Ankle Concealment Holster for small semi-auto pistols

My AMT Backup .380 is a small enough semi-auto pistol to be properly termed a “pocket gun”, and the pocket holster I use with it is usually great for carrying it VERY concealed. As light as is is, however, there are sometimes when I wear “exercise pants”, or lounge type wear with no belt that will not support the weight sufficiently. When I walk out to get my morning paper, it is usually still dark, there is a lot of traffic on the road of who knows what all types, and we often have wandering skunks between me and the road – and at least once a big rattlesnake – so I would like to be able to “carry” the small pistol in warmer months when I won’t be wearing a jacket with big pockets.

This ankle holster offers reasonable concealment for small semi-auto pistols, like my AMT .380 Backup

This ankle holster offers reasonable concealment for small semi-auto pistols, like my AMT .380 Backup

The latest option I am trying is an ankle holster that attaches with a wide velcro strap. It is designed for small autos, and holds the .380 Backup well – even has a retention strap. While not especially designed for it, and a bit heavier, my .45 ACP DAO Backup can also be carried in the same holster.

Attachment is via a wide velcro strap, which is comfortable and secure.

Attachment is via a wide velcro strap, which is comfortable and secure.

So far, this seems like the solution I was looking for, and I carried the .380 in this holster on my last woods trip, instead of in a front pocket.

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The Gun Digest Book Of Hunting Revolvers – by Max Prasac

Max Prasac's latest - Gun Digest Book of Hunting Revolvers - is a must have for handgun hunting enthusiasts!

Max Prasac’s latest – Gun Digest Book of Hunting Revolvers – is a must have for handgun hunting enthusiasts!

Max Prasac is a well known expert on handgun hunting and the revolvers to do it with. He is respected enough to receive both custom and pre-release factory revolvers for “evaluation”, and also has owned many fine custom revolvers in the largest calibers made. Max’s newest book in the Gun Digest series is “The Gun Digest Book of Hunting Revolvers”, in which he covers the “basics” of hunting with revolvers, holsters, ammo, sighting systems, and big game revolver calibers from .35’s to the big .50’s. He also includes some brief “bio’s” of other well known handgun hunters.

Even the back cover of this book is worthwhile reading!

Even the back cover of this book is worthwhile reading!

Aimed (pardon the pun) at the big game hunter, he does not deal with small game hunting or the revolvers used for that pursuit, but that is information that can be found elsewhere.

The photography of revolvers and game taken with revolvers is excellent, and probably worth the cost of the book.

I own all of Max’s books, and had been anxiously awaiting this one since he first told me it was coming, several months ago. Take my word for it – this one was more than worth the wait!

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Texas Legacy Revolver

The new "Texas Legacy" Revolver, offered by American Legacy Firearms

The new “Texas Legacy” Revolver, offered by American Legacy Firearms

There was a flyer “insert” in my local morning paper one day last week that caught my interest immediately. It was illustrated with photos of a beautiful revolver – The “Texas Legacy Revolver” issued by American Legacy Firearms, of Fort Collins, Colorado. This revolver is the latest of a series of commemorative guns the company produces to “honor” various states, and sometimes even cities. Company rep Todd Ray told me on the phone that to go with the sentiment that “Everything is bigger in Texas!”, they chose to “build” this gun on a BFR revolver by Magnum Research with a plated stainless steel finish, 10″ barrel, and chambered in .30-30 Winchester.

Drawing of the cylinder engraving.

Drawing of the cylinder engraving.

The company does it’s own plating and engraving, and this revolver has Texas-themes engraving on the cylinder, barrel, frame back strap, and grips. The grips on the one pictured are Rosewood, and configured like grips for a Ruger Super Blackhawk with the squared trigger guard, and marked with the note that each gun is a numbered in the series of only 100 to be issued. When I talked to Todd, he had just returned from participating in the Rattlesnake Roundup, in SweetWater, Texas, where the Texas Legacy Revolver was photoed with a couple of the star rattlesnakes’

"God Bless Texas" is engraved ob the frame back strap!

“God Bless Texas” is engraved on the frame back strap!

When I suggested Zane Thompson of LoneStarCustomGrips as a great guy to make “Texas Legacy” grips for these guns, Todd said that should I buy one and want Zane to make grips for it, I could send them to American Legacy and they would have them appropriately engraved.

The Texas Legacy BFR Revolver - stainless plated frame, 10" barrel, Texas-themed engraving, and chambered in .30-30 Winchester!

The Texas Legacy BFR Revolver – stainless plated frame, 10″ barrel, Texas-themed engraving, and chambered in .30-30 Winchester!

While these handguns are meant as collectibles, it would be a shame to own a BFR and NOT shoot it! Since these revolvers are chambered in .500 Linebaugh and other “stout” calibers, the .30-30 should be relatively calm in a gun of this weight and barrel length. I have a Thompson Contender with a 14″ barrel in .30-30, and it is pretty pleasant to shoot.

The price for these handguns is $2,500 (each), and there is a payment plan offered, of $200 down and $200 a month. For more info, go to www.AmericanLegacyFirearms.com, or call 1-877-887-4867.

Beautiful as well as practical handguns are a part of Texas history and “legacy”, and the .30-30 cartridge also contributed a lot to “building” Texas – although mostly in the Winchester 94 carbine. Personally, I like this idea, and might suggest another slogan for the Texas Legacy Revolver – actually carrying and shooting an expensive, engraved, collectible .30-30 revolver –

“Nowhere But Texas!”

Right side of barrel, engraved with "republic of Texas"

Right side of barrel, engraved with “republic of Texas”[/caption

[caption id="attachment_3611" align="alignleft" width="120"]Left side of the barrel is engraved, "Established 1836". Left side of the barrel is engraved, “Established 1836”.

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Galco IWB Holster for AMT Backup .45 ACP, DAO

After finding my AMT Backup .45 ACP, I of course needed a proper holster for it.The Galco model designed for this pistol is of the Inside The Waistband type for concealment, yet may also be simply clipped to the belt and used outside the waistband. The fit was snug – took a bit of stretching before the hold-down strap would fit – but after that was accomplished, the fit is near perfect – and the quality is Galco!

This Galco IWB holster may be used IWB or OWB.

This Galco IWB holster may be used IWB or OWB.

The exterior of the holster is "rough side out" to keep it from slipping.

The exterior of the holster is “rough side out” to keep it from slipping.

The Galco holster has a good hold down strap for pistol security.

The Galco holster has a good hold down strap for pistol security.

Evidently, I ordered the “wrong” holster – for me on my first try. I like to carry on my left, for a cross-draw, but ordered a left hand holster – which doesn’t work for that, and obviously is not correct for regular right hand draw. To correct this OI ordered another holster in right hand mode, and this one in brown or “natural” color to make them easier to tell apart – as I am keeping the first in case a situation arises where I would need to carry with it. I have also purchased an ankle holster which will carry either of my Backup pistols, and will review it as soon as I have given it a good shake down.

Same holster, in a right hand model, different color.

Same holster, in a right hand model, different color.

I wore this one several hours recently while mowing, and it was comfortable and out of sight!

I wore this one several hours recently while mowing, and it was comfortable and out of sight!

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First Place Award for MikesTexasHunt-Fish.com

At this weekend’s Texas Outdoor Writers Association Conference held at La Torretta Resort on Lake Conroe, in the Excellence in Craft competition, MikesTexasHunt-Fish.com won 1st Place in the category “Best Original Internet Story” for the post, “Another Blast From The Past: George Herter’s Revolver/Cartridge, posted here on September 28, 2016.

MikesTexasHunt-Fish received the 1st place award for Original Internet Story for a post about Herter's Revolvers.

MikesTexasHunt-Fish received the 1st place award for Original Internet Story for a post about Herter’s Revolvers.

Other notable award winners were my friends John Jefferson of Austin – who was voted a Lifetime Member, Marty Malin of Larado – who received the prestigious “L.A. Wilke Award”, and Chester Moore, Editor of Texas Fish & Game – who was given the Mossey Oak Writer’s Award.

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RE-OPEN THE MOUTH OF THE SAN BERNARD – AGAIN?

Just heard from Roy Edwards down in Rivers End near the mouth of the San Bernard that Brazoria Count Commissioner “Dude” Payne informed him that State Representative Dennis Bonnan reports the project to re-open the mouth of the San Bernard River is approved using restoration funds from the BP oil spill settlement, and could begin in the next 6 – 9 months.

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BACKUP TO A BACKUP? THE AMT BACKUP .45 ACP DAO

The story of my first exposure to the AMT Backup .380 semi-auto “pocket pistol” is documented in an earlier post here. To briefly recap, I found the gun in an old RV I was wrecking out for parts. It was lodged under the propane stove, and must have been there longer than the 12 years I had owned the camper. It was loaded, and in pretty good condition, all things considered. I spent some time and a little money getting it in like new condition again, and have shot it enough that it it now my bedside gun, and also goes with me on trips to my woods property. It is accurate enough at “belly gun” ranges to certainly be better than no gun at all, and I like the all-stainless steel construction, plus the slide safety and grip safety much better than a “modern” striker fired plastic pistol.

In researching the AMT pistols, I found that the Backup line was chambered in several calibers, from .22 LR to .45 ACP. My .380 is a double action/single action design, with no visible hammer. The later version that was chambered for 9 mm, .40 S&W, .38 Super, and .45 ACP was a Double Action Only (DAO) model which had NO safety – instead relying on a stiff trigger pull to keep the gun from firing except when it was wanted to fire. The .380 Backup is heavy for it’s size, but is a blow-back design, and recoils more than a .380 might be expected to. When I got a chance to pick up a .45 ACP Backup, I was a little hesitant, suspecting recoil might be a bit “sporty”!

Well, last week I found one for sale for a price I could not resist. It looks brand new, and did not appear to have been fired before today. It actually is close to the same size as my Para Expert 1911 .45, with it’s 3″ barrel – except that the Para has a full sized 1911 grip section, while the AMT grip is much shorter. The .45 model Backup is, however, both larger and heavier than the .380 version – while still being small enough to be very easily concealed.

The .45 AMT Backup is - thankfully - a bit larger and heavier than the same company's .380 version.

The .45 AMT Backup is – thankfully – a bit larger and heavier than the same company’s .380 version.

I must confess here that I was a little confused by the double action, single action terminology as applied to semi-auto pistols. Well, it really isn’t that complicated. You still must “rack” the slide to load the first round from magazine to chamber. After that, you merely pull the tigger for each shot, exactly as with a single action only semi-auto. The difference seems to be that with a single action, the hammer must be cocked by the slide being racked manually, or during a shot. Well, hmmm, the same logic applies to a DAO gun! With a single action/double action (which also exists), the first shot requires the trigger pull to both cock the hammer and release it to fire the gun, but following shots need only release the trigger. This results in a different trigger pull from the first to successive shots. In a DAO gun, the trigger pull is designed to be just as difficult for the second (and third) shots as the first, making the trigger pull a least consistent – much like with a double action revolver when fired in double action mode only.

The trigger pull of my .45 Backup is stronger than my 8# trigger pull gauge can register – but still not that difficult to shoot. It is not likely to go off in a pocket, however.

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Muzzle Loading As The Most Basic Form of Handloading!

The more I mess with this gun, the more I like it!

The more I mess with this gun, the more I like it!

One of the things many folks forget about in line muzzle loading, is that loads of various power levels can be worked up by varying bullet size and weight as well as powder charge weight. When I sally forth to hog hunt with my new Optima pistol, I intend to use basically the same hard cast bullets I use in my revolvers, by putting them in appropriately sized sabots. This means 292 gr to 335 gr .44 caliber or 300 gr .45. Although the weights may be the same, the .452″ bullets should have a bit more “wind resistance” than those of .429″ diameter?

A selection of .44 and .45 handgun bullets that should be good pig "medicine" from a .50 muzzle loader.

A selection of .44 and .45 handgun bullets that should be good pig “medicine” from a .50 muzzle loader.

Another option is to use the .45 cal “muzzle loader” bullets made by Hornady and Barnes that are shaped like modern centerfire bullets, even to having polymer tips to aid expansion. I also have a good selection of .45 jacketed soft nose bullets to try, and some 300 gr Barnes “Buster’ bullets. Sabots are designed to bring either .44 or .45 caliber bullets to .50 for shooting in muzzle loaders of this caliber, although you can also use the “powerbelt” type that is a full .50 in diameter with a plastic skirt that emulates the sabot.

These polymer tipped bullets are designed to expand at common muzzle loader velocities.

These polymer tipped bullets are designed to expand at common muzzle loader velocities.

The Optima is rated to shoot a maximum of 3 50 gr pellets, but this is discouraged by the powder manufacturers, who almost universally recommend no more than 2, 50 gr pellets, for a charge weight of 100 gr. Guessing this might put me over the 1000 fps muzzle velocity I really prefer with hard cast bullets for hogs, I purchased some 30 gr Triple Seven pellets, to make an 80 gr load. I originally thought if I wanted to go full bore “magnum”, I could use 2 50 gr pellets with one 30 gr, but 2 pellets of whatever size are the recommended maximum, at least by Hodgdon. This may be because it would be harder to ignite 3? Of course, for just “target” and “fun” shooting, either one 50 or 2, 30 gr pellets would make a much milder load.

UPDATE: Fired the CVA again, using one 30 gr Triple Seven Pellet, and one 50 gr, and chronographed the load at 1227 fps. Since this is over my hoped for velocity of 1000 fps, and well into .44 mag territory, I suspect this will be my hog hunting load. Actually, from the Lee Manual, the velocity range listed for recommended loads of .44 mag with a 300 gr lead bullet runs 1030 fps to 1225 – less than the velocity of my 80 gr Triple Seven load with that weight bullet! Going up to a 355 gr bullet, the velocities for .44 mag are even less, at 900 – 1178 fps. By comparison, under .45 Colt “Ruger and T/C only” loads, velocity with a 300 gr lead bullet runs about 800 fps, and with a 360 in a “hotter” load, 1000 fps is possible. Taking the next step, to .454 Casull loads, a 300 gr bullet produces 1260 fps, and a 360, 1200 – 1330. My treasured .480 Ruger can be loaded to Casull velocities, with a larger diameter bullet – .475″, and the fierce .475 Linebaugh gets 1450 fps with a 355 gr bullet, 925 – 1442 with a 370gr. I just traded for some 360 gr .45 hard cast bullets by True Shot and Cast Performance, and think I can get .454 performance out of them in the Optima! Looks like this is going to be a very versatile gun! Wonder if I can get .475/.50 sabots? Then I could use the over 400 gr hard cast I load for the .480!

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Shot a 360 gr hard cast .45 ahead of 100 gr of Triple Seven this morning. Got 1378 fps! Drilled the bull on the target at 25 yards, also. Recoil was lively, but nothing that could not be handled.

With this kind of power, and good shot placement, one shot should be plenty!

Triple seven, besides coming in two weights, seem to shoot "cleaner" than some other powders.

Triple seven, besides coming in two weights, seem to shoot “cleaner” than some other powders.

Another popular in line powder is the IMR "Whit Hots" brand.

Another popular in line powder is the IMR “White Hots” brand.

Loads can be "made up" ahead of time for slightly faster reloads in the field.

Loads can be “made up” ahead of time for slightly faster reloads in the field.

Since the muzzle loader uses all the components of a cartridge load – except for the brass cartridge itself, I find working with the loads in even a limited manner to be interesting, as well as useful.

This handy holder carries six reloads of powder and bullet, plus 4 primers.

This handy holder carries six reloads of powder and bullet, plus 4 primers.

The carrier also has a place to hold 4 primers ready.

The carrier also has a place to hold 4 primers ready.

For extended range sessions, or speeding reloads a bit when hunting, the plastic tubes that IMR White Hots powder pellets are sold in make great “cartridges” when set up ahead of time. Each tube will hold 4 pellets and 2 bullets, or two shots. I have a little device that is designed to carry extra powder, and hold 3 of the tubes, so it will carry 6 reloads. It also has recesses to carry 4, 209 primers – although I would not recommend storing them like this for extended periods.

Of course, even more flexibility in velocity and power ranges may be had if one chooses to load “loose” powder in the form of Pyrodex, Triple Seven, or Blackthorn 209 – even in an in line muzzle loader. I have not tried this option, and don’t intend to for at least the present. Powder pellets are fixed in weights, and it is not recommended to try to section them, but the ease of use factor is tremendous!

The in line “muzzle loader was obviously created to help hunters sort of “get around’ the muzzle loader only restrictions for special seasons originally called “Primitive Weapons Seasons”. With pelletized powder, modern bullets, and 209 shotgun primer ignition systems, they are hardly “primitive”! This type of firearm is as effective in many ways as a modern centerfire rifle – or handgun, and there is no reason not to hunt with one outside the one week muzzle loader only deer season. There are plenty of hogs in Texas to use these guns on, and they have sufficient power, range, and accuracy to get the job done. I grew up hunting with a single shot 20 gauge shotgun, and still hunt a lot with Thompson Contender single shot carbines and handguns, so a singe shot does not discourage me. Still it would be very interesting to try one of the over/under double barreled in line guns offered by – I think – CVA and Traditions!

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CVA Optima Muzzle Loading “Pistol”

OK, I know a “pistol” is properly a semi-auto, but CVA markets this single shot muzzle loader as such, so who am I to differ?

When trying to get a deer this season with my Mossberg 500 pump muzzle loader conversion, I again thought it would be “nice” to try a break open ML with a removable breech plug. This feature not only makes good cleaning of the barrel and breech areas easier, but allows for unloading the gun from the breech end, instead of having to shoot a load out. As I once accidently loaded my Mossberg in incorrect order, putting the bullet in before the powder pellets, this would have been a great feature to have on that gun at the time!

This break open ML with 14" barrel and removable breech plug should be a very effective hog/deer gun.

This break open ML with 14″ barrel and removable breech plug should be a very effective hog/deer gun.

As single shot handguns go, the CVA .50 compares closely in size and weight with my .30/30 Contender - also with a 14" barrel.

As single shot handguns go, the CVA .50 compares closely in size and weight with my .30/30 Contender – also with a 14″ barrel.

Contender case and other accessories work well with the CVA .50 ML.

Contender case and other accessories work well with the CVA .50 ML.

This Uncle Mike's shoulder holster I "modified" for a 14" Contender barrel will also work for carrying the CVA ML.

This Uncle Mike’s shoulder holster I “modified” for a 14″ Contender barrel will also work for carrying the CVA ML.

The 4x Leupold handgun scope swapped easily from the Contender to the CVA. If this proves too much magnification for my needs, I'll drop to a 2x scope.

The 4x Leupold handgun scope swapped easily from the Contender to the CVA. If this proves too much magnification for my needs, I’ll drop to a 2x scope.

Finally got to shoot this firearm, and I like it. As a start point, I obtained some 30 gr Triple 7 pellets, and loaded one of these with a 50 gr pellet, to give a charge of 80 gr. Did not have the time to chrono the load, but it was not unpleasant to shoot, although it did knock my un-padded elbow against the shooting table. After bore sighting at home, the hit – with a 292 gr cast lead bullet – was about 3″ high at 25 yards. Certainly as close as bore sighting usually gets! If this load chronos around 1000 fps, this may be the one I end up using.

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Muzzle Loader Cleaning Aids

Muzzle loaders – even in line versions using pelletized powder – have “special” cleaning needs. The pre-saturated cleaning patches from Thompson Center are MUCH easier to use than trying to attach a dry patch to your cleaning rod and then wet it by hand!

Coating a muzzle loader barrel – inside – with a product like Bore Butter after each shooting session helps clean it as well as “seasoning” the barrel, much as seasoning a cast iron frying pan with cooking oil helps to keep the pan from rusting. With a muzzle loader – even when shooting so called easy load plastic sabots over your bullets – a bit of lube helps to allow easier bullet seating. The patches from TC or Traditions that are already presaturated with such a lube are also easier and faster to use than smearing a bit of bore butter on a dry patch.

The CVA “Barrel Blaster” cleaning system is a small jar filed with cleaning solution in which a breech plug or other “small” parts may be dropped and soaked for the ultimate in through and easy cleaning. The only caution is to dry the part as well as possible after removing it from the re-useable solution and before using it in the gun.

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