Gun Information

Gun Information



If you believe in the 2nd Amendment, whether you think of yourself as a teacher or not, you are one. Whether you are schooling a liberal politician with your vote or educating a random person with your behavior, you are a teacher. All gun rights activists have a responsibility to teach.

The same thing goes for your defense attorney, should you need one. Your attorney’s job is to communicate to or teach the jury about your innocence. No one in the courtroom, except you, was at the scene when a self-defense shooting went down. It is your attorney’s job to teach a group of 12 indifferent men and women, some who may not even want to be there, about what happened, and educate them on why you should be acquitted.

The stuttering lawyer in “My Cousin Vinny” was eventually fired because he was boring and could not articulate the defendant’s innocence to the jury, not because he stuttered.

It is doubtful that you will be able to see your proposed attorney in action teaching before you select him or her. But it may be possible to sit in the gallery of a self-defense trial and see if the attorney will approach your defense in a similar way. If seeing the attorney in action beforehand is not possible, when you get to meet him or her for the first time, you can ask them how they approached a similar case. If the attorney answers you in a dull, monotonous way, that is how he or she will present your case. You want to see enthusiasm and pleasure in getting defendants acquittal verdicts.

Everyone remembers the stuttering attorney in “My Cousin Vinny”. The stuttering aside, his questioning of witnesses was in a dull and monotonous manner. And he was eventually fired after seeing Vinny’s enthusiastic courtroom antics.

Vinny got the charges dropped because of his courtroom antics.

Your defense attorney must fight fire with fire. The prosecution will introduce and wave the weapon around for the jury to see. They will show gory autopsy and crime scene photos to each jury member or display such photos on a large screen via PowerPoint for all to see. Your defense attorney must do the same.

Perhaps during your initial questioning of your prospective attorney, the attorney may not yet have all the facts and evidence, but the attorney may be able to describe exhibits from prior cases that might be relevant. In this explanation of previous trials, is the prospective attorney beginning to show enthusiasm about he or she can defend you?


And there is no better method of teaching politicians than through lobbying, which is pure teaching. But don’t expect the teaching to be received if you come armed with righteous indignation of our 2nd Amendment cause. Rather, approach the teaching from the point of view that you can provide what politicians need most…friends. Friends hold fundraisers, pass out literature, post signs, influence others, and most importantly…vote. Many politicians may care very little about our 2nd Amendment rights. But they care very much about being re-elected.

In the case of many politicians, their secretaries control access to them. Any rude comment to the secretary raises a barrier to accessing the politician. Not to mention the secretary may immediately report your boorish behavior to the politician, further raising the barrier for you to teach the politician.

The politician needs to be taught a message of why he or she must support our cause. And it is equally important for the politician to respect the teacher. And that requires the teacher to dress like a politician. So, leave the camo and tactical gear at home and wear a suit and tie, or at the very least, a button-down long sleeve Oxford shirt and khaki slacks. For the politician to feel relaxed around you, you must dress like him or her.

The humorous text on my T-shirt causes everyone to smile and puts people at ease.

Keep in mind that if you get the ear of the politician, it will usually be in a small room. Keep all potential distractions at bay. This includes the strong smell of aftershave, body odor, and the like. If the politician is on the opposite side of the issue than you, do not shout and yell to get your point across, as that tends to have the opposite effect where the politician begins to put up barriers between you and them.

Do not insult and abuse the politician, as threats against the politician rarely work. If each party is steadfast in their point of view, it is best to walk away from a disappointing meeting while still being able to communicate.

Everyone Else

Another of my T-shirts which puts people at ease.

Casual conversations are the best way to spread our 2nd Amendment message. A gun owner wearing an NRA or USCCA shirt in an elevator has a very small class. But if the gun owner is also a jerk, those in the elevator will also believe the gun owner is a jerk. On the other hand, if the gun owner is polite, chances are those in the elevator will look upon the gun owner favorably.

Your goal is to make those around you comfortable, and in doing so, your message will be more apt to be received. To that end, I recently ordered a bunch of T-shirts from Amazon relating to gun instruction. One shirt reads “Dad…Husband…Firearms Instructor…Legend”. The other shirt reads “I’m A Dad & Firearms Instructor…Nothing Scares Me”. In both cases, I received compliments or smiles from strangers.” I wear these shirts when I go to the dentist, when I donate blood, when I get morning coffee at Wawa.

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Stop Feeding The Narrative

Yes, you, law-abiding gun owners, are feeding the leftist media’s narrative, and you are probably unaware that you are doing so.

If you are reading this, there is a high probability you own at least one gun or at least believe in our Constitutional right to do so. Maybe it’s for hunting. Maybe it’s for sport. But more often than not for most of us, it is for self-defense.

Here’s a scenario that unfortunately all of us recently had to live out. You flip on the TV, and watch a breaking news story of the likes of Sandy Hook (CT) and Robb Elementary School (TX), where innocent young lives were murdered. And you shake your head in disbelief and get pissed off that it was allowed to happen. You then jump on social media and opine on the active shooter situation.

Part of the reason you get pissed off is because the left starts whining about more gun control. What they are doing is bundling you and all other law-abiding gun owners in the same category as the school shooter. Then you shout back at the TV…“But I am not a killer”.

This is the cause and effect the leftist media wants. They want you bundled in with these vile sociopaths, because if you are seen in this light on a large scale, they can jam their anti-gun rhetoric down our throats easier.

We need to change the narrative, and we CAN change the narrative…one person at a time. We need to stop referring to these vile sociopaths as “active shooters” and start referring to them as “active killers”, because they either have killed or are looking to kill innocent people while their shooting spree is “active”.

I own guns. I shoot guns. I teach about guns. When I go to the range and do some live-fire practice, yes, I am an “active shooter” at that point in time.  But I am not an active killer, because I have no intent on killing anyone (unless it is in a legally justified self-defense situation).

Maybe if enough of us law-abiding gun owners were to collectively call these nutjobs what they actually are…”active killers”, it may eventually filter down into the public lexicon that every law-abiding gun owner may be an active shooter, but not every law-abiding gun owner is an active killer.

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Telling Your Date

At a recent Concealed Carry class I was hosting, a woman asked a question: “I’m having a first date this weekend with a guy I just recently met. Should I tell him I am carrying?”

First off, any woman who decides to carry on a first date is aces in my book. You need to protect yourself in case the unthinkable happens and this new beau assaults you. And men, yes, this goes for you to, as there are bat shit crazy women out there too…I know…I dated one in the 90s.

But that question as to whether or not to tell your date does not have a simple answer, because the answer really is “it depends”. But to help you decide, and this goes for guys too, you need to ask yourself some questions to position yourself to either tell the date or not.

  1. 1. How well do you know the new person?
  2. 2. Have you had a chance to phone or Facetime with them to get to know them a little bit better?
  3. 3. Have you discussed ideologies, particularly about gun control and the 2nd Amendment?

If you never had these discussions, it will come out in the open if you tell them you are carrying. Because the topics of guns, gun control and the Second Amendment are so polarizing, one of two things will in invariably happen. Either the other person is in your camp and has the same ideology you do or they are not in your camp and be your ideological opposite.

Those in your camp will applaud you for protecting yourself. And a good one not in your camp will see your point of view, accept it, and accept you for it. And a bad one not in your camp…well…hopefully you’ll find this out early enough in the date so as to not throw vibes there will be a second date, or throw away good money hoping for post date “expectations”.

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Doing some gun research, I came upon a word I never heard before, and obviously never used. The word is “Hoplophobia“.

Definition (noun) – An irrational, morbid fear of guns (coined by the late great Marine Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, from the Greek “hoplites,” meaning weapon). May cause sweating, faintness, discomfort, rapid pulse, nausea, sleeplessness, and more, at the mere thought of guns. Hoplophobes are common and should never be involved in setting gun policies. One must point out hoplophobic behavior when noticed, as it is dangerous, whereas sufferers deserve pity and should seek treatment. When confronted, hoplophobes typically go into denial, a common characteristic of the affliction. Often helped by training, or by coaching at a range, a process known to psychiatry as “desensitization,” often useful in treating many phobias. Also: Hoplophobe, hoplophobic.

Use in a real example: “The person has hoplophobia and passed out at the mere sight of a gun.”

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Train, Train, Train

Back when I was a teenager, it seemed that every male with Wolf blood in their veins deer hunted out of my uncle Walter’s cabin in Promised Land State Park in the Poconos. Another personal experience story of what not to do.

My adult cousin, Karl, loved deer hunting, but always borrowed someone’s spare hunting rifle as he did not own his own. He put an end to that when I was about 14. Karl lived on the crest of a small hill and owned about an acre of so of property. Two days before hunting season was about to begin, he bought his own rifle, the ubiquitous .30-30 lever action saddle rifle. He went outside, and because there were no homes around him, fired two rounds through the gun. Finally, his own gun and something he could be proud of.

On opening day of deer season, it is characteristic for hunters to be at their stands before the crack of dawn. We all woke up and got ourselves ready, except for Walter, the cabin owner. He’s been coming to this cabin every weekend for the past 30 or so years, so he would stay behind, lock up, then make his way to his stand, which he could do blindfolded.

In order to get to our deer hunting stands, we had to walk the trails a bit, because the hunting grounds were a few miles from the cabin. We generally walked single file because portions of the trail were no wider than the width of a single hunting boot. Since I was in my early years of hunting, I followed my father. But Karl was ready first and decided to take point, leading us all to our respective stands. He informed everyone that he would load a round in the chamber of his new gun, just in case he spotted a deer crossing the trail at 4:30 in the morning. (Yes, technically, hunting before first light is illegal, but everyone in the surrounding cabins all knew each other and were not going to rat on each other.)

So, while walking on point about 50 yards from the cabin, Karl had his new gun pointed straight ahead as he loaded a round in the chamber. When Karl attempted to close the lever of his new gun, the gun fired. Now, if you never heard a .30-30 round fire in the stillness of the 4:30 air from 30 feet away, it scared the shit out of all of us, and woke up the nearby dead.

Walter, who was still in his cabin, dressed in only his long underwear, came running out of the cabin, and screamed “What the fuck happened!?” Karl, now with egg on his face, attempted to explain what happened. Well, I can tell you what happened. He had his hand on the trigger and the safety was off. I was about 14 and I knew what happened, thanks to the instructions my father previously gave me.

Karl’s problem is that he did not train thoroughly enough with his new gun that he knew the operations of his new gun inside and out. Having only fired two shots through the gun a few days before, he thought he knew his gun. He should have practiced operating his new gun until he could have done it blindfolded. But he did not, and we had the shot heard round the world…er…cabins.

Fortunately, the only side effect of this escapade is that Karl had to buy a round of drinks at the neighborhood bar that evening. But it could have been much worse. So it is absolutely imperative that if you are going to shoot any kind of firearm, to get completely and thoroughly trained in the model you are going to shoot. At our training classes, Dakota Firearms Training Academy teaches students how guns operate, AND has the students practice those operations in front of an instructor. Then, the instructor emphasizes that the student must continue practicing the operations of their gun, using snap caps, in the confines of the student’s home. The students are even instructed to turn off the lights and operate their gun in total darkness.

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Cops Don’t Know It All

Do not take it on faith that police officers know correct gun usage and correct gun safety. This blog is from personal experience. Back in the ’80s, when I was in my 20s and married to my starter wife (I have since upgraded to a trophy wife!), my starter wife’s sister was married to an Allentown (PA) police officer, her second husband.

My sister-in-law had a then 12-year old son from her first marriage. He was a bit of a rebellious kid and was not at all happy with this new marriage arrangement because his biological father lived one block away, and he frequently used both parents as pawns against the other.

One Friday night, the sister-in-law and her police officer husband decided to go out for the evening. He came home from his shift and proceeded to change out of his police uniform into street clothes. He set his duty belt and duty weapon on his bedroom dresser. (Back in those days, officers of this city were allowed to bring their duty weapons home.) He and my sister-in-law then went out on the town.

The son was left alone, figuring that he was 12 and could be trusted. That was not the case. He snooped around and saw his stepfather’s duty gun on the dresser. He took the gun out of its holster, pointed the gun down to the bedroom floor and pulled the trigger. A .38 Special round went sailing through the floor and into the living room on the first floor.

There was a lot of explaining to do by everyone when the parents came home. The nephew had the lion’s share of explaining as to why he went into his parents’ bedroom and grabbed his stepfather’s duty gun. The stepfather had to explain to his superiors how a round was missing from his duty gun, since he had to account for every round issued to him.

The kid was grounded. The stepfather ate crow at work. And this, over 35 years ago, was the catalyst for me becoming a gun instructor.

While I understand the kid needed punishment, I held the stepfather more accountable for his negligence, that he should have locked up his duty gun. I constantly preach in my training classes about securing guns so those who should not have access to them can’t access them.

Yes, upon hearing the story, I did feel a little sorry for my nephew. He was an only child with his parents divorced but in proximity to each other, and a stepfather that was really not the fatherly type. So, I took my nephew under my wing. I took him with me when I went hiking, fishing and hunting, because he loved the outdoors, and based on age, I was more of big brother to him than an uncle. We went to the gun range, and I taught him how to use my hunting rifle before venturing out into Penn’s Woods. While driving to our hunting area, I told him exactly what my father told me when I was his age…”a gun is not a toy. If you fuck up and do something stupid, I’m going to kick you in the ass, and we will never do this again. Understand?” He complied, and he NEVER mishandled a gun while in my presence. He was just never taught correctly what a firearm is and what it could do.

So this is why Dakota Firearms Training Academy permits and encourages kids between the ages of 12 and 18 to attend our training classes along with a parent or legal guardian signing up for the same class. Anyone whose job it is to mentor kids about gun safety, must do it at the earliest age possible. We need to remove that inquisitiveness every child has.

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Off The Grid

The gun-grabbing leftists want to take away your guns…no news there. But since they cannot, thanks to the 2nd Amendment, they are doing everything else in their power to prevent you from your right to bear arms.

One of the ways they are attempting to do so is through intimidation, which we know takes on many forms. By now, I’m sure we’ve all seen the viral video of the ATF agent knocking on the door of a Delaware man’s home using the ruse they were looking for straw purchases. And if you haven’t seen the video, taken by the homeowner’s Ring doorbell camera, you probably heard about the incident. Click here if you want to see the video.

Another method of intimidation is to identify gun owners through state or national databases. The purpose is to be able to target gun owners by law enforcement and the government for the purpose of future gun confiscation, similar to what the Nazis did when they came to power in pre-World War 2 Germany. The Constitution strictly prohibits government from having a list of gun owners for this very reason.

But that is not stopping the leftist gun-grabbers. Their latest attempt to is to get the major credit card companies to monitor your gun purchases, to get you on this database through the back door. Every purchase you make with a credit card uses a Merchant Category Code, or MCC for short. Goods and services you buy with credit cards are assigned MCCs. So, gasoline is assigned an MCC. Groceries are assigned an MCC. But until this summer, there was no MCC for gun purchases. The MCC simply was “general merchandise”.

Here is a sample statement from VISA, showing the four digit MCC for Auto Service.

These leftist communists have successfully petitioned the major credit card companies to create an MCC for gun purchases. While the information obtained during the credit card authorization process does not identify what was purchased, the credit card company does know that a card issued to John W. Smith was used at Bass Pro Shops for $1000. Smith may have purchased other items along with a new gun, such as fishing gear, work boots and a flannel shirt. Or he may have simply purchased a new bass boat and nothing else.

The purpose of this MCC nonsense it to look into the bank accounts of John W. Smith. If the Feds see a deposit of $1000 in his bank account a day before he made his Bass Pro purchase(s), the Feds may construe Smith is engaging in a straw purchase, a purchase by a legally qualified gun buyer for someone who is prohibited from buying guns, such as a convicted felon. In their pinhead view, the prohibited person is giving you money so the next day you can buy a gun for them.

Another round is the so called “Sales Tax” angle. In my state, as an FFL, every gun transfer I do, if the transfer includes a handgun, I must complete a state “sales tax” form and submit it to the state. This form, unfortunately, identifies the gun, the serial number, and the owner. Nothing I can do about it.

A third end-around technique the government is using to get names into a database is to identify any multi-gun purchases. By “multi-gun”, I mean more than three (3) guns in a single 24-hour period. All gun sellers, as FFLs, are required to complete ATF Form 3310, if a gun buyer purchases more than three guns from that seller within a 24-hour period.

So how do gun buyers get around this?  There are two ways.

First, don’t buy more than three guns in any 24-hour period from a single seller. If you absolutely need to purchase more than three guns in any 24-hour period, patronize different sellers. Or give some serious thought as to why you need all of them in one day.

Second, if you are doing this at a gun show, buy one gun on Saturday at 10:00 and another one on Sunday at 2:00. Two separate ATF Form 4473s will be completed, and each form is date and TIME stamped when the approval request was given. This is not illegal. You are just doing it outside the 24-hour window of the first purchase. Or go to separate gun shows. In my area, gun shows are frequent. Wait another week or so to buy your other guns.

Bottom line, these communist restrictions can be overcome. How? By staying off the grid.

Don’t use your personal credit card. Pay with cash or gift cards. Then the credit card company has nothing to report back to the feds, despite the MCC they use to record the transaction. Yes, it can be a pain in the ass to run to a local CVS, grab a bunch of American Express gift cards, and stand in line while the clerk activates them, but that inconvenience is a small price to pay.

Better yet, pay with cash. But check with the merchant first to see if they accept cash for gun purchases.

Alter your multi-gun buying habits. Don’t buy more than three at one time. But if you must, mix things up. Alter the purchase dates/times. Patronize different sellers. Buy at different gun shows or stores.

Buy long guns instead of handguns. If you buy an AR-15, I do not have to report that on any state “sales tax?” form. Buy a shotgun or rifle.

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Muzzle That Puppy

When it comes to attachments for the muzzle of your gun, there are as many variations as there are colors in the color spectrum.

But in a nutshell, there are four basic groups of attachments, all which have a specific purpose. In order to attach any of these groups to your gun, the muzzle of the gun must be threaded. No threads equals no attachments, plain and simple. Either your specific gun model came from the factory with a threaded muzzle or a gunsmith must do that for you.


First there is the suppressor group. Many folks call these silencers. But since their function only muffles and does not actually silence the bang of a gun, they are not silencers. You will never have a gun which is 100% silenced.

Standard suppressor. No moving parts.

Suppressors are often called “cans”, because…well, they look like a cylindrical can. These are often found on both rifles and pistols.

Why would someone not in the military or law enforcement need a suppressor? It is not because the shooter is a bad guy and wants to muffle his gun blast while committing a crime. It is because the shooter regularly shoots and wants to protect his/her hearing, beyond what normal hearing protection offers.

When a gun is fired, the bang it makes is because the hot exhaust gasses are exiting the muzzle very rapidly, often breaking the sound barrier. In order to have complete silence, the hot exhaust gasses would have to exit the muzzle at the same speed as the surrounding atmosphere, which is zero MPH.

Cutaway view of a suppressor, showing baffles

So, to slow down the exiting hot exhaust gasses, a suppressor is used. Inside the suppressor are baffles. After the gun is fired, as the hot exhaust gasses exit the muzzle, those gasses move into and all around those baffles. Moving around the baffles causes the exiting gasses to become turbulent, slowing down the gasses enough so when the gasses finally leave the muzzle of the suppressor, the speed of the exiting gasses is dramatically reduced, to where the sound is tolerable.

Just keep in mind, if you want a suppressor, you cannot just run into your corner gun store and get one out of display case. This is an NFA (National Firearms Act) controlled item. You must patronize a retailer who holds a Type 3 Federal Firearms License, who are the only ones who can process the paperwork. You must shell out $200 for a tax stamp, and wait a looooooooong time, sometimes up to a year, for the ATF to issue your stamp. Once you have the stamp you are free to purchase the suppressor. If you need to know which licensees are Type three, click here, for a type 3 reseller in your area.

Flash Hiders / Suppressors

Standard run-of-the-mill 4-prong flash suppressor

The next group of attachments are known as flash hiders or flash suppressors. Yes, you guessed it. The purpose of the flash hider is to hide the flash of exiting exhaust gasses. These attachments are found mostly on short barreled rifles or SBRs, where the short length of the barrel puts the muzzle flash precariously close to the shooter. They are also used by law enforcement and the military who do not want their position compromised by the presence of a muzzle flash.

Muzzle Brakes

The third group of attachments are known as muzzle brakes. The job of muzzle brakes is to reduce recoil. Muzzle brakes have holes drilled into them at the horizontal positions. These holes may be at a 90 degree angle to the muzzle or they may be angled slightly backward, toward the shooter. Without a muzzle brake, 100% of the hot exhaust gases will exit the muzzle straight in front of the muzzle. However, when a muzzle brake is installed onto the front of the muzzle, only a small percentage of exiting gasses goes straight out the muzzle. And if you remember Newton’s third law of motion “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”, it is the gasses exiting straight out the muzzle which provides the most recoil. So, if the amount of gasses exiting straight out the front can be reduced, recoil can be reduced. So, the way muzzle brakes work is to take some of the exiting gasses and directs some of it to the left of the muzzle and some to the right of the muzzle, thus reducing recoil.

Muzzle brake with 3 holes on each side to vent exiting gasses.

The one caveat with muzzle brakes is that using one causes the bang to be very loud. The exiting gasses are not being suppressed, just redirected. So rather than 100% of the exiting gasses going straight out the barrel, some of it goes straight out, but most will now go out to the left or the right. If other shooters or bystanders are standing on the firing line to the left or to the right of the gun being fired, they will get an earful of gun blast.


The final group of attachments are known as compensators. So, what exactly is a compensator compensating? It is compensating for muzzle rise when a gun is fired. Similar to a muzzle brake, compensators have holes drilled into them. But whereas muzzle brakes have holes drilled to the left and right, compensators have holes drilled in the top or in the 12 o’clock position. When hot gasses are exiting the gun after being fired, some of the hot gasses will be directed upward through the compensator’s holes. Again, Newton’s third law comes into play here. The upward gasses will push down on the muzzle of the gun, thus reducing muzzle rise.

Compensator mounted on a pistol. From the position of the three holes relative to the pistol’s front sight, you can tell this attachment will vent exiting gasses upward, reducing muzzle rise.

Most compensators have no holes drilled on the bottom, or in the 6 o’clock position. By not having holes in the bottom, hot exhaust gasses will be exited elsewhere, and not downward. This is ideal for those shooters who are lying down in the prone position to shoot. Since the gasses are not directed downward, the exiting gasses cannot kick up dirt and debris directly in front of the shooter.


Some of the attachments are combinations of the above groups. Some manufacturers combine a muzzle brake and a compensator into one unit. This provides reduced recoil AND reduced muzzle rise. These are popular with competitive shooters, who need to get their gun muzzle back on point as quickly as possible without a lot of recoil.

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Externalities are unpaid-for side effects that accrue to third parties from the use of property by its owners. The effects may be beneficial or harmful to the third parties. If beneficial, the effects are known as “positive externalities”; if harmful, they are called “negative externalities.”

An example is a homeowner who has a beautifully landscaped lawn with lilac bushes. People walking by get the fragrance of lilacs in bloom. This fragrance is a benefit to anyone walking past those lilacs, so it is known as a “positive externality”. Another example is another homeowner dumping trash along the curb awaiting pickup by the city. People walking by get the stench of the trash rotting in the summer sun. This stench is not a benefit to anyone, so it is known as a “negative externality”.

Advocates of gun control are continuously pointing out how innocent victims are hurt or killed by the negligent or criminal use of guns. Yes, these are negative externalities. But what these same gun control advocates never acknowledge is the positive externalities of civilian gun ownership. The media never recognizes them, but they far outweigh the negative externalities.

Millions of people awake each morning to discover their homes have not been burglarized. Store owners arrive at their places of business to discover their stores have not been robbed. Women can walk alone or live alone without being raped. Yes, much is due to an increase in burglar alarms, door locks, doorbell cameras, and increased police patrols, but many are due, in part, to an increase in civilian gun ownership.

Millions of times each year homeowners and storekeepers protect themselves and their property using guns, often without a shot being fired. More often than not, the mere presence of a firearm sends a robber fleeing.

Now, here is where the positive externalities come in with respect to civilian gun ownership. If a criminal is killed by a gun during the commission of a crime, that is positive externality #1, because he will commit no more crimes, for which everyone benefits. If a criminal is wounded or captured during the commission of a crime, that is positive externality #2, because the criminal’s desire to commit a similar crime in the future is lessened, again, for which everyone benefits when the criminal is off the streets.

A survey of criminals asserted that criminals are more afraid of civilians with guns than they are of the police. In fact, the majority of home break-ins occur during the day, when the homeowners are at work. Do you ever see active shooter incidents at NRA conventions or bike week in Sturgis? No. Criminals will shy away from places where people can be armed. This is a positive externality never reported in the news.

Back in 1967, there was a well-publicized transformation in Orlando where burglaries and rapes dropped dramatically after 2500 women went through a training program on the use of handguns. Now that…was a positive externality!

Here is where the real positive externality is realized. Suppose you live in a planned subdivision in the suburbs. Word on the street or social media is that many of the homeowners own guns. But criminals desiring to burglarize those homes have no idea which homeowners own guns and which do not. So the criminal rolls the dice or goes to another community. Those homeowners who do not own guns reap a benefit of positive externality by some of their neighbors owning guns. Of that group of non-gun owners, not one of them has a sign in their front yard which reads “the owners of this house will not defend it with armed force.” They rely on the unspoken benefit.

Another effect, but less thought of, is the positive externalities realized with restrictions on government. Can you imagine what federal, state and local policies would have been put in place if there were no gun laws and the government bureaucrats had unrestricted access to policy-making in which they did not fear a potential armed revolt by the masses? Imagine if the government could institute massive tax hikes or limit civil rights. This country will be turned into Nazi Germany. Imagine if the government can haul you away for your beliefs, your race, your ethnicity, your political affiliation…just like Nazi Germany did to their Jews. One of the the first things the Nazis did upon coming to power was to seize guns…preventing citizens from defending themselves, even those Germans who abhorred guns. Imagine the positive externality we have that we are not Nazi Germany.

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Reasons To Keep Your CCW

So, you live in one of the great states which recognize Constitutional Carry. You are tickled pink that you can finally dump your concealed carry permit. But does that mean you should do so? No, and here are four (4) reasons why you should keep your permit.

Reason 1. Reciprocity. Many states recognize concealed carry permits from other states. Of those that do, not all of them (yet) are Constitutional Carry states. So while your state may be Constitutional Carry, a state you need to travel into may have a reciprocal arrangement with your home state, but may not be a Constitutional Carry state, so a concealed carry permit will be required.

Reason 2. NICS (Background Checks) is often bogged down. Gun owners are getting background checks performed at a record setting pace between concealed carry permit applications and gun purchases. So, often the system is slow to respond. In nearly 50% of the states, a concealed carry permit qualifies as an alternative to the NICS background check requirement. If your state’s carry permit laws qualifies as a NICS exemption, the process is streamlined and sped up dramatically. It can mean the difference of walking out of the gun store with your new purchase versus having to return later after NICS responds.

Reason 3. Reality. If you ever had to use your gun to defend yourself or a loved one, inevitably the prosecution will raise the issue of your qualifications, training and experience. Then it will come down to the jury. You need just one juror to have the perception that if you have a permit, you were probably following the law. That singular juror could make the difference between you showering at home and you showering with Bubba. Imagine a prosecutor during closing arguments saying “And the defendant did not even have a license to carry that handgun…”

Reason 4. Reality, part 2. Law enforcement. Imagine during a routine traffic stop, being able to start the interaction with “officer, I have a concealed carry permit and am carrying. How do you want to handle this?” rather than “I’m carrying a gun.” This is especially true if your concealed carry permit is tied to the car owner’s registration (like Pennsylvania is) and the officer already knows that you have a permit, if you are the driver. That officer will already know that you passed a background check and that you probably are law-abiding.

So, the decision is yours whether or not to keep your concealed carry permit if your state goes permit-less. Here in PA, the only benefit you get is the savings of $20, the cost of the permit every five years.

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Colt 1911 TALO Commander – only 300 made

You see this acronym every time you engage your favorite hobby…looking at guns, either online or in brick and mortar stores. You notice that only some of the guns on your favorite web site or in display cases are marked “TALO”, “TALO Edition” or “TALO Exclusive”. When I first saw a gun description which included “TALO”, I assumed the gun was off limits to me and only available to law enforcement or the military. I’m glad my assumption was wrong.

TALO Texas Edition Sig Sauer P938

But what does it mean? TALO is an acronym for a wholesale buying cooperative that was started in 1965 by fishing and hunting wholesalers in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. This coop commissions limited edition runs of firearms from well known manufacturers such as Colt, Glock, Ruger, Mossberg, Sig Sauer, and others, and distributes these limited edition firearms to dealers all across the U.S. TALO wholesalers, dealers and collectors have allowed the coop to raise money for many important groups like USA Shooting Team, Semper Fi Fund, Navy SEAL Foundation, MARSOC, etc. over the years. And yes, even Dakota Firearms is privy to TALO specials available to our customers!

Colt 1911 TALO Aztec Edition with Knife – only 500 produced

These limited edition models are something unique that is not found in the manufacturer’s general catalog. Some of these limited editions are numbered, thus increasing the value for the collector, or the exclusive may just be a special offering available to more than just collectors. The offering could be something the manufacturer does not generally do or offer, or something exclusive for a distributor. It could be something simple as cerakoting the firearm. Or perhaps a 1911 may have a “Trump 45” version. Maybe it could be adding a specific appliance to the firearm, such as the Ruger Max 9 TALO Edition, which comes from the factory with a Crimson Trace red dot mounted on it, which yours truly just happened to pick up and loves shooting. As a standard practice, Ruger does not put a red dot on any of its firearms out-of-the-box. Owners have to add one as an aftermarket item. Click here to see the Ruger Max 9 TALO Edition in our online store. Or you can simply type “TALO” in the our store’s search bar to see all the models Dakota Firearms offers with TALO in the description.

So if you are looking for a new gun and you have the opportunity and budget, consider getting a TALO version of your desired gun if you want that “wow!” moment from your gun enthusiast friends. Click here to get more information on the entire TALO collection.

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Normalcy Bias

So, you never heard of Normalcy Bias. Don’t worry. Neither have I until I read an article which made a brief reference to it, for which I was intrigued and did some more research on it.

According to the dictionary, Normalcy Bias is a psychological state of denial people enter in the event of a disaster, as a result of which they underestimate the possibility of the disaster actually happening, and its effects on their life and property. Their denial is based on the assumption that if the disaster has not occurred until now, it will never occur.

A memorial is set up in front of the main sign of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

So, how does this fit in as a topic of discussion on firearms? Well, here is the danger which occurs due to Normalcy Bias in a disaster. And for the sake of argument, I am also including firearms related disasters as well, such as the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. The danger is that people with Normalcy Bias deny that a disaster can happen, is about to happen or is happening. So when the excrement impacts the rotary oscillator, they look for help from the people who have prepared for the disaster, in essence those without Normalcy Bias.

Normalcy Bias is a state of mind which develops before the disaster even starts, and it becomes exacerbated once the disaster event hits. Let’s examine the dangers of Normalcy Bias leading up to a disaster and why it’s such a huge threat once a disaster hits. Those with Normalcy Bias generally state three (3) regular excuses for not being prepared for a disaster. These three (3) excuses are:

  • “It’s Never Going To Happen Here”
  • “I Had No Idea This Was Going To Happen”
  • “Why Isn’t Someone Helping Us?”

“It’s Never Going To Happen Here”

National Guard troops rescue victims from a roof in New Orleans’ 9th Ward in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina

Disasters of all kinds, weather events, terrorist attacks, gun shootings, etc., can and do happen anytime, anywhere. No one is immune from disasters. While no one can predict when the next disaster will strike, there are certain locales and events for which disasters are recurring because they are seasonal. The South has hurricanes. The Midwest has Tornado Alley. The Northeast has Nor’easters. The West has mudslides and wildfires, as well as earthquakes (okay, not seasonal). Chicago has shootings, more so in the summer than in the winter. Certain disasters can be planned for.

Everyone who lives where these disasters occur should have some kind of plan. But most don’t. In the case of the Uvalde shooting, Texas has a program on the books to prevent school shootings. School districts just have to reach out to the state to enroll, but the Uvalde school district was not enrolled, because they never though that a school shooting could occur in their tiny town.

“I Had No Idea This Was Going To Happen”

Police investigating another night of shooting in Chicago. This particular shooting occurred inside the “Loop”

A poll was conducted and 41% of respondents admit to not being ready for a disaster. This should be the first red flag of the dangers of Normalcy Bias. These folks know that disasters are imminent, but are not prepared, because they don’t really believe it will happen. How many times do we hear of stories on the news of people trying to ride out hurricanes, only to find out that emergency services will not respond during the hurricane’s peak. Like those who rode out Hurricane Katrina. Really? They had no idea this was going to happen? The proverbial red flags were waving feverishly from the top of the flagpoles, so not for one second did they not expect a disaster was imminent. Their 9th Ward home was below sea level. They had the Mississippi, the largest, most powerful river in the U.S. to their south and west and massive Lake Pontchartrain, being held back with weakened and suspect levies, on the north. Did they really not think something dire could happen? They did not heed the warnings to get out of town and found themselves on the roofs of their houses waiting to be rescued by the Coast Guard. Or in Chicago, how many people of South Chicago continue to live in the gang war zone? Move for Christ’s sake! What’s more important, the possibility of your young child getting caught in a drive-by cross-fire while she plays with her dolls on the porch or some other excuse you come up with for desiring to stay there? Whether it’s riding out a hurricane or living in gangland South Chicago, these are the same folks who say “it’s not that bad”. These are the same folks who find themselves in the middle of the disaster and claim they had no idea something could happen.

Twenty-five people were shot, five of them fatally, during the last weekend in June, 2022, in Mayor Beetlejuice’s Chicago.

So now they sit around on the roof of their home or in the office of the funeral director and lament on what just happened and wonder who is going to help them. These are the same folks who failed to take action to improve their situation before the disaster struck, and certainly not going to use lessons learned after the disaster struck to improve their situation. The folks in Uvalde now blame the lack of response by the police. These are the same folks who could have insisted the Uvalde school board reach out to the state and enroll in the state’s anti-school shooting program. These folks, as well as those in New Orleans and Chicago are a special kind of stupid.

“Why Isn’t Someone Helping Us?”

Those suffering from Normalcy Bias are the ones who are unprepared. So when disaster strikes, these are the first ones to point the finger that no one helped them. Victims of Katrina blamed FEMA. Hell, they blamed everybody. South Chicagoans blame Mayor Beetlejuice. This in turn, puts first responders in jeopardy. We’ve all seen footage of the Coast Guard rescuing people from house roofs, or police being sent into gang territory. But it is not just first responders who are at risk with Normalcy Bias. You, yourself, are most at risk, believe it or not.

The inside of the shot up movie theater in Aurora Colorado

When disaster strikes, people fall into two categories; those who are prepared and those who aren’t. Those who are not prepared will be left without supplies, such as food, clothing, water…the essentials. And those who have not prepared will need those staples. Now, they may ask you pretty please with a cherry on top for you to give them supplies, and make you feel guilty that you have some moral obligation to help them if you don’t. And the generous person you are would like to help them. But your own family’s needs come first, because the lack of planning on their part is not your responsibility, and they are not going to care. So if you don’t give the unprepared what they want, they may turn to violence to get it. This becomes survival of the fittest.

The only way to truly deal with people suffering from Normalcy Bias is to be fittest. Be prepared for anything. This includes having supplies and protection handy. And by protection, I mean firearms and plenty of ammo.

Emergency personnel work near the scene of an explosion in downtown Nashville, Tenn., Friday, Dec. 25, 2020. Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard early Christmas morning.

And at a personal level, it means concealed carry…every day. Because a disaster can happen close to home and with more immediacy too. Just ask the movie goers of the July 20, 2012 movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado. I know everyone in that theater suffered from Normalcy Bias, because not one single movie goer drew a concealed carry weapon against the shooter. Not one movie goer was prepared that a man-made disaster could happen to them.

And now, we face the largest collection of Normalcy Biased individuals ever. On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, putting the issue of abortion back in the hands of the states. So, at this very moment, pro-rights activists are extremely pissed and coalescing around this cause. In this case, those individuals with the Normalcy Bias are the ones who think the pro-rights activists will not harm them. Bullshit! I had the honor on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, to meet and speak with Dr. Val Finnell, the executive director of the Pennsylvania chapter of Gun Owners of America. He told the crowd, the pro-rights movement is very large and very motivated. As soon as they congeal, expect massive protests. No one has any idea if and when an ideological disaster is about to happen, a clash between pro-life and pro-rights. So we must be prepared.

Dr. Val Finnell, PA Director for GOA speaking against gun control to the PA Senate.

So carry everyday and begin the process in your own life of removing Normalcy Bias.

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AR-15 vs AK-47

On Father’s Day, I was at the range with my oldest daughter, both of us shooting my AR-15. She is just entering the gun shooting world and has a lot of questions about a lot of things. So afterwards, on the ride to a local micro-brew for some wings and beers, she asked me questions about the AK-47 and how that compares and contrasts to the AR-15 she was just shooting.

So for other newbies out there, like my daughter, here is a brief comparison.

Classic AR-15 with its modular design.

Contrary to what the gun-fearing liberals say, “AR” does not mean “Assault Rifle”. It stands for “Armalite Rifle”. (For the record, “assault” is a behavior, not a rifle.) In 1950, when the effective usefulness of the tried and true M1 Garand began to fade, the U.S. military issued a competition for the M1’s replacement, probably due to the emergence of the AK-47. The Armalite company threw its hat into the ring. When Armalite was not awarded the contract, they began producing the AR-15 for the civilian market, and sales spread like wildfire. Shortly thereafter, Armalite sold the manufacturing rights to Colt Manufacturing, who began making the military variant known as the M16. The M16 is fully automatic and the AR-15 is semiautomatic. M16s in their full auto configuration are illegal for civilians to own.

Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov with his invention, with the classic wood stock and foregrip.

The “AK” in AK-47 stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova. It was developed in 1945 by Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, a general in the Soviet Red Army. The gun was released in 1947 and became standard issue for the Red Army in 1949. To date, over 75 million of them have been produced. The World Bank indicated that one fifth of the world’s firearms are AKs. They are found everywhere, from the former Iron Curtain armies to African warlords to Latin American drug cartels.


Both the AR-15 and the AK-47 are gas-operated. This means the guns use the expanding gasses from a fired round to eject the shell casing and a load the next round automatically. This involves a piston mechanism. Similar to the giant pistons on steam locomotives, where hot steam pushes the piston which moves the wheels, hot expanding gasses from the fired round pushes on a piston, which in turn, pushes the bolt backwards, opening the breech and ejecting the spent casing. A spring, located behind the bolt, is compressed during the breech opening. The spring then expands, pushing the bolt forward, loading the next round. This allows both guns to have very little felt recoil.

Cutaway view showing how an AR-15 recycles

Both of these guns use a locking bolt mechanism. After the bolt pushes the next round into the chamber, the front of the bolt rotates slightly, locking the bolt in place. This can be seen in the above cutaway view. Just as the bolt is about to close completely, you can see the bolt rotate slightly. After the round is fired, before moving backwards, the bolt rotates slightly the other way, thus unlocking it, freeing it up to move backwards.

Both of these guns have about the same effective range, about 400 meters.

Both of these guns were developed within a decade of each other, and as such, have been used during the same time, albeit on different sides.

Both of these guns have roughly the same magazine capacity.


Between these two guns, there are more differences than similarities.

First off, the AK-47 is more rugged than the AR-15. This is the main reason for its popularity and longevity. It has been used in some of the worst physical conditions possible, from the frozen arctic to the equatorial sweat-baths. It holds up better to dirt and muck. There are reports that American soldiers in Vietnam often cast aside their M16s in favor of AK-47s when crawling through muck-coated VC tunnels or swampy Vietnamese jungles.

The AK-47 shoots a 7.62x39mm round with a capacity of 600 r/m at a muzzle velocity of 715 m/s, whereas the AR-15 shoots a slightly smaller .223 Remington or 5.56mm NATO round with a capacity of 800 r/m at a muzzle velocity of 975 m/s. But since neither of these guns are legal for civilian ownership in the full auto mode, the rounds per minute capacity is really immaterial.

But because of this smaller round, the AR-15 is actually easier to shoot than the AK-47, resulting in a smoother experience for the shooter, often resulting in less felt recoil. However, if you were to have a sound meter nearby, the AR-15 is probably a little louder. But in either case, hearing protection is mandatory.

The AK-47 has adjustable rear sights

The AK-47 has adjustable rear sights, whereas the AR-15 has fixed sights (out of the box).

The AR-15, on the other hand is completely modular. This means that you can do just about anything to it to make it shoot the way you want it to shoot. Want to shoot longer distances? Simply change the barrel, Want more aiming accuracy? Add better sights. Don’t like the trigger pull? Replace it. Want to shoot with more stability? Add a bi-pod. The only thing you cannot do is make the AR-15 completely automatic.

So, final thoughts. If you want a reliable gun that you can quickly grab out of your gun safe when the excrement impacts the rotary oscillator, then the AK-47 is for you. On the other hand, if you want a gun with modularity so you can customize it any way you want, or you are an American Patriot who simply must have American products, or who still has visions of the Cold War dancing in your head and could never conceive shooting a Russian gun, then the AR-15 is for you.

If you decide to get your hands on either one of these fine guns, there is one thing which is the same regardless of the model, for which you need to be aware. The fired round of either gun is extremely loud inside walls. At the range, hearing protection must be used. Inside your home…don’t even think about using either of these for defense inside your home. Not unless you install a suppressor on the gun. Guaranteed that if you shoot either of these inside your home, everyone inside the home will go deaf. The reason I say that is because if you need to grab your home defense weapon, you are not going to put on hearing protection, nor are you going to ask your family members to do the same. You are never going to say “Honey, I just heard a noise downstairs. Put on your hearing protection while I grab the AR”. You are simply going to grab your home defense gun and investigate. Save the use of either of these guns to protect you and your family from invading zombies or the government attempting to take your guns, and only then stick the barrel out the window before pulling the trigger.

Below are some photos of our Father’s Day outing.

Daughter Julie
Saving a goat at 50 yards (the target of which is available for downloading on this site, under “Training”)

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Repulsive, But Right

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, 18-year old Payton Gendron traveled from his home in upstate New York 3.5 hours away to a supermarket called “Tops Friendly Market” in Buffalo. There he live-streamed himself shooting at shoppers, killing 10 of them. He chose this location because it is in a predominantly black neighborhood. His actions were repulsive, by everyone’s standard. No controversy from me on this.

Police also discovered he wrote a 180-page “manifesto” of his actions. This blog is not about white supremacy or racism, so those aspects of his manifesto will be ignored. But in a commentary posted by Western Journalism, Gendron did what he did and chose New York because of its lax and idiotic gun laws. Within this manifesto is a section entitled “Weapons, Equipment, and Mentality of the Attacker”, he expressed his views on gun laws that gun grabbers don’t want you to know about.

He started off with his vitriol of liberal fetish for “gun-free” zones, and progressive loathing for permits to carry concealed weapons: “Attacking in a weapon-restricted area may decrease the chance of civilian backlash. Schools, courts, or areas where CCW are outlawed or prohibited may be good areas of attack. Areas where CCW permits are low may also fit in this category. Areas with strict gun laws are also great places of attack.”

Further down, in that same section he wrote, “NY has cucked gun laws. Assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines are illegal for civilians to own, thus lowering threats from law-abiding civilians.” He wore body armor because he knew, thanks to New York liberals and their mania for defying the Second Amendment, the chances of his being met with multiple heavily armed individuals were almost nonexistent, and that only the police could stop him.

As repulsive as his actions were, his analysis is spot on! Areas where gun-control laws are strong are great places for mass shootings to take place….schools, movie theaters…and now…supermarkets. Over the last decade or so, where have we seen the mass shootings?…Columbine High School, a movie theater in Colorado, a nightclub in Orlando, a supermarket in Buffalo. You do not see mass shootings at an NRA convention or bike week in Sturgis. Criminals know to stay away because of the high probability of attendees being armed.

There is a very popular phrase out there among law-abiding gun owners, and maybe you heard of it. “An armed society is a safe society”. This cannot be further from the truth. Criminals are not going to do their crime if everyone is armed. This statement is also applicable on the geopolitical scale as well. Russia has been kept in check since the end of WWII with regards to attacking NATO countries because all the NATO countries are armed. Putin attacked Ukraine because Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

So criminals like this asshole know where to strike…areas of vulnerability. He knew the civilian population was not going to stop him.

While Gendron pulled the trigger, New York state also has blood on their hands. Below is a list of NY gun laws which allowed this massacre to occur:

New York State’s ban on magazines that hold over 10 rounds of ammunition; this murderer totally ignored this stupid law, and said he was happy knowing that any armed citizen who confronted him would be low on ammo.

New York State’s mandatory background checks on handgun sales; like most mass killers, this murderer passed his background check and then shot thirteen people. These checks do nothing other than give governor Hochul a list of gun owners.

New York State’s ‘Red Flag Gun Seizure’ laws; this murderer was flagged but nothing happened. New York’s ‘Red Flag’ laws are great at seizing guns from innocent gun owners, but are totally worthless at stopping criminals.

New York State’s ban on buying AR-15s or similar firearms; this murderer was very prepared for his attack with an AR-15, while New Yorkers are limited to handguns and hunting rifles.

New York State’s lack of a Stand-Your-Ground law; while almost 40 states have this law on the books, New Yorkers are required to retreat before taking defensive action against criminals. Even drawing your firearm in the wrong county can leave a gun owner facing criminal charges!

If your personal belief is that you abhor guns and don’t want to be around them, that is your prerogative. I and others like me are not going to browbeat you into getting one. Just make sure that when the excrement impacts the rotary oscillator, you hide behind someone who does not share your point of view.

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Hollywood Gun Myths

Liberals everywhere think that we law abiding gun owners wake up in the morning and cannot wait to shoot someone. Especially in Hollywood. Seriously?! There are over 80 million gun owners in the U.S. and over a trillion rounds of ammo. If we acted like that, you would know about it!

Hollywood has been bullshitting…er…teaching you lessons about guns for decades, and wants you to build your entire understanding of guns based on the gun rules they parade in all of their movies. Hollywood wants these gun rules ingrained so deeply in you that you apply these lessons in real life. Even though doing so will kill you. Because of these decades-long Hollywood-contrived rules, everyone now believes this is how guns behave and operate.

That’s right. All of the lessons Hollywood has taught you about guns are wrong. Dead wrong! So, below are eight (8) myths that we are all now to believe is real.

Rule #8 – Dropped Guns Go Off

Hollywood has taught us that even a light fall turns the gun into a pinwheel of death. Take that famous scene from True Lies where Jamie Lee Curtis drops a MAC-10 down a staircase and murders half a Guantanamo worth of enemy combatants.

MAC-10 going off while falling down the stairs

You see, modern firearms do not go off when dropped, even just a little bit. Gun manufacturers are just like any other manufacturer. They test their products in every conceivable way. If their product kills people, their customers, the government and their stockholders get real pissed off. Customers stop buying, not to mention filing lawsuits. The government wants a ban on the manufacturer’s products and the shareholders sell off their shares, plummeting the stock value. That’s why the Gun Control Act of 1968 made drop-safety tests mandatory. This industry is legally tough enough without the manufacturers making an inferior product. For the record, there is no such excuse as “it accidentally went off”. If a gun discharges when the shooter is not expecting it to, that is not an accident. It is negligence! The shooter did something wrong by not following the rules of gun safety and the gun negligently discharged…right Alec Baldwin?

In fact, this myth about guns going off if dropped is making us dumber about guns. Say what?! Let’s say you drop something like your cell phone. Your instinct is to reach down and attempt to grab it before it hits the floor. And this is also true about guns because Hollywood has us believe that Gun + Ground = Death. The reality is that catching a falling object is an imprecise act, and if you attempt to actually catch a falling gun, you could accidentally catch the trigger while you fumble like an idiot trying to catch it. Either let it fall, or if you really want to avoid dropping your gun, how about Super-gluing it to your hand? That would work, wouldn’t it?

Rule #7 – Ceramic Guns Are A Thing

We all know that somehow, some way, terrorists are at their most deadly when they bring guns to places that are not supposed to allow guns, like when they sneak guns past airport security because the gun is undetectable. Anyone who’s been through a TSA metal detector knows how sensitive those machines are set. Hell, my belt buckle sets them off.

But in Hollywood, apparently ceramic guns are real…well at least according to John McClane. In the movie Die Hard 2, John utters the dialogue “That punk pulled a Glock 7 on me, you know what that is? It’s a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn’t show up on your airport metal detectors and probably costs more than what you make in a month.”

First, Glock doesn’t make a model 7. Second, Glock is Austrian, not German. Third, Glocks are affordable. But fourth, and most importantly, there is no such thing as a completely ceramic gun. The grip and some of the gun’s parts may be made of polymer, but not ceramic. The barrel and the breech are steel, because the expanding gas of a firing cartridge generates too much heat and pressure to be used in a ceramic barrel. The ceramic gun would simply explode because a 9mm cartridge alone can generate about 35,000 PSI when fired.

Rule #6 – Bullets Make Everything Spark

Don’t you just love it when the bad guy’s expensive Ferrari, purchased with drug money, is riddled with bullets by our action hero? Every bullet hitting that car creates a spark, so if you slo-mo’d the action and counted the sparks, you can see just how many holes are in that car. This is complete bullshit, because bullets don’t spark.

Sparks everywhere from bullets

Almost all bullets are made of copper or copper alloy, which does not spark. And for those other bullets that do cause a spark, the spark is barely noticeable. Sometimes at the range, for fun, I shoot “green tip” rounds in my AR-15. Green tip rounds are light armor piercing…totally legal in Pennsylvania and totally allowed at my outdoor range. I shoot at steel targets hanging on a chain at a distance of 100 yards and, yes, sometimes there is a spark, but it is hardly noticeable. For a spark to be made, the bullet has to hit the steel target at just the right angle. A lot of my shots hit the target and made the target sway on its chain, but there are many shots which result in no spark because the angle of the target to the bullet was wrong, and the bullet deflected into the ground or the backstop.

But Hollywood wants you to believe that every bullet creates a spark on every car they hit, regardless of the model of the car, the contour of the car and the placement of the bullet when the bullet strikes the car. And even then, the sparks are bright enough to simulate an Independence Day fireworks show. Total bullshit!

Rule #5 – Shotguns Clear A Room

Mad Max

Can you name a weapon more badass than a sawed-off double barrel shotgun? Bet you can’t. If you need an image, think Mad Max. The shotgun got its badass reputation for the supposed hole it leaves in drywall….er…a bad guy, spraying out hot lead, requiring no accuracy on the part of the shooter, and making a hole the size of a small Chevy.

John Woo taking out 2 bad guys with one blast

Take the scene in John Woo, where the shooter takes out two bad guys with one shotgun blast. Hmmm…maybe it does have its place in Hollywood lore if you need to take out a bunch of zombies all at once.

But the reality is way different. Take this photo from This photo is the actual spread of a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with .00 buckshot (or as we say in these parts, “double-ott”) from a standard combat distance. The diameter of the shot placement is simply too small to hit more than one of anything. No matter how hard you try, that double-barreled shotgun is only going to take out one bad guy, or maybe like three mosquitos, aka the state bird of Pennsylvania.

Rule #4 – Deadly On The Range = Deadly In Real Life

The spread of the shot is too small to take out 2 people

Think about any movie in which Chief Badass has to prove his prowess. They all go to the range, and Chief Badass places shot after shot inside a circle the diameter of a beer mug, and the rookies hang their heads in shame. Very similar to those documentaries of African lions fighting each other, where the victor gets to mate with the lioness, and the loser limps off bloody.

Hollywood wants you to believe this sort of makes sense. Anyone who can hit a beer mug diameter sized group in a paper target at 50′ can surely squeeze a round into your heart at 10′, right? I guess it could work if the shooter is an emotionless robot, like in Robocop. But reality is much different. It is in our DNA not to take a life, so if you do need to confront a bad guy, you will have to fight through your adrenaline dump, ignore tunnel vision and forget any of the other physiological effects of high stress situations.

So how exactly does Chief Badass demonstrate superiority? Cover. Hiding. Most gun trainers agree “The element reported as the single most important factor in the officer’s survival during an armed confrontation was cover.” Hiding. Having the proper training to know what to hide behind.

To survive a gunfight, pick the right cover, not a couch

Don’t you just love it when our hero ducks behind a couch while bad guys, using illegally obtained machine guns, spray bullets in his direction. Miraculously, the couch stopped every shot. I have not yet seen an AR-15 round get stopped by a couch. Statistically speaking, the guy who knows what to hide behind is 60% more effective than the guy who can hit the bullseye 10 out of 10 times.

Rule #3 – Pros Never Rack

Ever notice on your favorite crime drama or action movie, our action hero LEOs never have a round in the chamber? Our heroes are about to enter an abandoned warehouse where terrorists or gangbangers are held up. But before they breech the warehouse door, they all rack their handguns and chamber a round.

The same thing happens in our favorite Westerns too. When John Wayne is in the wild frontier on horseback and is suddenly shot at by a marauding band of Indians, he jumps off his horse, takes his trusty “saddle rifle” out from its sheath, hides behind a rock, then racks the lever.

Scene from The Big Lebowski in which John Goodman’s character racks his handgun

So this Hollywood rule that when a handgun is racked, the sound the racking action makes gives the viewer a sense that these guys now mean business, and don’t mess with our action hero. I don’t know a single law enforcement officer that does not have a round chambered in their duty weapon or their rifle when their shift starts or if they are venturing into the great unknown. If anyone is going to have a high probability of drawing their firearm, it is law enforcement.

Rule #2 – They (Don’t) Kill Horses

Hollywood horses are the luckiest animal actors around. They never get shot, no matter if it is Gunsmoke reruns or a spaghetti western, the horses ridden are never shot. Yes, they go down, but that is because the Indian who just got shot riding one falls over and his shifting dead weight causes the horse to go down. After the dead Indian is thrown from his steed, the horse gets up, shakes off the dust and trots away.

Wonderful Hollywood rule. But that is not reality. The reality is that neither rider nor horse will probably be shot from our action hero’s trusty single-shot saddle rifle. Have you ever attempted to fire a single shot at a target moving at galloping speeds from left to right across your line of sight? Most shooters do not have the experience to lead a target and get the shot while missing the horse, unless you are Lee Harvey Oswald, if you believe the Warren Commission Report.

Rule #1 – Bullets Have Amazing Kinetic Energy

If you didn’t sleep through Physics class, according to Sir Isaac Newton, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. But not in Hollywood. They have a law there which states that the bigger the gun, the more the badass is blown away. How many times have we seen the bad guy get shot with a shotgun only to fly backwards through a plate glass window? The bigger the bullet, the more you rocket backwards. So let it be written…so let it be done.

Bullets don’t have enough kinetic energy to blow someone backwards

This is Hollywood’s number one rule that they have been bullshitting us for decades now. It simply cannot happen. Bullets don’t have enough kinetic energy to do that to a human body. Take a 9mm for example, the most popular handgun caliber in the world. The maximum bullet weight of a 9mm is 147 grains. Now keep in mind that 7000 grains equals 1 pound. The maximum effects of velocity, energy, etc., is at the muzzle. So even if you were shot at point blank range, there is not enough kinetic energy in a bullet weighing less than an ounce to push a 150 pound bad ass backwards.

What will happen instead is the bullet will either travel through you if it is a Full Metal Jacket round or tear up your insides if it is a Hollow Point round. Upon being shot, you will be standing erect until the shock and pain of being shot makes you collapse. But you will not fly backwards through a plate glass window.

My bullshit meter is pegging the pin now because Hollywood is teaching us how to die in a gunfight. How about yours?

Hollywood Gun Myths Read More »

Laser Focused

Gun lasers, are they a benefit or a hindrance? Lasers are designed for one purpose only…to help the shooter aim faster. Opinions vary on whether or not a laser attached to your gun is helpful. I’m in the “helpful” camp. Let me explain, but I’ll limit the explanation to use on handguns only.

There are four (4) ways lasers are attached to handguns, and I’ll get to the pros and cons of each method of attachment in a bit.

  • Rail Lasers. These mount under the muzzle on the Picatinny rail of your gun. If you don’t have a Picatinny rail, you can’t use this kind.
  • Trigger Guard Lasers. These are form-fitted lasers which follows the contour of your gun’s trigger guard.
  • Grip Lasers. These are replacement or add-on hand-grips with a small laser on top of the grip and the laser on the side of the gun’s frame.
  • Slide Spring Lasers. These are actually inside your gun, completely inside the gun’s slide spring, and the laser beam shoots out of a small hole under the muzzle.

Lasers are offered in three (3) beam colors; red, green and blue.

Red lasers are designed for nighttime or dark area use. The effective beam range of red lasers is shorter than green lasers. Battery life is longer on red lasers than on green lasers. Every movie or TV show which has military or law enforcement tangling with bad guys in darkness has the good guys using red lasers aimed at the bad guys’ chest or forehead. Red beam models are very popular among laser users.

Green lasers are designed for anytime use. If you are at an outdoor range in bright sunlight, you will see the beam of a green laser on your brightly lit target, albeit not well. The effective range of green lasers is much longer than red lasers, which makes them ideal for long distance shooting. Because of the electronic design of green lasers and the additional energy consumption, they have a shorter battery life than red lasers, and are susceptible to cold weather reliability. Green lasers are never used in movies and TV because the beam projected onto the bad guys’ chest is not as noticeable on camera, or stated differently, does not provide enough color contrast to be more easily visible to viewers. These are also very popular among shooters, however.

Blue lasers have some of the same characteristics as green lasers in that they are designed for both daytime and nighttime use. The two primary differences are the extended battery life of the blue laser over the green laser, sometimes as much as 4x-5x more, and the in-susceptibility to cold weather. These are not as popular, probably because they are newer and only offered by one company, NC Star, introduced at SHOT Show in 2015. Blue lasers are never used in movies and TV, because the blue color contrast is too dark for the camera to pick up.

There are four (4) major manufacturers of lasers, all of them having products of the different mounting methods described above:

  1. Crimson Trace
  2. Viridian
  3. Lasermax
  4. Armalaser

Crimson Trace and Viridian are both very popular for their line of trigger guard mounted and grip mounted models. Crimson Trace models feature a small rubber on/off button, similar to a flattened nipple, located on the front of the grip directly under the trigger guard. This requires the shooter to grip the handgun, thereby turning on the laser with the shooter’s middle finger as the fingers squeeze the grip. Viridian models have a small red on/off switch on the side of the laser body. This red switch requires the shooter use their shooting index finger to reach up to the side of the laser and turn the unit on/off.

Lasermax is also very popular but also carries a line of models for slide spring mounting or guide rod replacement. This type of laser is enclosed inside a replacement slide spring. It requires the removal of the slide, the taking out of the factory slide spring and replacing it with this new slide spring containing the laser inside. The on/off switch is now part of the slide take-down lever.

Armalaser is the newest kid on the block of the mainstream laser manufacturers. While Armalaser has been around for years, their entry into gun laser market was behind the others. Their lasers have a full range of mounting choices except for the slide spring/guide rod method.

Pros and Cons of each mounting method.

Rail Lasers:

Viridian trigger guard laser with the red on/off switch on the side of the laser.


  • Price – these are relatively inexpensive if you stick to the basic models containing only the laser, regardless of laser color.
  • Rail Needed – these models only work if your gun has a Picatinny rail under the muzzle.
  • On/Off Switch – these models are turned on and off by extending your trigger finger forward along the slide and pushing a small button on the laser. Some models are ambidextrous so you can do the same with your support hand instead of your shooting hand.
  • Sight Adjustments – these models come with windage and elevation adjustment Allen screws so you can fine tune the sight alignment.
  • Easily Removed – Can be used on different gun models, simply by loosening the mount screws, removing it from its current gun, placing it on a different gun and tightening the mount screws.
  • Options – rail lasers can be combo models, which includes the laser and an LED flashlight, but that also comes with a comparable increase in price. The stronger the LED lumens, the higher the price.


  • Unsightly – Since these models do not follow the contour of your gun, they stick out wider than your gun.
  • Dislodging – These models are often held in place on your gun’s rail by a single screw. Because of the extra width of the laser, drawing from and returning to the holster may loosen the laser, (which from personal experience, has happened).
  • Manual On/Off Switch – will force shooters to manually turn on the laser prior to engaging a bad guy, which is a deterrent for use in defensive situations. Your goal if you have to use your gun for self-defense is to be able to quickly draw and get your gun on target. Having to remember to turn on the laser slows down the target acquisition time.
  • Barrel length – If the barrel is longer than a stretched-out shooting index finger or you have smaller length shooting finger, this will force the shooter to either activate the laser from their support index finger or require the shooter to remove their shooting hand from its native shooting position and move the shooting hand forward to reach the laser’s on/off button.
  • Holster Challenges – holster choices are limited when using a laser, unless the holster is specifically made for a laser.

Trigger Guard Lasers:

Crimson Trace under trigger guard laser with the nipple on/off switch on the front of the grip.


  • Conforms To Gun’s Contour – Because each laser model is designed around a specific gun model, the laser contour matches that of the gun, specifically the trigger guard.
  • Sight Adjustments – All these models come with tiny Allen screws to adjust elevation and windage.


  • On/Off Switch – Depending on the model, the on/off switch may not be easy to use if seconds count in a self-defense situation. This is particularly true of the Crimson Trace models. The aforementioned nipple-type on/off switch on the pistol grip may be easy to turn on if the shooter grips the gun tightly. It is also true of some Viridian models, which have the on/off switch directly at the laser, often red in color.

Grip Lasers

Crimson Trace grip laser for pistols


  • Laser Location – The laser sits on the right side of the gun, at the top of the grip. For pistols, the beam shines alongside and parallel to the frame. For revolvers, the beam shines beneath the cylinder and parallel to the frame.
  • Adjustment Screws – Elevation and windage adjustments, with small Allen screws.


  • Price – upwards of $200 or more.
  • Laser Location – Because the laser sits on the right side of the gun, beneath the slide and parallel to the action, if you are following correct trigger finger discipline, your index finger will be fully extended outside of the trigger guard along the slide, in front of the laser’s beam, thereby preventing the laser beam from hitting your target until you bring your shooting index finger inside the trigger guard to fire.

Slide Spring/Rod Guide Lasers


Lasermax slide spring/rod guide laser for a Glock 43.
  1. Hidden – will not snag on anything because the laser is completely hidden inside gun
  2. Holster Choices – Numerous, as there is no need to shop around for laser-specific holsters, as every holster designed for the native model of the gun will work since the laser is completely hidden.


  1. Price – These are not cheap, often exceeding $200.
  2. No Adjustment Screws – because these are hidden completely inside the gun, there are no windage and elevation adjustment screws.

Best laser for new shooters.

The best laser for new shooters, IMHO, is the Armalaser trigger guard red laser, and here is why.

Armalaser trigger guard laser showing the two electrical contacts. The shooter’s middle finger simply has to touch these contacts to turn on the laser.
  • Since it follows the contour of trigger guard of your gun, the laser does not protrude outside the normal width of your gun.
  • Therefore, you do not run the risk of the laser loosening with repeated drawing and re-holstering your gun.
  • Red is only needed for nighttime or dark self-defense situations which make acquiring the target difficult by just using the guns sights. If it is daylight or a brightly lit environment, why do you need a green laser, let alone a laser at all? Can’t you simply use your gun’s sights to acquire the target?
  • Red lasers are cheaper, by as much as $50 over their green laser counterparts.
  • Blue lasers are difficult to find, and Armalaser does not make them.
  • Their trigger guard models have a tiny master on/off switch underneath the actual laser, which can be set to “off” for prolonged storage.
  • The best part is that the trigger guard models have a set of two tiny parallel electrical contacts directly underneath the trigger guard where the trigger guard meets the grip. The reason is so that the shooter does not have to squeeze the grip in order to turn on the laser, like the Crimson Trace’s “nipple” switch. As the shooter naturally wraps their fingers around the grip, loosely or tightly, the middle finger of the shooting hand merely touching the two electrical contacts is enough to turn it on, which is perfect in a high-stress self-defense situation.
  • Made for a wide variety of guns, and not limited to one or two specific brands.

Laser Sighting

The optimal sight placement should be just above the front sight when aiming at a target, say 10 feet away. This will put the front sight at the 6 o’clock position of the target and the laser.

Gun Holsters

Keep in mind that the use of a laser on your gun is going to impact the availability and selection of holsters, regardless of gun model, for the majority of shooters. Every holster manufacturer makes holsters for native models, or better stated, guns without any appliances attached, but only a few of these manufacturers have models designed for guns with attached lasers. Before you decide if you want to use a laser, suggest you scour the internet to see if your favorite holster manufacturer has models designed for lasers, and if so, which specific laser manufacturer it has designed its holsters for, because certain holster manufacturers only design their models for specific laser manufacturers’ products.

Laser Focused Read More »

Guns and Crime Prevention

In getting reliable information to convey to students about the effectiveness of guns for self-defense, I heard or read many different “counts” of the number of lives saved by guns. I needed a solid unbiased source as a reference point and found one in GunFacts.Info. This website is non-biased. It just simply gathers the numbers and reports them. They debunk the five (5) most popular myths of gun usage, identifying using tangible results how many lives are saved by guns. And in case you still want to argue this point, this article includes the bibliography at the end. There are even some graphs which visually substantiate their findings.

Myth 1: Private ownership of guns is not effective in preventing crime

Fact: Every year, people in the United States use guns to defend themselves against criminals an estimated 2,500,000 times – more than 6,500 people a day, or once every 13 seconds. (1)  Of these instances, 15.7% of the people using firearms defensively stated that they “almost certainly” saved their lives by doing so.

Fact: Even the government’s estimate, which has a major methodology problem, (2) estimates people defend themselves 235,700 times each year with guns. (3)

Fact: The number of times per year an American uses a firearm to deter a home invasion alone is 498,000. (4)

Fact: In 83.5% (2,087,500) of these successful gun defenses, the attacker either threatened or used force first, proving that guns are very well suited for self-defense. (5)

Fact: The rate of defensive gun use (DGU) is six times that of criminal gun use. (6)

Fact:  Of the 2,500,000 times citizens use guns to defend themselves, 92% merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. (7)

Fact:  In most of the remaining 8% of defensive gun uses, a citizen never wounds his or her attacker (they fire warning shots), and in less than one in a thousand instances is the attacker killed. (8)

(Note: regarding the two facts above, brandishing or firing a warning shot is NEVER recommended. Depending on your state, you may be charged with “brandishing”, “terroristic threats” or “reckless endangerment”. The reason YOU may be charged is because some of these criminals are savvy enough to call the police first and say you were the aggressor.)

Fact: 41% of justifiable homicides using a gun were by private citizens, the others by law enforcement. (9)

Fact: In one local review of firearm homicide, more than 12% were civilian legal defensive homicides. (10)

Fact: For every accidental death (802), suicide (16,869) or homicide (11,348) (11) with a firearm (29,019), 13 lives (390,000) (12) are preserved through defensive use.

Fact: When using guns in self-defense, 91.1% of the time, not a single shot is fired. (13)

Fact: After the implementation of Canada’s 1977 gun controls prohibiting handgun possession for protection, the “breaking and entering” crime rate rose 25%, surpassing the American rate. (14)

Myth 2: The small number of self-defense killings shows that private gun ownership does nothing

Fact: Most DGUs do not involve firing a gun. The average private gun owner who uses guns for self defense take non-fatal actions, such as brandishing the weapon. In other instances, they may fire a warning shot or intentionally wound their attacker. (15)

While brandishing a gun is NEVER recommended, this graph shows how effective it is at 76% of the time at thwarting a violent attack.

Myth 3: Only police should have guns

Fact: “Most criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police.” (16)

Fact: For kids in schools, police end such attacks only 27% of the time. (17)

Fact: 11% of police shootings kill an innocent person — about 2% of shootings by citizens kill an innocent person. (18)

Fact: Police have trouble keeping their own guns.  Hundreds of firearms are missing from the FBI and 449 of them have been involved in crimes. (19)

Fact: People who saw the helplessness of the L.A. Police Department during the 1992 Rodney King riots or the looting and violence in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina know that citizens need guns to defend themselves.

Fact: “In actual shootings, citizens do far better than law enforcement on hit potential. They hit their targets and they don’t hit other people. I wish I could say the same for cops. We train more, they do better.” (20)

Myth 4: You are more likely to be injured or killed using a gun for self-defense

Fact: You are far more likely to survive a violent assault if you defend yourself with a gun. (21)

This graph shows how victims are killed or injured by various means while attempting to protect them themselves during a violent attack. One reason gun usage injuries or deaths is so low is because many gun owners have gotten educated and trained on proper gun usage.

Myth 5: Guns are not effective in preventing crime against women

Fact: Of the 2,500,000 annual self-defense cases using guns, more than 7.7% (192,500) are by women defending themselves against sexual abuse.

Fact: When a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3% of rape attacks were completed, compared to 32% when the woman was unarmed. (22)

Fact: The probability of serious injury from an attack is 2.5 times greater for women offering no resistance than for women resisting with guns. Men also benefit from using guns, but the benefits are smaller: Men are 1.4 times more likely to receive a serious injury. (23)

Fact: 28.5% of women have one or more guns in the house. (24)

Fact: 41.7% of women either own or have convenient access to guns. (25)

Fact: In 1966, the city of Orlando responded to a wave of sexual assaults by offering firearms training classes to women. Rapes dropped by nearly 90% the following year.

Fact: Firearm availability appears to be particularly useful in avoiding rape. The United Kingdom virtually banned handgun ownership. During the same period handgun ownership in the United States steadily rose. Yet the rate of rape decreased in the United States and skyrocketed in the other countries, as shown in the table.

As can be seen, because Australia and the UK ban guns, in this eight year period studied, rape rates have increased in these countries, whereas rape rates have declined in the U.S.

Fact: More Americans believe having a gun in the home makes them safer. This belief grows every year the survey is taken. (26)

Fact: Arthur Kellerman, a researcher whose work is often cited by gun control groups, said “If you’ve got to resist, your chances of being hurt are less the more lethal your weapon. If that were my wife, would I want her to have a .38 Special in her hand? Yeah.” (27)


  1. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Kleck and Gertz, Fall 1995
  2. This ongoing victimization survey involved people from the government personally interviewing victims. Some criminologists believe this induces self-reporting biases (e.g., people don’t like to tell the government they own a gun). Thus, this low number from the National Crime Victimization Survey is considered to be an outlier and not reliable.
  3. Firearm Violence, 1993-2011, Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2013
  4. Estimating intruder-related firearm retrievals in U.S. households, 1994. Robin M. Ikeda, Violence and Victims, Winter 1997
  5. Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun, Kleck, Gertz, 1995
  6. Crime statistics: Bureau of Justice Statistics – National Crime Victimization Survey (2005).  DGU statistics: Targeting Guns, Kleck (average of 15 major surveys where DGUs were reported)
  7. Targeting Guns, Gary Kleck, Aldine de Gruyter, 1997, from the National Self-Defense Survey
  8. Targeting Guns, Gary Kleck, Aldine de Gruyter, 1997, from the National Self-Defense Survey
  9. FBI Expanded Homicide Tables 14 and 15, 2017
  10. Death by Gun: One Year Later, Time Magazine, May 14, 1990
  11. Unintentional Firearm Deaths, 2001, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
  12. Targeting Guns, Gary Kleck, Aldine de Gruyter, 1997
  13. National Crime Victimization Survey, 2000
  14. Residential Burglary: A Comparison of the United States, Canada and England and Wales, Pat Mayhew, National Institute of Justice., Wash., D.C., 1987
  15. Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 86, No.1, 1995
  16. Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, Wright and Rossi, 1986
  17. Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks, United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education, 2002
  18. Shall issue: the new wave of concealed handgun permit laws, Clayton Cramer, David Kopel, Independence Institute Issue Paper. October 17, 1994
  19. ABC News, July 17, 2001
  20. Sheriff Greg White, Cole County, Missouri, Guns to be allowed on campus?, KRCG News, July 31, 2009
  21. The Value of Civilian Handgun Possession as a Deterrent to Crime or a Defense Against Crime, Don B. Kates, 1991 American Journal of Criminal Law
  22. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, Rape Victimization in 26 American Cities, U.S. Department of Justice, 1979
  23. National Crime Victimization Survey, Department of Justice 2001 National Gun Policy Survey of the National Opinion Research Center: Research Findings, Smith, T, National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago, December 2001.

Guns and Crime Prevention Read More »


Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. If you question any answer, please consult an attorney.

Q. When is a background check required?

Q. My gun’s manufacturer issued a safety recall. If I send my gun back to them for repair, is a background check needed?

A. No, because legal ownership is not changing hands. You just follow the instructions by the manufacturer for returning the gun for repair.

Q. For my son’s 25th birthday, I want to transfer a gun to him. Does he need to have a background check done?

A. No. Gun transfers to direct family members does not require a background check.  This allows guns to be bequeathed or gifted to family members.  However, you should be aware of your son’s ability to legally own a gun in the first place.  If your son is a convicted felon out on parole, do NOT gift him a gun.  If a crime is committed involving that gun, there is a high probability you will be a person of interest by law enforcement by giving a gun to a person who legally cannot own one. In Pennsylvania, background checks are not required from grandparent to parent to grandchild and spouse.

Q. If I gift a gun to my son, and the gun is used in a crime, am I legally responsible?

A. If you do not include a receipt or a piece of paper showing the transfer from you to him, signed by both parties, yes, you will be legally responsible, because the last known form 4473 for that gun contains your name and signature.

Q. I want to buy a gun for my wife for Christmas. Can I do that? 

A. It depends on who the legal owner will be.  If you will be the legal owner, then yes.  You will own the gun, but she can use it.  If she will be the legal owner, then no, as this is considered a “straw purchase”, and the retailer will not even process the transaction.  In this case, the best approach then is to give her a gift certificate for the retailer for the approximate price of the gun.  When she uses the gift certificate, she will be attesting that she is the legal owner.

Q. A long time ago my cousin was convicted of domestic abuse. Can he own a gun?

A. Absolutely not! Convicted felons are prohibited from owning guns.

Q. My veteran son now suffers from PTSD from his tour in Afghanistan and is under psychiatric care. Can he own a gun?

A. If he voluntarily sought out counseling, then yes, he can own a gun. On the other hand, if the court had to intervene and mandated psychiatric counseling for him, then no, he cannot own a gun.

Q. My state legalized recreational marijuana. Can I purchase a gun? 

A. If you are a regular user then no, because marijuana use is prohibited at the federal level and form 4473 is a federal form, regardless of your state’s legality on marijuana usage. If this bothers you, contact your U.S. Representative or Senator to have federal law changed.

Q. My background check came back with a response of “delayed”. What does that mean and what can I do about it? 

A. It means the agency conducting the check requires more information.  Perhaps you have an identical or similar name to a convicted felon, and the agency needs time to distinguish the two of you.  Usually, the delay lasts no more than 24 hours.  Most gun buyers use their driver’s license as the primary form of ID on form 4473.  The form also has an optional box for the buyer to include their Social Security Number.  If you have a common name, suggest you enter your SSN, as this will help the agency distinguish you from someone prohibited.

Q. I was convicted of a felony a long time ago when I was a minor. The court has since expunged my record.  Can I own a gun?

A. If the court expunged your record, then yes, you can own a gun, otherwise, no, you cannot own a gun.

Q. How long does a background check take?

A. Usually only a few minutes. Here in Pennsylvania, by law, law enforcement agencies have up to, but not more than, 45 days to conduct a check.  The issue then is whether or not that translates to “business days” or “calendar days”.  Most PA counties use calendar days, but the city of Philadelphia plays hardball, and uses business days.  More recently, Gun Owners of America sued the city of Philadelphia for the city’s violation of state law during COVID for exceeding the 45-day limit on the issuance of carry permits.  As of 12/12/21, the GOA has withdrawn their lawsuit in exchange for an agreement with Philadelphia that the city will comply with the limit.

Q. If the background check comes back with “approved”, does the FFL have to proceed with the transaction?

A. No, the FFL does not have to proceed with the transaction. Most FFLs conduct background checks first, so upon receiving the result, knows whether or not to have the purchaser complete form 4473.  But let’s assume the background check comes back “approved”.  When subsequently completing Form 4473, the buyer must be completely truthful in their answers, and if they answer a question which throws up a red flag, the FFL can stop the transaction.  A status of “approved” is not a rubber stamp to a buyer walking away with a gun.

Q. I am the legal owner of a gun which was just stolen. What should I do?

A. Upon first noticing the gun was stolen, immediately call the police, so the gun’s serial number is flagged as stolen, and to absolve you of any wrongdoing if the gun is subsequently used in the commission of a crime. As a helpful tip, for every gun you own, you should write down the serial number and store that serial number somewhere safe, in the event the gun is stolen and you need to provide that serial number to the police. To help, there is a really good ATF form related to Firearms Records on our Download page. You can access the downloadable form from this link: ATF Firearms Record.

Q. Upon successful completion of Form 4473 for my new gun, does this transaction go into a national database of gun owners and their guns?

A. NO! There is no national database of guns and their owners, and 2nd Amendment proponents want to keep it that way.  Do NOT vote for any gun-grabbing politician who wants to create a national gun registry.  The processing FFL however, will be required to keep a copy of Form 4473 for 20 years.

Q. My son has a Protection From Abuse order against him. Can he own a gun?

A. Absolutely Not! In most of these instances, the person against whom the order was filed, generally has only 24 hours to relinquish any guns in their possession to law enforcement.

Q. I am in the U.S. on a green card. Can I purchase a gun?

A. Yes. Resident aliens are permitted to own guns.  Should you decide to return to your home country, the purchased gun must be disposed.

Q. Can I buy a gun at a gun show without a background check?

A. No. Gun vendors are vetted by the promoter to ensure every gun vendor is an FFL.

Q. I want to buy a silencer for my gun. Can I buy one?

A. First off, there is no such thing as silencers. They are “suppressors” because they never completely silence the noise of the expanding muzzle gasses.  Rather, they suppress, or reduce, the noise, and yes, you may buy one.  And you need to use an FFL with a special classification, known as a “Type 2 SOT”, which stands for Special Occupational Taxpayer.  This type of FFL is licensed to deal, manufacture, or import a certain category of firearms called NFA Firearms/Title II firearms. This special category of firearms includes Suppressors, Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs), Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS), Full-Auto Machine Guns, and “Any Other Weapons” (AOWs). You will be required to pay $200 for a special tax stamp and wait a loooooong time to receive your suppressor.

Q. I have the opportunity to purchase an original 1923 “Tommy Gun”. Can I buy it?

A. Yes, but which type of FFL to use depends on whether or not the gun has been modified, or if it still in its original design. Besides their exorbitant price, original 1923 Thompson Sub-machine Guns, aka “Tommy Guns” are fully automatic.  If the gun has been modified to eliminate the ability of the gun to fire in “full auto” mode, then a regular FFL can handle the transaction.  If, on the other hand, the gun is still in its original condition and can still shoot in full-auto mode, then you need the aforementioned Type 2 SOT FFL to do the transaction for you, while you decide if you want to remortgage the house to purchase it.

Q. My husband is a convicted felon. We both live in the same house.  Can I purchase and own a gun?

A. Yes, background checks are for you and you alone, not a husband and wife together. His criminal record has no bearing on your criminal record, or lack of one.  But, as a practical matter, depending on what your husband was convicted for, it would be prudent to always have the gun locked until you use it.

FFL FAQs Read More »

What Does “ACP” Stand For?

One of the questions I was asked recently when mentioning the .45 ACP cartridge, is “what does ‘ACP’ stand for?” It stands for “Automatic Colt Pistol”. 

These include the following cartridges:

John Moses Browning
  • .25 ACP
  • .32 ACP
  • .38 ACP
  • .380 ACP
  • .45 ACP

If we stop right here, you now know what the acronym “ACP” stands for, but you miss out on a very important point as to why those cartridges get that designation. 

Browning Gas-Operated Machine Gun

We have the world’s most famous gun-maker, John Moses Browning, to thank for this designation. One day back in 1889, Browning was out shooting with some friends. Back in 1889, the only handgun types available were revolvers, the ubiquitous “six-shooter”. He made an observation that forever changed the course of firearms history. His friends took turns shooting. But when one of his short (vertically challenged) friends began shooting, Browning noticed the tall grasses just beyond the gun’s muzzle began to wave back and forth every time his friend fired his gun. Browning recognized this to be the energy exiting the muzzle from the exploding gasses produced when the gun was fired. This gave Browning an idea to harness that energy and not let it go to waste into the atmosphere. His idea was to use that energy to cycle the next round into the chamber. By the end of the day, he had a working prototype for his own self-loading pistol.

45 Colt (l) vs 45 ACP (r)

In 1890, Browning filed for a patent on a gas-operated machine gun. But Browning was an inventor, not a manufacturer. So, in 1895, Browning entered into a long-standing collaboration with the Colt Manufacturing Company, which began production of Browning’s gas-operated machine gun. And because Colt made numerous types of firearms, both self-loading pistols and manual-loading revolvers, they needed to distinguish the ammunition designed for the self-loading pistols from ammunition for manually loaded revolvers. Collectively, Colt gave the name “Automatic Colt Pistol” to those ammo calibers designed for self-loading, or automatic guns.

What Does “ACP” Stand For? Read More »