On Firearm Safety

“Never handle firearms carelessly. The sorrow and suffering that have been caused through the innocent but heedless handling of firearms by the young! Only four days ago, right in the next farm house to the one where I am spending the summer, a grandmother, old and gray and sweet, one of the loveliest spirits in the land, was sitting at her work, when her young grandson crept in and got down an old, battered, rusty gun which had not been touched for many years and was supposed not to be loaded, and pointed it at her, laughing and threatening to shoot. In her fright she ran screaming and pleading toward the door on the other side of the room; but as she passed him he placed the gun almost against her very breast and pulled the trigger! He had supposed it was not loaded. And he was right – it wasn’t. So there wasn’t any harm done. It is the only case of that kind I ever heard of. Therefore, just the same, don’t you meddle with old unloaded firearms; they are the most deadly and unerring things that have ever been created by man. You don’t have to take any pains at all with them; you don’t have to have a rest, you don’t have to have any sights on the gun, you don’t have to take aim, even. No, you just pick out a relative and bang away, and you are sure to get him. A youth who can’t hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling gun in three quarters of an hour, can take up an old empty musket and bag his grandmother every time, at a hundred. Think what Waterloo would have been if one of the armies had been boys armed with old muskets supposed not to be loaded, and the other army had been composed of their female relations. The very thought of it makes one shudder.”

– Mark Twain

Kathy Jackson of Cornered Cat quoted that on Facebook the other day and I thought it was too good not to share. It’s from an essay written by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) entitled, “Advice to Youth.” It’s a wonderful bit of humor mixed with truth and satire.

Here We Go Again – IL Assault Weapon Ban

   Senator Ira Silverstein (D) from the 8th district introduced another assault weapons ban, SB3297.  While it’s no SAFE act, it contains plenty of its own stumbles, inanities, unreasonableness. If you guessed his district is in Chicago, you’re right. Apparently the assault weapons ban that already covers his entire district isn’t strict enough for his liking. He introduced this new bill two days after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida. The bill is currently waiting without any apparent traction. Perhaps it will wither in committee like many of its predecessors have before.

The format of the bill is the same as the last several bills that have passed through various government bodies. For the quick overview, the bill defines assault weapons by evil features, includes the usual list of firearms banned by name (with some new additions), creates a new term “Assault weapon attachment” it criminalizes transferring a .50 BMG rifle, assault weapon transfers, transfers of magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

The evil features for semi-auto rifles are being able to accept a “Large capacity ammunition feeding device” and ONE of the following:

  • “Only a pistol grip without a stock attached” (yes, I know, other than an SBR, it’s pretty much the defining characteristic of “not a rifle”)
  • “Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand” (interesting choice to ban vertical and angled foregrips)
  • “Folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock” (a classic – they hate guns that will fit in your trunk, can be used by both tall and short people, or are comfortable to hold)
  • “A muzzle brake or muzzle compensator” (odd that they don’t mention flash suppressors. Or grenade launchers. Maybe they caught too much mockery for that.)

   But here’s the kicker:

  • “A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel”

   Handguards The bill bans handguards; even though they specifically identified the intended and legitimate use of handguards, or “shrouds” as they are labeled in the bill. Handguards prevent people from hurting themselves while using a firearm.  Somehow, personal protective equipment is a banned feature. Do they hope to stop potential mass shooters by burning their hands? I guess a ban on oven-mitts will be forthcoming.

Oddly enough, a semi-auto rifle with a fixed magazine that takes more than ten rounds becomes an assault weapon outright, no matter what features it does or doesn’t have. There’s a situation where you would legally be able to transfer a post-ban rifle that accepted pre-ban 100 round beta mags, but you couldn’t transfer a pre-ban gun with a bullet button and a 30 round magazine. I guess they really hated bullet-buttons.

   Semi-auto pistols also have a similar list:

  • “Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand” (VFG again, but that’s already covered by the Federal AOW definition)
  • “A folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock” (pretty much the definition of SBR and “not a handgun”)
  • “A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel.” (Finally, we get close the original definition of a barrel shroud, like on a MAC-10 pistol)
  • “A muzzle brake or muzzle compensator” (politicians love recoil)
  • “The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside the pistol grip” (takes care of those pesky AR pistols and the ever classic Tec-9)

   Semi-auto shotguns:

  • “Pistol grip only without a stock attached” (I’m curious if the Shockwave grip qualifies as an actual pistol grip or not, since I cannot find it defined by IL law)
  • “Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand”
  • “A folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock”
  • “A fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds”
  • “An ability to accept detachable [sic] magazine”

On page 3, line 14 they ban any shotgun with a revolving cylinder. This one hits home, since my Grandpa owns a Rossi Circuit Judge that he uses to hunt squirrels and rabbits. They literally want to ban my grandfather’s hunting shotgun.

Taking a note from the ATF on constructive possession. The bill bans “a conversion kit, part or combination of parts, from which an assault weapon can be assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person;

Next comes the big, long list of guns banned by name, including “copies or duplicates” of those guns. There’s the usual list of machineguns and scary rifles that has been copy/pasted for years – AK, AKM, AK-47, AK-74, TEC-9, AR-15, Bushmaster XM-15, Uzi, etc. There are a few new additions to the list, like the [sic] Kel-Tec Sub Rifle, the Tavor, and most notably the Hi-point carbine. The most affordable home defense rifle available, specifically designed to comply with every single part of this law and others like it, has been specifically targeted for a gun ban. A Hi-point carbine ban is a direct attack on gun ownership for low-income families; those must desperate for a means of self-defense.

They then insert a specific exemption for “weapons designed for Olympic target shooting events” because of the Olympic sporting complex down in Sparta, and possibly the hopes of the Olympics ever coming to Chicago. These weapons and features all require banning for public safety, except public safety can take a back seat if you’re competing for the world stage and are bringing in money for Chicago.

The bill defines”.50 caliber cartridge” as .50 BMG, either by designation or actual measurement. .510 DTC wouldn’t fit this definition, since the case measurements are different, the cartridge is different. Muzzleloaders, antiques, and shotguns are exempted from the .50 caliber ban.

“Large capacity ammunition feeding device” defined as a magazine belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of more than 10 rounds. Also includes constructive possession or readily restored or converted, so repair kits are out. Tube magazines for “.22 caliber rimfire” are exempt.

“Transfer means a delivery, loan, rental, or sale.” Transfers are only legal to an heir, an out-of-state resident, or an FFL.  This definition creates another odd scenario. It would be illegal to rent a semi-auto assault weapon at a range, but perfectly legal to rent a fully-automatic machinegun, so long as it was supplied with 10 round magazines.

   The sentences are, of course, all felonies. They’ll use this to take away your remaining rights, not only to effective self-defense, but to vote as well.

Delivering a banned magazine or “assault weapon attachment” is a class 4 felony for the first offense, class 3 for a second offense or more. Class 4 felonies are the least severe felonies in IL and carry a minimum prison term of one year. Class 4 felonies include felony DUI, aggravated assault, and stalking.

Transferring an assault weapon or .50 caliber rifle is a Class 3 felony. Class 3 felonies carry a sentence of two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Examples are aggravated battery, and theft (between $300 and $2,000).

A second offense, or transferring 2 or more assault weapons, is a Class 2 felony. A Class 2 felony is punishable by three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Class 2 felonies include arson, and some drug possession (2 kg but not more than 5 kg of marijuana), as well as theft of $2,000 to $10,000.

It should be noted that according to the FBI, there were 14 murders in Illinois in 2016 that were committed with a rifle of any type, not just an assault weapon. 5 were committed with shotguns. These out of a total of 941 murders.

   Grandpa handing me his hunting shotgun to go hunt squirrels in the woods would be the same as “Intentionally or knowingly [causing] great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement” in the eyes of the law.

From the Conservative Bastion of News, Vox

A mostly-accurate article on owning an AR-15.

Only minor quibbles like “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” being used interchangeably.

The article is well-written and astonishingly accurate for something from Vox. It was written in the wake of the Orlando Pulse shooting, but it still applies just the same today.

Hazard 4 Defense Courier Diagonal Laptop Bag Review

tl;dr – 5/5, awesome laptop bag, treated like hell for a year, still going strong

A little over a year ago, at the NRA Annual Meeting in 2016, I was in desperate need of a new laptop bag. Scouring different vendors on show floor yielded little result. Everyone had similar versions of the same bags, covered in MOLLE and sporting a myriad of pockets, but none of those I visited seemed to have a dedicated laptop bag.

On the last day of the convention, Erin pulled me over to the Hazard 4 booth. She was eyeing a very nice looking poncho and had brought me over to see if they could find me another bag.

The Defense Courier bag jumped out at me because it was distinctly NOT tacticool. It was a functional laptop bag that would blend in well in a corporate environment. I wanted the bag, not to show off at the range, but to actually use for work and hump gear from jobsite to jobsite. Some jobsites are not exactly permissive when it comes to the right to self-defense (some for legitimate reasons, others for purely political).

I didn’t just want to post a review right after I got the bag, though. I wanted to see how it actually held up. So here’s my report on the bag after over a year of hard use. It carried my tools and laptop every day of work and several for play. It wasn’t babied – it was thrown into the back of my truck, drug on the ground, dropped, and used roughly.

The front has a nice panel of loop material for patches to hook into. Minor complaint that the Hazard 4 logo is permanently attached and can’t be removed. A large enough patch can cover it up, though.

The smooth material has garnered a few scuffs – mostly from encounters with rough concrete. It’s structurally intact, and cosmetically it really should look far worse than it does for what it’s been put through. The buckles still work flawlessly, despite the right one having been slammed in a car door on accident.

The large front strap fits well when slung across the back. The padding doesn’t move and slide around like some designs, which I like when making longer walks with the bag (I recently worked in a convention center that took over 30 minutes to cross from one end of a hall to the other). There is a second, stabilizing strap that hooks into the main one, but I generally don’t make use of it and keep it tucked away.

The main compartment is huge. It’s tempting to fill it with too much stuff. While the bag can hold it, it gets cumbersome to haul around too much weight. My 15″ laptop fits snugly in the protective pocket and has been well preserved despite my treatment of the bag. The inner, side pockets are seemingly tailor-made for holding a power strip and the laptop charger. The power strip doesn’t stick out of the bag, when it’s closed it is a perfect fit.

A front zippered pocket holds pens, cables, and other random tools. The pouches attached to the front MOLLE are each an extra purchase from Hazard 4. I use them to keep cables, battery packs, and an extra pair of glasses.

This is the only other significant damage I can find on the bag. A couple of threads coming loose on the laptop sleeve from heavy use.

It’s an expensive bag. MSRP is $156. I got it on sale at the show for $120, and the extra pouches for $10 and $15. I have to say it’s absolutely worth it, though. A year of hard use and it hardly looks used. I heartily recommend it. I only wish they made a version for larger laptops as well.


MAG-40, Take Two

Erin, psyching up and hydrating before her final shooting qualification

I spent the week up in Live Oak, FL at a MAG-40 class. This time, I was helping out as an instructor! The old adage really is true, if you want to master something, teach it. Walking new shooters through the techniques and watching them really helped me understand things that I hadn’t thought about before. It was also quite a lesson in how to teach, as the other instructors were eager to assist me in assisting others.

The most memorable moment for me was the Exemplar Drill. The student aims at the target downrange while the instructor uses pressure with their finger on to of the student’s trigger finger to “pull” the trigger. It’s to help give the student a feeling of a smooth rolling press. It also helps them see any issues in accuracy relating to trigger pull. First run through is dryfire, 100% instructor pull; Second run is live-fire, 100% instructor pull; Third run is 50/50 instructor pull – student pull; Final run is 95% student pull, 5% instructor pull.

I had one student, a gun owner of 6 months, that was shooting all over the target. Everything was on paper, but it was a 12 inch group at 7 yards. The first live run through the exemplar drill had him shooting 2 inch groups. “Hot Damn. This stuff really works!”

Boberg XR9-S Pistol Compatable Ammo

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I’m posting it mostly for my own reference since the old Boberg forums were taken down when Bond Arms purchased the company. The original list was compiled by Brokedoc.

Known Incompatible:

Atlanta Arms – any of their ammo (according to them)
Aguila 124gr FMJ (reported to jam 5-10% of the time, 1 hard primer report)
Bitterroot Valley Ammunition (BVAC reloads) 115gr (2 separations in 150 rounds)
Blazer Brass (5 separations in 6 magazines)
Black Hills +P 115gr (can be over-crimped – little case mouth for magazine to register on)
Blazer Aluminum Case (2 separations in 9 shots)
CorBon +P 115gr, 125gr JHP (separations and stovepipes)
Estate (possibly made in same factory as Federal Champion) (separations)
Federal Champion (separations in batches prior to summer of 2010 as well as 1/12)
Federal Range and Target 115gr FMJmultiple separations reported
Glaser (Dakota) reportedly crimps all their ammo subpar but note report below of specific grain compatibility
Hornady 125gr HAP (2 bullet shift/FTF in 21 rounds, improved after break-in)
Independence 115gr FMJ (2 separations in 2 magazines)
Independence 124gr FMJ (1 separation in a case of 50)
MagTech Guardian gold 115gr jhp that separated 1 in 7 times.
MFS Russian Zinc Plated Steel Case 115gr (extra rounds ejected)
Remington Golden Saber 147gr JHP(bullet shift reported)
Sellier and Bellot 115gr and 124gr (Hard Primers but works well with 7.5lb trigger spring or stronger, 1 reported FTF with fully loaded mag)
Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P (1 separation in 85 rounds)
Speer Lawman 115gr, 124gr FMJ (multiple reports of separations, FTF)
Tula Steelcase 115gr (Hard Primers)
Winchester Silver Tips 115gr (1 separation malfunction in a case of 50)
Winchester SXZ9 115gr JHP (FTF)

Known Compatible:


115gr FMJ
American Eagle
115gr and 124gr (1 FTE reported) and 147gr FMJ
Flat Point 115gr and 147gr FMJ

Black Hills

115gr +P – see possible over crimp issue above
124gr JHP
124gr +P
Subsonic 147gr JHP

Brown Bear

115gr FMJ

Buffalo Bore

+P 147gr


+P 90gr
PowR Ball +P 100gr
+P 115gr DPX


Classic Hi Shok 115gr JHP (3 separations from an old 1990’s batch)
Guard Dog 105gr EFMJ
Premium HST +P 124gr
Premium Hydra-Shok 124 gr, 147gr JHP, 147gr +P
Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok JHP 124gr, 135gr and 147gr
Range and Target 115gr FMJ


147gr JHP
115gr FMJ
Georgia Arms
“Canned Heat” 115gr FMJ


Pow’rBall 100gr +P JHP
100gr JSP


Critical Defense 115gr FTX JHP
Critical Duty 135gr +P
TAP FPD 124gr and 147gr
XTP 115gr

Liberty Ammunition

Ultra Defense/USM4 50gr +P Fragmenting HP


147gr Flat FMC
115gr FMJ
First Defense 92.6gr Solid Copper Hollow Point
Guardian Gold 115gr +P JHP

On Target

115gr FMJ


115gr JHP
Bronze 115gr, 124gr FMJ
124gr FMJ


+P 124gr JHP

Prvi Partizan

158gr FMJ


Performance Plus Platinum 60gr Total Fragmenting Soft Point


Golden Saber 124gr JHP
Golden Saber Bonded 124gr +P
UMC 115gr MC and 124gr MC
UMC Leadless 124gr and 147gr
UMC Target 115gr MC and 124gr MC (1 report of FTF 10 rounds in 50)


85gr Copper Matrix NTF
124gr RN
Gold Dot 124gr JHP or 147gr
Gold Dot +P 147gr JHP
Gold Dot GDHP 124gr
Gold Dot Short Barrel 124gr GDHP


115gr Polymer-coated Steel Case FMJ (steel casing not recommended during break-in)


115gr +P+ reported compatible but beware theoretical wear issues


NATO 124gr, 147gr FMJ
PDX1 Defender Bonded 124gr JHP +P (Partial separations reported – bullet shift prior to firing), 147gr OK
Personal Protection 115gr and 147gr JHP
Ranger 124gr, 127 +P
Ranger Bonded 124gr +P
White Box 115gr
White Box 124gr Bulk FMJ


115gr FMJ



NRAAM 2016: Saturday Morning

Better than cartoons, Knives!

Ka-Bar sold out yesterday, they were offering sporks 3 for $10. Their booth was the first place I went this morning. The deal was changed to $5 each, but still less than the $7 MSRP. It’s all plastic, though I don’t know the specific kind, no metal that I can tell (There may be some hidden in the handle, but that’s just a guess. I’ll have to test when I get home).