On Tiger’s Team

Speak Out September/October 2018

Wanted to enthusiastically express how happy I am to see Tiger McKee writing the Tactics & Training column as a regular contributor. In my exposure to him, I’ve found him logical, articulate and always thought-provoking. Great stuff, in a great magazine! Keep it coming!

Wes Chapman
Via email

.44 Mag Loads

Thanks to all of you who make Handgunner what it is. Specifically to John Taffin’s “Everyday Workin’ Loads: The .44 Magnum” (Handloading, Sept/Oct 2016). At 74 years of age I’ve finally found my perfect packing pistol — a S&W Model 69. After about three years of experimentation I can make the 240 grainers to be the most accurate in my gun, but really couldn’t decide on a load. I liked 200-gr. bullets with 12 grs. of Unique, but due to conflicting load data manuals I avoided Unique with 240-grainers. I took John’s 10 grs. of Unique with Hornady’s 240-gr. XTP and used Winchester large pistol primers in Starline brass and I’m a happy camper! Now to order Oregon Trails 240-gr. SWC and use the rest of my H110 at 21 grs. (instead of my usual 24 grs.) for easy shooting loads!

Gratefully Yours.
Dick Saben
Via email

CVS Magazine Bans

I always read the Speak Out section first and noticed the letter from Larry Swickard describing his reaction to CVS stores’ decision to no longer sell gun magazines. I had the same reaction to 1st National Bank of Omaha’s decision to no longer be associated with the NRA charge card. 

I sent in my last payment to them along with a request to deactivate both my credit cards with their bank. I told them if they thought they were too good to associate with the NRA, then they certainly didn’t want to associate with me, since I am a proud member of said organization.

I wish more shooters would do the same thing. 

Yours is the best mag I have found on the subjects you cover; keep up the good work.

Joel Crabtree
Mendon, MI

More Sight Goop

Your article on sights was great (Insider, July/Aug 2018). But you know, you guys were using the wrong goop to make the sights white. Wite-Out is okay when it’s first applied, but it doesn’t hold up for diddley-crud — ask me how I know! Go down to the hardware store and get a bottle of Rustoleum white appliance touch-up paint. About the same size bottle as Wite-Out, except it’s a hard enamel for fixing scratches and chips on refrigerators and stoves. Don’t try doing application with the brush coming in the bottle. Get some inexpensive fine artist’s brushes (throw away when done), and be careful when you apply it. It’s pretty permanent when dry, so you gotta get it right the first time! I have it on my Star PD, and it has held up for several years now.

Clete Davis
Via email

Great idea, Clete, and thanks for enlightening us with your own goop. I’ll definitely give that a try and report back. I’ve used the stuff on appliances and you’re right, it’s tough, and stays put. —RH

What? No Magazines?

Several weeks ago I called the telephone number to renew my subscriptions to American Handgunner and GUNS. I had let ’em lapse by accident! It’s been awhile now, and I’ve yet to receive an issue of either — yet, but am counting the days. Like so many of your readers, I anticipate their arrival, read the table of contents and then “dive” right in. I re-read most articles multiple times and always get more each time I do. I enjoy hard copy versus digital because I flip back and forth through the magazine.

The new issues take their place on the arm of my chair, replacing the previous issues, which in turn replace the ones on my nightstand. The nightstand issues are usually little more than pieces of paper held together by a deteriorating binding! Like many others, I think your magazines are superior to all other magazines dedicated to firearms.

Doug Dolan
Chesterland, OH


So, I’m sitting in the library with this issue of American Handgunner on the floor in front of me, skimming the article headlines when I spot, “Sterling Hayden’s S&W” (May/June 2018).

Seriously? Sterling Hayden?

Great actor, wonderful person, fellow gun nut!

You guys never cease to amaze me with your incredibly interesting articles. As for Sterling Hayden, I believe he made a few movies? One I always loved was the Eternal Sea, a great movie. By the way, the article was excellent, extremely informative.

Thanks so much for dynamiting my memory — it needs it sometimes.

Hank Goettelman
Via email

League of Gentlemen

Each Thursday morning I have breakfast with six or eight gentlemen age 73 to 91 at the Senior Citizens Center of course. These men are known as the Gun Guys! They hail from North and South Dakotas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania etc. What we have in common is a love and understanding of firearms and shooting sports. You will not find a more patriotic group anywhere, too. We reminisce about Model Ts and As, old hunting and fishing trips, exchange reading material and just have a grand time. Their knowledge and experience in life and their humor is just outstanding. Roy that’s about it, don’t want to bore you! I hope everybody can find their own group — it makes for a better life.

Richard Zeller
Great Falls, MT

Little Lizzie

I re-read Connor’s article about “Little Lizzie” (Guncrank, March/April 2018), where he talks about why we carry. I wonder how many of us feel the same? The young couple across the street have two terrific little girls. They bang on their living room window sometimes to wave at me when I go to work early in the morning. If I’m outside, they want their folks to bring them over to see me or for me to go over there. Since my wife died a couple of years ago, they’ve invited me over several times for dinner. A nice young couple moved in next door last fall. The whole family was outside a couple of weeks ago and the little girl said she wanted to see Bob. They even asked me over for the last Thanksgiving. I’m blessed. And then there’s my granddaughters. All the girls have teddy bears from my wife’s collection. Connor is so right. How on earth could you not fight to the death for such precious ones?

Wherever he is or whatever he’s doing, I wish Connor the best. Keep his articles coming. Old or new, doesn’t matter.

I was just feeling a bit reflective this evening. Thanks for listening.

Bob Rogers
Via email

Bob, I think there’s plenty of us who feel the same as you. And I think we’re all in good company. —RH

Useless Talk?

It’s way past time your magazine gets past useless gun talk drivel and devotes serious effort in stopping gun control, otherwise you may as well rename your magazine — I Wish I Had A Handgun.

Florida for example, has eight million of its 20 million population as gun owners. We also have 1.3 million CCW. Yet, because of our fellow firearm owners’ “useful idiot apathy” you can see all the crap happening here. If this eight million did anything at all, gun ownership would be mandatory!

We can no longer carry these du-nutting gunowners and tolerate these parasites who just bring down our Second Amendment rights and freedoms. The NRA and GOA, etc., are already giving 110 percent, we need to make sure every gun owner carries his fair share — or just go use the range the Hillary-crowd will build for you.

Robert Johnson
Panama City, FL

There’s an old saying, “If the NRA had 20 million members, who would the next president be? Anyone they wanted …” —RH

Colt .32 Dreaming

Dreams are great, but people teasing you about your dreams can get aggravating! And Roy, you aggravated me! I’ve wanted a Colt 1903 for years, and the May/June 2018 issue had no less than three photos and mentions of this classic! One implies it makes a slim carry pistol (Carry Options). One states it’s a blast to shoot (“Non-Rimfire Fun Guns”). And one has John Moses Browning declaring it as one of three carry guns he would prefer (Guncrank Diaries).

Being aggravated can be a pointless stirring up of frustrated feelings, or it can goad one into useful action. Not one to wallow, I went out today and bought a 100-year-old Colt 1903. So now run as many items as you want featuring this .32 ACP semi-auto, Roy. Wave it under my nose three times an issue — I don’t care! I will smile contentedly as an owner of a beautiful, easy shooting, accurate and handy gun. I’m in the club. Thanks for the nudge!

Stephen J. Murphy
Via email

Cheetah Choice

I appreciated Clayton Walker’s mention of the Beretta “Cheetah” line in his article (“Non-Rimfire Fun-Guns”). My EDC is a Cheetah, chosen because I wanted a full-size gun in a small caliber. I can carry it all day comfortably, I can shoot it reliably with my weak hand (I have tendinitis in the other), and on top of all that it’s a beautiful and elegant handgun. Thanks for giving a great gun some well-deserved attention!

Karyn Simmons
Via email

Gun Ownership Direction

Roy, it’s been my pleasure to exchange several notes with you over the years, and I thank you for that. We seem to be on the same page, except for the minor unpleasantness regarding suspenders, but I think we sorted that out! I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, however, I’m concerned about the direction we’re going in relation to gun ownership. I’ve been fascinated by firearms since childhood, and I’m 74 now. I have no professional experience with them, except for a 3-year stint in the Army. I have every Gun Digest ever printed, and find as one reads from the mid ’40s through the present edition, there is a definite shift in emphasis from target shooting/hunting/reloading-load development — to self-defense and “combat” usage. I believe the trend is in response to overall societal changes in our country, rather than a change in interest by the shooting fraternity/sorority. Obviously, I have firearms suited to a variety of purposes, but sure as hell wish our interests were not fueled by a concern for our safety. Up until the ’60s firearms publications rarely printed articles on “combat use” and what mention of it there was, mostly occurred as an aside in a larger context.

Where this is all going I have no idea. This is a subject I’ve discussed with my fellow enthusiasts, and they are aware of the trend as well. I hope you don’t mind my blithering.

Not an “Operator” — just a shooter,
Nevin Holmberg
Via email

I think you’re spot-on with your assessment, Nevin. And frankly, it’s why we keep Handgunner and GUNS more “general” interest, with collecting, hunting, targets, history, tinkering, kids, safety, stories and more, offering just enough “Tactics & Training” to those who want to learn more. Many of you tell me you like to “escape” to our pages and appreciate we’re not “full” of doom-and-gloom gun-control hysteria, bashing you constantly with “operators” in sweaty tactical gear, or stomping our feet and banging trash can lids trying to create controversy just for the sake of it. That’s just noise, there’s already too much of it and it wears us all out. We’ll keep the fun coming — and just enough of the other stuff to keep us informed. —RH

Holster Malfunction

Many years ago I was at my local target range when two shooters told me a story they heard about some poor guy who had a holster “malfunction” while attending a recent training class. The guy was using some cheap crappy holster with a Velcro retention strap. While performing the first Tueller Drill of the day he couldn’t draw his gun out of the holster. He was summarily smacked in the head by the moving target as he was looking down helplessly at his still-holstered gun. As the story goes, the instructor calmly walked over, took out his pocket knife and proceeded to cut off the retention strap, while his classmates were overcome with laughter.

What the storytellers didn’t know was they were telling my story. Yup, I was that guy! I won’t forget what I learned in class that day. First, spend the extra money and buy a quality holster. Second, make sure it works with your specific firearm, not some “one size fits none” type. And lastly, practice to make sure it works — before embarrassing yourself at the range, or worse, when your life depends on it. As to my becoming a legend at that target range, they say it’s better to be known for something good or even bad rather than not be known at all. I respectfully disagree.

Tony Nista
Houston, TX

More 1903 Colt

Like you, apparently, I own a custom 1903 Colt. The work on mine was done by Karl Sokol. It’s a wonderful low recoil firearm, and the XS Big Dot sight with a rear express sight means I can actually use sighted fire when desired. I carry it, on occasion, in an IWB holster made by Ed Buffaloe. All in all, it’s a terrific package, and it’s neat to have a perfectly fine, working gun that’s 110 years old.

I use a Corbon hollow point in the chamber backed up by Fiocchi FMJ because the Fiocchi feeds wonderfully. Have you found a hollow point that reliably feeds? I’m about to buy some Magtech JHP and see how it does. I wonder if it will expand or if that even makes a difference with .32 ACP? Now the big question: Is your Novak Custom only a safe queen or is there a time you would carry it, say, in a primary or back up role of some kind? I try to make practical use of guns I acquire, and now that my Colt is customized I hate to relegate it to occasional range trips.

After reading magazines, one often feels a bigger caliber is always better — and to some extent that’s true. Or perhaps it should be that smaller can still be good (or okay at least) as long as it’s not much below .38 Special or .380? I sold my horse farm to retire to the beach so I no longer need a woods-walking gun or even a barn gun for snakes and other pests.

Robert T. Aulgur, Jr.
Via email

You’ve got a cool gun in that old Colt, and I recall that pistolsmith.

Mine is not a safe queen and I do actually carry it at times, but just around my property to give it a bit of exercise, using a Barranti slipper cross-draw. 

I hear conflicting thoughts on using high performance ammo in those old guns. If you’re going to do that, at least get a new set of springs, especially the recoil spring system. Those 80- and 100-year-old springs are simply too worn and will allow the gun to be battered, and worse. I’ve fired some numbers of HP .32s into gel and based on my own experience they don’t open reliably — or under-penetrate when they do. Since the only real thing you have with that gun would be penetration, I tend to carry mine with good quality .32 ball ammo. 

Buffalo Bore has an interesting load though, for the .32 ACP. But I hesitate to subject an old Colt .32 to this load. Then again, I suppose, since it’s a locked breech, steel gun, perhaps with new springs, I’m worrying too much. I think since there are more modern .32s out there, if I was determined to pack one, I’d opt for a newer gun, like a Kel-Tec P32 or something similar, if I were going to rely on it for protection. It’s like carrying a WWII surplus handgun for personal protection. Why take the risk if it’s failing due to age? 

As I said, I carry mine here just for fun, although a periodic grey squirrel falls victim to it if I’m real sneaky! Oh, and there’s those pesky dragonflies at the pond. Now there’s a challenge. —RH

Robar Rocks

I’m a long-time subscriber and think you put out a great magazine. Ted Yost did an article on Robar (Pistolsmithing, March/April 2018), and I must share my experience in dealing with them. I have a Remington Model 700 P in .308. I’ve lost count of how many rounds went through it. I sent it to Robar to have the barreled action accurized, the barrel cut down to 18″, NP3 coating as well as a bunch of other work they recommended. I received a phone call from Col. Blish when it was my turn for them to begin work on the rifle. He said my barrel was shot-out, and I needed a new one. He also told me the price (wow).

Might as well have it done right, so I said okay. One problem — he said there was at least a three-month wait. At this point my rifle was there for five months. But, he said he had some take-off barrels from other projects. People sent in brand new rifles to be re-barreled and at most they had a few rounds through them. He gave me the barrel for free. Talk about great customer service. The rifle came, and shoots unbelievable groups. Needless to say I will always be a customer. I also just had them build a Remington-barreled action in an AI stock and it’s amazing. Just thought you should know.

Sal Blando
Via email

Good Old Days

Remember back in the ’60s or ’70s when some (really loud) DC politician would proclaim if his/her bill passed there would no longer be a drug dealer on every block, no longer the danger of robbery to fund a drug habit, no longer drug lords fighting over territory to sell their goods and no longer the fear a family or friend would be found dead of an overdose?

How’d that work out for you?

Growing up I can’t think of a single boy — some girls — who, at the drop of a hat, couldn’t run home and return with a .22 or some shotgun. And, they knew how to unload them and use them safely. I remember riding across town at age 14 or 15 on my Cushman scooter to get Mr. Jim Clark at (Clark Custom Guns Inc.) to fix something on my .45 ACP Model 1911. One thing I don’t remember? I don’t remember sitting for hours playing video games where more people are killed than in “Saving Private Ryan.” If you sit long enough shooting big holes in real-looking people with real looking blood coming out, your little mind is going to start wondering which is real.

Gary Babb
Via email

Holster Hijinks

The restroom incident in a reader note not long ago about his gun falling out onto the floor, brought to mind another incident. A number of years ago I was an officer who responded to a tax service center. A contract officer had a call of nature. Prior to sitting, he took his weapon and placed it on the back of the toilet. When he finished he failed to replace it in his holster. It took him some time to realize he didn’t have it and spent more time looking before reporting to his supervisors. His supervisors then wasted more time before they advised us. My agency placed the center on lockdown and searched a good number of vehicles leaving. The gun was never recovered.

Patrick K. Ryan
Via email

That’s always something to think about when using a public restroom, and it’s one reason we always used to find a hospital or some “friendly” place for a break, when I was a cop. Most guys would take off their gun belt and hang it on the hook on the door in the stall. But I always hated not having the gun at-hand if you hung the belt up, especially using security holsters. They’re about impossible to get a gun out of unless it’s on the hip. I used to take my gun out of my duty holster, hang the belt, then “carefully” place the gun in my undies between my ankles while doing business. Can’t forget it that way, and — just in case — it was handy! I learned the trick reading about a WWII vet who used that “tactical” technique and a battlefield-find German Luger he had. It paid dividends once, allowing him to get the drop on a German soldier who thought he had just found an easy prisoner. Nope. —RH

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