5 Guns That Make Zero Sense

I’m not a firearms expert.  Not even close.  But like all modern Millennials, I have opinions.  My opinions are my own and I realize that they mean about as much as that silly trucker hat you wear to impress your equally worthless peers.

The firearms market has exploded in the last 8 years, thanks in part to a rise in unfounded fears of a zombie apocalypse and more importantly, very well founded fears that our sacred right to bear arms is in danger of falling within our lifetime.  It’s been said that Barack Obama is the firearms salesman of the year, 8 years running.  It’s hard to deny the impact a liberal presidency has had on the growing firearms market.  At the same time, the sunset of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in 2004 reopened a stagnate market for both gun sales and firearms innovation.

This is where my worthless opinion finds it’s genesis.  Some of the designs spawned by this golden age of the gun culture can only be characterized as red headed step children (no offense to the soulless gingers out there).  I’d like to take a moment to recognize these bastards of the gun family.  These are guns that exist for no other reason than that perhaps we have run out of good ideas, or because the principle that the more it costs the more people want it, even if it’s ugly and serves no useful purpose.

Number 5:  Keltec KSG 12  

Yet another failed bullpup

Yet another failed bullpup.

Never has a gun been so disappointing after it’s initial hype than this plastic double magazine shotgun.  A bullpup design is a challenge for any platform, but it also very appealing if it can be done right.  Moistening the wet dreams of home defenders everywhere, the KSG promised a compact and ergonomic design that packed enough firepower to kill the bad guy and all his relatives without having to reload.

Unfortunately there are several factors that made this boom stick a major dud.  First of all it was made by Keltec, a company all too well known for coming up with cool ideas and then producing only enough hardware to keep the gun magazines and blogs busy writing about them.  For those of you still searching for a Keltec Sub2000, you know the struggle.  It was hard to find real world reviews of the KSG for a long time because almost nobody could find one.  Thanks to the laws of economics this also naturally led to high prices for a gun that failed to deliver in many ways.

Besides complaints of broken pieces, poor customer service and less than satisfactory reliability, the KSG has another more important problem.  It seems that it is a little too easy to shoot yourself with it.  More than one person has had the picatanny rail on the slide fail and had their poor support hand drift in front of the muzzle (don’t click that link if you’re eating).  Firearm safety rules aside, if this happens more than a couple of times, it’s time to start looking at the hardware involved.

Number 4: Rifle Dynamics AK-74 chambered in .300 BLK

Something dangerously cool about a Krink.

Something dangerously cool about a Krink.

For those new to .300 BLK, this caliber was developed by Advanced Armament Corporation as a .30 caliber substitute in an AR platform that was extremely versatile.  While some may consider the price too high, AAC largely succeeded in their goal.  They created a round that can spit fire with 125 grain projectiles moving at Mach 2, and also run suppressed subsonic 220 grain projectiles without changing out any parts.  It’s a great round that has really opened up some new territory for the AR platform.

But whether it was out of boredom or just a dare that went too far, Rifle Dynamics and SilencerCo decided to bring this modern cartridge to the AK platform. I’m not sure if they are being facetious or not when they claim they did it so they could run subsonic rounds out of a Kalashnikov.  Surely it must be a joke?  At close to the price of a used Honda, I’m pretty sure the joke is on the few out there dumb enough to buy it.  AK platforms are harder to successfully suppress, and part of the appeal of an AK for many people is the relatively low cost to feed it.

I have to admit though, it does look sexy.

Number 3: Kriss Vector

It's the Mega Blocks gun in a world full of LEGOs.

It’s the Mega Blocks gun in a world full of LEGOs.

The pistol caliber sub gun is one of the quintessential notches in the belt of any self respecting gun collector.  There is something very satisfying about laying down 20 or 30 rounds into a silhouette target at 2o yards just as fast as you can pull the trigger.  Cheap ammo, low recoil and 80’s action movie nostalgia come together to create irrepressible grins.  I guess this is what Kriss had in mind when it created this abortion.

I know that looks are not everything when it comes to guns, but dammit looks should count for something.  The Vector looks like something your 12 year old self would have drawn in Mrs. Wilson’s Home Economics class.  Nothing looks like it belongs.  The trigger is too high, the barrel is too low.  The magazine is too forward and the stock is too backwards.  This gun has the ergonomics of a pinball machine on roller skates.

I’m convinced that there are only 2 reasons anyone on this planet or any other planet would buy this gun, the caliber and the price.  A .45 acp sub gun is very appealing for those who already have everything else in their collection.  It’s a fun round to shoot suppressed, doubly so in a rifle platform.  And at $1500 before accessories and almost obligatory SBR stamp, it’s priced perfectly for gear queers who can’t resist an over priced gun that no one else has (or wants).  If this gun sold for under $1000, I am certain no one would buy it.

Number 2: Definitive Arms AKX-9

The worst of all worlds

The worst of all worlds.

Keeping on the sub gun train, Definitive Arms showcased a revolutionary sub gun design at Shot Show last year.  It’s a 9mm AK.  I’m guessing the idea was to take all the best features of a traditional sub gun and the beloved AK platform and throw them in the trash.

Sub guns are supposed to be relatively light and easy to hide? Let’s make a sub gun out of all steel and put it in a long action. AK’s are supposed to pack a big punch?  Let’s throw an anemic round in there.  9mm carbines are usually range toys and AK’s are supposed to be relatively affordable?  Lets make a $1500 range toy that can’t keep up with a $500 WASR.

At least Definitive Arms made an effort to make this gun somewhat useful with features such as a standard 1/2×28 thread pitch, Colt mags, left hand bolt release, last round hold open and AR style mag release.  But make up and high heels aren’t enough to turn home school girl into a prom queen.  With so many better options out there, including the similarly priced Zenith Mp5 clones, there is zero reason to consider this useless design.  If I see anyone at the range with this gun, I will point and laugh.

Number 1: Taurus Judge


The badge of shame.

It’s hard to pinpoint a single reason why I hate this gun so much.  Is it that it’s made by Taurus, a company with such inconsistent quality control?  Is it because everyone who owns one has to enthusiastically explain to you that it shoots shotgun rounds out of a revolver?  Or perhaps it’s because it has the ballistic performance of a steam powered Volvo?

I think it’s easier just to sum this gun up as the reason I can’t stand the majority of gun owners.  I hate to throw such a blanket statement out there but I can’t help it.  Just like many gun owners are too busy talking about how they are going to take down a bad guy to notice that they are flagging everyone in the same zip code with their muzzle, many gun owners out there fall for flashy features rather than take the time to learn about what matters when it comes to ballistic performance.

A .410 shell loaded with bird shot will inflict what amounts to a series of mosquito bites into the bad guys face, especially out of a 3 inch barrel. Similarly, a .410 round with #3 buckshot is woefully under performing.  The only round that stands to do any serious damage to the bad guy is the .45 Long Colt cartridge.  And if you are going to carry that, you may as well pick a dedicated gun for that round.

Yes, I’m sure it’s great for killing snakes.  Most people who buy this gun do not have snakes in mind, they are thinking about the bad guys who’s heads cartoonishly explode when hit with 5 rounds of ferocious bird shot.  I’m not paranoid, but I wouldn’t turn my back on a Taurus Judge owner. I’m worried that they are the kind of person who might not be able to resist the urge to shoot a person just to see what their gun can do.

I hope you enjoyed my rant.  You can deposit your hate mail in the dumpster out back where all these guns belong.

Pick the one right tool – Buying and using the right gear for the job

One of my favorite movies of all time is No Country For Old Men.  I’m not a critic and I’m not going to try to be one by describing the movie with nerdy terms that I don’t understand.  I just really love the movie.  Javier Bardem plays Anton Chigurh, a murderous psychopath with a very protestant work ethic.  He will not stop until he feels the job is done, which basically means killing just about every one on the cast list.  There is one scene where Chigurh is questioning the management decisions of his employer and he says something that has stuck with me ever since the first time I saw this movie. “You pick the one right tool.”

You pick the one right tool for the job, and the job will get done right.  Now I am all about improvisation.  Under pressure I’ve put together some truly imaginative solutions to problems that I probably wouldn’t believe if someone told me.  But improvisation should only ever arise from necessity, from shit actually hitting the fan, from the moment at 2am on the side of a remote highway when your radiator hose has split open and all you have is a sock, some bubblegum and a condom.  Masters do not rely on improvisation.  Masters pick the one right tool for the job.

How does this apply to guns?  Well there are many directions this could go from whether my .308 is suitable for home defense to whether or not I need the best powder measuring system for reloading my target 9mm loads.  But what I want to talk about is choosing the right gun for defensive carry and choosing the right holster for that gun.   I have counseled more people than I can count on buying a defensive pistol and usually a holster to go with it.  These are some of the common scenarios that I encounter.

I want a gun that I can carry concealed but that I can also take backpacking in case I run into a bear. Unless you are planning on carrying an 8 inch .44 magnum in a shoulder rig, this is just not going to work.  You’re going to have to make a choice about which is more important to you, carrying a gun designed for four legged predators or carrying a gun designed for two legged predators.  There really isn’t an in between.  The amount of power required to stop a bear is quite a bit different from the power you are going to get from a gun that is designed to hide inside your waistband.  That is to say nothing of the significant weight of the hand cannon you are taking with you “backpacking”.  If you are buying a gun to carry every day, you are not going to be using it for everything else.  It’s a tool with a specific purpose.  Pick the one right tool.

I bought this holster at the gun show.  It doesn’t exactly fit my gun but it was a great price.  Most gun owners I know have a drawer full of unused holsters, most of which were a “great deal”.  I have coached/instructed my fair share of new shooters on the range and one of the primary impediments to them learning how to draw from concealment and shoot effectively is a crappy holster.  A bad holster will affect retention, comfort, practicality, and ease of draw.  A good holster isn’t cheap.  But neither is buying 5 holsters that you won’t end up using or that don’t work well enough to deserve to be used.  If you are serious about your personal protection, then buy a serious holster.

One of two drawers of holsters I have.

One of two drawers of holsters I have.

After buying and using more than 20 holsters, I now use the Incog holster by g-code.  I was fortunate to get to try this holster for a week before I bought my own.  It’s not the only option out there, but it is a good one and I can say after carrying with it almost exclusively for the last 2 and a half years I have no plans to replace it.  Pick the one right tool.

I don’t really need a training class, I get plenty of good information on Youtube.  I love youtube.  I have learned a lot of great things from guys who really know what they are talking about.  I even have my own channel that I’m working on producing content that will help people with basic firearm skills for carrying defensively.  But there is no substitute for getting face time on the range with someone who knows what they are doing, and also knows how to relate that knowledge and those skills to you.  Youtube cannot take you to the range, watch you work and correct your mistakes.  Youtube cannot see your limitations and give you valuable pointers on how to compensate for them.

The two biggest barriers that people say get in the way of them and training is cost and time.  I get that.  The two things that there are never enough of.  But people put their money and their time where they see value.  If you are serious about carrying and using a gun for the defense of yourself and your loved ones, then there is serious value in getting good training.  Even one class a year will make you a better shooter and better prepared to use your gun to save your life.  Pick the one right tool.

There are more ways that this rule applies, but these basic areas are a great foundation for learning the importance of this principle when it comes to carrying a gun.  Pick the one right tool, it will save you many headaches, probably a lot of money and possibly even your life.

A serious proposal for reducing gun violence in America

After the “town hall” hosted by CNN on Friday, January 8th, I had many thoughts.  Most of them were not kind.  But one thought has been stuck in my head since before gun control has taken hold of the headlines thanks to the tragic events in San Bernadino.  How do we take practical and effective steps to reduce gun violence?

Most of my allies in this subject have only one answer, more guns!  That is a piss poor solution.  First of all, it misses the point of addressing the sorrow and grief felt by the families and friends of victims which in turn prevents the kind of discussion that can actually reach some kind of solution.  Second, after spending a lot of time working with new gun owners and teaching them how to safely use a handgun it becomes obvious that while these peoples’ hearts are in the right place, the number one thing they lack is proper and sufficient training.  I am an absolutist when it comes to my support of the 2nd Amendment and my fundamental belief that more liberties are far less dangerous to our Republic than more government.  But I also understand that just putting a gun in the hand of a citizen doesn’t automatically make us all safer.  Case in point.

But I do think there is one political issue that both Republicans and Democrats could come to an agreement on that would drastically reduce gun violence not only in this country, but in other countries as well, including Mexico where tens of thousands have been gunned down in horrific violence over the last several years.

End the War on Drugs.

What much of the Left likes to call “gun violence” is not gun violence, it’s drug violence.  It’s the result of an unregulated and highly profitable market left to criminals which enjoys extreme profit margins that CEO’s around the world would kill for.  The ultimate paradox of the Drug War is that the more difficult you make it for drugs to make it to their ultimate consumers, the more profitable the trade becomes which in turn makes the stakes that much higher, compounding the capacity for violence.

I present to you, the chicken and the egg.

I present to you, the chicken and the egg.

As a microcosm we should look to Chicago, a brutal exhibition of what gang violence can do to a city.  Let’s examine the common rhetoric on both sides of the gun debate and where they fall short in explaining the true nature of the problem.

Pro gun people point to Chicago as a perfect example of the end result of extremely strict gun control.  Remove the good guys with guns and the bad guys take over.   That argument falls apart with just a few simple questions.  First, who are the good guys and are they being shot?  For the sake of this basic simplification, let’s just say that the good guys are the ones who are not dealing, buying or using drugs.  Let’s say we arm a “good guy”.  Is that good guy going to march into the ghetto and use his gun to stop a drive by shooting?  No.  Is he going to use his gun to prevent a drug deal from going bad?  No.  Is he going to strap on his iron and end the massive gang wars that are going on in the neighborhoods of the city?  Absolutely not.

Second, if for all intents and purposes you pretty much can’t buy a handgun in Chicago, where are all these guns coming from?  They are coming from less restrictive areas of the state, or nearby states.  That is a cold hard fact.  Increasing the availability of guns in the city isn’t going to magically make these gangs stop shooting at each other.

Third, and most importantly, why are these people shooting at each other in the first place?  Is it because their “victims” are unarmed?  With the amount of gunfire going on in that city, I’d bet that’s not the reason.  It’s because they are fighting over drug money and drug territory.  It’s business, and business is booming.  Heroin in Chicago, as in many other parts of this country, is seeing a huge resurgence from where it was even just a decade ago.  As an aside, we have untreated prescription opiate abuse to thank for that little gem.

So the typical pro gun arguments for why Chicago is suffering fall far short of explaining the issue, and the pro gun “solutions” stand little chance of slowing the violence.

The Democrats point to guns as the problem, completely ignoring the motivations behind hundreds of young men killing each other in the streets every year.  Is there an epidemic of people snorting or mainlining Glocks?  Can you go down to the street corner and watch hundreds of people spend $4 on a balloon of Ruger?  As gun owners like to say, guns are just tools.  The reasons the tools are used is the real issue here.  Obviously banning the tools isn’t affecting the drug trade.  If anything the War on Drugs is making those tools essential hardware for protecting one’s business.  After all, are guns not the tools of war according to our dear leader?

What would happen if instead of focusing on guns as the problem or the solution, we turned our attention to the failure of the War on Drugs?  What began as a crusade to protect our children from the horrors of Reefer Madness, Go Ask Alice and celebrity overdoses has turned into one of the longest, most expensive and bloodiest wars in history.  And it hasn’t worked.  At all.  Drug use per capita has risen since Nixon first declared this shameful war in 1971.  Drugs are generally of a higher quality and cheaper than they were in 1971.  And the violence that we were trying to avoid has come anyway with a ferocity that no one could have imagined.   What good has this war accomplished?

Reducing gun violence is something that furthers the goals of 2nd Amendment lovers, because it sucks the air out of many of the anti gun arguments.  Reducing gun violence is supposedly a goal of the anti gun crowd so addressing the faulty public policy of the War on Drugs serves their interest as well.  Colorado has experimented with a small segment of this issue and has had enormous success.  The tax revenue in Colorado from marijuana sales alone should be enough to get both Democrats and Republicans to take a hard look at the potential for a change in drug policy.

The problem is that it truly seems that neither side is really interested in solving any problems, including the problem of gun violence.  Solving problems doesn’t raise nearly as much campaign money as pointing out the faults of your opponent and promising to fix those faults.

God bless America.

Why you should drop what you’re doing and go buy a gun


There is a lot of useless rhetoric that flies back and forth in the gun debate in this country.  Both sides lob simple minded one liners at each other that are about as effective as a .22 against level III body armor.  The Mainstream Media riles up the gun lovers by featuring the opinions of mental giants like Piers Morgan and Dianne Feinstein.  And gun “nuts” retort with tired phrases about cold dead hands and gun free zones.  Nobody changes their minds, and very little is accomplished by either side.

why-you-should-buy-a-gunFor those who feel spurred into real effort through legislative action, protest or some other form of activism, it’s an uphill climb to say the least.  Getting people organized and tuned in long enough to accomplish anything of value is incredibly difficult. It does happen, but it’s far less common than the usual result which is a lot of fervor that quickly dissipates in the face of the relentless responsibilities of everyday life.  It’s very difficult to keep people engaged, even when our liberties are under constant attack.

I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine several months ago who is extremely anti-gun.  She doesn’t even talk about “common sense” gun laws.  She wants every gun banned and confiscated.  Talking to people like this is difficult because it’s extremely challenging to find some common ground as a starting point for the conversation.  Naturally the conversation eventually veered into, “The NRA is everything that is wrong with this country,” territory.  Ah yes, the evil NRA.  I asked her a simple question, “Where does the NRA get it’s money?”  She paused, then with a snarky tone she replied, “Well the gun manufacturers give them money.”  This is a little bit more than half true.

The NRA takes small fortunes from companies in the gun industry through a variety of contributions.  According to BusinessInsider.com, the NRA has drastically ramped up it’s solicitation of money from the industry over the last decade.  It has used this money to become one of the largest lobbyists in the country.  It’s well known that politicians fear the NRA and their wrath if they “step out of line” and the NRA relentlessly exploits that kind of clout to do what it does, which is to effectively lobby for gun rights.  Say what you will about the NRA, but no other group carries that kind of weight.

But when we talk about the NRA, it’s easy to forget the other side of that equation, the gun industry itself.  This industry doesn’t just print new money and give it to the NRA.  There is a reason they have that kind of money to give.  Gun sales have steadily risen as the gun control rhetoric in Washington has heated up.  2015 set a new record for background checks, topping out at over 23 million.  Let that sink in for a minute.  23,000,000 background checks.  In one year.  To say that this is a booming business is an understatement to say the least.

And that is just firearms.  There is no real tracking of the money that is spent in the industry on parts and accessories.  If I were a betting man, and I am, I’d wager that the amount of money spent on tactical widgets, zombie killing ammo and operator beard oil at least equals the dollars spent on serialized receivers.  We are talking about a staggering amount of money.  My credit card balances concur.

It’s fair to say that every dollar spent at Cabela’s on overpriced .223, every credit card receipt emailed to you from Brownells, every Fedex package that arrives at your door marked ORM-D that you deftly sneak past your wife as she is making dinner, every forgotten bolt carrier group that hides in your gun drawer, every 4473 that your FFL enthusiastically slaps on the counter as you fondle that new Tavor that you have been trying to ignore, every holster you ever bought and used once, all of it goes to support the cause….it all matters.  The sheer size of this industry is what gives it its massive political inertia.  23 million background checks speaks for itself.

The anti-gun crowd doesn’t seem to grasp this.  You can have your Million Mom March, your Moms Demand Action, your Mayors Against Illegal Guns, etc.  But nobody, not even Mayor Bloomberg, is dropping the kind of money to promote gun control that we are spending every single year on guns.

The media hints at this issue, but almost by accident.  They never seem to connect that the amount of money spent in this business reflects the political will of the people in this country.  Obama wants you to believe that 90% of Americans support stronger background checks.  I’m sorry, I don’t believe you Mr. President.  I believe the growth of Smith and Wesson’s stock. I believe the fact that 4 or 5 new gun shops have opened in my town in the last 3 years.  I believe the growth of the firearms training market.  I believe 23 million background checks.

I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, but when you are sitting in front of your computer at 2AM trying to justify spending $500 on yet another Glock (this time it’s ghost grey!) remember that your money isn’t going into a black hole.  Participating in this market is a kind of activism in and of itself.