J-Frames Rock

Speak Out May/June 2018

J-Frames Rock

S&W J-Frames are near and dear to me, and what’s in my latest issue but tips from His Editorship on how to shoot them better (Insider, Mar/April 2018)! While some magazines write about revolvers, it’s always the same stuff — predictable and boring. But you guys always manage to drum-up new and interesting ideas to help keep round guns pertinent. So glad you’re listening to what your readers like! Viva Sixguns — even if they only hold five shots!

Oscar Novanti3
Via email

S&W J-Frames are near and dear to me, and what’s in my latest issue but tips from His Editorship on how to shoot them better (Insider, Mar/April 2018)! While some magazines write about revolvers, it’s always the same stuff — predictable and boring. But you guys always manage to drum-up new and interesting ideas to help keep round guns pertinent. So glad you’re listening to what your readers like! Viva Sixguns — even if they only hold five shots! Oscar Novanti3 Via email

My first J-Frame was a Model 36 in 1969 and is currently a safe queen. I’ve acquired several 442s and 642s over the years too. I used them as backup when volunteering as an SC State Constable, and in various city and county agencies. I’m 6 feet and 155 lbs. so don’t have a lot of acreage to hide a concealed gun, but ankle and IWB models work just fine. I also swap out “carry rounds” for snakeshot when on the property bush hogging and clearing. One gun does it all!

Ken Uschelbec
Via email

Your recent back page item on the accuracy of S&W J-Frame revolvers hit me in a soft spot. I have dozens of happy memories of accurately shooting J-Frame guns. Many years ago I was a competent NRA bullseye shooter with a clear understanding of the basics of sight picture and trigger squeeze. Understanding the basics and applying them are often entirely separate events though! Once when I was shooting with a Marine friend, he saw a 2″ Model 36 in my shooting box and asked what it was good for. I loaded it with five standard factory 158-grain RNL cartridges, and, for once, demonstrated a clear understanding and application of basics. I shot a 50-3X on a NRA 25 yard target. He was appropriately impressed. Heck, I was impressed too!

My personal favorite J-Frame for an all around handy gun is an old Model 36 with 3″ heavy barrel, round butt, and Pachmayr Compact rubber grips. It’s easier to shoot accurately than a 17/8″ gun, chronographs about 60 to 100 fps higher, and the Pachmayrs help manage recoil, something my now aged hands appreciate.

Marshall Williams
Via email

This gives me an idea. Send us a picture of you and your favorite J-Frame (or any small frame revolver you like) — and you get extra points if you include your dog or cat or favorite animal too. Kids count too. We’ll run ’em on our Facebook page. Find us at [email protected] and make sure to include your name, the names of the pets and why a small frame revolver is one of your favorites. Just remember to be safe when you pose! —RH

Bulldog .44

In a recent issue I really enjoyed the article on Charter Arms Bull Dog revolvers (Taffin Tests, Nov/Dec 2017). I purchased a .44 Bulldog Special with the 3″ barrel about three months ago and promptly took it to the range, firing five rounds single and double action. I got a fair 4″ group. The next five rounds I fired single action a bit closer at about 12-15 feet. When I pulled my target back I covered my 5-round group with a quarter! I don’t shoot that well! Needless to say I was amazed. I promptly put it in my holster and put my .45 1911 in the gun safe!

Dave Study
Via email


I wanted to thank you and the full staff at Handgunner for doing such a great job with your magazine. It’s by far my favorite publication, and I always look forward to my “friends” coming for a visit to talk about guns. You’ve been directly responsible for expanding my knowledge and enjoyment in this exciting hobby. Probably to my wife’s dismay at times, I’ve come to reload, explore less popular cartridges, and am now “tinkering” on my own guns. I completed my first full AR build this year in .458 SOCOM, plus I’ve been learning to work on the 1911 with an eye toward building my own in the future. Thanks so much for the encouragement to try something new — and keep the gun crank info coming.

The Hi Power has started to get my attention. I can’t remember actually seeing one in person, much less handling one, but it wouldn’t be the first gun I’ve decided I must have before handling one. I’d love to see a comprehensive article about them, especially one leaning toward modifications and improvements. Being a lefty, ambi-function is necessarily important, plus I’d like to do as much work as I could to it. Recommended reading would also be appreciated. Thanks for your time and sharing your knowledge with all of us.

Wallace Hutchins
Roxboro, NC

Thanks for your kind words, Wallace, and I promise we’ll keep the guncrank stuff coming! While we tend to cover the Hi Power now and again (check out the Nov/Dec 2017 cover story on the Nighthawk Custom Hi Power), a good article on customizing them is in order! We’ll make it happen. ­—RH

We The People

Removed the latest issue from the mailbox today (Mar/April 2018) and was immediately struck by the cover photo of Sig Sauer’s We The People 1911. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, and the unusual finish on that gun sure appealed to me. So much so I began to read Dr. Will Dabbs’ feature article as I walked the driveway back to the house — in sub-freezing temperatures, no less! Apparently this latest limited edition from SIG is to honor America’s history, our military’s defense of our US Constitution as well as the spirit of patriotism in this country from its very founding. From the looks of it SIG has done a magnificent job.

Dr. Dabbs’ article was heavy on history — SIG’s as well as that of the US — and I have no complaints as we can use a good shot of patriotism about now. In describing the specific features of this gun lending themselves to the very theme of the design, Will overlooked a prominent one. The number of combined stars on the two grips total 50. Nice touch SIG.

Bill Burr
Via email


Massad Ayoob makes a point about politicians and the LEOSA carry privilege (Cop Talk, Mar/April 2018) for retired law enforcement officers being the same ones screeching against nationwide gun carrying. The reason I’m writing is I’m unsure if this issue actually should be nationwide or leave it to the states to decide. I certainly agree nationwide would be best, but suppose we got a demon in for president as Obama was and lost the congress and senate as well. Couldn’t this group revoke all our rights to carry, nationwide? At least in leaving it to the states we have some right to carry. Again, I do agree with nationwide carry, I just worry about another president like Obama, and we already know how most democrats think.

Roger Estes
Arlington, VA

I got this from Mas, Roger: “Should HR 38 (national reciprocity) pass, the worst a hostile White House/House/Senate could do in the future would be to pass legislation rescinding total reciprocity, which would essentially do nothing worse than to leave us back where we are now.”

Gun Rights

Just a short note to give a pat on the back to Mr. Alan Korwin and the accuracy of his Gun Rights article (“From My Cold Dead Fingers!” Mar/April 2018). I was one of many service members who deployed to St. Croix USVI as part of the relief efforts after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. I was a crew member on my beloved UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, sent by order from the National Guard Buereau from the Kentucky National Guard

Getting to the point, when things get really bad, bad guys are everywhere. Only armed citizens, business owners and merchants who provided their own “lethal threat level” of security were not looted by rogue members of both local law enforcement, the USVI National Guard, as well as the island’s prison escapees. Those citizens and merchants who could not provide their own armed security were completely at the mercy of thugs and thieves. Some of these dirtbags just happened to be in uniform.

Here is an inconvenient truth you can count on. Corruption spreads like wildfire when things get really bad, and you can only count on your own moral strength and tactical assets to protect life and property. Lessons learned, personally.

Marc Morganti
Via email

And …

Alan’s article “My Cold Dead Fingers! Does ‘Bullets First’ Still Apply?” raised the question we all need to consider. Although I’m not Jewish I can understand why the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership issued a press release stating, in part, “ … forcibly disarming the public … should be met with armed resistance …”
JPFO has merged with the Second Amendment Foundation, which I support. In addition, in my research, I read firearms owners can be identified via Form 4473 which is the form filled out when purchasing through a retailer, and gun owners can also be identified via our CCW permits.

Having thought about armed resistance of National Guard and other police personnel, my thoughts are also of the innocent father or mother who might not go home to their family because of a simple law change. I also think about protecting my own family should such an order to disarm be issued. Do we stand by — or not? Hopefully, I never have to find out how I will meet the challenge, as I too have family/friends who could be those in uniform.

If they come to disarm us, they will be organized. What about us, the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, GOA and the other organizations? Now is the time for these organizations to determine if we are to resist or roll over. Now is the time for the NRA, SAF and others to state whether they will meet an order to disarm with resistance, or are they too just “paper tigers?” Tough questions, all.

Cy Aures
Hooksett, NH

I’d like to think it will never happen here, and I don’t just mean a call to disarm. Fears of “big” government are rampant today and I’ll confess I spend time carefully watching for political power-grabbers to show their hands. When they do, it makes all of us — with the blood of our founding fathers still running in our veins — pause and wonder what is next, and is it time to draw that line in the sand? Robert Heinlein said, “A man should put his clothes and weapons where he can find them in the dark.” Let’s see how dark it gets. In the meantime, I’m putting no small amount of faith in my fellow man, especially those in uniform, to do the right thing. ­—RH

Holster Importance

A few years back I acquired a Keltec P3AT. The only holster I had fitting was, shall we say, just a tad loose. But the pistol was small, light and easy to carry and conceal. We were touring one of the northwestern states and stopped at a tourist convenience site with a nice overlook. It was well visited and had large restrooms. Yes, my permit was valid there.

As nature called, I went into the first stall and started to sit down. Just as I did this my pistol got caught and popped out of the holster, banged against the back wall and skidded forward out under the door.

Just at that time a tourist bus had arrived and the restroom filled with Japanese tourists. My pistol skidded out under the door into the line waiting at the urinals. I quickly followed with my pants down around my knees, or perhaps a bit lower. I quickly grabbed my gun which was between one gentleman’s feet and said something like “Sorry I dropped my phone.” I dashed back into the stall and waited for most of them to leave.

Had I had a decent holster this would not have happened, and you can be certain all my holsters have had a proper fit ever since. That was probably one of my life’s most embarrassing moments and an extremely good lesson.

I love reading your magazine, especially the holster articles, as you might expect.

Bill Hineser
Arvada, CO

Bill, I gotta’ say, I’m sure we all appreciate your honesty with this! I’d just love to know the conversations which went on in the bus later. Can anyone top Bill’s little adventure? If so, let me know! —RH

From The Bench

I enjoyed reading about your welding-milling operation on the .32-20 S&W in your column (Insider, Nov/Dec 2017). I felt a bit threatened because I thought I had the corner on that level of precision work. I have just enough equipment and skill to do work I only show to indiscriminate friends or people who are afraid to say what they really think about my work. So, I’m pretty sure I can learn from you. I enjoyed the piece and I hope you continue to write up similar efforts. 

I collect old steel handguns, some new ones, and everything in between. I’m currently finishing a full length stock for a Greek Mannlicher in 6.5 X 54, and I have another I’ll start on next year. I also have just about everything between a .204 Ruger and a .375. My wife says “Go for it, but don’t say anything when I buy another pair of shoes.” We have a deal in that regard.

James Newman
Hayward, WI

James, trust me when I say my box is full of “adventures from the bench” and I won’t run out of random bits of ephus I can toss out there for the critical public eye! I applaud anyone’s efforts with a file, and challenge those who judge to show us their own work, eh? In the meantime, if you do the Facebook thing, find us at www.facebook.com/americanhandgunner where you’ll find a few more of my, um … er … adventures! —RH


Wanted to let you know I did the Ruger recall on the early Mark IV .22 autos and it was fast and easy. Call them, they send a box, and turn around was one week. Simply amazing service in today’s increasingly impersonal world!

Bill Faschele
Via email

If you need to know, the number to call is (800) 784-3701. If you have an early production Mark IV (the one with the one-button take-down) give ’em a call and have your serial number ready. You can also go to www.Ruger.com/MarkIVRecall and sign up. —RH

What You Carry

I reread the article on what you folks carry (Mar/April 2016) and was struck by the fact not one of you carries a backup using the same caliber and magazine as your primary gun. Then if “diplomacy fails” and your firearm malfunctions you still have that mag/ammo from the malfunctioning firearm available for use in your backup if need be! Perhaps an article updating your carry options to something like a G17/26, etc. is a good idea? What other options are out there like this from Sig, etc. for the two-is-one crowd? Having said that I admit I only normally carry a single G42 and a spare mag. I augment it with two Benchmade folders. My wife being a retired paramedic/LEO carries essentially the same G42. So we back each other up and I travel with my own paramedic! We chose these guns for us because she is 5’10” and 120 lbs. so she finds it very hard given current female fashion to conceal anything much bigger! Yeah I too said I’d never carry a .380 but with the extra grip length from the Pearce extension this thing shoots accurately 25 yds with no problem.

Jac Elder

I think the trouble (other than with a .380) is a “back-up” using the same mags as the primary gun is still a pretty big gun. Like the “big and little” Glocks, the “little” one ain’t that little! Also, in over 24 years of being a cop, I’ve never heard of two cops swapping ammo or something like that. And I’ve never heard of anyone, ever, needing to use their “primary” gun ammo for a back-up gun or vice-versa. The vast majority of personal defense shootings don’t need a reload (as a matter of fact, I can’t think of a “citizen” type defensive shooting requiring a reload but will ask Mas), so I think simply having a back-up already puts you miles ahead of someone who doesn’t. I’m honestly more concerned with my primary gun going down (breaking) than running out of ammo. I always carry a reload for my primary gun and usually a reload for the back up too.

Some may say paranoid, but I like to say “careful” is all.
My own wife is also a retired cop and if someone tries anything, I know for a fact I’ll get knocked out of the way by her since she’ll want the first go at the bad guy! —RH

SIG Ammo

I really enjoyed editor Roy’s feature on the SIG ammo factory visit (Mar/April 2018). While we shooters often assume the process of how things are made, I confess it was interesting to see just how “hands-on” it is, even with ammo. I expected banks of machines clanging away and someone at the end stacking the full boxes. But indeed, it seems it’s labor intensive and there’s even a certain level of craftsmanship going into it at every level. I’ll carry SIG ammo with confidence since I’ve seen the care and attention given to it in production by real people, who seem to genuinely care.

Karla Wainright
Via email

Face Blast

Just wanted to add my own accolade to the excellence of American Handgunner. Every issue is eagerly read cover to cover and I thoroughly enjoy every writer’s contributions. I would like to ask for someone to deal with shooting techniques, especially with small handguns carried for self-defense. These are probably the most difficult firearms to shoot well and are arguably the most important. I would also hope for someone to take a look at the Kahr firearms. I grew up shooting DA revolvers and I love the Kahr’s trigger. I would also like some discussion on after-market combat sights.

I’m a bit late responding to Dr. Will Dabbs’ article on cylinder gap gasses and what they can do (“Explosive Charges,” Jan/Feb 2018). A few years ago at a range on the outskirts of Los Angeles I was at the shooting lane loading a magazine as I recall, when suddenly the world went searing black, red hot and very loud. When I could recover enough to look up, I was looking at the right side of a huge Ruger Redhawk angled across in front of me. The jerk in the lane to my left had just fired across in front of me toward someone else’s target off to my right, and the cylinder gap gas had burned a red mark across my face. Before I could back away, he did it again. All I could do was stagger back to a bench and sit down for the couple of minutes it took to recover. Before I could address the culprit, he left so I never saw him. To this day I don’t know who he was, but I sure can testify to the truth of Will’s article. And it’s not the first time I’ve felt the burn of someone’s thoughtless gun handling.

Richard Duree
Via email

Richard, we often cover small guns (check out The Insider, Mar/April for an article on shooting J-Frames), accessory sight options and yes, even Kahr autos but I’ll make a couple of specific assignments on a couple of topics you’re asking about. Keep your eye open for them down the road. It also sounds like you dodged a serious injury on that close encounter with the Redhawk and the idiot next to you. What on earth was he thinking! And thanks for your effusive kind words too. It’s always good to hear we’re plodding along in the right direction! —RH

Happy Handgunner

Given crazy workloads at my new firm I seem to have let my Handgunner subscription lapse. I did receive the Jan/Feb 2017 issues and I brought them with me on my Hawaiian holiday this week. I’ve spent the past few days reading each magazine cover to cover. It reminded me why I feel such an affinity to you and your writers (particularly Messrs. Venturino, “Connor” and Dabbs). But what prompted this email, and my decision to sign up again for a three-year subscription was your measured response to a reader’s email in the May/June issue on pages 15/16. I continue to find your approach and attitude as an honest and thoughtful journalist to be quite remarkable. You referred to yourself as “genuine” in your reply to the reader and I could not agree more. That response alone made me decide I needed to support your efforts financially (even though the Canadian subscription price is threefold the US price, LOL!).

I’m also doing what I can to support your advertisers. This week after reading advertising in the magazine I have purchased a Ruger Mark IV Target, a CED Pocket Pro II, a CRKT M16 knife and a Crimson Trace green laser for my Sig P226. 

And so this is an attorney’s long-winded way of thanking you for the strong and responsible contribution you and your staff are making to the industry and culture. I will not let my subscription lapse ever again.

Alan Rudakoff
Via email

American Handgunner ® welcomes letters to the editor. We reserve the right to edit all published letters for clarity and length. Due to the volume of mail, we are unable to individually answer your letters or email. In sending a letter to Handgunner, you agree to provide Publishers’ Development Corp. such copyright as is required for publishing and redistributing the contents of your letter in any format. Send your letters to Speak Out, American Handgunner, 12345 World Trade Dr., San Diego, CA 92128; e-mail [email protected]