Should I customize my EDC pistol?

If you spend any amount of time on the <insert gun model here> owners’ groups on Facebook you will undoubtedly find a long line of posts with pictures of colorized/customized EDC pistols. I always stop and ask myself why the hell would anyone do this to a carry gun? To me this seems like a really bad idea since its almost always done in the name of style. Allow me to explain.

A gun is a tool, it has a purpose and it should be used for such. An EDC pistol’s purpose is to stop threats. Its not a competition gun, it’s not meant to put on exhibitions of remarkable shooting skills, and it’s definitely not meant to be flashed around for show.

Now if we are completely honest with ourselves, the odds of someone needing to pull their weapon on a bad guy to defend themselves or family within the appropriate legal parameters is very very low. That being said the firearm that is most likely to be used in such a situation is your EDC one. Again not saying that because you carry a firearm on your person means you will use it, just that if you do have to use a gun for self defense, it will most likely be the one you carry every day. So what does all this have to do with customizing the firearm in your collection most likely to be used to shoot someone?

To answer this question I want to draw your attention to a YouTube video posted by USCCA where they asked a criminal defense attorney to explain the legal ramifications of this very topic. You can watch the video here:

There are other videos out there as well that discuss this topic at length. An EDC gun is not a competition gun, you aren’t shooting for groups at 25 yards with it, you aren’t doing marksmanship exhibitions with it. You carry it for one reason: to defend your/family’s life if necessary. Typically that occurs in 5 yards or less. Having colorized grips/triggers/mag extensions make no functional difference to the gun and there is no explanation other than i wanted to look cool. Now try explaining that in court after you stopped a bad guy from taking your kid. Were you really in danger or were you just looking for an excuse to show off the $500 in accessories you spent on your EDC pistol?

With this in mind, I want you to stop and ask yourself if you really need that red trigger, or that blue mag extension, or that engraved back plate, or grip with orange text? Now ask yourself what a good attorney who is trying to advance a political agenda, or win cash for their client is going to do with someone who took another’s life with a tricked out gun? I think if you honestly think about things, you will come to the conclusion that a fancy EDC gun is actually worse than a plain Jane EDC gun.

The Nation’s 2A Industry Depends on CA

When California is in the news for firearms related issues, it’s typically because of some new Constitution infringing law being passed, or a court case being decided by Judges whose logic seems like it would be better fitted to a Looney Tunes cartoon than real life. Did you know however that California is home to very large number of manufacturers that help make up the firearms industry? Yes it’s true that California is home to some of the most prominent 2A enabling companies, helping everyday Americans enjoy their freedom. Below is a list of companies I have been able to compile:

  • RCBS (Oroville, CA)
  • Strike Industries (Santa Ana, CA)
  • Trinity Force (City of Industry, CA)
  • TacFire (Chino, CA)
  • Thordsen Customs (Placerville, CA)
  • NCStar (City of Industry, CA)
  • FMK Firearms (Placentia, CA)
  • Honey Badger Firearms (San Diego, CA)
  • Juggernaut Tactical (Irvine, CA)
  • 5.11 Tactical (Irvine, CA)
  • TigerRock (Ontario, CA)
  • Aim Sports (Ontario, CA)
  • Spinta Precision (Ceritos, CA)
  • Holosun (Inland Empire, CA)
  • ACT Tactical (Paramount, CA)
  • Eagle Lite, Inc. (Ontario, CA)

The best upgrades to a Lee Loadmaster

The bottom line: The Lee Precision Loadmaster is a good, value oriented progressive press with lots of features. It’s budget pricing forces Lee to take shortcuts in its design however which require a few additional upgrades to make work smoothly.

My very 1st press that I owned was a Lee Precision Loadmaster. It is still on my bench and I use still to this day. I bought it because it is affordable and on paper looked to have all the features of a Dillon 650 for a fraction of the cost. While it does have a case feeder, on press priming, auto-indexing, quick change 5 station turrets, etc. it definitely is the budget option. Any quick Google search will tell you it has a few shortcomings as I soon discovered. So if you find your self the new owner of a Loadmaster progressive press, consider these upgrades to make your life easier.

Number 1 – Lee Precision Case Collator
I seriously don’t know why it took me over a year to buy this. I don’t care what you are using the case feeder for, buy this thing right now. It will save you an unbelievable amount of time when filling up the tubes. Some reviews say that to feed 9mm cases correctly requires some modifications. They may be old reviews and Lee has fixed the design flaw or ?? but I have never had an issue with 9mm cases going in ass end first. I could however see 380’s being a problem.

Number 2 – Lee Precision Charge Bar
This is another can’t live without accessory. Designed for the Lee Precision Auto Disk Pro powder measure, it replaces the stupid disks that have pre-sized holes cut in them. The magic of this is if you need to adjust your powder drop by a 0.10″ you only need to twist a knob instead of tearing your powder measure apart. This will make changing calibers far easier, and again save you an exorbitant amount of time as you dial in your recipes.

Number 3 – Off Press Priming Tool
I have tried and could not find a way to get a better than 90% success rate with the Loadmaster’s on press priming system. To be blunt, it just sucks. Do yourself a favor and buy something to prime the cases off press. I use the RCBS hand held one, but there are many out there. You will pay yourself back within the 1st year with all the primers you will end up NOT wasting.

Number 4 – Lee Precision Universal Case Feeder
This one you can only get from Lee Precision directly, but it only costs a few $$. Older case feeders had a separate short and tall slider that required you to pull the case feeder assembly apart to swap out. This new improved version only requires you add or remove a stack on spacer depending on the case height. The guide arms are also a better design, doing a better job of corralling the case as it drops and gets moved into the shell plate.

There you have it. If you have a Loadmaster progressive press from Lee Precision you will thank your self, and hopefully me, for considering these upgrades. They will all save you time, headache, and increase your overall rounds-per-hour output from your setup.

The AR-15 is not legally a gun?

The gun related media has been set ablaze. No that’s not a bad pun about it being fire season in California. And oddly enough it has nothing to do with the tyrannical, unconstitutional laws signed by the governor this past week. Instead it was CNN of all sources that brought to light something that was going on in the deep dark recesses of the federal government that got everyone all spun up.

What I am referring to, is the the astonishing piece of journalism by CNN’s Scott Glover. You can read the original story here (and I STRONGLY encourage you to do so regardless of how you feel about firearms ownership). What Mr. Glover exposes to the American public is what the ATF and other federal agencies have been trying to keep secret for decades: they have been illegally re-writing the laws.

As the report explains, federal law regarding what is defined as a firearm requires the receiver to have among other things a bolt or breech lock. Based on the design of the AR platform (a split receiver design) neither half of the receiver group has all the features as defined by law to make it a firearm. This means that the requirements the ATF has been enforcing on anyone who manufactures/sells/buys an AR lower receiver by itself have been unjustly, and illegally enforced since the US Constitution clearly give the power to make/replace/change laws to the legislative branch, not the executive branch that the ATF falls under. So to recap, buying a complete AR15 is buying a firearm by law; buying a completed AR15 lower by itself is not.

What is perhaps more astonishing is the efforts that the ATF has gone to try and hide this clear overreach of constitutional authority. In order to hide the fact that the ATF was acting outside its authority, it not only once but twice decided to not prosecute a someone for violating their unlawful regulations. Of course what is more appalling is they did this after 2 different judges in 2 separate cases issued a preliminary ruling claiming the ATF had gotten the regulations for AR style firearms wrong. So to avoid creating legal precedence they instead decided to drop the charges, and try to hide their dirty deeds.

To be fair, I personally feel that firearm frames/receivers should be treated as the legal definition of a firearm. I have no issues with them being subject to background checks before transfer. I am however 1000% against a federal law enforcement agency ignoring the separation of powers clause in the Constitution to do whatever they want and make up new laws instead of simply enforcing the ones on the books. The AR15 has been around since the 1940’s. That means the ATF has been breaking the law since at least then. The law does need to be updated, but as of right now, AR15 lowers are not legally guns.

What I learned after a CA DoJ DROS delay

This is just a post for posterity sake, with hopes that it will help someone in the future avoid a similar experience to what I went through. if you don’t care about the why, and want to save the time reading through this whole post the bottom line is you may get delayed because:

  • the firearm(s) don’t show up in the DOJ database matching whats on the DROS forms
  • you need to ask if all firearms in the purchase are delayed, or just 1.
Knowing these 2 things will save you from panic, save you from wasting money on a livescan, save you from needing to submit multiple DROSes.

If you care about the why, here is the full story:

I bought a pair of handguns from a private citizen as a PPT purchase so the 1:30 exemption applied (in California you typically can’t buy more than 1 handgun within a 30 day period). He let me know up front that one of the handguns is older and not “in the system” so to speak, I decided to DROS it and keep things legit just in case.

The last firearm purchase I made in CA was April of this year and it went through no issues just like the numerous previous purchases. (I point this out only to say I am in the DOJ database as a gun owner and they know my info)

Last point I want to add is I have never been arrested in my life. This is very different than never being charged/convicted. If you have been arrested for something it appears it may still be on your record from what I am reading in other posts. and that can cause delays for firearms purchases.

Alright now as you can probably tell by the title the transaction was delayed. This is the 1st time it’s ever happened to me. Being a new experience I searched the internet high and low for info. I read horror stories about delays taking years to get resolved. I also read stories about being able to call the DOJ up and get it cleared up right then and there.

As of summer 2019 I can confirm this is the process:

  • you CAN NOT call the DOJ for any reason. they only have a voicemail box. no human being will pick up
  • sending them an email via their website gets you a reply back telling you they can’t give you an answer
  • you will get a letter that makes you think its something in your background that is the problem
  • the delay will either get resolved before the 30 day mark (approved/denied) or go undetermined on the 30 day mark from when the dealer submitted the DROS form
  • the dealer has every right legally to refuse to deliver the firearm if your DROS goes undetermined after 30 days. (I am not supporting this policy, just stating facts)
  • if a DROS is delayed then approved, you have 30 days from approval to pick it up
  • if the DROS is approved without a delay then you have 30 days from DROS submission (date of transaction) to pick it up
  • each firearm has it’s own DROS number and are treated separately from one another

I emphasize the last point for a reason. What happened to me was one handgun came back approved within the 10 days, and the other was delayed. Care to guess which one was delayed? Yeah it was the “not in the system” one. The problem I ran into was that by the time the one went undetermined, the 30 day mark was passed on the one that was approved. This means I had to redo the DROS for the 1 handgun that was originally approved which means another 10 day wait period and fee(s).

I did call the dealer about once a week during the delay and while I didn’t ask they definitely didn’t notice/tell me about the 1 being approved even though both DROS numbers showed up on the computer next to each other. They were just as surprised as I when I went to pick them up that there would be 2 separate decisions on the same transaction. Just goes to show you how messed up the DoJ has made the process and how little support the dealers get from the state. The dealer covered the 2nd DROS fee for me since it is their fault for not telling me, but I still have to wait the additional 10 days to pick up the 2nd handgun.

What I hope others will take away from my sharing of this experience is that if you have a multiple firearm purchase and you get delayed, make sure you ask the dealer if all DROS numbers are delayed, or just 1. Had I known to do this I would have been able to avoid a 2nd DROS.

Minuteman Concealment discount code

I was recently looking for a IWB concealed carry holster to fit my Springfield XD sub compact pistol. While these are fairly easy to find around $30 or less, I recently added a Crimson Trace DS-123 laser to the rig. Adding that particular laser made finding a holster next to impossible to find.

I looked everywhere, and no one had a holster that would work for this setup, except Minuteman Concealment. They were the only holster shop I could find that would make a form fitting IWB holster for me that wasn’t $100. Custom orders do take 2 weeks to make (nothing unexpected and definitely not unreasonable there) but they are well worth the wait for something custom made. You can also use coupon code CALGUN10 for 10% off any order! Go ahead and check them out, I do not get any kickbacks, or commissions, just wanted to share with you a source for very reasonably priced custom made holsters.

Reasons why I like Minuteman Concealment:

  • Great customer service: I logged onto their website to start looking at the different holster options and had a couple questions off the bat. I opened up the chat now option at 7p Central and someone was still online and ready to talk with me, taking time to answer whatever questions I had.
  • Holsters you get to customize: Every holster is made to order to your specs. You get to choose the color(s)/patterns. You get to choose L or R handed. You get to choose if you want a light/laser fitting holster. You get to choose if you want the basic belt clips or claw attachment. You get to choose if you want IWB (Revolution Series) or OWB (Revere series) or a custom made appendix carry gun + mag holster (Jefferson Series). If you don’t see an option for your specific model firearm, they will make a holster to fit it. If you don’t see a color/pattern option you want, they will add it. If you don’t see the laser/light attachment you need the holster to fit, they will make it. For the revolution series holster this comes to about $50 using our 10% discount code CALGUN10.
  • 30 day no risk guarantee: Buy it, you don’t like it send it back within 30 days for a full refund. Custom orders included. Any company that will stand behind their products like that deserves consideration.
  • Free shipping: This one is self explanatory ūüôā
  • Quick Ship options available: Don’t care about the colors and just want it fast, they have quick ship options available for popular models that get mailed out in 1 biz day!
  • Price: Did I mention that their prices are very fair? I mean seriously $50 to your door for a custom designed/made IWB kydex holster is as great a deal as you will find out there for a kydex IWB holster.

My Collection of Free Reloading Data

I found myself the other day looking for some load recipes and was bouncing around a few different websites. It occurred to me that I have yet to find a single site that aggregated all the various free sources of load data out there so I started this list. This is obviously not a replacement for a good printed manual like the Lyman’s or Hornady load bible, but if you just need some manufacturer published data then this post should save you some time. Enjoy!

* Sierra does not publish a complete set of load data for all cartridges online, you have to buy their book, but they do publish some articles for popular calibers in this blog that I have used to develop new loads.

The Buying Power of California’s Gun Owners

If there was ever any doubt about the market influence California has in the gun industry, it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt this past weekend. After the surprising ruling from Judge Benitiz in Duncan v. Becerra, not only did he reverse almost 2 decades of oppression by the CA state DoJ, but he was able to get the CA state Attorney General to admit that any magazine purchases made after the March 29, 2019 decision were legal! That however is not the point of this post.

The point here is how much influence the CA gun market can have. After the historic ruling was handed down, word spread like wildfire amongst the pro-2A community, not just in California, but across the USA. Soon retaliers across this great nation of ours were posting/announcing/emailing/etc. that there were accepting and shipping orders for 10+ round magazines to Cali. Overnight retailers sold out of inventory (which was in the thousands of units) and were calling their distributors for resupply to the tune of additional thousands of units. I was seeing posts on other websites telling stories of how distributors had sold out of 150k plus inventories overnight! That was one distributor!

Over a single weekend every magazine retailer large and small had seen sales volume like never before. Orders that are typically processed in a day had taken 2 or 3 to get shipped simply due to the sheer volume. While we may never know the exact count of magazines sold to California this past weekend, we can safely assume it is over the one million mark. I am going to go out on a limb and say that we as a single state in a single weekend have generated more business for the magazine industry than the past year combined for the rest of the country (gov’t contracts excluded). Now if we can only get as organized on election days, California could be made great again.


What impacts accuracy in an AR?

I see it all the time. Some tacticool Joe goes out and spends $1,500 on parts to build his AR15 and then puts a $30 scope on top of it. He then goes out and tries to make “sniper” shots and can’t hit the broadside of the barn. “its got a <fill in the name of some high priced barrel> on it. Why doesn’t it shoot well?” is always the follow up to which some harsh truth gets dropped on this poor soul.

When it comes to getting the best accuracy performance out of your rifle, ammo is the biggest influence over performance. After that comes optics, then trigger, and finally barrel. If we take a step back and think about what perfect accuracy is, it is the ability to send the bullet out the barrel over some distance and hit what we are aiming at dead center all in the matter of seconds. When in the barrel, the bullet doesn’t have much room to move around, but once it leaves the barrel all sorts of physics laws impart their harsh reality on it. If the bullet you are shooting has a low ballistic coefficient, then the bullet will go off course easier. Likewise, if your optic doesn’t provide a clear target image due to cheap glass or poor parallax adjustments, the barrel of your rifle may not be lined up with target even though the cross-hairs say they are. Last, but definitely not least, if your trigger is too stiff then what ends up happening is you apply so much pressure that you pull the barrel off target when the hammer gets released. All of these things can result in fractions of an inch change which translates to feet off target down range.

The bottom line is that the barrel has not as much influence on the overall accuracy of the gun as most people think. Yes having a barrel from a good manufacturer is paramount to accuracy, but to be honest its more about their QC processes than anything else. I have shot both high dollar rifles and budget ones and I have shot well and horribly with both. At the end of the day it’s your money and you get to decide what to do with it, just don’t be surprised if that $300 barrel with a $20 scope pairing doesn’t make dime sized groups.

Does the NRA deserve your money?

I recently retweeted a story about a 2A business pulling their booth from the annual NRA conference.  They took this action as a sign of protest to the recent stance the NRA took on the bump-stock ban implemented by the US DoJ.  At the time I was being bombarded with letters and phone calls from the NRA warning me that my membership was about to expire and the cost was going to be increasing in a couple months.  I decided to follow suit and not renew my membership to the NRA.

At the time I too was unhappy with how the NRA was supposedly fighting for my (and your) 2nd Amendment rights.¬† I was befuddled by their seeming continuous stream of lawsuits arguing the exact same legal reasoning time and again, and each time being shot down (anyone know the definition of insanity?).¬† I too wondered how the largest organization of so called “supporters of gun rights” could say they agreed with the unconstitutional banning of a non-firearm item?¬† At that time I decided I couldn’t justify giving them my money.

But a few months later, I can’t help but wonder if refusing to give the NRA my money is the wisest decision in the grand scheme of things.¬† I mean lets face it, there is an all out war in the media over the 2nd Amendment.¬† And the NRA is the largest pro-gun lobby group.¬† The NRA has helped get 2 supreme court nominees confirmed in the past 2 years.¬† They also have very deep pockets to help fund some campaigns.¬† So there is some good the NRA has been doing for the gun rights community.

I feel my decision might have been a little brash back then.¬† Yeah I am still upset over what I perceive to be poor legal arguments and¬† somewhat spineless response to left-wing attacks on our constitutionally guaranteed rights.¬† But they are still a driving force in American politics with a lot of money to spend and there is value to them staying as mainstream as possible.¬† When you take the emotional (OK mostly anger) factor out of it and try to look at the NRA’s existence objectively I find that the NRA still does more good than harm for gun owners and still probably deserves my $35 a year membership due.