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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Smith & Wesson

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This is from the American Hunter.

I knew some of these facts.

 

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Smith & Wesson’s origins can be traced to 1850, when Horace Smith and D B. Wesson first became acquainted while working as subcontractors supervising the manufacturing of different firearms at the Robbins and Lawrence Company in Windsor, Vermont. It is speculated that it is here where the two men first had the opportunity to discuss their dream of producing a firearm that was a “repeater” and would use a full self-contained cartridge. Now, after more than 160 years in existence, the company created by their eventual partnership is one of the most well-respected of its kind. As you might imagine, a lot can happen—and be forgotten—during such an expansive history. With that in mind, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Smith & Wesson.

The facts below were put together with help from Smith & Wesson and the company’s historian, Roy Jinks. For additional information, interested readers might consider picking up “History of Smith & Wesson,” which he authored, or “Images of Smith & Wesson” by Jinks and Sandra C. Krein.

1. Smith & Wesson failed in their first venture.
By 1852, the two men had a prototype lever action-repeating pistol and had formed a partnership to produce the new style firearm in Norwich, Connecticut. Although the design would later be recognized as an invaluable step forward, the firm failed, and by 1854, Horace Smith & D B. Wesson were forced to sell the company to Oliver Winchester, a shirt manufacturer from New Haven, Connecticut. The original design by Smith & Wesson reached its full potential in 1866when it emerged as the basic design for the famous Winchester Repeating Rifle.

2. D.B. Wesson worked for Winchester.
After their original firm had failed, Wesson agreed to stay on and work as a plant superintendent to help Oliver Winchester get his new plant operating. While in his employment, Wesson designed a small revolver that fired a rimfire cartridge that he and Smith would later patent. After discussing the design with Horace, the two decided to reform Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Massachusetts.

3. The Tip-Up Revolver
The first revolver models made by Smith & Wesson were called tip-up models. For the revolver to function, the barrel is tipped up and folded backward over the top strap. The cylinder is then removed for loading. Once all the cartridges have been fired, the barrel is again tipped-up, the cylinder is removed, and the cartridges are pushed out using the rammer rod underneath the barrel.

4. Smith & Wesson Cartridge Development
More commonly known for their production of firearms, Smith & Wesson has also played a leading role in the development of many of today’s most popular cartridges. Among those credited to the company include: .22 Short, .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32-44, .38 S&W, .38-44 S&W, .38 S&W Special, .357 S&W Mag., .40 S&W, .41 Mag., .44 American, .44 Russian, .44 S&W Special, .45 S&W Schofield, .460 S&W Mag. and .500 S&W Mag.

5. Humble Beginnings
The first home of Smith & Wesson was a small shop at 5 Market Street in Springfield. At that time in 1857, Smith & Wesson was the smallest of four arms manufacturers in the city. The demand for the company’s new revolver and its cartridges would soon outgrow the capabilities of the 25-man shop, forcing Smith & Wesson to relocate to a new factory on Stockbridge Street in 1859. The move was well timed, as the demand for arms would skyrocket two years later, when the American Civil War began in earnest. Wartime production helped to establish Smith & Wesson as one of the leading gun manufacturers in the United States.

6. The modern day plant is built like a bunker.
The current Smith & Wesson plant resides at 2100 Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield, Mass. Construction for the plant began in the late 1940’s and was built entirely out of poured concrete with reinforced steel supports. The factory was designed with enough space so that operations could be moved to the underground level in the event of an attack without halting production. The enormous amount of press generated by the new plant and the bunker mentality of the 40s lead to numerous rumors about a duplicate underground factory at Smith & Wesson.

7. There’s an in-house historian.
In 1970 Smith & Wesson added Roy Jinks to the company roster as the official Smith & Wesson Historian. One of Roy’s duties as Smith & Wesson Historian is to send out official factory letters to individuals who inquire about a particular firearm. This service is available to any Smith & Wesson owner for a fee of $50.

8. The company has long been at the forefront of magnum cartridge development for handguns.
Long known for innovation, Smith & Wesson has also been at the forefront of cartridge development for decades. In 1935 Daniel Wesson’s grandson, Colonel Douglas B. Wesson, worked in conjunction with Winchester Ammunition, Elmer Keith and Phil Sharpe to develop the .357 Mag. cartridge and the Smith & Wesson .357 Mag. revolver. At the time the .357 was the most powerful handgun ever produced. Then, in early 1950’s, Keith pushed Smith & Wesson to produce a revolver that was capable of handling increased pressures. The end result was the Smith & Wesson .44 Mag., which, again, was known for years to come as the most powerful handgun in the world. It was, of course, later topped by the company’s .500 S&W Mag.

9. Big names painted some of the company’s earliest advertisements.
In the early 20th Century, Smith & Wesson commissioned several artists to create advertising artwork. Perhaps the most famous of these was Fredric Remington, a painter, illustrator, sculptor and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West. In 1902, Remington was commissioned to paint four black-and-white oil paintings of Western scenes that were used in advertisements. For 10 cents silver, customers could purchase a 14×15-inch poster of each advertisement. These ads ran in Collier’s Weekly, Cosmopolitan,Harper’s Monthly and Scribner’s, among others.

10. The company produces more than firearms.
Today, Smith & Wesson offers a variety of specialty services to external customers. The company’s expertise in forging, heat treatment, custom tool manufacturing and grinding, as well as plating and finishing, are contracted out by some of most well-know brands in the United States. These clients include companies in the automobile, aerospace and appliance industries.

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Smith & Wesson: On the Ropes Again?

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This is from The Truth About Guns.

Will Smith & Wesson and Colt become a cold page in the history books?

Is it possible they can make a come back?

Sadly, I think they both are history.

 

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Somebody should hire me as a brand consultant. I wouldn’t charge much; I don’t have much to say. Keep the brand as narrow as possible. Focus the entire company’s efforts on realizing and promoting the brand premise, from designing the product to pushing sales to providing customer service. If a new product doesn’t fit you must acquit. If you’re Smith & Wesson, you make revolvers. And . . . that’s it. Smith just about got it right with their semi-automatic pistols. The M&P brand is far enough removed from the S&W brand to establish its own identity. But can it stretch to AR’s? Nope. As good as the rifles are – and they are very good – the branding isn’t strong enough to sustain AR sales, or margins. Don’t take my word for it . . .

Smith & Wesson misfire: Rifle sales drop 50% the headline at fortune.com reveals. That, friends, is a significant drop. Which had a significant impact on S&W’s overall sales, which also dropped. The company’s second-quarter earnings report tells the tale.

Net sales for the second quarter were $108.4 million, a decrease of 22.1% from net sales of $139.3 million for the second quarter last year. The expected decrease was a result of lower consumer demand and competitors’ excess inventory at distributor and retailer locations, which followed an earlier surge period when consumers purchased firearms in anticipation of possible additional restrictive regulations.

Sales of long guns, primarily modern sporting rifles, were most heavily impacted, declining 50.3% compared with the comparable quarter last year, while handgun sales declined 15.0% — a smaller decline because of continued strong sales of small concealed carry polymer pistols and revolvers.

So “continued strong sales of pistols and revolvers” are the only bright spot in this dismal picture, eh? Tight branding wins. Also note: Smith’s report blames the precipitous sales drop on falling demand and competitors‘ excess inventory. That completely glosses over the fact that Smith & Wesson ramped up production — at considerable long-term expense — to capitalize on the post-Newtown sales surge. Which has left Smith with plenty o’ inventory of its own.

The company’s prez boasts that his minions have reduced inventory in Smith’s distribution channel by 18 percent. “We have the lowest inventory in the channel of any major firearm manufacturer.” Yes, well, Fortune reports that “The company’s inventory has continued to rise. At the end of October, it held $99 million in inventory, up from $76 million at the same time a year earlier.” Warehouse much?

“The company also said it plans to offer ‘aggressive promotions’ in coming months to protect market share. It acknowledged that gross margins could take a hit as a result.

Unfortunately, margins are already looking depressed. Gross margin for the quarter was 32.1 percent, the lowest level since the quarter ended in January 2012.

Sadly, I’m hearing echoes of GM’s fall into bankruptcy here. Profits suck so . . . discount the product! Which cheapens the brand (and reduces profit). Which reduces sales. Which causes further inventory build-up. Which leads to discounting and warehousing. Which leads to more discounts. Can you say death spiral? Again, don’t take my word for it. Here’s cnbc.com doing the Cassandra thing.

Smith & Wesson’s worries don’t end [with falling sales]. The company announced in late November it was buying hunting and shooting accessories company Battenfeld Technologies for $130.5 million. As part of the deal, the company will take on an additional $100 million of debt and fund the rest with cash. Adding that to Smith & Wesson’s $175 million in existing debt, the company will have $275 million in debt.

That’s a potential concern because Smith & Wesson has a covenant on its existing bonds requiring that its debt be no more than 3.25 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). For now, Smith & Wesson might appear comfortably below its leverage limit. Before Thursday’s statement, analysts expected the company to generate $114 million in EBITDA in the year through April. That would suggest a leverage ratio of about 2.4 times, or even lower, assuming some additional earnings from the acquisition.

But if sales and profits continue to fall, leverage could creep higher fast. Indeed, the company had EBITDA of just $68 million in fiscal 2012 before the big surge in gun demand. That would be low enough to violate the debt covenant. A spokesperson for Smith & Wesson told CNBC that the company took its “expected future financial situation and the covenants into account” when it borrowed more money.

All of us in business are all slaves to the brand. If we fail the brand, the brand dies. Sometimes it’s a slow, agonizing death. Sometimes it’s quick and painful. But no amount of fancy financial footwork can save an ailing brand. That requires re-dedication to — and refocusing on — the values that made the brand great in the first place. It’s a long, expensive process. There are no short-cuts.

Note to Smith: if you want more seemingly profound piercing glimpses into the obvious, call my agent.

Calif. store backs away from smart guns after outcry from 2nd Amendment activists

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This is from The Washington Post.

The anti gun crowd says ‘Let the market place decide if they want to buy a smart gun.

Then when the market place response with a resounding “To Hell with the smart gun and any place that sells smart guns.”

 

The California gun store that put the nation’s first smart gun on sale is facing a furious backlash from customers and gun rights advocates who fear the new technology will encroach on their Second Amendment rights if it becomes mandated.

Attacks in online forums and social networks against the Oak Tree Gun Club have prompted the store to back away from any association with the Armatix iP1 smart gun. The protests threaten the nascent smart-gun industry, which received a jolt of support recently when a group of Silicon Valley investors offered a $1 million prize for promising new technology.

The vitriol began almost immediately afterThe Washington Post reported last month that the Armatix iP1 smart gun was for sale at the pro shop. Electronic chips inside the gun communicate with a watch that can be bought with the gun, making it impossible to fire without the watch. Gun-control advocates, who believe smart guns could reduce gun violence, suicides and accidental shootings, marked the moment as a milestone.

“These people are anti-gunners,”­ someone said of Oak Tree on the store’s Facebook page, adding, “I will never step foot in this dump.” On Yelp, a user wrote, “If you care about the ability to exercise your [Second Amendment] rights, I would suggest that you do not continue to frequent this place.”

The protests are fueled by worry that being able to buy the iP1 will trigger a New Jersey law mandating that all handguns in the state be personalized within three years of a smart gun going on sale anywhere in the United States. Similar mandates have been introduced in California and in both chambers of Congress.

A Facebook poster wrote that Oak Tree, which is outside of Los Angeles, owes New Jersey an apology.

The opposition has apparently shaken Oak Tree, one of the largest gun stores and shooting ranges­ in California.

Gun rights advocates and Arm­atix executives have been mystified by the store’s response, which has been to deny ever offering the gun and apologizing for any confusion in several places online, including to a gun rights advocate at Examiner.com.

The denials come despite Oak Tree owner James Mitchell’s extensive comments about why the gun was put on sale there. Arm­atix executives also provided The Post with two photos of the gun for sale in a gun cabinet at the facility, as well as multiple photos of customers shooting the iP1 at an event in a specially designed firing range with large Armatix signs.

Saying that “we’ve been helping the company get the gun introduced here out West,” Mitchell told The Post earlier this month: “I walk in a delicate line because I am an extremely pro-gun conservative type person. But I’m also logical, you know.” He said the technology, if accepted, could “revolutionize the gun industry” and provide a compromise between gun rights advocates and gun-control supporters.

Mitchell has apparently discovered that gun rights advocates have little appetite for smart-gun technology.

The protests echo what Smith & Wesson endured after it signed a landmark gun-control agreement with the Clinton administration in 2000 that called for the company to research and introduce smart guns. Boycotts of the company’s products nearly put it out of business.

“The minute you touch guns, you are going to get a huge response from the gun lobby,” said John Rosenthal, the founder of Stop Handgun Violence, a Boston area organization advocating for smart guns. “The concern of the gun industry is that if you personalize guns, then you are going to put a regulation on an industry that has none.”

Oak Tree executives did not respond to numerous requests for comments about the backlash and why they were now denying carrying the gun. Reached by phone, Mitchell said, “Not taking any phone calls. Thanks.” Then he hung up.

Belinda Padilla, president of Armatix’s U.S. operation, described a “mind-blowing” set of events following The Post’s original story. At first, she said Oak Tree officials, who lease her an office at the facility, were “ecstatic” with the coverage, telling her they needed more guns in the store because a TV news crew was coming to film a report.

But that tone quickly changed. Padilla said Mitchell told her that he had received phone calls from gun rights groups questioning the weapon’s sale and that he had canceled the TV interview.

The National Rifle Association, a fierce opponent of smart-gun technology, did not return several requests for comment on whether it called Oak Tree. The National Shooting Sports Foundation denied calling Oak Tree.

Mitchell “was clearly distraught,” Padilla said. “I told him, ‘It’s going to be okay. You’re doing the right thing.’ Then it just got worse.”

Padilla, whose company has a federal firearms license registered to Oak Tree’s address, soon discovered that Armatix hats and other merchandise were put away. The special firing range that she and Oak Tree outfitted, painted blue with a large Armatix sign, was repainted. When she took a client to buy the gun at the store, she was told there were “computer glitches.”

Although she said she is “disappointed, to say the least,” about Oak Tree’s reaction, Padilla also said she felt bad for Mitchell.

“It’s sad, because at the end of the day, he was trying to do something good, which is provide choice for those people that want safety,” Padilla said.

But many customers and gun rights advocates do not see it that way. Even though many smart-gun proponents, including the Silicon Valley group offering the $1 million prize, say the market should decide whether the technology is accepted, a fear of mandates looms.

“People have a reasonable suspicion that anti-gun governments will work toward mandating this unproven technology,” said Brandon Combs, president of the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, a Second Amendment advocacy group. Gun owners, he said, find it “purely offensive.”

And many Oak Tree customers have loudly made that known.

David Simantob, a member of the gun range, said in an e-mail: “Oak Tree’s association with Arm­atix the last year was never satisfactorily explained, and their recent back pedaling trying to explain it away has unfortunately created an even bigger problem for those of us who care about our Second Amendment rights.”

 

Record U.S. Gun Production as Obama ‘Demonized’ on Issue

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This is from Bloomberg News.

Barack Obama the gun salesman of the century.

 

U.S. gun makers led by Sturm Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (SWHC) churned out a record number of firearms in 2012, government data show, continuing a trend of robust production during Democratic presidencies.

More than 8.57 million guns were produced in 2012, up 31 percent from 6.54 million in 2011, according to data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been tracking the statistics since 1986.

Almost as many guns — 26.1 million — were produced during Democrat Barack Obama’s first term as president as during the entire eight-year presidency of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, the ATF data show.

Advocates on both sides of the gun-control debate said manufacturers were meeting demand fueled by concerns among gun owners that Democratic presidents are more willing to limit firearms sales than Republicans. After years of steering clear of the issue, Obama pressed unsuccessfully last year for stricter gun measures in the wake of the 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The production boom has resulted in strong sales and profits for gun companies, including Sturm & Ruger and Smith & Wesson.

“Barack Obama is the stimulus package for the firearms industry,” said Dave Workman, senior editor of Gun Mag, a print and online publication of the 2nd Amendment Foundation, a gun-ownership rights group. “The greatest irony of the Obama administration is that the one industry that he may not have really liked to see healthy has become the healthiest industry in the United States.”

Expanding Collections

Brian Malte, senior policy director of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said gun-rights groups “demonized” Obama during the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, leading many gun owners to buy more firearms.

“We see the percentage of households owning guns declining,” he said, “and that indicates that those who already own guns are buying more of them.”

Other factors may also be driving gun demand, including Supreme Court decisions striking down gun restrictions, a spread of laws allowing people to carry concealed weapons and the increasingly popularity of sport shooting, said Mike Bazinet, spokesman for theNational Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade organization that represents gun and ammunition manufacturers.

“It defies any simple characterization,” he said.

A White House spokesman, Matt Lehrich, declined to comment.

The 2012 manufacturing figures were the most recent ones released by ATF as part of its annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report. Just 3.4 percent of the firearms covered in the 2012 data were exported.

Democratic Presidents

Obama isn’t the only Democratic president to see a spike in gun production. More than 33 million firearms were manufactured during Democrat Bill Clinton’s two terms, which was more than the 28 million produced during Bush’s presidency. Just over 16 million firearms were manufactured during Republican George H.W. Bush’s single term.

Clinton antagonized gun-rights groups by pressing for stricter gun control. He signed legislation mandating background checks on firearm purchases and a ban on assault weapons. The ban expired in 2004.

Obama largely avoided the debate during his first term and campaigns. He decided to back tougher firearms restrictions after 20 children and six adults were slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 by a gunman wielding a semiautomatic rifle.

FBI Data

Those proposals, which would have blocked the sale and possession of more than 100 types of assault weapons and expanded background checks, stalled in Congress in April. Since then, the gun-buying fever has somewhat ebbed, according to FBI data on background checks.

Background checks for gun sales dipped in December and January versus the same months from a year earlier. Even so, the number of background checks conducted during those months were the second most for any December or January on record.

The FBI data, a proxy for sales figures, also indicate that the firearms industry enjoyed a solid 2013. More than 21 million background checks were conducted last year, up 7 percent from the 19.6 million in 2012, according to the FBI. Those figures are records and represent increases of at least 19 percent over the 16.45 million checks performed in 2011. Not every background check leads to a gun sale, and a single background check may be used for multiple purchases.

Strong Sales

Smith & Wesson, based in Springfield, Massachusetts, reported record sales of $588 million for the fiscal year that ended April 30, up 43 percent over 2012. Shares reached $14.99 on Jan. 10, the highest close since 2007. According to the ATF data, the company produced more than 1.1 million firearms in 2012, a 32 percent increase over 2011.

Sturm Ruger, the largest publicly traded gun maker, reported net sales of $506.4 million during the first nine months of 2013, a 45 percent jump from the same period in 2012. The company, based in Southport, Connecticut, said its profit was up 67 percent. It manufactured more than 1.6 million guns in 2012, nearly a 50 percent increase over 2011, according to ATF data.

Shares of Sturm Ruger rose 31 percent in the past year as of yesterday, compared with a 19 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. Spokesmen for both firearms makers did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

During a conference call in November to discuss the third-quarter company’s results, Chief Executive Officer Michael Fifer pointed to the 2014 mid-term elections as a possible fresh catalyst for demand.

‘I’m sure the politicians will go at it on both sides and they’ll talk about guns and that’ll spur gun sales again,’’ Fifer said.

California’s Most Ambitious Handgun Ban Now Underway

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This is from the NRA-ILA.

More loss of freedom for the citizens of Commiefornia.

How long before this Communist gun grab spreads to other states?

 

In 1976, the Brady Campaign, then known as the National Council to Control Handguns, said that the first part of its three-part plan to get handguns and handgun ammunition made “totally illegal” was to “slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country.”  This month, anti-gunners finally got that wish in California.

America’s two largest handgun manufacturers–Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger–have announced that they will stop selling new semi-automatic handguns in California, rather than comply with the state’s “microstamping” law.  The law applies not only to entirely new models of handguns, but also to any current-production handgun approved by the state’s Roster Board, if such handgun is modified with any new feature or characteristic, however minor or superficial.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the law was “intended to help police investigators link shell casings found at crime scenes to a specific gun.”  That’s pure spin, however. In reality, the law, signed in 2007 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is intended to terminate semi-automatic handgun sales and, over time, semi-automatic handgun ownership in the state.  “Microstamping” will solve few, if any crimes and it is only a matter of time before a proposal to expand the law to include other firearms will follow.

Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has announced that it and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute have filed suit against the law in Fresno Superior Court “seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief against this back-door attempt to prevent the sale of new semiautomatic handguns to law-abiding citizens in California.”

Anti-gun activists often refer to California as the test bed for gun control laws they would like to have imposed throughout the country.  Thus, it goes without saying that gun owners outside California should anticipate “microstamping” efforts in their states, and do what it takes to elect pro-Second Amendment governors and state legislators to deny the anti-gunners additional victories.

However, making sure that what has happened in California doesn’t happen elsewhere is not the only reason to step up our election year efforts.  California accounts for 12 percent of the nation’s population and approximately eight percent of its handgun owners.  We owe it to our fellow countrymen–our Second Amendment brothers and sisters–to elect a pro-Second Amendment president and senators who will approve that president’s nominations to the federal courts, where California’s “microstamping” law might one day be challenged.  What is true in football is also true in the effort to keep America’s most popular type of handguns legal and affordable: the best defense is a good offense.

SMITH & WESSON TO END MOST CA SALES DUE TO MICROSTAMPING REGULATION

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This is from Breitbart’s Big Government.

Jerry Moonbeam Brown and his fellow Communists in  Legislature of Kalifornia are destroying businesses.

They do not care about people losing their jobs as long as they can push their Communists agenda.

 

On January 22nd renowned gun maker Smith & Wesson joined Sturm, Ruger, & Co., by announcing it would cease California sales of its semi-automatic pistols due to microstamping requirements that went into effect last year.

Ruger made the same announcement earlier this month.

Microstamping is a requirement that each firearm be fitted with a special firing pin that leaves a fingerprint on a bullet casing which differs from the fingerprint of every other firearm. In other words–every one of the wildly popular Smith & Wesson M&P .45 semi-automatic handguns would have to be manufactured in such a way so that no two of them left the same mark on a shell casing.

The cost of doing this would be incredibly high to manufacturers, and would be a cost they would have to pass on to consumers in higher prices.

Moreover, the result of doing this would be yet another gun registry–every gun sold that met microstamping requirements would have be to registered so that the government knew who owned the gun that left that fingerprint.

On top of these things, micropstamping doesn’t even work–and least not all the time. There are proven problems with the durability of microstamps on firing pins.

So The Washington Times reports that Smith & Wesson is just going to stop selling guns in CA for which microstamping is required.

Smith & Wesson president and CEO James Debney said his company “will continue to work with the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to oppose this poorly conceived law which mandates the unproven and unreliable concept of microstamping and makes it impossible for Californians to have access to the best products with the latest innovations.”

California Department of Justice agents sweep Fresno, Clovis for illegal guns

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This is from The Fresno Bee.

I have a problem with this gun sweep.

Even though they claim they were targeting criminals.

But how many legal gun owners get raided?

 

The sign in the window warned burglars that the homeowner owned a handgun and would use it in self-defense. The state agents knocking on the door were there to confiscate the weapon.

The agents are part of the California Department of Justice‘s Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS), a program that takes firearms from people barred from owning them. The law says that group can include ex-felons and people deemed to be mentally unstable.

Often arriving in SUVs and dressed in black tactical uniforms, the teams regularly sweep through California cities with a list of names and addresses.

It was Fresno’s turn last week.

Thursday night, the agents went to the home near Roeding Park to collect a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol from a woman who had been evaluated under California Welfare and Institutions Code 5150 as a danger to herself and others. As such, she had been ordered to surrender any firearms in her possession and had not.

As is often the case, the agents were told that the weapon was not there and the woman’s father-in-law had it in Bakersfield.

But that won’t be the end of the search, according to Kisu Yo, a special agent who was part of the team making the sweep.

“There’s no such thing as safe-keeping (by another family member),” Yo said.

Team members say they are dogged: They will press a prohibited person to allow them to search a home to look for the gun and ask to see the paperwork if they are told a weapon has been sold.

If agents are denied the search but have reason to believe they are being lied to, they will seek a warrant and lock down the house until they get results.

“That can make for a long night,” said Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice.

Long nights are part of the job for the 33 agents who make up the APPS teams. They work evenings and nights because they are more likely to find people at home during those hours. They work in teams because they often have to approach darkened homes where there is likely to be an armed person inside.

“It really is a dangerous job,” said Yo, a Marine Corps veteran of the first Gulf War. “Every time we make a contact, it’s a very dangerous situation.”

Agents also say they are understaffed, but they are likely to get some help soon.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed legislation to use a $24 million surplus from funds paid during firearms purchases to hire as many as 36 more agents. (Fresno gun dealer Barry Bauer and several Second Amendment groups are suing because they say the diversion of funds is unconstitutional.)

California is the only state to use a program like APPS, which cross references five databases to find people who legally purchased handguns and registered assault weapons since 1996 with people banned from owning or possessing firearms.

The Attorney General’s Office said that more than 2,000 firearms were seized last year under the program. The Department of Justice says there are about 21,000 prohibited persons who possess about 43,000 firearms in the state.

Gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association argue that making surprise visits to homes of prohibited persons is a step too far, but agents argue that people who have lost the firearms rights are clearly notified in court paperwork and other documents that they are to turn in their weapons. When they don’t, the agents can make an arrest as well as take the gun.

That was the case for a Clovis man who is prohibited from firearms possession after being convicted of felony DUI and evading officers. When agents went to his home near Swift and Fowler avenues Thursday, they found a Taurus .45 caliber pistol and he was booked as a felon in possession of a firearm.

Arrests don’t always follow the discovery of a gun. Agents visited a nearby home in Clovis in search of a firearm owned by a man who had been evaluated as mentally unstable. They found that he had access to a gun safe with several long guns as well as a long-barreled .50-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver valued at several thousand dollars.

The man told agents that he and his entire family were hunters and that the revolver was used as a weapon of last-resort when facing an attack by a charging wild pig. He said he was devastated to lose his firearm rights. The agents left with the weapons but did not arrest him.

Left behind was a hunting bow.

“You’re not taking my bow and arrows, are you?” the man asked.

“No,” said Yo. “We’re not the bow and arrow police.”

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/11/16/3613913/state-agents-sweep-fresno.html#storylink=cpy

 

 

 

 

PSA Smith and Wesson Shield…

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Hat Tip To Old NFO.

Boosting the Signal: Safety alert for owners of M&P Shield pistols.

Smith & Wesson has identified a condition where the trigger bar pin could damage the lower trigger in certain M&P Shields in a way that may affect the functionality of the drop safety feature of the firearm, potentially allowing the pistol to discharge if it is dropped.

–Click Here For more information!

Defensive Carry: Caliber and incapacitation

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This is from The Daily Caller.

Do your own research on calibers and incapacitation before

making a decision on a carry weapon.

Do not let the internet hype make your decisions for you.

Your live and your families lives depend on knowing the facts.

Last but not least get in plenty of range time and keep your

weapon clean.

 

By Greg Ellifritz, AmericanHandgunner.com

As a full-time firearms instructor, I get daily questions from beginning shooters about the “best” caliber for concealed carry. People new to carrying a gun on a daily basis have lots of questions about how bullets work and want to choose the most effective firearm they can carry.

I went through the same learning phase. As a rookie cop who decided to carry a gun off-duty (which isn’t as common as you might think), I obsessed over my personal firearms selection. I started off with a .38 snub because I could carry it as a backup gun on my ankle while working, as well as a primary gun for off-duty carry. I quickly realized, while easy to carry, I couldn’t shoot it very well. Money was tight and I couldn’t afford another gun for a while, so I defaulted to carrying a gun I had owned since a teenager, a S&W Model 19 .357 Magnum with a 4″ barrel. I carried it in an inside-the-waistband holster for more than a year before I got a raise and could buy another gun.

That new gun was a Smith & Wesson Model 3913 9mm. I loved the gun, but I was worried about the stopping power “failures” I heard were prevalent with the 9mm cartridge, so I upgraded to a .40. Shortly thereafter I moved to a higher-capacity .40. Then I upgraded to a .45. I’ve carried just about every caliber available over the years as I stayed on the quest to find the “perfect” concealed carry caliber.

All the while, I was keeping data on the results of every shooting I could find. I went to autopsies. I talked to gunfight survivors and read police reports. I wanted to put to rest all the rumor and propaganda I had seen about handgun effectiveness. I wanted to prove once and for all which cartridge was the “best” — and I would carry that until my research identified something better.

RESEARCH

I collected data on nearly 2,000 shootings over the course of 10 years of research. For this study, I excluded all cases of accidental shootings or suicides. Every shot in the data set took place during a military battle or an altercation with a criminal.

I looked at many different factors, but the variables I think most important are the following: What percentage of people shot stopped their aggressive action after one hit to the torso or head? On average, how many shots did it take to stop the attacker? What percentage of attackers did not stop no matter how many rounds hit them? What I found is listed in the Chart. Give it a quick look for now, and then read on.

Before I get into too much detail about the results of my study, a little education in handgun ballistics is required.

 

There is nothing magical about a handgun bullet, in spite of what makers may say. Handgun bullets don’t explode inside the person shot and they don’t knock someone off their feet. They merely poke holes, and cut flesh. Obviously, where those holes are located on the body is of prime importance. If the bullets don’t hit a vital structure, they can’t physically incapacitate someone. Besides the location of the wound, the other important factor to consider is the size of the hole. A bigger hole is statistically more likely to hit something vital than a smaller hole, all other factors being equal.
No matter where the bullet hits or what caliber is used, a bullets can only stop an aggressor three ways.

PSYCHOLOGICAL STOP

This is when the attacker stops fighting because of the pain or the shock from the bullet wound. Often, criminals will stop their attack even though the bullet didn’t physically incapacitate them. They just don’t want to be shot anymore! Even though it happens on a regular basis, we can’t rely on this mechanism to reliably stop an attacker. Many criminals are mentally ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those factors diminish the body’s pain response. We just can’t count on the attacker feeling the pain of the bullet wound and stopping his attack.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

If your bullet hits the bad guy’s brain or upper spinal cord, it’s likely to be immediately incapacitating, and generally fatal. The only problem with relying on this mechanism to achieve a stopping of hostilities is the fact the brain and spinal cord are relatively hard to hit under the pressure of someone shooting back at you. Besides being small targets, they are relatively well protected by dense bone, which will occasionally deflect bullets.

BLOOD LOSS

If you poke enough holes in vital organs and blood vessels, you will facilitate bleeding. Depending on the number and size of the holes, a person can go unconscious in a matter of seconds from the blood loss (even internal bleeding qualifies here) — or stay in the fight for several minutes. There are examples of people who are essentially dead, staying in a fight for ten or more seconds, continuing to shoot, often inflicting casualties before they actually die from blood loss. Blood loss lowers blood pressure, which robs the brain of oxygen, which eventually shuts them down.

Let’s combine the knowledge we have about handgun ballistics with the results I obtained in my study. It raises some issues involved in your choice of the best caliber for your defensive pistol, so let’s see if we make sense of it.

A modern revolver, like this Performance Center Thunder Ranch revolver in .45 ACP, offers accuracy, ultimate reliability, good stopping power, and fast reloads. A design like this keeps the revolver in the fight when it comes to defensive handguns. Photo: Ichiro Nagata

A modern revolver, like this Performance Center Thunder Ranch revolver in .45 ACP, offers accuracy, ultimate reliability, good stopping power, and fast reloads. A design like this keeps the revolver in the fight when it comes to defensive handguns. Photo: Ichiro Nagata

THE STATS

I think the most interesting statistic presented is the percentage of people who stopped with one shot to the torso or head. There wasn’t much of a variation between calibers. Between the most common defensive calibers (.38, 9mm, .40 and .45) there was a spread of only eight percentage points. No matter what caliber you are shooting, you can only expect around half of the people you shoot to be immediately incapacitated by your first hit.

The average number of rounds until incapacitation was also remarkably similar between calibers. All the common defensive calibers required around two rounds, on average, to incapacitate. Additionally, all four common defensive cartridges have very similar failure rates. If you look at the percentage of shootings not resulting in incapacitation, the numbers are almost identical. The .38, 9mm, .40 and .45 all had failure rates of between 13 and 17 percent.

Although this study showed the percentages of people stopped with one shot are similar between almost all handgun cartridges, there is more to the story. Take a look at the percentage of people who did not stop no matter how many rounds were fired into them. The smaller-caliber rounds (.22, .25 and .32) had a failure rate roughly two to three times that of the larger-caliber rounds.

What matters even more than caliber is shot placement. Across all calibers, if you break down the incapacitations based on where the bullet hit, you will find some useful information. Headshots had a 75 percent immediate incapacitation. Torso shots showed a 41 percent immediate incapacitation and extremity shots (arms and legs) had a 14 percent immediate incapacitation rate. No matter which caliber you use, you have to hit something important in order to stop the bad guy!

How do we use this information to choose a defensive handgun?

While .22s are fun, and have and will be relied upon for defense, Greg’s research showed them to be subpar when it comes to stopping fights against real adversaries.

While .22s are fun, and have and will be relied upon for defense, Greg’s research showed them to be subpar when it comes to stopping fights against real adversaries.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

The “mouse gun” calibers (.22, .25 and .32), while easy to carry, have a very high failure rate as compared to the larger caliber cartridges. If the criminal is likely to be affected by a psychological stop (“Hey, I’m tired of getting shot, so I’ll stop.”), these rounds are as good as any others. I believe that’s why they compare favorably to the larger calibers in the statistic regarding the percentage of people stopped with one shot. Those are likely psychological stops rather than physical incapacitations.

While I agree any gun is better than no gun, I can’t advise you to carry pistols under .35 caliber. They work any many cases, but if you do happen to encounter a motivated attacker, they are far more likely to fail.

.380 ACP

The .380 seems okay from a ballistic standpoint. My only concern is the general reliability of the pistols. They usually just don’t run as well as the larger guns, and people tend to not shoot or practice with them since ammo is often expensive for what you get. Some of the really small .380s are also difficult to hold onto when firing. That contributes to slower subsequent shots. Knowing we are likely to need at least two shots to stop an attacker, this is somewhat of a concern. Reliability and controllability is what helps you with that all-important second shot. If you have a reliable .380 pistol (200 to 300 rounds between malfunctions) and you can shoot it fast and accurately, I would consider it the bare minimum defensive cartridge for concealed carry.

.38 SPECIAL/.357 MAG

The .38 Special and .357 Magnum are adequate and superior cartridges respectively. That should make you revolver fans quite happy. My only concern is their rate of fire. Some of the smaller .38 snubs are difficult to shoot well because of their diminutive size, horrible sights and tiny factory grips. The .357 Magnum in a short barrel has very stout recoil and a lot of muzzleblast. Both of these factors make for slower follow-up shots.

Like the .380, I would only carry these two calibers if I had a revolver I could shoot both fast and accurately and could manage a reliable reload. Remember, you don’t have high capacity magazines (or those 8-shot revolver cylinders) so you have more ammo — it’s so you don’t have to reload as often!
9mm, .40 & .45 ACP.

That leaves the 9mm, .40 and .45. Go back and take a look at the chart again. There is a remarkable similarity in performance between these three rounds. They all stop about half of the attackers with one shot, and have a failure rate of 13 to 15 percent. Despite all the bluster you see on the Internet about not carrying a defensive pistol unless the caliber “starts with a 4” — the .40 and .45 do not perform significantly better than the 9mm in real life gunfights.

That doesn’t mean the .40 or .45 is a bad cartridge, it just means these cartridges don’t live up to their hype. While at the top of the heap, the .45 is far from a stopper 19 out of 20 times, as Jeff Cooper was fond of asserting.

I would feel completely comfortable carrying any of these three cartridges as my primary defensive weapon. Rather than worrying about the inconsequential differences in stopping power, I would focus on finding the most reliable and accurate firearm I could carry in any of those three calibers. If you can hit with it, and manage fast follow-up shots, and it’s reliable, don’t let caliber confuse you.

EQUIPMENT NOT CALIBER

As I said in the beginning, I’ve carried just about every caliber imaginable during my career. My extensive research has caused me to worry less about caliber — and more about reliability, ammo capacity and rapidity of follow-up shots.

For the last 10 years I’ve primarily carried a 9mm Glock as a concealed carry pistol. But I do occasionally carry a .380 or .38 snub. My police duty gun is a .45. I feel comfortable with all of them, but on my own time, I carry the Glock 9mm about 90 percent of the time. It’s a great combination of accuracy, reliability, stopping power and capacity. That’s all you can ask for in a defensive piece.

My recommendation to you is to ignore all the advice you receive from gun store salesmen and Internet keyboard commandos, unless you personally know their info to be sound. Choose a reliable gun you can carry all the time, and shoot both fast and accurately. Caliber simply isn’t all that important. Imagine that.

For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/product-index and click on the company name. Or visit the AmericanHandgunner.com homepage click here http://americanhandgunner.com.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/16/defensive-carry-caliber-and-incapacitation/#ixzz2ZW4OSsGK

 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting: The Crossed-thumb Grip

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This is part two from OutDoorHub.

Crossed thumbs shooting grip

Friends don’t let friends do this! It makes a really big mess.

This week’s Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting Tip involves keeping (most) of your body parts attached.

Specifically, we’re talking about your thumbs. You see, opposable thumbs are one of the things that give us humans a real advantage over the rest of the animal kingdom when it comes to important things like opening Pringles cans and getting those straws into juice boxes without making a big mess.

Admittedly, the odds of actually slicing off one or more thumbs is fairly low, but the wrong thumb position may cause you to bleed all over the shooting range. We don’t recommend it. I can share this new-shooter tip from a vantage point of, ummm, let’s call it personal experience.

Remember Ghostbusters? And how it’s really bad to cross the streams of the Proton Pack particle accelerators? Well there’s a similar rule of thumb (pun fully intended) for shooting semiautomatic pistols. Don’t cross your thumbs as in the picture. Sooner or later, that thing called a slide is going zoom backwards at Warp 17 and slice the dickens out of the webby, sensitive skin between your thumb and your index finger. Again, trust me, I know this from experience. And as a side note, the bottom of the slide on a Series 1 Colt Woodsman is really, really sharp. Just as a disclaimer, this happened a really long time ago–back when I thought I did not need any instruction on how to properly shoot a pistol. Don’t worry, I’ve learned many things the hard way since then.

Every time I go to the range, I see new shooters using the crossed-thumb grip with semiautomatic pistols. This presents a real dilemma. Do you walk over and interrupt like some kind of know-it-all and offer to help? Or do you let them learn the hard way? While they may not get thumb-reduction surgery that particular day, it’s bound to happen sooner or later. And lessons learned the hard way are the best right? Hmmm.

Proper handgun grip

A grip like this one is much safer with a semiauto pistol.

Fortunately there’s an easy way to avoid bleeding all over your range. Don’t cross the streams. Point both thumbs forward and keep them on the weak hand side of your handgun. Your hand, and your Doc In A Box, will thank you.

Since gun stuff is never simple or logical, there are some notable exceptions.

Since a revolver has no slide that zooms backwards, you don’t have to worry about getting cut. So technically there’s no harm in crossing that support hand thumb over the backstrap. In fact, if you look at how Jerry Miculek of Team Smith & Wesson grips a double-action revolver, he uses both styles. It’s hard to argue with Jerry’s grip choices as he shoots a revolver better than James Bond wears a dinner jacket.

For larger revolvers with adequate grip and frame area, Jerry tends to keep both hands on the support side of the revolver, curled downwards–much like a semiautomatic pistol grip. For small revolvers, like a J-Frame, he actually crosses the support hand thumb behind his firing hand. Basically that is helping to support the backstrap–just on top of the shooting hand since there’s not much exposed backstrap area to work with.

Of course there’s another exception: single-action revolvers. Here’s where things get crazy. Those super fast cowboy action sheriffs and villains tend to use a the firing hand only to support the revolver. The support hand is actually somewhat disconnected and only serves to rapidly cock the hammer without disturbing the gun’s alignment in the firing hand grip. So with the single-action revolver, most cowboy action two-hand styles have the thumb crossing over the backstrap as well. Again, no matter since it’s a revolver. As a side note, if you haven’t seen some of the cowboy action shooters strut their stuff, watch a Single Action Shooting Society match sometime. It’s amazing what those folks can do with single-action revolvers.

As a rule of thumb (there’s that pun again) I simply teach new shooters to use a grip that keeps both thumbs on the inside–either curled downwards or pointed straight ahead towards the target. Once they break that natural tendency to cross thumbs over the backstrap you can start to introduce gun-specific variations.

Bottom line? Think about that grip. And what particular gun you’re shooting. Because bleeding all over the range is embarrassing.

This article is the fourth part in a series on the Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting. To learn more about how not to shoot, check out last week’s article on

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