bottle up long-wished for legislation, such as national reciprocity, even if a GOP-controlled Senate moved on it.
And, somewhat horrifyingly, Nov. 7, 2018, the day after the midterm election, is also the kick-off for the 2020 presidential race.
Michael Bloomberg, former Republican, former Independent, former mayor of New York, and deep pocketed anti-gunner, has already registered as a Democrat—the better to “explore” the wilds of New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two presidential proving grounds. I expect him to visit both states before year’s end.
Other visitors to those states are likely to be a who’s who of the anti-gunners: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Corey Booker (NJ), among them. Even for people like me, who have an enduring interest in politics, it is likely to be too much, too soon, with every shortened news cycle bringing a new front runner to the fore.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom,” said Edmund Burke, 200+ years ago. And it has been true ever since.
The path to the universal recognition of gun rights as an integral civil right, is a long one, with a lot of obstacles along it.
Paying attention to every step is the only guarantee of safe arrival.

2018 Holiday Gift Suggestions

 

Don’t let fear of spiders keep you from this cool gadget that aids in slide racking!

By Lyn Bates,
Contributing Editor

This might be the final answer to the “I can’t rack the slide” problem.
I admit it, I hate real spiders. I’ve always been afraid of them, and they have had a short lifetime if I find one near me. I have finally found a spider I actually love, and am happy to have on my gun―the Slide Spider by ArachniGRIP.
I’ve taught various techniques for opening slides for years to folks with limited hand strength, and I’ve tried many products that claim to help. Few actually do.
As I get older, and my friends, do, too, arthritis and other physical problems can seriously interfere with guns that used to be easy to handle, but are now becoming challenging.
Somebody thought of a really good solution. The Slide Spider is a piece of tape shaped kind of like a spider (roundish body, multiple legs). One side is rough surfaced and the other side is sticky.
You attach the body to the back of your slide, just ahead of the rear sight, and press the little legs down into the grooves on each side of the slide.
The result is that your fingers and palm now have a wonderful grip where before they tended to slip. The slide will open very easily. The roughened surface is just rough enough, not too rough even for hands that have seldom held a gun. Similar to skateboard tape.

This stylish bag does double duty as both a purse and range bag.

It makes racking slides go from “good to awesome” for some and from “struggling to easy” for many of us with limited strength. It gives everyone more control. Even many guys like it.
There are spiders perfectly cut to fit many manufacturers and models of guns. Be sure to watch the website installation video as it has important points and is clear and easy to follow.
It is OK to use on carry guns, as it doesn’t interfere with holsters or clothing. It is OK to use in all weathers, though I’m taking the word of others on that point.
The red spider on top is their logo, but you can get plain black if you won’t want that visible insect (yes, I know, arachnid, not insect) on your gun. The package contains two, so you have a spare, if needed, or one to give a friend.
Know anyone with arthritis? Know anyone with a bad case of the “I can’t rack this slide-itis?” They will love this.
For only $19.95, what a deal!
I always carried both a range bag and my purse when going to the range. Don’t you and all the other women shooters you know do it that way? Finally, someone―Sandi Keller―decided women needed just one bag that would do double duty, as stylish as an expensive purse, as functional as a range bag. She invented one and calls it No Ordinary Range Bag (NORB).
I was skeptical at first, then I got one to try. The NORB is big 12” x 14” with buckles on the front and a shoulder strap.. “That’s going to be heavy”,

MantisX helps with both training and record keeping and provides instant feedback.

I thought as I reached for it the first time. Boy, was I wrong. Empty, it weighs a mere 1.5 lbs., lighter than my big old empty gun bag and much lighter than, say, a leather or many other purses.
It is constructed like a fine purse/range bag, with lots of thoughtful padded pockets and places to put guns, gun gear and other stuff.
I thought I might not like the strap―a stretchable one―but it is light and works great cross body or over the shoulder (no slipping). A short, 12”, handle is available if you would prefer to carry it like a satchel or tote bag.
You can put gun(s), ammo, eyes, ears and more gun stuff inside. Think of the things you would normally need to carry in your purse (money, credit cards, licenses, keys, etc.). You can put them loose or in a little purselet or organizer and slip that in the pocket in the back. Yes, there is a pocket for your phone.
One of the best features is a zipper in the top. That lets you get at everything in the bag, your purse stuff or your gun stuff, without undoing the buckles!
Left handed? That top zipper opens both ways so it works great for lefties, too. The bottom opens flat, so the bag will sit on the ground or on a bench. If it just seems too big, there is now a smaller, compact version of NORB.
Range bags made for women used to be much like the ones made for men, but in colors other than black and camo. I tried a black NORB, but there is an amazingly beautiful gray pattern with circles that looks like the finest, most interesting purse, not at all like a range bag.
The NORB is a real change for women, a new option. One gorgeous bag, two uses. No more lugging both a purse and an ordinary range bag to the range. It retails for $139
It’s $149.99—Usually I put the prices of products at the end of reviews, but MantisX’s price is right up front so you can think about that while reading the rest of this review.
MantisX is a gadget that attaches to your gun, virtually any gun, observes and records every shot (live or dry) and, via your phone or tablet, offers suggestions to improve your shooting.
Here’s how it works. There is a (small, light, 1 oz.) gadget you attach to your gun. There is an app you download to your phone or tablet, and easily pair the gadget via Bluetooth. When you shoot, or even dry fire, it records info about every shot and gives you great feedback.
The gadget fits on the rail of many guns. Your gun doesn’t have a rail? You can get an adapter for $25 that replaces the baseplate of one of your magazines, and attaches with a screwdriver.
When you shoot, it measures and records three things: the movement of the barrel while you are sighting/holding, the movement of the barrel while you are pulling the trigger and the movement of the barrel from shot break through recoil.
It calculates a score for each shot, based on those three measurements; 100 would be perfect, so your scores and mine will be less. The score for every shot is easy to see on your phone or pad.You get instant feedback “Good shot” or “great shot” if your score is over 90 or 95.
The real value starts to be apparent when you see comments like “Tightening Fingers” or “Heeling” on your screen. You can touch those words and get a picture, an explanation of what it means and…wait for it…how to correct that.
There are several ways to see more about your shot, with consistent colors: blue: hold/sighting. yellow: trigger pull. red: shot breaking and recoil pattern. One is a colored bar graph that shows blue how much the muzzle moved during holding, in yellow how much it moved during your trigger pull, and red for recoil. Don’t like the bar graph display? The trace view (colored squiggles and lines, not a graph) shows you the information in a way that might be more intuitive.
It does record keeping extremely well, but I think the best thing is the coaching feedback that tells you what to change about what you are doing to shoot better. “Possible Causes: slapping the trigger. or tightening the grip,” each with a full explanation of not just what that means but exactly what you can change to shoot better.
Even when I was quite dedicated to shooting, I never dry fired as much as I should have. Heck, to be honest, I almost never dry fired. It was boring, and impossible to see the improvement it was supposed to cause between trips to the range. MantisX works with dry fire, and gives you that instant feedback, making dry fire popular and productive again.
The first afternoon I dry fired over 70 shots, possibly more than ever in one session. I didn’t mind its really occasional mistakes, given the vast amount of accurate information it was accumulating.
Do you know anybody who has an Airsoft or CO2 gun that gathers dust because shooting it has gotten boring? MantixX works with it, too.
You have lots of options, just shoot anything you want or take one of the structured lessons for things like timed shooting, one handed shooting, or reloading magazines.
It is like having a knowledgeable, experienced shooting coach in your pocket offering great advice whenever you want. Not just for shooters, this is a phenomenal tool for anyone who trains or coaches. Who could not use and love that?
Now, remember the price $149.99 plus $25 if you need an adapter. Maybe get one for every shooter you know, and yourself, too?

 

FBI Crime Report 2017: Violent Crime Down

The estimated number of violent crimes across the United States declined slightly in 2017 by 0.2% from the previous year, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
Last year, there were 15,129 homicides in the country, of which 10,982 were committed with firearms. As in previous years, handguns made up the bulk of those gun-related murders, at 7,032.
The number that got most attention from gun rights activists is 403, which is the number of slayings involving rifles of any kind, not just semi-autos. There were also 264 murders committed with shotguns, the FBI report said.
There were also 3,283 firearm-related murders in which the gun used could not be or was not identified.
Additionally, 1,591 people were stabbed or slashed to death, another 467 were bludgeoned and 692 were beaten, stomped or strangled to death.
But the number of rifle-related slayings is significant especially as it relates to on-going efforts by gun prohibition lobbying groups to enact stricter laws or outright bans on so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles.” Historically, rifles have not been the most popular weapon of choice for people who killed using guns. The figure for rifle slayings is typically in the 2- to 4-percent range of all murders.
Yet these are the firearms that seem to be the most popular target of criticism by anti-gunners. By some estimates, there are more than 16 million modern sporting rifles in private ownership nowadays. According to the FBI, 2017 saw an estimated 1,247,321 violent crimes. Robberies declined an estimated 4.0% from the previous year, and murder and non-negligent homicide fell by 0.7% from the estimate of 2016.
However, aggravated assault and rape were up 1.0 and 2.5% respectively, the FBI report said.
While property crimes declined with a drop 7.6% for the number of burglaries, larceny-thefts fell by 2.2%. Auto theft was up by 0.8%.

The Shotgun: Real Security and Defense

 

There is no firearm more effective for home defense than a 12-gauge shotgun—but only if you are unafraid of the shotgun and have mastered it.

By Bob Campbell,
Contributing Editor

The forefinger is on the bolt release to release the bolt.

Everyone has free advice, but you must consider the source. It seems that both professionals and the uninitiated agree that the shotgun is a great home defense firearm. The shotgun is a good choice for those willing to practice and master the beast, otherwise it isn’t viable.
The hit probability and wound potential of the shotgun are unequaled for those that practice. If someone says “You can’t miss with the shotgun,” it is time to run not walk away from this advice.
Shotguns are heavy, have low capacity magazines, and kick a lot. Folks tend to hang things on them that intrude upon rather than enhance the shotgun’s best features. If you have a sporting shotgun with a 24- to 28-inch barrel it isn’t hopeless for home defense.
In over thirty years of police and security work I cannot recall a single incident in which a homeowner used a purpose-designed “riot gun” to save their life and there were several incidents each year with the shotgun.
On the other hand the 18- to 21-inch barrel shotgun handles quickly in tight spots and is the best choice for home defense. If you are purchasing the shotgun for sporting purposes then you may work with the piece in drills in the home. If the primary concern is home defense, then choose a shorter barreled, fast handling shotgun from the beginning.
I am going to include the security shotgun known in police circles as the riot shotgun and also the 20-gauge pump action shotgun which is

The slide action shotgun is loaded from beneath into a tubular magazine.

usually a 21-inch barrel shotgun. Either will save your life if you have trained in their use. I train hard with my shotguns because they are the best tool for many jobs and they demand that I master them to control recoil.
A shotgun with a standard stock should be chosen, either wood or synthetic, and it should have a decent recoil pad with enough length to have some give when the shotgun fires. This cushions recoil and makes a big difference on the shoulder. Never choose a shotgun with a pistol grip instead of a stock. They are very difficult to use. The cruiser style shotgun kicks practically out of the hand and isn’t useful past a few yards. It isn’t cool when you shoot the wrong person or you cannot defend yourself with this beast.
There is a certain natural point inherent in the shotgun, but it must be aimed. If you encounter a running threat and you have practiced, you will be able to address a running threat, human or animal, and contact with the shotgun.
You must practice to accomplish this. You do not have to lead the target to 20 yards or so but keep the shotgun bead on the outer edge of the target in the direction they are running. Do not press the trigger and stop, keep the swing going and the bead on the target as you continue to swing the shotgun. In home defense you will very seldom encounter a moving shot, but the shotgun load must be centered on the target. The modern 12-gauge 00 buckshot shell will place its entire load of eight or nine buckshot balls into a spread that may be covered with your hand at 7 yards. This concentration has excellent wound potential.

This is an express aperture sight, a good choice for all around accuracy.

By the same token this load must be centered in order to achieve a shutdown of the threat. Place the front bead on the center of mass and fire. Do not fire from below eye level, this is a recipe for disaster. Recoil

is actually greater when the shotgun isn’t held close in to the shoulder. The body should be angled forward and your weight braced against the shotgun.
The pump action shotgun is the best choice for most of us for personal defense.

The XS big dot is a first class personal defense sight.

The shotgun should never be kept at home ready with a shell in the chamber. The magazine should be loaded. You should practice quickly releasing the bolt by the bolt release, located near the triggerguard, and then racking the bolt quickly to load the shotgun chamber. You should also practice unloading the shotgun in the event that you do not fire and need to move the shotgun back to home ready. When the forend is brought to the rear, the shotgun bolt is moved to the rear. A shell leaves the magazine and the shell carrier captures the shell. As the forend moves forward the shell is chambered and the bolt is locked. The trigger is pressed, the shotgun fires and the bolt unlocks. The forend is easily racked. If you wish to unlock a shotgun with a locked bolt the bolt release must be used.

Hornady 00 buckshot is a good choice for personal defense.

While some will state that a home invader may lose control over their bodily functions at the sound of a shotgun being racked, and made ready you cannot rely on this. There are many hallucinogenic drugs and painkillers in use by our protein-fed ex con criminal class and they may not even hear the shotgun being racked. It is preferable to make the shotgun ready before confronting the threat.
Let’s address short stroking. This is when the user racks the slide but doesn’t finish the motion. The shotgun bolt isn’t brought far enough to the rear and the shooter begins to move the bolt back before a shell has entered the chamber. This may result in a tie up that is difficult to clear. A proven technique is to slam the stock down hard on the ground to cause the bolt to return to the rear and remove the bolt to battery.

Winchester’s awesome PDX load features a one-ounce slug and three buckshot for the payload.

The length of pull (LOP) of the shotgun is the measurement from the back of the stock to the face of the trigger. Some LOPs are pretty long. A solution is the youth model shotgun. Both Remington and Mossberg offer pump action shotguns in 20-gauge and in youth model configuration. Self-loaders are generally less reliable than pump action shotguns―at least a dirty pump is more reliable than a dirty self-loading shotgun. Some shotguns, such as the Benelli M4, Remington 1100 and Browning Auto 5 are very reliable and in some cases may be easier to handle than a pump action shotgun. Keep the shotgun clean and well lubricated and when action is needed simply rack the bolt to make it ready. It will fire each time the trigger is pulled. This is an advantage of the self-loader. For a shotgun that will be placed at home ready for many months perhaps the pump action shotgun is the better choice.
There are several types of shotgun sights. The simple bead front sight, used for hunting flying birds or moving small game, is ideal for most home owners. The bead is simple and compliments the shotgun’s excellent natural point. However there are those that prefer aperture or Ghost Ring type sights.

At close range buckshot must be aimed as closely as a rifle.

A large ring near sight appears to disappear as you look through it and the eye focuses on the front sight. These sights are very fast, but no faster than a bead. They are good choices for those that wish to keep a certain commonality with the rifle they also practice with.
If you use solid shot such as a 1 ounce slug in the 12-gauge shotgun, the Ghost Ring provides excellent accuracy. The sight leads the eye to the front post and with this type of sight good accuracy may be had to 50 yards or more. Using a first quality slug such as the Fiocchi Aero slug, even a smooth bore shotgun may group three slugs into four inches or less at a long fifty yards. This will put meat on the table or take out a rifle armed threat. The Fiocchi slug is offered in three different power levels for personal defense and hunting at both medium and long range. For a home defense situation the best sights I have yet tested are the XS big dot front sights. They use a tritium insert in both the front and the rear sights in the DXT type and offer true 24-hour function. They are also useful in daylight.

Shotguns are measured in gauge, a throwback to a long ago day when the size and weight of the shells were becoming more uniform. The 12-gauge would throw a load about 1/12th of a pound and the 20-gauge 1/20th, or it would take 12 bore diameter balls to make a pound as the measurement goes for measurement, as so on to the 28 gauge.
The 12-gauge shotgun is the most effective by weight of the payload. The 20-gauge shotgun is acceptable for home defense. The 20-gauge delivers approximately ¾ the load of a 12-gauge with perhaps sixty per cent of the recoil. The 20-gauge is a viable load, a proven performer, and will cut a bloody rat hole at seven yards.
There are many sizes of shot. Birdshot, as an example is available in 7 ½, 8 and 9 shot. There will be hundreds of pellets in this load. Birdshot is intended to kill a small fowl or mammal with a few pellets. This type of payload isn’t suitable for personal defense. Buckshot is named for the game it is intended to take.

Buckshot offers excellent wound potential at home defense engagement range. Note that there is often a stray shot on paper.

A shotgun with a tightly constricted barrel (Full Choke) may retain a pattern that is cohesive well past twenty five yards. Some states have buckshot-only zones for hunting as buckshot doesn’t carry nearly as far as a rifle bullet. Interestingly an open choke shotgun and a full choke shotgun often do not perform significantly different at 7 to 10 yards.
00 buckshot is the recommended defense load. Eight or nine .33 caliber balls are carried in each shell. Reduced recoil loads are available that develop about 1200 fps versus up to
1600 fps for full power loads. 1200 fps is plenty of power for personal defense. #4 Buckshot uses smaller shot and may propel 27 smaller pellets. # 4 buckshot is often recommended as a load that delivers less penetration.
For home defense this is a reasonable

The cruiser type shotgun is a poor choice for personal defense.

load and it has even been issued by police agencies in order to limit penetration in urban scenarios. Another choice is #1 Buck. Midway between the larger and smaller buckshot sizes, #1 buck uses 16 pellets. When it strikes the body buckshot usually travels in pairs increasing damage. While I prefer 00 buckshot #1 and #4 have merit. The new Hornady #4 Varmint Express, as an example, is an excellent load if fast moving targets such as feral dogs and coyotes are a concern. For area defense 00 buck is preferred.
Another option is a slug. This is simply solid shot. The 12-gauge .72 inch slug weighs 500 grains on average, although some weigh considerably less and there are specialty loads that weigh over 700 grains. (They are a daunting proposition to fire!) These slugs are useful for taking deer and boar-sized game at 50 yards or more.
Some question the effectiveness of buckshot and prefer slugs. The preponderance of evidence points to superior effect with slugs. But buckshot offers superior hit probability in most scenarios. Slugs may offer more penetration than the homeowner is willing to accept. For defense against dangerous animals such as bears slugs are the top choice.
The means of determining the range at which slugs should be deployed is by firing at paper targets. A-range is usually 7 to 10 yards. At this range the shotgun must be aimed as carefully, as a rifle, in order to strike the target. B-range―usually around 15 to 20 yards is the range at which the spread of the pattern is an advantage in hitting the target. Perhaps just over fifty per cent of the buckshot load strikes the target. C-Range is the range at which the buckshot load has spread to the point it is no longer useful. This is usually 20 to 25 yards.
At this range slugs should be used. Slugs usually strike just above the bead on a bead sighted shotgun, sometimes just under the point of aim. The slug is singularly effective in personal defense. Recoil is there but Fiocchi’s reduced recoil slug at 1300 fps allows greater control.

A simple bead sighted shotgun is a great choice for home defense.

The shotgun is more than a firearm―it is a versatile weapons system capable of taking practically any game animal at the appropriate range. In personal defense there is no superior firearm. Carefully consider your needs and you may elect to invest the time and effort needed to master the shotgun.

 

 

2018 Holiday Gift Suggestions, Part 2

Lowa’s Aerox GTX Mid and low cut; colors vary from men’s to women’s and by style; the excellent quality and fit does not.

 

By Scott Smith

Noisefighters’ gel pad ear cups mounted on Walker’s Razor earmuffs. You can see the ledge that your glasses set on to give you a better seal.

It is very hard to think Christmas when you can be parboiled outside. Fear not though, the big box outdoor stores have a way of snapping us back to reality―Christmas decorations. The migratory birds flying south from Canada are also a real reminder that winter and Christmas are not far behind.
Over the past year the industry introduced new footwear, hearing protection, eye protection, affordable quality optics, and of course clothing. We tried to find items that will make great gifts for a variety of shooting disciplines and lifestyles; hopefully Women & Guns will not let you down.
Footwear is one of the more personal and hotly debated items in the industry. What shoes are the best for shooters and outdoors people is one piece of kit that is like arguing who makes the best firearm. I have attempted to look two versions of the same boot/shoe that fit women or men and is Gore-Tex lined for wet day. Lowa’s Aerox is that boot.
Over the last several years Lowa has become one of the companies building boots designed specifically for women or men on true gender designed lasts. This is important to ensure a proper fit and support. Some companies feel downsizing a man’s boot to smaller sizes is all you need to do; it is not. Lowa’s boots are built to properly fit the ball and heel of the foot as well as the proper length. These areas ensure all day comfort and wearability.
The Aerox GTX is one of Lowa’s newest, most innovative boots. Thanks to the slip last design it has an athletic shoe feel. The injected polyurethane midsole ensures your feet, legs and back will not take a beating by absorbing shock for many years longer than the EVA used by competitors. My first pair of Lowa boots was still comfortable after five years as they were the day I first wore them; sadly the sole was worn out.

Peltor’s Tactical 500 you can see the on/off, volume controls, Bluetooth button and recessed microphones.

Lowa gets this long wear by partnering with Vibram to design soles to meet your specific needs. The Aerox uses their aggressive Surround Trac sole. Over the past year this sole has proven itself to give good traction on any surface a shooter encounters from perfect dry grass to the wet red mud of the South. Surround Trac gives good traction because of its design and it “self-cleans.” This happens because the sole is flexible and the nubs are far enough apart they do not trap mud between them. Thanks to its chemical make-up the sole wears well on pavement and is slip resistant even on painted surfaces.
No matter the terrain you are on your foot will be supported by Lowa’s patented Monowrap. This system bonds the sole, midsole, and upper into one unit. Your foot also sits slightly below the midsole which further ensures that your foot and boot act as one. Depending on the model these boots will set you back $220 to $240 and are worth every penny.
Comfortable hearing protection is just as important as footwear. Sadly most hearing protection’s ear cups are only comfortable in ideal conditions. Noisefighters has designed a gel pad that will make your favorite hearing protection fit and function better; no matter the weather.
The gel filled and soft ear cups are designed for most popular brands of hearing protection on the market today. We tested them on Walker Razors and Howard Leight Impact Bolts. Installing them was easy and they fit perfectly.
Aside from the comfort, they increase decibel reduction by fitting under the arms of your eye protection, not over them which causes a gap in the cup. This gap compromises the effectiveness of the hearing protection.
The cup material and design greatly reduce the pressure on your head as well, alleviating those nasty headaches we can get from a day at the range. A pair of Noisefighters will set you back $45 or so delivered.
One of the latest sets of hearing protection this year is Peltor’s Tactical Sport 500. The Tactical 500 is an electronic unit with Bluetooth capability so you can sync your mobile devices to it to listen to your music list. This unit does not have VOX capability so if you answer your phone whoever is on the other end will know you are on the range. What it does have is 26dB reduction when shooting and thanks to 3M SMART Technologies crystal clear voice reception when you are not shooting.
Peltor has done something I have not seen on other electronic hearing protection; they recess the microphones approximately a sixteenth of an inch form the surface of the muffs. When combined with the built-in wind screen there is a huge reduction in wind noise. Truth be told with the exception of being caught on the range before a couple of major storms, l did not notice that annoying rustling sound the wind causes. Note to hunters: this is one less excuse for you not to wear these while hunting. I also found this slight recess made range commands

Above: Rudy’ Projects Tralyx Shooter’s Kit; black is the standard color frame. This kit will last you for years. Below: This photo shows the difference in size of the standard and XL.

more clear when shooting USPSA matches.
Peltor designed the Tactical 500 for ease of operation as well. The one cup has all the controls at your finger tips. The on/off button is opposite of the microphone on the one cup and tells you when it is on or off. Volume buttons are the cap of this cup and the Bluetooth button is in the middle of the volume buttons. All of the buttons have raised symbols, making it easy to feel and operate them.
Batteries are in the opposite cup of the controls. The Tactical 500s operate on AA batteries ensuring you can find them virtually anywhere should a pair die. After one shooting season the original pair is still going strong.
Peltor has also used new polymers in the cup cushions and headband to make the Tactical 500 more comfortable for all day wear. The headband has a soft touch material directly molded over the bands for comfort when worn with or without a hat. The cups’ material is also new and does not get brittle in the cold. I stuck our sample set in the freezer to test the feel; while cold they still molded over my glasses and quickly softened from body heat.
You will find Peltor’s Tactical 500 priced under $120 online. With all of the features, the Tactical 500 is worth every penny. With all the advancements in sound clarity there is no reason for shooters and hunters alike not to wear electronic hearing protection.
The other irreplaceable item we protect is our eyes. For the last twenty years I and hundreds of other shooters, LEOs, and troops have trusted Rudy Project. Like Lowa, Rudy Project offers eye protection for large and small faces as well as for the optically challenged. Last year they introduced the Tralyx and this year they introduced an optical insert for them. What made them popular is a standard and extra large size, as well as cool looks.
Rudy Project offers the Tralyx in a shooter’s kit; which I highly suggest. In the kit you receive the standard or XL frame, a clear lens, an ImpactX-2 Photochromic Clear to Black, ImpactX Photochromic Racing Red and protective case. ImpactX-2 lenses are virtually unbreakable and the case too is virtually indestructible (I know this because I ran mine over with the truck and all the contents survived unscathed). The kit will set you back $399.99. Just the Rx dock is $79.99; if you have Rudy Project make them, it is $169.99. If you prefer, Rudy can grind the actual lens to your prescription but you will have to contact Rudy Project. Price is determined by the lens and your prescription. Personally I like the insert; it gives you an added degree of protection from high velocity debris.
I have found that for action shooting the three lens kit is ideal. Over the years, with the exception of shooting out west in the summer where Rudy’s Laser Blue rules, the clear to black and clear to Racing Red have worked well in a wide variety of lighting conditions. If you shoot shotgun sports Rudy does offer other lenses.
One feature that separates Rudy Project from the competition is they do not fog up. On each lens there are small vents in the lens that allow for air flow. It may not seem that these slits would defeat fogging but they do. Anyone who has shot in Georgia in July will appreciate you can see without constantly wiping your glasses clean. Be warned if you hop out of your vehicle with the AC set to Arctic, they will get fogged up from the surface condensation; you cannot stop that. But other than that, you will be clear to shoot.
Being a big guy I wear the Tralyx XL because the lens completely covers the ocular orbit; from cheek to eyebrow. The standard will do the same for women and kids. I found in windy conditions they kept dust out of my eyes and the added wrap would protect my eyes from ricocheting debris. Having had a piece of jacket imbed itself in another pair of shooting glasses, I learned complete protection is best.
How well do Rudy Project glasses wear; are they worth it? I have been wearing my Rydon’s for fifteen years; all I have replaced is one set of temples/nose pieces for $20. I still have all the original lenses and they are used daily. I have not had a scratch even on those that got run over in the hard case. My eyes are worth the $399.99 cost of the Tralyx Shooter’s Kit; you have to decide; is that too much to protect your eyes or your loved ones?
If you or someone is looking for an affordable quality optic, Sightmark’s Citadel CR1 1-6X24 Riflescope is hard to beat. The CR1 is a second focal plane optic; the reticle does not change size as you zoom with a BDC for 55 grain .223Rem. The center circle dot has variable intensity; I found the circle dot can be seen on all but the brightest of days, this is true for most scopes with this feature. You can adjust the focus of the reticle by turning the ocular lens.
Windage and elevation adjustments are very positive; you can feel each click when making adjustments. This scope gives you 120 MOA of adjustment. I had no issues with the CR1/Sightmark 30mm Cantilver combination holding zero and I removed it several times while testing. As always when you remove your optic it is still best to verify zero. While doing my testing on the CR1 I found it to be rated for the recoil of a 50BMG which would explain why my buds have had zero issues with the scope.
I was surprised to see flip-up lens caps and throw lever included with the CR1. It can be a hassle trying to find flip-up caps for these mid-range scopes. Throw levers make it easy to zoom the lens and it’s almost mandatory for competition shooters. You want as much

Above: Rudy’ Projects Tralyx Shooter’s Kit; black is the standard color frame. This kit will last you for years. Below: This photo shows the difference in size of the standard and XL.

field of vision as possible on close targets and highest magnification three hundred yard steel when shooting three gun. A hunter also can appreciate a throw lever for the same reason you may need to make a snap or precision shot on game; the lever allows you to quickly change the magnification.
While finishing this piece, I realized I didn’t have the MSRP of the mount so I did a quick search online and found the MSRP is $73.99. A bit further research showed it could be had for under $64 and the CR1 has a MSRP of $359.99 and can be had for under $300. In this day and age a well made optic and mount for under $400 is a good deal for anyone on your Christmas list.
The last item is the one we all moaned about as kids—clothing. As adults who shoot or spend our time outdoors we have changed our minds thanks to companies like 5.11 Tactical who are making clothing to fit your needs.
The problem with most “range” clothing is that is looks like it is built for folks in law enforcement or it looks like “range wear.” This is all well and good if you are on the range or in the field but what about if you are out shopping, getting something to eat? Then it might draw unwanted attention to you.
5.11’s latest ladies pants, the Mesa and Defender Flex Slim Jeans, will help solve those problems. Both pants are designed for and by women to fit your active lifestyle. They are also designed with functional belt loops that easily accommodate a belt for range and concealed carry. For comfort both are made from fabric that gives when you move. Either pair will set you back $69.99
The Mesa is a low profile tactical style pant with its low profile zipper thigh pockets, traditional slash front pockets and rear patch pockets. The front pocket’s slash is flat
at the bottom to allow a clip-it knife to lay flat. You can easily stash an AR magazine or smart phone in the rear pockets. To ensure you do not lose your phone, I would zip them in the thigh pocket.
When it comes to comfort you will be hard pressed to find pants that beat the Mesa. The DWR polyester elastane fabric is four-way stretch. The eight inch tapered pant leg allows for easy on/off while giving you a fitted look when worn.

5.11 Tactical’s Mesa in Raisin; you can see all of the pockets and fit. They fit and flex like yoga pants.

The extra wide rear belt loop keeps them from gapping and sagging when you are wearing a pistol.
I have on good authority that the fabric is comfortable for all day wear, even when it is flying a desk. It was also passed on to me that these pants wash well after surviving the rigors of grandkids and their spills. Reality is not every one is Laura Croft nor do we all shoot. The Mesa can be had in sizes 0-20 in regular and long lengths. You can choose from black, lunar (grayish), python (light OD), or raisin.
If you prefer jeans the Defender Flex Slim Fit Jeans should suit your needs. Unlike teenage

For those who want functional jeans, 5.11’s Defender Flex Slim Fit Jeans are the answer. They look snug but give you plenty of freedom of movement.

slim fit, these pants are not second skin tight. You would be hard pressed to tell these jeans from popular brands. They have traditional riveted front slash pockets, with a front “watch” pocket in the right front. The rear pockets are patch style with magazine pockets at the bottom of the waist band. The rear pockets have stylish stitching and a flag logo on the right pocket.
While the Slim Fit Jeans do not have eight inch legs, they are easy on/off thanks to the 76/24 cotton poly blend of the 10 ounce T400 stretch fabric. If you wear boots these will tuck neatly and comfortably into the shaft. It was not recommended to wear them over cowboy boot shafts. Blouses tuck neatly into the waist without feeling snug thanks to the fabric’s stretch.
For daily wear the Slim Fit Jeans are ideal. My oldest friend in the world is a former EMT and now an emergency dispatcher for an international airport. She says these jeans do not wear you out sitting for eight to twelve hours like traditional cowboy style denim jeans do. More importantly they give you freedom of movement when you need to kneel, climb or any other daily activity. She tells me unlike the Mesas, the Slim Fit Jeans are not immune to the bodily functions of a pre-schooler…pre-treat before washing.
You can pick three shades of denim color; Pacific (stone washed), light wash (worn look) or Indigo. Size wise you can choose from 0-16 in short, regular and long lengths.
After having worn both the Mesas and Defender Flex Slim Fit Jeans, I was told they are amazing pants. They wash and machine dry well. There is no shrinkage and the sizes run true. Both pairs get worn about every five days. That’s how much she likes the fit. Having heard complaints about women’s clothing be it her uniforms when she was an EMT, casual or dress wear over the last thirty years, I can tell you this is high praise.
5.11 Tactical has really taken their commitment to their women’s line seriously and it shows. The Mesa and Defender Flex Slim Fit Jeans will serve you on the range, hiking the fields, out on the town or at work. They will make good gifts for yourself or others you know.
Hopefully this will help give you gift ideas for yourself, friends and family. I wish you all a happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas and a safe New Year. Get out to the range over the holidays; shoot safe, shoot straight and have fun.

 

 

 

 

 

An On-Body Carry Option for Runners

Whether worn on the back or around front on the abdomen, the Marathon Gunpack was stable while running, hiking or biking.

By John Markwell

Our daughter Katie, her husband and child (on his “pusher bike”) went for a run recently through the private campground near our home. We live in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains and get a fair number of visitors who come to partake of the many recreational opportunities the area has to offer. Most are from the city and think that, just because they are now out of town, they can let their dogs run free and unfettered. On this particular occasion a pretty good-sized dog came after our grandson. Fortunately, the dog was pretty well trained and went back to its owner when called. However, Katie said that had she been alone, the dog was big enough that she probably could not have physically intervened had the dog attacked her boy. And, to cap the situation off, the owner became extremely belligerent when it was suggested he should have his dog restrained.
Her final comment on the deal was “I’d have felt a lot better if I’d have had my revolver.” This led me to search out a discreet concealed carry fanny pack for Katie that is suitable for running and other active outdoor pursuits. The Marathon Gunpack (size Large) from Elite Survival Systems (elitesurvival.com) arrived a few days ago and is exactly what our daughter needs to tote her old hand-me-down S&W Chief’s Special on runs, bike rides or short hikes.
This is a pretty cool gun pack that does not scream “gun.”
Weighing just under a pound and extremely low in profile, the Marathon is constructed from ballistic nylon and water-resistant neoprene with a blue zipper accent. A non-slip rubber-like material covers the back of the pack. This keeps the Marathon from sliding around during strenuous activities and should repel sweat as well, offering protection for the firearm being carried.
The 8.5”x5.5”x1” main pouch or pocket will accommodate most compact handguns including the Glock19, S&W Shield, Walther PPS and similar sized revolvers. The handgun is secured against the back of the main compartment in a simple Velcro® backed elastic pocket that can be positioned as required in order to obtain a good firing grip on the weapon being carried. Right or left handed, the Marathon’s double rip cords and two-way zipper allow for quick access to the weapon.
The waist belt of the Marathon is a nice beefy elastic material that is fully adjustable and has a side release buckle for easy donning or removal. This elastic waist belt also absorbs some of the motion of the pack when the wearer is running; this is more

The Marathon is a low volume Gunpack with just enough room for the essentials; 14 ounces of hydration, phone, keys, a small snack and carry gun all fit in this compact fanny pack.

evident as the weight of the gun being carried increases. Besides the main gun compartment, the Marathon has a smaller zipper-closed pocket on the front flap of the gun pocket that is sized for most smart phones. This pocket has a soft divider to protect the phone’s screen from keys or any other small items as well as an ear bud port. As mentioned above, the Marathon Gunpack does not scream “gun” like many fanny packs on the market. Being purpose designed for runners and other outdoor enthusiasts, the two 7oz capacity water bottles in their elastic pouches flanking the gun and phone pockets lend an innocuous and benign look to the Marathon.
For safety while running at night there is a reflective patch on each of the bottle holders. Our suspicion is that even the trained eye would hardly give the Marathon a second glance as it has a similar look to many of the fanny packs worn by thousands of outdoors folks,

The main compartment of the Marathon easily holds Katie’s nickel-plated S&W Chief’s Special in the universal elastic holster. Boot grips by Craig Spegel.

young and old, all over the country.
Our daughter Katie didn’t waste any time getting the Marathon set up to meet her needs.
Positioning the elastic holster pouch took a bit of fiddling to get it right and adjusting the waist belt was straight forward. Field testing amounted to a short run down the road to the local campground. The Marathon Gunpack rode well without any significant bounce or shifting around due to the weight of the old Chief’s Special.
Katie said the rubberized material against her back kept the pack from shifting around and was not abrasive at all. Access to the weapon is quick and simple using either the zipper closures or the rip cords. Like any system used for concealed carry, this fanny pack should be used on the range to build a certain degree of comfort and competence in accessing the weapon before depending on it; Katie is working on that.
We’re pretty sure Katie now has a new system for toting her old revolver around. Whether running, biking or hiking, the Marathon Gunpack is a comfortable, low profile and unobtrusive on-body carry, set-up for the outdoors person who is concerned with their personal security. The product code for the Marathon Gunpack is 8101-BL. If ordered direct from Elite Survival Systems the price is just shy of $60, which is a small price to pay for a versatile and well-made product that can be used in many different situations. Outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for a discreet multi-function carry system for their personal defense weapon can’t go wrong with the Marathon Gunpack from Elite Survival Systems. Good shooting.

 

SIG P320 M17 Civilian Model

 

After rigorous military testing the US M17 is among the most proven handguns on the planet.

By Bob Campbell,
Contributing Editor

A pebble grained surface makes for excellent adhesion and abrasion.

I have carried and used SIG pistols for many years. I have been issued the SIG P226 and also carried the SIG P220. I have the greatest respect for SIG pistols and particularly appreciate their reliability.
When the brass supplied officers with the SIG we knew that they had not gone for the low bid. By the same token the low bid won over many agencies. SIG needed a polymer framed striker fired pistol to compete on an economic and practical basis. The SIG P320 is the answer.

The SIG P320 was ergonomic, reliable, and easily used well. SIG finally had a striker fired competitor to the Glock and similar handguns. The new handgun is basically a striker fired version of the hammer fired double-action-only SIG P250, an overlooked but effective and reliable handgun.
SIG offers compact and service grade versions of the P320. The P320 is a modular design. The action chassis may be removed and placed into a compact frame along with a short slide and barrel. The chassis itself is serialized. This makes for versatility and economy as well. An agency may keep on hand different frames to accommodate officers of all sizes.
The SIG P320 entered US Army competition and emerged at the top of the heap as the US M17 pistol. The army wanted a modular design and SIG supplied the answer. The serialized chassis rides in a full size frame in this pistol.

The SIG 9mm features ambidextrous safety levers and an ambidextrous slide lock.

The slide is stainless steel with a non-reflective PVD finish. The polymer frame and stainless slide neatly solves performance and corrosion issues. The pistol features a light rail for mounting combat lights and forward cocking serrations on the slide. The action is more of a single action than a double action only. However, since there is some movement in the striker as the trigger is pressed SIG labels the piece DAO. A block is moved slightly to the rear as the trigger is pressed before releasing the striker. The trigger action is very tight with little take up and a sharp reset. The trigger in my version breaks at 6.5 pounds.
SIG is offering a limited quantity of a civilian version of the M17. This pistol features an ambidextrous slide lock, ambidextrous safety, and the light rail, trigger action and appearance of the military M17. The SIG P320 M17 9mm pistol features a SIGLite tritium

The design of the SIG magazine makes for excellent speed in reloads.

front sight and a Night Sight rear cover. These sights offer 24 hour capability but also offer precision accuracy in all light conditions. The sight picture is excellent. The pistol weighs 29 ounces, plenty to handle 9mm Luger recoil. The pistol features a 4.7 inch barrel. Capacity is 17 rounds. The pistol features excellent stippling on the grip frame. While the grip treatment does not abrade the palm adhesion and abrasion are excellent. The M17 features a manual safety. Many of us feel that a defensive handgun should have a manual safety and the SIG M17 safety is easily manipulated. It falls under the thumb easily as you come on target.
To date the pistol has fired over 2,000 cartridges

SIG Night Sight sights are a tactical design that may be snagged on a flat surface or a belt and used to rack the slide in a critical situation.

without a single failure to feed, chamber, fire or eject. This certainly doesn’t compare to the military test but I have fired a good mix of factory defense loads including +P and +P+ ammunition without any type of problem. In fact combat style shooting the pistol need take second place to no service grade 9mm. However absolute accuracy isn’t as great as some competitors such as the Beretta 92 or the SIG P226. But in practical terms the pistol is a great combat handgun with only one trigger action to learn. Much of the ammunition I have used lately has been the Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain FMJ. Accurate, clean burning and reliable, this is a good training resource. When test firing the pistol the action never seemed heavy because trigger take up is short—less than a tenth of an inch—and the trigger breaks cleanly. Total movement is perhaps .25 inch including trigger reset. This fast trigger action means that there is little chance the sights will be disturbed as the trigger breaks. I found that I actually shot more accurately running a little faster. The pistol offers high hit potential and control in rapid fire is excellent. The triangular shaped magazine release is positive in operation. It wasn’t difficult to execute a rapid magazine change with the P320 M17. My usual practice routine is the same when testing a new handgun. I burn up a lot of practice loads and fire duty and defense loads to proof them once the pistol’s reliability had been confirmed. If the pistol doesn’t feed

The TruGlo combat light is an excellent accessory for the SIG M17. This combat light features a bright light and also a red laser. Settings allow the light to be set for light only or red laser only or both at the same time.

ball ammo something is wrong and there is no point in continuing testing with expensive hollow point ammunition. I most often deploy some type of +P 9mm loading. These heavy loads demand attention to detail and a firm grip. After firing more than two thousand cartridges in the SIG P320 M 17 the pistol offers excellent features and performance. I like the easily frame manipulated safety. This ambidextrous safety falls under the thumb easily. Manipulation is more positive than a slide mounted safety. The pistol is simple enough to use and easily maintained. An important advantage is that the trigger need not be pressed to field strip the pistol. Lock the slide to the rear, remove the magazine, check the chamber, move the take down lever downward, and release the slide lock to allow the slide

Black Hills Ammunition provided excellent results in the SIG M17.

to run forward. The recoil spring and guide and barrel are easily removed for maintenance.
The SIG P320 M17 is well equipped with night sights, a light rail, and ambidextrous controls. It is easily maintained, reliable, and more than accurate enough for personal defense. The SIG P320 M17 is worth its modest price and represents the cutting edge in service pistol technology.
Ammunition is a critical part of the whole defensive picture. The load should be accurate enough for personal defense, controllable, and exhibit a good balance of expansion and penetration. I have come to value accuracy and control more than the most powerful loading. Among the best defensive choices in ammunition are those offered by Black Hills Ammunition. The 9mm 124-grain JHP at 1100 fps offers a mix of penetration and expansion that favors penetration. In a worst case scenario the 124-grain drives deep and expands. The total wound volume is large. A loading I recommend for most personal defense shooters is the Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain EXP. EXP stands for Extra Power. This load averages 1250 fps in the SIG P320 M17’s 4.7 inch barrel. This is plenty fast for rapid expansion. This is as hot as possible without getting into +P territory and more wear and tear and recoil. If your scenario is home defense and general defense duty, this is a load of choice. If you will probably be facing felons behind cover or those heavily bundled in winter clothing the 124-grain JHP would be more desirable.

 

 

Gun Rights Policy Cobference 2018: ‘Anti-gunners Want to Erase All Civil Rights’

 

SAF President Joseph P. Tartaro.

By Dave Workman,
Contributing Editor

The fight for freedom is an ideological war, a political war, a legal war and a war for the minds and hearts of men, women and children.
So spoke Joseph Tartaro, president of the Second Amendment Foundation and a veteran of more than a half-century on the front lines of the battle between gun rights and gun control. It is a never-ending war, he explained, because anti-gunners “want to erase all civil rights, one amendment at a time.”
That was how the 33rd annual Gun Rights Policy Conference began in Chicago, and the theme continued through the entire weekend of panel discussions and reports from some of the top names in the Second Amendment movement.
According to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, it was the biggest conference in the history of these events, with some 800 people actually attending and more than 115,000 watched all or parts of the conference via live streaming. There were more than 70 speakers covering all manner of subjects, from state and federal legislation and elections to the media, the firearms industry, and legal actions challenging various gun control laws.
Tartaro was matter-of-fact about the ongoing fight over Second Amendment rights.
“Once you enlist,” he told the audience of activists, “you enlist for the duration.”
Tartaro was followed by Gottlieb, who reminded the audience that anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg was, at least at the time, considering a run for president in 2020. He also noted that the Environmental Protection Agency has attacked gun owners by trying to push rules and regulations to prohibit lead in ammunition.
He cautioned the audience about so-called “keyboard

NRA Director and Buckeye Firearms vice president Linda Walker,

commandos” who “chase off (potential) allies.”
Gottlieb also discussed the “establishment media” which has marginalized itself.
“One reason we get attacked so much,” he said, “is because the media knows that the only reason (Donald) Trump is in the White House is because gun owners…flipped the election.”
Gottlieb also chided “lazy” gun owners for sitting on the political sidelines while a core group of activists does all the work. However, he observed, these are also the first people to take advantage of any rights victories.
“Complacency is dangerous,” he warned. “Lazy gun owners need to get engaged.”
Two members of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors reported on what that organization has been doing, and what needs to be done over the horizon.
Linda Walker, who is also vice president of the Buckeye Firearms Association, lauded the elevation of Lt. Col. Oliver North (USMC-Ret.) to the office of NRA president. She said the organization had grown to 6 million members in the aftermath of the Parkland high school shooting.
“It is time we put a warrior in front to lead us,” she said about North.
She was joined at the podium by Willes Lee, a director from Hawaii who is also the president of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. He reported that President Trump has, without much fanfare, been able to appoint 60 judges to the federal courts. That was one of Trump’s campai

Writer Stacy Washington.

gn promises, an effort to bring more balance to the courts. His appointment of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch was also the fulfillment of a campaign promise.
He said this year’s midterm election is “a prelude to 2020,” and that the election would determine who picks the next justices for the high court.
Walker and Lee were followed by a federal affairs panel that took a hard look at the midterm elections and beyond, and at the laws that have been proposed but not passed.
Erich Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America, reported that some good things have happened during the first two years of the Trump administration. Barack Obama’s regulations regarding gun bans for Social Security recipients who may need assistance with some things has been overturned, and “all major gun control laws in Congress” have been stopped. The House of Representatives passed national concealed carry reciprocity, but it languishes in the Senate. Also, regulations to ease the acquisition of suppressors has stalled, and Pratt criticized the “spineless GOP leadership for allowing so-called “red flag” legislation to move forward.
Joe Waldron, legislative director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, reminded the audience that they are the “gun lobby.” He warned that if Democrats take over on Capitol Hill in January, the Trump agenda, including the appointment of conservative, pro-gun judges to the federal bench, would be derailed.
He said 86 anti-gun bills had already been filed in Congress, and the danger is that gun control amendments could be added to so-called “omnibus” bills.
“You’ve got to be attentive,” he said. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty…and that’s never been more true than it is today.”

Rob Pincus.

Waldron recalled the Parkland, FL, school shooting, noting that authorities failed at all levels to enforce existing laws that might have prevented the shooter from being able to obtain a gun and take it to the school. Police had been called to his home several times and he could have been charged with domestic violence or some other crime, but he wasn’t, Waldron noted.
But the shooting aftermath became a gun control campaign, and gun owners are still fighting.
There were two state affairs panels this year featuring ten speakers from as many states to provide good and bad news.
John Cushman, president of the Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education (SAFE) in New York, reported that there had been 243 anti-gun bills introduced to lawmakers in Albany this year. While most of those bills passed in the Assembly, he said Second Amendment activists were able to hold those bills in the Senate “with one vote.” That was the margin.
The message that must be sent to lawmakers is that banning guns does not stop problems,” Cushman observed.
Craig DeLuz with the Calguns Foundation reported that a proposed bullet tax had been beaten back, but he acknowledged that California is “behind enemy lines.”
“There is no shortage of bad ideas that come out of Sacramento,” he observed.
He was especially critical of “red flag” extreme risk protection orders, which allow seizure of firearms based on a complaint without due process.
“Free speech, private property and due process have all become suspect,” he lamented.
Dave Kopp, president of the Arizona Citizens Defense League, warned that “the other side is doing a real good job.”
He also focused on so-called “gun violence restraining orders,” which he considers a “really bad idea.”
In Arizona, they are called STOP (for Severe Threat Orders of Protection). He said the reason they are terri

Linda Smith.

ble is because proponents have so many people thinking they are a good idea, including people “on our side,” because “who wants crazy people to have guns?”
When the law was proposed last year, gun owners managed to kill the legislation but the governor is promising to bring it back. So the response is to propose something better as an alternative.
Kopp was followed by Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. Noting that Illinois is a tough state, he recalled that this past spring, several gun control measures were introduced. Two of them passed but Gov. Bruce Rauner had apparently indicated that he will veto all of the measures, Pearson said. That is why gun owners in the state geared up to support Rauner’s re-election campaign.
Alexander Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, recalled the story of Carol Bowne, a woman who was murdered in her own driveway by a man against whom she had a protection order. She had been waiting for many weeks for approval by the local police chief so she could get a permit to purchase a gun for her own defense.
“The left wants to destroy our culture,” he stated. “If the Second Amendment dies, we all die with it.”
The second state affairs panel began with a report from Sean Caranna, founder and co-executive director of Florida Carry, Inc. He reported on his group’s activities and the problems they face with politicians in both parties, and gun control groups that have gained a foothold in the state.
Caranna noted that things had been “looking up” until the Parkland high school shooting, which changed the dynamic politically for the foreseeable future.
John Monroe, vice president and legal counsel of Georgia Carry, Inc., offered a history of the concealed carry movement in his state, and how his group has worked to ex

Joseph Greenlee and David Kopel discussed the Second Amendment Doctrine.


pand the rights of law-abiding gun owners. In the past, gun owners could not carry firearms in a lot of places, but that has changed.
Mark Pennak, president of Maryland Shall Issue, discussed the various legal issues his group has had in a state with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. He said the organization has been able to make the law work in many cases, including one first amendment case now in court.
When the state tried to ban so-called “high capacity magazines,” Pennak’s group reminded lawmakers that the state has some strong property laws, and that there were about 750,000 such magazines in the state. At an estimated $30 apiece, that would cost the state some $22 million, he estimated. The bill died, he noted.
“We’re litigious because we have to be,” Pennak said.
Paul Valone, who flew from storm-ravaged North Carolina to report on activities in that state, recalled the old state law that banned firearms and ammunition outside the home during an emergency. That law has been changed.
He noted that a former governor once declared an emergency due

Don Kilmer, David Sigale and Matthew Goldstein.

to a pending storm on the same day that the dove hunting season opened. Essentially, that turned tens of thousands of hunters into criminals.
He recalled the case of Bateman v. Purdue, which struck down the state of emergency ban as unconstitutional. Grass Roots North Carolina won that case with help from the Second Amendment Foundation and attorney Alan Gura. The state did not appeal, so there was no opportunity to get this case in front of the Supreme Court.
Earlier, GRNC issued alerts as Hurricane Florence approached, and some cities tried to enforce the old ban. In each of those cases, the cities rescinded those bans when reminded by GRNC that the ordinances were unconstitutional.
Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners Action League in Massachusetts, detailed how his group works in the Legislature to fight increasingly restrictive gun control laws.
“We kind of got hammered this year,” he acknowledged, “and it was all because of Parkland.”
But, he cautioned the audience that the shooting was the result of failures by local government in Parkland…you can’t defeat them, expose them for what they are,” Wallace said.
Sandwiched between the two state panels was Rick Patterson with the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute, with a report on the firearms industry’s overview of the gun rights battle.
He noted that the contention from anti-gunners that more guns means more crime is not supported by any facts. Gun control groups, he observed, simply want to control everything, and it is that way on the national and international scale.
Industry managed to stop an effort to ban all lead hunting ammunition, but the same fight is underway now in Europe, and it is an uphill battle, he said.
Underscoring Patterson’s reference to the international situation, Matthew Goldstein, senior counsel and head of the International Trade Group at Farhang & Medcoff, reported on the current situation with the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) regulations.
He narrowed the focus to discuss the case involving Defense Distributed, where founder Cody Wilson had just turned over control as he was facing a criminal complaint in Texas on an unrelated subject. That is the Austin, TX-based company currently locked in a bitter legal fight to be able to publish online plans and schematics for 3D printed guns.
Goldstein noted that regulation of international arms trading had become “overly restrictive,” but that changes from the Obama administration to the Trump administration had brought changes in enforcement.
The Defense Distributed case made that clear, because it was settled after Trump took office. He cautioned the audience that any information posted on the Internet “invariably…reaches foreign (internet) servers.”
When it comes to dealing with the media, radio host Mark Walters from Armed American Radio advised the audience that perception is reality, and that people would believe what they have been told about gun owners and the Second Amendment community.
Steve Gutowski from the Washington Free Beacon challenged the audience with a question about how we can effectively change news coverage of the gun issue.
“I think the majority of reporters are interested in getting their stories right,” he suggested.
He encouraged activists to form relationships with reporters and to become reliable sources of accurate information.
“If they (reporters) reach out to you to be a voice in the gun rights community, I would say take them up on that opportunity,” he said.
He was followed at the podium by Stacy Washington, a writer and reporter now hosting Stacy on the Right, a syndicated radio program. She is a mom, NRA member, a member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and an Air Force veteran. She acknowledged that she likes guns.
She was suspended from writing at the St. Louis Post Dispatch for writing a favorable column about the NRA. She terminated their agreement and began writing for NRA and moved into radio. Today she is broadcasting nationwide.
The Gun Mag Senior Editor Dave Workman wrapped up the panel by noting that, as journalists, “we have a responsibility to tell what we believe is the truth, and stay as close to the facts as we can get them and to not mislead anybody.”
He closed by advising the audience to work with reporters and trust that they want to get the story right.
Leading a panel on how culture drives gun politics, Rob Pincus, executive director of the Personal Defense Network, cautioned that gun owners have “lost control” of how the image of guns and their owners is presented. Those images have been “twisted,” he said, although “we as a community have fought very well.”
He has spent more than three decades in the gun rights battle, and recalled that when he became involved, there were somewhere around 2- to 3-million concealed carry permits in the United States. Nowadays there are more than 17.5 million.
Pincus also discussed how gun rights have expanded across the country in many places, and that is underscored by the adoption of “constitutional carry” laws in more than a dozen states.
“We’ve seen a dramatic change in our culture, in the gun culture,” he said. “But we’re losing the cultural war.”
Lara Smith, national spokesperson with the Liberal Gun Club, challenged the audience by asking how many people talk about guns as a civil right?
“The Second Amendment is a civil right,” Smith commented.
She advised people to talk about guns as a right, noting that most gun owners talk about self-defense and other aspects of gun ownership, but they don’t talk about guns as a right.
Smith was followed by Gene Hoffman, chairman of the Calguns Foundation. He noted that California is “by far the single largest retail firearms market in America.” Yet the state remains the butt of jokes about guns and gun control.
He reminded people that the Black Panthers did the most important civil rights activity with firearms in California. And then Ronald Reagan, as governor, banned open carry in the state.
He said the Parkland shooting has changed one thing. Because of that, “the other side” now has genuine grassroots, and they are actively preaching to people about gun control.
Declan McCullagh, a contributor to Reason Magazine, recalled how the governor of Connecticut compared the NRA to a “terrorist organization” and how the New York governor called NRA an extremist organization. But those officials are not simply targeting the NRA, they are criticizing all gun owners, he emphasized.
The problem is that this sort of rhetoric is insidious, he intimated, because by demonizing organizations like the NRA or SAF, it becomes much easier to discriminate against them and their members. This has already happened to other groups, such as pro-life organizations, he said.
Ultimately, this can lead to social ostracizing that might include declined applications for credit card and banking services, advertising and other things. They might even be shunned to the point of being unable to use platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, he suggested.
“The point of de-platforming is not to win debates,” he warned, “but to exclude the other side from the debate entirely.”
De-platforming “is a way to remove people from polite society,” he warned. Eventually, what is considered polite discussion is narrowed. However, he said people can fight back.
The afternoon session, following the annual awards luncheon, began with a report from attorneys David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee on the Second Amendment doctrine.
Greenlee opened the discussion, going through a history of firearms and Second Amendment development. He detailed how firearms possession was woven into the American development, from the early days of the colonies prior to the Revolution. Virtually all of the colonies had some type of militia, and as a result the colonists had to have firearms, from at least age 16. They had to provide arms and ammunition.
The typical age span for belonging to the militia was 16 to 60, and Greenlee went down the list of all the colonies, providing histories of their individual militia requirements.
Kopel followed with more history, noting that the history he and Greenlee were discussing would be published in a law journal.
A constitutional scholar, Kopel discussed the militia acts, and how court rulings have dealt with various gun rights cases over the years.
He discussed one Kansas Supreme Court decision that cemented the necessity of having arms, and passing along the tradition to the following generation. That opinion suggested that if someone were not trained in the use of firearms, “he seldom learned to use them.”
“Michael Bloomberg understands that just as well as the Kansas Supreme Court did,” Kopel observed. “And that is the ultimate purpose behind the Bloomberg campaign to prohibit young people from possessing any firearm of any type.”
“Part of that long term battle is demographic destruction of gun ownership,” he added. “The more barriers you can put up to gun ownership, the more you can discourage people when they are young from being able to use and perhaps get interested in firearms, then over the long term, the number of gun owners diminishes and diminishes and diminishes, leaving an ever shrinking group of individuals interested in defending the right, and that is exactly how the right to arms in England…was exterminated.”
Kopel also warned that anti-gunners will use arguments about certain age groups committing more crimes than older groups, and thus increasingly restrictive gun laws could be ramped upwards, making it more difficult for younger people to have guns.
However, if courts follow the Second Amendment as it was originally intended, he concluded, then bans on firearms for younger people are almost certainly unconstitutional.
Reports from three attorneys involved in SAF litigation provided a perspective on the progress to restore the Second Amendment.
Back at the podium was Matthew Goldstein, who represents SAF in the Defense Distributed case, and explained how the First Amendment issue is really at the heart of the case. He noted that when the government opened up a comment period on 3D printing and the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) regulations, more than 10,000 comments were received.
The government had agreed to a settlement with Defense Distributed but several state attorneys general, led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, intervened at the last minute.
Attorney Don Kilmer of California provided an overview of several cases in that state. He joked that he “litigates behind enemy lines.”
Kilmer explained the win-loss/setback of litigating in California, where even good rulings by three-judge panels can be tied up by appeals for a full en banc panel, which typically reverses panel decisions regarding firearms.
“There is still work to do,” he assured. “The Second Amendment laid in slumber for almost 200 years.”
Concluding the panel discussion, attorney David Sigale discussed cases he has and is working for SAF, and how they go to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
SAF is suing Deerfield, IL, because of a ban on so-called “assault weapons” by ordinance of the village council. Legal actions have been filed and it may take a while to see any progress.
For more on the 2018 Gun Rights Policy Conference, including a recap of the additional panels, please visit thegunmag.com or saf.org.