Author Archives: tinker1066

Rant Incoming: Vs. ‘The Poors.’

In any hobby there are people with a lot of money that use their financial ability as a club to beat down ‘lesser’ hobbyists. It’s just as true in the gun community, but fortunately there aren’t that many of these folks and they are such obvious assholes that it’s easy to shrug and dismiss them.

‘Looks like the best I can afford is this.’ ‘LOL lame! Save up for a Staccato!

But increasingly I am seeing seeing a more subtle divide. There’s a You Tuber I really like, but he seems to class anything that costs less than $800 as an ‘economy’ option. On social media I saw someone ask for suggestions for an economical rifle scope and most of the responses suggested scopes that start at $500-600, which is more than the individual payed for the gun in question. There are perfectly usable scopes that cost a hell of a lot less than that, they are just not likely to be as useful beyond a few hundred yards and are less likely to survive a direct hit by a nuclear weapon. Seriously, someone who wants a scope for a hunting rifle that will never shoot more than 150-200 yards NEEDS to spend $1000 for scope?!

OK, people are different and have different finances and standards. Understood. But what’s disturbing to me is the lack of empathy. I regularly see people suggest that someone buy hundreds of dollars for accessories even after a person has stated they are on a strict budget; it seems to be beyond their comprehension that someone might not be able to afford it. In some cases it’s worse than that; they seem to think the person ‘isn’t serious’ if they won’t scuttle their budget to buy something optional that exceeds the need.

Need a cheap scope for your .22 ‘plinker?’ “Here you go!”

The classic case is someone saying they need a defensive firearm and have a very limited budget. To me this means they can only afford to spend so much, and I assume that they know their finances better than I do. But every single time there are people that just have to say, ‘You should save your money and buy this thing that costs 150-200% of your stated budget.’ It never occurs to these folks that the person might actually know their own life well enough to know what they can genuinely afford.

Today I posted on social media that I didn’t want to spend hundreds on a gun that I had made clear I was pretty much indifferent to. One person said basically ‘You should just spend the money.’ It was like they didn’t even read the post. Jesus dude, I’m a self-employed partially-disabled vet; you think I can just shit money at will?! It was pretty obvious from his subsequent comment that he couldn’t comprehend that someone couldn’t simply spend any amount of money for anything they wanted. Oh, and if you read this and wonder if I am talking about you that means something even if I am not.

Not having tons of disposable income is not indicative of a character failing, and people still need stuff even if they aren’t rich. If someone is looking for a budget option it is perfectly reasonable to ask what their budget is if they don’t specify. It is NOT reasonable to simply ignore their budget and tell them to spend more money. Odds are if they could they wouldn’t be asking the damn question.

Seriously, if someone says ‘I need an inexpensive, reliable new car’ you don’t tell them to get a 7-Series BMW or a Porsche, do you? Because if you do you’re a dick. But I see people do this sort of thing all of the time with firearms related stuff. Sure, some of them are dicks and are deliberately doing it to be a jerk, That doesn’t bother me; there are always jerks. What disturbs me is the people that it never seems to occur to that this is unreasonable.

So try to pay attention and be a little more understanding, people. Don’t assume, ask questions if you need to and try to understand that not everyone is you, with your needs, wants, priorities and finances. If you can’t do that, if you cannot genuinely be helpful it is possible and better to just stay out of the way of people that can. Shut up and scroll down is actually an option. Try it some time.

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 16 January 2023

Revolver Renaissance?

A writer for Shooting Illustrated has published the opinion that we’re experiencing a revolver renaissance. In this article he cites increasing numbers of mid-size revolvers suited to concealed carry becoming available and ‘Gucci’ revolvers like S&W Performance Center and Colt examples.

I really don’t see it. On the shelves of local gun stores, even ones that lean heavily towards used guns, revolvers are badly outnumbered in their display cases. One gun store employee reported that they sell 6-10 semi-autos for every revolver they sell. The majority of shooters under the age of forty that I encounter have never even fired a revolver. Most people I see reporting in social media that they have purchased a revolver are fifty years old or older. My perspective is limited to my personal experience of course; I could easily be missing something.

The S&W Model 19 Carry-Comp. A capable concealed carry for a paltry *gulp* $1349.

There are relatively inexpensive double-action revolvers out there; RIA offers two variants that generally sell in the $225-$250 range. For a bit more you can take a step up (arguably) to a Taurus or Charter Arms. But if none of those options suit there’s a sizable jump up to the next tier of quality. At least double the price, and that’s for the base models from S&W, Colt and Kimber.

To contrast to this you can get a Taurus G3, which is widely agreed to be a solid, reliable gun, for $250. It comes with at least twice the capacity and a spare magazine at that price. Spend a little more and the options are practically endless.

You don’t have to pay a fortune for a revolver. The RIA M206 is a serviceable .38 Special revolver for around $250

Revolvers hold a lot fewer shots. The double-action trigger is harder to master. Revolvers have a slower reload. By and large they are more expensive than semi autos. To a new shooter it seems pretty hard to make a case for the revolver.

Why Would You?

I mean, if you aren’t a dinosaur like me that grew up in the age when revolvers were the weapon-of-choice for law enforcement, why would you choose a revolver? There actually are reasons to do so. Let’s address the practical first.

Let’s face an unpopular reality here. As civilians it’s not our job to go looking for trouble, which puts us in a very different position than law-enforcement or military personnel. Civilian use of defensive firearms typically involves fewer than five shots fired. People like to justify the need for high-capacity by citing multiple attackers, but in practice this usually means more people running away when shots are fired, not the need for more shots. Yes, there are exceptions to this, but they are actually quite rare. In almost all instances revolvers hold an adequate number of shots to resolve a civilian defensive shooting. The slow reload never becomes an issue because you won’t need to reload.

The S&W K-frame .38 has served well for over a century, but will it truly serve your needs?

Revolvers aren’t unfailingly reliable, but there’s a damn good chance your going to get all the shots in the cylinder to go off without a bobble. If you have a misfire just pull the trigger again and the next shot comes up. Operation is simple, too. Open the gun, fill the holes with cartridges and close the gun. You’re ready to go. Pull the trigger until it stops going bang, then repeat. Reloads are a little more complicated than a semi-auto, but not horribly so. Quality speed-loaders or speed strips will speed things up a bit, but they do require more practice than simply changing a magazine. Not a big deal, because there’s little likelihood you’ll need to reload.

I’ve also noticed that the rounded shapes of a revolver don’t scream ‘GUN!’ to people as much as the more angular, more familiar shapes of semi-auto pistols when the weapon prints under a cover garment. They are bulkier, yes, but this seems to be balanced by the revolvers more ‘organic’ shape. YMMV.

The S&W Model 327 Performance Center. Relatively light, eight shots of .357 Magnum…
and well over $1300 if you can find one.

On the less practical side some people just ‘click’ with a revolver. It just works for them. There can also be an element of nostalgia, a sense of tradition. Some folks just appreciate and admire the ‘old-world craftsmanship’ of a well-made revolver. Not great reasons to make a life-or-death decision, but people will be people.

Why Not a Revolver?

The first reason is expense. New revolvers tend to be either of slightly suspect quality or more expensive than comparable semi-autos. This is mitigated by the fact that for most of century the double-action revolver was the go-to service pistol for civilian agencies and very popular with the general public. There are scads and scads of them on the used market, which can bring them much closer to parity in price with semi-auto pistols. Of course there’s a bit more uncertainty in buying a used gun; it just goes with the territory.

The Arex Delta Gen 2- Lightweight, high-capacity, reliable and optics ready for about $400. Hard to beat that.

The old saying is, ‘Semi-auto pistols tolerate abuse, revolvers tolerate neglect.’ Load a revolver and toss it in a drawer and if you pull it out thirty years later and pull the trigger it will probably go bang as many times as it has cartridges. A revolver is a great gun to throw in a holster day after day and ignore until you need it. But they do not like dust, grit and mud. If you take one to an extended shooting session or class you will probably need to maintain it as you go. Carbon can build up on the cylinder face or under the ejector and jam things up over the course of hundreds of rounds.

The S&W M&P Shield is an excellent, proven concealed carry option that starts at around $300

To the contrary semi-automatic pistols do tend to tolerate mud, grit etc. They can and often do run for hundred or even thousands of rounds without maintenance. There’s a reason they have been the choice of militaries world-wide in the same period that revolvers dominated the civilian and law-enforcement market.

On the whole semi-autos are rather more likely to experience a malfunction than a well-maintained revolver, but in most cases you can clear the gun and keep fighting. If a revolver does jam it’s a paperweight for the remainder of the fight; you’re not going to clear it while the shooting is still going on. I have also heard from instructors that if a gun actually breaks in the course of a class it’s more likely to be a revolver, but I have only anecdotal evidence for this.

Of course you can pay a lot for a semi-auto too; this Staccato C2 starts at over $2000

OK, I have largely ignored capacity because in most civilian shootings it isn’t relevant. But there are exceptions to every rule, and you might need more rounds than is typical. Semi-autos hold more shots in most cases, and you need to think about that. Chances are you won’t need them, but if you do…? It comes down to your personal risk tolerance and assessment of your unique circumstances.

In The End…

…it’s up to you. You know your life and circumstances, and you have a responsibility to be well-informed as to your needs. InTerETt eXpERts to the contrary no one knows your life and requirements better than you. Whichever you decide on you need to train with it, and that means the entire manual of arms, not simply putting rounds on targets. Deploying the weapon, reloading and (if it’s a semi-auto) clearing jams need to be second nature. You are responsible for your own safety and self-defense; take it seriously.

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 10 January 2023

My Favorite Carry Gun Isn’t my EDC

I have a favorite carry-gun. We all do. We choose them for a variety of reasons; size, weight, capacity, ergonomics etc. Sometimes we choose them because someone we don’t know, have never met and who knows nothing about us said we should. Pro Tip: that’s absolutely the wrong way to choose a carry-gun!

So what is my favorite carry-gun? This:

Seriously?

It’s the S&W Model 1917 .45 ACP I recently finished customizing, and frankly even though I love it I have to admit that it’s kind of a dumb gun. Big, heavy, low capacity with a relatively slow reload speed. I mean, with moon-clips it’s now slow, but compared to a semi-auto it’s not fast. I also had some Kydex left-over from another project and made a sort of paddle-holster for it.

A bit crude, but not bad for my first Kydex holster, and it does everything I need it to.

OK, I shoot this big beast well, am adept at reloading it and the loads I use are unquestionably effective. With my every-day gun-belt I don’t find it uncomfortable. I’m a large fellow, so it even hides moderately well under my standard wardrobe. As a bonus if I run out of ammo and still need to beat a moose to death it’s not the worst tool for the job.

So what’s the problem? I’ve got better guns for the job. They hold more rounds, reload faster, they are easier to conceal and I can put accurate hits on-target noticeably better. The giant snubby is arguably an adequate tool for the job of civilian self-defense, but this is not a game and tools should be selected pragmatically.

CZ P-01 Omega

My EDC is a CZ P-01 Omega. DA/SA operation, small enough for me to conceal easily in an IWB Kydex holster, yet big enough to offer excellent control. The full CGW trigger set-up enhances speed and accuracy, as does the light-weight slide’s relatively low reciprocating mass. It is also outfitted with slim G10 grips and night-sights. On a good day I can consistently mag-dump at seven yards and keep all of the hits in the black on a standard small pistol target. It’s also big enough to flex into the home-defense role. It’s an excellent pistol, well set-up and perfectly suited to my needs and I love it.

So why isn’t it my favorite? Because I’m a person, and we’re not always rational. We love things we shouldn’t, we like to show off and we’re whimsical at times. Often what feels right isn’t what is actually what is objectively best. So we make compromises and sometimes accept sub-optimal choices. Arguably that’s a very bad idea when it comes to armed self-defense, and I see a lot of people going to great lengths and bending logic to the breaking point to justify their sub-optimal choices. I’m not going to do that, or at least if I catch myself doing that I stop myself. Mostly.

Now I have my main EDC, but I also have several ‘situational-carry’ guns for less permissive environments and conditions or for when engaging in outdoor activities where dangerous wildlife might be involved. So I heave a heavy, put-upon sigh and relegate the S&W M1917 to ‘situational carry.’ What sort of situations? Things like going to the range, special gun-focused occasions etc. I mean, if I am not safe in places full of competent, well-armed people I’m just not going to be safe regardless of what I carry.

The criteria for a carry gun is pretty simple. It must be reliable. You must be able to shoot it well. It must be pleasant enough to fire that you will practice regularly. It must be reliable. It must be of a size and configuration that you can easily conceal in your day-to-day wardrobe. It must be reliable. It ought to be in the most effective caliber that you can easily manage within the other criteria already specified. It must be reliable. Did I mention that it must be reliable?

The specific revolver in question does fit those criteria. But the CZ P-01 is objectively better in every regard, and reason demands it’s selection over the revolver. Honestly it’s a tragedy of limited scope; the CZ is awesome and a lot of fun to shoot, with the added sentimental factor that it was assembled and set up by a dear friend.

Anyway, some food for thought on this first day of 2023. Happy New year!

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 1 January 2023