SHUSH!!! (Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing) Act

Most shooters are probably aware of the bill working through Congress to remove suppressors/silencers from National Firearms Act (NFA) restrictions and drop the $200 tax stamp and wait period from their purchase. Now a new pair of bills from Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Mike Crapo of Idaho would take this movement a bit further in the right direction. The Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing (SHUSH) Act would properly classify suppressors as “firearms accessories), allowing them to be bought and sold across a retail counter or through the mail or over the internet without ANY restrictions, as are scopes, recoil pads, or revolver speed loaders. This is a move I have been advocating, and is only logical – as a suppressor is only an attachment for a firearm, and not a firearm in itself, and as such has no reason to be regulated in the same way as a machine gun!

The Senate version of the Bill is SB S1505, while the complimentary House Bill is HB HR 3139.

Both of these bills need our help and support, as the rabid gun control forces are of course marshaling a campaign of lies and mis-direction against them.

Call, email, or write your Congress people!

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Thompson Contender .30/30 Ackley Improved

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One Day, All Guns Will Have Threaded Barrels!

In my safe, anyway! When I first began my suppressor testing project, I badly wanted to try a “can” on a .45 auto. The only .45 ACP I had that would be suitable was the Para “Expert Carry” 1911, with a short slide and 3″ barrel. Para does not offer a threaded barrel for this pistol, so I ordered one from Bar Sto Precision. Things being what they sometimes are, this took longer than I would have liked, so I purchased the Sig P220 TB, which was a good thing, as I REALLY like the Sig!

Finally, though, the Para came home to roost!

My next .45 ACP suppressor "Host".

My next .45 ACP suppressor “Host”.

One of the slow downs on the barrel job was that Bar Sto had only one gun smith working. That was the “bad news”, the good news was that gun smith happened to be company owner/founder Irv Stone – as good a guy to have work on a 1911 as ANY!

This Para compact 1911 should be a very useful gun with a suppressor mounted on it?

This Para compact 1911 should be a very useful pistol with a suppressor mounted on it?

The barrel is now 4″, and extends slightly past the end of the slide. It is still a VERY compact 1911. It shoots very well, and functions perfectly. Some slight damage was done to the gun’s finish in shipping, but it seems to me Bar Sto cleaned that up as much as possible. I put my custom Mesquite Burl grips from Lone Star Custom Grips on it, and it looks very attractive. I have yet another Burris Fast Fire reflex sight coming to “see” over a suppressor, and am very anxious to check the balance with a suppressor attached.

Might just be my imagination, but the grip safety on the Para has always been a bit “loose”, and even that seems better now!

Threaded barrel .45 semis- Sig and Para.

Threaded barrel .45 semis- Sig and Para.

These two are ready to mount suppressors.

These two are ready to mount suppressors.

The Sig P220 TB is a very nice pistol, and I am glad to have it, BUT, my Para 1911 also has permanent home! Recently I was reading an article pointing out how good a 1911 “feels” in the hand, and the Para – with it’s full size grip and magazine well partnered with a shorter slide and barrel and the slightly different balance seems to feel even better than a full size 1911. The Para is my only 1911 at the moment, and as I waited to get it back I have again wished to get another full size 1911. Not sure I need one now!

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Reflex Sight A New Option for Single Action Rugers

This Burris Fast Fire III provides another sight option for a Ruger New Model Blackhawk .45 Coltwhen on a new mount from Raptor Engineering.

This Burris Fast Fire III provides another sight option for a Ruger New Model Blackhawk .45 Colt when on a new mount from Raptor Engineering.

Reflex sights are FAST for the eye to acquire and require only a single plane sighting radius.

Reflex sights are FAST for the eye to acquire and require only a single plane sighting radius.

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Another Good German Revolver – Same Maker

I obviously think Sig Sauer is a heck of a gunmaker! The Sig P220 TB I recently acquired is a VERY good .45 ACP semi-auto, and the old Herter’s revolvers that were made back in the 1960’s by then J.P. Sauer & Sohn in West Germany are built battleship tough! I was aware that Sauer also made other revolvers for a few other companies in the U. S., but had never gotten my hands on one before a few days ago, when Alfredo Villarreal of Manvel sold me a very nice Hawes Western Marshall in .44 magnum made by J. P. Sauer.

The Hawes revolvers, while also made by J.P. Sauer & Sohn, had a few different features from the Herter's line.

The Hawes revolvers, while also made by J.P. Sauer & Sohn, had a few different features from the Herter’s line.

I really expected this gun to be a “carbon-copy” of the Herter’s revolver, but other than the sound construction, there were a few major differences. First was the much smaller grip frame and grip sizes. The front sight is smaller, and there is no rear sight save for a “notch” in the end of a channel in the top strap. Yes, the chambers still have case-head recesses, the hammer is still of the Christy style that falls on a frame mounted firing pin – but the overall size and shape of the gun is more like a Ruger Vaquero.

The first thing that attracted me to the Hawes Western Marshall was the brass grip frame!

The first thing that attracted me to the Hawes Western Marshall was the brass grip frame!

Another difference – and the one that attracted me to the Western Marshall perhaps the most, was that it has a nice brass grip frame and trigger guard. Really stands out against the excellent bluing of the rest of the gun. It also had a nice set of hardwood grips that are probably rosewood, and probably came on it from the factory.

Another feature of the Hawes revolver is the nice hardwood grips.

Another feature of the Hawes revolver is the nice hardwood grips.

Like the Herter’s guns, the barrel markings do not say J.P. Sauer, instead listing the manufacturer as Hawes Manufacturing in Los Angeles, California. Also, instead of the “Made in Western Germany” stamped on my Herter’s, this one simply says, “Made in Germany”. My Herter’s were both made in 1966, this Hawes shows to have been made in 1968 – a year with special meaning to me as that was the year I graduated from high school!

Right side of barrel is roll marked Western Marshall .44 magnum.

Right side of barrel is roll marked Western Marshall .44 magnum.

Although both made by Sauer in West Germany, the Hawes revolver has no real rear sight, shorter front sight, and smaller grips than the Herter's.

Although both made by Sauer in West Germany, the Hawes revolver has no real rear sight, shorter front sight, and smaller grips than the Herter’s.

When I took the gun to my woods place to take some initial photos, I managed to fire a few “test rounds”. With “light” .44 mag loads, it functioned fine, shot well, and was easy to handle. The trigger pull is 4 pounds – about what I try to “set” my Ruger Blackhawks at for hunting.

Brass grip frame

Brass grip frame

The Hawes Western Marshall much more closely resembles the Ruger Blackhawk, but would probably be even closer to the Ruger Vaquero.

The Hawes Western Marshall much more closely resembles the Ruger Blackhawk, but would probably be even closer to the Ruger Vaquero.

The Hawes resembles more than a little bit the Uberti .45 Colt Cattleman. Both are Colt SAA "clones".

The Hawes resembles more than a little bit the Uberti .45 Colt Cattleman. Both are Colt SAA “clones”.

German vs Italian "Colt Replicas"

German vs Italian “Colt Replicas”

“Cowboy Action Shooting” was not a popular sport when the Hawes Western Marshal revolver was produced, but in modern times, it should be just as popular for those games as more recent Colt clones like the Uberti imports from Italy – which also have nice grips and brass grip frames!

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Let There Be Sight! (Shooting Over Suppressors Made Easy)

Since I am more or less dedicating my Sig P220 .45 ACP to suppressor testing, the need for better sights than the excellent Sig factory night sights soon became apparent. The normal answer to this problem is “suppressor height” front and rear sights – and these can be had as night sights, with Tritium inserts. I really don’t care for such tall sights on my handgun slides. The extra tall front sight is guaranteed to “hang” or snag in the holster or on clothing. I choose to use a reflex type red dot optic. The “open” sighting frame of the reflex style makes for very fast and sure sight acquisition, and only having to focus on the red dot is a very fast and sure way to get on target. Even with a low mount on the slide, the reflex sight “views” high enough to aim over the suppressor barrel, and of course is just as effective without the suppressor. A reflex sight in the stock rear sight slot will usually not interfere with holstering, and there is no front sight needed.

I was very interested in the new Sig Romeo reflex sight, which has an internal motion activation switch that turns the sight on when the pistol is drawn from the holster or picked up from a bedside table and off after 2 hours of no movement – an asset for hunting or home defense – but was told the demand for these was so high that it would be several months before they were available. While waiting for my Romeo, I decided to mount a Burris Fast Fire III. I had this sight on my 10mm Glock G20, and it was one of the better features of that pistol, and not bothered by the 10mm recoil. Another large advantage of the Fast Fire series is their price is very reasonable, and they are so common that used models are often available in good condition for an even more reasonable amount. I was discouraged from mounting one on the sdie of my .460 Rowland 1911 because of recoil, but it should do well with .45 ACP – especially the sub sonic ammo.

Among the other things a reflex/red dot sight is good for, they allow for an excellent sight picture over a suppressor.

Among the other things a reflex/red dot sight is good for, they allow for an excellent sight picture over a suppressor.

Reflex or red dot sights are “sighted in” pretty much just as are scopes, using adjustments to move the dot on the screen for windage (side-toside) and elevation (up and down). This takes a little getting used to even for those familiar wth sighting in scopes, but once it is done, the shooter only has to put the red on the screen over the spot he wants to hit, and hold steady. Even simpler than the cross hairs on a scope – because the dot can be anywhere on the screen as long as it is over the intended point of impact of the shot. If the gun DOES have suppressor height open sights, it is usually possible to “co-witness”, or view them through the reflex sight window. This could make a shooter feel more confident his dot is where it should be, and would be a help should the battery go dead.

Mounting the Fast Fire is easy. Drive or push out the rear sight, replace it with the mount piece that fits in the same slot, then screw the mount plate to the piece in the slot, fit the rubber seal over the plate, then the sight itself, and screw it down. I have a universal sight pusher tool I use on all my 1911’s, and Sig sells a special Sig sight tool, but for this job I just drove the rear sight out and replaced it with the proper proper mount piece using a punch and hammer. The 1911 mount kit from Burris for Novack dove tail cuts might have worked, but Burris has a special kit for Sigs – #410327 – that fits their cuts much better. It was easiest for me to order this mount kit from Optics Planet – www.OpticsPlanet.com. I was involved in an internet discussion board difference of opinion recently with someone who recommended having the slide “milled” specially for reflex sight mounting, but the Burris system has worked well for me, and I don’t see how milling could make a much better connection. With the Burris mounts, the slide does not need to be removed from the gun.

One note of interest regarding slide mounted sights on semi-auto pistols: it is not a really good practice to use the sight as an aid to racking the slide to cock or clear the gun. This can cause some creative gripping of the slide when it needs to be racked. On hammerless pistols, there is often a “handle” available that attaches to the slide to help move it, as the serations on the muzzle end of the slide – should it have them – may not do the job alone. Without a suppressor attached, the Handi-Racker (www.Handi-Racker.com) is very useful. With the Sig P220, I can grasp the slide near the muzzle and manage to pull it back far enough, although cocking the hammer first makes it easier.

With a slight bit of trimming, the Sig with the Fast Fire III fits very well in the Alien Gear holster.

With a slight bit of trimming, the Sig with the Fast Fire III fits very well in the Alien Gear holster.

There are special holsters for pistols with optics, also “tactical” holsters that accomodate optics, suppressors, and rail mount lights or lasers. For my intended use as a trail gun, I chose to try the Alien Gear and Galco Combat master holsters I already had. Both worked well with the Fast Fire, but I did trim the Kydex of the Alien Gear just a bit to make the fit more to my liking. While the pistol with sight did not fit as deep in either holster, thye easily went in far enough to secure the trigger and hold the pistol tightly.

Fast Fire III equipped Sig fits in Galco Combat Master with no alterations

Fast Fire III equipped Sig fits in Galco Combat Master with no alterations

With no modifications, the Fast Fire III easily fits this holster.

With no modifications, the Fast Fire III easily fits this holster.

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Galco Leather Holster for Sig P220

Well, when you buy a “new” pistol, you usually need a new holster for it – or several! When I began shopping for a Sig P220 holster, I was happy to find that several were made with the “light rail” in mind. In the past I have had problems looking for models that accommodated the light rails on 1911’s. The Galco Combat Master is a strudy leather holster designed to be worn on a belt, outside the waistband. To use this as a concealment holster requires a long sleeve shirt worn outside the pants, or a jacket or coat. It is, however, a good choice as a “sportsman’s” holster or open carry holster.

Galco leather holsters are designed for the brand and size pistol you own, but will need to be "formed" to the individual gun for a perfect fit.

Galco leather holsters are designed for the brand and size pistol you own, but will need to be “formed” to the individual gun for a perfect fit.

Like most good leather holsters, the Galco Combat Master is made purposely a bit small, and must go through a fitting or break-in period, in which the pistol – usually wrapped in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag – is inserted as far as it will go into the holster and left to stay there, maybe overnight. Next it is pushed in further, and this step repeated until in fits as far into the holster as it will go. Sometimes wetting the holster with water or some sort of oil makes this process faster, but ultimately, the pistol should fit snugly, but draw and re-holster easily.

A recommended method of fitting a leather holster is to put the pistol in a plastic bag and forcefully seat it in the holster to stretch the leather to correct size and shape.

A recommended method of fitting a leather holster is to put the pistol in a plastic bag and forcefully seat it in the holster to stretch the leather to correct size and shape.

Another view of the Galco for Sig P220

Another view of the Galco for Sig P220

The Combat Master can be ordered in black or brown (natural leather), right or left hand carry, and is a quality holster that will provide many years of faithful service. It also provides some level of retention to keep the pistol from falling out easily.

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Alien Gear Cloak Slide Holster for Sig P220

This Alien Gear holster, like all their holsters, has a leather back and a pre-molded Kydex shell to fit the pistol perfectly - even with the light rail.

This Alien Gear holster, like all their holsters, has a leather back and a pre-molded Kydex shell to fit the pistol perfectly – even with the light rail.

The Alien Gear Cloak Slide holster uses a leather back pice that goes against the wearer’s clothing paired with a Kydex shell molded to fit the particular pistol you want to carry in it. The fit is tight enough to give a nice level of retention, yet it not difficult to draw or re-holster. The shell is attached with screws and rubber bushings, and “spares” of these are provided which allow different mounting configurations- as well as replacements.

This is a very strong holster designed for outside the waistband use, for open carry or concealed by a long shirt, light jacket, or coat. It makes a good “field” holster for a hunter or hiker, also.

The belt loops on Alien Gear holsters are attached with screws for easy replacement.

The belt loops on Alien Gear holsters are attached with screws for easy replacement.

The belt loops of this holster are leather and also attached with supplied screws. With this design, shells moulded for other pistols can be “swapped” so the same basic holster can be quickly and easily modified to carry more than one pistol (but, one at a tiem boys, one at a time!)

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Hogue Wooden Grips for Sig P220

My preference in grips for handguns runs mostly to nice wood, yet another reason I prefer 1911’s to Glocks! Before ever buying the Sig P220, I remembered seeing Sig displays at gun shows flaunting LOT’s of beautiful wood, so I knew nice grips for the P220 HAD to be out there. For a quick and easy upgrade, I turned to Hogue, and found they have a wide assortment for this gun, in several different varieties of wood.

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Maglula Uplula Pistol Magazine Loader

For years I have seen ads for the Maglula magazine loaders, but always figured, “Hey, I have a couple of good, cheap thumbs, right?”

Well, once again, I was WRONG. The suppressor testing I am doing mostly involves semi-auto pistols, which means loading a lot of ammo into magazines – which can put a strain on those thumbs. The Maglula uploader is an amazing invention that makes loading magazine EASIER, FASTER, and will get the last round or two that I just can’t get in using thumbs alone in place, for a fully loaded magazine! Haven’t used mine to unload a magazine yet, but I’d bet it does great for that, also! These things are made for all manner of magazines, single and double stack, and SHOYLD be included with the purchase of any semi-auto pistol.

This simple device makes loading pistol magazines easy, fast  - and painless!

This simple device makes loading pistol magazines easy, fast – and painless!

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