Blogging to you from the Northeastern Badlands of Lake County, Illinois USA, WELCOME TO THE NEXT CHAPTER! WARNING! ALL FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ARE ADDICTIVE; EXCESSIVE USE MAY LEAD TO MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS, REDUCED JOB PRODUCTIVITY, LACK OF SLEEP, SOCIAL ALIENATION, BIRTH DEFECTS, BLINDNESS, SEXUAL IMPOTENCY, AND / OR DEVIANT FUNAMBULISM. NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNITION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. (No, I will not trade my Colt Python for some lubricious adventures with your trophy wife and a future first-round draft pick.) CAVEAT: This blog is not suitable for viewing while at work, while inside a public library, while inside any public or private school, or while inside any public or private restroom. Do not view this blog while driving a motor vehicle or while piloting an aircraft. Viewing this blog may be illegal inside the EU, Chicago, and other parts of the Third World. THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: This blog is a hobby, it is not a livelihood. Even though much of what I blog about relates to firearms collecting and recreational shooting, I am not an expert (by any measure) on any facet of guns, shooting, hunting, or personal defense. Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats or post hunt bourbon-fueled barroom-bluster; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be rugged-country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are purchased / rented / leased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, distilled spirits, recreational pharmaceuticals, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review or blog post. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on via one method or another, for one reason or another; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online DNA residue by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it!
Please consider RECURRING UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS of ALL FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL POLITICIANS (including but not limited to school records, acquaintances, employment history, Social Media, financial, drug, and psychiatric screenings). Please consider TERM LIMITS; political power corrupts.
'We the Politicians of the United States, in Order to avoid a more perfect Union, manipulate Justice, destroy domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common offense, promote general Warfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our Progeny, do blaspheme and eviscerate this Constitution of the United States of America." ("Zack," circa 1966 -1970)
The NAA Mini .22is the smallest firearm that I own; it is smaller than the available .22 caliber copies of the Remington Double Derringer. Capable of holding five-rounds, I think of it as the derringer that keeps on giving. I carry it with four rounds in the cylinder and the hammer down on an empty chamber (you can load five rounds provided you rest the hammer between cylinders in a safety notch). It is difficult for me to shoot this little revolver; it is just too small. It is hard for me to hold, it is hard for me to negotiate cocking the hammer (I used the web of my hand instead of my thumb), and it is hard for me to grip while squeezing the trigger. It is my very last choice for defense.
You may wonder why I bought this revolver. Well, while I am strutting my doughy upper-middle-age carcass on the beach while wearing only a man-thong, sun block, and a smile, it is hard for me to conceal anything else. Go ahead and ask me where the stains on the holster came from.
Before you laugh at the idea of using a NAA Mini .22 for self-defense EDIT: the following link is deadclick here, read the article, and watch the video. Two punks used a knife and their fists to attack an 80-year-old man; on the video, you can tell by the wounds on the man’s face that the punks were vicious. The octogenarian used his NAA Mini revolver to save himself. Why would anyone choose such a modest defense weapon? Perhaps it was all the old guy could afford. Perhaps it was a gift from a well-meaning relative or neighbor. For whatever the reason, the mini-gun was all the man had and he used it to thwart two predators. The NAA Mini is an ultra-minimalist, extreme close quarter self defense weapon, perhaps a step up from a .22 caliber Remington pattern two shot derringer. It isn’t much, but in this case, it proved to be much better than a wish and a prayer. Seriously, after this incident, I hope friends or family saw fit to update the man’s defense hardware a notch or two; he can keep the NAA Mini as a backup.
2 ¼’’ barrel
Purchased new in 1992
With the factory grips, this is as large a snub as I can still (barely) manage pants pocket carry. At 25-ounces, it is about as heavy as I care to go with for pocket carry; it is 10-ounces heavier than my S&W 442 Airweight. Conversely, it is also as small and light as I care to go with for full power .357 magnum loads. Shown is a Gaylord 8 Ball Deluxe coat pocket holster made by Lefty Lewis of Bell Charter Oak; intended for use in an overcoat pocket, it also works for me as a front pants pocket holster. The past three weeks I've worked in and around the house while carrying this combo and find it comfortable enough to live with. If someone knows what to look for, the print of the gun and holster is recognizable through the denim pants material; pants pocket carry of the SP101 is a bit of a stretch (pun intended).
If financial necessity limited me to owning only one small frame snub gun, I would choose the Ruger SP101 over the S&W J-Frames and Colt D-Frames. This choice would not be an easy one to make because I like all of my snubguns, but ammo wise the SP101 works out as the most versatile for me. I was in awe when I first touched off a round of Remington’s full power .357-magnum 125-grain semi-jacket hollowpoint ammunition in this gun. For a couple of years the little magnum intimidated me; it took patience for me to learn how to shoot a snub that generated such noise and recoil. I went back to basics; I did considerable shooting with light .38 Special target wadcutters, then laddered up to standard velocity 158-grain roundnose loads, +P 158-grain loads, the mild 110-grain .357 Magnum loads, finally managing the full power .357 loads. For the most part, I now shoot heavy .38 Special loads; the cartridges shown are Federal .38 Special +P+ 147 grain Hydra-Shoks. Click here for the .38 snub versus the .357 snub.
No single handgun design is perfect for everyone. Moreover, most individuals find that there is no single handgun design that is perfect for all occasions. Some people go unarmed when their carry-gun does not fit in with their activities. Some people attempt to cover all possibilities by buying several handguns in different sizes and weights; that can get very expensive. For my world, the SP101 is a good compromise. Your world likely will be different.
Click here for the Snub Training blog site, a relatively new blog started in June of 2008. I’ve been following the recent posts, have read all of the archive entries, and have found excellent information for snub gunners wishing to improve their skills.
Please pass the above link on to others. We snubby shooters need all the help we can get, and Michael de Bethencourt has some impressive credentials as a trainer.
The best reason I can give for me owning this gun is that it is way cool. “Made in the USA,” means something special to me, especially when it is “Made in Texas.” When the stuffed suits at Smith & Wesson were licking the boots of anti-gun politicians, it took a woman to stand up and “fight like a man.” I respectfully tip my hat to Elizabeth Saunders, AKA Lady Derringer; she put principles above profit. I wish her well.
As far as I know, there never was a double derringer chambered for the .45 Colt during the Wild West era. This American Derringer Model 1 is a modern gun made of muscle. This is a durable, well made, stainless steel gun, unlike the less expensive copies made with steel-lined alloy barrels.
As with its archaic .41 rimfire predecessor, the Model 1 is not a long-range gun. In order to accommodate the option of the .410 load there is only about ½’’ of rifling in the 3’’ barrel so key holing is common with the .45 slugs. However, when you need to make a big hole in something at bad breath distance, whether the bullet flies out of the barrel nose first, sideways, or tumbles nose over butt, a 225-grain .45 slug from a derringer has bodacious potential. Just how much juice does a .45 Colt have from a 3’’ barrel? Click here for Ballistics by the inch. At a target distance of 3 – 6 feet from the muzzle, most shooters can get it to shoot to near point of aim. From 9 - 12 feet a shooter can usually maintain at least one-minute-of-watermelon accuracy. I cannot hit the vital zone of a man-size target at 20 feet, but I’ll hazard a guess that some people can. The farther away you are from your target, the more likely you are to miss. A miss with any gun can have unfathomably dire downrange consequences. Derringers are not for use in running gun battles across parking lot expanses, the primary mission for pistols of this size has always been for sneaky, up close, last ditch defense. Have no doubt about it, the .45 Colt kicks hard when fired from this little gun and it hurts the shooting hand. When a shooter asks to try it out, I first have him shoot a .45 Colt from my Ruger Vaquero and then ask if he still wants to give the derringer a go. Usually the answer is “no,” or they only manage to suffer through a couple of rounds from the derringer. This pistol is not a plinker for the faint of heart or the weak of hand.
As far as using the Model 1 with .410 birdshot loads for snakes, or using rifled slugs or buckshot loads for self-defense, I’ll refer you to some tests done using a Taurus Judge over at the Box O’ Truth. In the Model 1, the .410 loads recoil less than the .45 Colt but they still have a substantial kick to them. While the Box O’ Truth rates the buckshot loads less than adequate for personal defense, they are somewhat easier to shoot from this derringer than the .45 Colt and my guess is they would be substantially more effective than a .41 rimfire or a .25 ACP.
The Model 1 makes an interesting option for use as a kit gun or a woodland survival tool. When trying to travel light on a backpacking trip, ounces and inches can add up; a Model 1 provides big bang versatility without taking up much space. It is larger than a Seecamp but smaller than a J-frame. The .45 Colt load can offer protection during close encounters with two legged predators and maybe provide you one last great earthly act of defiance just before the pissed off momma black bear kills and eats your ugly ass for scaring her cubs (in case you missed the sarcasm, I am doubting that it would be an effective bear gun). The .410 birdshot loads can snuff snakes or pot small game provided you are close enough. I don’t get to practice with the .410 buckshot loads anymore; the ranges in my area do not permit it. With the .45 Colt loads, practice is just too painful for my arthritic right hand to tolerate and the recoil is too much for my left hand to learn how to manage during these later years of my life. As of today, my Model 1 officially is retired from home-defense duty; it will only come out of the safe if I choose it as a hiking companion or am playing with some light .45 Colt loads.
There are more old pocket revolvers and derringers chambered for the black powder .41 rimfire cartridge than I could ever hope to cover in one blog entry. Perhaps the most famous of the .41 rimfire handguns is the Remington Double Derringer. I bought one several years ago for no reason other than sentiment; the price was right, the pivot hinge wasn’t cracked, and the barrel pitting wasn’t too severe. It is a low end collectable.
Remington manufactured the William H. Elliot designed double derringer from 1866 until 1935; total production was around 150,000. The gun in the above photo is a post Wild West era Type 3 (aka Model 4) made sometime between 1912 and 1935. On these pistols, the serial numbers don’t mean much since they were reused in different production batches. Sometimes this pistol is known as the “model 95,” the “double derringer,” the “1866 derringer,” or the “over and under derringer.” TV and big screen westerns made the Remington Double the most recognized of all the derringers; John Wayne carried one in “Big Jake,” Richard Boone carried one in “Have Gun, Will Travel.” It was the cowboy’s backup gun, the gambler’s sneaky gun, the lady’s purse or garter gun. The 130-grain lead bullet leaves the muzzle at a modest 425 fps, generating only about 50 ft-lbs of energy, low by today’s pocket gun standards but in the early post Civil War years the .41 rimfire was an impressive innovation.
One of the most common misconceptions held by folks unfamiliar with guns is the belief that both barrels of the double derringer fire simultaneously. Nope, each barrel fires separately, the firing pin toggles between the upper and lower chambers each time you cock the hammer.
National Arms made the .41 rimfire for their derringer in 1863; other makers were quick to follow, chambering the new load in guns of their own designs. Well into the smokeless powder era, the .41 rimfire fell from favor and production ended sometime in the 1940s. Navy Arms sponsored a small run of the ammo back in the 1990s. The .41 rimfire cartridge is not currently made by anyone. This blog entry will likely generate at least a few inquiries from readers looking to find .41 rimfire ammunition for sale. First, let me warn that the following link may not have .41 rimfire available forever, and what they have listed as of the date of this blog entry is very expensive; they also limit how many rounds you can buy. If you are willing to pay no less than $4.95 per cartridge (7/15/2009 price), CLICK HERE. Please understand that I have no desire to sell the ammo that I have; please don’t ask. Unless Navy Arms or other benefactor fronts another run of the ammo, the dwindling amount currently left on the market is all there ever will be. If you are in the market to buy any derringer or revolver chambered for the .41 rimfire, you are buying an obsolete relic, a collector’s item, a novelty that someday likely will have no ammunition available for it. Even if you can find ammo, there is no guarantee that it will fire.
If you inherited a Remington double derringer and need something for self-defense, you may be able to sell the derringer for the money needed to buy a modern handgun. Naturally, the condition of the piece will determine how much money you will be offered. If you do fire your .41 rimfire handgun, clean it promptly and thoroughly; black powder is corrosive and pits the metal.
Massad Ayoob has a post on learning to shoot with the weak hand, something I have been wrestling with for a while now. My right hand does not work so pretty good anymore; the misadventures of my youth have allied with the infirmities of aging.
The internet is full of information on the 9mm Glock 26 so there is probably nothing I can add that will be meaningful (CLICK HERE for a good article by Jeff Quinn). It is reasonable to speculate that Glocks may be perfect for some and not for others. Some people will love them, some will find them adequate, and some will hate them.
While no single gun-design will be perfect for everyone, the compact G26 with its standard 10-round magazine is worth considering for concealed carry. Shooting a G26 before buying one can be very informational. Borrow one from a friend or find a range that has a rental. Some experienced shooters will insist that, since the pistol size is the same, the .40 caliber Glock 27 is a better choice than the 9mm Glock 26. Try them both and let your tolerance of recoil help make that decision.
I find the 9mm Glock 26 easy to manage with +P+ loads while the new shooters I have dealt with almost universally do better with standard pressure loads. There are many smaller 9mm pistols on the market, but the G26 is as small as I care to go for the caliber. The G26 reliably feeds all brands and types of ammunition that I have used; I cannot say the same for the smaller 9mm semi-autos that I have tried.
Some people labeled the Glock 26 as “the pocket Glock.” The G26 is similar in size to, but not smaller than, J-frame and D-frame revolvers. A G26 may fit into your pants pocket but it does not fit well in mine. The contours of the revolvers make for better pocket carry in my world. I find even the Ruger SP-101 easier for me to pocket carry than I do the G26.
I have two holsters that meet my needs for the G26. From the low end of the holster market is the very affordable Fobus paddle that I find perfect for the weather and hazards of kit gun use. For concealed carry (Illinois requisite legal disclaimer; only while on my own property), I really like the Del Fatti SSK-HTL. The holster you choose should be comfortable, hold the pistol securely positioned where you want it, and it should protect the trigger. Regardless of what you have seen on the movie screen, it may be best to NEVER tuck a Glock (or ANY handgun) into your waistband, purse, or pocket without a holster to protect the trigger. When holstering, always make sure you are not tucking your finger, shirttail, jacket drawstring, holster strap, or anything else into the holster along with the handgun. Holster quality matters a great deal. When holstering a handgun, catching the trigger on the side of an ill-fitting holster could make you famous.
Most new shooters that test my G26 do not like the long crunchy trigger; to get used to it takes time and effort. Some knowledgeable folks recommend having Glock triggers altered for a lighter, smoother pull. I prefer my Glock triggers to be as they came from the factory.
The more often I use my G26 the better I shoot with it and the more I like it. Because I shoot a bit better with the Sig 239, I marginally like it more than I do the G26. Without the Pearce magazine grip extension, my grip on the G26 is about one and a half fingers; my fingers are a bit too fat for the available grip area. The Pearce extension makes the little pistol easier for me to live with.
It may be a new trend around town. On Monday July 6, we had yet another store clerk use a handgun to defend against a bad-guy; I believe this is the third defense shooting this year. I cut the following from the online news report.
Around 7:50 p.m., the clerk at a bakery on the 700 block of Yeoman Street told police a man entered the store, asked for a pen and paper and proceeded to write a note that stated "give me the money I have a gun.” The suspect reportedly held his hand under his shirt to indicate a weapon
Reports state the clerk handed over a small amount of money and the suspect began backing away, and "the store clerk, fearing for his safety, pulled a .38 caliber handgun and shot at (the suspect)," who then fled on foot.
Officers responding to the scene reportedly were directed by witnesses to a residence on the 1400 block of Ridgeland Avenue, where the suspect was found with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Arrested and charged with aggravated robbery was Demitrius Newbill, 29, of the 500 block of Poplar Street. Newbill was transferred to Vista East Medical Center, where he reportedly was held overnight Monday for observation. Police state he would be remanded to Lake County Jail upon being released from the hospital.
Why are people drawn to purchase snubnose revolvers for concealed carry and home defense? Click here and Syd will explain. The Revolver in the photo is an example of the last carbon-steel version of the Colt Detective Special; its production came to end in 1995. I doubt that Colt will ever restore the D-frame revolver to their product line even though many lettered people feel it to be one of the best handguns ever made for extreme close quarter self-defense. While it is a very good design, my humble opinion is that the Colt holds no grand defensive advantage over the S&W other than the fact that the D-frame revolver holds one more cartridge than the J-frame does. If you forced me to live with only one small frame .38 Special revolver, it would not be from Colt or S&W; I would choose the Ruger SP-101 .357 magnum and feed it a steady diet of +P .38 loads. Why did Colt quit making double action revolvers? I can find no hard sales numbers to support the contention that the wheel-gunners of the world had moved away from Colts. Some speculate that Colt double action revolvers did not fall from favor; they opine that Colt simply gave up on the wheelgun market due to corporate and production problems. If anyone knows for sure why Colt dropped the line, I would love to hear the real story. The large rubber grips that came standard on this later version, along with the added forward weight from the barrel ejector-rod-shroud, make it easier for me to shoot than the older versions of the Detective Special. In proficient hands with adequate blammunition and a decent holster, it makes a suitable concealed carry or home defense handgun. The same can be said for the Colt Diamondback, the Colt Agent, and the Colt Cobra. After purchasing this revolver new, I practiced with it very often, mostly using 158-grain lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint +P loads. Routinely we took it in on vacation as a “car-gun” and for motel room protection. The larger grips fill my hand perfectly but make the gun overall a smidge too big to comfortably conceal in my pants pocket. As soon as Colt stopped making double-action wheelguns, I retired this one to the gun safe. It does see occasional range use but now only with light loads. Some lightly fired, +P rated, later version Detective Specials are available on the used gun market. While I rarely find them listed at bargain prices, they are usually cheaper than the more collectable early versions. Shopping for an early version Colt D-frame is fraught with peril; many people don’t know what problems to look for. Click here to read how to check out an old revolver.
Click here for a Guns & Ammo article on the Colt Detective Special
Most personal-protection aficionados have heard the Mark Moritz truism that the foremost rule of gunfighting is to “have a gun.” Indeed, participating in a gunfight without possessing a gun could be a painfully decisive inconvenience even for a master of unarmed martial arts. Many students of armed self-defense have also heard the many subsequent rules of gunfighting, those rules pertaining to choice of guns, calibers, and tactics, often paraphrased without citation. Which gun meets minimum requirements for you? The answer to that question lies in your own due diligence and the wisdom of others; I don’t have the expertise to offer an opinion.
To read where many of the rules of gunfighting originated, click here and here for an interesting pair of articles that give credit where credit is due.
A friend emailed me this 1943 Pat Coffey photo where foreman Bob Tuder shows an inspector the base of one cartridge among thousands at the Remington Arms factory in Bridgeport, Conn. World War II was still underway.
For those wishing that they could make their own cache of ammo, LeadChucker reviews the Dillon 550 press here and here.