Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Gun Handling Actors: Jimmy Stewart

One of my favorite movies is Winchester ’73 starring James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally. The plot centers on two brothers, one good (Stewart) and one evil (McNally). The evil brother has killed their father, the good brother is out for justice. AS the good brother pursues the evil brother, the chase becomes entwined with a stolen 1 of 1000 Winchester Model 1873 rifle.
The movie is great entertainment even with Will Geer (Grandpa Walton) portraying Wyatt Erp. Geer has to be the lamest Erp portrayal in movie history. Overall this is a small flaw and the movie is exciting and logical. Jimmy Stewart, great actor and war hero, convincingly handles his Colt six gun and various Winchester rifles with equal aplomb. Clearly Jimmy’s military training and skills as an outdoorsman aided him in this convincing portrayal.
Westerns with James Stewart also have a gritty streak of realism and determination. His authenticity allows his audience to identify with him and his roles. I have always enjoyed his movies and I believe he is one of the greatest gun handling actors ever.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Astra Model 600

I came across a compadre with an interesting gun, the Astra 600/43 more commonly known as the Astra 600. Manufactured in Spain and chambered in 9mm Parabellum at the behest of the Germans in World War II, the Model 600/43 is a development of the very successful Astra Model 400 in 9mm Largo and the Astra 300 in 380 ACP. About 50, 000 model 600s were produced in 1943-1945, but only the first 10,000 were delivered to the Germans before the Allied invasions at Normandy and Southern France. The remainders were held by Spain and a large number were subsequently sold to the nascent West German Police in the early 1950s, the Chilean Navy, and Portugal. Undoubtedly some were sold on the civilian market.
Astra Model 600/43, made in 1944, with custom wood grips I’ve always liked the Astra 600s unique looks. The quality of manufacture is high, as the Spanish were out to impress the German military. The German military were already satisfied customers of Astra, having used the compact model 300, the larger model 400, and Model 900 (a copy of the Mauser C-96). Shortages of 9mm largo ammunition for the Astra 400 caused the Germans to use 9mm Parabellum ammo. Surprisingly it worked in many instances. Most Model 400s had generous chambers and could accommodate the shorter tapered 9mm Parabellum and the power of the ammunition cycled the Model 400s action. Thus a myth was born, that the Astra 400 would safely chamber 9mm Short, 9mm Parabellum, 38 ACP, and 38 Super. This is untrue and unsafe. The 400 should be used only with 9mm Largo!
The Model 600/43 has a tublar design that makes it look like a squirt gun! The Model 600 is the ultimate of the Astra tube design, it started in 1912 with the Campo Giro and ended win the 1980s with the less than successful Model 8000 Condor and Model 4000 Falcon. The Model 600 is the apex of fit, finish and reliability for Astra pistols. Shooting one is not an experience one soon forgets.
The first of the Astra tube pistols, the Campo Giro Model 1912

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope each and every one of you who reads this has a very Merry Christmas and the best New Year!!!
Christmas in Richmond

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Best Gun Handling Actors: Steve McQueen

One of the best I’ve seen is the legendary Steve McQueen. Steve was real man who overcame a tough childhood and boy’s reform school (where he loyally helped boys after he became famous). He joined the Marines at 17, and although initially rebellious, Steve became a model Marine. It’s safe to assume this is where he learned how to handle weapons.
Steve starred in many great movies, my favorite is The Sand Pebbles , a taught action drama set aboard a U.S. Navy gunboat in China in the 1930s. Steve’s handling of several weapons, including a BAR and a 1903 Springfield are excellent. Steve was not a pushover in real life, after his friends Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring were murdered by the Manson Family, Steve was rumored to be on their “Kill” list. He wisely carried a handgun for protection.
Although it’s impossible to know, had the Manson butchers confronted Steve, I’m sure he would have given a good account of himself, and fewer of the Manson clan would have been alive to go on trial. Steve died of Cancer in 1980, but his films and performances live on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another Movie for the Holidays

One of my favorites, the original “Die Hard” with one of my favorite actor Bruce Willis. It’s set at Christmas during a terrorist attack at a large multinational corporation. Of course the real star is the Beretta 92 pistol. With it Bruce dispatches several bad guy terrorists.
The Beretta became an icon of the late 80s in that movie, the same way the S&W Model 29 became an icon of the 1970s in “Dirty Harry”. The Beretta 92 became the archetypical wonder 9 pistol, even equipping the U.S. Military since 1985. The 92 is a great gun, and Die Hard is a great movie.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Remember Pearl Harbor

Remember Pearl Harbor My Grandfather traveled through Pearl Harbor 2 weeks before the December 7th, 1941 sneak attack. I say sneak because that’s what it was. My Grandfather visited his old friend, Admiral Kidd, the commander of the battleship division on the Arizona. They had lunch together and reminisced about the times when they were stationed together in the Panama Canal Zone in the late 1920s.
My Grandfather returned to the states, Admiral Kidd Never left Pearl Harbor. He was killed on the bridge of the Arizona on December 7th. His body was never found, only his Naval Academy class ring, which was fused to a bulkhead in the ship. It was returned to his family. Admiral Kidd was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on December 7th 1941.
I proudly own a M1903 Springfield (Modified) and an M1 Garand both made in January 1942. They were made at the beginning of a long war, after the sacrifice of Pearl Harbor.

Friday, December 2, 2011

An Example of The Mighty M1Garand

I went to the range recently just to shoot an M1Garand and enjoy it. The rifle and ammunition were performing well, producing small groups at 100 yards. The samples are in the photos in this post. My M1 is an old warhorse made in July of 1942 and rebuilt in 1952. I assume it was used in combat in WWII and maybe early in the Korean War. The rifle shoots better than I do, its finish is worn, but it’s mechanically sound as good a weapon as it ever was.

As I was enjoying my range time, the predictable thing happened. Another shooter shows up, he unpacks a very tricked out M1A SOCOM II 7.62 NATO rifle. This rifle had all the rails and some very expensive looking aftermarket stock and an Aimpoint sight, it looked pretty top end also. To complete the picture the shooter is dressed like a Blackwater agent, with all the expensive clothes and jacket.

A 100 yard Group by my M1 Garand

Of course, being a nosey person I walked over and checked out his gear from a distance. I wondered if this guy was some sort of executive protection guru or high speed shooting instructor. I should have known better. He seemed unable to hit a target at 50 yards, the same at 25yards. He had “Maggie’s’ drawers”, meaning no hits at either distance. He seemed to be understandably upset by these events. When I last saw him he was at the pistol range trying to hit a 7 yard target with his $3000 rifle. Now you know where this is going. This guy was clearly gear collecting “wannabe” He had made the classic mistake, thinking expensive gear can compensate for practice and sound techniques.

The basic rifle the other shooter used.

That usually ends badly in bitter disappointment. A certain level of equipment is necessary. However, the BEST investment an aspiring marksman can make is investing in proven equipment, practice, and instruction. If a shooter must spend money, buy ammunition!

Good training does not have to come from an expensive shooting school, the Appleseed program, NRA High Power Rifle clinics, or help from local gun clubs does not cost much and can greatly benefit a shooter. Don’t fall into the temptation of trying to buy better scores. Simple, good equipment works the best, I learned this in combat.

As it turns out, my iron sighted old school M1 Garand, shot the pants off his fancy junk loaded rifle. I does not matter how much it costs, but it does have to work, just like the magnificent M1 Garand.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Man behind James Bond’s Guns

Boothroyd and Fleming.

Mr Geoffrey Boothroyd. A well read Scotsman, and connoisseur of fine firearms. It was Boothroyd that wrote to Ian Fleming and suggested Bond’s gun should be changed. In Flemings books, Bond uses a Beretta 418 .25 ACP and a variety of revolvers, none of which would fit the James Bond film image of today. Boothroyd suggested something more modern with ammunition that available world-wide. The two finalists were the famous Walther PPK and the excellent Sauer Model 38H. Fleming himself confessed that he did not know a lot about guns and he was grateful for Boothroyds’ help.

Ian Fleming with a Colt Offical Police or Colt Commando Revolver

In a stroke of luck, the PPK was chosen. The Sauer Model 38H had been out of production since 1945 and was ostensibly “Nazi” gun. The choice was a marketing bonanza for Walther. As 007 sported the PPK in Dr. No, and Goldfinger , Walther’s sales of the PPK skyrocketed. Everyone could afford a PPK, unlike the Aston Martin DB 5 or Dom PĂ©rignon Champagne.
Boothroyd was also a prolific author of firearms related books in the U.K. , but movie fans and Bond enthusiasts are grateful for his timely advice to the father of the modern spy novel.
For a short video circa 1964 featuring Geoffrey Boothroyd use this link:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Headspace Gages

If you have older rifles, especially military rifles, a set of headspace gages are needed to help ensure safe firing. Even older military cartridges link 7mm Mauser, 30-40 Krag, and 7.62x54R generate lots of pressure. Headspace is important in all these cartridge and rifle combinations. An accurate way to measure headspace is with a good quality gage.

Some excellent headspace gages are made by Okie Headspace Gages. As their name implies, the company is located in northern Oklahoma. They manufacture GO, NO-GO, and FIELD gages. The FIELD gages are used in older military rifles that may have generous chambers. They have excellent instruction on their website and it’s very easy to order what you need online. Visit them at

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holidays Are Here!! Part I

I’ll make several wish lists this year! Here’s the first!
I wish that there were more shooting competitions centered on fun and history. Zoot Shooters are a step in the right direction, I’d like to see theme shooting for Victorian era rifles and pistols, World War II era weapons, Cold War era weapons, and Great War era weapons. The emphasis is on fun and not competition. Costume is optional. Original and modern reproduction weapons allowed. These would not be a place for gimmicks, gamesmanship, or tactikoolers. It would be celebrations of old style guns, history, oddball cartridges, camaraderie, and a place for young family members to experience shooting.

I really wish an idea like this could take off, some of the large ranges/clubs could sponsor a themed shoot once a month. Cowboy action clubs would be a natural place to do some of this type of shooting. Just think of the thousands of older military rifles and pistols that activities like this would give a purpose to.
History enjoyment, fun, and guns just go together. I’d like to see more of it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Buy an M-57 Now!!

The Yugoslavian M-57 featured in a previous post is one of the best buys on the market today. With a price of about $200, the M-57 represents a great value for the money. A tin of surplus ammunition can be purchased for about $125. While this pistol is not state of the art, its wise to purchase one for future needs.

A case of 7.62x25mm Tokarev Ammunition

Tough serviceable firearms will be worth their weight in gold in the potential difficult times ahead of us. Get one now while the pistol and ammunition are inexpensive!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Yugoslavian M-57

One of the more interesting places in Europe was the former Yugoslavia. A communist led multi ethnic state, Yugoslavia was neutral in the Cold War. It has no real allies and many ethnic tensions. Yugoslavia sensibly armed itself with a mix of Western and Communist Bloc weapons. Yugoslavia manufactured many of its own small arms. One of the best weapons was the Yugoslavian M-57 Pistol. The pistol is an outstanding example adopting and slightly modifying a proven design for domestic uses. The M-57 is a refinement of the Soviet T-33 Tokarev design.

On the M-57, the grip was lengthened and a very nice frame mounted thumb safety was added. Both of these changes make the pistol more comfortable and safer to use than the Soviet T-33. The excellent reliability of the T-33 design is not compromised by these changes. The M-57 has served Yugoslavia, and after the 1992 dissolution, the former Yugoslav republics well. Rugged as a Gorki truck, accurate and reliable the M-57 was the best Tokarev type pistol ever made.

Its only weakness is the rather strange 7.62x25 cartridge. Basically this is a hot loaded 7.63 Mauser pistol cartridge (do not fire this ammo in Mauser C-96 pistols). This cartridge has been obsolete since World War II. In a modern context its major problem is over penetration. There are some new technology rounds available that may mitigate this problem.
I first saw them in Bosnia; it was the weapon the local police and militia carried. I didn’t get a good look at most of them as the Bosnian Serbs wisely kept them holstered in our presence.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Old Timer Pstol's Revenge

I recently had an opportunity to shoot an unusual gun that is a real favorite of mine. It’s the Swedish service pistol, the Husquvarna M-40 often mistakenly called the Lahti M-40. It’s a very unusual design that’ sometimes mistaken for the Luger. It was designed by Amino Lahti for Finland and was adopted in 1935. The Swedes adopted the pistol in 1940 and manufactured it themselves. The M-40 was designed to operate in very cold weather and is a very robust design. It’s all steel construction and fixed barrel give the pistol mild recoil and fine accuracy.

The M-40 and it's target.

I was firing an excellent example at an indoor range the M-40s large sights proved a very positive asset in the murky lighting of the range. The target in the photo was at a distance of 15 yards and offhand. The revenge part is how thoroughly and convincingly this pistol out shot several other 9mms at the range that day. One Glockster told me “My pistol holds twice as many rounds as yours”. After seeing his poor target, all I could say was “Looks like you need ‘em.”

The Pistol, target, spare mags, holster, cleaning rod.

A Swedish M-40 costs about twice as much as a modern polymer 9mm pistol. Based on performance, that’s about right.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Movie for the Holidays

One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching the great movie “Zulu” starring Stanley Baker and Michael Cain. For me, the movie also stars the Webley Mk VI revolver and the 577-450 Martini Henry rifle. The movie has some historical and other flaws, but, it’s great entertainment. There are a few Long Lees in the rifle line and of course the Mk Vi was not introduced until 1915! Almost 40 years after the battle of Rourke’s Drift. The movie is a great tribute to the honor and courage of Victorian soldiers. It would never be made in the politically correct world today.

Sir Stanley Baker as Lt John Chard

Friday, November 4, 2011

Browning Baby 25 ACP.

The Browning Baby was designed by DieudonnĂ© Saive, the man who refined John Browning’s Browning Highpower, and designed the FN FAL rifle. It’s tiny, very easy to conceal, and it’s the vest pocket pistol that all other are judged by. Its wartime users included the French Resistance, and James Bond author Ian Fleming. It was rumored to be included in U.S. Air Force survival kits in the 1960s. The Baby is chambered in 25 ACP, a round detested by serious hand gunners, but successfully used in vest pocket pistols for just over 100 years. There are many stories of the 25 ACP failures to stop assailants, but it can and has killed foes. The 25 ACP is more powerful and reliable that 22 Long rifle is similar sized platforms. Guns this small are usually back up or last ditch weapons, designed for deep concealment.

The Baby pictured here, belonged to my mother. In fact she used it to apprehend a burglar who broke into our home when I was a child. In that case just the presence of the .25 ACP Baby Browning was enough.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mauser Model C96

It’s an odd looking pistol, but I love it. The Mauser C96, the famous “Broom handle”, was on the world stage from 1896 to 1945. Winston Churchill had one and used it in the Battle of Omdurman and in the Boer War. Lawrence of Arabia carried one in the desert. It went through a few design variations, the largest being a detachable magazine in the 1930s. The Mauser C96 was even the basis for Han Solo’s blaster in the movie Star Wars.

They’re still around today in shootable condition. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to shoot one sometime. You won’t forget it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why I like The Desert Eagle Pistol

I like the Desert Eagle because it’s an engineering masterpiece. This is the king of auto pistols. It’s the most powerful and the most visually striking auto pistol ever made. It’s featured in more movies and TV shows than I can count, one estimate is over 100 movies and TV programs.

The great thing about the Desert Eagle is that it works, exactly as intended, accurate and powerful. No other pistol can put that type of stopping power on a target as quickly. It is a tool for the expert hand gunner. In the hands of a genuine marksman the Desert Eagle is simply awesome. The smooth gas action of the Desert Eagle allows for accurate and fast follow up shots. This is very valuable in hunting, and indispensible in defense against dangerous animals. It is the auto pistol for hand gun hunters of large or dangerous game. In my Jeep, a .50 Caliber Desert Eagle is “bear defense” if I go into large bear country.
All of that performance comes with a price of weight, and exclusive use of jacketed bullets for its gas system and polygon rifling. The Desert Eagle is rugged, robust, and simple to operate and maintain. Over the years it’s been offered in a variety of calibers, most famously, the 50 Action Express. The 50 AE was the first commercial mass produced .50 Caliber handgun cartridge, and an outstanding success. In a 10 inch barrel, the 50 AE has 1600 fps of velocity. The largest bullet suitable for the Desert Eagle is 350 grains. Finishes come from a stealthy black oxide, a variety of chrome, to gold and wild gold titanium tiger stripe.
For years the Desert Eagle was one of the best buys in handguns, with all due respect to comments in the aforementioned paragraphs. I have seen a 44 magnum Desert Eagle out shoot, meaning tighter groups, than a famous gunsmith tuned 1911 45 ACP that cost twice as much as the Desert Eagle. A powerful pistol that has match grade accuracy in a controllable package is a marvel. The 50 AE Desert Eagles are also very accurate, but a bit more challenging to control.

Desert Eagle Mark VII

My last thoughts are on people in and out of the shooting community who I call Desert Eagle haters. Outside of the shooting community it’s been called the “Anti-Tank” hand gun, dangerous, overly powerful, etc, etc, etc. All of that is trash. It’s the usual we can expect from these people. More disturbing, is the hate and strange comments from INSIDE the shooting community. Frustrated tactikhulers, dye in the wool revolver lovers, and just those ignorant of the pistols uses seem to have formed an unholy alliance against it. It’s not everyone’s cup tea and that is the first thing someone must understand about the Desert Eagle. Just like bench rest rifles, race guns, and schutezen rifles, the Desert Eagle has its uses and purpose. The Desert Eagle deserves respect it does not always receive.

American Hoggers Update!!

I just watched the second week of American Hoggers and enjoyed it toughly. It combines, horses, jeeps, and classic firearms. I like it a lot better than most other reality TV shows. It will be interesting to see how they keep it fresh and new each week. Right now, it really captures the thrill of the hunt and the chase very well and is exciting to watch. I'd still pay real money to go out and hunt with them.

Monday, October 24, 2011

American Hoggers!!!

I recently saw the new show on A&E called American Hoggers. I enjoyed it immensely. Not only does it show a hard working family in a rural setting, but it has a positive portrayal of classic firearms also. I really enjoy the single action revolvers and lever action rifles. It’s a little of the old west in a modern setting, controlling the destructive and out of control feral hog population. Someday, the public will realize these are dangerous animals and their population is exploding in many parts of the country.

The Campbells do the job with old west style, excitement and adventure. I wish I could go with them……..

Quaddafi is dead!

Finally a vicious terrorist is brought to his end.

All I can say is good riddance!!! He was taken out by his own weapon! The gold plated Browning shown below.

John M. Browning is surely smiling down from above.

Monday, October 17, 2011

80 years of the Walther PPK

With all the attention paid to the centennial of the Colt Model 1911 pistol, it’s easy to over look the 80th anniversary of the legendary Walther PPK (Polezi Pistole Krimminal). Introduced in 1931 the PPK was the shortened version of the very successful and reliable Walther PP (Polezi Pistole). It provided a very concealable pistol with all the positive attributes of the Walther PP. They succeeded magnificently. It was heavily used in WWII by the Germans and continued its success into the post war years.

The pistol was slightly redesigned after WWII and the new rakish looks are the thing of legend. No pistol is so functionally excellent and as beautiful as the PPK. It has been copied in many places, however, none of the clones match the original German made guns for quality. The PPK is the Rolex of concealable firearms. It has completely over showed it’s ancestor the Walther PP. 80 years later it still dominates the market. Current guns are made by Smith & Wesson in the USA.

If the perfect auto pistol in the Colt Model 1911, a very close second is the Walther PPK. For a strict lover a auto pistols, the greatest trio is the Walther PPK, Colt Model 1911, and the Magnum Research Desert Eagle. This would cover all the bases.

The PPK offers the average gun owner a rare opportunity, a truly world class firearm at an obtainable price. There are a lot of new and different small automatic pistols around these days, but they do not equal the PPK.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is so super about the 38 Super?????

I don’t really know, but I’ve gotten so attached to the 38 Super over the years. It’s a somewhat difficult cartridge to hand load. Its supposed to take a .356 bullet; but people have used .355 and .357 bullets in it. The biggest problem with the 38 Super is bullet setback in hand loads. Neck tension has to be tight. The bullet hits the feed ramp with considerable force. The can force the bullet back into the case and create very high pressures and a case head blow out.
38 Super Case Dimensions

My own 38 Super Colt Model 1911 started out as an ugly well worn project gun. With a trashed barrel, poor refinish and buggered trigger, it appeared beyond hope. It’s serial number placed production in 1958. However, the slide and frame and internals were in good shape, well worth the bargain basement price.

A set of Millet sights, Bar-Sto barrel and bushing, new trigger and parkerized finish put this gun right. The interest of the 38 Super is that it started live as the mild mannered 38 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge in the elderly colt Model 1902 Pistol. Loaded to +P pressures in 1929 and chambered in the reliable and strong Model 1911 the super should have been an instant winner. It was not. The head spacing on the tiny cartridge rim ruined the accuracy potential of the cartridge. Its power was soon eclipsed by the much more powerful 357 Magnum in 1935.
For decades the 38 Super was a minor player; an unpopular second chambering in the popular model 1911.

Bank Robber John Dillinger's 38 Super with a fore grip and extended magazine

In the 1980s the 38 Super was rediscovered action shooters, it could be hot loaded with fully supported barrels, to make the “major” power factor. New barrels that head spaced on the case mouth and solved the accuracy problems of earlier barrels. Since then, action pistol has moved on to 40 caliber guns. The 38 Super is now a modestly popular cartridge with a few enthusiasts. Personally, I think it’s great!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brass Frame and Lead Balls.

Like many people with a Confederate heritage, I have an interest in the weapons of the War of Secession. It’s particularly interesting that Pietta and Uberti have produced brass framed revolvers like those used by the Confederate States of America. In truth, the South did not produce revolver in the number required by the CSA. However, the ones they did produce have a glamour and mystique in proportions beyond the numbers produced.

I recently purchased a second hand unfired Griswold and Gunnison revolvers made by Uberti years ago. The revolver is essentially a .36 caliber brass framed, round barrel, copy of the famous Colt 1851 Navy. It has all the positive 1851 Navy shooting and handling characteristics. In addition, the brass finish is hard to overlook.

In regards to the brass frames, there is a lot of conflicting information. Most people report success and a few claim to have worn out brass frame guns. With the .36 caliber guns, as the originals were, I don’t worry about wearing them out. Brass is better quality than in 1860s and it’s impossible to overload a .36 caliber chamber.

The modern, and historically inaccurate .44 caliber brass frame guns, may be a different story, I’d keep these at 25 grains and below, just for safety’s sake.

In any respect, the old cap and ball guns are fun and very enjoyable. They provide a first-hand experience connected with a sacred part in American history.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Stuff of Legends!

The Model 1911 and 1911A1 pistols have become legend in the hands of our fighting men. The finest and best combat pistol in the world, in the right hands, has performed amazing feats.
The 7th Bomb Group, equipped with the B-24 Liberator bombers was based northwest of Calcutta, India. On March 31, 1943, the 7th BG’s 9th Bomb Squadron mission was to destroy a railroad bridge at Pyinmana, in Burma. One B-24 was piloted by 1st Lt. Lloyd Jensen the copilot was 2d Lt. Owen J. Baggett. On that mission, Lt. Baggett was to earn a distinction believed to be unique in military history, and became a legend.

B-24 Liberator in Action

Lt. Baggett’s B-24 was hit by attacking fighters and heavily damaged. He signaled the gunners to bail out. He next remembered floating down with a good chute. He saw four more open canopies before the bomber exploded. The Japanese pilots immediately began strafing the surviving crewmen, apparently killing some of them and grazing Lieutenant Baggett’s arm. The pilot who had hit Baggett circled to finish him off or perhaps only to get a better look at his victim. Baggett pretended to be dead, hoping the Zero pilot would not fire again. In any event, the pilot opened his canopy and approached within feet of Baggett’s chute, nose up and on the verge of a stall. Baggett, enraged by the strafing of his crew members, raised the Model 1911A1 .45 automatic concealed against his leg and fired four shots at the open cockpit. The Zero spun out of control and crashed.

Model 1911A1, Holster and Belt.

Later a fellow POW told Baggett that a Japanese colonel said the pilot Owen Baggett had fired at was thrown clear of his plane when it crashed. The Japanese pilot was found dead of a single pistol bullet in his head.
Other evidence supports Lt. Baggett’s account of that day: No friendly fighters were in the area that could have downed the Zero pilot. The incident took place at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 feet. The Japanese pilot could have recovered from an unintentional stall and spin. There appears to be no reasonable doubt that Owen Baggett performed a unique act of pistol marksmanship and personal valor. The greatest generation, uncommon valor was a common virtue.

Japanese Zero

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another Great Day Shooting at the James Farm!

September 17 was an uncharacteristically cold day at the James Farm. However, that did not stop the shooters from having a great time stepping back into history and firing on the same ground where Frank and Jesse James learned to shoot.

It’s one of the few places where Cap & Ball and Cartridge revolvers shoot side by side in a traditional test of marksmanship. Shooting historical revolvers, in historical clothes, at a historical place, it just does not get any better! Details for the next shoot are at

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ten Long Years

In ten years since 9/11 everything changed. I went to war as a result of 9/11. Of course I was a military man already, having served since 1979 in one capacity or another. Everything, meaning our weapons, personal gear, uniforms, and our mindset.

Out were the goofy Bianchi UM-84 holsters, Long rifles like the M16A2, plastic canteens, black spit shined boots, FLAK jackets, ALICE packs and the conformist cold war attitude.

In were short M4 carbines, optical sights, hydration systems, functional packs , Interceptor body armor, Good pistol holsters. Soldiers were not required to look alike, they were encouraged to use what worked. Another good idea was COTS (Commercial Off the Shelf) purchases of proven civilian equipment.

These changes have made our military stronger and more effective, coupled with improved and realistic training we have delivered severe blows to the coward perpetrator and planners of 9/11. Amen