Keep Your Eye on the Sights

Check Your Sights

Paul Huebl used this image of his .41 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 57
to get Insider’s attention — and it certainly did!

My longtime pal Paul Huebl, whose harrowing story was detailed by American Handgunner’s Massad Ayoob back in the July/August 1990 installment of “The Ayoob Files,” is something of a character with a fondness for the Smith & Wesson Model 57 N-frame revolver.

Recently, when I declared on social media that people should use images of themselves instead of pets, actors or cartoon characters, Huebl provided an image of his .41 Magnum sixgun. He does this to get my goat. But when I looked closely at the image, it appeared the front end of his adjustable sight base was slightly elevated. I sent him a message encouraging him to check the tightness of the screw that is supposed to hold that end down.

His response came immediately. “You’re absolutely right, 3/4-turn loose!” The exchange was followed up by a great telephone conversation during which we went from talking about my keen eye to his legal nightmare that began on the night of Oct. 18, 1987 in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

A former Chicago cop, Huebl had moved to the Grand Canyon State where he made more money as a self-employed process server. Long story short — Ayoob’s rendition is a superb read even now, more than 30 years later — Paul was confronted by a guy who didn’t want to be served. There was a physical altercation, during which Huebl was struck on the head with a Colt Government Model 1911, and fearing for his life, pulled his own .38 Special revolver and shot the guy four times out of five rounds fired.

Huebl was charged but exonerated at trial and he’s enjoyed a rather interesting career in the years since working as a private investigator. The man he shot survived, and according to Ayoob’s report, found himself on the wrong end of a perjury investigation.

This is how the front end of a Smith & Wesson N-frame rear sight should look.
The retention screw is down and tight.

Tight Is Right!

Paul and I dearly love the Model 57 with its decisive stopping power, often stunning accuracy (my 4-inch specimen stoked with handloads can be used to roll a tin can around at 25 yards and beyond all day long) and their beautiful classic lines.

His is a first-run model with the recessed chambers and pinned barrel, while mine doesn’t have the recesses or a barrel pin. But what the heck, it’s a .41 Magnum and that’s enough. The N-frame S&W with its hammer-mounted firing pin, no internal lock, 4- or 6-inch barrel and ramp front sight with red insert is simply awesome.

The downside of some of these early guns, and nowhere near all of them, is that they sometimes have this problem of the sight screw backing out. I saw one at a gun show with that affliction, and another time a guy was shooting one on a range next to me and it popped out. You cannot find that tiny screw in the gravel.

For the record, the screws on my S&W handguns have never loosened like this, and a tiny application of blue Loctite will normally prevent it from happening.

Notice how the forward base of the rear sight fits flush to the frame.
Even a slight rise should get your attention.

If you’ve got a handgunner on your Christmas gift list, buy a small flathead screwdriver and a small tube of blue Loctite and there’s your stocking stuffer!

Just remember that shooting full house loads from any handgun with this type of adjustable sight puts a lot of stress on every screw and maybe even a pin. Not to worry, as I know guys with big S&W handguns who have put countless numbers of rounds downrange and their wheelguns are still stroking along.

There’s a well-known video on YouTube featuring a guy shooting the late Elmer Keith’s everyday carry gun in .44 Magnum before it was auctioned to some fortunate collector. The bluing was worn along the barrel, but at about 10 yards, that gun produced a remarkably tight little group with which any shooter would be delighted.

Virginia Caravan Rally

Last January, the Virginia Citizens Defense League paid a visit to the legislature in Richmond and brought along about 25,000 of their closest friends.

This was a courteous but furious bunch, protesting Democrat plans for massive gun control, and the newly installed Democrat majority made much of it happen, apparently forgetting they must run for re-election. Old Dominion voters will administer some payback in November 2021 when the Assembly elections are held, but next month, the annual Lobby Day will have an interesting twist.

According to a VCDL advisory, the group could not get a permit for a rally at the Capitol. Anti-gunners grabbed the dates first, but that’s not going to deter Virginia’s gun owners. Instead of gathering at the Capitol, “VCDL’s lobbying effort on January 18 is going to consist of thousands of vehicles in four major caravans coming from the corners of the state and all of them headed to Richmond!”

Philip Van Cleave says Virginia gun owners will drive to Richmond from
all four corners of the Commonwealth to show they can’t be deterred.

There is more to the story, so Insider reached out to Philip Van Cleave, VCDL chief, who said anti-gunners signed up for the available dates even before this year’s January demonstration. His reaction is that maybe they unwittingly did gun owners a favor because with continuing COVID-19 restrictions, the planned caravan event will be the only way to bring activists en masse from all corners of the Commonwealth.

Van Cleave bluntly stated the other side is “playing dirty pool every way they can.” So, he quipped, “We decided to try something ‘more bullet-proof.’”

Ever see a city in complete gridlock, with traffic jammed and streets full of vehicles loaded with gun owners determined to make an impression? That’s not what Van Cleave and VCDL intend. Instead, he’s going to try timing the arrival of the four different caravans so they keep the traffic flow going steady. It will be impossible, he acknowledged, for bystanders to not know who all of these motorists are.

“Obviously we want as many vehicles as possible in each caravan,” VCDL said, “but we are looking at having some ‘decked-out’ buses (‘wrapped’ with pro-gun messages) for those who simply cannot drive, but still want to be part of this incredible event.”

Gun owners in the Commonwealth are a determined bunch. They will improvise and overcome and send a message to lawmakers in Richmond, and maybe beyond the state borders.

And here’s how that will be possible: Van Cleave said the event is going to be lived-streamed over social media. So, plan on watching something remarkable on Jan. 18, over a four-hour period, that could rock Richmond.

Bet Nobody Saw This Coming

Out in Seattle, a city so far to the Left that it might tip over into Elliott Bay at some point, the radical city council and mayor debated for several months about slashing the police department budget while anarchy spread and more than 100 commissioned officers left to go elsewhere.

About the same time the council passed this budget, cutting 18% from the department, Fox News reported the city’s murders had skyrocketed. At the time, about 10 days ago, there had been 55 murders — virtually double the number from all of 2019.

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms — headquartered in nearby Bellevue — raked the city for its anti-gun policies (which are being challenged in court) and called for several gun control measures to be scrapped.

It’s the most murders the city has experienced in more than a decade. During that period, the city adopted a special tax on gun and ammunition sales to fund efforts to reduce “gun violence.” Then the city enacted a “safe storage” requirement to prevent “gun violence.” Seattle is home to a billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying group that pushed through two extremist initiatives. The first established so-called “universal background check” requirements for all gun transfers. The second prohibits young adults from buying or owning “semiautomatic assault rifles.” Both measures were pandered to voters as crime reduction tools.

Yeah, that sure worked.

Surprise Of A Lifetime

Pennsylvania has more than 1 million active concealed carry permits, and one of them was put to good use Nov. 29, according to Fox News and KYW-TV.

Philadelphia has racked up more than 450 homicides this year, so when a 53-year-old unidentified armed robber strolled into the Wingstop takeout restaurant, there was no telling what might transpire. That is, until a legally armed private citizen walked into the middle of the 10:30 p.m. stick-up and did what many a good guy has done before.

The heroic armed citizen, according to published reports, was chatting on his cellphone as he came through the door. Immediately, the suspect allegedly aimed his gun at the unfortunate 20-something fellow and demanded that he surrender the phone. Instead of cancelling his call, the good guy cancelled the bad guy’s ticket. One shot put the perpetrator down for the count, according to WPVI News.

The armed customer remained at the scene, cooperated with investigators and, according to Fox, likely will not face any charges.