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Friday, September 23, 2016

Is there a perfect gun?

I get asked on a regular basis "what gun should I buy?" What an interesting question. As you know, guns come in many forms, types, calibers and sizes. Lets start at the beginning.

1. What purpose do I want to put the gun to?
The 1st and most obvious question is "what do I want to do with my gun". The answer often tends to be "I want to protect myself/family". Perfect, and the most common reason for gun ownership. But we need to think a little harder. If you are simply looking for a device to keep you and your family safe at home, like having locks and alarms then your choice of guns is very large. From a Desert Eagle to a Derringer, pretty much any gun would fulfill that role. The question would be what's ideal?

If however, someone wants to widen the scope a little, and suggest that they also want to be safe outside the home, then a little more thought needs to go into the decision. Can that gun be carried comfortably and conveniently, and can I use it efficiently if there is a "situation"?

A S&W C.O.R.E. is a fantastic range gun, accurate, large magazine, and able to take all sorts of extra sights and enhancements. Excellent if you intend to take part in a shooting competition here at Caswells, but if you want to carry it concealed when you go shopping at Walmart, not an ideal choice. Conversely, if you have a shiny new Sig P238, probably not the best choice for the next IDPA match!

2. Come shooting!
There is a fundamental choice to be made before selecting a handgun, revolver or semi auto. They are as different as choosing between a bicycle and a BMW!! One is reliable, small, easy to use and a tried and tested design. The other, easy to use, tried and tested, reliable and tried and tested. Seem similar, that's because they are, not to each other of course, but each have very similar attributes, and whether they fit your requirements or not really depends on which one you can use most comfortably and reliably. It's no good having a $1000 44 Magnum Smith & Wesson, if the recoil makes the gun so uncontrollable for you, the location of your 2nd shot is a mystery! Equally, there's no point in having a Kahr PM9 if you can't pull back the slide.

It doesn't end there of course. You have to consider caliber, size, recoil, “Stopping power”, triggers, ergonomics, controls, ease of slide racking, external safety or no external safety? These are all things that go to making up the "perfect" gun for you, and what use you have for it.

How do you know which works for you, easy, shoot them!! You don't have to shoot every semi auto and every revolver, just 1 or 2 of each so you can make an informed choice as to what suits you best.
3. Don’t get married to your first gun

Sounds easy right? Your 1st gun is like your 1st car. You have done everything you can to make the right choice, taken advice from people who have more experience than you do, shopped around, shot some guns, and now you have your lovely shiny new gun in your hands, as you book up your 1st classes to learn how to get the best from it.

As you learn more, and shoot more, you will realize that just like driving, you are getting better and more confident. You have become familiar with your gun, and are realizing that there maybe other things you'd like from it, perhaps areas where you believe it could be improved, or where your shooting experience can be enhanced in an area where your current gun maybe lacking.

As your shooting experience expands and grows, and as your life changes, your requirements for your guns will change. There is no such thing as the "perfect" gun, merely the gun best suited to a situation. Make sure that as your needs change, so does your equipment.

Read the article this piece is based on here


Friday, September 9, 2016

Is self defense the most important thing you ever invest in?

I am often asked "what is the best gun for my money?" Now there's a subject all of it's own!! Some guns are better at some things than others, for instance, would I conceal carry an 8" SW460? Conversely, If I were camping in bear country, would I pack my P238? There are so many answers to that question it makes my head hurt just thinking about it!

But what is the real answer? If I buy a $1400 Sig Sauer Legion, took it home, and locked it away, and never fired it, is that the best gun? Sure it's a valuable gun, but best? I would think that like classic and exotic cars, expensive guns are only of any use when they are used for what they are good at, and the person using them has trained to get the very best they are capable of from them. Most guns are capable of accuracies that far outweigh the abilities of a person to repeatedly hit the same spot, and I include the cheaper guns in that statement.

So the only difference in accuracy effective use is the ability of the person using that gun. And that is where the lesson is to be found. Having the right equipment is only the 1st stage in a process. It's great having a Ferrari F12, but unless you either possess a HUGE amount of natural talent, you will need training to avoid finding yourself a passenger on the way to the scene of the accident you can't avoid.

As you all know, I preach safety and the fact that I believe you should be prepared for reasonable eventualities at all times till you are all sick of me doing so! There is little point in having very expensive equipment if you have idea how to get the best from it, and don't then make that equipment available to yourself in a situation where you may need it.

There are tragic stories everyday of people being injured and killed in circumstances where even the most basic training would have stopped the tragedies. There was a 2 year old toddler wounded "playing with a gun" only last week.

Take the terrible events last night on the 51. Whilst all the facts are not yet clear, a woman it seems was chased across Phoenix by 3 guys in a truck, and SHOT as she tried to get away on the 51, in a moving car, and all this at 7.30pm! Perhaps some training in self defense and how to deal with being followed in in a vehicle and road rage would have helped?

If you don;t have a plan of how to defend yourself in a variety of situations, now is the time to sit down, and consider making one. Take the classes that we offer, and are out there. There's no need to goto work in a bullet proof vest, with a hand grenade in each pocket, nor do you need a 45 in every room, and steel doors on your house. Just a range of very simple precautions would help you to simply be prepared, and to be able to help yourself until professional help can arrive.

Don't want to waste money on it, because it will never happen to you, do you have a fire extinguisher in your house?

Think about it.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Do I need training?

In the words of a British soccer commentator, "it's a funny ole game". By game, I of course mean the firearms "game. Running a range like Caswells, you soon learn to expect the unexpected. From a customer returning to the store with his receipt from 1996 asking if his special order magazine had come in yet, to people pulling the trigger again in the hope the speeding bullet will clear a squib, we see a great many things that make us smile, gasp and sometimes even wince a little!

But, what is always a shock is the difference in views to training. We have all types of people that come here, but with training there tend to be 2 camps which most people fall into, namely "all" or "nothing" with little in between.

There is no compunction to take training, apart from basic training for the CCW, but is it a great idea to take no training? Lets see, if you were lucky enough to be given a McClaren P1, and were offered training at a fraction of the cost of the car, but that would mean you could actually get the best from it, would you do the training? I suspect you would.

Now think about a nice new Sig Sauer, best part of $1000, would you spend $100 on some training so YOU can get the best from your new and shiney Sig? I know I did when I first started to get involved in firearms.

But, even more important that getting the best out of your gun, safety. There are SO many tragic stories in the press of injuries and deaths from negligent discharge situations. A 2 year old toddler was wounded when a gun that HE WAS PLAYING WITH went off and wounded him in the leg. A man was shot in the neck a few weeks ago by his friend who was cleaning his gun in another room!

On the range, we are often critised for asking people to unload thier guns outside the store. But the case of a gunshop owner in Ohio who was killed by a customer taking in a class in another room, who suffered a negligent discharge with a gun that should not have been loaded serves as a warning and an explanation of why following such rules is essential for both customer and staff safety, we don't just make them up for fun.

What's the answer, ban guns, universal background checks, AR bans, ammo bans? Of course not. Training and good sense are the key. Guns do not simply leap up and shoot people of their own accord when they are bored on a Thursday afternoon, they have to be manipulated to make that happen. Children access bleach left in cupboards they can reach an drink it, with obvious consequences. Do we seek to ban bleach, no we try and educate people to store it safely. Would I be any more appalled to find a child playing with bleach or a gun I wonder..

Both are the result of poor decisions made by those responsible for keeping the child safe, and failing to do so. The guy cleaning the gun didn't follow the golden rules, clear any firearm you pickup, treat every gun as loaded. The student in the classroom broke the golden rule, no ammunition in a classroom

When we see attacks daily on guns and the shooting sports, don't give them an open goal to shoot at. Every one of the incidents I describe would have been avoided by following the most simple and basic gun handling routines, taught in in every class. Caswells runs classes from Family safety classes to the P300 class, and many in between, all of which can be found here on

Lets be safe and responsible, and don't give those who would ban your sport and your means of defending yourself and loved ones anything to throw at us. Lets see an end to 2 year old playing with loaded guns hurting themselves. The answer is in our hands!

Toddler shoots himself
Man shoots freind
Gunstore owner dies

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why France?

It seems to happen almost every week. An extremist attacks innocent women and children and their families in the places they go to enjoy their time off, and time together. What appalling and horrific acts, Paris, Belgium, Florida, Dallas and now Nice. No matter who the perpetrator, no matter what their ridiculous reasons, I simply cannot fathom the mind that thinks their cause will be furthered, their hatred as-waged, or their "god" pleased by such wanton slaughter of people just going about their lives.

And of course, after the Dallas massacre, the same tired and discredited people crawled from the woodwork to try and push their tawdry anti gun agenda while the media shines the spotlight once more on a tragic event.

Thing is, as you watch the coverage of Nice - an event I have to say that bought me to tears, a VERY rare occurrence - and the previous coverage of Paris and Belgium, the one thing that categorically links those appalling attacks is one very simple but obvious fact, guns are not available to the public in either country.

This one simple plain fact is, broadly speaking, left out of pretty much every newsfeed I have watched thus far. Why is this, why are people allowed on TV saying that gun control is the issue that must be tackled? As the POS in Nice has proved with appalling obviousness, you can do a LOT more damage and hurt a LOT more innocent people with a truck or as in Boston, with a pressure cooker.

But there are no calls to ban trucks or cooking implements, why, because it doesn't fit the gun control agenda. Twist it as they may, they simply have to concede that in the face of terrorism the like of which the US has never known, and on a scale even Europe has never seen, the answer is not what they would like it to be.

The answer is that the people perpetrating the act are what need dealing with, their motivations examined, and ways found to prevent their "success's" in the future. Unpalatable though it maybe, we simply have to profile the people likely to carry out these attacks as best we can, and take steps to ensure our safety.

RIP those killed in Nice, and the injured are in our thoughts.

Friday, June 24, 2016

How many world events can you pack into a couple of weeks!

Since my last posting it seems that there have been more world changing events than anyone could have thought possible! Florida seems to have been on the wrong end of fate a little to often, with 3 tragedies in quick succession. The presidential race continues unabated, events in the UK and and Europe seem to be taking the UK away from the EU, and perhaps closer to the US.

And as all this is happening, amongst the turmoil in the world, and huge issues being faced by leaders the world over, what to the leaders of this fine country do, how do they rise above the political in fighting and baiting? They decide to hold a sit-in!

That's right, a sit-in! Whilst there are those who want draconian action to stem sales of "assault rifles" (although their use in crime is actually minuscule) and others who would I am sure support a bill mandating their ownership, and people prepared to throw civilized debate, negotiation and compromise under the bus, and sit on the floor till they get their own way, there will never be any progress.

As you can no doubt tell from the posts in this blog, I am an ardent gun supporter, and a supporter of the right to own them, but even I realize that there are contradictions that could and should be addressed in the gun laws as they stand. Universal background checks is something that has been mooted on many occasions, and something which, if you accept that background checks for new firearms are acceptable, is very difficult to argue against.

And then we arrive at the current issue of no fly lists. I have to say that if someone has been placed on a no fly list it's probably for a good reason. I struggle to understand why if someone is deemed enough of a risk to be prevented from flying, they are somehow not enough of a risk to suspend their ability to purchase firearms. I understand that there is a constitutional issue surrounding due process, but I don't really see what the argument is if the person concerned is immediately offered an appeal in court, and was suggested by the republicans in congress.

Sweeping "we got to control guns and ban assault weapons" statements are ridiculous to the point of being childish. fact is that even if there was the will to 'ban' guns, there are simply to many out there, and the only ones handed in will be from law abiding citizens, leaving the vast majority in the hands of those who dream of an unarmed population.

We really need to get a grip of this argument, and find some ground where we can all agree. This 'debate' has dragged on for as long as anyone can remember, and it's time to actually find a reasonable solution.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Seems even the courts disagree with each other!!

So, we have the happy situation in that we live in Arizona, where the firearms laws are the least restrictive of any in the country. But will that always be the case? There have been some interesting and apparantly contradictory decissions by various state supreme courts recently that almost guarantee that the US supreme court will take up the matter of concealed carry in the not to distant future.

On May 17th, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon handed down a judgement that Washington DC police's requirment for "individuals to show “good reason” to obtain a permit to carry a firearm on the streets of the nation’s capital" violated the "“core right of self-defense” granted in the Second Amendment".

The judge based his ruling on previous case law from 2008, and it seems that the city, after a request to have the decission held was denied, are preparing an appeal. The original long standing ban on carrying any firearms in public was overturned by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr in July 2014. Subsequently, he issued a further opinion in May last year, saying the District’s recently passed “good reason” requirement still “impinges on Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment right to bear arms,” because it did not target dangerous people or specifically how or where individuals carry weapons.

And that would seem to have been that, or was it? Today we have a ruling that would seem to go directly against these prior rulings. In California (where else!!) a 7-to-4 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, overturned a decision by a three-judge panel of the same court. California law requires applicants to demonstrate “good cause” for carrying a weapon, like working in a job with a security threat, which would seem to be exactly the same position as Washington residents had found themselves in.

It would seem that some district courts do not agree with others, that people have a fundamental right to defend themselves. It seems that in states like California, you are only allowed access to proper self defence if you are ALREADY in danger, or are rich or important. Is that really what the 2nd amendment was/is all about?

In a wider context, it would seem that this issue is destined to arrive at the US supreme court in the not to distant future, raising another disturbing prospect. At the moment, the Supreme Court could spilt 4 vs 4 on this issue, and that would seem likely. But what happens after the election. If the democrats win in November, and appoint a more "progressive" justice, will they uphold the intent of the 2nd amendment as they have done by a margin of 1 vote in the past?

All this only becomes an issue of course if the state attempts to institute draconian CCW laws, probably unlikely in Arizona, but does that mean we should rest easy? I would suggest that sitting back and discussing how lucky we are, and how they suffer in California, we do something now to prepare for what I would suggest is an inevitable attack on your right to carry a concealed firearm in the not to distant future.

But the $64,000 question is what do we do? How can we protect our rights and the 2nd amendment? I would really like to hear your thought, what do YOU think we should do? 

Todays ninth circuit court ruling.

May's Washington ruling.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fair, who said life was fair?

Fairness, what does that mean to you? Interesting question with many answers, depending on a great many thinks. What is fair to 1 person, is an outrage to the next. Is it fair that if I get on a bus, I should give up my seat if an old person needs it, even if  - as will probably be the case - I paid more for my ticket? No, it's not fair, but it's probably the right thing to do. This logic extends to lines that people have been waiting in, even parking lots. But get it wrong, and there'll be hell to pay!!

And get it wrong they certainly seem to have managed in California! It would seem that California's draconian gun laws are only for the seething masses of unwashed. It would seem that whereas CA legislators suffering an issue need to be able to defend themselves immediately, you and I must simply use very strong language and exercise patience while the police wing their way to us, hot foot through the Los Angeles rush hour traffic. "But they are important people" I hear you cry.

That is of course true, but of all the rights someone should possess, surely the right to defend yourself is one of the most important? This extends to the rhetoric of the liberal left. Invariably, after a huge rabble rousing speech about the horror of guns and gun violence, you can watch the speaker being escorted from the building, flanked by armed guards a plenty. Are the general population somehow immune from violence that would fall upon the speech maker, to the point that they have no need to protect them selves in a similar way to those that would attack them?

Something else crossed my desk earlier this week that made me smile. It seems that local manufacturer Patriot Ordnance Factory, or POF has made "The Donald" an offer, via psychic medium, and videographer Ben Philippi  it seems he would he will be unable to resist! It seems that POF are willing to "put a free rifle in every guard tower" on the wall of Trump!!  Just some figures I am lifting straight from the article,

The wall would apparently have to be 3.5million yards long, so with towers 1200 yards apart, that's 2,917 towers. If we assume a POF AR15 comes in around $2k, that would cost POF a smidge under $6 million. Not a bad gesture!

With the NRA now also backing "The Donald", and it seems momentum building, what do you think lays in store for the shooting fraternity in the event of a ceremony ending in the words "here are the keys to the Whitehouse President Trump"?