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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