A Small Dose of Humor

A Small Dose of Humor

Sometimes we all just need a laugh. This is an old image, but such a classic.

Now truthfully, did anyone actually catch all the pizza boxes before reading the text? I know they were exactly the last thing I saw in that photo. The first thing I did was to check out the different firearms. I then noted his finger on or dangerously near the trigger. After those two things I read the text, and then saw all the pizza boxes.

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Women Spark Economic Growth

Women Spark Economic Growth

A news clip on CNBC today noted stock market increases for both gun manufacturers and retailers such as Cabela’s. The stated reason for this, in large part, is the result of an increase in gun sales to women. A Gallup poll referenced stated that gun sales were up 14% last year nationwide, that 47% more women are now shooting than they were 10 years ago, and that 23% of all [US] women own a gun.

Some of the reasons credited to this increase in female shooters and gun owners include marketing toward a female audience as well as more training and safety awareness options made readily available and appealing specifically to women. Pink firearms, pink targets, female shooting instructors, and ladies’ night are just some of the strategies being employed by gun manufacturers, retailers, and firing ranges.

It’s my opinion that whoever came up with the marketing ploy of making their firearms and accessories also available in pink deserves a raise. The more adults, both men and women, who are interested in educating themselves regarding the safe and proper storage, handling, and use of firearms, the better off we’ll all be (even if it was a pink firearm that got them interested).

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Walther PPQ 9mm Review

Walther PPQ 9mm Review

Perhaps my favorite pistol is Walther’s PPQ in 9mm. I will attempt to leave my personal bias at the door while reviewing this fine hand gun, but I’m sure it won’t be easy.

The PPQ is Walther’s evolutionary next step from their popular P99, a gun so popular that Bond, James Bond, used one in Casino Royale. The 9mm PPQ is a striker-fired semi-auto weighing in at 24.5 oz. It has a 15+1 capacity, a barrel length of 4.17 inches and an overall length of 7.24 inches. The finish is a black nitride, has molded polymer grips with two additional backstraps for smaller or larger hands, three-dot fixed sights, a trigger pull of 5 lbs and a .1 inch trigger reset. The MSRP is $729, but savvy buyers have picked them up for under $500.

The basic specs are nice, but what about the finer details? The primary things I really enjoyed about this firearm break down to the grip, trigger, balance, ambidextrous controls, and price. Wait, didn’t I just describe most of the important features of any firearm? Yes, yes I did.

First and foremost the ergonomic grip. This gun feels like it was meant to be held in a human hand, not a G.I. Joe kung-fu grip. I can’t overstate how comfortable this gun is in your hand, or at least mine. It also has a non-slip texturing that is comfortable in the hand (or against the body if concealed carrying) while at the same time being very effective in keeping the gun solidly in your hand. The medium sized default backstrap that it comes with works perfect for me, but I like that the people over at Walther are looking out for the small and large handed individuals as well.

The second aspect that I enjoyed is the crisp and smooth 1/10th inch trigger reset. Quickly find a ruler so you can see how truly short that distance is, we’ll wait… Back? Incredible isn’t it! What does this short trigger reset mean to someone like me, who isn’t an expert marksman? It means less trigger travel after the first shot, or in my case, less opportunity to mess up the trigger pull. What this also means is that if you want to shoot fast, you can shoot incredibly fast (but please do be safe about it,) and who hasn’t enjoyed burning through 15 rounds quickly just for the fun of it?

“Burning through 15 rounds quickly just for the fun of it?” I said, and now you might be thinking, “But what about the recoil?” this is where the PPQ’s balance comes into play. Between the ergonomic grip that keeps the gun firmly seated in your hand and the 24.5 oz weight, the PPQ does most of the work in soaking up the recoil and putting the sights back on target. The sooner my sights are back on target, the sooner I can fire the next shot; the PPQ allows me to shoot as quickly as I want to shoot.

I’m a right-handed person, so why would I really care about the ambidextrous features (slide stop and magazine release) that are a part of this gun? The answer is two-fold; I’m a giver, and I have an active imagination. When I get the opportunity to fire a gun as enjoyable as the PPQ, I want to share that experience with others. My brother and several friends are “Lefties,” and life is tough enough on them, so when I come across a firearm that I enjoy and has ambidextrous controls I feel warm inside. Imagine how you would feel if you could give someone a rainbow. The PPQ is a rainbow wrapped in metal and polymer. As you might have guessed from that last sentence, my imagination is very active. I sometimes think to myself, “Would I be able to operate a firearm if my right hand was X?” X being any number of highly unlikely scenarios in which my hand was unavailable. Although I would not be as proficient in operating the PPQ, I know I would be able to easily change out the magazine and load another round.

The final part of the equation, and at least for me one of the larger parts of that equation is the price, or the “Can I afford to take this home with me?” question. The MSRP of the PPQ falls somewhere between a Glock and a HK. However, as mentioned in the beginning of this review, I’ve read of savvy shoppers purchasing the PPQ for just under $500. This is certainly the exception and not the rule as the price seems to generally float between $550 and $650 in brick and mortar gun stores. As a firearm that will quickly become one of your favorites to shoot, the price is very reasonable to me. One of my local firing ranges has finally made available a PPQ for rent, so I would suggest heading to yours and seeing if they have one available. If they do, be prepared to leave a little lighter in the wallet.

 

 

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Martin, Zimmerman, & Self-Defense Laws

Martin, Zimmerman, & Self-Defense Laws

The shooting death of Treyvon Martin by George Zimmerman has been exhaustively covered (often times without all the facts) by both the mainstream media as well as independent bloggers, so why would I want to weigh in on the subject when I could be reviewing firearms? Simply put, this case could ignite something much larger than a Zimmerman vs. Martin related trial.

Zimmerman’s innocence or guilt will be determined in court and will likely receive more media attention than anything else going on at the time. The side stories, which will be as sensationalized as everything else the media covers, will no doubt focus on racial issues and firearm laws.

The racial issues concerning this case have been debunked and NBC has already fired a staff member over the editing of 911 recordings that paint Zimmerman as a racist. This will result in an increased focus on firearms and the laws surrounding their use as the main culprit in Martin’s death. Bill Cosby as well as Bill Maher are two such high profile individuals who have already started advocating this theory.

During an interview on CNN, Cosby asked what Zimmerman was doing with a gun and who had taught him how to handle one. It’s already been covered by the press that Zimmerman was fully within his rights to be carrying the firearm he was and in the manner in which he was carrying it. Mr. Cosby fails to mention or recognize that the community Zimmerman was the community watch member for had over 400 calls to the police department in the last year including at least one prior shooting, which to me at least shows why Zimmerman might opt to carry a gun as a means of self-defense.

Maher made the statement on Dr. Drew’s HLN show that the Stand Your Ground law is “basically anyone who scares you, you can shoot law.” Such an assertion is absurd, to say the least, and destroys any professional credibility he might have once had at some point or another.

The comments of both of these gentlemen clearly underline the root issue relating to the broader discussion of firearms and the laws related to them. Specifically, they negatively sensationalize the issue by misrepresenting it due to a lack of specific knowledge or outright lies.

In time, we will find out if Martin was the victim of an overzealous neighborhood watch captain, or if Zimmerman was an assault victim who legally defended himself while protecting his community. We will also see if there comes to be another victim with this case; the law abiding citizens who defend their lives or the lives of others while outside of their home.

 

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A Brief Introduction

A Brief Introduction

Jeff GramlingJeff Compoc has stepped down from writing here at Gun Blog, and since my name is also Jeff I thought a brief introduction was in order to avoid any confusion.

Let me start by saying that I’m not a firearms expert and I don’t own a large arsenal of guns… But I am looking to change both of those over time as I now have the distinct pleasure of writing about all things firearm related.

A not too distant conversation with my wife that I can already see will look a lot like this, “Where did this Kel-Tec KSG 12 gauge come from?” she will ask.

“I was at a few shops today, just looking mind you, when I came across this KSG, which has a revolutionary new design, and because it’s so rare to see one in stock I had to buy it… Not for me of course, but so I could write up a review about it on Gun Blog” will be my truthful if not 100% accurate response.

My background with firearms is probably similar in some aspects to that of many other Americans. When I was a young boy my brothers and I had a pump BB rifle. When we were a little older our parents, in their infinite kindness if not wisdom, allowed us to get paintball guns. It shouldn’t really have been a surprise to anyone, least of all my parents, that one of the first things we did with those paintball guns was to run off into the woods and shoot each other (even though we were told not to).

Near the end of high school I got to go to the firing range with step-father, mom, and wonderful brothers. A lever action .22 rifle ignited the passion that had been sparked all those years before.

After high school I was in the U. S. Army Reserves and was introduced to a whole new level of firearms and other exciting devices.

Since then, as my wallet has allowed it, I’ve been making purchases here and there and going to the range or legal spots out in the woods.

My hope is to share with you my experiences, opinions, and reviews throughout the week. If you would like to contact me I can be reached at jeff@gunblog.com

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Optics Planet OPMOD Spotting Scope Review

Optics Planet OPMOD Spotting Scope Review

The spotting scope is a constant companion to almost all long-range shooters–its kinda tough seeing your shots at long ranges without one.  And like all things in the gun industry, there is a wide range of prices that usually correlate to quality.  Most spotting scopes I’ve seen that are worth using cost upwards to $400 plus.  Optics Planet sent us one of their new limited edition OPMOD spotting scopes to check out and the first thing I did (like many people) is I checked out how much it cost.  So when I saw it was under $200, I was skeptical–was this a gun-show-special optic that would collect dust after realizing that one should just fork out the extra dough for something usable, or was it a deal too good to be true?

We’ll get to the quality of the OPMOD spotting scope in a minute, but I must say you get a lot for $200 with Optics Planet’s Spotting scope.  It comes with a soft case, objective and eyepiece lens covers, a small tripod that has vertical and horizontal movement, and a cleaning cloth.  The spotting scope can be a tight fight in the case, but fits in snug along with the tri-pod which is separated by a padded cloth insert.  The tri-pod itself is suitable, but it’s not the most robust piece of hardware.  I can see a leg  bending if given the right amount of pressure; however, it would take a significant amount of force to do so as if to intentionally bend it.

The OPMOD spotting scope seems to be well constructed.  It has a rubber like coating while maintaining a sturdy and durable feel.  It features a built in sun shade that extends over the objective lens.  Controls are where you would expect them to be with the focus on the right hand side of the housing and the zoom control around the eyepiece.  The OPMOD spotting scope has a 20x-60x magnification rate and it features an adjustable eyepiece so that a user can set the desired eye relief “sweet spot.”

So for the price, material wise you’re getting a good bang for your buck with the OPMOD spotting scope–but the real and most important question is as with any spotting scope, the optical quality.  Considering the price of the OPMOD spotting scope, there’s nothing I can say to ding this thing.  The picture is crystal clear, I would of never guessed that I was looking through $200 dollar glass.  Even on a rainy cloudy day, the light capture was superb.  I was able to distinctly see my grouping at 200 yards at the range and out in the desert I was easily able to see my partner’s shots at 700+ yards in order to give him adjustments.  Honestly, I wanted/expected to say something about the glass since I would of never considering owning a quality spotting scope for under 400 bucks, but the OPMOD’s glass was a surprise–again, if you look through this thing, you’ll never guess it costs under $200.

Picture from approximately 800 yards away at a mountain approx 750 ft high at full 60x zoom

Optics Planet’s OPMOD Spotting Scope definitely surprised me to say the least.  I’ve seen some lower end spotting scopes within the same price range as the OPMOD and I would of never given them a second look.  The OPMOD does seem to reign supreme within the given price range, and it would even give some higher end spotting scopes a run for their money.  Now is it as good as, lets say  a Leupold Gold Ring?  Well, no but we’re talking about a spotting scope that’s 4 or 5 times the price, and not all shooters have the need, or the bank account to justify that type of purchase.  But if you’re a Saturday shooter or a regular range warrior, and budget is a concern, then the OPMOD Spotting Scope would be a perfect choice.  Its durable, easy to operate, and the glass seems to be a few levels above its price point.  For a fraction of the cost of high level spotting scopes, now the average range warrior can finally have a spotting scope worth looking through.

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FNH Ballista Bolt Action Rifle

FNH Ballista Bolt Action Rifle

FNH Ballista

One of the finest looking rifles at SHOT SHOW 2012 I’ve seen so far has to be the FNH Ballista.  The Ballista is FNH’s submission to SOCOM’s PSR solicitation and lucky for us, they’ll be offering it on the civilian market as well.  There’s one common theme amongst all the new bolt action rifles I’ve seen at SHOT this year–modularity.  FNH’s new flag ship bolt action follows suit.

Using a few tools (stored on board) and losing a few bolts, an operator can change out the caliber of the new FNH Ballista in about 2-3 minutes and FNH claims that each barrel remains true to the receiver’s centerline.  The Ballista can be configured in 3 calibers:  338 Lapua Mag, .300 Win Mag, and .308 Winchester.  It has a fully adjustable trigger that can be set between 2 and 5 pounds.

FNH Ballista

FNH’s Ballista has a barrel length of 26 inches (with the .338 Lapua Magnum barrel installed), an overall length of 49 inches with the stock fully extended (47.75 collapsed), and the length when the stock is folded is only 37 inches.  It weighs 15.8 pounds with a fully loaded magazine.  The Ballista rifle system will retail around $8,000 and will come with all three caliber kits (I believe, inferring from the video below).  I got a chance to shoot the Ballista at the SHOT SHOW Media Day Range Event, and I have to say I completely loved the 5 or 6 rounds I got to send down range with it.  I tagged a 60″ steel plate at 900+ yards a couple of times, so needless to say I was happy.  Check the video below to see it.

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