Josh Montgomery: Top Elements to Consider When Looking for a Good Pistol.


So, it’s your first time buying a gun, but you don’t know what to look for and you feel overwhelmed. That’s normal, but choosing a handgun is actually not that hard if you consider some key factors. There are a lot of things to take into consideration, each of them contributing to the functionality of the gun itself, as well as how you will use it.

Guns are not toys, and this means that you can’t just easily pick one and start playing with it. They need to be carefully chosen and handled, so safety is ensured. So, if you don’t know what to look for in a good pistol, here are some tips to help you throughout the choosing process.

  1. Quality

Quality is one of the most important aspects when choosing any type of item. You want something that works properly and doesn’t pose any type of danger.

When it comes to handguns, the price rule could apply, depending on the model. That being said, it’s a case of “you get what you pay for”. If you buy a very cheap one, you might end up having issues with it later on, which is not something to long for. After all, it’s an object that’s meant to offer you protection, not cause you trouble. Also, why spend money on an unreliable firearm that doesn’t help you feel safe when you could spend more and end up with a high-quality one?

Generally, a good quality gun is around $500. If you think that a gun would make you feel much safer in your household, then you should really consider spending money wisely. Trying to protect your life with something cheap that barely works may only end badly on your behalf.

  1. Purpose

This aspect should be self-explanatory, as you must have a good reason for purchasing a handgun in the first place. Is it for self-defense, or because you want shooting to become a hobby? Regardless of your answer, this could help you choose the right type of gun only based on what you want to use it for. Therefore, make sure you have a clear picture of it in your head.

  1. Smooth Trigger

The trigger of the gun is really important, mostly because it needs to offer you control and accuracy when you shoot. Having said that, it’s relevant to have a trigger that’s smooth enough to make you feel in control.

Therefore, a smooth trigger can only help you shoot better in case of an emergency, not being in your way or making you feel unsure.

  1. Caliber

Each gun has a certain caliber, and it all comes down to what you’ll be using the gun for. As such, don’t expect a handgun to have the same caliber a hunting gun would have. For instance, if you only want a handgun that fits your pocket and will be used for safety only, you will look for a .380. Conversely, if you want something to accompany you when hunting, you should look for something bigger, like a .45ACP caliber gun. As you can see, it all comes down to the purpose of the weapon.

  1. Thumb Safety

Safety is an important factor when you’re looking for such a dangerous item, which is why you shouldn’t overlook the thumb safety either. It may feel way more comfortable to have a handgun with a mutual thumb safety as opposed to a trigger one. This all depends on the person, though, so it’s not a rule.

Therefore, regardless of the features that your weapon comes with, you should always remember to pay attention to the safety features. It contributes to the way you use the gun while reassuring you that you and those nearby will be safe in any situation.

  1. Grip Size

The grip is one of the most important factors too because you can’t just go with the first handgun you set your eyes on. It needs to have a grip of the perfect size, so you can operate it properly.

The only way to choose the perfect grip is when you actually pick up the pistol. It would be hard to know any other way. It’s one of those things that you are only able to discover once you experience them.

Basically, if the gun fits in your hand just right, then the grip is perfect. You should also know that there are handguns with replaceable backstraps and grips, thus allowing you to somehow adjust the grip. If you happen to have larger hands, it might be harder dealing with smaller weapons, as you will have a more difficult time finding one that fits.

  1. New or Second-Hand?

Would you rather buy a new gun, or save some money by buying a used one? This comes down to your personal decision, but it also depends on your buying habits and overall budget. There may be problems with it too, such as possibly buying a gun that doesn’t perform very well. For that reason, you should always take a good look at the seller, price and the gun itself before buying.

  1. Cleaning Ability

A pistol needs some cleaning every now and then, so you shouldn’t overlook this fact. It is important to choose a model that will be relatively easy to clean. You will also need a cleaning kit and some supplies that go along with your weapon. So, if you want it to function properly for a long time, you need to make sure it’s clean too.

Final Thoughts

Don’t go out there and purchase a gun like it’s a child’s toy. As you can see, there are many things to take into consideration, some of which were described above. Make sure you take a good look at any pistol before you buy and see if it could serve you for the right purpose before you spend your cash.

As such, whether you will choose a sub 1K pistol or not, you will be able to know if it’s the one that works the best for you.

The First Glock To Enter New York.


Sometime in 1983 or 1984 I went to the Kingston, NY gun show with two NYPD gun-nut buddies, Don and Jack. We drove up from ‘da city,’ parked outside the Kingston Armory and spent the next 3-4 hours playing with hundreds of guns, talking to other gun nuts like ourselves, and having a good time.  In those days the Kingston gun show was known as a show where buying a gun and doing any kind of paperwork was considered a contradiction in terms. As for the cops, they could also ‘buy on shield,’ which meant you flashed a badge, gave the guy the cash and you got the gun.

logo glock              At some point I came across a gun I had to have. It was a 4-inch, nickel-plated Smith & Wesson Model 58 revolver, the heavy N-frame gun which shot the 41-magnum load. The 41 mag was and is a great round – not as much kick as the 44 but a real slammer nonetheless. And this gun was really mint.  I counted out $400 bucks as quickly as I could.

Now I’m walking down the aisle, Jack comes up to me, grabs the S&W blue box out from underneath my arm, puts his hands on the Model 58 and says, “I gotta have this gun!”  So we made a deal right there. He gave me what I paid for it and promised that when we got back to New York he would sell me his NYPD black leather duty jacket for $50 bucks. The cops were in the process of shifting from leather patrol jackets to the ugly, crummy velour jackets which they wear today. I think my daughter still has the leather jacket which I got from Jack.

Anyway, so now I’m walking around the show looking for another gun. All of a sudden I’m standing in front of another dealer’s table and there’s my Model 58. What the f—? The dealer said the gun would cost me $400 bucks so I ended up buying the Model 58 twice. (About a year later I traded the 58 for a Colt AR with a full-auto sear courtesy of a guy I knew who worked in the Colt Custom shop on Huyshope Avenue in Hartford, but that’s another story for another time.)

A few minutes after I repurchased the 41 magnum, here comes Jack down the aisle with a couple of other NYPD gun-nuts in tow. They are all handing a gun from one to the other, telling Jack that they don’t believe he got the friggin’ gun, Jack’s standing there basking in the adoration of his friends.

The gun was a semi-automatic pistol, it didn’t have a hammer, the finish looked painted on and was black rather than blue. The grip was some kind of plastic and the slide had these big letters: G-L-O-C-K. I had never seen a Glock before, never held one, never knew there was a pistol that held 16 rounds. And that’s why Jack dumped the Model 58 because he bumped into ‘some guy’ who had walked into the show with this Glock.

Of course Jack’s great joy at being the first member of the NYPD to own a Glock only lasted a week, because when he took the gun down to the License Division to register it (the NYPD required that the guys register all their-personally owned guns, but didn’t have to say exactly how they acquired their guns) he was told that he couldn’t keep a Glock within the city limits because it was a ‘plastic gun’ and would be a security risk if Jack wore the gun when he went through a metal detector in order to testify in Court.

So Jack told Mrs. Skeba (who ran the License Division and nobody messed with Mrs. Skeba) that he would give the gun to ‘brother-in-law’ who lived somewhere out in Jersey near the Woodbridge Mall. And that’s how the first Glock to be registered in New York City quickly came and quickly went.

The world has changed, hasn’t it?

Bye Bye, American Pie: The End Of Colt Firearms.

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If kids growing up today learn the word Apple for their first consumer product, then when I grew up in the 1950s, the first consumer product name we knew was Colt.  So there’s a bit of personal regret, I must admit, at the not-unexpected news that Colt, the storied old gun manufacturer, has slipped into Chapter 11 and appears to be on the way out. This won’t be the first time that Colt has hit the skids, in fact the company almost didn’t survive shortly after Samuel Colt started it up in 1836, and it went through bad times – work stoppages, strikes, business downturns – on a regular basis every ten or twenty years. In fact, my father’s first job was at Colt’s in 1941 but he decided not to remain with the company because my mother didn’t particularly like living in Hartford and he was convinced that the company would fall on hard times once World War II came to an end.  He was right. It did.

colt                Colt’s has not only been the oldest, continually-operating manufacturing company in America (although sometimes it operated in name only) but the rampant Colt logo, which adorns the frame of every gun, was the first commercial logo ever copyrighted in the United States.  The problem with the company, however, was that it always tied its product development to what it perceived would be the next generation of military small arms, and while it guessed correctly sometimes, such as with the Colt 1911 pistol, other times it guessed wrong.  And because it guessed wrong on the military side, it missed changes in the civilian market as well.

The biggest mistake the company made was to tie its fortunes over the last several decades to the M-16 battle rifle, whose design Colt purchased from Gene Stoner in 1961 and then began receiving large military contracts in the build-up in Viet Nam.  By the 1980s the original patents had expired, Colt could no longer protect its brand, and other companies like Bushmaster and FN began outselling the Hartford-made product both to the U.S. military and abroad.

You would think that Colt would have revived over the last few years given the upsurge in demand for black guns (a.k.a. assault rifles, a.k.a. modern sporting rifles) on the civilian side, but this didn’t happen at all.  First, other companies like Bushmaster and DPMS had focused their marketing on commercial sales, and this made Colt just one of many companies now selling to the public at large what had become a generic gun design.  Second, Colt abandoned revolver production in the mid-1990s, never got into small, polymer-frame pistols which were the coming thing, and kids turning into gun-buying adults just don’t watch cowboy movies any more.  It’s hard for me, a pre-Boomer, to imagine not knowing the name Colt, but I’ll bet you my teen-age grandson has no idea what the name means at all.

But leaving aside issues of consumer tastes and how those tastes change, I think there’s another major reason why Colt’s is on the veritable block, namely, the fact that the demand for black guns has run its course, and none of the gun companies whose balance-sheets are dependent on sporting-goods sales of ARs are having an easy time.  Even Smith & Wesson, whose AR products only accounts for a small percentage of their overall sales, admitted that the 10% decline in overall revenues for Q3 on a year-to-year basis was from a shrinking AR market which “drove most of the sales decline.”

A gun company selling only one, basic product which nobody wants to buy is a gun company in trouble.  And no matter what the NRA and all the pro-gun advocates say, guns still represent a particular consumer product which a majority of American consumers can do without.  And if Americans can do without guns, they can even do without an iconic name like Colt.


Don’t Look Now, But Obama Ain’t The Only One Trying To Take Away Our Guns.

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There’s a gun nut in Alabama named Mike Rogers who represents the 3rd Congressional District, an area which includes the town of Anniston.  And every gun nut like me knows Anniston because it’s the headquarters of the Civilian Marksmanship Program, aka the CMP.  One of the easiest ways to get certified as a gun nut is to buy a rifle from the CMP.  I bought two of the surplus M-1 Garands , one an original made at Springfield, the second a 1950’s makeover turned out by Harrington & Richardson located right up the road in Spencer, MA.

Congressman Rogers, like most Republicans, has no trouble pushing government spending if the money is somehow connected to the military and the result is to create civilian jobs.  So he’s attached an amendment to the 2016 military spending bill which changes the law covering the CMP. If the amendment stays in the bill, from now on civilians will not only be able to purchase rifles, but all “firearms” that the Army considers to be surplus and thus available for anyone to buy.  And it further turns out that the Army happens to be sitting on 100,000 old Colt 45 pistols that were first brought into service in 1911 and then replaced by the Beretta 9mm beginning in 1981.

colt1911a1                There are probably more pistols built on the Colt 1911 frame than any other handgun ever made.  Commercial models newly manufactured by various companies sell quite well; hundreds of thousands manufactured overseas have been imported back into the States.  I have probably owned at least a dozen Colt 1911s since I bought my first commercial model in 1976, but the ones that were made for the military and are stamped “United States Property” are few and far between.  As opposed to the M-1 Garand and Carbine, of which the Army has probably sold off several million guns, the pistol has never been made available to the civilian market, although on occasion one pops up here or there.

The problem that gun nut Rogers has encountered, however, is that the Army doesn’t appear willing to go along with his scheme.  Last week the military sent a memorandum to Congress citing concerns about public safety, accountability and possible violations of federal gun laws that needed “additional study” before the CMP’s charter could be revised.  In brief, the Army feels that these handguns, as opposed to CMP rifles, would be released to the public through unverified, online sales, therefore could not be traced by the ATF, and would therefore be a violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968. And don’t think that the Army made this up on its own because the document cites as its source for this information none other than the DOJ.

This document is a quintessential example of the blind leading the dumb, or maybe the other way around.  The CMP ships all its guns from and to federally-licensed dealers; purchasers must fill out a NICS background check form and agree that NICS must approve the transaction before the gun is released.  Judging by my experience when I bought my Garands, the CMP creates a larger paper trail for each transaction than anything done in the local shop. Incidentally, although the Army cites DOJ as the source for this misinformation, the DOJ no doubt was given this nonsense by those regulatory geniuses at the ATF.

Given the stink that was made over the ATF’s attempt to ban some 223 ammo, you would think that the gun lobby would be yelling and screaming about what is a bone fide violation of 2nd-Amendment rights.  But while some of the pro-gun blogs are blazing away, so far the NRA has uttered nary a peep.  And I’ll bet they continue to keep their mouths shut, because for all their talk about being the first line of ‘defense’ for gun owners’ rights, these stalwart defenders of the Constitution aren’t about to say jack when it’s the  Army and not Obama who wants to keep us from owning guns.




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