Train with Taurus and Caleb

train with Caleb

Yes, I fully realize that it’s been over 3 years since I updated here, but one of my resolutions is to start writing more, better content. So here we are. However, the first post I write in 2024 is going to be a commercial: here are some opportunities to train with me in 2024.

The first is a combo CCW/Snub revolver class at Homestead Training Center, February 17-18. Here’s some info on the class:

Two Day Concealed Carry Skills Development Course
Come train with Melody Lauer and Caleb Giddings as CDR offers its first ever CCW Skills Course, which consists of two days of training built around the student’s needs. Students can sign up for either day of training or both days!
Day 1: Concealed Carry Skills ($300)
Learn to run your concealed carry handgun from one of the best diagnostic instructors in the game. CCW Skills is a comprehensive course designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and proficiency needed for responsible concealed carry. In this dynamic class, students will delve into essential aspects of firearm safety, marksmanship, and legal considerations to foster a well-rounded understanding of concealed carry. Topics include but are not limited to: Drawing from concealment, reloading the gun under duress, strong and weak hand only shooting, the use of cover, and more!
Day 2: Small Revolver Skills ($300)
Training Day 2 focuses on the skills specific to operating a small frame revolver as a primary or backup concealed carry gun. This 8 hour block of instruction will cover topics ranging from concealment options/positions such as AIWB, traditional IWB, pocket carry, off-body carry, and more. The courses of fire focus on practical uses of the small revolver from concealment, and is taught by ICORE and IDPA Revolver Master class shooter Caleb Giddings.

Book Both Training Days and Save ($500)

Again, you can sign up for this class at this link.

The next will be the Taurus Handgun Experience, but more details on this are coming soon.

The last one for the year will be my full, two day Fundamental Revolver Skills course in Terre Haute, Indiana on July 13-14. This is my flagship training course, and is a fairly significant deep dive into the world of high level revolver shooting. Tickets are available at the link above, and so far everyone who’s come out has had a great time and learned a lot.

As far as writing, you can definitely look for more content from me on that front.

Say hello to the Aero Precision EPC-9 PCC

It’s like 1997 all over again, because every company is making pistol caliber carbines. The latest entry in the market isn’t some unheard-of startup though – it’s Aero Precision, who have been making quality AR parts and complete rifles for years now. Enthusiasts love Aero, and they’re going to love their latest offering: the Aero Precision EPC-9.

What is it?

Obviously, the Aero Precision EPC-9 is a 9mm pistol caliber carbine, at least in its full form. However, Aero will also be selling component kits to builders who want to make their carbine. This makes sense, given that a large number of Aero’s consumers are home builders who want to make their own guns. If you’re one of those people, good news! Phase One of the launch will include all of the following:

  • Receiver sets
  • 9​mm bolt carrier groups/assemblies
  • Lower parts kids
  • 9​mm barrels in 5.5, 8.3, 11, and 16 inch lengths
  • New lengths for the ATLAS handguard
  • Complete upper receivers

T​he EPC-9 is compatible with most AR parts, although Aero recommends using their parts to guarantee reliable function. The one caveat is triggers – blowback operated PCCs tend to be harder on triggers than DI rifles, so make sure whatever trigger kit you use is PCC rated.

H​ow’s it work?

loaded Aero Precision EPC-9

T​he Aero Precision EPC-9, whether in full rifle form or home brew, is a blowback operated 9mm PCC that feeds from Glock mags. It has a last round bolt hold open function, which is installed at the factory, and the lower receiver has a flared magwell so you can nail your mandatory reloads on PCC classifiers. You can also build one using a stripped lower and upper for 40 S&W, if that floats your boat, but the initial launch all the Aero-made parts will be for 9mm builds. Plus, all the Aero barrels are threaded 1/2×28 so you’ll be able to add common muzzle devices to your new carbine.

Why another PCC?

T​he PCC market is pure fire right now. Between competition shooters and people looking for a 9mm version of their home defense gun, pistol caliber carbines were flying off the shelves even before the great gun panic of 2020. Aero has been making quality receivers and parts for AR platform rifles forever, so it makes sense that they’d enter the PCC market in a smart way – ready to go. The Aero Precision EPC-9 looks like an awesome gun in this market, especially if you want to step up and start competing right away.

G​et your Aero Precision EPC-9 today!

Considering the current state of the firearms market, I would get my order placed today. The Aero Precision EPC-9 is launching with everything ready to go, and there are receiver sets available. If you don’t get one in the initial launch, be patient because production will ramp up as we get closer to summer time and more carbines come available. Order yours at Aero Precision today!

Revolvers Don’t Jam

One of the most commonly quoted misconceptions about wheelguns is that “revolvers don’t jam.” This is based on the correct idea that because a revolver is entirely mechanically driven, it’s more tolerant of neglect than a semi-automatic pistol. You pull a lever, it rotates a cylinder, and everything happens.

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Vista Outdoor Back Ordered to the tune of $1 Billion

vista logo

Vista Outdoor, owner of the Federal, CCI, Speer, and Remington brands of ammunition, announced that they have back orders that extend over a year, and amount to over a billion dollars of orders at wholesale cost. This was revealed by CEO Chris Metz during the company’s second quarter earnings call.

For Vista Outdoor to be back ordered this badly is unprecedented across the industry. Everyone is asking the question of when will the ammo crisis end, and this doesn’t paint a rosy picture for gun owners looking to get back to normal. Vista is currently running three shifts non-stop at their plants, as is Olin (Winchester) and Magtech in Brazil.

The good news for Vista is that their sales are up 29% compared to last year, and their gross profit has increased 78% relative to last year. On the earnings call, Mr Metz disclosed their current gross profit is $162 million dollars. This reflects the record-breaking year that the firearms industry has experienced across the board, and Vista’s benefited from having fingers in every pie in the industry.

Vista Outdoor’s back order status does have some negative implications for gun owners. Unless demand drops off precipitously, every round of ammo leaving the factory for the next year is spoken for, which means there won’t be a return to normal availability levels until late 2021 in the best case scenario. If demand doesn’t drop, shooters can also expect to see elevated prices for common calibers like 9mm and 223 Remington stay in place for some time. With 9mm selling as high as $1.25 p/round on Gunbroker, this is definitely going to curtail people’s ability to practice.

With the Biden administration already working with the ATF to enact gun control via executive action, it’s a safe bet that the demand for ammo will stay high for some time. Good luck, everyone.

Is the Beretta APX any good?

I’m always interested in the search terms that pop up around guns. For example, a related term for Beretta APX is “Is the Beretta APX any good?” Well let me answer that one for you: yes. In fact, the Beretta APX might be the best deal you can get on a new 9mm carry gun right now.

If I’m answering the question of “is the Beretta APX any good” we have to start with the price point. For many reasons, the APX series of guns is priced very well. I looked on Grabagun, and they’re in stock for around $350 for a standard model. Some upgraded models like the RDO or Combat are a bit more expensive, but if all you want for self defense is “pistol, 9mm” then you can get an APX for less than 4 bills. That’s…really good. In fact that’s so good it means no one should ever buy a gun from a second tier brand again. Why would you buy a Canik (at the disco) or an XD when you can get an actual good gun for the same price? It makes no sense.

Beretta APX RDO

Actually, when you start to examine this whole thing, the price point of the APX really starts to make other guns look unattractive. We’re in the golden age of striker fired 9mm pistols right now. You could buy an APX, a Sig P320, a Glock 19/17/45, HK VP9, M&P 2.0, or a Walther PPQ, and they’re all going to be good to go. The big difference between all those guns is the APX is 100-150 bucks cheaper at retail, but at the end they all do the exact same thing: carry 15-17 rounds, accept red dots, and are boringly reliable. As of right now, I’ve got 4,220 rounds through three different APX pistols, and they keep chugging along.

So if you’re asking “is the Beretta APX any good” the answer is yes. It’s reliable, it’s accurate, and it’s extremely affordable. The only knock is that there isn’t a huge aftermarket for it, but JM Custom Kydex makes holsters for it, and Beretta actually has a pretty good selection of parts. So yeah dude, it’s pretty good. Good enough to finish in the top 10 at Nationals with one!

IDPA cancels 2020 National Championship

In a news update post on their Instagram and website, the International Defensive Pistol Association has announced the cancellation of the 2020 National Championship Match, which was scheduled for September 23-26th, 2020. The match was planned to take place in Colorado, however due to ongoing concerns stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak, IDPA has decided to cancel the match.

The major reasons cited for the cancellation are the economic effects on the shooters and the match sponsors. The match can’t be held without sponsors, whose donations pay for the bulk of the expenses involved in putting a national championship on. In her message, Executive Director Joyce Wilson also cited the economic impact to shooters – with many people, including IDPA members, out of work it may be quite an economic hardship to travel to the match just to compete. This is also true for match staff, who are all unpaid volunteers.

IDPA said that there will be a Nationals match in September 2021, and that they will extend the eligibility requirements for this match to allow the maximum number of shooters to participate. By canceling and announcing the new date so far in advance, IDPA appears to be attempting to avoid causing a major disruption to their membership’s lives. While it may seem premature to some, the concerns about putting on a poor quality match thanks to second and third order effects from COVID-19 are legitimate. By canceling far in advance, shooters won’t have booked plane tickets, travel, and serious competitors can re-arrange their training schedules accordingly.

You can read the full text of the release here.

New merchandise for Gun Nuts!

As part of bringing the blog back to life I also have launched some new merchandise! We’ve got shirts and stickers for your amusement. The merch page is named Garbage Apparel, and we’ve got cool designs.

run your gun not your mouth

For example, the most popular seller is the sticker above: it’s five bucks and looks great on an ammo can or laptop. You can also get it on a shirt, but honestly I like the sticker best for this. I also have a new design featuring dinosaurs, and of course my classic Firefly themed design that references a very Cunning hat.

The newest addition is a great truth from shooting: If you shoot fast you look cool. No question about that, so get the shirt that proclaims the truth!

chicks dig guys that shoot fast

Performance Based Shooting

What is performance based shooting? Quite simply, it’s the idea that the act of shooting a gun doesn’t change, regardless of your circumstances. To be specific, the mechanical act of shooting is the same regardless of why you’re shooting, and because of that our approach to the act of shooting should be based on performance and metrics, not feelings.

To explore this concept, I interviewed Matthew Little, aka Greybeard Actual. Matt is a former Green Beret, recently retired from Chicago PD at a SWAT officer, and is also a high level competition shooter and brand ambassador for STI. He is one of few people in the industry who can address the idea of performance based shooting from all the relevant angles that matter. Obviously, I want you to listen to the whole interview, but I’ll pull out some of the good bits for this post.
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Most Unexpected Drop Of 2019… The Ruger-57


What in the wide world of sports is going on at Ruger? They have been steadily dropping new models in advance of the 2020 Show Season coming up in January, but nothing has really been earth shattering. A sweet new 8 shot 9mm revolver that might, albeit probably not make S&W wake up a bit? Cool. How about an LCP in 22 LR for practice and cuteness factor? Ok, whatever. Then, out of nowhere comes the Ruger-57 to take a big ol dump in FN’s messkit.

Alright, so first off… What is it? Well, it’s basically an FNH Five-SeveN, made by Ruger. It’s not quite as blocky, and the controls look a little more user-friendly overall, but you can definitely see the outward resemblance, and I’d bet the inner workings are fairly similar as well. Like the FN, it holds 20 rounds of 5.7x28MM ammo. The other specs are pretty similar as well, with the Ruger being very slightly larger in the barrel and overall length department (boring spec sheet is at the end of the article).


But Dat Price Tho

The single biggest difference, as expected, between the Ruger 57 and the FN Five-SeveN is the price. Based on what we know at the point, the Ruger 57 is going to have a street price of about $575-600, as opposed to the $1100 generally seen for the FN.


Feeding The Beast

Of course, one of the ongoing problems that has plagued the FN Five-SeveN, and is sure to impede the Ruger 57 somewhat is availability, and price of 5.7 ammo. Well, we’ve also heard rumors that at minimum Hornady and CCI/Speer are both set to release more offerings in the cartridge in the coming weeks. Hopefully, we’ll also see a steadier supply of the Federal American Eagle FMJ load, since CCI/Speer and Federal both fall under the Vista Outdoor umbrella.