Ted’s essays

coaching, empowering self-defense

I once was an active NRA-certified junior rifle coach. More relevant, I am a very good teacher. Yesterday my three charges voiced and agreed that “He is a very good coach” – which is just about the finest compliment one can lay on me. Thank you for that one. That came up because a couple from the west coast passed through our neighborhood, and I gave them the opportunity to burn some ammunition on our short range (10-30 meters). I laid out a table of .22 semi-auto pistols, a 9mm Glock, 38 Special revolvers, .22 rifles and a 20-gauge shotgun, then helped them through familiarization, safety, handling, loading and shooting whatever captured their interests. We had FUN My standard […]

.45 vs 20-gauge

There are three standards in the shooting community that are simply not worth challenging within a group chatting behind the firing lines. Chief among them are the irrefutable power of the .45 ACP (“forty five”), the superiority of the 1911 (“nineteen eleven”) among handgun platforms, and the requirement that shotguns must be 12 gauge. Even if not a majority, the acolytes will be adamant, staunch and vociferous in defense of the aforementioned religions. You may not lose, but you will never win those arguments. Fortunately we are here not there. I brook no counter-arguments, in fact I don’t want to police a comments section so there is no possibility of any back talk. Thus ‘my truth’ is THE TRUTH. That’s […]

a basic home armory

Inspired by the “10 Guns Worth Keeping” article that I copied and linked below is my more fundamental version of that here. Author Bob Campbell describes his double-handful with make/model specificity that is always welcome to people considering one or another of the recommendations. However, as I read through the article I was confident that my long and short guns were functionally every bit as good as his favorites, perhaps better in my opinion. Of course opinions are like ________ , everybody has one. I am a mid-pack shooter with at least a little experience in most shooting sports, and have at various times been student, competitor, certified and active as a junior rifle coach, range officer and president of […]

pistol range opens for business

Closing in on three years in this homestead and I finally get around to establishing my pistol range. We have a lovely hillside that is safe, secure and convenient. I had previously carved out a flat area and merely needed to build some target stands. Missy’s birthday was my inspiration. Tradition has me gifting a firearm on her birthdays, but we were two behind in actually shooting them. I decided THAT was the big gift this year. We shot mostly her Buckmark .22 pistol, my old grandpa High Standard .22 , but also gave hers and my .38s a small outing. I prefer to force myself to focus on the fundamentals by shooting from 25 yards out. That didn’t work […]

avoiding shotgun purchasing mistakes

I was asked to accompany a prospective first-time firearm purchaser to a gun store in North Carolina. She just wanted someone to cover her six. Good thing, as it turned out. The half-wit behind the counter wanted to sell her one of those Hollywood-cool-factor wrist-cracker 12-gauge shotguns. I helped her get out of the store and told her to find a different dealership. Even the much lower-recoiling 20 gauge pump-action shotguns I recommend would be uncomfortable and marginally controllable without the normal shoulder stock. If somebody is pushing the handgun-mode setup your direction, find a different somebody to work with. Much more recoil than a .38 Special is too much for beginner or intermediate handgun use. In shotguns, definitely a […]

.22 rifle practice

Far and away the most popular rifle caliber on Earth is the .22 Long Rifle (.22LR). Ammo.com has numerous listings for under 4-cents per round, and as they correctly describe, “Easily the most prolific and well known firearm cartridge in the world, the .22 Long Rifle (LR) is great for plinking and small-game hunting. The .22 LR is also considered the best choice for introducing new people to the sport of shooting, due to its lack of recoil and low noise.” I will add the intuitive: inexpensive, wonderful training tool from cost of gear through expense to operate. You can defend and take small game with these, but far more importantly, you can learn to shoot on the most modest […]

Who has my back?

A friend who rarely goes out unarmed was relating the attitude expressed by some in a hiking group of hers. Me, carry a defensive weapon??? Why should I, Jane has my back? (not her name) The question then becomes who has Jane’s back? Many of us are defensively armed for more than personal preservation. It is a civic duty, and obligation we feel for our community – both large and small. Could I watch a handful of thugs beat somebody to death? … and live with myself??? I know the answer is a lifetime of nightmares and recriminations about what I should have done. Yet I have no hopes of ever becoming a martial arts master … other than […]

The most fun you can have

with your clothes on. Okay, that phrase refused to stay where it belongs regardless of its limited applicability here. What I am talking about looks like a TON OF FUN, though. I have been hankering for and looking at various ways of having a carbine I could shoot inexpensively AND quietly. Quiet is nice for several reasons. #1 – It is neighborly. I live in a rural area where my neighbors are mostly shooters, accustomed to sight-in, target and hunting shots taking place, BUT they are also very appreciative of the peace and quiet we have most of the time. There is no GOOD reason for modern firearms to be so dang LOUD. #2 – Good hearing protection is […]

great handgun ammo test

AmmoToGo.com published the results of an excellent, thorough and hugely informative defensive handgun ammunition test. I have never seen one better; rarely one even close. Quite noteworthy is that a bullet design may be excellent in one caliber but perform poorly in another. Velocity is an interesting factor, but penetration and expanded diameter are more important. Anybody with a chronograph can give you the former. It is normally listed on the box and in promotional literature. Only shooting into ballistic gel provides the latter. The best test fires bullets through simulated winter clothes into ballistic gel. AmmoToGo.co did exactly that with this test. In addition to their great knowledge base, they include good prices on ammunition you can order […]

20 gauge tactical youth-stock pump shotgun

I continue to extoll the virtues of this platform as your basic home defense firearm. You will never regret having one of these, find many people who it fits perfectly and know it could serve anybody well as an only home defense weapon if you have limited choices. It has not been long since I published 20 gauge youth pump as #1 home defense weapon choice (Bitterroot Bugle .com, April 26th), but I did not include a link to the one I would be purchasing were I in the market today: Mossberg 500 Tactical 8 Shot Pump Shotgun I would simply go to a local dealer, even if it cost a few bucks more, shopping local is always a […]

reloading bench back in business

My reloading bench ran its first set of test loads in the new homestead. Getting it operational tends to be well below the CRITICAL and Urgent level activities. However it sure is nice to get there. My reloading skills exceed my shooting abilities, but I work to achieve the best mechanical accuracy to minimize the inaccuracies that arrive when my finger starts dancing on the trigger. My first two batches of load test firings were not as careful as the third one, but all suffer from eyes that cannot focus very well on both the near sights and far targets simultaneously. Lately my eyes have also been watering quite a bit which compounded the problem. The final caveat is my […]

Cause of death statistics – Hint, guns not in top 10

The statistics below and to the right are occasionally compiled. I carried one such list on a card in my wallet for a decade. The numbers ebb and flow year-to-year, but their position on the causes of death list rarely move much. There are 32,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms. The U.S. population is 324,000,000. Thus: 0.00987% of the population dies from gun related actions each year. -80% are through criminal activity, gang and drug-trade related This is one cost of “our” war on non-prescription drugs. -60% of those deaths are by suicide A similar per-capita rate to non-gun-owning countries. -8% are by police. -3% are accidental discharge deaths. Look at how those deaths distribute across the nation: […]