Saturday, July 14, 2007


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Making the J-Frame .38 Snub Work

By Stephen Camp

Out of vogue for many these days is the snub-nosed .38 Special revolver. Some still do tote one by choice as either their primary concealed carry handgun while others relegate it to backup duties for a more potent piece. Snubs can be had in several calibers and more than one frame size, but this article will focus on the J-frame Airweight .38 Special. I suggest that what is discussed here would apply equally to J-frames be they of steel, stainless, or one of the newer metal alloys used these days. I prefer to Airweight (aluminum frame) to all-steel as I tote the snub via pocket holster and find the latter a tad heavy for this convenient mode of concealed carry. The Airweight is plenty light but heavy enough that one does not usually have to worry that certain bullets will work out of their cases under recoil. This cannot be said for some of the newer revolvers that are even lighter than the Airweight. If I couldn't find an Airweight snub, I'd go for the heavier rather than the lighter versions.

Range time is essential if we expect to be able to use the snub .38 as more than just a threat. These are not the easiest handguns to shoot well. They do have quite a bit to offer for those willing to try.

Clint Smith is reputed to have said something to the effect, "Handguns are meant to be comforting, not comfortable". I tend to agree if one is pretty sure of treading a hazardous path, leads a high-risk life-style, or works in a dangerous profession. Before retiring as a full-time peace officer, I seldom carried less than a 9mm or .45 automatic off duty. Were I in the jewelry business in Los Angeles or a bodyguard or something similar, I would not rely solely on a snub. More than likely I've served my last arrest or search warrant. I'll not kick in any more doors or be sworn to confronting and arresting wanted felons known to be dangerous on sight. These days I'm around the house feeding ducks or goldfish, writing a bit, at the range, or hunting lease and that's about it. Before he passed, my father was in need of constant medical attention. On one hurried trip into a large city after the midnight phone call, the snub was in my pocket all right but there was a cocked-and-locked .45 in a strong side belt holster as well. The area around the hospital had been the scene of a recent homicide and several aggravated robberies. Going into a know risky area I wanted "comforting" more than "comfortable." You get the idea; for most of my time I'm in a very, very low risk environment. True warriors will opine that one could be under deadly attack at any time and that is true, but we all play the odds to a degree. Knowing that a dozen gang bangers were heading my way to rid the world of my shadow and that I couldn't retreat or get police intervention, I'd go with something other than a handgun to be sure. At the same time, I refuse to be "naked" and want a firearm on or near me 24/7. More than any compact 9mm or .380 ACP, the snub .38 meets my own personal requirements…at least to the minimal level. For me, the .38 snub excels as a pocket gun. If going to a belt gun, OWB or IWB, a more effective and larger handgun can easily be carried.

This S&W Model 42 is accompanied by extra ammunition carried via both the speedloader and the speed strip. The Fobus paddle holster is comfortable and carries the gun well for me, but if going to a belt gun, I suggest that we go with a more efficient handgun. To me, the snub shines as either a pocket gun or a backup.

At the same time, I absolutely reject carrying a weapon that cannot be used effectively. The compact snub can be (depending upon how one defines "effectively"), but it takes work. At my personal minimum for "power" and with limited shots on tap before reloading, it is essential that the snub user be able to make each and every hit a decisive one.

If you carry or plan to carry a snub, perhaps my practice recommendations might be of at least some use. Most of the time I go to the range and shoot some sort of handgun at least once per week. Frequently I might go two or three times depending upon my schedule or if a project is in the works. I make it a point to shoot my J-frame at least once every other week and often more. The snub is shot slow-fire for practice at precision work, rapid-fire for when that might be essential, and a bit of point shooting is included. I also suggest some strong and weak hand shooting in additional to the usual two-hand hold.

Practice ammunition is essential in getting good with the snub .38. It can be purchased or handloaded. Pictured are various handloaded cartridges I've used for range work with my snubs.

"But the snub ain't no target gun. It's a belly gun meant for up close and personal!" True enough until it's not. What if you're required to make a shot where you can only see part of your aggressor? What if you have to take a "rescue" (head) shot at 10 yards? What if you have two opponents and but two shots left…and they're rapidly advancing? You'd have to almighty quick to reload with a full five before they get to you in most instances, Jerry Miculek excluded.

These groups were fired with an Airweight at 10 yards in slow fire. This particular gun hits a bit to the right, but notice that at this distance, there's just not that much difference in POI between the 125 and 158-gr. bullets.

The old saying that "practice makes perfect" is not true. Perfect practice does…or at least lets us see improvement.

The very attributes that make the snub so easy to carry work against making it easy to shoot well. It compactness translates to short sight radius. Lightweight equals greater felt recoil and a harder gun to hold steady against the double-action trigger pull. The small cylinder means 5 shots instead of the usual 6. The 1 7/8" barrel results in lower velocity than longer barrel revolvers and we don't get full case extraction unless the ejector rod is depressed briskly.

Accurate shooting of the snub is possible despite the preceding downside issues. All shooters have the desire to be good shots. Fewer have the desire to do the work required to get there. I am certainly not a master shooter, but several approaches to marksmanship have helped me and translate well to the snub revolver.

Assuming that one already has understanding of shooting fundamentals like trigger control, breathing, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, and so forth, let's tailor a little shooting regimen for the snub .38.

Start at relatively close range: Even though we're speaking of accurate "target shooting" here, most are best served by starting off at 3 to 5 yards. Error magnifies itself with distance. Seeing groups come down in size builds confidence and that encourages practice. As repetitions of correct trigger pull, etc, burn themselves into the shooter's hardwiring distances can be increased. Don't get into too much of a hurry to do this and don't get in a rush for firing more quickly.

Don't shoot beyond your individual fatigue limit: 99% of shooting is done "between the ears." In other words, we have to use our brains. This requires concentration and concentration is the handmaiden to fatigue. The great marksman and Marine sniper, Carlos Hathcock, said that when "working" he would "crawl inside his bubble." He was saying that he was concentrating at the maximum level on his sight alignment, breathing, and so forth. It's exceptionally easy to fire the gun, but not so easy to make the bullets go where we want them. There is a price. It's concentration and mental fatigue. Just routinely burning ammunition is not good once we get beyond checking for reliability and familiarity with the snub. When tired I tend to let down my guard so to speak. I think we all do and this allows for bad traits such as jerking the trigger, etc. to crop up. It seems like these bad habits can be ingrained with but a few shots, but require many to break! Bad shooting technique is hard to "unlearn."

For many beginning shooters, 50 to 75 meaningful shots are about right for the serious range session with the snub. The number of rounds that can be fired using correct techniques will increase as the shooter's practice continues over the weeks, as will the distances at which hits can be made.

Use realistic targets: A 1" dot at 25 yards is not a realistic target for the snub. I suggest a bullseye roughly 4" in diameter for distances out to about 15 yards. I also use the same size target at ranges of but a few feet. Is this not roughly the size of a human heart? For most folks it has been my experience that this size target allows them to not cover the target completely with the front sight, obscuring it. There is also a place for humanoid targets with the snub, particularly when the shooter gets to more rapid firing or wants to practice "failure to stop" drills which involve chest and head shots combined.

Shoot regularly: If at all possible practice with the snub at least once a month at the minimum. It has been my experience that 10 really good shots fired each day accomplish more than 50 fired at one time at the end of the work week. Most of us do not have ranges at our homes and cannot get to a firing range each day so this is not attainable. That said, most reading this do shoot. Take the snub and a box or two of ammunition to the range with you and put forth the effort to have a short, but meaningful training session.

You can see that my Model 642 has been shot more than a little! Practice and regular range visits are necessary to get our best from the snub.

Shoot ammunition you can handle: Ammunition intended for defensive purposes is often a bit more powerful than standard loads not having expanding bullets. While it is necessary to shoot some of the ammunition we intend to carry in the gun, not each and every shot has to be. Who has heard the dictum, "Practice with what you carry"? It's my view that this is more applicable to ammunition for use in semiautomatics. Feeding and extraction reliability are more ammo dependant than with the revolver. This emphatically does not mean that revolvers cannot malfunction and it does not mean that some ammunition can contribute to this. Years ago a friend of mine was involved in a shootout. His .357 was loaded with ammo he'd never even fired. All six shots were required and he could not reload. The fired cases had expanded so much that they couldn't be extracted. Fortunately, the "problem" had been "solved" by that point, but we see that the reliable revolver is also ammunition dependent to at least some degree.

My practice loads are either handloaded or are the inexpensive FMJ sold by Federal, Winchester, or Remington. I use Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P for carry. Most of the time I practice with the inexpensive ammunition, but do fire a cylinder-full or two of the hotter loads when changing carried ammunition for fresh. Felt recoil is greater, but such will not be felt in a life or death defense scenario. It will have a slightly different point of impact than the usual practice rounds, but the difference is minute, particularly out to about 7 yards. At ten yards if the practice load hits near the middle of the suggested 4" target, the 158-gr. LSWCHP +P will, too.

Most of the inexpensive FMJ ammunition used for the range weighs 130 grains. If you're really concerned with slight variations between points of impact with the heavier +P load, there are standard velocity JHP's in the 110 to 125-gr. range. I prefer the heavier 158-gr. LSWCHP +P.

At least once per month, fire a few rounds of your "carry ammo."

Practice reloading: Five shots are not many. For most of us private citizens, they are enough, but that cannot be a hard and fast rule. Be sure that you can fully eject fired cases from your snub with one hand. I carry and use the HKS speedloader and carry at least one in addition to my snub. I find that these are easy to carry concealed and are quicker for me than Bianchi speed strips. The strips are flatter and can be used when more than one reload is being carried. Whichever you prefer, practice with them.

Whether you use speed strips like this one or a speed loader, practice using it. Conveniently carried extra ammunition is meaningless if it cannot be accessed and used in very short time frames.

If loading singly, be sure you control the revolver. Note how the shooter's left hand supports the gun and rotates the cylinder. This allows for relatively rapid reloading, particularly if you practice loading two at a time.

Make sure that your snub "fits" you: Usually this primarily refers to having a set of grips that are comfortable. Unlike belt guns to a degree or target pistols, there are limitations on grips for the snub. Sometimes we have to balance concealability against comfort. The small stocks common to J-frames decades ago were certainly easy to conceal but they allowed the gun to really twist during recoil. Most of us added Tyler grip adapters to fill in the space along the front grip strap and under the rear of the trigger guard. This helped immensely and I have no problem with that set up today. More comfortable grips could be had from several makers but they were just too large. I see little point in putting grips nearly as large as those for K-frames on the J-frame snub if the pistol is to be carried concealed. I offer this general rule of thumb for picking J-frame concealment grips: no longer than the bottom of the grip frame and no covered back strap. Each increases the size of the butt with regard to concealment. They may very well be more comfortable to shoot, but they will be harder to hide.

A number of grips exist for the J-frame. I prefer the boot grips on the gun to the others shown. They offer concealability as well as better control than the original S&W grip like the smooth one shown at the bottom middle of the picture.

So far the "best" carry grip I've tried for pocket carry has been the checkered rubber copies of Craig Spegel's popular boot grip. These come standard on S&W J-frame snubs. I find the J-frame snub significantly easier to control with these than with the old grip from years ago. I actually prefer the rubber to wood in this instance. The reason is that pocket carry in hot climates lends itself to sweat coming in contact with grips day in and day out. Eventually this will stain the wood grip next to the body and it can sure lead to a rusty grip screw. I cannot abide rust. I wipe off my carry snub each day and also put a bit of oil on the grip screw. This will not be absorbed by the rubber grip, but can be with wood. Whether you opt for wood or synthetic, I strongly recommend the boot grip style stocks for the snub.

Forget ego and shoot beyond your comfort zone: Those damned bullseye targets are unforgiving things! They show each and every mistake and resulting poor shot. Once we have gotten to where we can keep our shots in a nice tight group, we tend to keep repeating it. We tend to "like" that which we do well at. The problem is that if this is at but 10 feet, we're pretty limited in our ability with the snub.

Move the distance out a little. If you've been practicing at 5 yards and can keep your shots in the bullseye, begin shooting some at 7 yards. Continue this until you're seeing that, by golly, you actually can shoot tight groups farther out. If you can work your skill level up to the point that you can practice confidently at 10-yards or so, the snub .38 will probably serve well in a deadly force encounter. When at this level, practice some at greater distances and keep doing the work closer in, too. I think ten yards is a reasonable training distance for folks used to the snub and one worth working toward for those who are not.

Each of us has our own cadence when shooting. It's one we're sure of getting the hits with; it's comfortable. Too often, it's slow. Earlier I railed against shooting too fast, but once accuracy levels have been met, we need to build our speed a bit. At the same time we do not want accuracy to go out the window.

This group was fired at 7 yards, rapid-fire. Actually it is approximately twenty 5-shot rapid-fire groups fired in a practice session with the J-frame. Toward the end, I bumped up my cadence a little and you can see the shots that are a bit farther out of the primary group. With time and practice, perhaps I can shrink the group a bit.

If you're shooting well at 10 yards, move in to about seven. Now, shoot a bit faster than you normally do, but do not forget about sight picture and trigger control. Your first few attempts will probably result in slightly larger groups. Try it another time or two and see if you're holding your own. If you are, just keep working at that pace and see if the groups don't drop on back down with time. If they do not, slow down a little. It may be that smaller increments of speed are in order.

Reactive targets such as this falling plate (one of six in a row) can be lots of fun and a break in the usual paper targets. Shooting multiple targets that react is good practice and there's also something to be learned and guarded against! These plates are larger than the recommended 4" bullseye targets mentioned earlier. Yet many who can regularly keep all their shots in the bullseye will miss the plate. Guard against letting your focus move from the front sight to the target. It is easy to do. Stay on the sights and you'll get the hits.

Don't just assume that you can do no better. Push yourself a little; you might be very pleasantly surprised, but don't go beyond your fatigue point. (As you become a more seasoned shooter with the snub, I bet you find that this point comes later and later.) If you can, shoot with folks who are better than you are. Much of the time this tends to make us bring our levels up to more closely match those more skilled.

Shoot in various ways: Most of our shooting is done two-handed. I strongly suggest that we practice some one-handed shooting, too. Do this with both strong and weak hand. It will not initially help our egos, but it might just save our lives if we work at it. (You will appreciate those boot grips here!)

My primary carry snub is the double-action-only Model 642. Shown is a Model 638 fitted with the small S&W grips. Note that this revolver's capable of being cocked for single-action firing. I would practice some single-action shooting with it but strongly suggest that the majority of your shooting be double-action.

I am a proponent of using the sights whenever possible. What if it's not possible? What if we have to fire at very close range and have but an instant?

Once the shooter can get the hits with the sights, I think it's wise to practice shooting at the same targets pointing the gun with one hand and looking over the top of it. Nothing says that our first "invitation" to a deadly encounter might not be the loss of a hand or a broken arm. By the time we try point shooting I'm hoping that we've become considerably more familiar with the snub. It usually is not too difficult at closer range. I limit my point shooting to 7 yards or less; usually about 5 yards. If we can, I believe that even a "flash sight picture" is better than none at all. It that is just not possible, having more than one tool in the box can be a lifesaver.

Some point shooting using both weak and strong hand is essential in my opinion...if we want to be able to really use our snubs.

The snub .38 is not the best defensive arm available. In my opinion it is among the best that can be unobtrusively and comfortably carried. It offers no free rides. Compared to some .380's it is definitely harder to shoot well. The reward is that you can shoot a heavier bullet at velocities similar to the .380. The downside is that you have fewer shots and more recoil. We're also blessed with a very simple manual of arms with the revolver and very good reliability.

To make the small .38 snub work, we need competence. That comes from dedicated practice and effort.


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The folks at Jensen Arms, the largest and best gun retailer in Northern Colorado, tell me that the only 223 ammunition they can currently get in quantity is Serbian-manufactured, and the UN, with the enthusiastic participation of our cadre of liberal politicians, is doing its best to dry up even that supply. Quality is fair, at least for practice shooting. All this, while major domestic manufacturers have all stopped taking orders indefinitely, even from police departments! What little 223 is available is high priced, but is being scooped up anyway. For the foreseeable future, we peons will only get what slips through the cracks of huge, in-progress Pentagon orders.

Accordingly, all of us should currently be hoarding ammunition, 223 and 308 particularly, at every opportunity! No telling when the Iraq/Iran situation will wind down, and demand for small-arms ammunition will significantly exceed supply until then. An “adequate” personal cache may become critically important in the wake of the next “big event,” whenever it happens!

Of small arms and small-arms ammunition, from a friend in the Philippines:

“UN policies, which all member nations are supposed to enforce, prohibit exportation of arms and ammunition to countries with ‘human-rights violations.’ As with most things at the UN, the exact definition of ‘human-rights violations’ doesn’t seem to exist! In fact, the list of nations without such violations doesn’t seem to exist either!

For us here in the Philippines, pistols, shotguns, and military rifles, as well as ammunition in nearly any caliber, are increasingly difficult to import. Many importers routinely wait a year or more to get shipments in. Our domestic arms industry is microscopic and altogether inadequate to equip even our own military.

Any nation seriously thinking about its own preparedness must develop and nurture a vigorous and healthy domestic defense industry. Nations unable to arm themselves internally will become hopelessly dependant upon other, not so friendly, nations when they need to equip their own soldiers and police.

Interesting, while the arms and ammunition industry is the USA is increasingly under brutal attack via impossibly burdensome regulations imposed by petty government employees at all levels, the arms industry in China, Russia, and all of Eastern Europe is thriving! They may want for many things, but rifles, pistols, shotguns, and ammunition are in ample supply!”

Comment: Yes, and when the USA’s arms and ammunition manufacturing capacity is destroyed completely, an often-stated goal of both our liberal politicians and the UN, this nation will be utterly dependant upon the tender mercy of Russians and Chinese, for the means we will desperately need to defend ourselves.

“We have met the enemy, and they are RIGHT!”

Thursday, July 12, 2007


added helpful links at bottom friday 7-13-07


My Choice in "Plastic Pistols"

by Stephen Camp

I'll say up front that I prefer steel pistols, almost always in a single-action design, and that I think nothing looks better than well done bluing and quality stocks of walnut or rosewood. I guess that makes me a traditionalist. I have nothing against hard chrome, electroless nickel or some other finishes, but if use in extremely harsh environments for extended periods of time is not an issue, I'll go with blue.

The bulk of my firearms are blued, but there are a few in stainless steel as well as hard chrome and E-nickel and I own one "plastic pistol."

I've owned others, but not all that many. They were a couple of Glock 17's, a Glock 22, and a Springfield XD9. I also owned an early Kahr P9. The above were sold or traded off. They just weren't for me despite the fact that they're extremely popular with a large number of shooters. Yet, I kept one plastic gun; it's features "work" for me.

If you're not a fan of the polymer pistols or are a traditionalist (like me), you might want to read on.

The pistol I kept was a Glock 26. For anyone who actually knows me or has read my stuff to any degree, it's no secret that I normally opt for longer barrels and full size versions of handguns. In my case, exceptions are snub .38's (for pocket carry), a 2 1/2" S&W Model 19 simply because I like it and a 3 1/2" Model 27 for the very same reason. Ditto an old Colt Agent .38 snub. I find all of them pleasing to the eye, fun to shoot, and have "pride of ownership" in each.

To me, the Glock 26 is one of the less attractive looking models in the Austrian stable of handguns. So why on earth would I pick a short-barreled, non-blued, polymer pistol? The reason is simple: It meets my perceived needs. That's not completely true; it meets nearly all of them.

I think this is an "ugly" pistol, but it has never malfunctioned with any ammunition tried, lends itself to inexpensive customizing for my particular "needs" and is capable of very satisfactory groups at 15 and 25 yards. I do not do as well with this pistol at 50 yards as with a Hi Power, CZ-75, or 1911. The two shots below the group shot at 15 yards in the picture were due to me, not the pistol. It does not exhibit the "first round flyer" syndrome present in some handguns.

So why did I go with the G26? I was looking for a pistol for pocket holster carry. I wanted something that would be easy to shoot well at speed, be utterly reliable and safe, and that would stand up to long term use with lots of shooting over coming years. I'd tried an early Kahr P9 that was more comfortable and slightly easier to conceal, but got rid of it. The reasons were two-fold:

1. It was not reliable with +P ammunition. My P9 was one of the early ones and at least once per magazine the slide lock would prematurely engage. While it worked fine with standard pressure ammunition, I insisted upon +P due to the shorter barrel and its accordingly lower velocities.

2. The Kahr P9 also abraded the skin at the base of my thumb. I'm the only person in the world that I've heard of having that problem, but it happens to me with P9's and to a lesser degree, K9 pistols.

I really regretted this, but despite Kahr's best efforts at the time, the P9 could not be made reliable to my satisfaction and for a "serious" carry pistol, reliability is a must.

I went with the Glock 26 for the following reasons:

1. The pistol has proven utterly reliable with all ammunition tried. This includes standard pressure ball and JHP's as well as Nato loads, +P JHP's, and +P+ JHP's. I have shot everything from 50-gr. specialty ammo to 147-gr. JHP's through this pistol with zero reliability problems. It's worked fine with handloads using jacketed or plated bullets.

This Glock 26 has been shot with lots of varied ammunition and it has never missed a beat. It handle's +P with ease. Bullet weight has not proven to be a problem in this particular pistol. The pistol packs sufficient "punch" with the better 9mm loads in my opinion to be considered a capable defense pistol.

2. While at the upper limit of what I can personally carry concealed in a pocket holster, the G26 can be carried in such a manner. I did carry it just that way for about a year, but in the end went back to an S&W J-frame. It is just that much more comfortable to carry via a pocket holster. I also noticed that with it flat profile, when I was seated just so, the pistol tended to try and slide out of my pocket. For these reasons, I no longer routinely carry it as a pocket gun. It can be done if deemed necessary, but I've pretty well regulated that "duty" to the lightweight snub .38.

3. As has been mentioned, I am not a real Glock fan. I have no particular pride in this pistol, something that cannot be said of many others I own. However, it has so many strong points that I intend to keep and use it for certain purposes. As most know, if a handgun is used in shooting another person, justified or not, it will spend some time away from home and in an evidence locker. It will be tested by a firearms expert as well. In short, the gun will be out of our control and subject to perhaps not the best treatment possible. I'd rather have my Glock subjected to less than ideal conditions than a more traditional blued firearm or one that holds strong sentimental value. My G26 could probably be replaced with another showing the same level of performance.

4. While it is not blued, it does have a dark finish…and one that turns out to be very durable and corrosion resistant. That is a plus to me.

5. I was able to make some minor changes in the gun without the expense associated with similar changes to more traditional pistols. Namely, I changed the sights, recoil spring guide, and added a plug for the hollow behind the magazine well to keep out dust. (Some opine that this is not needed, but I did it when I was carrying the gun via a pocket holster. Untold amounts of lint and debris found their way into that hollow and since I could see parts when looking through it, I didn't want to take a chance that some of it would eventually make its way into the guts of the gun. From what I've seen, I don't think it would actually affect reliability, but I was not willing to take the chance. The plastic sights, while usable, wore down with not that much practice from the holster. I replaced them with AroTek fixed sights. They mimic Novak sights somewhat and are reasonably priced. While I left the recoil spring alone, I did go with a Wolff two-piece, steel recoil spring guide system. I'm told that it's not at all necessary, but I just didn't like the flexible, polymer factory spring guide. The gun's functioned perfectly with the Wolff unit, but it never malfunctioned with the factory plastic rod, either.

Not a "match gun" by any standard, the Glock possesses plenty of accuracy for its intended purpose and is capable of better than the "combat accuracy" mentioned by some gun writers. Despite its short grip, I was very pleased that it is easy to shoot. The abbreviated grip presented me no control problems and allowed for both a precise hold for slow, precision shooting as well as for the faster "practical" drills. While felt recoil is subjective, varying from shooter to shooter, I did not find the G26 objectionable to shoot with even the hotter loads such as the Corbon or Winchester shown above.

6. The Glock 26 does not give up much with most ammunition despite its 3.46" barrel. This was a pleasant surprise. Elsewhere on this site, you will find "Glock 26" velocities listed if interested. It should be noted that a couple of favorite standard pressure loads do not quite "satisfy" when used in the Glock 26. Federal 115-gr. JHP and the now discontinued 124-gr. Nyclad simply don't work as well in the short barrels as in those 4 or 5" long. Triton, Corbon, Winchester, and other newer +P loads give virtually the same velocities from the Glock 26 as did my Hi Powers, albeit usually to the low side. However, differences were not great, velocities remain well in the ballistic envelope at which the bullets are designed to expand, and on the receiving end, there's probably no practical difference.

7. Having an abbreviated grip or butt, the Glock 26 is exceptionally easy to conceal under a loose

fitting shirt or jacket. With a proper belt and holster, the gun that was too heavy for pocket carry will

be almost forgotten! In short, the G26 is extremely easy to carry via belt holsters. While I usually go

with a Commander .45 or a Browning Hi Power 9mm when wearing a belt rig, there are times that I

opt for the Glock. One reason is when wearing waist-length jackets. The longer guns can protrude

below the bottom of the jacket. The G26 does not.

I also believe from observation and the written work of folks using Glocks heavily that they last. They last for years and with heavy use. I am a shooter and long-term durability is a factor I look at strongly. The Glock meets this requirement.

While I do not believe in "Glock Perfection," I do believe that if an old traditionalist like me can find a use for one, others might, too. If you think you might try one, understand that like the Hi Power and 1911, the Glock design does not suffer foolish gun handling well. While pressing the trigger does move but a partially cocked striker rearward, this distance is not great compared to either a Kahr, most other DA autos or a double-action revolver. It is essential that the trigger finger not touch the trigger until ready to fire. This must be religiously practiced with all handguns, but especially so with a Glock. Despite its "safe action," it ain't so "safe" with the finger on the trigger as the one and only external safety has just been depressed and deactivated. Likewise, choose holsters with care and absolutely avoid those in which thumb breaks or retaining straps of any kind can get into the trigger guard when the pistol's being reholstered. This can cause the gun to be fired unintentionally.

Do NOT put your finger on the trigger or in the trigger guard until actually preparing to fire.

My Glock 26 has a home because it does what it's called upon to do very well…with the exception of being an "always" gun in a pocket holster. It's capable of spitting out up to 11 hot 9mm JHP's before reloading and felt recoil is very easy to control in rapid fire. I may never be a member of the Glock Camp (Sorry,couldn't resist), but this model has proven itself a capable performer and a viable carry pistol for me under certain circumstances.

If you are looking for a compact pistol, don't care for single-action, and want a durable, long-lived handgun in the 9mm power range, I suggest giving the Glock 26 a long, hard look.

It may be ugly, but it is worthy of serious consideration.


The fragmentation hand grenade has been chosen by the British Armed Forces as the best performing in the world. This grenade is NATO certified.

RUAG Ammotec - Environmentally Friendly Small Arms Ammunition and Grenades, Mortar and Artillery Training Systems

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Israel: The Most Disputed strip of Real Estate on Planet Earth!
Map of Israel, Geography, zionism, Israel, Geography Israel, Maps of Israel, Golan Heights, Golan, Hula Valley, Hullah Valley, Palestine, Palestinian, Middle East, middle east peace, maps

In a Nutshell... Animation Showing Israel in Relation to the Arab/Muslim Countries.

Obadiah Chapter 1

א חֲזוֹן, עֹבַדְיָה: כֹּה-אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה לֶאֱדוֹם, שְׁמוּעָה שָׁמַעְנוּ מֵאֵת יְהוָה וְצִיר בַּגּוֹיִם שֻׁלָּח--קוּמוּ וְנָקוּמָה עָלֶיהָ, לַמִּלְחָמָה. 1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom: We have heard a message from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the nations: 'Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.'
ב הִנֵּה קָטֹן נְתַתִּיךָ, בַּגּוֹיִם: בָּזוּי אַתָּה, מְאֹד. 2 Behold, I make thee small among the nations; thou art greatly despised.


Exclusive: The Terrorist Cells Are Already Here While More Are Coming
Dr. Walid Phares

Author: Walid Phares
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: July 13, 2007

Recently, the US media have been reporting that Al Qaeda plans to strike the U.S., possibly this summer, and many of us are all a-twitter about this shocking news. Yet with a series of eye-opening questions and facts, FSM Contributing Editor Dr. Walid Phares explains why this should be no news at all.

The Terrorist Cells Are Already Here While More Are Coming

By Dr. Walid Phares

The current media rush to interpret what the US Government is releasing in terms of potential infiltration by an al Qaeda cell (or cells) to strike this summer is warranted but still unfocused. ABC News and AP have reported new official "concerns" of an attack on the US homeland this summer. ABC specified that (according to its sources) the Terrorists intend to attack a Government facility. Furthermore, as reported widely in the press, "new intelligence suggests a small al Qaeda cell is on its way to the US, or may already be here." The report added that the White House has convened an urgent multi-agency meeting for Thursday afternoon “to address ways to minimize or counter the threat, and steps to harden and protect Government facilities."

The report quoted a former FBI agent (and ABC Terrorism expert) analyzing the potential threat by stating that the target is a Government building. ABC told its viewers that the tactics by the London attackers provided clues that are being used to decode other emails, etc. Even further AP reported that US Counter Terrorism officials have warned that al Qaeda has "interest in attacking in the summer time." Added to this salad of analysis, was the news about a previous video showing a "graduation" by the Taliban in Pakistan. And to season it, two more leads were added: One was the Daily Telegraph story about the 45 doctors who were planning on attacking a US military target in Florida and a Sky News report about British Pastor Canon Andrew White who has said of an April discussion with al Qaeda "representative" who told him "the killing will start in the UK and the US."

So in short, based on these "reports," US media are telling their audiences (from their Government sources) the following:

1) A Graduation has occurred in Pakistan (they showed the footage) and Jihadists are on their way to the West.

2) A Pastor has met an al Qaeda representative who told him operations are underway.

3) American analysts looked at the British Jihadists’ tactics over the past few weeks and "learned" something new. Something that taught them how to better read information they already had.

4) A media report said 45 doctors were to prepare an attack against a US base.

5) Hence, the conclusion is that a cell, or more, is on its way to the US. And according to a general mood, it was concluded that summers are better for Jihadists to attack.

But if the reader would re-read those five points he/she may ask many troubling questions. I have the following ones:

A) What if the footage of the "Taliban graduation" aired by a TV network wasn't obtained and thus wasn't shown to the American public? Would it mean that the Taliban aren't graduating, or haven't been graduating since 2001 or even before? Would that mean that there were no Jihadist graduates already heading to the West? Does it mean that this is the "only" graduation by the Taliban, other Jihadists around the world? Did we have to "see" that particular footage to "learn" that a Jihadi machine is producing "graduates" as we speak, even if they are not featured on ABC or al Jazeera?

B) What if the Pastor hadn't met with the al Qaeda representative? Would that have meant that the Jihadists weren't marching and aren't willing to strike deep inside the West? With great sympathies to the cleric who should be thanked for reporting this, was that a "new" revelation? We have the leaders of al Qaeda informing us every few months on al Jazeera and online, and a daily wave of chat rooms statements enlightening us on the "blessed strike to come." Why aren't we taking that seriously until a "personal story" occurs somewhere? Don't we know that there is a standing order by al Qaeda to strike when and where possible?

C) Did we have to wait for the British Jihadis to load two Mercedes and one Jeep and target a nightclub and an airport to "learn" that this is a possible tactic? Is this scenario that impossible to imagine and project? What did we learn from these tactics that we've already seen in the Sunni triangle in Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria and Afghanistan? That it could happen in England too? So are there advisors in the West who are telling Governments and the public on both sides of the Atlantic that there is no such thing as "Jihad;" that there is no "war on terror;" that "it is about socio-economics?" So what have we learned tactically from the UK failed "raids?" What is it that our imagination has failed to predict, since the 9/11 Commission has told us that we have a "failed imagination"?

D) Then we learn about the discovery of 45 doctors who planned for a Jihad in Jacksonville against a US base. What did we really discover here? That doctors can be Jihadists? Weren't we listening to (Doctor) Ayman Zawahiri for years and many other doctors in the region threatening with Terror? Haven't we seen in the 20th century’s darkest moments Nazi doctors involved in one of the most horrific genocides of all times? Or why were we surprised by the fact that Jihadists were planning on attacking a US base in the US homeland? Didn't we analyze enough the Fort Dix guys who were planning a similar attack on American soil against an Army base few weeks ago? Weren't the two Georgia young Jihadis, arrested last year, planning on striking at US military installations across the nation? In short, is that shocking to "learn" that the Jihadis are targeting our national defense?

E) Last but not least, we are supposing that "al Qaeda likes to attack in the summer." So, should we discount attacks in the fall, winter and spring?

I am not being sarcastic here but there is something strange about how we proceed in analyzing the Jihadi war against democracies and America, and how we break news to the public. On the one hand, the overwhelming majority of the academic elite, many in the political establishment and most of the mainstream media are desperately trying to demobilize their audiences by claiming that all what we see "is just a mirage." And on the other hand, the same media tell us that al Qaeda could be "attacking us this summer" because of a graduation, a Pastor's report, tactics we learned from London, doctors-turned-Jihadis, and summertime. With all these ingredients, the debate on Terrorism seems to be swinging between total denials on the one hand and blurry vision on the other hand.

This summer and any other summer, and all other seasons by the way, are Jihadi times. We need to adapt to this reality for as long as this conflict is on. For al Qaeda and its allies, as well as the Khomeinists are on the path of war. And when they are in that mode, nothing should surprise us.

▪ Al Qaeda has already established cells in the UK, the US and the West. If there is an "additional" cell coming this way, we would certainly be happier if the Government would have detected it and stop it. But it would be misleading the public to state that al Qaeda's second cell ever to infiltrate the country (after Mohammed Atta's in 2001) is "now" heading to our shores.

▪ The intention to penetrate our systems and to strike is as old as the Jihadi war against the West (that would be at least since the early 1990s). An al Qaeda representative in Iraq is not serving us with news if he "reveals" that the group will be spilling blood soon.

▪ Arresting the Terror-doctors is a positive development, but we shouldn't be in shock and awe about it. Our analysts and public educators should have (and some have) informed the public of the deep penetration that has been taken place within liberal democracies. We should learn form the infiltration of this particular segment of the medical field to preempt the penetration of other sectors, and of other fields as well. We should project that the Jihadists have infiltrated the engineering, computer, banking, security and other fields.

▪ Zawahiri's orders to strike inside the West and within the realm of moderate Arabs and Muslims are al Qaeda standing orders at least since 2001. His additional statements are reminders of what has already been a war waged at will and is taking place as its perpetrators are acquiring means and targets.

▪ Yes, it may be true that, statistically, most al Qaeda known attacks have taken place in the West between July and September, with the exception of Madrid's March 11, but there is no "Jihadi summertime." If and when these "forces" acquire targets and circumstances, they will most likely wait for warmer months to strike.

So, if indeed evidence is gathering that al Qaeda is preparing for a series of attacks in the US in the next weeks and months, then it is important to inform and ready the public for it. But the media - and their sources - must help their audiences put the information in context. There is a Jihadi war on liberal democracies, including America, and a US-led campaign on Terror. The learning and educational processes must be set in this general direction, not in terms of an out-of-context sensationalism. For it would have been out of line if in 1942, spokespersons and reporters in Allied nations would have been announcing that "unidentified planes with Swastikas on their wings were dropping what we think could be bombs on European cities."

# # Contributing Editor Walid Phares is the director of Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a visiting scholar at the European Foundation for Democracy, and the author of The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy.
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Note -- The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of The Family Security Foundation, Inc.

Other Articles by Walid Phares...
The Terrorist Cells Are Already Here While More Are Coming Dr.
Lebanon, Gaza, the Broader Syro-Iranian Offensive
Syro-Iranian Massacre of Politicians in Lebanon
The Syrian-Jihadi "highway" in Lebanon
Question Period: War of the Worlds
Exclusine: French Resistance to Jihadism: The broad implications of Sarkozy’s election
Losing the War in Congress: Not in Iraq
British Minister Fails the War of Ideas
Ahmadinejad’s Plan “B”: The Circus Continues
Jihadi Circus Begins In Tehran


Merkava Mk3/Mk4 Tank

The State of Israel made the decision in August 1970 to develop and build a Main Battle Tank. Until that time, Israel could not equip its armored corps with new tanks due to the continuous refusal of all nations to sell modern tanks to Israel.

The layout of the Merkava (Chariot) is unconventional, with the turret and crew compartments to the rear of the vehicle and the engine up front. This was done to improve crew survival in the case of an armor-penetrating hit on front quarter. The vehicle has a hatch on the center deck forward of the turret for the driver, and hatches in the turret for the commander and loader. The gunner uses either one of these hatches. There is another clamshell hatch on the rear for crew escape or access under fire. The turret is of low cross section with a large basket at the rear for crew gear. The Merkava can carry 6 passengers, one for each 12 rounds of main gun ammunition removed. Normally, the passenger space is filled with main gun ammunition, of which the Merkava carries a large supply.

The need to introduce modern tanks to the Israeli Army became acute when Israel faced a tremendous build-up of hostile military formations beyond its borders, equipped with the best weapon systems of that era including modern tanks and anti - tank systems. The decision to develop the Israeli tank named MERKAVA (Chariot in the biblical language) became inevitable.

The Israeli development team led by General Israel Tal, integrated state-of-the-art technology with lessons of war in the concept and the design of the Merkava and all its future generations:

  • The first Merkava tanks, Merkava Mk.1, were fielded in April 1979. Those tanks took part in actual operations during the Peace for Galilee War and proved themselves to be more effective than all other tanks in the theatre.
  • The second generation, Merkava Mk. 2, was first delivered in 1984. Production of this version began shortly after the adoption of the Merkava in 1983, and continued until 1989. It is basically the Merkava Mk 1 with extra armor and an improved fire control system. In addition, the transmission has been improved leading to an increase in range. The 60mm mortar can be loaded and fired from within the turret without exposing the crew to enemy fire.
  • The Third generation, Merkava Mk.3, was introduced in 1990 and became the backbone of the Israeli Armor Corp. It features a larger gun, a threat warning system, and more advanced modular armor that can be changed in the field. A more powerful engine has been put in the Merkava Mk 3, and air conditioning has been added. Up to 6 passengers may be carried by removing 9 main gun rounds per passenger. An advanced version of Merkava Mk. 3, with an improved Fire-Control System was fielded in 1995.
  • As of 2002, the next generation, Merkava Mk. 4, is on the way and was undergoing field tests.

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israeli armor suffered heavy losses from Egyptian and Syrian wire-guided anti-tank missiles. The high casualty rate spurred the IDF, which had previously depended on US-made Patton and Sherman tanks and British Centurion tanks, to develop the Merkava (Heb., chariot), considered one of the world's most effective and safest battle tanks.

Development of the Merkava was headed by Gen. Israel Tal, a former Armored Corps commander. Tal's team sought to design a tank that provided maximum protection to the tanks crew. One element of that defense is the placement of the tank's engine at the front of the vehicle, where it serves as a shield for the personnel compartment. This in turn provided more space in the vehicle's rear, which can be used to carry up to six extra soldiers. In addition, a special "canopy" protects the commander from indirect fire; the turret and the hull are fitted with a modular armor system that can be changed in the field; and the forward section of the turret is fitted with additional blocks of armor that provide extra protection against the latest generation of anti-tank missiles. A "skirt" of chains with ball weights is attached to the lower half of the turret, causing incoming projectiles to detonate on impact with the chains instead of penetrating the turret ring.

The tank became operative in 1979, and was first employed in the 1982 Operation "Peace for Galilee". The Mark I model was succeeded by the Mark II in 1983, which was replaced by the Mark III in 1990. Among the features of the Mark III are a new suspension system, a 1200-horsepower engine and new transmission, a more powerful main gun, and ballistic protection provided by special armor modules. The main 120-mm gun, developed by Israel Military Industries, is enclosed in a thermal sleeve that increases accuracy by preventing heat distortion.

Mark II and Mark III tanks are currently in service in the IDF; a Mark IV model, with additional safety and fire-control features, is currently being developed. It will include a new compressed-gas recoil system and thermal sleeve for the 120-mm gun, to enable the firing of enhanced kinetic energy ammunition. With the exception of the engine, all systems and assemblies of the Merkava tanks are of Israeli design and manufacture.

The Merkava is the innovative Israeli design of Major General Israel Tal. The primary design criteria was crew survivability. Every part of the overall design is expected to contribute to helping the crew survive. The engine is in the front to provide protection to the crew. There is a special protective umbrella for the tank commander to enable protection from indirect fire with the hatches open. Special "spaced armor" is in use along with protected fuel and ammo compartments. Rear ammunition stowage is combined with a rear entrance and exit. Since the rounds are stowed in containers that can be removed from the vehicle whenever necessary, this space can accommodate tank crewmen who have been forced to abandon their vehicles, or, if thought to be appropriate, even infantrymen. Rear ammunition stowage allows replenishment much more easily than if rounds have to be replaced in a carousel in the hull center, as in typical Russian vehicles.

Tank soldiers have long admired Merkava's rear entrance and exit, recognizing that it would allow them to mount and dismount unobserved by the enemy and would provide an excellent alternative escape route.

The Merkava can also carry a small Infantry squad internally under complete armored protection.

Weight (kg) 62,000
Length 8.78 m
Width 3.7 m
Height 9'6"
Forward speed 55 kph
Reverse speed 25 kph
Engine 1200 hp TCM AVDS 1790-9AR diesel
Vertical obstacle climb 1 m
Maximum width ditch 3.5 m
Fording Depth 1.4 m
Main Gun 120mm smooth-bore cannon
Coaxial machinegun 7.62mm
Anti-personnel machinegun 2 x 7.62mm
Commander's machinegun 12.7 mm
Light Mortar Internal 60 mm

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


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Best Buys In Handguns, Part III: Used/Surplus


Aaron Brudenell

Many folks interested in firearms will choose the ones they collect for a number of reasons. Some accumulate products from one gun maker, a specific time or event, or even a single model that may have been copied by numerous manufacturers. Whatever a person’s criteria, most of us will find it hard to resist an obvious bargain even if the item is outside the scope of what we normally fancy. This writer is no exception, in fact, I find myself particularly susceptible to a splendid deal at a gun shop or show. Part of my interest, like many others I’m sure, comes from remembering a time when I was younger and much less able to afford the things I wanted most of all. The big advantage in choosing a highly affordable firearm later in one’s collecting is that you tend to have a greater benefit of experience in spotting a truly useful bargain rather than something that’s just cheap.

Say you have $200 and need a handgun for self-defense. The list of new firearms that can be had at that price isn’t a long one and many of them are of notorious quality and not to be generally trusted for one’s life if there’s a suitable alternative. I found two very good used ones in this price range, and feel sure others exist (both on this site and elsewhere). I was able to obtain the Smith and Wesson K-frame revolver for just under $200 from a retail store specializing in used and surplus firearms. The Makarov pistol was purchased for around $150 from a licensed dealer at a local gun show; however, I’ve noticed prices on this and similar models slowly drift up to and even slightly beyond the $200 mark in the time since. Here’s the first lesson: conspicuous bargains don’t always remain so!

Here is a picture of the 3" Model 10 and the Makarov pistol. Each handgun has its own strong points compared to the other, but both of these do have one thing in common: reliability.

Each of these handguns is a used firearm previously issued to a military or law enforcement agency and that’s a great place to start looking, regardless of how much money you have to hunt for a bargain. The revolver was reportedly one of many issued to a large metropolitan police department in France that probably upgraded to semiautomatic pistols like so many other agencies. Because it was sold abroad and imported back into the US, it bears the dot matrix stamp of the importer. In all other respects, it’s a standard K-frame model 10-5, the standard .38 Special successor to the original Military & Police revolver made before World War two. The only unusual feature is the barrel, which is a tapered 3" version unlike the more common 4" variety.

Makarovs were the main sidearm for many of the Soviet block countries for the latter part of the cold war and were produced by Russia, East Germany, China, and in this case, Bulgaria. East German models are widely considered to be best of all, however, I find the Bulgarian model to be in a close 2nd place! Chinese guns can be of inconsistent quality and I don’t care for the Russian models, which have an adjustable rear sight (an unnecessary addition of size in my view). The exact history of this Bulgarian Makarov is not known, but the double circled "10" indicates it was made in the state run arsenal and these pistols were most likely used by military and police agencies in that country until sometime after the fall of the iron curtain. As with the revolver, this handgun was imported and bears a similar dot matrix identifier of the importer (the same one as it turns out).

When comparing this pair of options, more differences exist than the usual "revolver" versus "semiautomatic" debate but first I’d like to consider the commonalties. Both handguns have numerous grip options available and this is very important if one is to select a handgun for their primary defense arm. Most of the Makarov grips are similar in style and shape, however, differences in thickness and texture are significant enough to fit most people’s needs. I chose the East German style of grip because I have small hands and like the texture. Many friends of mine have opted for the soft rubber Pearce grips that fill larger hands and soften recoil. Like any K-frame Smith and Wesson revolver, there is a virtually endless supply of grips available for the model 10 and the mismatched pair of small factory panels suits my needs adequately.

Both the Makarov and Model 10 have outstanding accuracy and reliability to the point I’d be hard pressed to distinguish one in either category. The biggest limitation for each in accuracy is their sights and in both cases, I remain satisfied given their role as a rugged self-defense gun. Because each has both single and double-action capability, they can be carried safely and ready to fire quickly or cocked for more precision shots. Recoil for both is also comparable—standard pressure ammunition for each is mild enough for a novice to master and the +P .38 Specials have the same extra impulse as a few of the heavier recoiling (higher bullet weight) rounds available for the 9x18mm chamber.

Ammunition is the first obvious area of distinction between the two firearms with .38 Special being much more available and diverse in the US than 9x18mm. I often refer to the "Walmart Test" of ammunition availability and clearly you’re more likely to find .38 Specials than 9x18mm wherever you buy your ammunition.

That said, however, the Makarov can be re-barreled quite easily for .380 ACP with minimal cost and I’ve tested several unmodified 9x18mm firearms with .380 ammunition and found surprising reliability with only a slight loss in accuracy. This is not to be considered a recommendation—it’s probably comparable to firing .22 Long Rifle cartridges in a .22 Magnum chamber. Problems with certain short bullet designs and the occasional split case should be expected and I think it’s better to buy a good supply of surplus ammunition for the long term. But in an emergency or if 9x18mm cartridges become rare the Makarov will not become a paperweight. With the pistol in this article, I tested 9 brands of .380 ammunition and only had problems with Winchester Silvertips and some cast reloaded ammunition, both of which had rather short overall lengths.

The Makarov pistol is notably smaller than the revolver and lighter by about 1/3 pound. These are both key features when considering a handgun for concealed carry self defense. The Makarov also has 50% more firepower with a capacity of 8+1, which compares favorably to a six-shooter. Even though the Makarov’s magazine requires a heal release and is slow to reload by modern pistol standards, it’s still quicker than the Smith and Wesson and preloaded magazines are easier to manage than revolver speed loaders and strips. I also find the Makarov to be much more natural to point shoot than the revolver although this ultimately amounts to a personal choice and/or a selection of grips. I come to this conclusion with no lack of experience with Smith and Wesson wheel guns that I’ve owned and used without complaint but for me, with the right grips, the Makarov just fits better.

The Smith & Wesson also has its advantages over the Makarov. For starters, both the double and single- action trigger pulls are lighter and a touch smoother. Additionally, it’s hard to argue with the simplicity of a double-action revolver. The Makarov’s safety is not a bad one: down takes it off while up decocks the hammer and locks the entire action (hammer, trigger, and slide). But with the revolver, as long as the cylinder is fully closed, the gun will function fully with or without ammunition and there are no safeties to forget or worry about. Dry fire practice is always more realistic with a revolver than with a semiautomatic and if firing for effect, the solution to a failure is simply to pull the trigger again. The last and most significant revolver advantage would have to be power.

The S&W Model 10 in any of its configurations is a proven design and in a caliber that is probably more potent than the 9x18mm Makarov. Its primary limitations remain but a six-shot capacity and slower reloading.

The Makarov holds more shots between reloading than the revolver and despite its magazine release being at the butt of the gun, it is probably quicker than speed strips with the revolver. With speed loaders, the revolver might be just as fast or faster. This would depend upon the skill level of the user. Notice also that even though slide-mounted, the safety on the Makarov works in a natural direction. Down for fire and up for safe.

For self-defense, I’m a big fan of the Speer Gold Dot, which is a good bullet design and in most cases loaded to a healthy power level in factory ammunition. The latest .38 Special + P Gold Dot is a 135 grain bullet that leaves this 3" barrel at around 1000 feet per second. The 9x18mm Gold Dot has the same velocity but is only a 90-grain bullet. Both of these are good options but I would expect the 9x18mm Gold Dot to be less effective by more than a single shade of gray. If one is after heavier weight non-expanding bullets to maximize penetration, good options also exist for both. Fiocchi .38 Special FMJ’s can be had in 158 grain while the Wolf brand 9x18 JHP is available in the 120-125 grain range and doesn’t expand in most media. As with expanding bullets, the edge in the heavier non-expanding projectiles still favors the revolver. (Note: For those interested, there are articles on snub ammunition as well as expansion and comparison tests between 38 Special, 380 ACP and 9x18mm Makarov in "Other Handguns.")

Here are two 9x18mm rounds that were fired into water. The Wolff (left) did not expand while the Silver Bear did. (Bullet and jacket separation is not uncommon when firing into water.)

Speer's excellent Gold Dot bullet expands reliably in 9x18mm.

Although both handguns have their respective strong points, neither would leave you inadequately prepared for most uses and for my own purposes, I plan to keep both! The last and final advantage of finding suitable budget guns is that you can avail yourself of more options than you could with less affordable pieces. There are plenty of other affordable used bargains out there and as newer designs replace older ones, one can expect the quality and list of advantages to grow rather than shrink.


by David Calderwood

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Published to cricket-chirping silence in the Federal Register on April 13, 2007 was a rule proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to govern the manufacture, transport, and distribution of explosives.

The Alice-in-Wonderland aspect is that the rule includes small arms ammunition and reloading components like smokeless propellant and small arms primers in its definition of “explosives.” If the rule were implemented as written, it would effectively eliminate the manufacture, transport, wholesaling and retailing of ammunition in the United States.

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PREPARE NOW - The lists below are a good start, but they need specifics. Just purchasing food isn't enough. It's only the first step. You need to know how to best preserve your stored items so they are viable and life-sustaining when you need them and how to prepare those foods. You also need specific information tailor-made for your family as well as lists of essential medical and general supplies and how much to purchase. These items were not addressed. As Ms. Levant states, 2-3 days' supplies are not adequate, not in the least. Now is the time to get ready; trouble is rapidly approaching on many fronts. Please make use of our FREE information and prepare your family before it's too late.

Nancy Levant
July 10, 2007

It seems that things are rapidly boiling over the Iran issue. Too many meetings, weapons sales, high-level comings and goings that spark a familiarity and one that bears notice - if Iran is attacked by anyone in the world, and most especially Israel or America, American people must take heed. An attack on Iran WILL bring consequences to our country. We need to think of our children, grandchildren, and our elders. Be very assured - our “representatives” will only be concerned with their personal CoG (Continuity of Government) a$$es.

Following 9-11-01, we were gently told to stock up on a few things and to have supplies for 2 or 3 days. Almost no one paid attention to that ridiculous governmental suggestion. Today, I'm going to suggest to my countrymen to do far more than stock your kitchen shelves.

Iran is a nuclear issue that will snowball. Many Mid-Eastern countries have nuclear capabilities and we know for a fact that many sleeper cells exist inside of our nation (thanks to the welcome mat borders created by our “representatives”). We've had years of threats regarding the knocking out of our power grid systems and chemical, biological, and radiological attacks. Iran has promised retaliation for any attempts to take out her nuclear capabilities. Therefore, American citizens need to prepare for far more than a 2 or 3-day period of self-help.

I suggest to the citizenry that you stock a minimum 6 to 18-month supply of goods. Food, water, medicines, prescription medications, pet food, diapers, wipes, formula, etc., and I also suggest that you have an alternate, non-electrical heat and cooking source, such as a wood stove, and other fuels. I suggest that you and your families be prepared to buckle down and burrow in and to prepare for self-defense.

Consider buying big bulk items, such as 5 to 6-gallon buckets of staples - rice, beans, pastas, sugar, flour, soup mixes, powdered milk, honey, wheat, oatmeal or farina, etc.. Baking powder, salt, cooking oil, and yeast needs to also be purchased in bulk. I suggest buying fruits and vegetables freeze-dried or dehydrated in #10 cans, and buy a lot! Also stock up on multi-vitamins. I strongly suggest that you purchase good heirloom garden seeds and enough for 3 years. I suggest that you plant fruit trees and bushes - a lot of them. In other words, be prepared to live off the power grid. As unthinkable as this may seem, it is a given that power grid failures WILL occur if there is any retaliation on American soil. I doubt, however, that this will be an issue for our “representatives.”

There are many, many websites which provide help and calculations for family food storage needs, but it is easy to figure out what you would need for 6 to 12 months based upon what you now purchase in one or two weeks. By buying in large bulk, you will save literally thousands of dollars. Though the initial purchases will be expensive, you will be properly prepared. The last thing you want to do in an emergency is stand in food and water lines with your children. I also recently read that power grid failure due to radiological interference could take up to a year or more to repair. We need to be prepared to care for our children and our elderly. We need to encourage our extended families and neighbors to stock up and to make self-sufficiency a neighborhood-by-neighborhood priority. We currently live under extremely vulnerable conditions - vulnerable to the lies, deceit, and gaming of global politicians. No heat source if the power goes down, no extra food or water, no extra prescription medications, no emergency communication devices, no emergency power or light sources, and a myriad of other necessities that we now depend upon others to provide every day.

I ask American woman to spearhead the effort within your families, churches, and women's groups and to begin, today, to buy bulk food and supplies. Below is a highly suggested list for initial purchases:

Five 5-gallon buckets of each of the following:

* Wheat berries and a hand-crank grinder
* White sugar
* All-purpose flour
* Powdered milk o Beans (any kind - main protein source)
* Oatmeal or farina o ABC Soup Mix

Cooking Oil

* 15 gallons
* 15 cans vegetable shortening (like Crisco)

Fruits and Vegetables

* 3 to 5 cans of “Garden In A Can” (3 to 5 full years of heirloom garden seeds)
* 10 #10 cans of each: strawberries, dried banana chips, orange segments, apple flakes or apple sauce, broccoli, onions, green beans
* Buy 15-20 cases each of canned green beans, corn, potatoes, carrots


* 15 cases of peanut butter (important protein)
* 10 #10 cans TVP (Total Vegetable Protein), Ham, Burger, Sausage, Chicken, Taco, Bacon flavors
* Tang, powdered fruit drink mixes, cocoa mixes - buy cases
* Trail mixes - buy in bulk
* Hot sauce - buy cases
* Non-condensed soups - buy cases
* Canned meats - buy cases

Special Needs

* Good weight-bearing shelving units
* Store hundreds of pounds of extra pet food in large plastic containers like large trash cans
* Supplies and prescription medications for the elderly
* Store a lot of first aid items. Buy one large first-aid kit and buy triple extras of everything in the kit.
* Buy several car first-aid kits.
* Camping equipment and 4 or 5 extra-large tarps, bungee cords, rope, camping knives, good hatchets and shovels, rain gear, camping mattresses. A lot of stove fuel - 30 to 50 canisters.


* Sweat shirts and pants, jeans, waterproof shoes, extra gym shoes, extra socks, waterproof and hooded coats, work and warmth gloves for everyone and laundry detergents


* The least expensive way to store water is in 55-gallon drums made for water storage. Bottled water is far too expensive to store for the long term. Depending on family size and number of pets, you may need 10-40 drums. Begin with 6 and work up from there. There are many websites to help you learn about proper water storage.
* Regular bleach (no additives) - 30 gallons

This seems like a lot, but when you consider a scenario where grocery stores are empty and you have no access to the money in your bank accounts, your loved ones will be far safer with such stores on hand.

There is really nothing different about buying food and supplies in bulk minus the fact that your pay larger sums up-front and very little on a weekly or monthly basis. But all totaled at the end of the year, you will have saved thousands of dollars, you will have driven far less, and you will have safeguarded your families and particularly your children.

I also strongly recommend that if you know any LDS families, ask them for advice on food storage. Most LDS (Mormon) families store food, water, and supplies, and most are very skilled in the art of food storage, storage rotation, and cooking.

My instincts tell me that things are heating up and I want American people to be as prepared as they can be in case of problems. Just think in terms of 6 months to 2 years and the basic needs of each member of your families- water, food, heat and cooking, potential medical needs, toiletry and personal needs, elderly needs, pet needs, and emergency supplies.

Make sure your guns are in proper working order and that you have the tools and necessities to keep them in proper working order. Make sure you have proper ammunition and build your storage. Remember that there is nothing as dangerous as frightened and starving people.

However, also remember that FEMA has the right to suspend all Constitutional rights and to take all your money, food stores, water stores, guns and ammunition, and your homes. Executive orders, issued by presidents, provided this “community” service for you and your family. Why would they do that - and especially during times of a catastrophic national crisis? Hmmm. Perhaps your total vulnerability to the paramilitary orders that will immediately follow crises is more to the new world point of America's demise. A 72-hour kit?? Think, people, think! Please pass this article throughout your neighborhoods. Our vulnerability is monumental and is present and current. NOW is the time to act. Surely, by the actions of “representatives,” you can assume that there will be no peace.

Bulk food and supplies sites:

1. Emergency Essentials - highly recommended site
3. - highly recommended site


Aircraft carrier USS Enterprise departs Norfolk for 6-month Mediterranean-Persian Gulf tour, a deployment DEBKA-Net-Weekly 300 first revealed exclusively on June 1

July 8, 2007, 11:48 AM (GMT+02:00)

USS Enterprise carrier

USS Enterprise carrier

Four warships in the carrier’s strike group depart Norfolk Naval station Monday, July 9: the guided missile destroyers Arleigh Burke, Stout, James E .Williams and Forrest Sherman, as well as three more ships – with 7,500 sailors in all aboard. DEBKAfile’s military sources reported June 29 that the Enterprise CVN 65-Big E Strike Group will join the USS Stennis and USS Nimitz carriers, building up the largest sea, air, marine concentration the US has ever deployed opposite Iran.


« An Iranian Shahab-3 missile launch. Syria is anticipating a shipment of several Shahab-3, Scud-C and Scud-B missiles from Iran as well as fighter jets from Russia. (AFP/Getty Images)

Syria Gears Up for War

Experts believe Syria is preparing for war. The Syrian government has taken multiple actions that indicate war may be imminent, while occasionally stating it is seeking peace.

First, Syria has
removed the military checkpoints on its side of the Golan Heights, which have been present since the Six Day War in 1967.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Syrian officials have alternated between saying they seek nothing but peace and threatening to
seize the Golan by mukawama, a term that can refer to actions ranging from terrorist attacks to full-scale war.

Dennis Ross, who served as Special Middle East Coordinator under President Clinton, believes Syria and Israel could go to war this summer and warned that “Syria has rearmed Hezbollah to the teeth.”

Second, Syria has warned its citizens to
leave Lebanon by July 15 in case of an unexpected “eruption.” Former idf Intelligence Directorate senior officer Yaakov Amidror says the conflict would principally remain internal to Shiites and Sunnis, but that Israel could be targeted by rocket fire as well.

Syria has also been preparing its military hardware with support from Iran. The Daily Telegraph reported on June 25 that Tehran is establishing a missile defense shield for Syria and planning to ship “dozens of medium-range Shahab-3 and Russian-made Scud-C missiles, together with Scud-B missiles.” Damascus is also expecting fighter jets from Russia. Last summer, Hezbollah caused major havoc with far less sophisticated weaponry than the Syrians have prepared.

In addition to conventional weaponry, Syria may have large quantities of Sarin and mustard gas. Also, multiple sources report that Damascus is planning to arm scud missiles with the nerve agent VX—a chemical agent classified as a weapon of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, though Israel Defense Forces have been carrying out exercises in the Golan Heights, Israel has decided to cut almost a half billion shekels from its defense budget. A senior idf officer said anti-missile defense for tanks will probably be the first target for cutbacks (Jerusalem Post, July 8).

The Israelis are leaving themselves in a dangerously precarious position. The likely outcome is that Israel will again give up land for the illusion of peace. Even if Syria does not attack, Israel may allow Damascus to have the Golan Heights for more empty promises. For more information on the continual failure of the land-for-peace principle, please read “
Middle East Peace Process: R.I.P. 1978-2006.



Isaiah Chapter 17

א מַשָּׂא, דַּמָּשֶׂק: הִנֵּה דַמֶּשֶׂק מוּסָר מֵעִיר, וְהָיְתָה מְעִי מַפָּלָה. 1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.