Handgun Radio 159 - Protect Yourself with Your Snubnose Revolver with Grant Cunningham

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad  from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.

This week, we’re joined by Grant Cunningham, Author & Instructor, to discuss his new book “Protect Yourself with your Snubnose Revolver”!

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Week in Review:

Ryan:-Snow...lots of it. 40 inches overnight last night in the town next to us..probably close to 30” here. Getting last weeks show posted with the internet holding out hopefully….


Weerd: Snow snow snow snow snow!

Also did assemble the arbor press.   To get maximum pressure It needs to be bolted down to a bench,  but with just my foot bracing it I managed to pop out the frame wedge out of my walker.    No idea if I need a new wedge or not,   been too tired to fiddle with it, and I want to be VERY deliberate, as I have no Idea how I got into this pickle.

Thanks for the Idea, Sidhartha Priest

Drink Segment: When you spent an entire day wrangling a 3 year old, and shoveling frozen snow, the drink that pairs best is quantity, not quality.

Tonight I’m drinking a martini made from 4 parts Linie Aquavit,  and Amantialldo Sherry with some blue cheese stuffed olives.

If you like your drinks a little bit sweet, you’ll HATE this!

Main Topic: Protect Yourself with Your Snubnose Revolver with Grant Cunningham

-What prompted you to write this book?

-How did you decide to divide the book up? It seems like the first half of the book is more concept based and the second half focuses on the various techniques.

-There is a chapter called “Vices and Virtues of the Snubby”. What are some of the things that you cover in that section?

-Even with all the advances in semi-auto pistol design, there are still a large number of people who carry a snubby as a primary weapon, and not in the backup gun type role. Why do you think that is?

-With a snubnose revolver, you are dealing with a very short barrel, which can affect bullet performance. What are some considerations when selecting carry ammunition for your snubby revolver?

-There is a great section called “Expecting the Unexpected: Possible, plausible, and likely” I think this is a great section for ANY book, but particularly for this one. Did you include this section for the people who say a J-Frame or other snubby just isn’t enough gun for carrying?

-If you could leave the listeners who want to carry a snubby revolver as a primary carry gun with one piece of advice, what  


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  • Be sure to go like Handgun Radio on facebook and share it with your friends!

  • Leave us a review on iTunes!

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  • Be sure to visit the Firearms Insider for review more awesome content! Also, if you are interested in writing reviews for the Firearms Insider, please email TJ at tj@firearmsradio.tv

  • Be sure to check out the Firearms Radio Network on YouTube!

  • Visit Weerd Beard at  weerdworld.com   sqrpt.com  http://gunblogvarietycast.com/

  • Grant, Where can people find you? www.grantcunningham.com


Until next week, have fun and safe shooting!!!


Handgun Radio 142 - History of the Double Action Revolver with Bill Bell

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.

This week, we’re joined by Bill “LaVista” Bell, to discuss early double action revolvers and how we got to the guns we know today!

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Week in Review:

Ryan: - Went up to the shop and tried to see if I could find a North American Arms .22 Mag. They are on backorder right now!

-Ordered a case of 1000 rounds Tula 9mm 115 grain from Lucky Gunner for $183 with shipping. Not a bad deal!

- Saw a beautiful Model 19-3 that was Mint condition in the shop. Really nice handgun. My 19 has holster wear, this one had the box and all papers and basically looked new from the factory.


  • This past week I’ve been reloading the .38 S&W cartridge.  I have some vintage Colt and S&W revolvers I’ve been wanting to shoot more, so I made some low-pressure handloads to use in them.  

  • I also received some 240 gr. SWC bullets to make handloads for my new (to me) S&W Model 1926 revolver in .44 Special (AKA) the .44 Hand Ejector, 3rd Model.  This is a post-war, transitional model and somewhat rare, so I want to shoot fairly moderate loads thru it - something about equal to factory ammo.

  • I’ve also been working on an article about revolver speedloaders for a new magazine from Athlon Media Group/Outdoors called THE COMPLETE BOOK OF REVOLVERS.                           


Didn’t manage to go shooting...unless you count my Bug-a-Salt, in which case there are a LOT less flies in the world.

Ordered a new P38 Magazine from Midway USA,  I went with the Pro Mag reproduction, and at least for my post-war commercial P38 with the Aluminum frame, the mag appears to fit fine, and it locks the slide back.   I’ll let you all know when I take it to the range.

Also when buying that magazine, I looked through Midway’s Clearance section and found a PM45 magazine for a VERY reasonable price, so that came too.

Jordan: Hey all. I figured I’d hop in. I just happened to be at Dad’s and figured I’d help out on the technical end! Hard to pass up getting to pal around with Ryan and Weerd!

  • I’ve been reading up on various calibers. Mostly 44 variants. I started on 44 special since I am interested in doing some testing with that in the future and then managed to find my way into 44-40 territory. I hate to admit it, but I never realized 44-40 wasn't straight walled. Wiki surfing is fun.

  • I picked up a new defensive 44spl load recently , that's what got me interested in doing some testing soon. You'd be surprised at the lack of good video coverage of this excellent caliber there is out there.

  • Ballistics gel is a racket, those prices wow. I need to learn to make it cheaper or I'll just shoot jugs of water! I could build a Fackler box like Dad used to use. He had this homemade Fackler box he tested with all the time when I was a kid so I know that is an option.

Drink Segment: So I went and did something I said I’d never do.

I made simple syrup for cocktails.     I originally said I wouldn’t do it because it’s just sugar water, and I’d rather use more complex syrups or liqueurs to give sweetness AND flavor.

Only there are times when there just isn’t anything else that will do.    Yes you can put a teaspoon of sugar over your mint in a mint julep,  but those sugar grains don’t fully dissolve, and they make a mess!

Also I was surprised to find the taste a little different than just sugar,  possibly because some of the sugar bonds mights be broken by heat.

You simply make it by putting 1 part sugar, in 1 part water.     I simply did a half-cup of each for my first batch.    Bring the water to a boil and stir,  then  remove the heat and let it cool.

The sugar will remain in solution even when cold,  and now will quickly dissolve in your cocktails.

Music Selection This Week:

1st Interlude: “Folsom Prison Blues” guitar solo I played from a recent gig.

2nd Interlude: “Feeling Alright” bass solo from a gig with my band the Jefftones

Main Topic: History of the Double Action Revolver with Bill Bell

Bill: I think for the edification of our listeners we should define the term “double-action”.  As it refers to handguns DA might be better called trigger-cocking; as a long pull of the trigger serves to both cock the hammer and then release the sear, allowing the hammer to fly forward striking the firing pin and exploding the cartridge.  “Double” referred to the mechanisms ability to be fired in both the single-action mode - the hammer being manually cocked and the trigger pulled or in the trigger-cocking mode.  Today we have come up with terminology that is not quite correct, that being double-action-only or DAO.  Here the handgun action has altered so that it can only be fired in the trigger-cocking mode.  This was primarily done for reasons of safety by law enforcement as the trigger pull on a handgun in single-action mode is much lighter, thus more prone to accidental discharge in a stressful situation.

What we think of as the double-action revolver was first invented in 1851 by Robert Adams in England and was a cap & ball or percussion revolver using a trigger-cocking mechanism which in the case of revolvers simultaneously cocks the hammer, revolves the cylinder, locks the firing chamber in line with the barrel and releases the hammer, firing the gun.  This went over rather well in Great Britain and was approved by the British Small Arms Committee.  In American the gathering gray clouds of civil war spurred firearms production and in 1856 Ebanezer Starr invented a DA mechanism for a revolver and in 1858 produced the Starr DA .36 caliber Navy revolver and a DA .44 caliber Army revolver.  Both were procured for use by Union troops in the Civil War.  Another early American DA revolver was the Cooper Pocket DA Revolver introduced in 1860.  It looked very similar to the Colt 1849 Pocket Model and was a .31 caliber 5-shooter with a DA mechanism.

Skipping into the realm of self-contained metallic cartridge revolvers, it appears that the first such revolver was produced by Remington in the late 1860’s and was a factory conversion of the Remington-Rider DA revolver to fire .38 RF cartridges.  While S&W held the rights to the Rollin White Patent for bored-thru cylinder revolvers, they stayed with the SA mechanism, while Colt introduced the Model 1877, which was a DA revolver that looked and functioned much like the earlier Peacemaker or SAA.  The Lightning model was made in .38 Long Colt, the Thunderer in .41 Long Colt and during the first year production a rarer version the Rainmaker was made in .32 Colt.  The revolver proved popular to everyone but gunsmiths, who disliked working on its delicate action.  The Model 1878 was a larger-framed revolver built to handle cartridges like the .45 Colt and .44-40; it was often referred to as the Frontier Model or Double Action Army and 9000 of them in .45 Colt were supplied to the military.  Both the Models 1877 and 1878 were hampered by the slow loading and unloading system copied from the Peacemaker.

By this time S&W was starting to wake up.  They had discussed a DA revolver with the Russian government, but the plans fell through.  Smith had designs worked out in 1876 and 1878, but it wasn’t until February 1880 that they introduced a small, hinged frame, DA revolver in .38 caliber, a cartridge we know as the .38 S&W.  Like Smith’s earlier hinged-frame SA revolvers, it had the advantage of fast reloading as the barrel and cylinder tipped downward on a hinge allowing all the empty brass to be ejected at once and all the cylinder chambers were exposed for cartridge insertion.  Following close on its heels was a .32 S&W version.  In 1881 a large-frame model in .44 Russian was introduced; it evolved into the Favorite Model in 1882 which was altered to be lighter and handier.  A Frontier model was also made that chambered .44-40 and .38-40 cartridges.  In 1886 S&W introduced the .32 and .38 Safety Hammerless models that featured a concealed hammer and a grip safety; they became known as “Lemon-Squeezers” and could be considered DAO by today’s definition.

While the hinged frame was fast, Colt was looking for a more robust design and came up with the first DA revolver that most of us would recognize in 1889.  It had a swing-out cylinder, released by a sliding latch, which allowed simultaneous ejection of empty brass, plus fast reloading and it had a solid frame for increased strength.  Its cylinder rotated clockwise and it was chambered in .38 and .41 Long Colt.  It was improved and evolved into the Model 1892 which was adopted for military use in .38 Long Colt, a cartridge which proved lacking as a “man-stopper.”

S&W wasn’t resting on its laurels and came out with their own solid-frame, swing-out cylinder revolvers.  Designed were perfected in the mid-1890’s for what we now call I-frame and K-frame revolvers in .32 and .38 caliber.  The first to hit the market in 1896 was the I-frame .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1896 in .32 S&W Long.  It was followed by the K-frame Model 1899 referred to as the Military & Police chambered for the new .38 Special cartridge.  None of the earlier versions had the locking lug beneath the barrel and locked only with a center-pin at the rear of the cylinder.  The cylinder on the S&W turned counter-clockwise.  The revolver most recognizable today as the Military & Police, later designated the Model 10, began as the .38 Hand Ejector Model 1905.  This is probably the most recognizable DA revolver in the world today and has outfitted military and police forces for over 100 years.

Given the  militaries dissatisfaction with the .38 caliber revolver in the early 1900’s and the re-issue of old SAA and Model 1878 revolvers in .45 Colt, a new revolver with a larger frame to handle the .45 Colt cartridge was designed.  Introduced in 1898, it was called the New Service and would eventually be chambered in everything from .38 Short Colt to .476 Eley.  As the Model 1909 it was adopted by the military for service in the Philippines battling fierce Moro tribesmen.  It also became the service revolver of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the New York State Police.  It later evolved into the Model 1917 revolver which became a substitute standard for the military in WWI chambered for the .45 ACP service cartridge.

Smith & Wesson began development of a large (N-frame) frame revolver in 1905 and it was introduced 3 years later as the .44 Military Model of 1908; chambered for the new .44 Special cartridge.  It had locking points a the rear of the cylinder, at the front on the ejector rod shroud and an the juncture between the rear of the ejector rod shroud and the frame, which gave it the nickname the “Triple-Lock.”  The 3rd locking point on the ejector rod shroud was an added expense as was the shroud itself, so it was eliminated in the 2nd Model.  This revolver chambered for the .455 Webley cartridge was sold to the British during WWI before America became involved.

When the U.S. entered the war in 1917 it became readily apparent that there were not enough 1911 pistols to arm our servicemen, so Colt and S&W modified their large-frame revolvers to chamber the .45 ACP cartridge; both were referred to as the Model 1917.  As the .45 ACP is a rimless cartridge; half-moon clips were invented so the revolvers ejector star could push the empty brass out of the chambers.  This worked out so well that that Model 1917 revolvers were still in use during WWII, Korea and even Viet Nam.  Today, a number of revolvers use what we call full-moon clips that carry a full load of cartridges and these guns are popular for speed-shooting events.

In 1926 S&W received a big order for .44 Hand Ejector revolvers that had the shroud like the Triple-Lock, but only the two locking mechanisms; this became the 3rd Model or the .44 Military Model of 1926.  Gun writers of the period began experimenting with high velocity handloads in revolvers like the Model 1926 and the N-frame .38-44 Heavy Duty; the end result was the .357 Magnum and the .44 Magnum cartridges.  The medium-framed or E-frame Colt .38 revolver was chambered for the .38 Special and became the Army Special and later the Official Police.  This frame was sturdy enough for the .357 Magnum and became the adjustable-sighted Trooper and then the sleek Colt Python.  A specially heat-treat S&W K-frame was chambered for the .357 Magnum and became the Combat Magnum or Model 19.

Today’s DA revolvers all have this lineage.  Early 20th Century D-frame Colts became the .38 Police Positive and later the Detective Special.  I-frame Smiths were the basis of the .38 Regulation Police and Terrier; the I-frame morphed into the J-frame and became the Chief’s Special.  As police use of the .357 Magnum grew S&W introduced the more rugged L-frame in the early 1980’s and I carried a Model 686 as my last LE service revolver.  The N-frame became the platform for the Model 29 in .44 Magnum and the Model 57 in .41 Magnum.

Colt dropped the New Service in 1942 and did not have a large frame DA revolver until 1990 when they introduced the MM-frame Anaconda in .44 Magnum and .45 Colt.  The old E-frame revolvers actions were getting too expensive to produce so Colt developed a new DA mechanism that required less hand-fitting and more coiled springs and produced the Metropolitan Police and Trooper Mk III revolvers.  The last of the Colt DA .38/.357 revolvers was the Mk V Lawman, Peacekeeper, Trooper, and King Cobra - the last of these revolvers left the factory in 1998 and the Anaconda was discontinued in 2003.  Smith & Wesson has also dropped a number of their DA revolvers over the years; especially those in obsolete calibers like .32 Long and .38 S&W.  Some have come back as Heritage Models and special editions for large distributors.

Ruger began producing a medium-frame DA revolver in .38/.357 during 1972 called the Security Six.  It evolved into the GP-100, which is still with us today.  In the early 80’s came the SP-101 small-framed .38 Special and today we have a polymer hybrid-framed LCR.  They also produce the large-frame Redhawk in .44 Magnum, which just recently became available in .41 Magnum and .45 Colt/.45 ACP.  Dan Wesson, founded in 1968 produced a medium-frame .38/.357 revolver with a unique interchangeable barrel, the Model 15-2.  The torque on the barrel produced by the barrel nut and the muzzle of the barrel shroud caused this to be a very accurate revolver.  A large-frame version called the SuperMax was the darling of hunters and metallic silhouette competition shooters.  Today only the Model 715, a new rendition of the Model 15-2 is available.

We could go on and on, but I think this hits the high-points of DA revolvers in the U.S.                          


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  • Thank you for coming on the show Bill! Where can people find you?

  • You can find me in various publications, I have a few new articles out with Athlon Media Group in their “The Best of Combat Handguns GUN SHOW” and “2017 Complete Book of Guns, Buyers Guide” magazines. Both are on newsstands now. You can find both myself and Jordan on our blog, The Firing Pen at  http://www.facebook.com/thefiringpen

  • Until next week, have fun & safe shooting!!!


Handgun Radio 122 - The Kimber K6s Revolver with Grant Cunningham & Weerd Beard

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.

This week, I’m joined by Grant Cunningham to discuss his involvement in the new Kimber K6s revolver as well as his new book Handgun Training: Practice Drills for Defensive Shooting

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Week in Review:

Ryan: Been pretty busy with a few music gigs, but I did get the chance to pick up a Taurus PT-22 Poly. I’ve heard good things about this particular model and so far I’ve been quite impressed with it. I have 250 rounds downrange with it and the only non-ammunition related malfunction was a stovepipe jam and it happened after a lot of shooting with the gun. These guns don’t have extractors so as the gun gets dirty you can encounter spotty extraction problems. Otherwise I’ve been very impressed.


Weerd Beard:  EMPTY NEST!   My daughter is with her grandparents for a few days,  so I will have some undisturbed quiet time to install the apex trigger in my neighbor’s M&P, and hopefully get the nipples off my Walker Colt.   Probably going to log some range time in the freezing cold too!


Drink Segment:Jagerita.   Seriously it’s good,  surprisingly good.   2oz Jagermister, 1oz lime juice, 1 oz Triplesec.   https://youtu.be/Gk5cxWmbxu4



Main Topic: The Kimber K6s Revolver & Handgun Training with Grant Cunningham

A few days before SHOT Show this year, I happened to see an advertisement that was making the rounds on social media. Knowing that many times these ads are hoaxes or otherwise unauthorized, I approached this one with a skeptical eye. Why? Because it seemed to hint that Kimber, the company who is known for their 1911’s and bolt-action rifles would be making a revolver. It was a vague ad, with a picture of a backlit revolver cylinder that had flat sides. Then Media/Industry day at the range happened, and we found out what it was: The Kimber K6s revolver. A stainless steel, 6 shot .357 magnum revolver that is reminiscent of the “hammerless” J-frames. It has a number of features that you DON’T normally see on a small revolver however; user adjustable/replaceable sights straight from the factory, a 6 shot capacity in .357 (which was a market formerly dominated by the Colt Detective Special), countersunk chambers which reminds me of my S&W Model 19-4 and a factory grip that fills in the space behind the trigger guard allowing for proper hand fit and improved control. I was really impressed by what I saw, and while it was an uphill battle wading through the legions of Kimber haters, the ones that did put beside their dislike for the company actually all seemed really impressed with the product. I kind of had an idea that Grant may have been involved in the revolver, and sure enough he began commenting about it and then announced it. Grant had consulted for them and been a part of the design team, so we welcome him back to the show to discuss the gun.


  1. How did this whole saga get started with Kimber and the K6s?

  2. What are the main disadvantages to today’s small revolvers that you thought could be remedied by the design of the K6s?

  3. What sorts of obstacles are there in bringing a brand new design from initial concept to full production?

  4. Where you had input on the design, I assume that your number one priority was total reliability. Did you have any input on the mechanical function of the design (eliminating parts, making parts out of a particular material, etc.) in order to ensure that reliability?

  5. I notice you didn’t pick the S&W style latch or the Colt style latch, but something more akin to the Ruger push-button cylinder latches. Was there a particular reason for that?

  6. The sights are a huge change over your typical snubby revolver sights. Were there any challenges in trying to incorporate that into the design?

  7. Countersunk chambers that completely enclose the casehead aren’t normally seen on modern revolvers. I have two revolvers, one 19-4 with the countersunk chambers, and a 66-3 without them. I prefer the countersunk chambers. Why was that included in the design of the K6s?

  8. We’ve talked about trigger pull of the J-frame revolvers and that “hump” that you hit midway through the trigger pull. Many people who checked the gun out at SHOT Show said that the trigger was quite good. How difficult is it to design a revolver trigger that is exceptional out of the box?

  9. Listener Question from Chuck B: Will there be longer/bigger grips available for those people who don’t like boot grips? Speedloaders?

  10. Listener Question from Joshua Gideon: Will there be a “Grant Cunningham Signature Edition” with the revolver sporting tie-dye grips & a bottle of the finest Kombucha packaged in a free-trade sourced Mahogany wood box?  

  11. How far does Kimber want to get into the revolver business? Are there future models on the horizon? Different calibers? Barrel lengths?



Grant also recently released a book we had chatted about before when he was first starting it: Handgun Training: Practice Drills for Defensive Shooting. The book is a collection of drills and other practice plans to help improve your defensive shooting skills.

  1. Last time we talked the book was still being written. Now that it has been published, how has the reception been?

  2. Did you find writing this book harder or easier than the other books?

  3. I also notice you have a larger format for this book than the others. Was that your decision or the publishers? It makes for easy reading of the drills and other information.

  4. What is the best piece of advice you can give someone who buys this book and wants to incorporate some of the drills into their practice regimen?

Grant, thank you for coming on! Where can people find more information about you and keep up to date on your projects?



Until Next Week, Have Fun and Safe Shooting!!!!!!



Handgun Radio 116 - Modifying Your Revolver For Competition

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.This week, I’m joined by Matt Hoffman to discuss the internal and external modifications that you can do yourself or have done by a gunsmith to tailor your wheelgun for competition shooting!

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

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Week in Review:

Ryan: - Got the chance to check out a Detonics Pocket 9 today. A Family friend said he had a 9mm but didn’t know what it was. Really neat pistol! Pictures and video up on the Handgun Radio Facebook.

Matt:  Its been busy few months. We have been getting our Icore matches going again and shot a few matches big matches. Picked up a couple of Smiths, a 617 full target and 21 Thunder Ranch Special new in box. The new in box part will not last long though.

Main Topic: Modifying your Revolver for Competition

The competition world is generally dominated by autoloading pistols these days. The ease of reloading the autoloader with a magazine filled with cartridges makes it a good stepping stone for those wanting to get into competition shooting. However, the revolver still has its place in competition. The use of moonclips, speedloaders and the 7 and 8 shot guns have brought the revolvers almost even with some people shooting autoloaders. The extra challenge and skill needed to run a wheelgun in competition can be fun and exciting for people who may have grown a bit bored with standard competition and want to diversify their activities, or with people like me and Matt who just love tricked out, cool looking revolvers. Matt has been shooting competition with wheelguns for quite some time now, and we have discussed what gear you would want for competition in previous episodes; but we never really discussed how you might modify your revolver for competition. I thought it would be a good discussion to talk about what modifications you would make both internally and externally to your revolver in order to get it competition ready.

I’ve been exploring this topic for about 3 years now. I’m getting closer to figuring it now

Truth be told, you can go to the safe and pull out that old model 10 or 686 of your grandpa owned and with a few accessories shoot an idpa match. Most people will probably get more enjoyment with a few mods though.

 It's probably better to break it up into some different categories depending on what you intend to do. Most all of them are applicable to later mods.

 We will start off with the basic smooth and tune. I recommend this for most any revolver competition or not. It consists of polishing the rebound block, double action sear and trigger. Most smiths will get the DA pull to about 9-9.5lbs and smooth as silk. With a smooth action the often feel lighter than that.

  You might also consider chamfering the cylinder. A tool is used to put a bevel on the cylinder where your cartridges enter. Makes it like a funnel to guide the rounds in.

  Bobbing the hammer is another mod that could be a plus here. Lightens the hammer and if it's still a self defense gun will smooth the draw and maybe keep a gungho lawyer from saying you went SA.

   On the newer Smiths with the frame mounted firing pins I always check the length of the firing pin. Older guns had .495 length pin but the newer guns have .485 or shorter. I guess the 14lb+ pulls and short pins make them lawyer proof. I replace every short pin with an Apex Tactical firing pin. Longer pins are available from Power Custom and Cylinder and Slide as well.

  These mods are all fairly affordable, possibly user installed, easier to shoot but most importantly reliable with any quality ammo. Perfect for competition like IDPA but still can be used for self defense.

  The next level things get a bit more labor intensive and expensive.

 You can have your forcing cone trued up. This will make it completely flat and polishes the throat so every round leaves the cylinder into the rifling perfect and repeatable. Once that is done you may choose to recrown the barrel so every bullet leaves the exact same way. Somewhat pricey but may squeeze out the last bit of accuracy to raise four x count.

  These next mods are competition only. Here you will see the smooth actions but also much lower DA/SA pull weight. These guns will most likely be purpose built for a particular sport. You may see different barrels,optics and odd calibers.

  The action job will build on the smooth and tune and go beyond by polishing the inside of the frame to remove tooling marks,etc. The trigger and hammer will be shimmed so the pull is straight back with no loading. The trigger face is often polished and contoured. The hammers are bobbed and skeletonised or replaced with an apex hammer. This speeds up the hammer to aid in ignition with the lower pull weights.

  Speaking of pull weights, here you will see 4.5-6 lbs of da pull. No more off the shelf ammo. Deep set Federal primers are a must at these reduced weights. Some people actually crush them a bit.

  Titanium cylinders show here alot. The lower weight reduces the rotational mass to lower the pull and make an easier stop.

   Swapped barrels are pretty common. Lightened for speed and heavy bull for staying on target and accuracy. Ports and comps are common.

  Sights are more specialised often here too. Red dots, fiber optic and the large Aristocate sights with the large range are used alot.

SHOPS: Mojo Custom Guns www.mojocustomguns.com

               Paul Francis at BossHoss Revolver Works on Facebook

               Apex Tactical www.apextactical.com


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HGR 043 - Grips & Grip Technique

This week, Matt Hoffman and I discuss grip technique (how you hold a handgun) & grips (what grip options you have on your handgun). I will also talk about my recent experience with the Glock 42 and XDs 4.0 9mm!!

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Week in Review:


  • Shot a Mossberg 500 with ATI furniture and a Magpul AFG on the pump. At first, I wasn’t sure how that would affect my shooting as I was so used to having a particular grip on the shotgun, but that AFG really allowed me more control over the pump without radically altering my hold.
  • Really interested in the stuff I’m seeing come out about the Walther CCP. If it can utilize some of the advantages that the H&K P7 had, it is sure to be a hit!


      *   Shot my first match of the season. It was an IDPA match and I shot it with an M&P. Shot                      fair but really missed my revo’s. Hope to hit 2 more matches and a practice day before NRA                 World shoot.

Discussion: Glock 42 & XDs 4.0:

This weekend, I got a chance to shoot the Glock 42 and the XDs 4.0. I was really impressed with both guns. Below are some links to the videos from this week’s range session.

Glock 42 .380 ACP:

  • I know I bashed this gun, but I am now a convert. The first time I picked it up, it’s lack of weight was astounding. Firing the first magazine and grouping all of my shots almost all in a 1 inch circle and the gun barely recoiling confirmed my suspicion that this would be a very good shooting .380 ACP pistol. The sights are also wonderful. Best sights I’ve seen on a .380 pistol yet (now if they were only metal). If you can reliably run heavy for caliber .380 rounds through this gun, it will be a great choice.

Springfield XDs 4.0 9mm:

  • The Springfield XDs 4.0 takes from the playbook of a small grip frame with a long slide. It is executed well, with good craftsmanship and wonderful sights. The trigger is great too. It comes with two magazines, one fitting flush with the grip and the other offering a pinky rest/grip extension. While I do not care for grip safeties, this one is done rather well, being higher up, right under the grip tang where it belongs. On the larger XD’s I would often have trouble with the grip safety being fully depressed; not so on this gun. Very highly recommended for IWB carry.

Main Topic: Grips & Grip Technique

When shooting a handgun, the fit of the gun is EXTREMELY important. This CANNOT be overstated. Making sure that the firearm fits properly in your hand will allow you to have the proper control of the gun, both during trigger manipulation and recoil. Improper fit can cause you to use improper trigger technique, leading to a loss of accuracy and maybe making the handgun painful to fire. Changing the grips on the handgun (if possible) can oftentimes make the gun fit better for you and allow you the proper control. Sometimes though, we must accept the fact that no matter what grip we put on the gun, it is just too big (or too small) to fit our hand and we must find one that does. Thankfully, many modern striker-fired handguns are coming with multiple grips (or grip adapters) that allow for a wider range of hand sizes to utilize the firearm. We are just going to go over some of the different types of grips that are out there that may assist you, along with some technique pointers in handling the handgun.


  • “Splinter” or Factory wood Grips (Especially S&W J-Frames): The so-called “splinter” grips were the typical factor grips put on the S&W J-frames up until S&W switched to synthetics in the early 90’s. The splinter grips leave a large space between the frontstrap and the back of the trigger guard. This puts your hand up high in the back of the trigger guard and can cause some discomfort under recoil. Those folks with smaller hands may find the splinter grips comfortable to grip, but not so comfortable under recoil. There are methods of changing this. Some people install a Tyler T-Grip (or the more available and modern BK Grip Adaptor) to fill in the space between the frontstrap and trigger guard. This setup is great for pocket carry, because it allows for a smooth, stick-free grip, with the space filled in.
  • “Boot” Grips: These can be had in synthetic plastic, rubber, or smooth wood. The boot grip functions much the same way as the Tyler T Grip adaptor. The boot grip DOES NOT cover the backstrap (which can make a difference in finger placement on the trigger) and it fills in the frontstrap area to allow for better control and comfort. The boot grip also does not extend below the bottom of the metal grip frame AT ALL, allowing for maximum concealability. I personally have some Altamont Silver-Black wood boot grips on my Model 60 S&W and they are wonderful. They allow for great pocket carry (being smooth wood) and they position my finger perfectly on the trigger for fast & accurate double-action work.
  • Factory Wood “Target” Stocks or “Coke Bottle” Grips: Both the factory “Target” grips and the “Coke Bottle” grips are similar in construction and function. They have a large flare at the very bottom of the grips, and they narrow toward the top. The “Coke Bottle” grips have a slight swell in the center of the grips if you are looking at them directly from behind, almost taking on an old Coke bottle shape. These stocks are rarely comfortable except for those people with larger hands. I have fairly large hands and the wood target grips on my Model 19 are not the greatest for quick double-action firing.
  • Hogue/Pachmayr Rubber Grips: On many handguns today, rubber grips much in the style of Hogue or Pachmayr are installed on new guns leaving the factory. Hogue and Pachmayr have offered rubber grips for many semi-autos and revolvers. Some grips utilize finger grooves (which I DETEST!) and some do not. Pachmayr grips for the 1911 typically cover the frontstrap of the gun, allowing for better purchase on the firearm. The Hogue & Pachmayr grips can offer much more comfort in terms of recoil, with the soft rubber grips absorbing some of that initial shockwave.
  • Wooden Specialty Grips: A number of different custom grip makers are out there for you to utilize! I used Altamont for my J-Frame, but they are a somewhat larger company that produces a few different product lines. There are custom grip makers such as Ahrends grips that can make a grip fit to your personal specifications. There are hundreds of different grip shapes, each of which has their distinct advantages and disadvantages. These custom grip makers will work with you to pick the particular wood you want on your handgun, and will match those wood pieces so the grain matches on both sides of the grip. They can take a measurement of your hand and manufacture the grip just right so your finger falls in the proper place on the trigger each and every time. Some of my favorites are Badger Grips, Eagle Grips & Esmeralda Grips along with Ahrend's Grips that were mentioned above.

Some Pointers about grip technique on the handgun:

  • Like I stated before, your grip technique on the handgun is NUMBER ONE to proper control. It is also important that the gun you choose has all the controls placed in such a way that they can be manipulated without you shifting your grip, or with you shifting your grip in the tiniest way possible! Guns with slide-mounted safeties are notorious for forcing the shooter to shift his/her grip in order to manipulate it. Even people who have larger hands like myself have trouble with the safety on guns such as the S&W Autos like the 59 and the Beretta autos with the slide mounted safeties. These are great guns, don’t misunderstand me, but they require that you shift your grasp pretty substantially to manipulate the gun. Efficiency is key to running a handgun smoothly and quickly.
  • Keep in mind where your trigger finger falls in relation to the trigger. You typically want the trigger to fall somewhere on the first pad of your finger. Any further than that, and you risk pulling the barrel off to the side when you press the trigger. Altering the grip on your handgun can put the trigger further down your finger or more toward the tip. On revolvers, altering where your finger falls can be achieved by changing to a grip that covers the backstrap (or doesn’t, depending upon your needs) or incorporates a slight palmswell.
  • Recoil is also an important factor when it comes to gripping the handgun. I have seen many uninstructed first time shooters holding the handgun WAYYYY down on the grip, with almost an inch between the web of their hand and the beavertail or tang. This will cause the gun to pivot, as the bore is much higher above the hand than intended. Instructing people in the proper grip with the web of the hand tucked tightly under the tang will prevent any injuries to the shooter and will allow them to be far more accurate with their handgun.
  • Grip shape tends to alter the recoil characteristics of the handgun. I have heard many times that “That S&W Model 29 in .44 Magnum hurts the hell out of my hand!” yet then I see that same person shoot a Ruger Blackhawk in .44 with the single-action “plowhandle” style grip without any problems. The difference is in the grip shape. The S&W grip is optimized for double-action shooting because it is a double-action revolver. the Ruger uses the classic single-action plowhandle shape, and this causes the gun to roll in the hand. Oftentimes,this rolling action is far more comfortable as the recoil energy takes a different path than it does with the grip optimized for double-action work.


HGR 030 - Gunsmith, Author, Trainer: A Discussion With Grant Cunningham

HGR 030 - Gunsmith, Author, Trainer: A Discussion with Grant Cunningham

In this week’s episode, Ryan has a discussion with Grant Cunningham who is a nationally known author, gunsmith and trainer. He specializes in double-action revolvers, particularly Colts and Rugers, and has a great perspective on the firearms world.

As always, the show is brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Brownells helps make this show possible. Selection, service, satisfaction. Find it all at Brownells. Please visit www.handgunradio.com/brownells

We are going to skip the week in review this time, and head right into the discussion with Mr. Grant Cunningham!

Main Topic: Gunsmith, Author, Trainer: A Discussion with Grant Cunningham

So Grant, for the people who aren’t familiar with your work, what do you do?

1.) For the people who don't know, how did you get started in the gunsmithing business? In the training business?

2.) In what direction do you see the custom pistolsmithing business moving over the next 5 to 10 years?

3.) People often say "revolvers are old school and a semi-auto is what you need in today's world". Why do many people like you and I still consider the revolver to be a viable handgun in today's "high speed-low drag" world?

4.) In reading Massad Ayoob's excellent "Greatest Handguns of the World" series of books, he mentions your work on Colt & Ruger revolvers in particular. Most notably, that you are one of the very few people in the country who can tune a Colt action properly.  What drew you to work on those brands specifically?

5.) Of what project are you the most proud, or what is your favorite?

6.) What was the most difficult gunsmithing task you have ever undertaken?

7.) What is the biggest mistake you see kitchen table gunsmiths make?

8.) What would be your advice for someone who wants to get started as a custom gunsmith?

Related Links For Grant Cunningham:

Grant Cunningham's Main Website

Personal Security Institute

Gun Digest's Collection of Grant Cunningham Books & Articles


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