Category Archives: Exclusive Web Extra

Exclusive: My Back to School Weekend


Reviewing and reporting on firearms, accessories and the firearms industry requires tons of research and an on-going willingness to learn. So every now and again I like to dive into helpful resources and absorb all I can. If it’s not firearms catalogs or historical accounts, sometimes I’ll turn to Roy Huntington’s Insider Tips videos. Each one is just a few short minutes in length but chock full of information presented authoritatively but with zero stuffiness. In fact, they’re quite enjoyable and an easy item to share with others. So it was a back to school weekend for me to learn about coat pocket carry, flashlight mounts on shotguns, and buckshot vs. birdshot.

Coat Pocket Carry

You’ve heard the phrase: I’ll just drop a J-frame in my pocket as I head out for a quick trip to the store or some other errand. And you’ve seen movies where some clever detective shoots his hidden snubbie through his coat pocket. Before you even think of doing that, check out Roy’s video where he actually does shoot through a coat pocket with a snubbie and a semi-auto pistol to show you what happens. Spoiler: It’s possible but not recommended. Learn why…


Do It Yourself: Flashlight Mounts

Today’s firearms and accessories market offers a zillion ways to attach a flashlight to a gun. While many options exists to meet this need — and I admit, it is fun to shop for gear like this — Roy shows what a little creative thinking and a zip-tie or two can do for a basic shotgun needing a lighting solution. Watch the video and get the creative juices flowing … just remember the four firearms safety rules when you’re brainstorming and running tests…

Buckshot vs. Birdshot


In this video, Roy answers of the most typical questions of those seeking answers in the home-defense arena: Should I load up my shotgun with buckshot or birdshot? While Roy expounds on the pro’s and con’s of each load, he also gets you thinking about what is most appropriate for various kinds of home situations, including those who may have multiple occupants or nearby neighbors. A shot of each type of load at an outdoor target shows the kind of damage that can occur as well as the spread of each. You might rethink your house gun and it’s load after considering what Roy has to say…

— Mark Kakkuri


Exclusive: The $66 Carry Kit

Smith & Wesson’s 442, a five-shot, .38+P snubbie, needs no introduction. As you know, few guns can rival the 442’s reliability, accuracy and ease of carry, not to mention a virtually unequaled legacy. Aside from those things, I just want to point out that it retails for $469. For the money, anyone who’s on a budget — and who isn’t? — should consider this gun simply for the tremendous value.

But no matter how inexpensively you acquire a 442 or any other comparable gun, you’ll still need a few accessories to go with it. Assuming you’ve got 10 or 11 rounds of .38 Special — a good friend would gladly give that to you if you didn’t have any ammo — you’ll still need a holster, a means of carrying a reload, and, because it’s really fun to personalize a gun, a new set of grips. Just like the 442, these things won’t break the bank either. I call it the $66 Carry Kit.

DSC_1085_edited-1For $9, pick up a Bianchi Speed Strip. Actually, you’ll get two strips in a single pack, allowing you to carry 12 extra rounds of .38 Special (up to +P for the 442) in your pocket. But I normally carry only one speed strip. So with the 442’s five rounds and the six in one Speed Strip, I’ve got 11 rounds on tap. These hide easier than a cylindrically-shaped speed loader and, with practice, you can reload two rounds at a time fairly quickly.

DSC_1088_edited-1For $13.95, add an Uncle Mike’s Inside the Pocket Holster (Size 3 for the 442). A humble, unassuming piece of gear, this holster is simply a piece of nice, soft fabric with a rubbery surrounding band that keeps the holster in the pocket when the 442 is on its way out of the pocket. It’ll start to bend and adjust to the contours of the gun and your pocket and, frankly, won’t be very attractive. But functional and comfortable it is. I’ll carry this holster five times more than a holster that costs five times as much.

DSC_1082_edited-1The 442’s factory installed boot grip hardly needs improvement so we could stop right here at about $23 and call it good. But a nice pair of Altamont Grips at $43 is an easy and affordable add to this kit. Altamont’s Smith and Wesson J Round Boot Checkered Engraved Super Rosewood grips look as good as their name sounds. Even better, they offer great purchase, even through a long day at the range with plenty of +P rounds.

What’s in your carry kit?

— Mark Kakkuri


Exclusive: Farewell Fit

There are pro’s and con’s to being a gun’riter. The pro’s include being able to test, for a short time, many guns. The con’s include being able to test, for a short time, many guns. That’s right; the pro’s are also the con’s. You see, gun’riters do three key things: get the guns from gun manufacturers, test the guns, and then send back the guns. Somewhere in there we write up and photograph our findings. Getting and testing are, for sure, very fun and a unique privilege. Sending back, not so much. That’s because gun’riters sometimes really like the guns they get and test. Such is the case with the Springfield Armory XD Mod.2, a capable and mature .40 subcompact. Unfortunately, it’s going back to Springfield this week and it’s causing me a farewell fit.

Here’s a rundown of what I’m saying goodbye to…

DSC_0942_edited-1Fit in the hand. XD Mod.2’s grip angle, grip width, and grip zone texturing are near perfect. One of the most comfortable guns to hold and fire, the XD Mod.2 allows you to forget — in the right way — about holding on and instead just lets you focus on aiming and shooting.

DSC_0941_edited-1Fit for the eyes. XD Mod.2’s sights — rear white dots with a front, red fiber optic — are easy to see, even with middle-aged eyes. What’s also in your line of sight as you look at the back of the XD Mod.2 is a striker status indicator and … not much else. The slide and controls are fairly slim and therefore unobtrusive, visually or otherwise.

DSC_0936_edited-1Fit for a .40. Load up nine rounds in the standard magazine with flush baseplate or 12 rounds with the extended magazine. Fire them and enjoy perfect reliability and very manageable recoil. Gripping the XD Mod.2 with either magazine in place yields excellent purchase and therefore excellent control. This XD Mod.2 enjoyed box after box of Winchester PDX1 and Winchester Train & Defend.

Fit for carry. XD Mod.2 conceals well, despite being a bit chunky, as most double-stack autos tend to be. But with the flush magazine inserted, hardly any stock protrudes at all.

DSC_0943_edited-1If you want one, the SA XD Mod.2 retails for $565. Try one out first if you can. But be warned, you’ll probably like it. A lot. And if you don’t buy it you too might end up having a farewell fit.

— Mark Kakkuri

Exclusive: “I Will Not Comply”

“If a ban on semi-automatic guns and large-capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit,” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in the majority opinion for a 3-judge 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals panel. The Reagan-appointee’s decision was a temporary setback for the Illinois State Rifle and Pistol Association-backed challenge to the city of Highland Park’s “assault weapon” ban, albeit one that is sure to be appealed.

Much of Easterbrook’s rationale for pretending the words “shall not be infringed” were intended by the Founders to mean “unless it upsets the Tories” was based on “common use” language employed in the Heller and earlier Miller decision.

“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited,” the Supreme Court ruled. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose … Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those ‘in common use at the time’ finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

Paraphrasing a line by the Inigo Montoya character from The Princess Bride comes to mind. That term, I do not think it means what the anti-gunners, or even most judges, think it means.

In Miller, the court had no evidence possession of a short-barrel shotgun had “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia [or] that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense.”

That’s the key point being ducked. The function of the militia, defined as “all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense [and] bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time,” was—and is—to field citizen soldiers. And these citizens bore arms that were suitable for that purpose, “ordinary military equipment” intended to be taken into “common defense” battles. The militia assembled with the intent to match and best a professional military threat.

The same still holds true, even if the government is intent on neglecting its Constitutional “community organizing” duties. If a weapon is in common use by soldiers, it is part of that “terrible implement” clause Tench Coxe claimed as “the birthright of an American.” To repeat a saying until even judges understand it (and only frauds pretend they don’t), the Second Amendment is not about duck hunting.

You know that and I know that, but what are we supposed to do when legislators and judges, either through ignorance or deliberate oath-breaking, conduct themselves like they do not?

Be informed and involved. Work to educate our countrymen. Join and help fund pro-gun groups. Support lawsuits. If you don’t like the law, work to change it. Vote in better politicians.

It would probably be a pretty safe bet to guess most GUNS readers, particularly those of you who regularly read the “Rights Watch” column, have been doing most, if not all of those things, for years. So what do we do when that’s the case, but we live in a district or state where anti-gun “representatives” are safe from political repercussions, and the judges have an agenda that does not include freely exercising your right to keep and bear arms?

Some gun owners have embraced an “I will not comply” philosophy, and done it in a way that dares authorities to enforce what they’ve imposed. Untold numbers in California, Connecticut and New York have refused to register their “assault weapons.” Gun owners in Colorado are actively defying the standard-capacity magazine ban. Gun owners in Washington State are openly flouting the recently-passed initiative requiring “background checks” (that is, registration) for private transfers.

The authorities, used to being obeyed, don’t know what to do now that their bluff has been called. They understand they don’t have the resources to go after any but a statistically insignificant percentage of “scofflaws,” no matter how loudly indignant urban newspaper editorials demand they do just that.

“[T]he bottom line is the state must try to enforce the law,” The Hartford Courant railed, noting “scores of thousands of Connecticut residents failed to register their military-style assault weapons with state police.

“If you want to disobey the law, you should be prepared to face the consequences,” the editors, who had no personal skin in the enforcement game, proclaimed.

Before assessing likely consequences, which won’t happen without pushback, it would be helpful to understand the scope of the problem. But gun-grabbing regimes play coy with information that might make them appear impotent, as an ongoing action against New York State reveals. Pressed by gun rights advocacy groups for numbers of “assault weapons” registered in compliance with the so-called SAFE Act, the State Police have refused to honor Freedom of Information Law requests, necessitating a 2014 lawsuit that has not been decided at this writing.

Widespread defiance, when all else fails, is something I’ve taken to calling a “new paradigm,” and while that holds true for many gun rights activists who have been forced to make the terrible decision between surrender to an edict or personal risk for disobeying it, it is. But it’s not really new. It has a long and proud tradition.

Back in the 18th Century, before the colonies won independence, a jury in the trial of publisher John Peter Zenger heeded his defense attorney, Alexander Hamilton, and refused to convict him of libel by defying the law which at the time said truth was no defense. The 19th Century saw philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience essay, and later, law-breaking abolitionists helping escaped slaves via the Underground Railway. In the 20th Century, civil rights actions, memorably exemplified by Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus, showed the power of unified people standing up and declaring their rights were to be served by the state, not suppressed by it.

Indeed, it was an act of ultimate civil disobedience, manifesting itself as active resistance, in which Captain John Parker and his Lexington militia defied British Major John Pitcairn’s order to “Throw down your arms, ye villains, ye Rebels, Disperse!” The insurrectionists were subjects of the Crown, their lawful government. There’s no getting around it: They were lawbreakers and criminals. So were the seditious men who the following year pledged their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor, and signed the treasonous Declaration of Independence.

It goes without saying that many at the time did not support a war of rebellion. Many were no doubt horrified by the “radical, anti-government extremists” committing quasi-terrorist acts as Sons of Liberty or just as random resisters, and no doubt some on the side of Liberty thought many of their actions “made them all look bad.”

Still, when an edict passes that there’s no getting around, one we won’t be able to vote our way out of or sue our way around, when we see that the right delayed is, in fact, a right denied, you and I are going to have a decision to make. No one can make it for us.

What will you do if ordered to register your firearms? What will you do if ordered to surrender them because they have been declared “illegal”? Will you obey political and judicial criminals betraying their oaths to the “supreme Law of the Land,” or will you resolve “I will not comply”?
By David Codrea

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Exclusive: What Would Gaston Glock Say?

My unfailing Glock 19… Carried for years, shot regularly, field stripped and detail stripped countless times, and hand stippled by yours truly. But there’s more: I’ve changed the color of the slide and barrel to “titanium,” installed Truglo night sights, and changed the trigger from factory to a 3-½ pounder to “New York” and back to factory again. I like customizing to a degree but I’m hesitant to swap out internal factory parts. Truth be told: When I contemplate any kind of change, I have visions of Gaston Glock standing over me, frowning and shaking his head.

guide 1As is, the gun is accurate, reliable and relatively light weight. Today, however, I’m going to purposely add weight by installing an aftermarket tungsten guide rod. And that’s the purpose of this part — to add weight, putting the laws of physics to my advantage in order to reduce muzzle flip and get back on target quickly. Can 1.6 ounces of tungsten costing $49.95 make a significant difference? What would Gaston Glock say?

As you know, the Glock 19 is a relatively easy shooter anyway. It’s not like the muzzle ends up pointing over my head after every shot. Sure, the handstippled stocks increase purchase, aiding in control, but, for goodness’ sake, it’s only a 9mm.

guide 3So I mutter a brief word of apology to Mr. Glock and make the change.

Accessing the factory guide rod and spring, as you know, requires mere seconds. I have to admit, I sure like the look and feel of the tungsten guide rod and spring better than the factory one.

Once installed, I reassemble the gun, heft it, and rack the slide a few times. It definitely feels different. So far, I think like it. Gaston’s eyes narrow as he watches me.

guide 5At the range I end any and all speculation by rapidly firing at a collection of steel plates and silhouettes. Every round loads, fires, and ejects perfectly — just like a factory Glock — but it is noticeably easier to get back on target and so it’s easier to be faster and more accurate.

Just to be sure, I pop the factory guide rod and spring back in and give it another run. A little more zip, a little more flip. Back to the tungsten. Looks like I’ve discovered an aftermarket internal part that will likely stay in place for a long time.

guide 4And excuse me for a moment, I think a certain Austrian engineer wants to have a word with me.

— Mark Kakkuri

Exclusive: Executive Carry

If you carry concealed, you know what it means to dress around your gun. You might order pants with an extra inch or two in the waistband, wear a gun belt, wear a shirt untucked, or add a second covering layer — all to help hide and cover that gun on your hip. Some, however, don’t have the option of dressing around a gun and instead have to conceal a gun under more dressy apparel. If you frequent an office or are otherwise required to wear more formal clothes such as dress pants, usually shirts are to be tucked in for a more neat and tidy look. Concealing a gun under dressy apparel can occur in a pocket or ankle holster yes, but don’t overlook the age-old belly band. With the right rig, a more “executive carry” can work well.

DSC_0903_edited-1Kimber’s Eclipse Ultra II is a dressed up carry gun. This $1,589.00 three-inch barreled 1911 rules the range whether you’re shooting or showing it to friends. Accurate and reliable, the Eclipse Ultra II sports Crimson Trace Lasergrips. Since it’s all steel, it’s a bit heavier than many carry guns but the extra weight helps tame the Black Hills .45 ACP ammo on board and in the spare Wilson Combat magazine. You’ll hear more about this gun later.

The Eclipse Ultra II and the Wilson magazine rode well in the DeSantis Belly Band you see here.

DSC_0887_edited-1Retailing for $55.99, this 5” wide elastic band offers a few pockets, easily accommodating the Kimber and the spare mag. Admittedly it is a lot of elastic to be wearing around the torso but its width contributed to a very stable and even comfortable ride, even with the heavier Kimber. Wearing this rig with dress pants and a tucked-in shirt, the Kimber stayed well hidden. Granted, this is deep cover, requiring some time and dexterity to gain access to the gun, but I was able to wear my dress pants and dress shirt and therefore able to show up in the office with no one the wiser.

DSC_0893_edited-1Besides the Kimber 1911 and the DeSantis belly band, I have a couple other items on my executive carry list. The first: A Brite Strike “Executive Precision Lighting Instrument” or EPLI. This 160 lumen flashlight retails for $80.00 (batteries included) and rides in my front shirt pocket, looking like a pen. It’s lightweight but tough and a worthy tool to not only buy me a few precious seconds to escape a bad situation, take cover, or retrieve the Kimber, but also to show me the way in the dark.

The second item is a Spyderco ClipiTool with Scissors. Ridiculously small (4.6” overall length) and light weight (1.9 oz.), this $39.95 knife provides a useful alternative to many out-of-place tactical knives. The scissors work very well, too. ClipiTool knives may also come with a bottle opener/screwdriver or a serrated edge knife. Don’t call it cute, please.

DSC_0890_edited-1Both the EPLI and the ClipiTool make regular appearances in the office, accomplishig the mundane tasks of providing light in dark spots and cutting open envelopes and packages. Riding in the DeSantis belly band, the Kimber Eclipse Ultra Carry II has not had to make an appearance at the office. And I’m hoping it never will. But since I can’t dress around the gun, that’s how this executive will carry.

— Mark Kakkuri

Exclusive: ConSEAL Holster

Walking through nine acres of guns and gear from over 550 exhibitors at the recent NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville, you’re bound to find all the familiar products from the big manufacturers as well as several unique offerings from smaller companies. In the latter category, the ConSEAL Holster from Sealed Mindset caught my eye and made its way home with me, getting immediate use on a Glock 19.

DSC_0857You’ve seen other “holsters” that are less a holster and more a glorified trigger guard cover. And the ConSEAL Holster you see here follows a similar pattern. Except this one offers additional unique features such as carbon fiber and Kevlar construction and a special protrusion (more on this in a minute). But this ConSEAL holster is also smaller or more minimal than other similarly-designed holsters.

DSC_0865bRetailing for $39, the ConSEAL Holster does the important job of denying access to a gun’s trigger. Where a typical holster requires you to remove the gun from the holster, the ConSEAL requires you to remove the holster from the gun. Normally this occurs by attaching it to a belt or belt loop, affixing it to the gun, and then tucking the gun inside the waistband. The ConSEAL Holster not only denies access to the trigger on both sides of the gun but also holds on to the gun with plenty of tension ensuring it stays on and even carries the weight of the gun. It’s very secure and very comfortable. And you can carry it in virtually any position.

To access the gun and remove the holster, just draw with a firm upward motion. The ConSEAL will let go of the gun, allowing access to the trigger.

DSC_0860If the string breaks or is otherwise not attached to something that will enable you to pull it off the gun, the protrusion on the front of it allows you to sweep it off with your hand or catch it on a pocket or other edge, thus removing it from the gun.

— Mark Kakkuri

Exclusive: Pings and Clangs

When the Bersa BP380CC first arrived, I had a lot of questions (Guns Magazine: My Questions). I wondered about this concealed carry gun’s longer stock, smaller caliber, slightly larger size, and other features. But, out of the box, I pretty much liked it even without ever shooting it or carrying it.

Well, now I’ve shot it. A lot. And now I like it even more.

If you want today’s range report in just one bite, the Bersa rocked.

DSC_0833_edited-1Right out of the box, without doing much more than racking the slide a few times, I fed the Bersa magazine after magazine of .380 — both target and self defense ammo. It devoured every round with nary a hiccup and spit out brass with ease. I still haven’t cleaned it.

DSC_0828_edited-1bNot only was it reliable, but also accurate. I don’t shoot and measure groups with too many concealed carry guns. Rather I shoot at six 12” round steel plates and three larger steel silhouettes at seven yards, 10 yards, and 15 yards. These targets are spread out enough to allow me to switch safely from a longer distance shot to a shorter distance shot and thereby also providing the opportunity to practice acquiring and engaging multiple targets. For the record, hitting the 12” round steel plates sounds like this: “Ping!” Hitting the silhouette is more like this: “Clang!” If this sounds like loads of fun, it is. Bottom line: The BP380CC hit where I aimed without having to “get used to it” or anything like that. Credit also goes to the easy to see standard sights.

But the Bersa’s best feature was the smooth, easy shooting. Easily one of the better shooting experiences I’ve had in a while, the BP380CC’s longer stock, smaller caliber, and slightly larger size — in conjunction with its broad-faced trigger — allowed for very fast trigger squeezes with negligible recoil. It was, of course, more recoil than a .22, but not much.

DSC_0823_edited-1Probably the most difficult part of my time at the range was loading .380’s into the Bersa’s magazines. I know — real hardship, right? But once I loaded up and chambered a round in this larger-frame-smaller-caliber gun, I could get back to the pings and clangs.

— Mark Kakkuri

Exclusive: Defying The Defilers

“Defendants’ ban on the quintessential militia arm of the modern day defies the protections our Constitution guarantees,” attorneys Stephen D. Stamboulieh and Alan Alexander Beck argued in a filing before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The defendants they referred to were Attorney General Eric Holder and outgoing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones (now replaced by Acting Director Thomas E. Brandon). Plaintiff Jay Aubrey Isaac Hollis acting individually and as trustee of a revocable living trust, is suing Holder and Jones in their official capacities for administering, executing and enforcing “statutory and regulatory provisions [that] generally act as an unlawful de facto ban on the transfer or possession of a machine gun manufactured after May 19, 1986.”

What gives?

A more appropriate question might be “What got taken away?” In this case, it was an approved “Form 1,” an application to make a machine gun, with a stamp indicating payment and acceptance of the required $200 tax. But after authorizing Hollis to proceed, ATF changed its mind and reneged, even though it has no statutory authority to rescind a stamp once issued.

Still, what made Hollis even think he could apply in the first place, what with the Hughes Amendment prohibition in the so-called Firearms Owners Protection Act stating “[I]t shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun” made after the law took effect? Isn’t Hollis a “person”?
He is, but the trust he represents is not, at least according to ATF.

“The term ‘person’ is defined in the Gun Control Act (“GCA”) to mean ‘any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, or joint stock company,’” Hollis’ Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief noted. “The term person does not include an unincorporated trust.”

That contention is backed up with an opinion letter from the Chief of ATF’s Firearms Industry Programs Branch stating “[u]nlike individuals, corporations, partnerships, and associations; unincorporated trusts do not fall within the definition of ‘person’ in the GCA.”

“Since by the BATFE’s own admission, the term ‘person’ in the GCA does not include an unincorporated trust, such a trust is not subject to the prohibition” Hollis’ attorneys argued. “The Plaintiff … has had his Second Amendment rights violated and his property interest in a lawfully applied for and approved machinegun destroyed when the BATFE decided to unilaterally, arbitrarily and capriciously revoke his approval.”

What Hollis won’t do, if the suit prevails, is rescind the National Firearms Act of 1934, including registration and transfer tax requirements. What it would do is invalidate the absurd prohibition that says you can own a machine gun made before May 19, 1986, but if you possess an identical firearm made after that arbitrary date, you’ll be a felon in for a world of hurt. And the other thing it would do is create all kind so interesting market repercussions that have kept the prices of pre-’86 machine guns at artificially inflated (and then some) prices.

To anyone capable of grasping basic logic, acknowledging the ludicrousness of the cutoff would seem cut and dried. But when descending into the bizarre and often contradictory world of ATF rulings and judicial interpretations, a happy resolution is anything but a slam dunk.

Some of those contradictory rulings include ATF giving permissions to proceed with projects in which innovators invested their life savings only to have the rug pulled out from under them by mercurial bureaucrats. That was the case with the Akins Accelerator, a “bump fire” device ATF put the brakes on two years after they’d green-lighted it. Under the same rationale, the Firearms Technology Branch once declared achieving the same effect with a shoelace an illegal conversion. And while ATF had earlier advised that shouldering an AR-15 pistol with a stability brace would not cause the configuration to be classified a Short Barreled Rifle, they followed that opinion up by declaring “When the device is redesigned for use as a shoulder stock on a handgun with a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length, the firearm is properly classified as a firearm [sic] under the NFA.”

But wait, as late TV pitchman Billy Mays used to urge viewers, there’s more!

ATF Ruling 82-8 declared SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and SAC carbines to be machine guns. Except they weren’t. They were semi-automatics. But because “a simple modification to them, such as cutting, filing, or grinding, allows the firearms to operate automatically,” it was held “The SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and the SAC carbine are designed to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. Consequently, the SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and SAC carbines are machineguns…”

Just not all of them, only those assembled or manufactured after June 21, 1982. The fact that an estimated 50,000 identical firearms were manufactured prior to the cutoff is tacit testimonial to how compelling of a state interest exists in making sure such firearms are subject to special controls—which is to say not much.

The jumble of contradictions is hardly new. Congressional Research Service published a memorandum of ATF firearms testing procedures that, among other things, admitted “ATF … has over 300 cubic feet of classification letters stored in file cabinets.” None of these have been scanned into a searchable database so that consistency of interpretations can be assured and conflicts identified and resolved, and as that report was published 10 years ago, the thought of what it must look like today evokes nothing so much as the government warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The bureaucratic nightmare is obviously bigger than anything other than a concerted and cooperative effort between Congress and a friendly administration would be likely to even make a dent in. All of that, of course, would be solved by a return to “shall not be infringed, but that isn’t likely to happen any time soon, so unless and until there’s substantial change, the best gun owners can hope for are incremental gains, like what a victory in Hollis could bring about.

To that end, a major player has stepped up to coordinate fundraising for the lawsuit, the Heller Foundation, chaired by the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case that established once and for all that the Second Amendment articulates an individual right.

“Dick Heller is a champion of the Second Amendment,” attorney Stamboulieh declared. “We are pleased the Heller Foundation joined the fight to reclaim our lost Second Amendment rights in Hollis v. Holder.”

“Winning this case is critical to the security of the nation’s citizens,” Heller agreed. “We think it’s important enough that donors to the Heller Foundation can now make a directed contribution on our web site,, for the support of this case.”

They are standing up to challenge those who have been defying the Constitution. Put another, and perhaps a more accurate way, they’re defying those who have been defiling it.
By David Codrea

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Exclusive: Simply Getting a Handle on the AR-15

Of all the myriad accessories to put on a flat-top AR, one of my favorites contains no glass, electronics, fiber optics or lasers. In fact, the simple carry handle with its built-in rear sight offers great functionality, exceptional durability and a more traditional look.

This particular AR is an Anderson AM-15 (“AM” for Anderson Manufacturing). It’s every bit a standard utg2AR except for its RF85 treatment, meaning it requires no lubrication. RF85 treated Anderson rifles cycle faster, function more reliably and clean up with just soap and water. You’ll hear more about this in a later review. For now, let it suffice to say this high-tech gun has borne countless accessories, especially optics, but lately I’m really enjoying the low-tech carry handle.

utg5The handle you see here is the UTG PRO US Made Mil-spec 7075T6 Forged Carry Handle Sight (retail $42.97 at Leapers). As you know, the handle houses the rear sight. Easily switching between dual aiming apertures for short- or long-term business, the UTG Pro of course offers precise MOA windage and elevation adjustments.

utg6I affixed it to the Anderson’s picatinny rail and secured it with the oversized attachment bolts. Made from aluminum and steel, the robust carry handle feared nothing from bumps, scrapes or drops. Admittedly, I don’t typically carry an AR using the carry handle, but it is nice to have the option. So I put the carry handle through its paces. And through its testing time, nothing on the UTG PRO ever loosened or showed any signs of fatigue.

utg3Besides the functionality and durability, I love the look of a carry handle on an AR. Modern optics and red-dots are durable and effective, I know, but sometimes it’s nice not to have to worry about them, forgetting to power them up or down, and so on. In addition I like to start out new shooters on more traditional sights anyway.

It’s all about simply getting a handle on the AR-15.

— Mark Kakkuri