Monthly Archives: September 2019

Thoughts on a New-Wave Concealed Carry Revolver

This is not a review of the Standard Arms S333 Thunderstruck; I haven’t so much as seen one in person. Yes, I’ll be talking about this, uh, let’s call it innovative little gun, but this is mostly about a different concept for the role, and why Tinker Should Not Be Left Unsupervised.

The Standard Manufacturing s333 Thunderstruck. It’s actually even weirder than it looks.

Aside from the ‘coming soon to a science fiction movie near you’ looks this gun is odd, innovative and maybe even a little bit cool. It’s designed around the old civilian self-defense saw, ‘Three seconds, three shots, three yards,’ thus the name. This is a very focussed self-defense piece. It’s designed to put four, not three, rounds on target very quickly at three yards. It does this by being weirder than it looks in the picture above.

Yep. It’s a double barrel revolver. Two shots of .22 Magnum per trigger pull.

It’s double-barrelled, and fires two rounds of .22 Magnum per trigger pull. No, it is not a ‘machine gun’ according to the BATFmen, so don’t even go there. Yes, it doesn’t have a proper trigger-guard, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem because of the design. You cannot easily pull the trigger by accident because of the Glock-style trigger safety on the upper part of the trigger, and the exceptionally heavy double-action only trigger pull. Some reviewers have estimated that pull at 16+ lbs., but with two fingers on the trigger everyone seems to be finding it manageable. Smooth even. The gun even seems to be reasonably accurate at three yards and not hopeless at five, but that’s about the practical limit.

A lot of innovative thinking went into this gun. It’s not just ‘out of the box,’ I’m not sure Standard Manufacturing’s engineers were aware there was a box. And Standard Manufacturing has been around the block a time or two; Google them and you’ll see what I mean.

At an MSRP of $369 this gun is in the right ballpark for a small defensive revolver. You can find more information here-

Having never seen one in person or handled one several things occur to me. First is that Standard Manufacturing has been around for a while, and they make some genuinely premium-quality products. You can question the concept, but the quality is liable to be first-rate.

The second thing that occurs is that it appears to be about the size of a J-frame .38. Yes, it fires eight shots instead of five- but it’s effectively a four-shot. Pull the trigger four times and it’s empty. Not sure I’m keen on that, but it isn’t a deal-breaker. Also if I am carrying a .22 I’d like it to be significantly smaller than a J-frame.

Are two shots of .22 Magnum more effective than a Federal 130gr. HST Micro? I don’t know. I doubt that they are notably less effective as long as the shooter does their part.

The last concern may be spurious and entirely personal. I can quickly and reliably put hits on target as far away as twenty-five yards with a DOA J-Frame. By all accounts that’s not going to happen with the S333. I know, the likelihood I would ever need to shoot a target more than five yards away in a self-defense scenario are infinitesimal. It’s probably silly, but I like the idea that at need I could.

I have to admit, the novelty and reasonable price are tempting. I like oddball guns. But I am pretty sure after the novelty wore off I’d be right back to my usual carry guns, so I might as well save myself some money.

I buggered up my back the other day fixing the fence, so I have been on my arse all day today. I’m not good at that, and I got to thinking about compact-carry revolvers. I don’t know if the S333 is a ‘better mousetrap,’ but there might be one out there. After I got bored enough I grabbed some paper and a pencil and started sketching. Here’s what I came up with:

This is what happens when I am bored and unsupervised…

I’ll spare you all the pages of messy pencil sketches. The concept here is a last-ditch or back-up revolver. I designed it around .22 Magnum, but it could chamber .22LR just as easily. There’s room for .32 ACP but I am not sure that the mechanism is robust enough. In size it’s between an NAA micro-revolver like the Pug and a J-frame S&W. It’s DAO and has a 1-3/8″ barrel, though that would be the easiest thing to change. It has an Ergo-style sub-compact grip, but again that would be easy to change.

It uses a sliding trigger, and three of the five moving parts on the gun are part of that trigger-unit. The sliding bar actuates the top-hinged concealed hammer, and fires the round. The barrel is located at 6-o’clock like a Chiappa Rhino. This is less for recoil-management- it’s a .22- and more because it allows the use of the simple, compact mechanism.

To load you pull the latch located in front of the cylinder forward and tip the barrel and cylinder up. As conceived there is no ejector; the philosophy of use doesn’t demand the ability to reload in a hurry. Fitting an auto-ejector is possible, but it would increase the expense of making it by a lot.

For sights I’d put a fiber-optic front and a U-notch rear. The sights are deliberately close together; having both sights in the same focal-plane makes up for the short sight radius in my experience.

Does such a gun fill a legitimate nitch? Sure. Does it fill it better than guns that are already on the market? Doubtful. Was I less bored this afternoon? Absolutely.

Some of you are probably wondering if I am planning on making one. Nope. While the design presents no novel challenges to a good machinist (I’m not) with a modern, fully-equipped shop (which I don’t have) it’s beyond what I can produce in my knife-making shop. It was, and it remains, a way to pass the tedious hours of forced inactivity. A mental exercise if you will.

On the other hand if you know someone with the resources and a burning desire to build a novel gun of dubious utility that does too little and costs too much, by all means send them my way!

Michael Tinker Pearce, 27 September 2019

.251 TCR Progress

For those that haven’t seen this yet .251 TCR (Tinker Centerfire Rimmed) is a wildcat I have been playing around with for a while. The concept is a centerfire round for revolvers that can be loaded in a power range from .22 CB Short all the way to .22 Magnum power levels. A 35gr. Speer Gold Dot loaded to 1000-1100 fps would make an excellent small-game bullet, and loaded to 950 fps or so might offer enough penetration for self-defense use. 50gr. FMC would have it’s uses too, especially when a less destructive bullet was desirable for small animals. If I’ve done my math correctly 1100 fps should be doable with a 50gr. bullet, even from a short barrel. Load a .25 caliber Airgun pellet over a primer and you might have a nice indoor target/vermin shooter.

.251 TCR (top) shown with a .38 Special cartridge for comparison.

Sometime back an online pal sent me some .22 Hornet brass to convert, which resulted in a handful of cartridges like the one pictured above (with a .38 Special cartridge for size comparison.)  Only problem is there’s no gun to shoot them out of. The eventual gun I want to use is a centerfire Single-Six, but initially I planned on re-barrelling one of my home-made single-shots for testing. Somehow this never happened, and budget issues being what they are the project stalled for a while.

Then I did a trade, and as part of that the gent threw in a replica Colt 1849 Pocket.

I considered a cartridge conversion to .22, but I’ve been there and done that. I also thought of a .32 S&W, but I was dubious about the chamber-wall thickness. The it occurred to me- chamber it for .25 Auto, get it all working, and when I can afford some gear to help reload .251 TCR bore the chambers out for that!  That way I could have a test-gun much cheaper than a Single Six.  Obviously the .31 caliber cylinder wasn’t going to work, and I really wanted something a bit stouter than whatever mild steel the original was made from. I turned a new cylinder from half-hard 4140, set it up and timed it as a five-shooter (this is a really small gun!)

This cylinder isn’t bored out yet, and obviously there is no breech-ring. To line-bore it I need a barrel. I considered making a .251 barrel liner for the gun’s existing .312 bore, but had concerns about rifling it. It needs to be an undersized smooth-bore initially so I can line-bore the cylinder, and then needs rifling. Trying to press a rifling-button through a lined bore seemed extra problematic; I could easily see shoving the liner out, or any number of other potential disasters. I finally decided to go a different route. I cut the existing barrel at the lug, Then bored out the remaining barrel to .430.

I grabbed some more 4140 and bored it through at 15/64″, then turned it down to size with a .430 stection to pass through the barrel-block. This was ultra-snug, so I slathered it with Red Loctite and press-fit it. Now I have a whole new barrel, and much less concern about rifling it.

This is the same length as the original barrel (3″.)  Now I hit a small snag; the 15/64″ drill is too short to bore the cylinder through the barrel. Oops… OK, a new 6″ Cobalt bit will be arriving Monday courtesy of Amazon. In the meantime I’m going to rig up a two-piece fixture from brass to clamp the cylinder and frame in the drill-press, and if I have the right stock on hand I’ll see about making a chamber-reamer for when the cylinder is bored through. To keep things simple I’ll probably do a hammer-mounted firing-pin. 

There is another issue- the trigger guard is really, really small. I’m considering cutting it away and making a spur-trigger, like a Pocket Remington. With the current trigger geometry it really shouldn’t be too difficult.  A little bress, a little silver solder and Bob’s Your Uncle (he isn’t really… we just tell people that to avoid awkward questions…) 

So progress is being made. One thing that has been suggested is that 5.7x28mm might be a better parent-case for this round than .22 Hornet. I’ll need to look into that. At this rate I might be shooting this before you know it!

Michael Tinker Pearce, 21 September 2019

Nightmare Stabbing Scenario

This is an excellent and thought-provoking article from Greg Ellifritz at Tactical Response Training.

Yes, the video he is discussing is an older one that has made the rounds already. That does not change the quality of the article of the thoughtful questions and responses.

I’m largely in agreement with Greg’s responses. One of the most shocking things in the video, to me, is the fellow on the bicycle that just stares at the victim until she collapses… then apparently leaves.

Encountering this sort of scenario is hugely more likely that an Active Shooter situation. I don’t need to know how you might react to such a scenario… but you do. Think about it.