Unhand Her You Ruffian!

Speak Out March/April 2018

Unhand Her You Ruffian!

Loved that line in Roy’s last Insider (“Speak Softly And Carry A Cane,” Jan/Feb 2018). I see people sometimes complain because you guys stray from some baloney rule they make-up about “only talking about handguns.” I say that’s a crock. I always enjoy discovering what’s going to appear when I turn a page in Handgunner. You’re not predictable like most of the rags. Maybe boring’s a better word for them? Canes? Suspenders? Old dogs? New tricks? Bring it on! The rest of we “regular” people love it all! Hell, I wear a kilt sometimes, so I’m as crazy as you guys are!

Connor McIntyre
Via email

No Change?

I recently acquired a bunch of mid-1990s Handgunner issues and found, after reading the gun-rights sections and reader mail, not much has changed in the political arena. The anti-gunners are still using the same unsustainable arguments. Now, with the mass shootings happening once a week and the corresponding over-coverage in the instant media, they will probably stir up enough empathy to gain some traction. But the thing really standing out is the apathy of the gun owning public. There is still no common cause between shotgunners, hunters, recreational shooters and those who own and use guns for personal protection. There is still no real understanding we must all stand together, or we will all lose our guns together.

A perfect example of this just happened here in Virginia where anti-gun democrats took the statewide offices. The only way this can happen is because gun owners did not vote single issue pro-gun candidates in, or because they did not vote at all. Do the math folks. In this country various estimates place the gun count at around one gun for every person. Without having done the research I seem to recall of the people eligible to vote only about half do so, and of those — half vote Democrat and half vote Republican. If every gun owner in the country voted for pro-gun candidates, in just one election, gun control would become a dead issue. Anti-gun politicians would either be voted out, or change their minds. Pro-gun candidates would be voted in and the government would then be in control of supporters of the Second Amendment.

Politicians go where the votes are, and the laws they make are designed only to keep them in office. At a match here I recently asked how many of the 15 or so shooters belonged to Virginia’s preeminent pro-gun organization; the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Only two. I begged the others to join, offering to waive their match fees if they did. Only two said they would. Explain to me how this works? If my experience with this group of avid action pistol shooters is representative of gun owners in general how can we expect to win anything? How can we expect to keep our guns? How can we expect to still have a gun at hand when we encounter the next lunatic, or a burglar in our home? You may not believe in the goodness of government, but the vote is the only weapon you have in this fight.

Jeff Weiss
Forest, VA

Taffin And Keith

You editors probably know this — and many of your readers as well — but John Taffin is the Elmer Keith of his era. Taffin has no doubt fired more different sixguns than Elmer did and has fired more big-bore cartridges. Maybe hasn’t toppled over as many critters, but I could be wrong there.
Taffin is a sixgun-writer for the ages.

Nick Sisley
Via email

Blade Tech

I really enjoyed the article about Blade-Tech (Carry Options, Jan/Feb 2018). It got me thinking, I may have been one of Blade-Tech’s first customers! It was a kydex OWB holster for a Glock 17. Many more followed. Today I’m one of their most loyal because all those 1990s vintage holsters are still being used by me, my wife and kids! As our family evolved from the range to CCW the Klipt holsters and Eclipse mag pouches were added to our holster bins. I recently picked up a 4″ S&W 610 made in 1995. I was a bit worried about finding a kydex belt holster since it was obsoleted over 20 years ago. How foolish of me. When I called them, the nice customer service gent got me into a Signature OWB. Thanks for the great article and for the memories.

Ken Siverts
Glendale, AZ

Swing And A Miss?

Great magazine, enjoy it most every edition but just finished Venturino’s piece (“Pistol Caliber Carbines,” Nov/Dec 2017) and had to read it again thinking I had missed mention of Henry rifles. You owe those guys an apology. My Henry steel .357 carbine is light, fast, superbly accurate and American made. It out-shoots and out-handles many of my friends’ “other makes.” It’s easy to carry, swing and there’s no jams or jerky actions. I fully agree with the article’s premise and it’s why I bought the Henry. It’s also cheap to reload. Ask Duke to try again.

Steve O. Dunwoody
Via email

Steve, I shoulda’ put in a “Part 1” on that article as Duke made it clear he needed another article to “finish” things, as he put it. Henry is on deck as well as another company or two. Anthony Imperato, the president of Henry, is one of the nicest, decent and most pro-America Americans there are and it’s always our pleasure to cover his fine company’s products. There just wasn’t room this first-go-around! —RH

Walther PPK

I just saw your paragraph on the Walther PPK (Insider, Jan/Feb 2017). A couple of decades ago, I wrote a short thing on the PPK and even though I “knew” the “K” stood for “Kriminal” for some brain-flatulent reason I said it stood for “Kurz” when I wrote the article, setting off a mild chain reaction among Internet Experts. Now, years later, I find I was right. I’ll take “Right” even if I got there for all the wrong reasons.

Mike Cumpston
Via email

And …

I’m not sure which is more surprising, that there’s still an open question after all this time, or neither of the possible answers about the Walther name you’ve presented are correct. 

The late Peter G. Kokalis settled this (for me, anyway) in a review of the PPK in Soldier of Fortune back in the 1980s or early 1990s. According to Peter, the “K” in “PPK” stands for kriminalamt, which, literally translated, means “Office of Criminal Investigations.” More loosely translated, it means “detective bureau.” So the PPK was a shortened version of the PP created for plainclothes use. After all, who could possibly conceal a pistol as bulky as the PP?

The idea that “K” originally stood for “Kurtz,” and was then replaced with “Kriminalamt” doesn’t make sense. German is a formal, stilted language. It can take a long time to say anything in their language, so Germans tend to use little abbreviations for long words and phrases. This is how “Nazional Sozialistische Deutsches Arbeiters Partei” became “Nazi.” For this reason, I have a hard time believing they started off with something short and sweet like “Kurtz” and then traded it for “Kriminalamt” later. Sorry, but it’s not “Kurtz” and it’s not “Kriminal” — it’s “Kriminalamt.”

Now, can we get back to more important debates, like whether or not Glocks should really be called “double-action”?

Chris McKeever
Lake Elsinore, CA

Pete and I were old friends and since I’m half Greek, Pete used to hold it over me I was “… not the genuine article, but half will do in a pinch.” Pete, being 100 percent Greek, used to hold that against me.

He and I actually chatted about the Walther name a time or two. Pete tended to “decide” something was correct then bully anyone around him if they disagreed with him! This was one of those things, as he never did tell me where he got his info. “How can you possibly be right, you’re only half Greek?” But what you say makes pretty good sense too. I’m just sorry there are no “really, really old guys” still around who have first-hand knowledge of Walther in those days.
Now, about those Glocks… . —RH

Finding Home

In past issues you had two stories my life has sort of combined. One was “Pig Ugly,” about the H&R Model 999, the other was the “Roamin’ Pony” about a Colt having special meaning, but had strayed, then found its way home.

I bought the H&R 999 in the pic back in 1980 from a fellow sailor down in South Texas. The next year, I got orders to the USS Midway in Japan for three years. While on leave prior to my departure, I visited my oldest brother in Indiana and loaned him the gun. While I was gone, he moved to Montana. We stayed in contact through letters, email and phone calls, and while hunting and shooting were often discussed, little mention was made of the Sportsman.

A few years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away just over a year ago and I just had to go to the final service. While visiting with his family, one of his sons handed me the gun, saying, “Dad always told me this was yours, and insisted you get it back.”

I’d much rather have him around, but it is a way to remember him.

While it’s not pristine, considering the gun is just five years younger than I am, it’s not bad either.

Via email

Blowed Up Fingers

I enjoyed Will Dabbs’ article on the potentially disastrous effects of cylinder gap blast (“Explosive Charges,” Jan/Feb 2018). I wish he had put a hot dog adjacent to the cylinder gap. I know there’s not a one-to-one correlation between a hot dog and a human finger, but much like shooting a full can of soda with a .22, the results could have been very photogenic. Please publish a follow up article with hot dogs or anything else Dr. Dabbs believes is more life-like.

Donald Fleu
Ashland, KY

And …

Congratulations on Will Dabbs’ excellent article on cylinder gap blasts. They can, indeed, be interesting. Several years ago one of our local shady politicians learned the hard way. He slid his grip to far forward while shooting a big bore revolver and the blast at the cylinder gap took off the top quarter of his thumb. There is good and bad news here. The bad news is he lost part of his thumb. The good news is being a politician he has a good deal flat worm in him so I’m sure he grew the thumb back. Keep up the good work.

Best Regards to all.
Via email

Hal, there’s a Part II pending and Dr. Dabbs has assured me hot dogs will, indeed, give their lives for the cause. —RH

Gender Superiority?

I just read your column (“Speak Softly And Carry A Cane,” Jan/Feb 2018) and have an explanation for what happens to the male ass as we get older — gender superiority. As women get older their weight follows the Law of Gravity by going south to their posterior. Men, on the other hand, have their weight migrate north to the waistline thereby defying the Law of Gravity. This can only be explained by the male being the superior gender which can overcome the laws of both physics and nature. Feel free to share this explanation with your wife to improve her level of education whenever you have the urge to spend a night on the couch.

Bill Nunemaker
Via email

Bill, remind me never to stand anywhere close to you when there’s a woman nearby. I don’t want to be hit by any shrapnel or misses. —RH

Inflammatory Speech

I appreciate even the most inflammatory speech if it starts a dialogue, and to take matters a step further, the First Amendment protects speech with which we do not agree — a fact all too many Americans seem to forget in these troubled times. How can we possibly hope to learn from listening only to those who espouse ideas with which we agree? 

I read your magazines because I learn from them, and if on occasion I am challenged in my beliefs, or if my sensibilities are shaken, all the better. I don’t want to be surrounded by only my own ideologies, I want to experience as much as possible. I wish both sides of the fence felt the same. I too have felt the sting of harsh words when trying to introduce a closed mind to firearms. I have also seen eyes wide in surprise and glee when they squeeze off that first round of .22 I give all newbies. It truly is a wonderful sight. My 105 pound niece/baby cousin just starting college learned to shoot my Garthwaite custom gun when she was 15 years old, and 90 pounds soaking wet. She now begs me to bring it for range time whenever I am in town. Those moments matter. Those moments are why we must continue to reach out, and if we cannot convert the old, there will always be the young.

You have been doing this much longer than I, and perhaps I am a bit too optimistic, but like many of Handgunner’s readers, I’m a one issue voter. Firearms are the lynchpin of a free society, and I feel we must do everything we can to reach everyone we can, and if, as your own Alan Korwin says, liberals are discovering guns in fear of the current administration — all the merrier. Let’s show them how it’s done!

Camillus Robinson
Via email

Cats Like Guns Too

With all the fuss over whether or not cats should be in Handgunner’s pages, I submit my photo. I found the article on the S&W Performance Center autos interesting, although I had to get Lisa to help me with the page turning. The bright colors of the excellent photos tend to catch my eye and remind me of the bright plumage of the birds I watch from the window. I even enjoy the photos of dogs which appear now and again as some of my best friends are pooches and act like the ladies and gentlemen they are. I honestly don’t know what all the fuss is about. I’d think a welcome is due anyone who likes handguns, and their friends, families and we pets. Am I missing something here?

Lizzy The Kitty
Via owner’s email

Lizzy sort of “belongs” to Lisa, who does the great layouts you see in Handgunner’s pages. I figured being in our own “family” here, she rated a say in things. —RH

Missing The Mark?

I share Mike Callahan’s concern (Speak Out, January-February 2018) about American Handgunner’s recent drift in subject matter. His first example (“Grass Roots Grinds” praising Habilis Bushtools) was poorly chosen, since Handgunner has always accorded significant space to knives. But the touchy feely piece on cats… c’mon! Have you trained yours to hunt with you? Many other examples could have been cited.

To paraphrase and to quote your reply: But we aren’t just handgun enthusiasts. We have other interests and values. There’s “what we all do, love, like, wish for at times, …will to our children and much, much more.” 

Much more, indeed: no one is denying that. Some of us smoke fine cigars, appreciate French wines, lust after Victoria’s Secret supermodels, collect watches, enjoy gardening or play chess. Yet I don’t expect to see anything on those pursuits, however brief and digressive, in the pages of AH. But why not — given your argument? Can they not also can be part of the whole person?

I imagine your reply: “Well, yeah, but there are plenty of magazines on babes and bordeaux and, well, all that other stuff.” Yes, and that’s precisely my point. There are publications devoted to every conceivable niche passion — including cats. There are cable channels catering exclusively to their viewers’ taste for sappy sentiment and hoary nostalgia. Handgunner has its own mission and excels when it remembers what that is.

You attribute your lead over the competition to the fact you don’t just write about handguns; you involve the whole person. No, you’re leading in a tough market because you write about handguns (and other clearly related topics) better than the other handgun magazines. I hope you will continue to do so.

Robert Berg
Via email

Goodness Bob, you’ve brought up some excellent points. Right off the bat I can see I need to make some assignments. What is, indeed, the perfect gun to wear when gardening? The right cigar when shopping for a new handgun? I can see too, when playing chess, you might not want too much weight on the hip to distract your mind, but nonetheless, one can’t compromise personal safety just because they don’t want to be distracted during mental gyrations. I see cats out hunting all the time around my rural property here, and you bring up a very good point: Why are people not training to hunt over cats in the field? And lord knows, we’d need to study the right shotgun to use. I’d suspect muzzle blast might distract our feline friends, so maybe this is a perfect situation for a .410. I’ll get someone on it! I had no idea we’ve been neglecting these important topics! Oh, we’ll continue to write about handguns too, of course, and I appreciate your kind words on that. ­—RH

And …

Your reply to Mr. Callahan was dead-on perfect. I can get gun specs directly from the manufacturer’s website. Most other magazine’s articles are just lengthy ads. American Handgunner is something else. Here’s a true story. I subscribed to one of your competitor’s for one reason — Skeeter Skelton. One day out of the blue walking to the mail box I stopped in my tracks thinking “Skeeter is dead!” I got to the mailbox and there it was, I was right.

I lost interest in that magazine and let it lapse. I browsed other magazines, even subscribed briefly. Then I discovered Handgunner. Taffin, His Editorship, Connor and the others fill Skeeter’s shoes well. The stories and more are what make it appealing.

My only other magazine is NRA’s 1st Freedom, but that’s not for pleasure.
Via email

Poodle Shooter?

One of your vassals has gone astray and needs his leash tightened a bit. I am referring to Mike Venturino. In his recent article (“Pistol Caliber Carbines,” Nov/Dec 2017), he referred to the .30 Cal carbine as a “poodle shooter.” My roommate for the past six years is a standard poodle named Duke (after the great one — John Wayne). Should Mike decide to send M1 Carbine fire at my buddy, the return volley would be immediate and sustained! Now I just know this comment would not have seen print had it said “Australian Shepherd Shooter.” Naw, I ain’t really upset, but my Duke was when he saw that.

Also, “His Editorship’s” comment on the Cold Steel Cane came at just the right time. I’m afflicted by the gout monster periodically and was looking for a cane just this week. A Cold Steel order has been made.

Ray Pyeatt
Via email

Ray, tell your Duke Mike didn’t even say that! He said he’d likely be quoted by people saying it was a “poodle shooter.” He’s innocent. Call off the dogs! Let me know how you liked that cane. I just used mine yesterday. —RH


In 1999 I learned about the Hi-Point Carbines. Found one at the next gun show for $185 and bought it just out of curiosity. Surprisingly, it turned out to be a very useful little peashooter. Quite accurate out at 100 yards, and with the long barrel, brought typical 1,200 fps 9mm ammo up to around 1,600 fps. Suddenly, .357 power from a 9mm! One of the police magazines reviewed them with high rankings, and as they were so inexpensive, many small departments around the state started putting them in every squad. Same ammo as their duty weapon, but higher velocity, longer range, and much longer sight plane.

My buddy Callahan thought it was fun. Then they came out with the same gun in .40 S&W and .45 ACP. He bought all three, and I bought the .45. Triggers were terrible, but we found making a nice trigger was a simple matter of changing springs. We added large red-dot sights, and discovered they were serious combat guns. Callahan took his to the next steel falling-plate match, and cleaned it. Since there is no magnification on the sights, it’s easy to shoot with both eyes open, so the dot seems to float in mid-air. Put the dot on the target, pull the trigger and it goes away. We can clear the plate racks as fast as we can pull the triggers, and we both shoot pretty fast. A typical 230-gr. .45 ACP at 850 fps in a pistol exits at 1,150 fps, which flattens plates with authority and makes a one-hole gun at 50 yards. Low-cost fun for an effective little urban combat carbine.

Bill Dietrick
Pueblo West, CO

Downloaded .44 Mag.

I have a question for John Taffin. I just traded my 6” model 29-3 for a 4” model 29-2. I want to load down from my current load of 23 grains of H110 behind the Hornady 240-gr. XTP, to something around 1,000-1,100 fps with a 240-gr. hardcast. I’ll be using it as a back up load for hunting and being in the woods. I have some Unique, Bullseye, Accurate No. 9, H110, 4227 and 2400. For the velocity I’m looking for can I use large pistol primers or do I need magnum large pistol primers? Any load and primer recommendations would be appreciated. I’m an Idaho teacher myself, just as John used to be (Post Falls High School). As always I love American Handgunner and Guns, my two favorite reads.

Mel Westlake
Post Falls, Idaho

I checked with John, Mel, and he recommended ten grains of Unique, with no magnum primer needed. That’s actually my “a bit stronger” load I use for close-in hunting around here. My “shoot to have fun” load for my .44’s tends to be more modest at eight grains of Unique, giving about 800 to 850 fps depending on the gun used. —RH

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