Guns. Ammo. Gear. Politics. Truth.

SHOT Show Update…Media Day at the Range

It was a very cold and windy day at the range just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada in Boulder City but we did not come for the weather…we came to get a first hand-hands on experience with some of the new products of 2013. Today’s Media day at the Range sponsored by The National Shooting Sports Foundation had simply everything; from semi-auto pistols to shotguns and rifles were on display for media members to look over, handle and yes…shoot. I personally was very impressed with Springfield’s new XDs 9mm single stack semi-auto pistol, while Jeff, Illinois Gun Report’s co-founder felt the same about the XDs chambered in .45 ACP. Both are very nice firearms and offer a unique solution for concealed carry.

Other notable firearms included putting several rounds downrange some 850 meters with Accuracy International AX338LM. This is one incredible firearm and was A LOT of fun to shoot at long range. Please understand that this rifle as configured is not cheap. Consider this: the Zeiss optics alone that this rifle was fitted with cost more than any other rifle I own…by a lot; a plinker this is not. That said, a guy can dream, and who knows….maybe someday.

If the 338 wasn’t exciting enough, we moved a little further down the long range area of the range and there was a .416 Barrett awaiting us. This is an incredibly low-recoil and easy rifle to shoot, and yes Jeff and I both had verified hits on steel at 1000 yards…and we only took one shot apiece. It might not sound like a big deal to some, but for us it marked lifetime milestones for distance and certainly was the high mark of our day. Hitting a 36” target from that far out does two things….it makes you want to do it again and then again at farther and farther distances. For me it epitomizes the capabilities of this rifle far more than the capabilities of this shooter.

Tomorrow we will head over to the main exhibit at the Sands Convention Center and we look forward to seeing all the new items up for offer this year. A report on the days events will soon follow. Till then, play safe everybody.

Illinois Gun Rights Sites

To all of our Illinois readers, I’d like to recommend a couple of web sites that are Illinois focused and have been a great source of information the last couple of weeks as we battle to keep our rights in Illinois.

Illinois Carry – this site is focused on getting concealed carry in Illinois. In addition to article, posts and events, they also have a very active forum with seemingly up-to-the-minute updates from the legislature in Springfield by the NRA and ISRA lobbyists. Definitely worth joining the forum and following along for both the broader 2nd amendment rights watch but also getting concealed carry passed.

ISRA – Illinois State Rifle Association. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again. This organization is entirely focused on Illinois. In addition to a great range and events, they also have legislative lobbyists and alerts that keep you updated on happenings in the state and fight for your rights.

Illinois’ conceal-carry ban overturned by 7th Circuit Court of Appeals…

*********************************Author’s note*****************************

This article was written two days after the 7th Circuit decision and prior to the Sandy Hook School shooting.  It was subsequently withheld from publication until now out of respect for the victims, their families and the entire Newtown, Connecticut community so as not to appear to trivialize or politicize the suffering of that community. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims, their families and that entire community. An article relevant to that incident is soon to follow.


…What now?

I’ll tell you what now; every freedom loving citizen in Illinois must join every law-abiding firearm owner, sportsman, and recreational shooter in Illinois and prepare to defend from tyranny the one Amendment to our U.S. Constitution that has defended all others…our Second Amendment.

In a decision that clearly sides with the United States Constitution and the American People over government tyranny imposed at the will of government bureaucrats, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Illinois’ ban on the carrying of concealed firearms by private citizens.  Five years ago this would have been national news worthy of countless hours of national media coverage.  Two and half years ago such a decision should have sent shock-waves of reality through the halls of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield that would have echoed all the way to Chicago’s city hall and the Cook County Board.  However, in December 2012, some four plus years removed from the Heller Decision and two and half years after the McDonald Decision, both U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the Political ruling class throughout Illinois is aghast at the 7th Circuit decision.

A full dissection of the 7th Circuit Courts’ decision, though fascinating to a dork such as me who considers such reading not only informative but highly entertaining…however tempting, is hardly necessary.  What must be carefully distilled from all the legalese in both the affirming and dissenting opinions is the clear contrast in opinion to one central question:  Where precisely does true power rest:  In the hands of government officials …or in the hands of the People?

The answer to that very basic question forms the nucleus from which either the anti-gun lobby or the pro-gun lobby forms their rationale.  As the U.S. Supreme Court clearly answered via the Heller decision and further substantiated and expanded upon in the McDonald decision, the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects an individual right.  As much as the anti-Second Amendment activists, A.K.A. the vast majority of the Democrat party, A.K.A. the vast majority of the media would like you to believe the contrary, that simply is not the case.

We the People now sit squarely inside the 180 day deadline mandated by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to the Illinois State Legislature to either craft concealed carry legislation or have the ban expire.  As inept as the Illinois Legislature has proven itself to be, I would not bet on the latter.  The mere fact that Illinoisans have had to fight tooth and nail to get this close to realizing concealed carry is a testament to the utter contempt for the Second Amendment harbored by many powerful politicians throughout Illinois.  Despite the 2008 Heller Decision, the City of Chicago still saw the McDonald case all the way to the Supreme Court.  Despite the McDonald decision the city of Chicago still refuses to allow gun stores selling a legal product to operate within the City limits, and despite requiring Chicagoans as part of the process to obtain a Chicago Firearm Permit to take an approved 4 hour class with 1 additional hour of range time the city has effectively banned gun ranges within the city limits.  How confident can law-abiding Illinoisans be that these same politicians will be reasonable concerning the language in the Concealed Carry legislation that they were basically ordered to write?  Call me cynical, but my confidence in getting “actual’ concealed carry legislation as opposed to ‘perceived’ concealed carry legislation is slim to none.  The difference between ‘actual’ and ‘perceived’ concealed carry legislation is as simple as the difference between ‘shall issue’ and ‘may issue’ concealed carry legislation.  For those unfamiliar, ‘shall issue’ concealed carry laws delineate a baseline threshold of requirements that a law-abiding citizen must meet and once met the State ‘shall issue’ that citizen their concealed carry permit.  On the contrary, ‘may issue’ concealed carry laws delineate many of the same baseline requirements that a law-abiding citizen must meet in order to obtain a concealed carry permit. However, once those requirements are met the State then requires each individual to meet several other much more restrictive criteria and in most cases requires each individual to ‘prove’ to it necessary to their protection to have a concealed carry permit by virtue of an actual threat on their life. Even then, the permit ‘may’ or ‘may not’ be issued purely at the subjective discretion of some state appointed bureaucrat. In other words, ‘may issue’ places the power in the hands of a few government bureaucrats, whereas ‘shall issue’ places that power where it rightfully belongs…in the hands of the people.

What type of concealed carry legislation can law-abiding Illinoisans expect their politicians to be working on at this very moment?  I assure you, the anti-gun lobby has been networking between Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. bureaucrats to aid in crafting the most restrictive version of concealed carry legislation they can dream to fruition.  What every law-abiding firearm owner and every other freedom loving Illinois citizen must do now is simply contact their local State Representatives and Senators via e-mail, written letters and phone calls and respectfully convey to them the need for ‘actual’ concealed carry legislation in the form of a “SHALL ISSUE” bill.  These politicians MUST understand that their jobs are at stake and anything less than a minimally restrictive “shall issue” concealed carry law will mean their jobs come next election.

In closing, I would urge all of you, including your family and friends to please join the Illinois State Rifle Association, and if you are already a member please consider a small financial donation to the ISRA.  These legal battles cost an extraordinary amount of money and every little bit helps make that fight possible.  These fine men and women are out there on the front lines doing the lion’s share of the work in securing and maintaining our Second Amendment protected rights.  Additionally, if you are not already a member, please consider joining the National Rifle Association.  This is of course the parent organization to the ISRA and quite frankly the last line of defense against the outright abolition of our Second Amendment.  Thanks for reading.  Until next time, play safe.

Practical Rifle

If you happen to live in Northern Illinois, I’d recommend finding time on a third Saturday of the month and taking a trip out to Aurora Sportsman’s Club in Waterman and participating in the Practical Rifle event. This is a great way to get that semi-automatic rifle off the bench and see what you can do with it under pressure. While AR-15′s are the typical rifle of choice, AK’s of various flavors, M1A’s and even Mini-14′s have also been used to compete. Sighting options vary from the iron-sights to red-dot/Eotech-style sights all the way to variable power optics. Moral of the story – bring what ya got and don’t wait for the “perfect” setup.

At ASC, Practical Rifle consists of three stages (typically) with ranges from 5′ to 150+ yds. Some stages are run and gun and others are more precision focused with shots at longer distances at small steel targets. Like most competitions, this is run under a timer and your final scores is derived from the scoring of your hits added to your time. IDPA-style cardboard targets are used for some stages and the scoring rings will determine how much time is added to your score.

While Practical Rifle is a timed competition with multiple stages, many people just come out to have fun and don’t worry about the clock and scores. What surprised me the most was the WIDE range of people attending the events. You’ve got your ex-military and active duty LE as expected, but also civilian shooters including a couple of families and some couples.

If you’re interested in coming out, they have instituted a pre-pay sign-up process. Go to the Practical Rifle page here to learn more about the requirements and the current sign-up link.

Shooting a long way out

One of the reasons I joined Aurora Sportsman’s Club ( was the 600 yd range. Having done only short range rifle and pistol shooting, I looked forward to the challenge of shooting at a target that far away. With the goal of shooting on the 600 yd range, I built an AR-15 in .223. With the high cost of ammo, I wanted to start with .223 instead of the more common .308 used at the 600 yd mark. I’m sure I’ll break into faster, flatter shooting calibers down the road, but for now I’ll stick to my Hornady 75gr OTM.

ASC requires members to be certified to shoot on the 600 yd range. They want to make sure people can actually hit what they are aiming at that far away. I decided to take a long-range class from SAFER-USA to get a little instruction while also getting the certification.

We started out with a chronograph stage to see how fast our bullets were going. That was then used to generate ballistics for our round – necessary to see how to adjust the scopes/sights for 600 yds. Next we sighted in at 100 yds. We followed this with a drill to test the consistency of our scope/sights by shooting at a target with dots 10, 20 and 30 MOA high. After sighting in, we then adjusted 10 MOA and shot again. The shots were in the dot. Then adjusted 10 MOA and shot again. This time, I was a little below the 20 MOA dot – could’ve been my scope was off or I may have missed a click when dialing the 40 clicks of adjustment. However, when dialing another 10 MOA I was dead center of the 30 MOA dot. I’m guessing my scope is just a little off around the 20 MOA range.

Now, we packed up at the 100 yd line and moved back to the 600 yd line. I fired three rounds and was just at the bottom of the paper. The ballistics data they had was different than what I’d calculated hence the low shots. In my second three rounds I shot two off to the left of the target and had one about 1.5″ below center. Not bad for a little .223 bullet shot from 600 yds away.

At the end of the day, I’d successfully achieved what I’d set out to do – hit the target at 600 yds. At this point, I’ll looking forward to getting back out and better understanding the ballistics and dynamics of long-range shooting.