SHOT Show, Last Day!

24 Jan 20, 2020 SHOT Show, Last Day!

Today, at the Mossberg Booth, I get a chance to handle their new MC2 Pistol. Introduced late last year, it’s a double-column version of the single-column MC1 Pistol they introduced at last year’s SHOT Show.

Both are compact, carry pistols in 9mm. The MC1 is a 7/9 shooter, depending on the magazine used (you get one of each with the pistol). The MC2 is a 14/16 shooter.

Both are really nice guns, but the category is crowded!

The FN 509 pistol is another nice carry-gun. Nearly identical to the now out-of-production FNS, the 509 can be had in full-sized (G17), medium-sized (G19), and compact (G26), much like H&K’s VP9

I notice with all pistol manufacturers, there is a big emphasis this year on pistol optics. All seem to think this is a hard trend, and that nearly all American police will be carrying service pistols equipped with optics not too many years into the future.

They’re probably right!

In any event, nearly all currently-manufactured service pistols are coming from the factory set-up to accept optics.

At Brownell’s Booth I got my hands on a BRN/10A, which is a resurrection of the AR10 (Stoner System in 7.62×51 caliber).

It comes complete with a non-reciprocating bolt-handle that takes the form of an upside-down trigger on top of the upper receiver, protected by the “carrying handle.” At $1.5k, it’s not a bad rifle, but Daniel Defense POF, and others manufacture similar rifles, at close to the same price, with more modern features!

Of particular interest is the 5.56×45 BRN/180. This is the rebirth of the AR18, and it is very well done!
This is the rifle Stoner designed years after he designed the AR!

The AR18 was a commercial failure, over-shadowed at the time by the AR and the Vietnam War, but it inspired many subsequent successful designs.

Brownell’s version is pretty true to the original!

Short-stroke, non-adjustable gas-piston. Nice folding stock! Non-reciprocating bolt-handle on the right side. Full-length rail. Takes AR magazines. Light (polymer lower)!

As a travel-gun the BRN/180 will be an excellent choice!

It will be in production and shipping the first half of this year.

I always miss some things, and I’m sure I did this time, but I hope I identified the most important ones.

Compared with last year, attendance at the SHOT Show this year was down. It’s still a huge trade show, but I could see that local restaurants were not as crowded as last year, and many booths and displays were downsized from previous years.

Directly adjacent to the Sands Convention Center, where the SHOT Show has been held these past few years, a huge (consuming a city block or more) additional building is currently under construction. It is called the “Caesar’s Convention Center,” and I’m pretty sure it is intended to be ultimately continuous with the current Sands Conventions Center.

In any event, at the 2021 SHOT Show, some vendors will be in this new building. They’re already booking space!

I don’t know if the Show will consume the entire building, but it might!

As far as political predictions go, it think most believe DJT will easily win a second term, at least from all current indicators. So, our Art and industry may remain strong and innovative, albeit slow (at least when compared with the BHO years).

Yet, it’s a volatile world, and “earth-shaking events” generally occur suddenly, and with scant warning, and mostly without any kind of preparation on the part of those most affected.

The day before the Flood, you know what everyone was telling Noah!


2020 SHOT Show, Third Day

23 Jan 20

2020 SHOT Show:

Third Day:

Many have asked for a link to the Brian Hoffner video I referenced yesterday. It is highly recommended for anyone carrying a serious blade!


Of note today:

Anderson Manufacturing, makers of the Anderson AR, is still the only manufacturer that treats all their rifles with the RF85 coating (if that’s the right term). They recommend their rifles be run completely dry!

We’ve had Anderson M4s in Classes, and we’ve used them as the basis for our FSM4. They are excellent, and the RF85 treatment works as advertised!

POF (Patriot Ordnance Factory) now makes a Direct-Gas 308 caliber version of their Revolution Rifle. The piston-driven version is $2.3K. This new gas version is $1.7k, and it is actually the lighter of the two!

John Ring, maker of Ring’s “Blue Guns,” tells me that all of his prop-guns are his signature blue color. He has made a few black ones for the movie industry, but they are closely controlled.

John’s blue guns’ dimensions are a two percent reduction from actual dimensions of the gun they are designed to simulate, so they fit in all holsters.

I got my hands on S&W’s 9mm EZ pistol today. Slide is easy to move, as is the case with the 380Auto version, and the two are almost exactly the same size, about the size of a G43. Both have a grip safety, and a non-jointed trigger. Both are very slim!

Hi-Viz now makes light-tube pistol sights that are also self-luminescent night sights, much like the True Glow product. Hi-Viz version can be had in three-dot, or Express Sights!

Ft Knox gun safes can be had with both an electronic push-button combination lock, and also a conventional dial combination lock, both on the same safe, one above the other!

For those who just don’t trust electronic combination locks, this system provides a back-up, so you can always get into your safe!

There were a number of other safe manufacturers at the Show who had wares on display, but Ft Knox is the only one to offer this option.

Blue Force Gear introduced their new, amazingly light-weight “Molleminus” Gear Belt. It features an inner and outer belt, connected via velcro. Very handy!

Friends at Steiner Optics showed me their P4Xi 1×4 tactical rifle optic today. Nice size, reticle combined with a red-dot, and there is nothing like Steiner glass!

At under $1k, this represents an excellent force-multiplier for serious rifles, particularly in 7.62×51 caliber.
Leupold’s and Trijicon’s versions are about the same price. Zeiss’ version is $1.7k

Steiner is also making a non-magnifying red-dot, called the DRS1X. It’s similar to an EOTech, but thoroughly ruggedized. Controls are on top. Runs on AAs.

Tomorrow is the last day!


2020 SHOT Show, Second Day

22 Jan 20
2020 SHOT Show, Second Day:

Of note:

This morning, Vicki and I both participated in an ILEETA Deadly Force Discussion Panel.

ILEETA was asked to export this forum to the SHOT Show this year, and it was attended by a large group of police officer/trainers. I think we enlightened a few!

Then, back to the vendor area(s)!

A company called Real Avid makes wonderful AR tool kits, combined into a single, well-thought-out tool, as well as numerous individual AR armorer’s tools.

This is something I can really use on the range!

Shadow Systems is a new American gun company, and they are manufacturing (in TX) a serious carry pistol, called the MR920. Externally, it looks like a G19, enough so that fits just fine into nearly any G19 holster.

It can be described as an “ergonomically enhanced” G19!

At $800.00, it is in the current retail zone for this kind of weapon.

It is slick, smooth, and nothing on it, inside nor outside, rusts!

I really like the company’s owner’s enthusiasm and dedication to the needs of Operators!

I’ll might be carrying a copy at some point!

Now, to the subject of off-body carry!

The premier manufacturer of concealed-carry handbags and purses is GTM (Gun Toten’ Mamas), and this is the product I usually recommend to my students who have this need. The owners and staff have all been our students and are all aspiring Operators!

Vicki has run several Off-Body Concealed Carry Instructor Courses, with the support of GTM.
Several more are scheduled this year.

Who decide on this option need to receive competent training, just like all others who own and carry guns for serious purposes.

Some still consider off-body concealed carry to be inherently illegitimate, but for many (and not just women), off-body carry represents not only a viable option, but the only option!

Vicki and I are honored to be able to conduct these courses, and owners of GTM deserve a lot of credit for taking the responsibility to provide this kind of service to their customers. They’re the only manufacturers who do!

Too many knife-makers to mention, but my friend and premier manufacturer, Brian Hoffner, has produced a
wonderful instructional video about carrying knives. I’ve made all my grandchildren sit down and watch it before issuing them a serious blade.


On to ammunition:

For serious ammunition, I like Cor-Bon, Supervel, Underwood, Gorilla, Black Hills, Lehigh.

There is nothing wrong, of course, with Federal, Hornady, Winchester, but the smaller companies listed above are on the leading edge of serious ammunition evolution, and they all enjoy my support and admiration.

Manufacturers tell me 9mm traditional cup-and-core 115gr is still a top-seller, but the all-copper HP (DPX, SCHP) has now pulled-up nearly even, despite its premium price!

Most manufacturers agree that, if the price of these two rounds were close to the same, cup-and-core bullets would disappear altogether! However, all-copper HPs are still significantly more expensive than are traditional bullets.

9mm is king, of course, but I’m told 38 Super is suddenly in demand, as is 32ACP!

10mm experienced a brief surge in popularity, but has now fallen back off.

357Sig, while not nearly as popular as 9mm, is now more in demand than 40S&W!

Non-expanding FTM bullets, mostly produced by Lehigh, are also loaded by Underwood and Black Hills.

There have now been several dozen actual shootings with this round, and performance has been pretty-much what gelatin testing predicted. Terminal performance is at least parallel with the best high-performance HP.

Several manufacturers (but not all) are thoroughly persuaded of the inherent superiority of FTM bullets over any species of HP.

More tomorrow!


2020 SHOT Show, First Day!

21 Jan 20

2020 SHOT Show, Las Vegas, NV, First Day

The Show is huge, as always. Here are my comments:

I’ll get this out of the way first!

I handled Colt’s re-introduced Python Revolver today. Trigger is wonderful. It’s a very nice $1,500.00 revolver!

Unhappily, Colt, like Cabot Arms, is now a “boutique” gun company, making high-end iterations of obsolete guns.

Colt makes nothing in the way of modern, service pistols, to compete with Glock and the rest, despite several abortive attempts.

EAG Tac now makes a small, carry flashlight, the DX3, that has an output of 2500 lumens! Brightness is amazing. I’m getting a copy!

Torkmag makes a line of polymer AR magazines that are nice and relatively inexpensive.

Ergo makes a rubber grip for snubby revolvers (Ruger and S&W) called the Delta Grip. They are thin, but really fill your hand. Excellent bridge between big hands and snubby revolvers!

PTR, makers of domestic H&K 91 Rifles, had them on display in both 7.62×51 (308) and 7.62×39. A 5.56×45 version will be out this year!

Robinson Armament has re-introduced the RA96 Rifle (copy of the Stoner 63)! It can be set-up for top feeding (BREN style, complete with offset sights) at the option of the owner!

Alex Robinson explained that this rifle had been so popular in the past that he decided to start. manufacturing it again.

Robinson’s competitor to SIG’s popular MPX is the PCC (Pistol Cartridge Carbine).

Firstlight’s TORQ is a universal utility light that can be clamped to just about anything. Army medics are now issued them!

DSA now makes polymer 20-round FAL magazines! Very light and well executed. The only thing metal is the spring. I got a couple!

Double Star is now in the knife business (in addition to their excellent line of ARs)! Their “Fang” is a slick neck-knife.

James River Armory, like Century Arms, imports all kinds of military rifles. When you want an SKS, or an Enfield, they probably have one for you!

I carry a SIG 320 and have for most of last year and all of this one, so far. It represents a very acceptable choice for a serious, carry-gun.

Today, I handled what may be its replacement! The 320X Compact is slightly smaller and has SIG’s new flat trigger. Smooth, short pull and quick, crisp, shallow reset. Very conducive to serious shooting!

You can get it with SIG’s Romeo optic. The Romeo is now motion-activated, to extend battery life. Brightness is adjustable.

As we departed the Sands Expo Center after enjoying dinner with friends at the Palazzo hotel, we heard police sirens from several directions, and saw lit-up beat-cars passing us in the opposite direction.

Of course, In Las Vegas, police sirens are not unusual. We continued on back to our hotel.

We just heard on the news that there was a multiple shooting incident at a fashion-mall show, just across from the Sands Convention Center where we had just been!

Local news media reports multiple gunshot victims. Few other details.

We are reminded, once more, that danger, lethal danger, is never far away, no matter where you are!

More tomorrow!


2020 SHOT Show, Range Day

20 Jan 20

2020 SHOT Show, Las Vegas, NV

Range Day:

Today was “Range Day” at the Boulder Gun Club Range Facility in Boulder City, NV

At Range Day, we get to shoot all the new guns!

Of note:

Walther’s 380Auto small carry pistol in called the CCP. Nice size!

It has a manual safety-lever instead of a tabbed trigger. However, it has a magazine safety, which is a deal-buster for me!

Walther’s flagship, full-sized carry/service pistol is the PPQ. The PPQ is a double-column 9mm, striker-fired, polymer-frame pistol. I’ve carried it, and it is very acceptable. It has a trigger-tab safety, no manual safety, and no magazine safety!

Walther also makes an all-steel version of the PPQ. Nice to shoot, but too heavy to carry!

I shot the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pistol today. It’s a 14-shooter, compact carry gun. Small, flat, with tabbed-trigger, no manual safety, and no grip-safety!

Magazine is not quite “double-column,” more like a “column-and-a-half,” like the SIG 360.

Rear sight is a Cirillo-style “U” Front sight is big and illuminated (night sight)

As a small, serious, carry-pistol the Hellcat represents an excellent choice. I like it!

H&K’s VP9 is another excellent, double-column, full-size carry pistol. H&K has redesigned the VP9’s magazine follower and floor-plate, so that it now holds two more rounds, making it a 20-shooter!

H&K’s VP9SK is the flat, single-column version, It’s an 11-shooter.

I also shot the Glock 44 today!

It’s a G19 in 22LR caliber. Everything is the same except the weight. I was fully prepared to dismiss this pistol as irrelevant, but I was compelled to soften my opinion after shooting it!

The G44 is nearly weightless! The frame is polymer, of course, but the slide is mostly polymer too!

I think this pistol will be useful in training new shooters. They can get used to the trigger, do a lot of shooting without a lot of noise and recoil, and of course eventually move-on to a serious caliber.

The “G44-to-G19 Progression” may represent the best way to accelerate aspiring Operators’ mastery of serious pistol skills!

I shot several of the above-named pistols equipped with Aimpoint’s ACRO compact red-dot system. Of all the currently-available red-dots small enough to go on pistols, the ACRO is probably the most durable.

I’ve been trying to get a copy of the ACRO since last year’s SHOT Show, but they’ve been very popular.

Maybe this time!

The Show starts tomorrow at the Sands Convention here in Las Vegas!



20 Jan 20


“Chicken meat is cheap”

Alfonso XIII of Spain, when informed that his troops were being massacred at the Battle of Annual (22 July 1921, in Spanish Morocco). The King then casually resumed his golf game.

This from a friend on active duty:

“With the loss of VA to the socialist/leftists, I fully expect risk-aversion (fear of troops keeping and bearing
privately-owned weapons) to increase exponentially amongst the brass, as most Pentagon/MDW personnel of rank live in Northern Virginia.

All troops, including officers and NCOs, will be compelled to get rid of all personally-owned guns. When they want to continue training on their own time, they will do so on pain of being prosecuted as felons. They will have no lawful means of independent training with facsimiles of service arms.

Troops most affected by these tyrannical decrees will be those who are stationed relatively close to the Capitol Region

Troopers with a single magazine brought back from deployment overseas, will go to prison!

An identical fate awaits any trooper who keeps any gun that socialists politicians want when it is protecting them, but prohibit when it protects anyone else!


“Lethality” is little more than a feel-good buzzword that Army brass and sergeants major use to justify new gadgets, instead of applying their efforts and finite resources to the hard work, danger, and personal risk that invariably attach to genuine martial training, mental toughness, discipline, and personal mastery of rifles, pistols, and machineguns, the real stuff of war!

Disarmed soldiers, who are falsely told they are “safe,” will continue to be wantonly massacred, and politicians and others up the food-chain will continue to make tear-jerking speeches, so long as golf games are not interrupted!

The past is prologue to predictable tragedies that will re-occur, again and again, as “leaders” continually weight career risk over real threats to lives and safety of magnificent soldiers they are charged with.



19 Jan 20

“Where there is trust, no proof is necessary. Where there is none, no proof is possible!”


American General Jack Pershing kept BARs and Lewis Machineguns out of the hands of American troops as they began arriving in France in the summer of 1918.

Curiously, many American troops had trained extensively on these very weapons prior to deployment, with every expectation they would take them into combat!

As soon as Americans arrived in France, BARs and Lewis Guns were snatched out of their hands and replaced with the vastly inferior French-made CSRG, better known as the “Chauchat.”

Chauchats were poorly manufactured, unreliable, unfamiliar, and extremely unpopular with American troops. In fact, this sudden and unannounced “weapons switch” represented a scandal, and was so described for many decades after the War!

Pershing considered the BAR and Lewis Gun so superior that he worried they would, when issued immediately, be captured and “reverse-engineered” by clever Germans. In any event, he wanted to keep their existence, as well as that of the “Pederson Device,” a closely-guarded secret, and then re-issue them, and thus “surprise” the Germans, just prior to the “Grand Allied Offensive” in the spring of 1919.

Of course, the Great War ended in November of 1918, so the BAR and Lewis Gun saw scant use, and only at the very end of the War. The Pederson Device never saw the sight of day!

Benjamin Hotchkiss, like Hiram Maxim, was an American and, like Maxim, found little interest in America for his wares, so, like Maxim, he went to Europe, settling in Paris, France.

The gas-operated “Benet-Mercie,” America’s first LMG (1908), was a Hotchkiss design. Most were in 30-06 caliber.

The Benet-Mercie, manufactured under license by Colt and Springfield Armory, was never used in combat during WWI. It saw use during stateside training only. There were 670 copies in the US inventory at the beginning of WWI. It was declared “obsolete” in 1918, largely replaced by the BAR

However, four Benet-Mercies made a very respectable accounting of themselves during Pancho Villa’s raid on Columbus, NM early in the morning of Thursday, 9 March 1916. Between the four, they fired a total of 20k rounds at Villa’s raiders that morning. By all reports, all four ran just fine, and made their mark!

As is usually the case, US Troops stationed in Columbus, NM had little warning. They were completely unprepared, and taken by surprise. It took a while for them to get organized!

In fact, in what was a comical exercise, US troopers had to break-into their own locked armory in Columbus in order to arm themselves with guns and ammunition, because not one of them carried guns routinely, and “the guy with the key” was, as usual, nowhere to be found!

Forty-four US Troops in Balangiga, Philippines (Spanish-American War), disarmed by their own commander, had been massacred on Saturday, 28 Sept 1901, during a nearly identical fiasco

Unarmed US troops and sailors would we forced into a similar, but much larger, debacle in the afternoon of Sunday, 7 Dec 1941 at Pearl Harbor!

… and again on Thursday, 5 Nov 2009 in Ft Hood, TX

… and again on Friday, 6 Dec 2019 in Pensacola, FL!

For our “unarmed forces” to be habitually subjected to this kind of tyranny is nothing new, as we see!

And, there is thus-far no on-going agenda to restore trust in our troops, even our magnificent officers and S/NCOs.

“What you have hunted me for is not my actions, but the thoughts of my heart. It is a long road you have opened. For now men will disclaim their hearts, and presently will have no hearts. God help the people whose ‘statesmen’ walk your road.”

Sir Thomas More (played by Paul Scofield), from the 1966 movie version of Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All


Correction II

17 Jan 20

“Ordinance” is rule, usually associated with a local political jurisdiction.

“Ordnance” is a munition, usually military

I often get the two terms and spellings mixed-up. I need to be more careful!

In any event, it’s Patriot Ordnance Factory, or “POF,” owned and run by my friend, Frank DeSoma. Frank makes the wonderful “Revolution Rifle,” which is on my “Recommended List,” along with Robinson Arms, DSA, PTR, Century Arms, Krebs, Rifle Dynamics, BCM, et al

Several also commented my use of the double-negative, “Not hardly”

Yes, it is poor English, but “Not hardly” is actually a quotation from the 1971 feature film, “Big Jake,” staring John Wayne and Richard Boone.

Boone plays the villain his time!

As John Fain (played by Richard Boone) lays mortally wounded, he looks up at the hero, Jacob McCandles (played by John Wayne), and says,”I thought you were dead!”

Jacob answers cryptically, “Not hardly!”

I’ve quoted it before, for emphasis, in the naive expectation that some would recognize the line and the movie.

I’m dating myself, once again!



16 Jan 20

With regard to my last Quip, I meant to say POF (Patriot Ordinance Factory) Revolution Rifle. This rifle I highly recommend.

The PTR91 Rifle I also recommend, along with the others mentioned, but I get titles confused sometimes, as you can see!


Weapons that Run!

16 Jan 20

“Cleanliness and order are not matters of ‘instinct.’ They are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.”

Benjamin Disraeli

Many mistakenly believe that spring-loaded “dust-covers,” designed to obturate ejection ports on military rifles, were an invention of Gene Stoner, as none appeared on the previous two generations of US Rifles.

Not hardly!

Since the appearance of autoloading military rifles (over one hundred years ago), both weapons designers and war planners have been painfully aware that critical advantages autoloading rifles and machineguns render to an army will be quickly nullified when these weapons suddenly decide not to run!

Muddy/dusty WWI battlefields bitterly demonstrated the necessity of keeping receivers of autoloading weapons sealed as much of the time as possible! In fact, most infantry rifles of both World Wars were issued with canvas wrappers designed to go around the action and protect it from mud and dust until it was deployed.

Mud, dust, grit, and sand, when they get on the inside of receivers and come into contact with internal, moving parts, will dependably shut-down the best-designed weapons in the world, as so many have unhappily discovered, often at an inconvenient moment!

Oliver Winchester decided to put a sliding dust-cover on his lever-gun of 1873.

Kijiro Nambu put dust covers on his venerable Type 92, 96, and 99 machineguns. On these weapons, entry-points for mud and debris are just about all sealed. Nambu knew and understood how important is was in warfare to keep internals of weapons free from contamination.

Louis Stange put dust-covers over every orifice of his famous, but ill-fated, FG42.

So, Stoner was in good company!

In fact, dust-covers, some very sophisticated, appeared on autoloading rifles and machineguns just as soon as they started to be designed and built (early 1900s). Dust-covers were found not just over ejection ports, but over magazine wells, and machinegun belt entry and exit ports as well.

With the invention of smokeless propellants and the subsequent appearance of box magazines, belt-fed machineguns, and spitzer bullets as the Twentieth Century dawned, sights on this generation of military rifles and machineguns were often calibrated all the way out to 2000m!

War planners of the era, fascinated with the potential of their new weapons understandably assumed warfare would now take place at long ranges and would thus be much “cleaner” than during the black-powder era.

WWI amply demonstrated they couldn’t have been more wrong!

Warfare was every bit as dirty, virulent, personal, savage, close, and deadly as it had ever been!

Accordingly, keeping receivers of sophisticated weapons sealed and thus protected from invasion of contaminants, as much of the time as possible, has greatly concerned weapons designers, trainers, and Operators ever since!

In “mud tests,” where military rifles are immersed in mud, and then an attempt is made to fire them, few survive!

All that have substantial, unsealed entry points (like the M14), fail this test!

Weapons with sealed receivers (like the M4), do much better!

The M14 (M1A), M1, M1 Carbine, and a host of others are still very good weapons and enjoy my recommendation, yet they share this vulnerability.

The PTR91 (H&K 91, G3), RA/XCR, FAL, Kalashnikov, SCAR do much better.

The AR System, (M4, PTR Revolution, etc), so long as the dust-cover remains closed, do best of all!

In conclusion:

The rifle you keep for serious purposes should be sealed within a case when stored at home and when traveling. Protect it from dust, grit, and other contaminants as much of the time as practicable.

When the rifle is in a higher state of readiness and thus “out,” such as when it resides by your bedside or you’re actually carrying it, keep the dust-cover closed (when the weapon has one), and keep a magazine fully inserted into the magazine-well. Keep the ejection port and the magazine-well sealed all of the time!

Even rifles sealed in cases should have dust-covers closed and magazines inserted!

It is our honor and favor in this generation to enjoy and exercise our right to keep and bear these sophisticated weapons, and thus continue to breath the blessed air of freedom!

Most are extremely tolerant of chronic neglect and poor maintenance and will serve you well in any event, but there is a limit, as we see!

“Grass-eaters are easily identified and selected for their chosen status of victimhood. On the other side of the ledger, we Operators have audaciously claimed our own image and likeness to our Creator.

Being barely alive, but on your own terms, is better by far than living a bloated half-life on someone else’s”



See the FSM4 Gen II in action:

Go to RobarGuns.com to get more details on the second generation of Farnam’s Signature M4 Rifle.