Every “which gun to buy” conversation I’ve had

When you’re the token gun guy and you have friends that aren’t, you get asked about “which gun should I buy for x” a lot. Frequently. For me it’s either “which gun should I get for competition” or “which gun should I get for CCW/home defense?” Here’s how each of the conversations almost always go.

Which gun for home defense/CCW

Friend: Hey Caleb, what gun should I get for home defense and CCW?

Me: Get a Glock 19.

Friend: Why?

Me: Because it’s small enough to conceal every day, large enough to shoot well with a modicum of effort, holds a reasonable amount of bullets, chambered in a proven cartridge, and has a reputation for hell and back reliability.

Friend: But I read on the internet blah blah blah grip angle?

Me: Fine. Get an M&P9.

Friend: Why?

Me: Because it’s small enough to conceal every day, large enough to shoot well with a modicum of effort, holds a reasonable amount of bullets, chambered in a proven cartridge, and has a reputation for hell and back reliability, and doesn’t have the same grip angle as a Glock.

Friend: Oh, okay. So you carry one of those two?

Me: (sighs deeply) No, I carry a 1911.

Friend: Why?

Me: Because I have the time, resources, and most importantly interest in devoting a not insignificant part of my life to the study and practice of shooting, and because I like to maintain my guns beyond “squirt some lube on them and leave them be.” You should get a Glock 19, and after you’ve shot 10,000 rounds through it then decide if you like something else.

Some day I’ll have that conversation and my friend will just say “oh okay” and go buy a Glock 19, but probably not. Now it’s time for the competition gun conversation!

What gun to get for competition?

Friend: Hey Caleb, what gun should I buy for IDPA/USPSA competition?

Me: What do you carry?

Friend: A Glock 19/M&P.

Me: If you have enough magazines, shoot your first couple of matches with that, and decide whether or not you want to upgrade from there. You may not need a new gun if your focus is on practice with your carry gun.

Friend: But I want a new gun just for competing!

Me: (sighs deeply) Okay, get a Glock 34/M&P Pro.

Friend: Why?

Me: Because it has the exact same manual of arms as your carry gun, shares a caliber, and in some cases may even share magazines. It’s the easiest way to get started without spending a ton of money, and if you like shooting matches and want to upgrade you can always upgrade the existing competition gun or shop up for something more purpose built.

Friend: So what do you shoot?

Me: (answers with whatever I’m getting paid to shoot at the time)

Friend: Why?

Me: Because I’m getting paid to.

Now, that conversation has one variable; and that’s when the person has some kind of weird special snowflake carry gun that doesn’t enjoy massive aftermarket support. Then I tell them to get a Glock 34 or an M&P Pro right from the get-go.

I’d be willing to bet that a lot of my readers have had almost the exact same conversation. If so, let me know in the comments!

Operator starter kit

Hey! You! Are you interested in taking tactical shooting classes but want to make sure you look the part? Luckily, the team here at Gun Nuts has invested entire minutes into creating this humorous post that is nothing more than thinly veiled Amazon product placement! However, if you follow our handy guide to looking like an operator, you’ll be ready to take your first Tactical Response class and look like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t!

Step 1: Get yourself a hat. Not just any hat, but it has to be a subdued color like black or brown with an American flag on it.

Now you’ll be able to keep the sun out of your eyes while also looking like you’re getting ready to deploy on a contract to Afghanistan.

Step 2: Shirts! Shirts are super important. Your choices here are simple: skin tight Under Armour or tactical polos. That’s it.

The trick is to buy several of the exact same color so it looks like you’re wearing the same shirt every single day. That’s the best way to blend it to the background and be the ultimate gray man. Bonus points if you buy the UA compression shirt and you’re the sort of body type that has no business wearing that.

Step 3: PANTS. Tactical. Cargo. Pants. More pockets is more better. You should definitely avoid things like the 5.11 Ridgeline pants because those aren’t tactical enough and just look like regular khakis. No son, you need to go FULL TACTICAL.

Once you get the pants, you need to stuff the pockets with every piece of crap imaginable, like flashlights, tourniquets, pressure bandages, .308 magazines (even if you don’t own a .308), spare pistol magazines, and more pockets inside your pockets. POCKETCEPTION

Step 4: BELT! Now you’re got all that stuff in your pockets, but your damn pants are falling off. You need a belt that’s strong enough to suspend a pickup from, in case it needs to pull double duty as an emergency rappelling line!

If you’re not rigging, you’re wrong.

Step 5: Boots! Remember, this is for a tactical class, so none of those Salmon or whatever special shoes that those dirty, dirty gamers wear. Just because they give you excellent traction in variable footing conditions doesn’t mean they’re TACTICAL enough for us! You need boots! WARRIOR BOOTS!

And nothing says “warrior” better than boots by Nike, a company with a storied tradition of making athletic shoes using child labor in the same 3rd World Countries you could have invaded if you’d actually enlisted!

Step 6: BUY ALL THE TACTICAL THINGS. At the minimum you’re going to need a plate carrier, a drop leg holster, a shemagh, and some hard knuckle gloves.

That should cover it. You might need some other stuff like ammo, ear protection, or eye protection, but that can wait until after you’ve got all the gucci gear so you can look cool. Sure, you’re going to have to eat nothing but ramen and cheap hot dogs for the next month because you blew all your money on tactical stuff, and you can’t actually afford to attend the class now, but who cares? Your new YouTube channel is going to be badass!

Armslist fails: “RUGER 4.20″ SP101 GREAT COONDITION [CUSTOM]”

So PDB sent me this early in the morning, and it almost made me hit the tequila at 0800. I love Armlist fails, but this one? This may be the new world record. Let’s begin with the first photo, shall we?

armslist fail ruger SP101-1

I’m honestly sure whether this is a photo of a gun for sale, or a modern art piece. In fact, I don’t even know where to start with this one. I mean sure, there’s a partially consumed box of ammo, a set of car keys, and it’s nice to see that someone is taking my advice about carrying a hammer for self-defense seriously, I really have two questions about this photo. First, why does the guy appear to only have 4 toes, and second what in the actual f*** is going on with the grip of that poor SP101?

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Armslist fails: Ruined Mosin-Nagant

You know what are cool? Milsurp rifles. Springfields, Enfields, Garands, Mausers, and yes, even Mosins. There’s a touch of history, a feeling of being connected to the past when you get to take one of these out and shoot it. People think I hate the Mosin Nagant, but I don’t. I think it’s a cool historical rifle that is still showing up on battlefields today. You know what isn’t cool? Taking one of those neat rifles and ruining it, like this guy on Armslist.

ruined mosin 1

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Derp of the day: Come get the twins

derp of the day - the twins

This is why we can’t have nice things, gun people. I don’t even know where to start with this one, because everything about this for sale posting is a f***ing garbage fire of awful. Let’s start with the photo itself; because I mean come on. Which part of the brain is the one that generates the thought process responsible for a photo like this?

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5 signs you take CCW too seriously

Carrying a gun every day is no laughing matter. It is a tremendous responsibility, and one that far too many fail to take seriously. However, there is another segment of people who maybe are going a little bit overboard on the “CCW lifestyle.” In fact, that’s probably a sign right there: if you’ve ever used “CCW lifestyle” without a hint of irony, you need to calm down. But anyway here’s Wonderwall the list.

M&P 9mm with RMR and CRKT

1. You buy your clothes based on how easy it is to conceal all your EDC crap.
Look, I get it. We all should carry full size service pistols, a reload, two knives, a flashlight, 2 liters of water and a portable super-computer at all times. There’s also nothing crazy about buying your jeans a couple of inches bigger to accommodate an IWB holster. That’s just good sense. It’s when you start doing all kind of craziness such as only buying medium polos that hang a certain way, or never buying any clothes that actually fit nicely simply because “I can’t conceal in them.” That’s crazy because 1) yes you can, and 2) carrying a gun shouldn’t be such a thing that you have to let it run your clothing choices.

2. You won’t go out with your friends to certain bars/restaurants because they don’t allow concealed carry there
I’m…I’m actually guilty of this one in years past; I wouldn’t go to a bar with my friends if that bar did pat-down’s at the door. There’s some logic to that, but really it was just me being stubborn and prioritizing “being a sheepdog hur-dur” over “having a good time with people I like.” Hey, we should all carry our guns and be mindful of where we go, but there’s also a point where we should maybe chill out. For example, if you tell you friends you won’t go out with them because where they’re going doesn’t allow carry. Of course, if you have that kind of mindset, this probably isn’t a problem for you.


Because you don’t have any friends.

3. You actually care which business are pro or anti-gun.
I don’t care that Buffalo Wild Wings hates my guns. I don’t care that uh…Chick Fil A is completely ambivalent to them. I just go the places I like to go, and try to not worry too much about the political leanings of major corporations. Now, if you’re talking mom and pop shops, that’s a different story, because to them, losing one or two customers or gaining a new customer can have a real significant financial impact. But Starbucks isn’t going to give two shits if they lose me forever because of blah blah blah open carry whatever.

4. You’ve ever participated in a lengthy forum discussion about “mandatory EDC items.”
You’re probably just a terrible person. But I actually get this one. We carry all this gear, so it’s natural to want to talk about it, and it’s natural to want to see who has better gear, or whatever. But it’s also really easy to get wrapped around an axle about all the shit we carry and forget that what you’re really carrying is a 2 pound insurance policy in case your day takes a really statistically unlikely turn for the awful. There really isn’t anything wrong with talking about our gear, it’s just that on forums, those sorts of conversations usually end up running down these crazy rabbit trails of “what if you’re attacked by 25 axe wielding ninjas at night in an alley? I bet you’d want more than 100 lumens then!” Which is true, I would. I’d want an M240b, an assistant gunner, and a sandbagged fighting position. Wait, crap, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, EDC conversations.

5. You’ve ever written a smug blog post about how other people need to get over themselves about CCW


3-Gun is the Crossfit of the shooting sports

If you have an internet connection and have seen the inside of a gym at least once, you’ve heard of Crossfit. If you’ve never heard of Crossfit and exercise scares you, this post probably isn’t going to be for you, because it’s going to be heavy (unlike Crossfit lifts) on exercise metaphors. Similar to Crossfit, if you have an internet connection and own a shotgun, you’ve probably heard of 3-gun.

Caleb's Research Assistant
Caleb’s Research Assistant

I was talking to my research assistant the other day, when I had an epiphany. That epiphany became the title of this post, which is that in many ways, 3-Gun is to the shooting sports as Crossfit is to the fitness community. On the surface there are some obvious similarities, both sports/activities have enjoyed a sudden, recent, and meteoric rise in popularity, they use gear/lifts that you don’t see in other fitness/shooting activities, the people who are “in” the respective communities have a smug sense of superiority, and we all have that one friend who’s constantly telling us “go try Crossfit/3Gun” like he’s going to convert you to the faith. Now, before you crossfitters/3-gunners get your torches and frankenstein rakes out, there is a pro and con element to this. So chill out as I alternate back and forth.

Raising awareness of the general activity. One of the interesting similarities between Crossfit and 3-Gun is that they both have shows/events on cable TV. Crossfit has the Crossfit Games, and 3-Gun has 3-Gun Nation. What these have accomplished is raising awareness of the general activity. Crossfit has helped promote the idea that fitness for its own sake is a perfectly legitimate reason to work out. Before Crossfit, most people who set foot in the gym had a reason to be there beyond “I just want to work out.” The same effect is true for 3-Gun in many ways – it’s an action shooting sport whose only purpose is to entertain people and be a sport. Even USPSA has its roots in self-defense, regardless of where it is now. 3-gun is a sport simply for sport’s sake, and that’s also a good thing.

Glossing over the fundamentals. One of the greatest, and legitimate criticisms of Crossfit is that many of the trainers are not qualified to teach Olympic lifts, and that doing light weight Olympic lifts for high reps can greatly increase the chance of injury. Serious body builders and powerlifters are especially critical of this aspect of Crossfit. Similarly, have you seen a 3-Gun Nation paper target? They’re huge. How huge? 17.25 inches in diameter, and all you have to do is hit it twice, anywhere in its enormous 233 square inch area. Fundamental accuracy is sacrificed for “go-fast look cool”, just like good form is sacrificed for high reps.

3 gun nation target

Major industry support. Reebok sponsors the Crossfit games, and in fact have launched their own line of “pure fitness” gear. Last year their big marketing push was “The Sport of Fitness.” That’s pretty awesome. 3-Gun has picked up industry support and sponsorship like no other action shooting sport, people are THROWING money at 3-Gun Nation. Cash prizes for winning a shooting match? What madness is this, good sir?

High bar for entry. I suspect here is where I’m going to get the most stick, but it’s true. Just to play in 3-gun you need the rifle, the pistol, the shotgun, you need a good holster, spare mags, something to carry shotgun shells, probably a cart, and a youtube account to post dryfire shotgun loading videos. The same is true for Crossfit – not because you need to bring your own gear, but the average Crossfit gym (it’s a gym, not a f***ing “box” you nitwits) charges approximately $1,000,000 to sign up and then an additional $500 per class.

It really is a community. We make joke around about Crossfit being a cult, but having a sense of community is never a bad thing. We all like hanging out with like minded bros and ladybros, and knowing that you can walk into any Crossfit gym in the country and get that familiar stank of hot sweat and musk while being affirmed by people who share your interests is actually pretty awesome. 3-Gun? Same thing. Holy s*** everyone in the 3-Gun community knows each other, and it’s a very close knit group.

If you start doing Crossfit because you think you’re going to be the next Rich Froning, you’re wrong. If you started shooting 3-Gun because you think you’re going to be the next Danny Horner, you’re wrong again. Both Crossfit and 3-Gun sell you the image of elite participants, but the reality is the guys on TV flipping tractor tires or shooting 100 yard plate racks are the 1% of the 1% of their respective sports. Everyone else is a doughy, middle aged accountant looking for an hour away from his harridan wife and annoying kids.

Dude, it’s actually a lot of fun. I have done more Crossfit than I’ve done 3-Gun, and here’s the dirty secret. They’re both a pretty good time. It turns out that if you like working hard and sweating, Crossfit is a good way to get there. If you like running around and shooting guns…3-gun will scratch that itch in a pretty effective way. Plus, if you’re a specialist in a different sport like triathlons or power lifting, it’s a nice change of pace to do something out of your wheelhouse. Similarly, if you’re a Bianchi Cup specialist, it’s nice to not have to aim for the duration of an entire match.


If you’ve made it to the bottom of this post, congratulations. Now you can get your torches and frankenstein rakes.

5 reasons you’re carrying your EDC wrong

Do you carry a gun regularly? If so, there’s a good chance that you’re probably doing at least one of these things that you shouldn’t be doing. Here are five reasons you’re carrying your gun incorrectly, and how to fix them.

1. Your belt is a piece of s***

good belt and bad belt

Look at these two belts. The one in the middle that’s all nicely rolled up is from Fossil. It’s not a gun belt. It’s not reinforced, and under the weight of any gun larger than a NAA Black Widow it sags. It’s a perfectly fine belt…if you’re not carrying a gun. If you are carrying a gun, it’s a piece of s***. The other belt, the one that’s around it? That’s a gun belt. It’s a leather belt that’s been reinforced with an inner layer of kydex so that it doesn’t deform and doesn’t sag. I can’t roll it up, because it’s too rigid. It is a great gun belt, and also looks quite nice. Get a good belt.

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