Monday, June 18, 2012


I've been a weapons aficionado since forever. One of the best things my father did for me at an early age was to teach me all about shooting. My grandfather had a country home up in the Catskills in New York that we'd visit and stay in when we could, and invariably my dad would bring along some guns. Usually they were a scoped bolt action .22, a .45 caliber percussion muzzleloader and a gas powered pellet pistol. I'm proud to say I was quite the marksman as a young fart, learning gun discipline, safety and techniques that I never forgot all my life.

My first purchase was a Winchester 30.06 for deer season in upstate NY. Still have it, paid $150 for it at the time, got into handloading special rounds, worth around $600 now and it's still a 200 yard tackdriver. My second weapon was bought in Ketchikan for mucking around backcountry in Alaska, a .357 Smith and Wesson. After that the dam cut loose and I've gone through oh I don't know, fifty or sixty guns.
(I'd like to throw in the tidbit that all things shooting are extremely good investments, even after price jumps the last few years. It's a certainty that if you bought a gun some time ago ago it's worth more now, sometimes quite a bit more. Twenty years ago importers were bringing in lots of semi auto SKS rifles. You could have easily bought one new with all the extras for $100. Now they trade for $300 to $700. A dozen years ago you could have picked up a 1000 round crate of ammo to feed it for $75. Same exact stuff is $275 today. A Cabelas Blue Ridge flintlock rifle was $375 ten years ago and the regular price now is $750, double what it used to be. You get the picture)

In the early nineties My wife and I took a class and got our permits to carry up in Oregon. Still carry all the time after retiring down here in the Great Southwest. Now I'm a bigger kind of guy and I've always had a predilection for full sized, powerful service handguns because the weight never bothered me at all. Always felt comfortable with cold, hard steel on my hip. Everybody's got their predilections. Over the years there are also three things I've avoided like the plague - polymer, striker firing mechanisms and DAO (double action only) pistols which means you're not ever going to see a Glock in my gun case. I do love exposed hammer, SAO (single action only) pistols although I haven't gotten into 1911s because I'm no big fan of .45 ACP. That may change, but what really changed is my attitude towards "pocket pistols".

In the last couple of years the popularity of small, ultra lightweight semi autos has positively skyrocketed. This is due to several things. More and more states loosened restrictions on concealed carry. More women these days are shooters and gravitate toward lightweight portability. And the technology in gun and ammunition manufacture has truly been outstanding.
Years ago I had a neighbor who carried around a little .380 in his pants pocket. Now .380 is widely considered to be the least powerful caliber to use as a defensive weapon, and you don't want to downsize below it, so this .357, .40 and .44 magnum caliber toting macho man inwardly smiled. I don't smirk anymore.

Like I mentioned, the market for this type of personal protection has literally exploded and the days of cheap, unreliable little "saturday night specials" are long, long gone. The .380 has blossomed into a much more viable choice with far better ballistics and baby, you gots a shitload of choices as far as weaponry. My next purchase will probably be a sleek little pocket rocket. I've looked into them and could rattle off a whole bunch, but I'll just mention the one currently at the top of my list - the Colt .380 Mustang Pocketlite.

Colt used to make these years ago but discontinued them. They brought them back when popularity of this type of platform soared and their older model was trading for super premium prices. It's got everything I like - exposed hammer, SAO and gosh darn a new caliber that I've never owned and tested. It's quite small and very lightweight at only 12.5 ounces unloaded. You could slip this into your pocket and you'd forget it was even there, until you needed it. Here's Jeff from Gunblast showing how it shoots.
I do like guns, I'll admit. I like to shoot and reload my own cartridges, like the history and gunsmithing, and by gum I put about half a ton of good meat in the freezer over the years. We're entering into uncharted territory in this insane society and I was fortunate enough to get into self defense a while back and get proficient with quite an arsenal. If anybody reading this hasn't done so yet I would highly suggest acquiring a weapon and learning how to use it.
The small window of opportunity to do this is sadly closing rapidly.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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