At our recent “Drills and Skills” event, I decided to do some shooting with my Model 64 revolver and really enjoyed it. I had to ask myself, “Why don’t I carry this gun more often?”
I’ve always loved revolvers. My first guns were revolvers, most notably the Colt Python I shot as a teenager and the first gun I ever owned – a Smith & Wesson Model 29 I bought on my 21st birthday (for $340!).
I carried revolvers on the job, too. At the time, having an auto pistol was still kind of a new thing. I had a Smith & Wesson Model 28 “Highway Patrolman” that accompanied me on many hours of patrol.
Unfortunately, my financial needs at the time forced me to sell it, and most of my other guns, in 1996. Many of the guns I’ve bought over the last 10 years were purchased to rebuild that collection.
A couple of years ago, redeemed myself and filled two more holes in my collection by picking up a Smith & Wesson Model 28 and Model 64.
One thing I love about old guns is their history. Both of these turned out to have interesting pasts. The Model 28 was sold in Riverside, California in 1970 to a California Highway Patrolman. The Model 64 was bought in 1992 and served with the NYPD.
The Model 28 is a .357 built on the N-Frame. When the .357 was first marketed to police officers, it was only available in the expensive Moel 27.
The folks at Smith & Wesson came up with the idea of making a “budget” version of that gun with a matte finish and some changes to the manufacturing process to reduce costs. The end result was the Model 28 “Highway Patrolman” – a big, solid handgun that inspires confidence in anyone who picks it up.
For me, the Model 28 is more of a collector’s piece, although I carry it as a backup when deer hunting.
I do have a revolver I carry once in a while – a Smith & Wesson J-frame 442 – and I wanted to get in more revolver practice. However, as anyone who owns one knows, the J-Frame can be less than fun to shoot. I wanted a revolver I could put two or three hundred rounds through at the range without too much pain.
I scored a deal on my Model 64 through JG Sales (last time I checked, they had a few left). For less than $300 I got a heck of a nice gun. I swapped out the well-worn rubber grips for a new Hogue “Bantam” grip, and went to the range.
The trigger, in accordance with NYPD specs, has been converted to double-action only, which frankly, I really like. Being able to thumb cock the hammer has limited utility on a defensive handgun. The trigger pull is consistent on every shot, and the trigger has been polished smooth for excellent contact with the trigger finger, giving greater control.
The bull barrel keeps the muzzle from flipping too much when shooting hotter +P ammo, and the gun is frighteningly accurate.
Are they useful for self-defense? Absolutely! Both guns are great shooters, reliable, and accurate.
I am sure you are wondering – Erik, if these guns are so great, why don’t you carry them?
When my Father died in 2001, he left the family a restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird. Driving that car was both exhilarating and terrifying. No seat belts, no air bags, no power steering and an engine that was all horsepower. The T-Bird represented top of the line performance for 1957, but with very little utility in 2001. Parts were expensive and just keeping it stored was costing us. Ultimately, we decided to sell it.
The car I drive every day is no T-Bird. But it’s reliable and easy to maintain – and I look for the same traits in a defensive handgun.
These two revolvers are like my Dad’s old T-Bird. They are beautiful, powerful, rich in history, and excellently designed – but not as practical as other guns.
So why don’t I carry these fine revolvers? Because there are guns out there like the M&P, Glock, and others which fulfill the role of a defensive handgun more effectively. Granted, both revolvers would be effective for self-defense in a pinch, but there are guns out there that are lighter to carry, easier to shoot, and carry more ammo.
The guns I carry are my daily drivers. I’ve got no more affinity for them than my wife’s old Toyota Camry.
But like most of us, I too own guns that, every now and then, I like to take out for a Sunday drive. And that’s pure joy.
Beware of imitators and pretenders!
A new “organization” calling itself “Minnesota Gun Owners” has popped up lately and has been co-opting the good work done by our own Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA)
MGO is nothing more than an opportunist group who’s after your money. The people behind it are a couple of political staffers from Iowa who started a similar group there.
If you want to support civil rights in Minnesota, there is only one group to support: GOCRA. I’ve spent countless hours working with GOCRA at the Capitol. No other organization has put forth the time and effort – and had the success – that GOCRA has.
Last Spring, anti-gun forces swung for the fences here in MN. We saw calls for banning guns, registering guns, warrantless home inspections of gun owners, making gun owners’ personal information public, and a host of other fantastic attacks on our rights. GOCRA packed the house, gave excellent, intelligent testimony, and in the end, we saw no further restrictions on our rights.
Without GOCRA, today Minnesota could have the same insane restrictions as New York and Colorado.
Here is some inside information about MGO. For the record, I did a little “Googling” which backed up everything Mitch is saying.
Want to support our rights? Here’s what I suggest:
Give your support to GOCRA first. If you have anything left over, give that to the NRA.
We all know the Four Rules of firearms safety. But have we thought lately about what they mean?
People who own and use guns must acknowledge that firearms are, by design, inherently dangerous! Firearm users need to not just know the Four Rules, but to understand and practice them properly.
Treat all guns as if they were loaded. When accidents occur, the shooter usually says, “Whoops, I thought the gun was unloaded.” Nobody ever says, “Well I knew the gun was loaded so I aimed at (insert expensive item here) and pulled the trigger.”
You should never do anything with a gun you think is unloaded that you would not do with a gun that you knew was loaded. In these most recent cases, the shooters pointed the guns at 1) a student and 2) their own hand. These are not things you would point a loaded gun at.
Never point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. Firearms should never be handled casually. You and you alone are responsible for what your gun does and where it’s pointed.
There only are two acceptable places to point a gun: at its intended target, and at the ground.
Be aware of your target and what’s beyond it. Always think, “What will I hit if I miss my target?” Ensure your target is positively identified and your line of fire is clear. If it’s not, don’t take the shot! Again, you are responsible for your gun and what you do with it. If you don’t have a clear shot, reposition yourself until you do.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and have decided to fire. Despite numerous BS claims to the contrary, firearms do not “go off” by themselves. It’s also an extremely rare occurrence that a firearm discharges from being dropped or due to a mechanical failure.
The #1 reason guns fire, accidentally or otherwise, is the shooter puts their finger on the trigger and presses it.
As I said before, firearms should never be handled casually. When you pick up a firearm, you should immediately assume a good grip, place your trigger finger in register up and out of the trigger guard, and control the direction of the muzzle.
Like auto accidents, gun accidents typically happen because of the following factors:
Distraction. The person gets distracted and does something incorrectly because they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Another distraction happens when the person gets interrupted in the middle of a procedure, and then tries to pick up where they left off.
Picture this: shooter is unloading his gun. He removes it from the holster and just as he’s about to take out the magazine, the phone rings. After finishing the phone call, he picks up the gun, and assumes he had already removed the magazine. You can see what’s coming. Firearms should NEVER be handled casually. When there is a gun in your hand, it needs to have your undivided attention.
Exhaustion. Trying to handle your gun after a sixteen hour shift or when you haven’t gotten enough sleep can be dangerous. As mentioned above, the gun in your hand needs your undivided attention. If you are tired, take it slow and check your work.
Poor Procedure. I don’t think this one gets the credit it deserves. Two types of poor procedure I often see are:
– The shooter has no idea what they are doing. I am often amazed at the lack of knowledge people have about operating guns that they have owned for years. They’ve never had to unload the gun, because they have always shot it dry at the range. They don’t know how to check the chamber, lock the slide to the rear, or operate the safety/decocker properly. There’s no excuse for this. It’s like owning a car that you can start and drive but don’t know how to park.
– The shooter is rushing or hurrying the procedure, and skips a step. See “Distraction” above.
– The shooter has done the procedure so many times that they have a pre-determined result. I’ve personally seen – more than once – a person observe a round in the chamber of their gun and still press the trigger.
There is no excuse for owning a gun and not knowing how to operate it, and there is no excuse for poor gun handling. People who cannot handle firearms safely should not be handling them at all.
Firearm accidents are not “something that just happens.” They are the direct result of irresponsible and sloppy gun handling. We owe it to ourselves and the people around us to take our gun handling seriously.
It’s literally a matter of life and death.
Hat tip to DrFaulken for this excellent video:
In case you haven’t heard, the office supply chain Staples recently refused to allow a Nebraska gun store to participate in a contest for small businesses. As a result, gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment have been discussing a Staples boycott on social media.
Here at QSI, we’re more than willing to “vote with our dollars.” Any student who registers for a QSI class and brings us a receipt of $10 or more from any Staples competitor will receive a 20% discount on their class.
For more information, email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your support!
Whether you are starving for ammo or you are sitting on a large stockpile, you are probably wondering how to get the most out of your ammunition purchases. Most of us, once we get ammo in our hands, are afraid to use it because we’re not sure when it can be replaced.
While most ammo dealers have bare shelves, we are seeing an occasional ray of hope here and there. Just like things stabilized after the last election, this too shall likely pass.
In the meantime, just how do we get the best return on our ammo investment, and still stay proficient with our defensive firearms? Here are some suggestions:
DRY FIRE DRILLS. Dry fire is a great way to practice your weapons manipulation skills without expending any ammo. You can practice drawing the gun, re holstering, trigger control and sight alignment in the comfort of your own home.
Safety when dry firing is just as important when live firing your gun. Gun safety rules are not suspended when a gun is “unloaded.” Check your gun before starting to make sure it’s clear, and then have someone else verify it for you. Practice your dry-firing against a safe backstop (such as a basement wall) and don’t have any live ammo in the room with you when you are practicing.
AIRSOFT/BLUE GUNS. Like dry-fire, this can be done just about anywhere. Depending on your gun, a Blue Gun replica from Ring’s Manufacturing can be had for around $40. Airsoft is a bit pricier but most replicas run around $150-$200. (We at QSI have a good friend in the Airsoft business, for his contact info send us an email).
While these guns don’t offer the exact same feel as the real thing, they are great for scenario-based practice, such as scanning, drawing/re holstering, retention and disarms. Airsoft guns have the added advantage of being able to fire a plastic pellet, and can be used for trigger control and sight alignment practice.
PLAN YOUR RANGE TIME. Never go to the shooting range without a plan. Think about what you want to practice, and what drills you can do to practice those skills. While it’s fun to blast away at the target, in today’s market it makes sense to get the most you can out of each shot you fire.
In our next post, we’ll talk about some drills you can do at the range that will polish your skills without using a ton of ammo.